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This Week in Crypto: ETH Extends Rally; Zipmex Seeks Bankruptcy Protection

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Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies enjoyed a stellar week, with the world’s largest cryptocurrency touching US$24,000 before paring gains.

On Wednesday, Federal Reserve officials raised interest rates by 75 basis points for the second straight month, with chairman Jerome Powell rejecting speculation that the US economy is in recession while indicating that the Fed will slow the pace of increases at some point. The mini bull run in the crypto markets appears to be spurred by the sentiment that the Feds will be able slow inflation without the economy falling into recession due to the strong labour market.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin (BTC) is trading at US$23,911.93 (+3.27%) while Ethereum (ETH) is trading at US$1,725.48 (+4.98%). Major altcoins such as Solana (SOL), Avalanche (AVAX), and Polkadot (DOT) have also been trading in green over the past 24 hours.

ETH continues to be the standout performer in the crypto markets, surging by more than 10% in the past week. The rally is likely due to the upcoming Ethereum merge, which has a soft launch date of September 19 2022.

Zipmex files for bankruptcy protection in Singapore

Cryptocurrency exchange Zipmex said that it had filed for bankruptcy protection in Singapore, amid the threat of legal action from its creditors.

“This helps protect Zipmex against third-party actions, claims and proceedings while it is active, and enables the team to focus all our efforts on resolving the liquidity situation, without having to worry about defending potential claims or adverse actions while we are doing so,” Zipmex said.

The Southeast Asia-focused exchange resumed withdrawals last week on Thursday (21 July), a day after suspending them after it was revealed that the exchange was working to address its exposure of US$53 million to crypto lenders Babel Finance and Celsius.

On Sunday, Zipmex announced that it is considering a possible investment offer after talks with interested parties and due diligence should commence.

Vauld Creditors Take “Hostile Action”

According to an affidavit obtained by The Block, creditors of troubled Singapore crypto lender Vauld, which abruptly halted client withdrawals earlier this month, have taken “hostile” action against the firm.

Vauld owes a total of US$402 million to its creditors, with 90% coming from individual retail investors’ deposits.

Read more: Trouble Brewing at Singapore Crypto Lending Startup Vauld

Coinbase Shares Plummet After SEC Probe

Shares of US-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase closed down more than 21% on Tuesday after reports that it’s facing an SEC probe into whether the platform is offering unregistered securities.

In its daily trading update email on Wednesday, the exchange also revealed that three funds of Cathie Wood’s Ark Investment Management sold a total of more than 1.4 million shares of Coinbase Global (COIN).

COIN has fallen from a high of over US$400 on its first day of trading in 2021 to as low as US$40.30 at one point as user transactions declined amid the bear market. COIN was trading at US$62.50 (+0.40%) during after-hours trading.

Is DeFi Just CeFi if it’s Regulated?

Decentralized Finance (DeFi) represents a fundamental shift in how financial services can be carried out, because the ecosystem relies on internet-based, open source protocols on public blockchains rather than traditional brick and mortar intermediaries like banks.

However, questions remain over the long-term viability of DeFi, and if “full” decentralization can actually be achieved especially in the face of looming regulation. Regulators themselves might also face significant hurdles, as regulatory standards designed for centralized intermediaries cannot be easily applied to a decentralized environment.

At the recent TechLaw.Fest 2022, panelists discussed their views on the emergence of DeFi and how regulation should be developed and effectively implemented to keep pace with this dynamic industry.

Read on.

Trading Volume

According to data from CoinMarketCap, The global crypto market cap stands at US$1.10 trillion, a 2.95% increase since yesterday. The total crypto market volume over the last 24 hours is US$104.14 billion, a 17.41% increase.

Fear & Greed Index

Risk appetites are still sapped – the Crypto Fear and Greed Index currently stands at 39, indicating fear. The index uses 5-6 measurements to assess the current sentiment of the market and then rates that level of emotion on a scale of 1-100 – 1 is extreme fear and 100 is extreme greed.

The index has improved significantly from last month, during which it fell to as low as 6 (extreme fear) in the wake of the Terra implosion.