Web3 on Fire: Tether just surpassed Visa & Mastercard!
Bullish signals amid prolonged bear market
It's us again with the weekly Web3 on Fire newsletter. Today we'll be talking about: Tether apparently beating Visa's volume, bullish signals coming from BTC fear & greed index, the "FTX drainer" getting advice through the blockchain, DOJ charging a never-heard-of before exchange with money laundering and a research that shows that the amount of active crypto devs grew despite the bear market.
Let's get into more detail:
Tether's volume beat Visa & Mastercard
Tether put out a tweet last week, saying that its USDT stablecoin had processed nearly $18.2 trillion in transactions in 2022, a feat that rivals the collective processing power of Visa and Mastercard. This is a remarkable achievement, especially considering that the stablecoin sector is still relatively young and Visa has existed for nearly 70 years.
2022 Settlement Volume https://t.co/k87FrknKr4
— Tether (@Tether_to)
Jan 14, 2023
Stablecoins had a difficult 2022, Tether's MC declined from a peak of $83.13 billion to as low as $65.31 billion, while USDC’s market cap grew to $56 billion before declining. But Tether still looks to be the reigning champion, despite the challengers.
And despite the market conditions, Tether has managed to thrive, its rapid growth has seen it become a key player in the global payments market. This success is particularly evident in countries where local fiat currencies have been weakened by economic and political turmoil. For these countries, adopting stablecoins like Tether appears to be a viable solution for sending and receiving funds safely, quickly and cost-effectively.
So, what does this mean for the world of finance? It means that cryptocurrencies are now an integral part of our financial system and that we can no longer afford to ignore it. As more people around the world become aware of stablecoins, they will begin to understand their potential and start using them as an alternative to traditional payment methods.
BTC fear and greed index rose to neutral: bullish signals amid prolonged bear market
According to the Fear and Greed Index which tracks multiple indicators, Bitcoin investor sentiment is rising from its prolonged bearish sentiment, with the index reading of 52 being in “Neutral” territory for the first time since April 5th 2022.
This is highly encouraging news, as it may potentially signal a new wave of investor optimism and growth in the Bitcoin market. The index taking into account multiple factors including price volatility, social media comments, surveys, and others to display the momentary investor sentiment towards Bitcoin is a good indication that confidence in the market is on the rise.
It remains to be seen whether this newfound optimism can sustain itself as we enter 2023 with fresh developments in global finance, but it looks like there could be an interesting year ahead for crypto investors and enthusiasts alike.
Bitcoin Fear and Greed Index is 51 — Neutral
Current price: $21,166 https://t.co/MqHmP6Y9oT
— Bitcoin Fear and Greed Index (@BitcoinFear)
Jan 17, 2023
"FTX account drainer" receives tips on how to launder stolen crypto
Twitter users have noticed a new type of marketing being born: one that caters to criminal elements. The FTX Account Drainer business has brought the trend into focus, with people trying to send cryptic messages to hacker's account through the blockchain, essentially advertising their services in order to help them launder the stolen funds.
The messages usually recommend using more obscure crypto mixing services that are not well known to the public. Mixers work by shuffling coins between multiple parties, making it difficult to trace the digital assets back to their original owners. While some crypto exchanges have implemented basic AML and KYC measures, many businesses still lack the infrastructure (possibly on purpose) to detect and prevent any stolen funds from entering the ecosystem.
People are sending the FTX exploiter trace amounts of ETH along with a message on how to better launder the funds. Presumably they intend to get in touch with the exploiter and negotiate a consulting fee. They also registered a special ENS
Web3 equivalent to the cold call https://t.co/u4ofUPwVA5 https://t.co/A9xfjeRdJC
— Conor (@jconorgrogan)
Jan 16, 2023
Not sure if the hacker is going to take up on the offer, but it's funny to imagine that people who steal millions of dollars worth of crypto still get plagued by the ever-persistent "marketing proposals".
DOJ charges founder of never-heard-of crypto CEX with money laundering
In a recent development, the United States Department of Justice has brought charges against Anatoly Legkodymov – a senior executive at Bitzlato, an obscure Hong Kong-based CEX. Bitzlato is alleged to have been knowingly facilitating the laundering of approximately $700 million worth of digital assets. The Department believes that Bitzlato worked in conjunction with Hydra network, which was taken down by both U.S. and German authorities in 2022.
Bitzlato is believed to have advertised itself as a no-questions-asked cryptocurrency exchange and was reportedly able to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in deposits as a result. US Attorney Breon Peace said in an official statement that the company “sold itself to criminals” and will now face the consequences of its actions.
There's one problem though - no one ever heard of Bitzlato before. The exchange is not listed anywhere, and its known on-chain history is extremely limited. This suggests that the platform was either a well-hidden criminal enterprise that was unknown to most of the crypto industry until now or simply an amateurish attempt at money laundering. Naturally, the news spawned a plethora of memes and humorous comments from crypto Twitter, with many questioning why such an ostensible "$1Bn exchange" had gone undetected for so long.
DOJ caught a big one today, excellent work https://t.co/JtijSbk9MA
— db (@tier10k)
Jan 18, 2023
A few hours before that, crypto prices dipped when the DOJ announced that they were about to hold a significant press conference. Many of the investors feared that the news would be related to a total crackdown on crypto or a blanket ban on certain cryptocurrencies. Fortunately for the industry, the news turned out to be a nothing-burger.
We just got pranked by the DoJ lmao
— Ivo (@Ivshti)
Jan 18, 2023
Either way, the Department of Justice has made it clear that it will not tolerate such activity and will take appropriate action to prosecute and punish those who engage in what it deems to be criminal conduct.
Research corner: Crypto developer activity rises significantly despite the market
Metrics for active crypto devs grew 5% YoY despite the market, according to a study from venture firm Electric Capital. The study revealed an increase of 3x in the number of Bitcoin active developers, as well as 5x more Ethereum active developers. Additionally, there was a 471,000 monthly code commits to open-source crypto.
In addition to the larger numbers of active developers for Bitcoin and Ethereum, the study showed significant growth in other networks like Solana (1,444), Polkadot (977), Cosmos (873), Tezos (365) and NEAR (359). This indicates that developers are still actively interested in blockchain networks, despite the bearish market.
1/ Time for the 4th annual @ElectricCapital Developer Report!
This year we are also proud to launch https://t.co/7Z8o63my4T -- showcasing the data behind the report.
We analyzed 250m code commits and 300+ people contributed to this year's report.
Let's dig in👇
— maria ⚡️ (@MariaShen)
Jan 17, 2023
It's also worth noting that this growth in active crypto-developers is likely fueled by non-speculative projects such as DeFi, stablecoins and some NFTs. These types of projects provide real value to users and are, thus, more attractive to active developers than pure speculative projects.
Overall, the report from Electric Capital provides further evidence that development in the crypto space is alive and well despite bearish market conditions. This indicates that the sector is maturing and will be able to sustain itself for the long term. With continued growth of both active developers and code commits, the crypto space is well-positioned to continue advancing over the years.
This also speaks to the overall potential of blockchain technology as a whole and its ability to revolutionize industries and upend traditional models. As more projects come online, we can expect greater development in existing networks as well as new projects that could eventually drive the industry forward.
The fun page: our weekly meme collection
“Can you keep a secret?”
The blockchain: https://t.co/D39UOfw7OQ
— Alan Carroll (@alancarroII)
Jan 15, 2023
Gm, crypto twitter’s fingers are strong AF! https://t.co/rjscL6lTUg
— hashflow (@hashflow)
Jan 16, 2023
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
Brought to you by Ambire: The Web3 Wallet That Speaks Human