Blockchain This Week – Back-to-Back zkEVMs Launches, Bittrex Exit, CFTC and Binance, MicroStrategy and Ark Buying Spree

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Bittrex Exits US

Crypto exchange Bittrex is leaving the US due to regulatory issues, according to CEO Richie Lai. He blamed the “unclear and enforced” regulatory requirements for making it unviable for the firm to continue operating. At the same time, the market share of USD support on Bittrex had fallen to less than 1% from 23% in 2018. The daily bitcoin trading volume has also dwindled to a measly $4.5 million over 24 hours, all of which could have contributed to the decision.

CFTC Sues Binance

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) lodged a complaint against crypto exchange Binance and its CEO CZ in a Chicago federal court. CFTC alleges that Binance violated federal laws by not registering the exchange in the US.

Three zkEVMs in One Week

Matter Labs

Matter Labs has opened its zkSync Era, a zero knowledge rollup scaling system that is compatible with Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) for general users. It is said to have over 200 projects ready to be deployed on the ZK rollup, with native Account Abstraction to provide a more user friendly experience.

Polygon Labs

Polygon has released its highly anticipated zero knowledge based rollup network, Polygon zkEVM. It provides a scalability solution for Ethereum apps with ZK rollups performing off chain computations on a secondary layer. As a result, it enables faster and cheaper transactions while still maintaining Ethereum’s security. It has attracted more than 50 projects from the crypto, web3, and gaming spaces.


Meanwhile, ConsenSys has released a public testnet of its zkEVM called “Linea.” Linea, which natively integrates MetaMask wallet and Truffle, has already processed over 350,000 transactions on its private testnet. It aims to power a new generation of dApps built on Ethereum, using zero knowledge technology to increase transaction speed and reduce fees.

MicroStrategy Buys Bitcoin, Pays Back Silvergate

MicroStrategy has added $150 million worth of bitcoin to its treasury, bringing its total holdings of the cryptocurrency to over $4 billion. The company also announced that it has fully paid off a $205 million loan from Silvergate Bank, which it had taken out last year, and sold around $340 million in shares to pay off the loan.

Ark Continues Investing in Coinbase and Block

Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest bought tens of thousands of shares in Coinbase and Block this week, showing its unwavering conviction in the two companies despite negative headlines. Ark purchased more than 32,000 shares in Coinbase for its Ark Innovation ETF and over 5,000 for its Next Generation Internet ETF, while its Fintech Innovation fund bought 18,555 shares in Block.

UK Cancels NFT Plans

The UK Treasury has canceled its plans to launch NFTs that were part of a broader effort to make the UK a more attractive hub for crypto innovation, according to Treasury minister Andrew Griffith. The NFT launch was initially proposed by current prime minister Rishi Sunak when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer and was announced in the spring of 2022 by the UK’s Royal Mint.

Disney Nixes Metaverse Team

The Walt Disney Company has reportedly laid off its metaverse team as part of the current round of layoffs to reduce headcount by about 7,000 people. The move comes after the media conglomerate hired Mike White to lead its metaverse efforts in February 2022.

SBF Accused of Bribing, Pleads Not Guilty

FTX founder Sam Bankman Fried pleaded not guilty to new federal charges alleging that he bribed a Chinese government official and violated campaign finance laws. According to the 13 charges filed against him, SBF and others allegedly offered around $40 million in crypto as a bribe to the Chinese government official to unfreeze Alameda Research accounts.

Blocknox Gets Regulatory Nod

Blocknox, part of Boerse Stuttgart’s digital unit, has received the final license from BaFin, Germany’s financial regulator, as a crypto custodian. Consequently, it can provide services for trading and custody of crypto for institutional investors in Germany.

UNICEF Dabbles in DAO

UNICEF is testing a prototype of a DAO on Polygon’s Layer 2 solution. It is exploring ways to enable stakeholders of a digital public good (DPG) to communicate about new features for the project. The DAO aims to fund any new features that the community votes on and is a part of UNICEF’s broader crypto initiative.

Kraken Enters Formula 1

Kraken has partnered with Williams Racing to become the team’s first ever official crypto and web3 partner. Kraken plans to give selected Kraken NFT holders a chance to see their digital collectibles displayed on the rear wing of the Williams Racing car, which will also feature Kraken branding for the remainder of the 2023 FIA Formula One World Championship season.

Hacker’s Remorse

In a surprise move, the attacker responsible for the $200 million exploit of Euler Finance returned more funds to the protocol and apologized in a blockchain message, stating that they “f**d up” and didn’t mean to mess with others’ money, jobs, and lives. The attacker has now returned over $120 million to the protocol, intending to return the rest of the funds as soon as possible.

Safemoon Exploit

Attackers exploited a faulty feature on the smart contracts of Safemoon and drained its token liquidity pool of nearly $9 million worth of tokens. Safemoon developers confirmed the attack and were taking action to resolve the issue. Meanwhile, some developers pointed to a faulty burn feature as a key reason behind the exploit.

Web3 Shorts

The Shapella network upgrade will be activated on the Ethereum mainnet on April 12 at network epoch 194,048, according to the Ethereum Foundation.

Gucci and BAYC NFT creator Yuga Labs have teamed up for an as yet undefined project, perhaps related to the Bored Ape metaverse RPG Otherside.

FTX’s assets in Sequoia Capital Fund have been sold to Al Nawwar Investments RSC Limited for $45m after a Delaware bankruptcy judge approved the sale.

Bankrupt crypto lender BlockFi has authorized the disbursement of $103,471 in reimbursements to its customers in California through its servicer.

Vauld, the Asian crypto lender, has been granted another extension of its legal protection from creditors by the Singapore High Court until April 28 as it continues to work on its restructuring plans.

Justin Sun, founder of Tron blockchain, announced on Friday that his term as Grenada’s Ambassador to the WTO is ending after initially claiming he still remained a diplomat earlier in the day.

Web3 Investments

DeFi derivatives protocol Cega raised $5 million in a seed extension round realized via a SAFE plus token side letter. Dragonfly Capital led this round.

Restaking protocol EigenLayer developer EigenLabs secured $50 million in a Series A funding round led by Blockchain Capital.

Web3 social platform So-Col has raised $4.5 million in two token rounds. The first one, where Sol-Col raised $3 million, was led by Blockchain Capital, while the recent $1.5 million round was solely backed by DWF Labs.

Decentralized trading infra protocol Orderly Network has secured an undisclosed amount in a SAFT round from CoinDCX Ventures.

Metaverse construction firm LandVault has extended its Series B funding by raising $3 million from investors, including The Sandbox, the Gemini Frontier Fund, HodlCo, and Kingsway Capital.

A $7 million seed round led by Paradigm brought crypto infra startup Conduit out from stealth.

A DAO, Hydra Ventures raised $10 million from investors such as 1kx and ConsenSys and plans to back investment DAOs with the money.Econia Labs raised $6.5 million in a seed round led by Dragonfly and plans to deploy the funds to expand its team, support hackathons, grant programs, and onboard developers.

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