5 January

“Staked ETH withdrawals, scalability and more cool events are on the horizon for Ethereum. Staked ether withdrawals will be the most pressing issue that Ethereum developers will tackle.

Withdrawals are as good as done. All that is left to do is to test the code that enables withdrawals, which should be mostly done by February/March.

Another item that Ethereum developers are hoping to address is “proto-danksharding”. Danksharding takes this same principle of splitting a network into shards, but instead of providing more space for transactions, it provides more space for “blobs” of data, allowing Ethereum to process more data. Developers agreed to push proto-danksharding to an upgrade scheduled for the fall.

Proto-danksharding has the potential to onboard millions of users and truly provide scalability to Ethereum.”

The exchange’s market share was just 45% at the start of last year, but the elimination of trading fees in June, not to mention the collapse of rival FTX in November, served to push users to Binance.

No matter how you look at it in terms of trading activity, Binance is the crypto market. After lifting trading fees for its BTC spot pairs this summer, Binance completely overtook all market share in the spot market.

While Binance has been by far the biggest crypto exchange by trading volume for several years, these and other numbers suggest monopoly-like dominance. A report from CryptoCompare showed Binance’s overall year-end crypto market share was 66.7%. Coinbase (COIN) came in second with a relatively tiny 8.2%. A market share this high could become problematic for the industry if Binance were to encounter any issues, whether regulatory or mistrust from users.

It is not healthy to have so much of the trading volume concentrated with any one exchange.

Binance is currently under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department over compliance with anti-money laundering laws and sanctions. The exchange also recently lost its auditor, Mazars Group, which announced a pause in its work with crypto exchanges looking to produce proof-of-reserves.”

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A total of $3.85 billion was shifted from February through October from local to international crypto exchanges. The Esya Centre report found that domestic exchanges lost 81% of their trading volumes in four months after the imposition of the much debated 1% TDS rule.

The report provides the first monetary estimate of the impact of India’s controversial crypto tax policy on domestic exchanges. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government announced a 30% tax on crypto profits and a 1% tax deducted at source (TDS) on all transactions on Feb. 1, 2022.

The report said that India’s virtual digital-asset (VDA) industry is “crippled under the current tax architecture” and that the “baseline scenario” under the current structure is that “almost all” Indian centralized VDA users will move to a foreign exchange. Esya predicted that “centralized exchange businesses would become unviable” in India if the current trend continues.

We anticipate a commensurately large negative impact on tax revenues, as well as a decrease in transaction traceability – which defeats the two central goals of the extant policy architecture. The current tax architecture may lead to a loss of approximately $1.2 trillion of local exchange trade volume in the next four years.”

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“The allegations of criminal violations of campaign finance laws were new and unexpected. Interestingly, these allegations go far beyond the basic fact that SBF used stolen customer funds to make these contributions.

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney in Manhattan, provided some fascinating details about the campaign finance count in his press conference, including that SBF made illegal campaign contributions totaling in the “tens of millions of dollars.” He further explained these enormous illegal contributions were disguised to look as if they were coming from, what Williams called, SBF’s “wealthy co-conspirators.” In other words, SBF used “straw donors” to conceal the source of some of his campaign contributions to evade federal contribution limits. That’s illegal.

If these bombshell allegations are proven, what would be the implications?

First, the federal campaign finance laws make clear that straw donors could themselves be criminally liable as well. This should send a shiver down the spines of these as-yet unnamed wealthy co-conspirators.

Second, if the allegations are proven, it would mean that all published reports of how much SBF contributed to political campaigns in 2020, and in the 2022 midterms, are significantly understated. If the “tens of millions of dollars” is true, this case would go down as one of the largest straw donor campaign finance fraud cases of all time.

Third, the obvious question an inquiring journalist should be asking is: Did the Biden 2020 campaign also receive illegal campaign contributions through SBF’s network of “wealthy co-conspirators?”

Finally, if the allegations in the indictment are true, it would be logical to scrutinize SBF’s politically active mother – Barbara Fried. Barbara Fried was the co-founder of a secretive super PAC called Mind the Gap that directed substantial contributions to Democratic candidates in this time period. Could Barbara Fried’s PAC have been a recipient of some of her son’s illegal campaign cash?

“In its filing, the SEC questioned the adequacy of the information in Binance.US’s disclosure statement, specifically details on the ability of the crypto exchange to “consummate a transaction of this magnitude,” as well as how Binance.US intends to secure customer assets and details on how Binance.US would rebalance its cryptocurrency portfolio.

The SEC said it has communicated its concerns to Binance.US’s counsel, and has been told that a revised disclosure statement will be filed prior to the next hearing on the motions. Voyager plans to seek the approval of the bankruptcy court for the sales of its assets at a hearing on Jan. 5.

Separately, the Texas State Securities Board and the Texas Department of Banking filed an objection to the sale because they claim Voyager and Binance.US are ‘not in compliance with Texas law and are not authorized to conduct business in Texas.'”

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A modification was made to FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s bond agreement on Tuesday, prohibiting him from accessing or transferring funds related to FTX or Alameda Research as a new condition of his bail.

The amendment follows activity involving Alameda-linked wallets that took place last week. Just days after Bankman-Fried was released on bail, around $1.7 million worth of cryptocurrencies linked to Alameda was transferred to coin mixers.”

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