🔥 Crypto market is heating up!

Is it time for the bullrun?

GM, frens! Ambire here with our weekly newsletter. Today the market has surprised us, and there has been a lot of bullish movement in the crypto world.

We'll be talking about the recent $44k pump, a French bank launching an Ethereum-based stablecoin, Robinhood expanding its crypto trading services to EU, Polygon and DraftKings caught tied in a shady scheme and the news that Do Kwon might be sent to US to stand trial after all.

Let’s get down to it! If you prefer you can also listen to an audio summary below:

Crypto market is heating up!

BTC surged to over $44,000 this week, its highest level since April 2022. The rally saw Bitcoin pump 70% since October and 180 per cent since last year.

The market frenzy surrounding Bitcoin follows a trend of investors rushing into stocks and bonds, driven by expectations that interest rates will fall next year. This has also caused gold to hit a new ATH.

Investors hope that the toughest punishments from the government for the crypto industry have passed, further boosting confidence in BTC as the chief crypto asset. This is just weeks chief executive of FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, was convicted of fraud and Binance, the world's largest crypto exchange, paid $4.3bn in penalties for criminal charges related to money laundering and financial sanctions breaches.

Yet despite these high-profile cases, the US authorities did not shut down Binance. The crypto exchange continues to face a separate lawsuit from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for violating various securities laws.

BTC and ETH also rose 16% since last week, reaching its highest level since May last year. Crypto investors are hopeful that the SEC will approve an exchange-traded fund for BTC in the coming weeks, with a lot of Wall Street firms submitting their filings for this purpose.

ETFs have long viewed spot Bitcoin as a way to gain control of digital assets from scandal-ridden crypto groups and encourage mainstream businesses, such as BlackRock, to invest. The approval of a Bitcoin spot ETF would have a transformative impact on the crypto industry, to say the least.

French bank launches its Euro stablecoin on Ethereum

As the second biggest crypto network, Ethereum received some bullish attention as well. Societe Generale, a 159-year-old French banking group, announced the launch of EUR CoinVertible (EURCV), a stablecoin tied to the Euro and issued on the Ethereum blockchain.

The stablecoin is backed by cash deposits and cash equivalents denominated in EUR. One major distinction of EURCV is its backing by a major regulated European bank, making it the first Euro stablecoin to have this level of support. Crypto exchange Bitstamp has been selected as the official platform for trading EURCV, offering the EURCV/USDT and EURCV/EUR trading pairs.

Only whitelisted investors who have undergone KYC and AML procedures will be able to deposit and withdraw EURCV initially, though.

Robinhood expands its crypto trading services to Europe

A popular trading app Robinhood announced the launch of its crypto trading service in Europe, providing customers in the European Union access to more than 25 tokens. Robinhood already announced its stock trading app launch in UK (for the third time) a week before and now they’re solidifying their presence in Europe.

Accoring to Robinhood, EU's comprehensive regulatory regime for crypto assets via the Market in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA) makes it an ideal market for Robinhood's international expansion plans. The company stated that their mission is to democratize finance for everyone and that launching a custodial crypto product for customers in Europe is a significant step towards achieving that goal.

The newly launched crypto app boasts zero fees and offers customers a percentage of their trading volume back every month in BTC. The platform also allows users to view the spread and the rebates received by the company from sell and trade orders in the app.

This launch in Europe marks a comeback to the crypto trading scene for Robinhood, as they had discontinued their crypto services in the United States six months ago due to regulatory pressure and legal challenges faced by other crypto firms.

ProbleMATIC? - Polygon and DraftKings tied in a shady scheme

DraftKings, a major sports-betting company, has apparently received millions of dollars in crypto from Polygon under a special staking arrangement that was not disclosed to the public. This information was confirmed by blockchain data and interviews with former employees and validator operators familiar with Polygon's staking ecosystem.

The secret deal between Polygon and DraftKings allowed the latter to run one of its network validators at unusually favorable terms. While DraftKings was touted as an "equal" member of the validator community, it received preferential treatment and earned millions through a special staking relationship that excluded other validators from receiving rewards.

In 2022, Polygon announced that DraftKings would start running one of its network validators, marking the first time a publicly-traded firm had taken an active role in blockchain governance. However, what was not disclosed at the time was that Polygon had provided DraftKings with millions of dollars worth of crypto to incentivize their participation.

The financial setup between the two companies was revealed through on-chain data, which showed that DraftKings received a significant amount of MATIC tokens directly from Polygon at the start of their "strategic blockchain agreement" in October 2021. DraftKings' validator charged a 100% commission for its services, meaning that its delegators (node contributors) did not receive any rewards. Other validators on the Polygon network typically charge a 5%-10% commission.

The relationship between DraftKings and Polygon began to sour as time went on. Despite the initial good terms, DraftKings allowed its validator to fall into disrepair, underperforming in its core responsibility of verifying transactions on the platform. This led to the network eventually giving DraftKings a "final notice," resulting in the company being booted out for failing to meet its requirements.

This happened in October 2023, nearly two years after the initiation of their secretive agreement.

After that, the 60 million MATIC tokens that Polygon had previously delegated to DraftKings were reassigned to a different validator, one that charged zero commission fees. Still, it’s pretty shocking what kind of deals founders might be striking behind our backs at every passing moment.

Montenegro's Justice minister gives green light for Do Kwon's U.S. extradition

Montenegro's top justice official has reportedly expressed his plans to send the notorious crypto tycoon Do Kwon to the United States instead of South Korea, where he is also facing criminal charges. According to some sources, Justice Minister Andrej Milovic made this decision during a closed-door meeting with the U.S. ambassador to Montenegro in November.

Kwon, who has been detained in Montenegro since March, is at the center of an international tug of war between the two countries seeking his extradition. Both the U.S. and South Korea want to put Kwon on trial for fraud and securities-law violations related to the $40 billion crash of TerraUSD and Luna in May 2022. However, Kwon is a South Korean citizen, which has further complicated the extradition process.

Kwon's lawyer in Montenegro stated that he cannot confirm whether the justice minister has already made a decision regarding Kwon's extradition. However, he did not rule out the possibility of such a decision being made.

Kwon has repeatedly denied the fraud charges against him. He was based in Singapore at the time of the TerraUSD-Luna crash and went missing in September 2022, shortly before South Korean authorities obtained a warrant for his arrest. Then he fled to Serbia before being arrested by Montenegro police while trying to board a private jet with a fake Costa Rican passport.

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December token narratives to keep an eye out for by Prithvir:

That's all for now, frens.

We'll see you next week. And remember, the market conditions are temporary, but our commitment to building a better DeFi is here to stay. Thanks for joining us, and we look forward to seeing you back next week. Cheers!

Yours, The 🔥 Team

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