OpenAI’s Sam Altman ousted, BlackRock and Fidelity seek Ether ETF, and more: Hodler’s Digest, Nov. 12-18

Regulation

Top Stories This Week

Sam Altman ousted from OpenAI, CTO Mira Murati named interim CEO

ChatGPT developer OpenAI removed founder Sam Altman from his CEO position on Nov. 17. Chief technology officer Mira Murati is now serving as interim CEO. According to a blog post, the board of directors engaged in a “deliberative review process,” which resulted in the conclusion that Altman “was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities.” Shortly after, OpenAI co-founder and president Greg Brockman revealed his exit from the organization.

BlackRock files S-1 form for spot Ether ETF with SEC

The world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, officially filed for a spot Ether exchange-traded fund (ETF) with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Nov. 15. The ETF, dubbed the iShares Ethereum Trust, aims to “reflect generally the performance of the price of Ether,” according to the S-1 filed with the SEC. The iShares brand is associated with BlackRock’s ETF products. The move by BlackRock comes nearly a week after it registered the iShares Ethereum Trust with Delaware’s Division of Corporations and almost six months after it filed its spot Bitcoin ETF application. Following BlackRock’s filing, asset manager Fidelity also sought a green light for its own Ether ETF.

Australia to impose capital gains tax on wrapped cryptocurrency tokens

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has issued guidance on capital gains tax (CGT) treatment with regard to decentralized finance and wrapping crypto tokens for individuals, confirming that Australians are liable for capital gains taxes when wrapping and unwrapping tokens. The transfer of crypto assets to an address that the sender does not control or that already holds a balance will be regarded as a taxable CGT event, the ATO said in its statement. The CGT event will trigger depending on whether the individual recorded a capital gain or loss. A similar approach has been considered for taxing liquidity pool users, providers and DeFi interest and rewards. In addition, wrapping and unwrapping tokens will also be subject to triggering a CGT event.

FTX Foundation staffer fights for $275K bonus promised by SBF

An employee of FTX’s charity wing recruited by Sam Bankman-Fried is trying to get paid $275,000, the remainder of his claimed 2022 salary bonus. Ross Rheingans-Yoo’s lawyers argued in a court filing that only $375,000 of his $650,000 bonus was paid by FTX. They claim the remaining funds were owed when the crypto exchange filed for bankruptcy in November 2022. The fate of Rheingans-Yoo’s bonus will be determined by a Delaware bankruptcy judge who is overseeing FTX’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

WisdomTree amends S-1 form spot Bitcoin ETF filing as crypto awaits SEC decisions

WisdomTree filed an amended Form S-1 spot Bitcoin ETF prospectus with the U.S. SEC on Nov. 16. The update comes a few months after WisdomTree refiled its spot Bitcoin ETF application in June 2023, proposing a rule change to list and trade shares of the WisdomTree Bitcoin Trust. The amended prospectus mentions that the WisdomTree Bitcoin Trust ETF will trade under ticker symbol BTCW, with Coinbase Custody Trust serving as the custodian holding all of the trust’s Bitcoin on its behalf.

Winners and Losers

At the end of the week, Bitcoin (BTC) is at $36,419, Ether (ETH) at $1,946 and XRP at $0.61. The total market cap is at $1.38 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are Celestia (TIA) at 103.39%, yearn.finance (YFI) at 88.04% and THORChain (RUNE) at 54.38% . 

The top three altcoin losers of the week are Gas (GAS) at -64.85%, FTX Token (FTT) at -35.17% and Neo (NEO) at -20.27%.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

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Most Memorable Quotations

“Education and utility-based projects where there is real utility for usage is how we can get regulators onboard.”

Navin Gupta, managing director of South Asia, Middle East and North Africa at Ripple

“We believe derivatives will foster additional liquidity and hedging opportunities in crypto and represent the next critical step in this market’s continued growth.”

John Palmer, president of Cboe Digital

“I am very bullish about a whole bunch of different things going on in crypto. […] It will be a multichain world.”

Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple

“Phone and the internet aren’t to be blamed for terror financing and crypto shouldn’t either.”

French Hill, United States Representative

“I believe that code is a form of speech and is protected by the First Amendment.”

Vivek Ramaswamy, entrepreneur and U.S. presidential candidate

“The digital euro would also mean that each and every one of us could be totally monitored. […] Anyone who is against surveillance and for freedom does not need a digital euro!”

Joana Cotar, member of the German Bundestag

Prediction of the week

Bitcoin traders’ BTC price dip targets now include $30.9K bottom

Bitcoin circled $36,000 on Nov. 16 as analysis hoped for a deeper price comedown. Having failed to establish a breakout beyond 18-month highs during the week, Bitcoin was uninspiring for market participants, some of whom hoped to see a fresh correction to retest lower levels.

“Would be happy to see this latest rally complete the round trip back to $35k. Would be even happier to see a retest of $33k,” monitoring resource Material Indicators wrote in part of the day’s commentary on X (formerly Twitter).

A snapshot of BTC/USDT order book liquidity showed support building at $35,000. Material Indicators co-founder Keith Alan added that Bitcoin’s rising 21-day simple moving average had been functioning as support in recent days.

“BTC continues to fight for the range above $36.5k,” he commented.

Popular pseudonymous trader Daan Crypto Trades likewise flagged $35,700 and $38,000 as the main downside and upside levels to watch, respectively. Fellow pseudonymous trader Gaah, a contributor to on-chain analytics platform CryptoQuant, meanwhile warned that a steeper correction could take the market closer to $30,000.

FUD of the Week

Cybersecurity team claims up to $2.1B in crypto stored in old wallets is at risk

Cybersecurity company Unciphered disclosed a vulnerability dubbed “Randstorm,” which it said affects millions of crypto wallets that were generated using web browsers from 2011 to 2015. According to the firm, while working to retrieve a Bitcoin wallet, it discovered a potential issue for wallets generated by BitcoinJS and derivative projects. The issue could affect millions of wallets and around $2.1 billion in crypto assets, according to the cybersecurity company.

Swan Bitcoin to terminate customer accounts that use crypto-mixing services

Bitcoin services platform Swan Bitcoin warned its customers that it would be forced to terminate accounts found interacting with crypto-mixing due to the regulatory obligations of its partner banks. Customers learned about the new policy in a letter suggesting the changes are due to the United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s proposed rule establishing new responsibilities on firms processing transactions from mixing services.

ENS developers urge Unstoppable Domains to drop patents or face lawsuit

The founder and lead developer of Ethereum Name Service (ENS), Nick Johnson, is urging blockchain domains company Unstoppable Domains to drop a recently awarded patent or face a lawsuit, according to an open letter shared on X (formerly Twitter). According to Johnson, Unstoppable’s recently awarded patent is “based entirely on innovations that ENS developed and contains no novel innovations of its own.” Unstoppable Domains’ founder Matthew Gould responded in the thread, claiming that there are “multiple naming systems.”

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Top Magazine Pieces of the Week

I spent a week working in VR. It was mostly terrible, however…

Cointelegraph Magazine journalist Felix Ng spent a week working in virtual reality. It was mostly terrible… but does have some potential.

Breaking into Liberland: Dodging guards with inner-tubes, decoys and diplomats

“Bitcoin is really one of the most foundational parts of Liberland — 99% of our reserves are in BTC.”

No civil protection for crypto in China, $300K to list coins in Hong Kong? Asia Express

Hong Kong exchanges expand amidst continued investor interest, Philippines to issue $180M in tokenized bonds, China rules out civil protection for crypto, and more!

Editorial Staff

Cointelegraph Magazine writers and reporters contributed to this article.

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