We have to admit it: this wasn’t a great month for Bitcoin (BTC). For the first time since December 2020, we didn’t see new records for it. However, that doesn’t mean everything was bad. Some altcoins not only survived the bloodbath but showed new All-Time-Highs (ATH). Besides, there was some other good news in the cryptocurrency world last May.
On the markets
- Bitcoin price has decreased by over 43% since its last ATH in April. That’s likely because of the rejection by Tesla due to environmental concerns, and the last (and negative) measures applied by China against cryptocurrency payments and Bitcoin mining. Despite this, according to some analysts, the Bitcoin bull run might continue soon.
- Contrary to Bitcoin, some altcoins remained bullish this month. Cardano (ADA) reached a new All-Time-High (ATH) of over $2.4, while it had two improvement updates this year. Monero (XMR) made it too, with $517 per coin, probably due to an important adoption growth. It’s lost 48% by now, though. Chainlink (LINK) joined the list as well, with over $52 per coin, before losing 42% so far.
Ethereum (ETH) and Dogecoin (DOGE) followed the same trend. The first one surpassed the awesome mark of $4,360 per coin for the first time, while DOGE reached a peak of $0.73 per coin. Since then, ETH has lost around 39%, and Dogecoin over 49% [CoinMarketCap]. The adoption growth for both of them is still there, though.
- For the first time, the total cryptocurrency market capitalization reached $2.5 trillion last month. It’s lost 36% by now, but it’s on its way to recover. At the same time, the new cryptocurrency Internet Computer Protocol (ICP) from Dfinity Network deserves special mention. It reached a market capitalization of over $45b in two days after launch and entered briefly in the global top ten. It quickly reached $737 per coin, if now it’s lost over 85%.
- The total value locked on DeFi projects suffered a plunge of over 43% last month [DeFi Pulse]. Luckily, it’s already on its way to recovery. The total market capitalization for this sector is over $84.5 so far, according to CryptoSlate.
- NFT mania continues. There were over $247m in NFTs sales last month [Non-Fungible], while the total market capitalization is over $17.6 billion [CoinGecko]. The list of household names and artists worldwide making NFTs is only growing as more time passes. Star Wars, Meriam Webster, Floyd Mayweather, Stan Lee, GameStop, and even the deceased Andy Warhol (sponsored by the auction house Christie’s) are included. Fox Entertainment is preparing its own NFT market as well.
Hacks and security
- The wallet MetaMask was under a phishing attack. Some malicious actors on social networks tried to lure the users with a Google Docs form, to supposedly find support. Instead, they were snatching the private keys. Likewise, the gamers looking for the website of MSI Afterburner might be tricked by some hackers. They prepared a fake version of it to introduce crypto-stealing malware.
- WallStreetBets, Elon Musk, and the show Saturday Night Live (SNL) also suffered crypto-phishing. The first one launched a new DeFi platform this month, and some hackers took advantage of it by preparing a fake pre-sale on Telegram. For its part, Elon Musk did a special appearance in SNL, talking about Dogecoin. So, the hackers stole some old verified Twitter accounts, changed the name to SNL, and pretended to sponsor a (fake) crypto-giveaway with Elon Musk.
- The Colonial Pipeline suffered a high-profile ransomware attack. This is the American oil pipeline system in charge of around 45% of the East Coast’s supply of diesel, petrol, and jet fuel. Therefore, the estate of emergency was declared quickly in the country, and U.S. President Biden signed an executive order to improve federal cybersecurity. The hackers got paid 75 BTC (around $5m) to release the system.
- DeFi hacks, far from stopping, suffered an important increase this month. At least nine DeFi platforms were hacked, and most of them came from Binance Smart Chain (BSC). We have in the gloomy list Spartan ($30m hacked), bEarn ($11m), BurgerSwap ($7.2m), Rari Capital ($10m), xToken ($24m), FinNexus ($7.6m), PancakeBunny ($45m), Bogged Finance ($3.6m), and Belt Finance ($6.2m). Most incidents are flash-loan attacks and have a similar modus operandi. So, it’s believed that they’re connected.
Worldwide regulations and laws
- The battle SEC vs. Ripple continued with some victories for the crypto-company last month. The Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn denied the SEC access to Ripple’s legal communications. On the other hand, she allowed the right for foreign assistance to the SEC.
Meanwhile, Ripple hasn’t stopped. The company forged partnerships with banks in Egypt and Oman, and also with sustainability leaders to become carbon zero by 2030. XRP Ledger added support for NFTs, and Ripple CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, stated that they’re aiming to go public on Wall Street once the SEC lawsuit is resolved.
- Beyond Ripple, the SEC has caused around $2 billion in losses for crypto-companies in seven years [Cornerstone Research]. The last target isn’t even Ripple, but several promoters behind the infamous crypto-scam BitConnect. This one is considered one of the largest crypto-scams in history.
- An official from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) stated that cryptocurrencies can be seized to pay off past-due tax debts. Besides, they’re now asking financial institutions (including cryptocurrency exchanges) to report transactions of over 10,000 USD. For the next year, that could even include transactions of over 600 USD.
- Iran banned the trading of cryptocurrencies mined in foreign lands. This is barely a formality since the general crypto-trading is already banned in there. Additionally, the government banned temporarily the Bitcoin mining for 4 months, due to the current problems in the country’s electricity production.
Meanwhile, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has told banks that blocking or not cryptocurrency-related transactions is up to them. A new regulatory committee it’s being formed to study proper laws for cryptocurrencies in the country.
- Hong Kong issued a proposal to ban retail cryptocurrency trading. For his part, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) assured that cryptocurrencies will have a place in the country. Since February, the government has set a banking ban over cryptos. Now, they’re apparently lifting that ban.
- The United Kingdom is paying more attention to cryptocurrency-related ads because, according to several lawsuits, they can be fraudulent. At the same time, some high-profile British banks are temporarily banning cryptocurrency-related transactions due to crime fears.
In Spain, the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) allowed Bitcoin investments for funds. The government is also working on new laws for cryptocurrency custody services.
- The stablecoin by Facebook, Diem, has withdrawn its application to get a license in Switzerland. Instead, they partnered with the American bank Silvergate Capital to issue the stablecoin pegged to USD. The project is still pending release for late 2021.
- Some alliances to mine Bitcoin with renewables are appearing. DMG Blockchain Solutions and Argo Blockchain joined to promote digital mining with green energies. Not long after, Elon Musk himself, along with Michael Saylor (MicroStrategy CEO), started a new initiative to mine Bitcoin only with renewables.
- Cryptocurrency trading is now supported by the Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (Dafza). This jurisdiction signed an agreement with the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) “to support the regulation, offering, issuance, listing, and trading of crypto assets within the free zone”, especially for tourists.