Crypto News Highlights (1st April to 5th April 2024)

Here are the top stories that happened in crypto this week.

Crypto News Highlights (1st April to 5th April 2024)
Here are the top stories that happened in crypto this week.
  • Former OneCoin Compliance Chief Sentenced to 4 Years in $4B Ponzi Scheme
  • March Madness: Spot Bitcoin ETFs Hit $111 Billion in Trading Volume
  • Surge in New Traders Flocking to Meme Coins Amid Bull Market Resurgence
  • Ripple Unveils New US Dollar-Pegged Stablecoin
  • Bitcoin Cash Halving Marks Milestone Ahead of May Upgrade

Former OneCoin Compliance Chief Sentenced to 4 Years in $4B Ponzi Scheme

The former head of legal and compliance at OneCoin has been sentenced to four years in prison for her involvement in the $4 billion crypto Ponzi scheme. Irina Dilkinska, a Bulgarian national, neglected her duties to ensure OneCoin's compliance with legal and regulatory standards.

Instead, she actively facilitated the scheme's day-to-day operations. Following its collapse in 2016, Dilkinska collaborated with American lawyer Mark Scott to launder $400 million to the Cayman Islands. Scott, a former partner at Locke Lord, received a 10-year prison sentence earlier this year for his role in the scheme.

Dilkinska, 42, was extradited to the U.S. in March 2023 and faced charges of wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. She pleaded guilty to both charges in November 2023. Additionally, New York District Court Judge Edgardo Ramos ordered Dilkinska to forfeit $111.4 million. She joins a list of OneCoin executives imprisoned for their involvement in the scam, which operated from 2014 in Bulgaria until early 2017.

The scheme's co-founders, Ruja Ignatova and Karl Greenwood, promoted the fictitious cryptocurrency through a multi-level marketing scheme, ultimately defrauding an estimated 3.5 million victims. Greenwood received a 20-year prison sentence in September 2023 and was ordered to forfeit $300 million.

Ignatova, known as the "Cryptoqueen," remains at large seven years after disappearing in Athens in 2017. She was added to the FBI's Most Wanted List in 2022, with a $250,000 reward for information leading to her arrest.

Speculation about her whereabouts includes the possibility of plastic surgery to alter her appearance or travel on a German passport in the Middle East or Eastern Europe. There are also rumors of her death, with a Bulgarian media organization reporting in 2023 that she was murdered and dismembered on a yacht in the Ionian Sea in 2018 at the behest of a Bulgarian drug lord nicknamed "Taki."

March Madness: Spot Bitcoin ETFs Hit $111 Billion in Trading Volume

Insights provided by Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas reveal a remarkable surge in the trading volume of spot Bitcoin ETFs, hitting an impressive $111 billion in March, a significant leap from the $42.2 billion recorded the previous month.

Leading the charge is BlackRock’s Bitcoin ETF, IBIT, which solidified its dominance with the highest trading volume, closely followed by Grayscale’s GBTC and Fidelity’s FBTC. Balchunas aptly likens IBIT’s ascendance to the "GLD of Bitcoin," as illustrated in a chart by fellow analyst James Seyffart.

Despite the overall uptrend in trading volumes, April 1st saw net outflows of $86 million across cumulative spot Bitcoin ETFs, according to Farside Investors.

While BlackRock’s IBIT ETF recorded notable inflows of $165.9 million, Grayscale experienced significant outflows totaling $302.6 million. Fidelity’s FBTC emerged as a strong contender, securing the second-highest inflows of $44 million.

By the end of last month, BlackRock and Fidelity's spot Bitcoin ETFs had amassed approximately $18 billion and $10 billion in assets under management (AUM), establishing themselves as frontrunners in terms of inflows. In contrast, Grayscale’s GBTC faced substantial outflows, exceeding $15 billion in total outflows, alongside a decline in AUM to $22 million.

The surge in trading volumes of spot Bitcoin ETFs in March has reshaped the BTC markets, contributing to new all-time highs. With the Bitcoin supply halving less than 20 days away, market participants anticipate transformative cycles, buoyed by ETF success.

Surge in New Traders Flocking to Meme Coins Amid Bull Market Resurgence

While meme coins endured a rough patch during last year's market downturn, they have since regained momentum, attracting a record number of investors.

Recent data from IntoTheBlock reveals that the number of addresses holding meme coins for less than thirty days reached an all-time high last month. This surge indicates a significant influx of new traders entering the market and investing in meme coins.

CoinGecko's latest report further corroborates this trend, highlighting meme coins as the most profitable crypto narrative in Q1 2024. With an average return of 1,312.6% across leading tokens, meme coins have garnered substantial attention from investors.

In addition, three new tokens - Brett (BRETT), BOOK OF MEME (BOME), and Cats in a Dogs World (MEW) - made their debut around March, contributing to the sector's growth. BRETT notably stood out with an impressive 7,727.6% return by the end of Q1, followed closely by dogwifhat (WIF) with a quarter-to-date return exceeding 2,721%, driven by viral popularity amid the ongoing meme coin frenzy.

Remarkably, meme coins outperformed other cryptocurrency narratives, such as real-world assets (RWA) and Layer 2, by 4.6 and 33.3 times, respectively, in terms of profitability during Q1.

Ripple Unveils New US Dollar-Pegged Stablecoin

In a recent press release dated April 4, Ripple announced the launch of a stablecoin pegged to the US Dollar. As per the disclosure, these reserve assets would undergo thorough audits by a third-party accounting firm, with monthly attestations slated for public scrutiny.

Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple’s CEO, voiced confidence in this strategic move, affirming, “This is a natural step for Ripple to continue bridging the gap between traditional finance and crypto.”

Garlinghouse further underscored the increasing success of institutions collaborating with compliant, crypto-native entities, citing Ripple’s proven track record and resilience across diverse market cycles.

He elaborated on the broader implications of this stablecoin launch for the crypto ecosystem, noting its initial availability on the XRP Ledger (XRPL) and Ethereum (ETH) blockchains, with future plans for expansion to additional networks and decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols.

With a focus on blockchain solutions tailored for financial institutions and enterprises, Ripple intends to integrate both XRP and its stablecoin into its payment system, catering to the escalating demand for such transactions in emerging markets.

The stablecoin will be issued on both the XRP Ledger and Ethereum networks, leveraging XRPL native functionality and ERC20 token standards. This interoperability enables developers on both networks to seamlessly integrate the stablecoin, facilitating secure cross-chain transactions for users.

Bitcoin Cash Halving Marks Milestone Ahead of May Upgrade

The Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network recently underwent its highly anticipated reward-halving event, as indicated by the latest block data. This development means that BCH miners now receive half the rewards they previously earned before reaching block 840,000.

In anticipation of the BCH halving, there was a noticeable surge in the network's overall hashrate. This peaked at over 8 exahash per second (EH/s) on April 1, eventually stabilizing at around 3.78 EH/s by April 3, just three days later.

Before this surge in hashrate, which began in late February, BCH's total hashrate had fluctuated between 1.9 and 2.4 EH/s. With the recent increase in hashpower and the halving event, BCH is now gearing up for a significant mid-May upgrade, introducing an adaptive block size limit.

This algorithmic adjustment aims to dynamically regulate Bitcoin Cash's block size based on the average size of recent blocks. This mechanism will help mitigate spam attacks and reduce costs. This enhancement is expected to have a minimal impact on the network's strategic incentives and gameplay. It transitions from manual adjustments to automated, real-time modifications, enhancing responsiveness to changes in block size requirements.

Over the past year, BCH has seen a remarkable surge of over 357%, with a notable 42% increase in the past fortnight alone. Furthermore, Coinbase Derivatives has announced plans to introduce futures based on BCH, along with a selection of other crypto assets.

The milestone Bitcoin Cash halving event at block 840,000 was discovered by the mining pool Viabtc. This block contained 11,905 transactions and carried a block reward of 3.125 BCH.

Disclaimer:  The information provided in this crypto news round-up is for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial or investment advice. Obiex will not be held liable for your investment decisions.