Hold onto your hats, this week was another huge one for crypto enthusiasts. Read up on everything that went down over the last seven days in this edition of The Chainsaw Weekly Wrap.
This week in Web3
We kicked things off with a continuation of Sam Bankman-Fried’s “apology tour” where — against the advice of every lawyer on planet — he takes public interviews to try and reframe the stunning implosion of FTX as a series of genuine mistakes or as the failed crypto founder prefers to call them: “fuck ups”.
Even though Bankman-Fried remains staunchly ‘anti-lawyer’ – having told his former attorney Michael Flumenbaum to “go fuck himself” after being advised to stop talking — SBF still went right on ahead and hired a new attorney to defend him in upcoming proceedings.
This is probably a smart move from the former crypto poster child, especially considering that he’s facing a dual probe from the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
And who is this new defence attorney you ask? Well, it’s none other than Mark Cohen, the guy hired to defend Jeffrey Epstein’s old friend Ghislaine Maxwell in her sex trafficking trial. Despite his endless media appearances it seems unlikely that SBF will face the questions of the US House Committee on Financial Services on December 13, despite congresswoman Maxine Waters trying her best to get SBF to testify. There’s also the insanity that SBF is literally dictating the terms of how he responds to the US Congress.
Adding to the FTX-related gossip pile, the ex-CEO of Alameda Research and ex-girlfriend of Sam Bankman-Fried, Caroline Ellison was spotted ordering a caffeinated beverage in a coffee house in Manhattan, despite the broader crypto community believing that she was under police supervision in Hong Kong. Not so, apparently.
Moving from one bombshell to the next, Australian crypto exchange SwyftX announced it would be laying off 90 employees, which makes up about 40% of its workforce. Months earlier SwyftX laid off 21% of its staff citing the market downturn as the reason behind the sweeping layoffs.
SwyftX wasn’t the only major crypto company to drop some staff, with US-based crypto exchange Kraken fired more than 1100 employees which equates to roughly 30% of its total workforce. The Singapore-based ByBit also laid off 30% of its workforce, marking the second round of layoffs for the exchange this year.
The United Kingdom prepared to drop some new regulation on the crypto industry with a number of amendments to the Financial Services and Markets Bill, looking to crack down on how crypto companies advertise their products in the UK. It also laid out some more extensive provisions for how to ‘wind down’ failed crypto businesses — a fairly apt inclusion considering the current state of affairs in the crypto world.
The long-ongoing legal case between the SEC and Ripple (XRP) is tantalisingly close to a finish, with both parties filing a final set of replies before a summary judgement is handed down. Ripple argued in its filing that the SEC had failed to prove that the XRP token was a security under federal security laws.
Rumours of a new ‘Twitter Coin’ did the rounds this week with new information suggesting that the social media platform will be looking to introduce some form of token for payments on the platform.
The ever-faithful members of the Dogecoin remained hopeful that the mysterious ‘Twitter Coin’ in question is merely a placeholder for DOGE, with many of the community members on Twitter pointing to Musk’s long-running affiliation with the meme token as proof.
With trust in centralised exchanges taking a big hit in the post-FTX world, the popularity of cold storage devices offered by companies like Ledger and Trezor have seen a massive upswing. Capitalising on crypto’s newfound preoccupation with security, Ledger dropped a sleek new crypto storage device called ‘STAX’ which was designed by Tony Faddell, the same dude that made the first iPod.
This week saw the ‘crypto curse’ claim another victim with former Bitcoin ‘guru’ Javier Biosca throwing himself from the 5th floor of a hotel in Spain after it was revealed he’d defrauded the Russian mafia. Biosca’s death is a new addition to the rapidly growing list of notable crypto elites who have died under mysterious circumstances over the past month, with many of the strangely-timed deaths raising even some of the least-conspiratorial eyebrows in the crypto community.
In NFT news, this week saw the total sales volume of non-fongible tokens across the five big exchanges fall to an unfortunate new yearly low, with overall sales in November dropping by more than US$100 million from the month before. It wasn’t all bad news however, with a closer look at the numbers showing that the total number of NFT trades reached an all time high, up more than 950% from January.
Nike also made some waves on the NFT scene, but arguably not for the reasons they’d hoped. RTFKT, a recently company acquired by Nike who claim to make “the first native Web 3 sneakers”, released a collection that allowed their NFT holders of the to redeem actual real-life shoes. However, the company pissed off a lot of Web3 sneakerheads when they failed to let buyers know that those who lived outside of the US wouldn’t actually be able to receive their fresh new kicks.
Funding: a little dry but not totally dead
It’s been pretty rough out there, so funding has dried up a tad, but not completely:
- Bitcoin infrastructure firm Blockstream raised an undisclosed amount to expand capacity to host miners. Few details are publicly available at this point.
- Perennial, a decentralised finance protocol for trading derivatives, raised US$12 million in a seed funding round.
- Crypto accounting, tax and compliance platform Bitwave raised US$15m in a Series A funding round. The funding will be used to launch a product called Bitwave Institutional, which aims to help institutions that custody, trade and use digital assets to improve processes around taxes, accounting, auditing and reporting.
- Crypto hardware wallet maker Ngrave is aiming to raise US$15 million in Series A funding, although details remain unclear at this point.
- DeFi protocol Panoptic raised US$4.5 million to build a decentralised protocol for perpetual options.
Weekly market wrap
We really hope that one day this weekly wrap up will be able to share some positive news on the state of markets — but with the way things are going at the moment — this week’s glance back is entirely red with a good to moderate chance of more ‘down bad’ in the coming days.
Bitcoin (BTC) technically closed the week up 1.5% but zooming out a little, the flagship cryptocurrency is down 20% for the month. Still, some analysts like Carlos Gomez, the Chief Investment Officer at Belobaba Crypto Asset Fund hold a more positive outlook for the price of Bitcoin heading into the end of this year.
As always, Ethereum (ETH) was the more volatile of the large cap crypto assets gaining a little over 4% for the week, as investors regained some temporary confidence, despite a growing number of bankruptcies and layoffs continuing to buffet the broader crypto industry.
Winners and losers
The biggest winner for this week was the native token of popular play-to-earn game Axie Infinity (AXS) which closed the week with a whopping 18.7% gain. AXS was followed closely into the green by Binance’s Trust Wallet Token (TWT) which posted a 16% gain for the week. TWT’s growth can be largely attributed to the growing lack of trust towards centralised exchanges, with crypto users flocking to services that provide greater control over their digital assets.
The biggest loser for this week was the native token of decentralised exchange aggregator 1inch Network (1INCH) which closed the week down 11%. 1INCH was succeeded by Chainlink (LINK) which saw its token fall 8% for the week.
That’s it for this edition of The Chainsaw Weekly Wrap, have a great weekend from the crew here at The Chainsaw.
As always, here some memes