Written by

Bendik Norheim Schei

Head of Research

13 Jan 2023

The Friday Focus: Issue 68

Top stories

The Digital Currency Group (DCG), Genesis and Gemini saga continues this week. In a new public letter, Gemini’s Winklevoss demands the removal of DCG CEO Barry Silbert, accusing DCG of public lies and fraud. Silbert publicly defended DCG and Genesis, trying to debunk several accusations. Genesis reportedly owes creditors over $3 billion, and DCG is now considering VC portfolio sales to solve its issues. Gemini is now officially ending the Earn program they had set up with Genesis. In the middle of the public dispute, SEC charged Gemini and Genesis with unregistered securities offering related to Gemini’s Earn program. Great timing, right?

Top stories

The Digital Currency Group (DCG), Genesis and Gemini saga continues this week. In a new public letter, Gemini’s Winklevoss demands the removal of DCG CEO Barry Silbert, accusing DCG of public lies and fraud. Silbert publicly defended DCG and Genesis, trying to debunk several accusations. Genesis reportedly owes creditors over $3 billion, and DCG is now considering VC portfolio sales to solve its issues. Gemini is now officially ending the Earn program they had set up with Genesis. In the middle of the public dispute, SEC charged Gemini and Genesis with unregistered securities offering related to Gemini’s Earn program. Great timing, right?

Regulators and policymakers are active elsewhere this week as well. CFTC brought manipulation charges against the Mango Market exploiter. Hong Kong is set to shortlist crypto tokens for retail trading. Bank of International Settlements has outlined policy approaches to ban, contain and regulate crypto, and US House Republicans are setting up a crypto committee to oversee the industry. Regulators in Thailand are investigating Zipmex over a potentially unauthorized earn program, and Nepal has ordered internet providers to block crypto-related websites. Last but not least, Nexo’s Bulgaria officer got raided by the police this week. A new lender in trouble?

Lots of exchange-related news stories this week. Starting with layoffs, Coinbase and Crypto.com announced significant cuts. Binance’s CEO, on the other hand, outlined ambitions to grow the headcount by 30% in 2023. It looks like Binance US’s $1 billion acquisition of Voyager can go through, as initial approval was given this week. Coinsquare and WonderFi are in talks of forming the largest crypto exchange in Canada. In Asia, Huobi Korea is moving to sever ties with its parent company, and Bithumb is getting probed by the local tax authorities.

A quick update on FTX and SBF as usual. Sam has now started blogging, blaming Binance for the fall of his empire. In the ongoing bankruptcy case, SBF’s shares in Robinhood got seized this week. Over 100 buyers are reportedly interested in certain FTX businesses, and one bankruptcy attorney said this week that FTX had recovered over $5 billion in assets. Maybe there is hope for customers after all?

In other seemingly positive news, Amazon Web Services and Ava Labs announced a collaboration aimed at blockchain scaling. Mastercard will use the Polygon blockchain to launch its artist accelerator, El Salvador is one step closer to launching its bitcoin bonds, and UAE investor groups are launching a billion-dollar web3 fund.

That’s it, folks - have a great weekend!