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Visa stablecoin plan, debt ceiling’s effect on Bitcoin price: Hodler’s Digest, April 23-29

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Circle launches cross-chain USDC transfer protocol

Circle launched a cross-chain protocol that enables USDC transfers between the Ethereum and Avalanche blockchains. The protocol works by burning the selected amount of native USDC on the source chain, and minting an equivalent amount of new USDC on the intended destination chain. The protocol essentially makes USDC transfers between the two networks faster and more user-friendly, as prior to its launch, people had to use third-party bridges or a Circle partner to facilitate transfers between the two networks. Additional support for Solana and other blockchains will be added later in 2023.

Stablecoin payments: Visa shares plans for ‘ambitious’ crypto product

Cuy Sheffield, the head of crypto at Visa, announced a new cryptocurrency-related project, on April 24, focused on stablecoin payments. Details are sparse at this stage; however, Sheffiled shared a job listing relating to the project, with the description noting that the “Visa Crypto Team is building the next generation of products to facilitate commerce in everyone’s digital and mobile lives.” The job listing is seeking candidates with a good understanding of layer-1 and layer-2 solutions, alongside experience with writing smart contracts using the programming language Solidity, among other things.

Kraken asks San Francisco court to intervene against IRS demands

Crypto exchange Kraken has fought back against the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) over what it feels is an “unjustified treasure hunt” for user’s trading info. According to court documents, the firm requested a federal court in San Francisco to intervene and ask the IRS to back off. The IRS issued a summons in February demanding additional information on Kraken users who traded $20,000 or more in any single year from 2016 to 2020. 

Meta disclosed in its Q1 earnings report that its metaverse unit, Reality Labs, posted a loss of around $4 billion during the quarter. In what has been a costly venture for the firm, the $4 billion loss adds to the $14 billion Reality Labs loss over the entirety of 2022. Still, Meta posted a profit totalling roughly $5.7 billion in Q1 overall, with the firm’s work on artificial intelligence somewhat curbing the losses. Mark Zuckerberg was also not phased by the loss from Reality Labs, as he reiterated that “we continue to expect Reality Labs operating losses to increase year-over-year in 2023” as the firm eyes growth in the long term.

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Viral clips of Securities and Exchange Commision chair Gary Gensler started circulating this week, showing him take a highly contradictory stance on crypto compared to what he holds now. As it stands, Gensler thinks almost every crypto asset apart from BTC is a security, and has pushed hard to regulate the crypto sector from that viewpoint. However, in a snippet from one of his “Blockchain and Money” lectures from 2018 — while he was working as a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — Gensler said, “Three quarters of the market is non-securities, it’s just a commodity, cash, crypto.” He even suggested Ether was not a security, despite repeatedly suggesting otherwise over the past couple years.

Winners and Losers

At the end of the week, Bitcoin (BTC) is at $29,275, Ether (ETH) at $1,900 and XRP at $0.47. The total market cap is at $1.2 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are Render Token (RNDR) at 40.91%, Cronos (CRO) at 13.47% and Injective (INJ) at 10.49%. 

The top three altcoin losers of the week are PancakeSwap (CAKE) at 19.13%, Zilliqa (ZIL) at 12.41% and Optimism (OP) at 11.26%.

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

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Most Memorable Quotations

“It’s a critical moment here in the U.S. and, as I like to say, it’s really a moment for Congress to step up.”

Jeremy Allaire, CEO of Circle

“I think it’s probably not a coincidence that you’re seeing all these concerns about de-dollarization at the same time they’re cracking down on crypto.”

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David Sacks, co-host of the All-In podcast

“[Blockchain] is about helping different groups of people come together to be able to trust each other more, to collaborate across larger distances on many different kinds of projects.”

Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum co-founder

“The fights about mining aren’t really about mining. It’s not really about environmental concerns. What it’s really about is controlling energy use.”

Perianne Boring, CEO of the Chamber of Digital Commerce

“While DeFi has immense potential, more education is needed to quell the confusion and fear plaguing mainstream users.”

 Julian Hosp, CEO and co-founder of Cake DeFi

Prediction of the Week 

Analysts at odds over Fed, US debt ceiling impact on Bitcoin price

After the House Republicans scarcely passed their bill to increase the U.S. debt ceiling on April 26, market analysts promptly started weighing up its potential impact on the price of Bitcoin (BTC). Analysts such as the chief operating officer of investment firm Onramp, Jesse Meyers, believe that raising the debt ceiling will likely prompt the Federal Reserve to print more money, thus boosting capital inflows into “risky” assets like BTC.

“When the debt ceiling is lifted and credit-contraction leads to economic crisis… They will have to print money on a massive scale,” he noted. “#Bitcoin was the winner during the last round of stimulus.”

FUD of the Week 

Ordinals Finance has conducted a $1M rug pull: CertiK

Ethereum-based decentralized finance protocol Ordinals Finance, was accused of performing a rug pull. The protocol enables users to lend and borrow inscriptions. However, blockchain security firm CertiK reported that the protocol’s developer abruptly pulled 256 million OFI tokens out of its smart contracts using a “safuToken” function. According to CertiK, another 13 million OFI was then removed through an “ownerRewithdraw” function, bringing the total number of withdrawn tokens to 269 million. In total, the reported loss to investors was estimated to be around $1 million, almost half of the total OFI market cap.

One crypto wallet launched 114 dodgy memecoins in two months

According to research from pseudonymous blockchain sleuth ZachXBT posted, on April 26, one specific wallet address launched “114 memecoin scams” over the previous 45 days. ZachXBT tracked the 0x739c58807B99Cb274f6FD96B10194202b8EEfB47 address, and found that stolen funds from scams are continually sent to this address. ZachXBT was unable to calculate how much the funds equated to, as the alleged scammer used multiple wallets to split up funds. “I suspect there are more too. These are just ones sent to that deposit address lol,” ZachXBT wrote.

Google Ads data: $4M stolen through crypto phishing URLs

According to Google Ads data coupled with blockchain analytics, over $4 million has been stolen from people that clicked on malicious phishing websites that mimic legitimate crypto platforms. It marks a concerning trend for the crypto community, given that these dubious websites are promoted on Google search results and closely replicate real platforms.

Best Cointelegraph Features

EOS was the biggest ICO in history, but development did not live up to expectations. Now the community wants to take it back to the top ten.

District 9 director’s shooter, Decentraland red-light district battle: Web3 Gamer

Decentraland’s District X dispute, showing “no mercy” to autoclickers, spending Sunday afternoon in a virtual Irish pub.

Elizabeth Warren wants the police at your door in 2024

Senators Elizabeth Warren and Roger Marshall want to make your crypto wallet illegal — and their plan runs contrary to the principles they campaigned on.

Brian Quarmby

Brian Quarmby discovered crypto in 2013 and instantly fell in love with the idea of decentralization. Brian has since lived and worked Asia and returned to Melbourne in late 2019. Brian is a lover of sport and art and is bullish on the potential for NFTs to transform artists lives in the near future.

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