Crypto Spotlight - ETH supply is down, Bitcoin hashrate is up, and Elon Musk pumping DOGE

The news that Paxos has agreed to stop minting one of the industry’s top 3 stablecoins BUSD has been the talk of the crypto world this week, sparking FUD among investors. The announcement caused a price plummet of BNB despite the industries leading exchange repeatedly asserting that it has nothing to do with the minting or distribution of the targeted stablecoin BUSD. 

Despite the sporadic case-by-case crackdown from U.S regulatory bodies on cryptocurrency coins and firms as of late, there is plenty of positive developments in the legal drama. Today’s news cycle is brimming with them. Here’s a rundown of the biggest stories from the last 24 hours.

1 - The total available Ethereum (ETH) on exchanges has decreased by 37% since the Merge upgrade in September 2022, which is considered a bullish sign as it indicates less ETH available to trade or sell. A significant portion of the ETH supply has moved into self-custody or staking with the upcoming Shanghai upgrade in March. 

This has led to a decline in ETH's overall market supply due to the fee-burning mechanism introduced through Ethereum Improvement Proposal -1559. As a result, the ETH supply on exchanges has decreased to 13.36 million ETH, worth $19.7 billion, in the second week of February, from 19.12 million ETH, worth $31.3 billion, in September 2022.

                                                                    (Source: Trading View)

2 - The bitcoin mining hash rate has surpassed the 300 EH/s mark, indicating a resurgence in mining activity as energy prices drop and the value of bitcoin rebounds. The industry has grown significantly in recent years, with the hash rate rising by 100 EH/s in just over a year, twice as fast as it took to achieve the previous 100 EH/s gain. 

Despite some major mining companies being declared bankrupt due to increased competition and market downturns, the economics of mining have improved in recent weeks, and mining profitability has bounced back to over $70 per petahash/second. Analysts predict that the network's growth will continue in the near future, with the hash rate expected to reach 363 EH/s by the end of 2023 due to lower power prices for miners.

3 - The European Commission has launched a blockchain regulatory sandbox to support innovative applications of distributed ledger technologies (DLT) for public and private sector use. The sandbox will run until 2026 and will support 20 projects annually, with priority given to more mature operations. 

The first call for applications is open until April 14, and the initiative is part of an EU funding program to bring businesses, citizens, and public administrations to the digital age. The EU is also exploring how DLT-based solutions could help cut out intermediaries in securities trading, with a pilot due to begin in March.

4 - The prices of DOGE, Floki, and SHIB have surged after a tweet by Elon Musk featuring his dog as the new CEO of Twitter. The world's most famous troll and head of Twitter caused the price of DOGE to increase by 6.2% in the past 24 hours, while Floki is up in the same period by 64% as of writing. In January, Floki's price rose almost 100% after a $100 million token burn by the Floki Inu DAO. 

A report by blockchain analytics firm Santiment in December 2022 warned that DOGE and other meme coins' outsized gains have historically been the first sign of a market-wide selloff. However, DOGE is down only 2% in the last three months, indicating no major shift in the market.

                                                        (Source: Twitter)

5 - Australian cryptocurrency exchange Digital Surge is set to resume trading next week after stakeholders signed a recovery plan that averted the exchange's liquidation. The exchange had been hit hard by the collapse of FTX, holding $33 million Australian Dollars on the defunct platform founded by Sam Bankman-Fried.

The successful restructuring is the first of its kind for an Australian cryptocurrency exchange and was achieved through the hard work of knowledgeable players in the blockchain community, according to digital asset specialist Michael Bacina. Customers with under $250 will be repaid in full, while others will receive at least 45% of their balance immediately, with the remaining 55% paid over five years from the company's profits.