Crypto Spotlight - Coinbase CEO reacts to U.S staking ban rumors while Bitcoin blockchain activity reaches two-year high

The growth and widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies has led to a call to arms for legislators around the world. Governments and regulatory bodies have been grappling with how to handle decentralized digital assets and the challenges they pose to traditional financial systems. 

As a result, many countries have recently been planning and implementing new laws and regulations to address issues such as money laundering, fraud, and consumer protection in the crypto space. This trend towards greater regulation of the crypto industry reflects a recognition of the undeniable relevance of crypto but also highlights the need for a more structured and secure framework to govern their use. 

The question of whether or not these regulations will help or hinder the industry is firmly in the minds of investors and blockchain enthusiasts. We start today’s spotlight with big news concerning US regulation that could drastically affect the market outlook and an interesting take from a prominent figure in the industry.

  1. The CEO of Coinbase, Brian Armstrong, has expressed concern over rumors that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) may ban retail investors from participating in cryptocurrency staking. In a Twitter thread, He stated that staking is a significant development in the crypto industry that provides benefits such as scalability, security, and sustainability. Armstrong advocates for the promotion of new technologies in the US and does believe that clear regulations are necessary to protect consumers and support innovation. However, he also mentions that enforcing strict regulations can lead to companies moving offshore, and instead calls for a collaborative effort to find solutions that balance consumer protection and innovation. The reason for the new legislation is down to the ongoing debate on whether staked coins should be considered securities. In the past, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler has stated that cryptocurrencies that allow staking could be considered securities under the Howey test. However, Ether has been classified as a commodity by the CFTC. The value of staked assets was around $42 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022, with an annualized staking reward of $3 billion. The SEC has yet to comment on the matter. 

  1. Bitfarms, a Toronto-based Bitcoin mining company, has settled its remaining debt with BlockFi, a bankrupt crypto lender, with a one-time payment of $7.75 million. Bitfarms had originally owed BlockFi $21 million. The miner has been working to reduce its debt obligations and had previously warned that it might stop making payments to BlockFi. BlockFi filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November due to the collapse of the crypto exchange FTX. The recent bear market has made it challenging for leveraged miners to pay off their lenders, leading to some loan defaults and bankruptcy filings. Bitfarms CEO, Jeff Lucas, stated that reducing the company's debt by nearly 85% has helped improve its cash flow and position it for future growth. 


  1. According to a report by CryptoQuant, network activity on the Bitcoin blockchain has reached a two-year high, surpassing the level seen before China's ban on crypto mining in May 2021. This increase in activity is driven by the popularity of the Ordinals protocol, which allows NFTs to be stored directly on the Bitcoin blockchain. The result? Some of the largest block sizes in the history of the network. While the rise in demand for block space and transaction fees generated by miners is positive for network security, the popularity of NFTs on the Bitcoin blockchain has triggered a debate within the community. Some are concerned about a possible rise in transaction fees and view it as an improper use of the Bitcoin blockchain, while others see it as a positive sign for the long-term security of the network.

(Source: CrytpoQuant)

  1. The CEO of Umami Finance, a DeFi (decentralized finance) protocol, has dumped all of its tokens, causing a 50% drop in the price of the native token UMAMI. The team members have also resigned en masse, with a developer saying the move was to push Umami towards decentralization and a DAO structure. The company was an institutional DeFi player with yield products tailored to financial institutions. However, Umami temporarily stopped all payouts earlier this month, citing regulatory considerations, which led to users expressing concerns. Despite the drama, the protocol's treasury assets remain safe and are in the control of signatories who will follow the direction of the Umami DAO. Some Twitter users have reported withdrawal issues, and the future of the DAO and the token remain uncertain.

  1. An old Bitcoin address that had not been used in over 11 years recently moved 412.12 BTC worth approximately $9.6 million at today's prices. The sudden movement of these old coins is rare and may suggest a change in conviction to hold the asset, often caused by market volatility. Some experts believe the creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, could still hold a significant amount of Bitcoin, but there is no evidence of recent activity from the crypto founder.