As 2023 draws to a close, it’s time to recall this year’s major cryptocurrency events, including high-profile arrests and regulatory triumphs. With its share of ups and downs, the crypto landscape has continued to evolve, bringing new challenges and opportunities. Let’s embrace the holiday spirit and take a stroll through the most notable cryptocurrency events of 2023.
10. PayPal launches its own stablecoin (August)
Starting our countdown at number ten, PayPal has launched its own stablecoin, PayPal USD (PYUSD), marking a significant milestone in its cryptocurrency journey since first committing to the space in 2020. Pegged to the US dollar and issued by Paxos Trust, PYUSD aims to improve the adoption of digital tokens for payments. This launch follows PayPal’s previous initiatives, including allowing US customers to buy, sell and hold certain cryptocurrencies and use them for payments with global merchants.
9. Bill Gates rejects Web3 (January)
At number nine, Bill Gates expressed skepticism about Web3 and cryptography, arguing that AI is a bigger technological change. Gates, known for his cautious stance on crypto, has advised against investing heavily in trends such as Web3 and the Metaverse. Recalling the dot-com bubble, he highlighted the potential long-term impact of new technologies, which may not be immediately apparent. Gates’ comments in January align with his previous critical views on crypto and NFTs, focusing on issues such as Bitcoin’s high energy consumption.
8. USDC Disengagement (March)
Eighth place is taken by the USDC stablecoin’s delisting of its 1:1 dollar value in March, a significant event in the stablecoin space that highlighted the fragility of digital currencies amid traditional banking upheaval. This depreciation, with values falling as much as 94 cents on Kraken, has been attributed to the fallout from the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. Concerns arose as an undisclosed portion of USDC liquidity reserves were held by the failed bank.
7. Is Kwon imprisoned (March)
In March, South Korean officials confirmed the arrest of Terra founder Do Kwon in Montenegro. This follows the collapse of stablecoin TerraUSD and Luna token. An arrest warrant was issued by Seoul prosecutors and Kwon was listed on the Interpol Red Notice. Despite his claims of not hiding, Kwon was discovered to have fled to Serbia.
6. The launch of Shibarium (August)
At number six, the Shiba Inu ecosystem expanded with the launch of Shibarium in August, a development that, despite initial challenges, demonstrated the potential of layer 2 Ethereum networks to improve transaction efficiency.
Shibarium, an Ethereum layer 2 network supported by SHIB tokens, aims to facilitate faster, more affordable and private off-chain transactions while leveraging the security of the Ethereum blockchain.
The network’s launch was initially marred by software bugs. After a difficult start, the Shibarium network has experienced a remarkable recovery. The number of daily transactions and wallet addresses increased significantly by the end of 2023, with the total number of transactions exceeding 200 million.
5. Sam Bankman-Fried sentenced (November)
Halfway through our countdown, Sam Bankman-Fried’s conviction in November on multiple criminal charges, including securities fraud and money laundering, marks an important moment of accountability in the crypto exchange industry.
Prosecutors demonstrated that he and his top lieutenants secretly diverted billions of dollars in client assets from FTX to Alameda Research, a private trading company he also controlled. The trial exposed Bankman-Fried’s manipulation of funds for personal and political purposes, contrasting sharply with her public persona. He faces decades in prison.
4. BlackRock files Spot Bitcoin ETF (July)
Moving on to number four, BlackRock’s filing for a spot Bitcoin ETF set a precedent in the asset management industry, signaling the growing acceptance of cryptocurrencies among traditional financial institutions.
This development of such a large company has created a realistic possibility that the SEC will approve such an ETF. This action set a precedent, encouraging other companies to follow suit. The SEC is widely expected to approve a spot Bitcoin ETF in early January.
3. Bitcoin (BTC) price approaches $45,000 (December)
One of the most important events in the world of cryptocurrencies in 2023 was the remarkable surge in the value of Bitcoin, with an increase of 157.06%. This rally was highlighted by Bitcoin surpassing the important $44,000 mark, marking a substantial rebound and attracting considerable attention from investors and crypto market analysts. This achievement not only highlights Bitcoin’s resilience and continued relevance in the digital currency space.
2. The fall of CZ (November)
Second, Changpeng Zhao’s decision to resign and plead guilty to violations of U.S. anti-money laundering law marked the end of an era. The move was part of a major deal to protect the cryptocurrency giant. Binance agreed to admit criminal misconduct and pay a $4.3 billion fine to settle criminal and civil charges.
1. Ripple wins SEC lawsuit (July)
Ripple’s significant legal victory against the SEC in July overtook our countdown to 2023. U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres ruled that Ripple Labs Inc’s sale of XRP tokens on public exchanges did not violate federal law on securities. This is a groundbreaking victory for Ripple and the entire cryptocurrency industry.
This legal victory for Ripple had a significant impact, leading to XRP being relisted on various cryptocurrency exchanges.
The court not only denied the regulator’s request for an interlocutory appeal, but also dropped charges against Ripple executives Brad Garlinghouse and Chris Larsen.
Let us look forward to 2024 and with the wisdom gleaned from the past year. Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year to the crypto community!