Weekly recap: Bitcoin, Binance, Ethereum, Solana… the crypto news you shouldn’t miss!

Week after week, the world of crypto continues to captivate and redefine the contours of digital finance and blockchain technology. This week was no exception, bringing its share of major developments, innovations and surprises. In our weekly recap, we dive into the most impactful and influential stories that have shaped the crypto ecosystem. From the SEC’s historic approval of Bitcoin Spot ETFs, to Standard Chartered’s bold Bitcoin price prediction, to Binance Pay’s resilience in the face of regulatory challenges, to ETF prospects for Ethereum and XRP, and explosion of development activity on Solana, we will review the highlights of the past week.

ETF Bitcoin Spot: The SEC says Yes!

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken a historic step by finally approving Spot ETFs for Bitcoin. This decision, long awaited by investors, marks a crucial turning point in the history of Bitcoin. Financial giants such as VanEck, Fidelity and BlackRock now have their way to offering innovative investment opportunities in Bitcoin. This approval is the result of a change in position by the SEC, which had previously rejected more than 20 Bitcoin ETF proposals. A ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia played a key role, challenging the SEC’s previous refusals and paving the way for this new era.

However, the impact of this approval on the Bitcoin market was not as dramatic as expected. The price of Bitcoin had already incorporated this news, having experienced a constant increase in previous weeks. The announcement did not cause a major upheaval in the price of Bitcoin, but rather led to a significant rise in altcoins. Although the future of Bitcoin with Spot ETFs remains uncertain, it is undeniably promising, paving the way for further integration into the traditional financial system.

Bitcoin at $200,000? Standard Chartered anticipates a big leap

Standard Chartered Bank, a renowned financial institution, predicts a dramatic rise in the price of Bitcoin, potentially reaching $100,000 this year and doubling to $200,000 by the end of 2025. This bold prediction is backed by approval recent release of Bitcoin ETFs by the SEC, an event that the bank considers a watershed moment for the normalization of institutional investor participation in the Bitcoin market. Based on the history of the SPDR Gold Shares ETF (GLD), the first gold-backed ETF, Standard Chartered draws a parallel between the impact of this ETF on the gold market and the potential Bitcoin ETFs in the crypto market. The GLD, launched in 2004, saw an inflow of $88 billion in its first year.

The bank believes that Bitcoin could see growth similar to that of gold after the introduction of GLD, but at a faster rate. According to their projections, between 400,000 and 1.3 million bitcoins could be held by ETFs by the end of 2024, representing a value of $50 billion to $100 billion.

Binance Pay: Triumph in the face of the regulatory storm

In 2023, Binance Pay has demonstrated impressive resilience and growth despite a challenging regulatory environment. The platform recorded a trading volume of $77 billion, marking a 71% increase from the previous year. This remarkable performance is accompanied by a 70% growth in its user base and demonstrates the growing adoption of cryptos for payments. Binance Pay has not only successfully navigated the complex regulatory landscape but has also redefined possibilities in the cryptocurrency payments space. Through innovative features and strategic partnerships, Binance Pay has expanded its influence across various industries.

Binance Pay has established itself as a pillar of crypto adoption, revolutionizing the financial sector, including integrating cryptocurrencies into salary payments and loyalty programs. These initiatives have contributed to wider adoption of these assets across various sectors.

Bitcoin 2024: Between initial momentum and predictable fall

Matrixport, a company expert in crypto investment products, predicts an eventful 2024 for Bitcoin. In January, Bitcoin is expected to see an impressive +17% rise, from $42,265 to $49,450. However, this rise would be fleeting. From March, a significant fall is expected, with a -14% depreciation, bringing Bitcoin to around $36,350. A rapid rise followed by a steep fall.

At the same time, trading signals indicate short-term weakness for Bitcoin, with an anticipated decline of -7% in the coming two weeks. Bitcoin, always unpredictable, continues to captivate the attention of investors and crypto enthusiasts, promising a year 2024 full of twists and turns.

Banking Restrictions on Bitcoin ETFs in the United States

The introduction of Bitcoin ETFs marked an all-time high with over $4.5 billion in first-day volume, involving major players like Blackrock, Fidelity and Tempelton. However, a surprising development emerged: millions of Americans found themselves unable to purchase these Bitcoin ETFs. Major US banks, such as Vanguard, have refused to offer Bitcoin ETFs to their clients, citing Bitcoin’s high volatility as contrary to their goal of generating positive long-term real returns.

Banks’ refusal to allow access to Bitcoin ETFs has created a stark distinction between wealthy clients and everyone else. Banks like UBS and Merrill Lynch have restricted access to Bitcoin ETFs only to their wealthiest clients, with high investment thresholds. This situation led to frustrations among ordinary customers, with many of them choosing to close their accounts with Vanguard. Gabor Gurbacs, an advisor at Tether and Vaneck, suggested that banks may simply need time to onboard the new ETFs, but the immediate impact of these restrictions remains significant for many U.S. investors.

🌐 Ethereum and XRP: Next on the ETF list?

Steve McClurg, chief investment officer at Valkyrie Funds, expressed optimism in an interview with Bloomberg about the imminent approval of Spot ETFs for Ripple and Ethereum following the Bitcoin ETF. This regulatory breakthrough is seen as a major positive signal for the crypto sector and paves the way for broader adoption of financial vehicles directly backed by cryptos.

McClurg highlights the growing interest among investors to diversify their investments in cryptocurrencies. He cites the example of Grayscale, which recently added Ripple to one of its publicly traded trusts. These financial vehicles, focused on the general public, facilitate access to cryptos for novice investors. However, McClurg acknowledges that the regulatory approval process remains unpredictable and that nothing is completely certain yet.

Solana: Explosive growth with 2,500 active developers

The Solana blockchain stands out in the crypto space with impressive growth, recording a 50% increase in developer retention over the past three months. With more than 2,500 monthly active developers, Solana demonstrates the robustness and vitality of its ecosystem. This significant increase, reflecting increased activity on the network, is a powerful indicator of the health of Solana, which is positioned among the largest crypto blockchains. It is important to note that these figures focus only on contributions to public deposits. At the same time, this growth in developer retention coincides with a dramatic increase in activity across Solana’s crypto ecosystem. The SOL crypto saw a meteoric rise of 500% between October and December, driven by the hype surrounding SOL-based memecoin cryptos, propelling SOL to temporarily surpass BNB in ​​terms of market capitalization.

However, despite this impressive growth, data from Developer Report indicates some decline in activity on Solana for a period. As of October 1, the number of developers was just 946, down from the all-time high of 2,634 reached on December 22, 2022. In comparison, the total number of monthly active developers on Ethereum stood at 4,769 on October 1, 2023, showing a 22% decline from its peak of 7,433 reached on June 16, 2022.

This is the main thing to remember for this week. But if you want a more detailed recap and in-depth analysis straight to your inbox, feel free to subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

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