It's been a flat week for Bitcoin — but there's been no shortage of drama in the crypto news.
Happy Sunday! Here's a look back at the crypto stories you may have missed over the past seven days.
Bitcoin has had a rather flat week — bobbing around the $39,000 mark. But Wednesday delivered a short-lived explosion to $42,500 as news leaked that Joe Biden's long-awaited executive order on cryptocurrencies was imminent. The source of the leak, we hear you ask? A statement by Janet Yellen that was uploaded prematurely to the U.S. Treasury Department's website.
Overall, the measures set out in the executive order were regarded as bullish by crypto heavyweights. The tone was conciliatory, not negative, and the White House stressed that the U.S. "must maintain technological leadership in the digital assets space." Decentralized exchange Uniswap said it was excited to see how regulation would unfold, while the Blockchain Association's head of policy Jake Chervinsky tweeted: "Anyone worried that President Biden's executive order would spell doom and gloom for crypto can fully relax now."
Bitcoin ended up handing back all of these gains in a matter of hours as market jitters set in ahead of two big announcements. The European Central Bank said that it planned to turn off the money taps earlier than planned, while the U.S. Consumer Price Index set a new 40-year high at 7.9%. Runaway inflation tends to help BTC enjoy a bit of a spike — but not this time. The Federal Reserve is meeting next week, and a rate hike is now all but guaranteed after repeated warnings from the central bank's chairman Jerome Powell.
When it comes to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, it looks like there is no end in sight. Efforts are continuing to raise crypto for civilians who remain in the country — and the government has revealed how some of the donations have been spent so far. Although CoinZoom became the first exchange to ban Russians from opening new accounts, trading platforms continue to resist calls to block all existing customers in the country from accessing their crypto wallets.
In a sign these businesses are aware of a public backlash, Kraken attempted a compromise this week. The exchange announced that it would give $1,000 in Bitcoin to all Ukrainians who had opened an account on its platform before March 9. This BTC can be withdrawn immediately — and the total value of the aid package is set to be more than $10 million. The exact figure will match the total value of fees paid by Russian users over the first half of this year. It's a clear sign that, while exchanges don't want to exclude the entire country as a matter of principle, they don't want to be seen as profiting from Russia either.
Five things we learned this week
1. Bored Ape Yacht Club has bought the intellectual property to CryptoPunks in a shock deal. The creator of BAYC — Yuga Labs — now says that it plans to pass full commercial rights on to the owners of Punks. It's one of the biggest and most significant deals that the NFT sector has ever seen.
2. Rumors that eBay is about to accept cryptocurrencies are reaching fever pitch. During an Investors Day presentation this week, the e-commerce giant shared a screenshot showing a brand-new digital wallet. Rather cryptically, eBay's CEO said that "new forms of payment would be coming soon. Given how eBay achieved revenues of $2.6 billion in the final quarter of 2021 — with 147 million active buyers worldwide — the addition of digital assets certainly would be a bullish development.
3. Crypto.com's Super Bowl ad had a secret QR code for NFTs. It turns out that Coinbase wasn't the only crypto exchange to include a QR code in its primetime TV spot during the Super Bowl. Crypto.com had a blink-and-you'll-miss-it QR code that appeared on the bedroom wall of a teenaged LeBron James. Those who spotted and scanned it were entered into a prize draw to win an exclusive NFT.
4. South Korea has a new, crypto-friendly president. Yoon Suk-yeol says he wants initial coin offerings — a popular fundraising strategy used by crypto projects during the 2017-18 bubble — to make a comeback. The president-elect also wants to dramatically increase the threshold for capital gains, meaning crypto investors would be able to make $40,000 in profit before paying tax.
5. LimeWire is making a comeback as an NFT marketplace. The reborn company plans to allow collectors to buy and trade music-related assets including limited editions, pre-releases, unreleased demos, exclusive live versions, as well as digital merchandise and backstage content. We spoke to the new co-CEOs of LimeWire on this week's CoinMarketRecap podcast.
The week ahead
Here are just a few burning questions:
— After months of speculation, is the Federal Reserve finally going to announce that it's increasing interest rates? How will BTC react?
— As Russian forces approach Kyiv, could fresh geopolitical tensions rattle the markets?
— How will the CryptoPunks community react to the surprise buyout from Bored Ape Yacht Club?
Three essential reads on CoinMarketCap Alexandria
— How Much People Are Paying to Use Crypto: A look at how much fees people are paying to use different blockchains and decentralized applications like DEXes.
— What is a Trading Journal… and How Do You Use It? Is there a quicker way to lose money while trading than emotional investing? Read more to learn how to hack emotions and be a better trader.
— An Intro to Ethereum: Sometimes in life, it's worth going back to basics — right back to the very beginning. Here's a beginner's guide to understanding how Ethereum works.
Listen to this!
— The CoinMarketRecap podcast comes out every Friday. Molly Jane joins us to discuss Biden's executive order, South Korea's new president, and Andre Cronje's shock decision to leave the DeFi sector. Plus, we've got a deep dive into LimeWire… and whether its rebirth as an NFT platform is a good idea.
— And over on YouTube, we go behind the scenes to find out what an NFT artist does… and what their lives look like.