Crypto spotlight - Mining difficulty record high, FED meeting, former Chinese advisor shares thoughts on crypto, Hong Kong stablecoin ban, and Kucoin latest security measures

Bitcoin has remained essentially unmoved in the past 24 hours, hovering around $23,200 for the day. However, in the recent influx of digital-asset investment products, Bitcoin-related funds dominated and accounted for nearly all of the $117 million in inflows.

As for other big crypto coins, the value of Ether is up about 1% today, trading at around $1,590, with the Ether to Bitcoin ratio now poised to favor BTC for two consecutive months. Dogecoin saw a temporary spike to 9 cents following a report suggesting Elon Musk's desire for Twitter's payment system to support cryptocurrency. 

Overall the lay of the land looks positive, with most major coins making huge gains since the beginning of 2023. Here are today’s biggest stories in the dynamic world of cryptocurrency.

Source: CoinDesk

  1. The difficulty of mining Bitcoin (BTC) blocks increased by 4.68% on Sunday to a new all-time high (ATH) of 39.35 T. Mining difficulty is the computation power required to mine a single Bitcoin and is updated every 2016 blocks (roughly two weeks). Despite temporary decreases, mining difficulty has been steadily climbing over the past year as more hardware. Bitcoin's hash rate, which measures computational power dedicated to mining, currently sits at 305.81 ExaHashes per second. The rise in mining difficulty has put stress on the Bitcoin mining industry. The industry has faced bankruptcy, debt restructuring, and higher energy prices, making mining less profitable.

(Source: CoinWarz)

  1. The Federal Reserve's two-day meeting is set to begin, with an interest rate decision and a press conference by Fed President Jerome Powell expected on Wednesday. The market expects a 25 basis point rate hike, but Powell may have a more hawkish approach and tighten financial conditions. This could result in a temporary price pullback in crypto. However, some believe this pullback could be short-lived as the market has recently become resilient to hawkish Fed talk. Despite this, demand for short-duration put options or bearish bets has increased due to caution before the Fed meeting.

  1. According to the South China Morning Post, a former advisor to the People's Bank of China (PBOC), Huang Yiping, has urged Beijing to consider the potential long-term consequences of its ban on cryptocurrencies. As an economics professor at Peking University's National School of Development, Huang stated that a permanent rejection of crypto-related products could result in missed opportunities for valuable technologies such as blockchain in regulated financial systems.


  1. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) will soon demand mandatory licensing for stablecoin issuers and ban algorithmic stablecoins The HKMA will supervise fiat-backed stablecoin issuance, governance, and stabilization, with issuers required to maintain high quality and high liquidity reserves matching the amount of crypto in circulation. The HKMA plans to implement the regulatory arrangements in 2023/24 and will consider feedback from stakeholders and market participants. The move follows the collapse of TerraUSD, an algorithmic stablecoin, and comes as major economies worldwide work on controls for stablecoin issuers.

  1. Crypto Exchange KuCoin has taken steps to enhance security for its users by launching new anti-fraud measures. These tools, which include official contact verification and business wallet address verification, aim to reduce fraud and provide a more secure experience for users.