The sentencing for Binance founder Changpeng “CZ” Zhao on money laundering charges has been rescheduled to April 30, following a “notice of rescheduled hearing” filed in a Seattle Federal Court on Feb. 12.
Initially set for Feb. 23, the postponement raises speculation that Zhao could potentially receive a prison term of up to 18 months. However, a filing from the prosecution on Nov. 24 suggested the prospect of a harsher penalty than originally anticipated.
According to John Reed Stark, a former official of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Zhao could potentially face a sentence ranging from 12 to 18 months in a minimum-security prison according to U.S. sentencing guidelines.
However, his legal team is expected to request either no jail time or an alternative sentence, which could involve combining prison time with home detention and probation. Currently, Zhao is out on bail, secured by a $175 million bond, and he is residing in the United States while awaiting his sentencing. On December 29, a U.S.
Federal court denied Zhao’s second request to travel to Dubai before his trial, ordering him to remain within the U.S. In a letter recently made public addressed to Judge Richard Jones, Zhao’s lawyers disclosed that he had offered all of his equity in Binance.US as collateral. This equity was estimated to be worth around $4.5 billion based on a funding round conducted two years ago.
Bitcoin has reached $50,000 for the first time since December 2021
Bitcoin has surged by 17.5% in the past week, breaching the $50,000 mark for the first time since December 2021. This surge on Feb. 12 can be partially attributed to inflows into spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) funds, which commenced trading on Jan. 11.
However, the question remains: are these current inflows robust enough to sustain further gains for Bitcoin above $50,000?
Leading mutual fund managers such as BlackRock, Fidelity, and ARK 21Shares have successfully introduced spot Bitcoin ETFs, accumulating over $10 billion in assets in less than a month. It is anticipated that inflows into spot Bitcoin ETFs will continue to grow in the coming months as trading firms conduct thorough evaluations of these new investment options.
As Bitcoin reaches new multiyear highs, it’s important to gauge the sentiment of retail investors regarding both the cryptocurrency and broader macroeconomic markets on Feb. 12.
Traders are closely monitoring the macroeconomic landscape, particularly following the historic close of the S&P 500 above 5,000 points on Feb. 9, marking a 13.9% gain over three months. The bullish momentum may experience a temporary pause as investors assess the upcoming quarterly earnings reports from key companies such as Coca-Cola, Airbnb, Coinbase, and DoorDash.
Additionally, attention is focused on the release of the United States inflation Consumer Price Index data on Feb. 13, which will influence the interest rate trajectory of the U.S. Federal Reserve. Market consensus suggests potential cuts from the current 5.25% level, which could encourage investors to shift away from fixed-income assets.
Ethereum gas fees have surged to an 8-month high amidst the ERC-404 frenzy.
Ethereum network gas fees have surged to an eight-month high due to heightened interest in a new, unofficial experimental token standard called ERC-404. Gas prices peaked at an average of 70 gwei ($60 for a standard transaction) on Feb. 9, with peak costs reaching as high as 377 gwei, a level not seen since May 12, 2023.
While the spike in gas prices can be attributed to multiple factors, it coincided with increased excitement surrounding the ERC-404 token standard within the cryptocurrency industry.
The ERC-404 movement was initiated on Feb. 5 with the launch of Pandora, a project introducing the experimental standard. Since then, it has experienced a remarkable surge of over 6,100% and amassed a trading volume exceeding $474 million.
ERC-404’s objective is to link ERC-721 nonfungible tokens (NFTs) with ERC-20 tokens, enabling the creation of fractionalized NFTs. This functionality allows multiple wallets to collectively own portions of a single NFT, enabling them to trade or stake these portions for loans.
A substantial portion of this surge in activity can be attributed to the significant trading volumes generated by Pandora, DeFrogs, and various other ERC-404 projects. Together, these projects have amassed a combined trading volume exceeding $600 million in the past week, as reported by data from the crypto aggregator Birdeye.