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Top 6 Crypto Stories This Week: From ETF Apathy to 'Enjoyable' Singapore Prison

ICYMI here are Blockhead's favourite crypto stories this week, including a bankruptcy, arbitrage, repayments, ETH ETFs, metaverse lessons, and a great night's sleep in SG prison

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The return of the what? That's right, This Week in Crypto is back to bring you all the Web3 wonders you missed this week. It's been a few weeks since the SEC's approval of Bitcoin ETFs (10 trading days due to holidays) but the market is still on the comedown, literally.

Bitcoin has fallen around 3.50% over the past five days whilst Ethereum has slipped almost 10%. Sell the news indeed.

Risk appetite on the Fear & Greed Index currently sits at neutral, reflecting a gradual decline over the month. The Fear & Greed 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.

But as the market undergoes an overdue correction, what other conversations have dominated the crypto industry this week? Here are our favourite stories this week, in no particular order.

Do Kwon's Terraform Labs Files for Bankruptcy

On 22 January 2024, Terraform Labs revealed it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware. The firm said the move was “a strategic step that will enable it to continue its operations and support litigation pending in Singapore and U.S. litigation involving the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

Founded by Do Kwon, the Singapore-registered firm is thought to be responsible for the US$40 billion cryptocurrency crash that ensued after UST de-pegged and LUNA became worthless.

Do Kwon’s Terraform Labs Files For Bankruptcy
LUNA founder Do Kwon could be extradited to the US as soon as March

Hong Kong Bitcoin ETFs Coming Soon, Arthur Hayes Highlights Arbitrage Opportunity

According to OSL's executive director and head of regulatory affairs Gary Tiu, Hong Kong could see its first crypto ETFs within a few months.

Tiu told local media that five to ten companies are studying such ETFs, with five progressing further than others. He added that there is pressure on the fund creators to maintain low competitive fees for these products.

“These ETFs offer several crucial benefits, including promoting orderly markets for underlying digital assets, establishing a model for local investor protection, and accelerating integration between regulated digital asset platforms and traditional financial institutions,” Tiu said to The Block. There are currently only two licensed exchanges in Hong Kong: OSL and HashKey. The latter also believes ten companies are exploring launching crypto ETFs.

HashKey also announced this week that it is partnering with FTSE Russell to launch custom indices to track digital assets. The three new indices leverage HashKey's Web3 expertise and FTSE Rusell's index management.

Hong Kong Bitcoin ETFs Coming Soon, Arthur Hayes Highlights Arbitrage Opportunity
At least 10 funds are exploring Bitcoin ETFs in Hong Kong but could its regulatory framework provide an opportunity for arbitrageurs? Arthur Hayes thinks so.

Mt. Gox Email Confirming BTC Addresses Sparks Hope of Repayment

Custodians/victims of Mt. Gox have reportedly been receiving an email confirming their Bitcoin addresses to make repayments.

“The rehabilitation trustee shared your details with the cryptocurrency exchange or the custodian," reads the email sent to Mt. Gox users. "In the future, it is anticipated that the Exchange will accept your subscription of agency receipt indicated on the System to receive repayment in BTC/BCH as your agent."

Source: u/erlichisapig on r/mtgoxinsolvency on Reddit
Source: u/erlichisapig on r/mtgoxinsolvency on Reddit

Some Reddit users even claimed to have received payment. "I just got paid," posted one commenter with an enclosed screenshot. "I'm a three-digit creditor living in Japan."

Mt. Gox Email Confirming BTC Addresses Sparks Hope of Repayment
Mt. Gox victims/custodians/creditors received an email confirming their Bitcoin addresses to make repayment

SEC Delays Ethereum ETF Decision But Who Cares?

In a filing on Wednesday, the SEC revealed it is delaying its decision timeline on BlackRock's proposal for an Ethereum ETF from 25 January to 10 March.

"The Commission finds it appropriate to designate a longer period within which to take action on the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider the proposed rule change and the issues raised therein," according to the filing.

However, it all feels like deja vu, and ultimately, will the outcome be any different? Unlikely. Matt Kunke, research analyst at GSR, gives a 75% likelihood that ETH ETFs will be approved in May, whilst Bloomberg Intelligence ETF analyst James Seyffart puts it at around 60-65%.

In any case, Ethereum ETF approvals are only a matter of time, and therefore probably not deserved of the same hype Bitcoin ETFs experienced.

SEC Delays Ethereum ETF Decision But Who Cares?
The SEC is playing hardball (again) by delaying its decision timeline on BlackRock’s proposal for an Ethereum ETF, but doesn’t this all sound a bit too familiar?

3AC Founder Su Zhu Had a 'Really Enjoyable Experience' in Singapore Prison

3AC co-founder, Su Zhu, found a silver lining to his time in the Singapore slammer. In a stream with co-founder Kyle Davies and pseudonymous OX social media manager 'Lukas', Zhu waxed poetic about his "best sleep ever," push-ups, and a newfound appreciation for floor bedding, making one wonder if he mistook his cell for a zen monastery.

“Obviously, no one wants to go to prison, but I think that it was a really enjoyable experience overall,” said Zhu. “All the things they allow you to do still in prison are the things that, like in the ancient days, would still be considered entertainment, right?”

"It’s a really magical feeling; you feel a kinship with your ancestors; this is how I was supposed to live," he mused, sparking both bewilderment and a hint of envy among his listeners.

3AC Founder Su Zhu Had a ‘Really Enjoyable Experience’ in Singapore Prison
3AC founder Su Zhu has turned his four-month jail time into what seems like a chapter from a wellness retreat brochure.

Thought the Metaverse is Dead? Animoca Brands Keeps Forming New Partnerships

While Bitcoin ETFs are stealing the crypto limelight, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the Metaverse craze is no more. The Web3 buzzword of 2021 and 2022, some thought the alternate digital reality sector largely overpromised and underdelivered.

However, one staunch believer in the Metaverse that continues to quietly grow and serves as a bolster for the industry, is Animoca Brands. Recent deals and partnerships suggest Animoca is not slowing down any time soon.

HashKey, iCandy, Honda, and even World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen have signed new deals with the Web3 gaming giant.

Yat Siu, co-founder and executive chairman of Animoca Brands, said his long-term strategy bypasses money as the immediate goal.

"It almost doesn't matter how you invested as long as you invested. If you took a hundred bets, you were fine," Siu said in a recent interview.

"For some of us, money is our end," he explained. "That's maybe a small community, and that was the community that occupied most of crypto. But the majority of us look at money as a means to an end."

Thought the Metaverse Was Dead? Animoca Brands Keeps Forming New Partnerships
Is the metaverse set for a return as Animoca Brands seals new collaborations with HashKey, iCandy, Honda, and even World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen?


CertiK: White Hat or Black Sheep?

CertiK: White Hat or Black Sheep?

The security firm faces accusations of extortion after exploiting a vulnerability in Kraken, a major cryptocurrency exchange. CertiK allegedly demanded a ransom for the return of stolen funds instead of following responsible disclosure procedures.