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Monthly Wrap Up — September

ETH 2.0 makes its much awaited debut, Wintermute hacked for $160M, Bitcoin touches new hashrate ATH, and more

The past month has been quite rocky for the crypto sector, with the total market capitalization peaking at $1.12T before dipping below the $1T range once again. Here are some of the most interesting stories from September worth checking out.

A portion of Ronin’s financial exploits retrieved

Earlier this month, blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis revealed that its Crypto Incident Response (CIR) team had been able to retrieve approx. $30M worth of crypto was stolen by the N. Korean hacking group ‘Lazarus’ as part of the Ronin bridge hack. The losses are estimated at a total of $600 million.

Troubles continue to mount for crypto lender Celcius

After freezing customer withdrawals abruptly in June, DeFi platform Celsius was hit with a regulatory notice from the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation. As part of the document, the agency made it abruptly clear that Celcius and its CEO Alex Mashinsky had misled investors by making “false claims” about their offering. While Mr. Mashinsky and his legal team claim otherwise, it is worth noting that Celcius currently has unrealized losses of $454M (between May 2 and May 22, 2022, alone).

The Merge finally concludes

After years of continued delays and setbacks, Ethereum finally made its highly anticipated switch to a proof-of-stake (PoS) framework (at block 15,537,393). Following the Merge, the altcoin will now be 99.99 percent less energy intensive and exhibit a host of improved fundamentals (including scalability, higher transaction throughput, etc.)

Bitcoin touches new Hashrate ATH

On Sept. 12, Bitcoin’s native hash rate climbed to an all-time high of 281.79 million, suggesting increased confidence in the ecosystem. A high hash rate also implies greater network security, one of BTC’s key selling points for a long time.

TerraLuna founder Do Kwon faces jail time

A few months after the downfall of Terra — a project valued at $40B earlier this year in May — South Korean financial authorities have finally issued an arrest warrant for its founder Do Kwan. The development comes after court officials declared that Kwon had indulged in a series of punishable offenses, including a “violation of capital market regulations.” That said, detaining Kwon may be difficult since he has taken up residence in Singapore, a country known for its complex extradition laws.

MicroStrategy continues to accrue BTC

Despite being criticized heavily for its Bitcoin accrual efforts over the last few months, primarily due to falling prices, Microstrategy has once again added more BTC to its coffers. Its total crypto haul raised to 130,000 BTC, with each token purchased at an average price of $30,639.

Stablecoins could disrupt US’ financial stability, Fed suggests

The Vice Chair for Supervision of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Michael Barr, noted in a recent statement that stablecoins — such as USDT and USDC — stand to pose a massive threat to the integrity of the American economy. It is reported that Janet Yellen, the USA’s Treasury Secretary, may introduce a law banning these crypto assets within the country’s borders in the coming months.

Another major hack hits the crypto market

The crypto market continues to be ravaged by a series of exploits. The latest target was the global crypto market maker Wintermute. The platform was compromised to the tune of $160M, with none of the funds being retrieved yet. At press time, Wintermute provides liquidity to over 50 exchanges and trading platforms, calling into question the overall safety of the DeFi sector once again.