Here’s what happened in crypto today

Need to know what happened in crypto today? Here is the latest news on daily trends and events impacting Bitcoin price, blockchain, DeFi, NFTs, Web3 and crypto regulation.

A U.S. federal court has approved the settlement between Binance and the Commodities Future and Trading Commission (CFTC), which will see Binance pay $2.7 billion in penalties. Meanwhile, Lido DAO is the center of a class-action lawsuit claiming the it duped the public into investing in an unregistered securities offering,and spot Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded funds (ETFs) could trigger unwanted consequences for crypto exchanges like Coinbase.

A United States court has entered an order against crypto exchange Binance and its former CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, that will see Binance pay $2.7 billion and CZ pay $150 million to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

In a Dec. 18 statement, the CFTC announced that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois had approved the previously announced settlement and concluded the enforcement action first issued by the CFTC in November.

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What happened in crypto this weekend?

Tether is working closer with U.S. law enforcement, revealing it has already frozen 326 wallets linked to criminals, while VanEck CEO has pled a bullish case for the future of Bitcoin.

Stablecoin issuer Tether (USDT) has revealed it has frozen 326 wallets linked to criminals, totaling $435 million as of Dec. 15, and is working closer with U.S. law enforcement agencies than ever before.

“We have assisted in freezing, as of the date of this letter, approximately 326 wallets totaling approximately USDT 435 Million,” the firm’s CEO Paolo Ardoino explained to Senator Cynthia Lummis and U.S. Representative French Hill on Dec. 15.

Tether said it also onboarded the United States Secret Service into its platform to strengthen its compliance measures with U.S. law enforcement and is in the same process with the FBI.

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Bitcoin fees hit 20-month high as miner revenues match $69K BTC price

Bitcoin miners are the main beneficiaries of current sky-high transaction fees, data shows, but many longtime market participants have little time for complaints.

Bitcoin (BTC) on-chain transaction fees are dividing opinion as the cost of sending BTC skyrockets.

Data from the statistics resource BitInfoCharts puts the average transaction fee at nearly $40 as of Dec. 17.

The latest wave of Bitcoin Ordinals inscriptions has resulted in elevated transaction fees for all network users — but some believe that they are here to stay.

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More firms set to add Bitcoin to balance sheets after major rule change

The rules now allow crypto-holding companies to report their paper gains, not just losses, which industry observers say could give firms more confidence to buy.

Bitcoin (BTC) and crypto may soon see another mass wave of adoption by United States-based firms after a new accounting rule change that lets companies more accurately reflect the value of their crypto holdings. 

Cory Klippsten, the CEO of Bitcoin-only exchange Swan Bitcoin, told Cointelegraph that Bitcoin-holding companies like MicroStrategy and Tesla, which both had to report impairment on their holdings, “can now more accurately reflect their Bitcoin investments’ true value.”

The new Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) rules released on Dec. 13 that come into effect in December 2024 see the estimated market value of crypto held by companies represented accurately on companies’ accounting books by allowing them to record when they’re holding assets at a gain.

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Bitcoin price sell-off continues, but data highlights need for healthy correction

Bitcoin price opened the week with a sharp sell-off, but on-chain and technical data points to a much-needed cooling-off period.

Bitcoin price is down 5% over the last 24 hours to trade at $41,645 on Dec. 11. Despite the sharp price correction, technical indicators and on-chain data show that Bitcoin (BTC) still displays strength as bulls strive to push the price back above $44,000.

Bitcoin dropped as much as 7.2%, falling to $40,300 on Coinbase, triggering a conversation among analysts. Julio Moreno, head of research at on-chain analytics firm CryptoQuant, said that the flagship cryptocurrency’s price was “overheating after the recent rally above” the $40,000 psychological level. 

More data from on-chain data analysis firm Lookintobitcoin highlighted exhaustion among bulls. According to its December 2023 report, Bitcoin’s price has reached its golden ratio multiplier near-term target, highlighted by the Crosby Ratio, which shows Bitcoin’s near-term price at “over-extended levels,” resulting in the need to correct, or at least slow down.

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Developers of Bitcoin sidechain MVC prepare for BRC-20 DEX launch

The MVC governance token has surged in 2023 to a fully diluted market cap of over $400 million.

Developers of Bitcoin side-chain MicroVisionChain (MVC) have unveiled a BRC-20 decentralized exchange (DEX) as part of its roadmap for Q1 2024.

In an interview with Cointelegraph, MVC chief operating officer Jason Kwok claims to have developed a “1:1 mapping relationship” with Bitcoin on its sidechain. “This essentially creates a parallel version of your Bitcoin assets, such as BRC-20, on MVC,” said Kwok, explaining that the bridge allows users to swap BRC-20 token assets on the MVC sidechain, thus bypassing the high transaction and gas fees required to deploy decentralized applications (DApps) on the Bitcoin mainnet.

In keeping with the spirit of Bitcoin’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, Kwok explains that MVC has no particular founders or corporate headquarters. Instead, the sidechain is a “collaborative endeavor” involving many development teams that form the Bitcoin ecosystem.

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Bitcoin is up 170% since the ECB called its ‘last gasp’ at $16.4K

Bitcoin completely contradicts what the European Central Bank warned about in late 2022.

Bitcoin (BTC) has gained almost 170% since the European Central Bank (ECB) warned of its impending “irrelevance.”

As noted by crypto proponent Eric Wall and others on Dec. 4, BTC price action has done the complete opposite of economists’ predictions.

Bitcoin traded at just $16,400 when, on Nov. 30, 2022, the ECB published a blog post dedicated to its death.

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Hashdex tips spot Bitcoin ETFs to trade by Q2, followed by Ethereum

Hashdex’s head of product for the U.S. and Europe says the exact timing for a spot Bitcoin ETF is unclear but predicts it to start by the second quarter of 2024.

Hashdex, one of the 13 asset managers vying for a spot Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund, expects to see the first spot Bitcoin ETF in the United States land by the second quarter of 2024, followed by a spot Ether (ETH) ETF.

“The exact timing of a spot Bitcoin ETF in the U.S. remains unclear, but in 2023, the narrative around this product switched from a question of ‘if’ to a matter of ‘when,’” said Hashdex’s U.S.

“We believe U.S. investors will have access to a spot Bitcoin ETF by the second quarter of the new year and that a spot Ether ETF is likely to follow.”

Hashdex is one of 13 asset managers with a spot Bitcoin ETF application before the U.S. It has also pitched a hybrid Ether ETF with futures and spot contracts to the regulator.

While Bloomberg ETF analysts James Seyffart and Eric Balchunas have pinned 90% odds that spot Bitcoin ETFs will be approved in the days leading up to Jan.

Seyffart noted in November that “there could be weeks or even months between approval and launch.”

Bitcoin breaks $41K as gold price reaches new all-time high

Bitcoin price is surging in lockstep with gold as the precious metal hits a new historic high, suggesting investors are preparing for stock market turmoil.

The price of gold has broken through a new all-time high, surpassing the significant level of $2,100 during the Asian session on Monday, Dec. Meanwhile, Bitcoin (BTC) has also surged above $41,000 for the first time in 19 months. 

BTC/USD (blue) vs. gold price (orange) Source: Tradingview

Bitcoin price breaks $40K…and $41K 

Bitcoin has made a triumphant return to the $40,000 threshold, a figure unseen since the heights of April 2022.

What’s more, Bitcoin has now risen over 140% since the beginning of the year.

Insights from Matrixport’s research head, Markus Thielen, suggest an even brighter future. With historical trends of post-bear market bull cycles and upcoming Bitcoin halving events as a backdrop, projections place Bitcoin at over $60,000 by April next year and as high as $125,000 by the end of 2024.

Related: BTC price models hint at $130K target after 2024 Bitcoin halving

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Bitcoin tops $40K for first time in 19 months, Matrixport tips $125K in 2024

Bitcoin has hit a 19-month high, and Matrixport predicts it will keep climbing well into next year.

Bitcoin (BTC) has reached the $40,000 level for the first time since late April 2022, climbing around 2% in 24 hours.

Bitcoin surged from under $39,500 to strike above $40,000 on Dec. 3 to hit a 19-month high, according to CoinGecko data.

It also marks a new year-to-date high for Bitcoin, which is up over 140% since Jan.

The price of Bitcoin over the last 12 months, which has gone from under $17,000. Source: CoinGecko

In a Nov. 30 note, Matrixport research head Markus Thielen predicted that Bitcoin would hit over $60,000 by April next year and $125,000 by the end of 2024.

Thielen said the last three crypto bear markets saw a following three year bull cycle and an analysis suggested “another three years of this bull market, with 2023 being the first year.”

“Historically, the years when Bitcoin mining rewards were halved were generally bullish,” Thielen explained.

Related: Bitcoin’s top of funnel is becoming less noisy, suggests Swan Bitcoin CEO

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