The first quarter of 2023 has been an eventful one for the ecosystem, culminating in the price of Bitcoin rising by 72% since January. So we’ve tried to put together a non-exhaustive list of the news that has marked the beginning of the year.
Bitcoin up 72% in Q1
If the year 2022 was catastrophic from the point of view of performance, the 1st quarter has just ended with a nice rise in the Bitcoin (BTC) price, whose blockchain celebrated its 14 years at the beginning of the year. Thus, the asset is up 72% since January 1 at the time of writing these lines:
Overall, the entire ecosystem has benefited from the rise, climbing back above the $1 trillion mark in capitalization by mid-January.
However, many players have resorted to layoffs. This is notably the case for Silvergate and Genesis, with 40% and 30% of the workforce laid off, before the former announced its intention to go into liquidation on March 8. The latter declared bankruptcy on January 20, with a debt of 3.4 billion dollars to its creditors, including 765 million dollars for Gemini.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of players who announced layoffs since the beginning of the year:
- Huobi: 20%;
- Coinbase: 950 people;
- Crypto.com: 20%;
- Gemini: 10%;
- Polygon Labs: 20%.
On the French side, the ecosystem also had a little scare, with the specter of a mandatory PSAN approval ahead of the MiCA regulation’s entry into force, before this idea was rejected in favor of rules more adapted to the reality of the field.
For TCN, the month of January was also marked by the release, on the 18th, of our first collection of non-fungible tokens (NFT) through the second edition of our paper journal.
February under the sign of the US regulation
As January ended with the White House calling for more regulation in response to the FTX scandal, the message was heard by US regulators.
First, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) went after Kraken’s staking services, marking the beginning of a long line of legal actions. Coinbase and its CEO Brian Armstrong then took to the podium to defend the legitimacy of the staking services, to the point that in March, the exchange received threats of legal action from the SEC.
For its part, Paxos was forced to stop issuing Binance’s BUSD stablecoin, whose days now seem to be numbered. In the face of this uncertain climate, PayPal has chosen to put its stablecoin project on hold.
In the face of regulatory uncertainty from the United States, we interviewed Thibaut Boutrou and Rija Rameloarison of Meria, to understand if there was a risk of contagion in Europe:
In addition, February was also marked by interest in Bitcoin Ordinals, whose protocol was finalized in late January. These assets, which are reminiscent of NFTs in philosophy, have caused a stir by dividing the Bitcoin community.
The holder of the Bored Ape 1626 actually made a quite symbolic gesture, sending the NFT estimated at $169,000 to a burn address in order to issue a copy of it as Ordinals on Bitcoin. For its part, Yuga Labs has not acknowledged the legitimacy of this new version of Bored Ape.
Other notable news from February include the arrival of Base, an Ethereum (ETH) layer 2 powered by Coinbase, as well as the revelation of the identities of Sam Bankman Fried’s (SBF) co-signers of the endorsement: Larry Kramer and Andreas Paepcke. The latter being academics of the University of Stanford, close to the parents of the interested party.
Mars: the failure of the banking system
March was undeniably marked by the risk of contagion in the banking system. For its impact on cryptocurrencies, this was reflected in the temporary loss of the USDC’s dollar peg due to the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB).
Many banks were then affected in this widespread panic: Signature Bank also defaulted, and UBS bought out Credit Suisse.
After testing the $20,000 mark, Bitcoin emerged as the big winner from this episode and is now trading above $28,000.
At the same time, the decentralized finance protocol (DeFi) Euler Finance suffered the biggest hack of the year for about $197 million. The hacker has since returned much of the funds, though not all of it has been returned yet.
Of course, one of the other highlights of March was the arrest of Do Kwon in Montenegro, and South Korea and the US are now fighting over his extradition.
In addition, we can also mention the significant airdrop of Arbitrum (ARB), the announcement of the Shapella update on Ethereum for April 12, the conflict between Binance and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and Circle’s interest in France through its intention to become a service provider on digital assets (PSAN).
The first quarter of the year has been so eventful that it is difficult to list everything in a single article. While there is no guarantee that the bear market is really over, there is no doubt that this year will continue to be full of exciting news.