Blockchain This Week – Shapella Live, G7 to Prioritize CBDC, Exits and Exploits, Bitcoin Smashes $30K

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Shapella Goes Live

At mainnet block height 6209536, Ethereum’s Shapella upgrade, which implemented EIP 4895, went live. Now users and validators can withdraw their staked ether on the network, potentially impacting the ecosystem by unlocking previously inaccessible funds. The upgrade also introduced two types of withdrawals for the staked ETH – Partial and Full. 

Ether Price Tops $2,100, Withdrawals Pick Up Steam

Post the upgrade, ether climbed up to cross the $2K mark and rose to $2,126.32. Consequently, over $3 billion in ether is pending withdrawal from the PoS network. Of all the stakers, Kraken has initiated withdrawal requests for over 551,000 ether and is expected to “unstake ” all ether for its US clients. Binance will allow withdrawals from April 19.

G7 Prioritizes CBDCs

The Group of Seven (G7) advanced nations will prioritize how they can better help developing countries introduce their CBDCs.The G7 plans to toughen global crypto regulations and increase business transparency and consumer protection.

Bug Found and Blocked

Crypto trading firm Jump Crypto discovered and blocked a recent vulnerability affecting the Cosmos ecosystem and Ethermint. The bug could have potentially allowed an attacker to bypass smart contracts and led to transaction fee theft and denial of service to users. The Cronos team awarded Jump Crypto a $25,000 bounty.

Exploits Continue Unabated

SushiSwap Exploit

SushiSwap was exploited due to an approve related bug, leading to a loss of at least $3.3 million. However, the number of affected users is reportedly low and affected only those who interacted with SushiSwap in the four days before the hack.

SushiSwap Plans to Refund

SushiSwap managed to recover $186,000 worth of ether after intercepting a 100 ether transaction from SushiSwap user @0xsifu’s wallet to the hacker’s wallet. Meanwhile, the exchange has laid out plans to compensate the victims, which include transferring funds residing in a whitehat contract via a Merkle contract.

GDAC Loses $13M

South Korean crypto exchange GDAC suffered a security breach resulting in the theft of close to $13 million worth of digital assets from its hot wallet. It has since suspended deposits and withdrawals while authorities investigate the matter.  GDAC has provided no timeline for when they will resume.

Bitrue Loses $23M

Crypto exchange Bitrue confirmed a loss of $23 million in various cryptocurrencies due to a compromised hot wallet. It represented only 5% of Bitrue’s funds. Also, the exchange reported that they had been able to address the issue quickly and prevent further exploitation of funds.

BAYC Scam?

Bored Ape Yacht Club investor @franklinisbored claimed they lost about 2,000 ETH, valued at around $4 million, in a rug pull scam. But they also announced the sale of 27 Bored Ape NFTs for 1,439 ETH, causing the collection’s floor price to slide to its lowest level in five months.

Iearn Exploit

An early version of the DeFi protocol Yearn Finance called iearn suffered an exploit causing $11.6 million worth of damage. The exploiter received a mix of stablecoins, including DAI, USDC, BUSD, TUSD, and USDT.

Bitcoin Crosses $30K Mark

Following the release of the US Inflation data for March, bitcoin surged past the $30K mark this week. It reached $31,005.61, a feat not achieved since June 2022. At the time of writing, bitcoin was cruising at $31,005.61.

dYdX Exits Canada

dYdX has announced that its decentralized derivatives exchange will no longer be available to Canadian customers due to the country’s restrictive regulatory stance. Consequently, new users cannot join the platform, and trading support for existing customers ended this week. The exchange hopes that the regulatory environment in Canada will change in the future, allowing it to resume services in the country.

Paxos Shuts Shop in Canada

Similarly, crypto service provider Paxos has also decided to exit Canada due to regulatory concerns. It plans to stop supporting customers and disable Canadian accounts on May 9, 2023.

Mastercard Web3 Accelerator

Mastercard announced its plans to launch NFTs for Web3 musicians through the Mastercard Artist Accelerator program. The tokens are developed in coordination with Polygon and will be available to collect until the end of April.

Montenegro Partners with Ripple

The Central Bank of Montenegro (CBCG) has partnered with blockchain and crypto firm Ripple to develop a digital currency strategy. It is contemplating whether to launch a CBDC or national stablecoin,  though the latter seems to be more likely. 

France Seeks Alternatives

The French government is seeking to counter the dominance of international internet giants in the metaverse. It has focused on the privacy, health, and environmental risks of the metaverse. It aims to create digital sovereignty for Europe and propose an alternative to the virtual online worlds currently provided by international giants.

Bitcoin Futures

Argentina’s National Securities Commission (CNV) has approved launching bitcoin index based futures contracts. They will be traded and settled in Argentinian pesos and based on the bitcoin index of Matba Rofex, an Argentinian stock exchange.

Texas Senate Passes Bitcoin Miners’ Bill

The Texas Senate passed a bill that would cap bitcoin miners’ participation in demand response programs at 10% and abolish tax abatements for the industry. The House vote  is expected to be more contentious due to the industry’s opposition.

Binance to Delist Tron

The US arm of crypto exchange Binance is delisting two tokens, Tron and Spell, on April 18, as an outcome of its regular risk and regulatory review of the assets listed on its platform. Though Tron’s price dropped 6% following Binance.US’ announcement, Justin Sun, founder of the Tron network, expects only a minimal impact on Tron’s market

HashKey Launches HSK Tokens

HashKey Group has launched a new token called HashKey EcoPoints (HSK), which has a fixed total supply of one billion HSK. HSK is designed to incentivize contributors, users, and partners and will be repurchased and burned regularly to offset the dilutionary effect of reward distribution. No private or public sales of HSK took place, and no form of fundraising was carried out through HSK.

Web3 Shorts

The Bruce Lee Estate is collaborating with Shibuya, an NFT driven video platform, on plans to release an open edition Ethereum NFT of the late martial artist and actor.

Reddit launches Gen 3 NFT collection with over 100 artists and a focus on future realities.

Twitter has partnered with eToro to integrate crypto and stock trading in the social media platform.

After being inactive for 200 days, an Ethereum wallet related to the DAO Maker exploit has come alive, with the exploiter sending $600,000 worth of stablecoins through Tornado Cash.

Balancer’s OpCo is overhauling its brand strategy and has laid off two engineers and reduced its operating budget.

Web3 Investments

Derivatives exchange Bitget unveiled its $100 million venture fund that will invest in web3 startups and focus on Asian markets.

Gaming hardware company Razer is investing in Web3 with its latest zVentures Web3 Incubator fund. Razer plans to use its expertise to grow early stage startups focused on blockchain based gaming.

In a Series A round, ZK layer 2 blockchain CryptoGPT raised $10 million from DWF Labs at a $250 million token valuation. Yet, DWF Labs has invested only $420,000 so far.

Web3 bridge protocol RSS3 secured $10 million from DWF Labs via a token sale.

Sei Labs raised $30 million across two funding rounds participated by the likes of Jump Crypto and Distributed Global. The funding, which brought its post money valuation to $800 million, will be deployed toward its growth in the Asia Pacific region.Bankruptcy claims trading platform Xclaim raised $7 million in a Series A funding round.

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