Monthly Wrap-Up: Crypto Spring, Blossoming Opportunities and Challenges in April
April saw the crypto market navigate through a mixed bag of events. Major players like Twitter and Mastercard expanded their presence in the crypto space, while Ethereum’s Shapella hard fork brought staking rewards to the forefront.
On the flip side, FTX’s bankruptcy and subsequent grant funding issues highlighted the uncertainties surrounding the industry’s future. Lastly, tensions between tech giants and regulatory authorities have continued to escalate, thereby shaping the global crypto landscape.
Elon Musk threatens Microsoft with lawsuit over AI and Twitter data
Elon Musk has threatened to sue Microsoft for allegedly training its AI on Twitter data without obtaining the required permission. According to Musk’s claims, the tech giant, which holds a 49% stake in OpenAI — the company behind ChatGPT — “illegally” mined user tweets to train its AI-powered apps.
The conflict further escalates tensions between Musk and Microsoft over artificial intelligence since it has long been reported that Musk is currently developing a rival to ChatGPT called “TruthGPT.”
Rep. Davidson aims to fire SEC Chair Gensler for crypto overreach
As part of a recent oversight hearing, U.S. Representative Warren Davidson announced his plans to introduce legislation to fire SEC Chair Gary Gensler, citing a long series of abuses.
In this regard, it should be noted that over the last couple of years, Gensler has faced much criticism for his approach toward the burgeoning digital asset market.
Australia surpasses Asia in Bitcoin ATM installations
In terms of overall crypto ATM installations, Australia has outpaced the entire Asian continent. Since 2023, the country has embarked on an aggressive crypto ATM expansion, quickly advancing from fifth to third place in global rankings by January.
Coin ATM Radar data validates Australia’s sustained efforts to establish fiat-to-crypto conversion points, with 364 crypto ATMs now operating nationwide, trailing only the United States and Canada.
Societe Generale subsidiary launches euro-pegged stablecoin on Ethereum
Societe Generale-Forge, a regulated subsidiary of French banking firm Societe Generale, has launched a euro-pegged stablecoin. EUR CoinVertible, targeted at qualified institutional clients, was designed in response to the growing demand for a new settlement asset for on-chain transactions.
The new stablecoin will offer novel solutions for corporate treasury, cash management, cash pooling, and on-chain liquidity funding and refinancing solutions.
Intel discontinues Bitcoin mining chips
Intel will stop manufacturing its Blockscale Bitcoin mining chips to reduce its overheads. This decision comes nearly a year after the company announced releasing an all-new line of mining hardware; it affects numerous firms that had placed pre-orders or were looking to upgrade their existing infrastructure.
Binance Australia Derivatives license canceled
After reviewing its operations, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission has canceled Binance Australia Derivatives’ license. As per a recent circular, all Binance clients operating in the region must close their existing derivatives positions by April 21.
FTX philanthropic donations create a complex dilemma for recipients
FTX’s bankruptcy has left its philanthropic arm in a difficult situation, especially regarding future funding.
To this point, a number of researchers and scholars are facing uncertainty with continuing their projects due to halted financial support. Similarly, some students who relied on FTX grants for their education have had to drop out of their courses, fearing they may be unable to repay their grants.
FTX is considering an exchange reboot after recovering substantial assets
Bankrupted crypto exchange FTX is contemplating a comeback after recovering approximately $7.3 billion in liquid assets. FTX’s legal team suggested that the company might restart its crypto exchange operations as early as the second quarter of 2024. After the announcement, FTX’s native token (FTT) experienced a surge of over 112%, indicating renewed investor confidence in the exchange.
Musk changes Twitter’s icon amid lawsuit dismissal request
Elon Musk changed Twitter’s icon to Dogecoin’s Shiba Inu after seeking to dismiss a lawsuit alleging a pyramid scheme to promote the meme token. As a result, DOGE’s price surged by over 22%.
US Bitcoin reaches a tentative settlement to reopen Niagara Falls mining facility
US Bitcoin Corp and the City of Niagara Falls have reached a tentative agreement that allows the crypto mining company to reopen its local mining operation. The settlement is still subject to city council approval and includes US Bitcoin Corp paying $150,000 in fees to the city, $180,000 to reimburse legal costs and new application fees, and a $1 million fine.
Additionally, the company must implement noise reduction measures — such as building a noise-dampening wall.
Ethereum’s Shapella hard fork executed on mainnet, enabling staking rewards withdrawal
The Ethereum mainnet implemented the Shapella hard fork, allowing users who staked Ether (ETH) to withdraw their funds. In the first hour following the hard fork, 12,859 Ether were unlocked in 4,333 withdrawals.
Nearly a day after the upgrade, the price of ETH surpassed the $2,000 mark, demonstrating the upgrade’s positive impact on the cryptocurrency’s value.
OpenAI finds support from Japan amid global bans
The artificial intelligence race has accelerated this week, with Amazon, Alibaba, and Twitter working on their own AI initiatives.
Even though OpenAI has faced opposition from multiple countries, the company’s CEO, Sam Altman, aims to work with Japan to build technology for the country. Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Hirokazu Matsuno, has expressed interest in using OpenAI’s technology upon the resolution of its cybersecurity and privacy issues.
Twitter to launch crypto and stock trading with eToro partnership, expanding into ‘super app’ territory
Reportedly, Twitter plans to introduce a feature that enables users to trade cryptocurrencies and stocks through a partnership with fintech firm eToro. This development aligns with Elon Musk’s vision of transforming Twitter into a “super app” by offering users access to a variety of online services in one place.
$3.4 billion penalty for CEO of Bitcoin-related fraud scheme
A U.S. judge has imposed a record-breaking $3.4 billion penalty on Cornelius Johannes Steynberg, the South African CEO of Mirror Trading International Proprietary Limited (MTI), for his involvement in a fraudulent commodity pool scheme involving foreign currency transactions and Bitcoin.
In a statement dated April 27th, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission revealed that Steynberg was ordered to pay $1.73 billion in restitution to defrauded victims and an additional $1.73 billion as a civil monetary penalty.
Mastercard launches NFT-gated musician accelerator program
Mastercard announced an artist accelerator program accessible exclusively to Mastercard Music Pass NFT holders. Created in partnership with Polygon, the program offers musicians and fans limited-edition NFTs that grant access to exclusive resources and opportunities within the music industry. The NFTs will be free until the end of the month.