SBF takes the stand, ‘buy Bitcoin’ searches soar and other news: Hodler’s Digest, Oct. 22-28

Top Stories This Week

Sam Bankman-Fried takes the stand on FTX’s collapse

Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried testified this week in his ongoing criminal trial in the Southern District of New York, denying any wrongdoing between FTX and Alameda Research while acknowledging making “big mistakes” during the companies’ explosive growth. Highlights of his testimony include denying directing his inner circle to make significant political donations in 2021, as well as claims that FTX’s terms of use covered transactions between Alameda and the crypto exchange. Additionally, Bankman-Fried testified that he requested additional hedging strategies for Alameda in 2021 and 2022, but they were never implemented. The trial is expected to conclude within the next few days.

‘Buy Bitcoin’ search queries on Google surge 826% in the UK

Google searches for “buy Bitcoin” have surged worldwide amid a major crypto rally, with searches in the United Kingdom growing by more than 800% in the last week. According to research from Cryptogambling.tv, the search term “buy Bitcoin” spiked a staggering 826% in the U.K. over the course of seven days. In the United States, data from Google Trends shows that searches for “should I buy Bitcoin now?” increased by more than 250%, while more niche searches, including “can I buy Bitcoin on Fidelity?” increased by over 3,100% in the last week. Zooming out further, the search term “is it a good time to buy Bitcoin?” saw a 110% gain worldwide over the last week.

US court issues mandate for Grayscale ruling, paving way for SEC to review spot Bitcoin ETF

The United States Court of Appeals has issued a mandate following a decision requiring Grayscale Investments’ application for a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) to be reviewed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In an Oct. 23 filing, the “formal mandate” of the court took effect, paving the way for the SEC to review its decision on Grayscale’s spot Bitcoin ETF. The mandate followed the court’s initial ruling on Aug. 29 and the SEC’s failure to present an appeal by Oct. 13. To date, the SEC has yet to approve a single spot crypto ETF for listing on U.S. exchanges but has given the green light to investment vehicles linked to Bitcoin and Ether futures.



Coinbase disputes SEC’s crypto authority in final bid to toss regulator’s suit

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission overstepped its authority when it classified Coinbase-listed cryptocurrencies as securities, the exchange has argued in its final bid to dismiss a lawsuit by the securities regulator. In an Oct. 24 filing in a New York District Court, Coinbase chastised the SEC, claiming its definition for what qualifies as a security was too wide, and contested that the cryptocurrencies the exchange lists are not under the regulator’s purview. The SEC sued Coinbase on June 6, claiming the exchange violated U.S. securities laws by listing several tokens it considers securities and not registering with the regulator.

Gemini sues Genesis over GBTC shares used as Earn collateral, now worth $1.6B

Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini filed a lawsuit against bankrupt crypto lender Genesis on Oct. 27. At issue is the fate of 62,086,586 shares of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust. They were used as collateral to secure loans made by 232,000 Gemini users to Genesis through the Gemini Earn Program. That collateral is currently worth close to $1.6 billion. According to the suit, Gemini has received $284.3 million from foreclosing on the collateral for the benefit of Earn users, but Genesis has disputed the action, preventing Gemini from distributing the proceeds. Genesis filed for bankruptcy in January. It had suspended withdrawals in November 2022, which impacted the Gemini Earn program.

Winners and Losers

At the end of the week, Bitcoin (BTC) is at $34,143, Ether (ETH) at $1,789 and XRP at $0.54. The total market cap is at $1.26 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are Pepe (PEPE) at 72.08%, Mina (MINA) at 55.47% and FLOKI (FLOKI) at 53.33%. 

The top three altcoin losers of the week are Bitcoin SV (BSV) at -10.27%, Toncoin (TON) -3.14% and Trust Wallet Token (TWT) at -0.82%.

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

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Most Memorable Quotations

“The witness [Sam Bankman-Fried] has an interesting way of responding to questions.”

Lewis Kaplan, senior judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

“When it comes to illicit finance, crypto is not the enemy – bad actors are.”

Cynthia Lummis, U.S. senator

“I should say, I am not a lawyer, I am just trying to answer based on my recollection. […] At the time [at] FTX, certain customers thought accounts would be sent to Alameda.”

Sam Bankman-Fried, former CEO of FTX

“Without prejudging any one asset, the vast majority of crypto assets likely meet the investment contract test, making them subject to the securities laws.”

Gary Gensler, chair of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

“I do not believe there has been a single serious conversation regarding a settlement between Ripple […] and the SEC. The SEC is pissed and embarrassed and wants $770M worth of flesh.”

John Deaton, attorney

“He [Sam Bankman-Fried] thought he was going to take that money, and […] he would out-trade the market and put the money back and end up as a half-a-trillionaire, but it never works like that.”

Anthony Scaramucci, founder of SkyBridge Capital

Prediction of the Week 

Bitcoin beats S&P 500 in October as $40K BTC price predictions flow in

Bitcoin surfed $34,000 at the end of the week as attention turned to BTC price performance against macro assets. Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView showed BTC/USD holding steady, preserving its early-week gains.

The largest cryptocurrency avoided significant volatility as the weekly and monthly closes — a key moment for the October uptrend — drew ever nearer.

“I think Bitcoin will hang around this range for some time,” popular pseudonymous trader Daan Crypto Trades told X subscribers in one of several posts on Oct. 27. “Roughly $33-35K is what I’m looking at as a range. Eyes on potential sweeps of any of these levels for a quick trade,” he wrote.

FUD of the Week 

UK passes bill to enable authorities to seize Bitcoin used for crime

Lawmakers in the United Kingdom have passed legislation allowing authorities to seize and freeze cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin if used for illicit purposes. Introduced in September 2022, the passed legislation aims to expand authorities’ ability to crack down on the use of cryptocurrency in crimes like cybercrime, scams and drug trafficking. One of the provisions of the bill permits the recovery of crypto assets used in crimes without conviction, as some individuals may avoid conviction by remaining remote.

Scammers create Blockworks clone site to drain crypto wallets

Phishing scammers have cloned the websites of crypto media outlet Blockworks and Ethereum blockchain scanner Etherscan to trick unsuspecting readers into connecting their wallets to a crypto drainer. A fake Blockworks site displayed a fake “BREAKING” news report of a supposed multimillion-dollar “approvals exploit” on the decentralized exchange Uniswap and encouraged users to visit a fake Etherscan website to rescind approvals. The fake Uniswap news article was posted on Reddit across several popular subreddits.

Kraken to suspend trading for USDT, DAI, WBTC, WETH and WAXL in Canada

Kraken will suspend all transactions related to Tether, Dai, Wrapped Bitcoin, Wrapped Ether and Wrapped Axelar in Canada in November and December. The suspensions may not surprise many Canadian cryptocurrency users, as they come on the heels of several other notable exchanges taking similar actions throughout 2023. OKX ceased operations in Canada in June after Binance announced its intention to do so in May.

5,050 Bitcoin for $5 in 2009: Helsinki’s claim to crypto fame

Helsinki has a long and fascinating history with cryptocurrency, including the first exchange of Bitcoin for United States dollars.

Australia’s $145M exchange scandal, Bitget claims 4th, China lifts NFT ban: Asia Express

Australian police bust $145 million money laundering scam, Bitget gains market share in Q3, China unblocks NFTs, and more.

How blockchain games fared in Q3, Upland token on ETH: Web 3 Gamer

$2.3B tipped into Web3 games so far this year, ex-GTA devs’ studio teams up with Immutable, Brawlers to launch on Epic Games Store, and more.

Editorial Staff

Cointelegraph Magazine writers and reporters contributed to this article.

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