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SBF legal fees, BTC market cap flips Meta,USDC climbs back to $1

Top Stories This Week

Sam Bankman-Fried petitions court to prioritize reimbursing his legal fees

Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) is seeking to use FTX’s corporate insurance policies to cover his legal expenses, according to a court filing on March 15. As per the filing, the policies provide “priority of payment” to insured individuals such as Bankman-Fried. The move would put the former CEO on top of the FTX payout list. Another headline shows that Bankman-Fried’s inner circle received $3.2 billion in payments and loans from FTX-linked entities. The amounts exclude over $240 million used for the purchases of luxury properties in the Bahamas, political and charity donations, as well as “substantial transfers” to non-FTX subsidiaries. In another headline, FTX debtors reported $11.6 billion in claims and $4.8 billion in assets, meaning there’s a $6.8 billion hole in the exchange’s balance sheet.

Signature Bank closed by New York regulators for not providing data

Crypto-friendly Signature Bank was officially closed down and taken over by the New York Department of Financial Services on March 12 for “failing to provide consistent and reliable data.” The bank has been investigated by two United States government bodies over whether it took adequate measures to monitor and detect potential money laundering by its clients. Former member of the U.S. House of Representatives Barney Frank suggested that New York regulators closed Signature as part of a seeming show of force against the crypto market.

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USDC bounces back toward $1 peg after Fed announcement

Circle’s stablecoin, USD Coin (USDC), climbed back to its $1 peg following positive developments concerning Circle’s $3.3 billion worth of reserves held at Silicon Valley Bank and its new banking partners: redemptions of USDC will now be processed by Cross River Bank and BNY Mellon. The stablecoin depegged from the U.S. dollar on March 10 following SVB’s sudden collapse, triggering the depeg of many other stablecoins. The stablecoins’ depegging prompted a growth in loan repayments over the weekend, allowing debtors to save more than $100 million on loans.

US Fed announces $25B in funding to backstop banks

United States federal regulators announced “decisive actions” that would “fully protect depositors” at both Silicon Valley Bank and the now-shuttered Signature Bank, including $25 billion worth of funding aimed at backstopping banks and other depository firms. The Federal Reserve is investigating the failure of Silicon Valley Bank — including an internal probe as to how the Fed supervised and regulated the financial institution. Amid the sudden collapse, SVB’s U.K. arm was acquired by HSBC for 1 British pound ($1.21), with loans of 5.5 billion pounds ($6.7 billion) and deposits of 6.7 billion pounds ($8.1 billion).

Bitcoin market cap flips tech giant Meta, widens gap on Visa

Despite a turbulent week for crypto following the downfall of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, Bitcoin’s market cap has managed to flip that of tech giant Meta. On March 14, Bitcoin’s market cap reached $471.86 billion, surpassing Meta’s $469 billion, according to data from Companies Market Cap. The leading cryptocurrency climbed to the 11th spot among top assets by market cap, sitting behind electric vehicle maker Tesla. The market capitalization of Bitcoin has added over $190 billion in 2023, outperforming top Wall Street bank stocks, particularly as fears of a global banking crisis are rising.

Winners and Losers

At the end of the week, Bitcoin (BTC) is at $27,571, Ether (ETH) at $1,823 and XRP at $0.38. The total market cap is at $1.18 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are Conflux (CFX) at 186.02%, Mask Network (MASK) at 120.56% and Stacks (STX) at 102.97%.

The top three altcoin losers of the week are UNUS SED LEO (LEO) at -2.22%, Tether (USDT) at -0.35% and Binance USD (BUSD) at -0.16%.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

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Most Memorable Quotations

“The recent shutdowns of financial institutions may be the opportunity for crypto to reach mass adoption.”

Johnny Lyu, CEO of KuCoin

“We believe that elements of the future of finance will be blockchain enabled and we’re already witnessing rapid change in the tokenisation market.”

Drew Bradford, executive general manager, markets at the National Australia Bank

“Major adoption by mainstream businesses and their consumers is right around the corner thanks to recent developments in scaling and privacy technology.”

Mark Smargon, CEO of Fuse Network

“Drop the blockchain/NFT/play-to-earn (P2E)/metaverse/Web3 talk. […] They [players] just want to have an entertaining playing experience — not a science lesson.”

Peter Bergstrom, former producer of Age of Empires and CEO of BitBlock Ventures

“We are going to have a credit crunch in the U.S. and globally. […] You want to be long gold and silver […] and you want to be long Bitcoin.”

Michael Novogratz, founder and CEO of Galaxy Digital

“I believe regulators are using crypto as a scapegoat for their own lapses in oversight of traditional banking.”

Cathie Wood, CEO of ARK Invest

Prediction of the Week 

Bitcoin price hits $27K in new 9-month high as Fed injects $300B

Bitcoin hit new nine-month highs on March 17 as the latest events in the U.S. banking crisis boosted crypto markets. Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView showed BTC/USD hitting $27,025 on Bitstamp before consolidating. A catalyst for fresh upside had come overnight in the form of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet data, which showed almost $300 billion being injected into the economy as part of the banking crisis response.

Cointelegraph contributor Michaël van de Poppe, founder and CEO of trading firm Eight, eyed specific levels up and down.

“Chopperino land on Bitcoin, which means that we’ll probably have some sideways structures,” he wrote on Twitter. “Needs to hold $26K. If that holds, $28–30K is next. If it loses $26K, I’m punting around $25K for some longs. Relatively easy to understand.”

FUD of the Week 

Euler Finance hacked for over $195M in a flash loan attack

Lending protocol Eurler Finance faced a flash loan attack on March 13. The exploiter carried out multiple transactions, stealing nearly $196 million in stablecoins DAI and USDC, as well as staked Ether and wrapped Bitcoin. The attack was dubbed the largest hack of 2023 so far. A portion of the stolen funds started to be transferred to crypto mixer Tornado Cash shortly after a $1 million bounty was launched to identify the hacker. As of March 18, only a small portion of the funds had been recovered — around 3,000 Ether ($5.4 million).

Europol seizes $46M from crypto mixer after $2.88B allegedly laundered

Law enforcement agency Europol has seized assets of cryptocurrency mixer ChipMixer worth $46 million for its alleged involvement in money-laundering activities. ChipMixer’s website has been shut down and four servers hosting the application have been seized. Europol claims that ChipMixer has laundered over 152,000 BTC ($2.88 billion) since its inception in 2017.

FBI, NY authorities probes collapse of TerraUSD stablecoin

The U.S. Justice Department is reportedly investigating the collapse of the TerraClassicUSD (USTC) stablecoin, which contributed to a $40 billion wipeout in the Terra ecosystem last May. Former staff at Terraform Labs have been interrogated in recent weeks by U.S. agencies, including the FBI. The probe covers similar ground to a lawsuit filed against Terraform Labs and its founder Do Kwon by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in February, including misleading investors.

Best Cointelegraph Features

4 out of 10 NFT sales are fake: Learn to spot the signs of wash trading

NFT wash trading inflates the volume on some platforms by 10x–20x the legitimate volume. Why is it encouraged, and what can be done about it?

All rise for the robot judge: AI and blockchain could transform the courtroom

Do the developers of legal bots have sufficient knowledge and experience of the law? Is the data used to “train” their algorithms timely? Will critical evidence be filtered out?

Crypto winter can take a toll on hodlers’ mental health

The relentless bear market, a string of high-profile criminal charges and the fall of trusted institutions have taken their toll on those actively involved in the crypto industry.

Editorial Staff

Cointelegraph Magazine writers and reporters contributed to this article.

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