Sunday, 3rd December 2023

Bitcoin breaks above $30,000 after BlackRocks ETF news

By Guardian Nigeria
25 June 2023   |   12:23 am
This week we have witnessed many exhilarating twists and turns in the cryptocurrency landscape. From Bitcoin's soaring highs

This week we have witnessed many exhilarating twists and turns in the cryptocurrency landscape. From Bitcoin’s soaring highs spurred by BlackRock’s ambitious venture into the crypto ETF realm to the SEC’s hard-hitting scrutiny of crypto behemoths like Binance and Coinbase. We’ll also shed light on the profound principles at the core of the crypto revolution – the need for self-custody and financial privacy. So, whether you’re a seasoned crypto enthusiast or a curious newcomer, this exploration promises to unravel the complexities of this dynamic, ever-evolving digital asset world, reminding us why we got into this fascinating game in the first place.

This week Bitcoin, the reigning monarch of the crypto realm, scored a more than one-year high. Now, isn’t that something to write home about? This dazzling climb rounded off a week of sprightly gains, credited, in part, to the charming BlackRock’s scheme to roll out a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) – right under the discerning gaze of U.S. regulators who seem to be developing a rather keen interest in the digital asset sector.

BlackRock, the unrivalled titan of asset management, put forth paperwork last week to bring iShares Bitcoin Trust into existence. A shiny new ETF, with none other than Coinbase Custody as its custodian, handpicked to provide institutional investors with a taste of the tantalising world of cryptocurrency.

Earlier this week, EDX Markets, a crypto exchange backed by formidable investment firms Charles Schwab, Fidelity, and Citadel Securities, declared it would enable trading on certain cryptocurrencies. While some might dub this the “game-changer,” I like to think of it as a much-needed shot in the arm for cryptocurrencies, which were a tad under the weather following a string of distressing meltdowns from crypto firms – including the sudden, spectacular collapse of the exchange FTX late last year.

Darkening the clouds, the digital currency market has been under the cosh of escalating regulatory scrutiny. Take, for instance, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s recent salvo – lawsuits against the crypto titans Coinbase Global and Binance. The SEC charges them with breaking its rules, allegations that Coinbase and Binance fervently dispute.

The SEC goes after Binance and Coinbase

Just as we were starting to get comfy, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), with its now-famous penchant for spoiling the party, took aim at the pulsating heart of the cryptocurrency universe. What’s that in their crosshairs, you ask? Why, the crypto exchange Binance and its ever-resilient founder, Changpeng Zhao.

Accusing them of running a “web of deception,” the SEC charged Zhao and his exchange with a baker’s dozen of offences. Picture this: a classic game of cat and mouse, where the regulators, armed with their magnifying glasses, sniff out the discrepancies in the crypto wonderland.

One of the SEC’s most scathing allegations is that Binance and Zhao never truly separated the US company from its US exchange spin-off. Binance.US, playing the innocent, claimed to have put up a digital wall, barring its customers from trading on since 2019. But wait, the SEC has a twist in the tale – they allege that Binance and Zhao cleverly outwitted their own controls, enabling high-value US customers to continue trading on the platform in secret.

It gets juicier. While Binance.US was donning the mask of an independent trading platform for US investors, the SEC claims Zhao was the puppeteer controlling this operation from behind the scenes. Among the ‘forbidden fruits’ offered to its US customers were commodity derivatives – essentially gambling chips for betting on cryptocurrency prices.

It’s evident that the SEC has developed a taste for this crypto crackdown. Their resolve was only strengthened by the collapse of FTX last year, leading to charges against its founder. Now, even Coinbase has been dragged into the fray, accused of operating as an “unregistered broker, exchange and clearing agency.”

As we marvel at these unfolding events, one can’t help but ask: does Blackrock’s foray into the crypto arena have anything to do with this? A mere coincidence or something more, you decide.

Core Values of Cryptocurrencies 

The core ethos of cryptocurrency, if you will, revolves around the concept of not requiring intermediaries. This notion shines a spotlight on two critical practices for crypto users: self-custody and financial privacy.

Let’s start with self-custody. The term might seem to carry a degree of gravitas, and rightly so. It essentially means taking charge of one’s crypto assets. Think of it as being your own bank, sans the brick-and-mortar facade. You’re not entrusting your hard-earned digital assets to a third party. Instead, you’re securing them in your personal wallet, with private keys only you control. This practice arms users with unprecedented control over their assets, a virtue that’s both empowering and necessitates a heightened sense of responsibility. Moreover, it strengthens the overall integrity of the blockchain ecosystem by minimizing single points of failure – no centralized entities to fall victim to hackers or insolvency.

The second practice, financial privacy, is where platforms like come into play. In the world where digital footprints are as revealing as physical ones, maintaining financial privacy is paramount. Tornado Cash, a non-custodial privacy solution on Ethereum, helps users achieve just that.

Operating on a sophisticated principle of cryptographic anonymity, Tornado Cash obfuscates the on-chain link between source and destination addresses. When a user deposits coins into the Tornado Pool, the platform issues a proof, a cryptographic testament of the transaction. Later, a new, unrelated address can make a withdrawal using this proof, effectively breaking the link between the sender and receiver addresses. This mechanism ensures that your transactions remain anonymous and untraceable, providing a crucial layer of privacy in the otherwise transparent ecosystem of public blockchains.

Why is this necessary, you ask? Well, consider this. Blockchain’s transparency, while an asset, can sometimes become a liability. Every transaction is recorded and can potentially be traced back to you, jeopardizing your financial privacy. Using Tornado Cash or similar platforms gives you an extra layer of privacy, allowing you to use your digital assets without leaving a trail of breadcrumbs.

As we delve deeper into the enigmatic world of cryptocurrencies, remember this – it’s not just about riding the wave of price volatility. It’s about embracing the transformative principles underpinning the technology: self-sovereignty, financial freedom, and privacy. After all, isn’t that what the crypto revolution is all about?