This week in Crypto: Week of March 17

We cover weekly key developments in the world of crypto assets and blockchain that have influenced price action and general sentiment.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

This week in crypto

Illustration: M. M.

Investment developments

Bitcoin has seen incredible gains of over 6% in just 24 hours, reaching a high point of $26,350 on March 17, according to data from CoinGecko. Bitcoin’s price explosion occurred alongside an overall rise in the cryptocurrency markets.

This saw total market value jump over 4% to $1.17 trillion within one day, following gains seen both on U.S. stocks markets and Asian stock exchanges after major lenders J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and others agreed that $30 billion would be invested into saving First Republic Bank of America from bankruptcy – emboldening investors to continue investing in risk assets.

Furthermore, this week’s U.S. inflation data was in line with market expectations, and there are signs of it slowing down. With the recent banking issues the US faced, the Fed could potentially shift away from quantitative tightening. This could prompt renewed interest among investors in riskier investments like stocks and cryptocurrency.

Another factor that could influence Bitcoin’s market price is the threat of a global banking crisis. Banks across Europe and the U.S. face potential insolvency issues; though J.P. Morgan and state bodies have expressed support, so far, uncertainty around potential bank failures has served to fuel support for decentralized alternatives like Bitcoin.

Finally, according to data from CoinMarketCap, the global crypto market cap stands at $1.13 trillion, a 4.82% increase from March 16 to 17. Meanwhile, the total crypto market volume over the last 24 hours (March 17) is $69.19 billion, a 16.00% decrease.

The Crypto Fear and Greed Index, which uses six measurements to asses the current sentiment in the markets, shows a neutral emotion with a value of 51. The index rates market emotions from 1, extreme fear, to 100, extreme greed.

Crypto Fear & Greed Index

Crypto Fear & Greed Index. Source: Alternative

These recent readings suggest that risk appetites in crypto markets are improving. This week has seen a lot of volatility, thanks mainly to Silvergate and SVB bank implosions.

Crypto Exchange developments

A wide range of government bodies took action against Bitcoin mixer – ChipMixer, a well-known crypto platform for laundering money. The operation seized over 1,900 BTC, $46.6 million in funds, and roughly 7 TB of data. This was done thanks to the collaboration of US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Homeland Security Investigation, Department of Justice, Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office, and General Prosecutor’s Office, as well as police bureaus from Belgium, Poland, and Switzerland.

Europol claimed that Bitcoin mixer has been active since 2017 and resulted in over $2.8 billion in cryptocurrency laundered through their platform,          with the majority of the activity related to dark web markets, stolen crypto, and illegal goods trafficking. According to reports, this platform was used by hackers responsible for the Ronin Bridge and Binance hackers, which sent over 30,000 BTC combined, for “mixing.”

Web3 developments

Salesforce just launched Salesforce Web3, the newest NFT management platform available, enabling clients to build token-based loyalty programs. Salesforce Web3 offers subscription tiers that enable businesses to mint and sell NFTs as well as monitor blockchain activity.

The pilot program included 275,000 transactions for brands such as Mattel, Hot Wheels and Crown Royal.

Sven Gerjets, EVP and CTO of  Mattel, commented on their participation in the project: “Salesforce Web3 enhances our NFT collections to help us connect with customers and bring our Web2 and Web3 systems together.” It seems that more companies are joining the Web3 revolution to bridge the gap from Web3 channels to the customer experience contemporary companies are offering.

DeFi developments

Beginning March 31st, Orca, the Decentralized Crypto Exchange, will prohibit US users from trading cryptocurrency through their website. This move could have a severe impact on Solana Blockchain’s top DEX.

On March 16, Orca posted a notice on its website informing customers that it has added the United States to the regions and countries which had been previously restricted from trading on its site. However, there was no explanation provided as to why this change had taken place now.

According to DefiLlama, Orca’s trading volume exceeded $280 million during the week – nearly three times greater than on Raydium, Solana’s second-most popular decentralized finance trading venue. Orca utilizes token liquidity from its users to keep trades running smoothly. They lend their assets and receive a portion of the fee revenue. According to Orca’s notice, U.S.-based liquidity suppliers are exempt from these new restrictions.

Equally important, on March 15, Uniswap, a decentralized exchange, announced it had expanded to BNB Chain. According to daily volume, BNB is one of the most active in existence.

Earlier in February, a controversial governance plan to deploy Uniswap version 3 (v3) on BNB Chain was unanimously supported by over 55 million UNI token holders. Wormhole was chosen as Uniswap’s designated BNB Chain bridge following an overwhelming majority vote.

This expansion to BNB Chain should offer several benefits, such as user growth, reduced fees, and access to new geographical markets. Users will be able to enjoy more efficient and affordable trading options, which ultimately enhances the value proposition of BNB Chain and other prominent ecosystem tokens like BNB Coin.

This expansion means Uniswap Protocol clients can now take advantage of BNB Chain’s speed and low transaction fees to trade and exchange tokens across its platform. Furthermore, Uniswap can leverage BNB Chain’s extensive DeFi developer community, increasing awareness and adoption among institutional investors as well as retail investors with a potential new user base of 1 to 2 million.

Tech developments

Ethereum developers set April 12 as the deadline for its Shanghai Hard Fork, during All Core Development Execution Layer #157 on March 16. The Shanghai upgrade, also dubbed “Shapella,” marks Ethereum’s final transition into a proof-of-stake network and will enable staked ETH withdrawals.

Developers will vote and confirm via GitHub the Shanghai upgrade slot 6209536 is confirmed, which puts Shanghai slightly behind its initial target date for this month. In September 2022, Ethereum implemented a Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism known as the Merge. This transition saw validators take over mining duties in place of miners, with validators required to stake 32 ETH in order to approve or add blocks onto the blockchain.

Before validators joined Ethereum’s Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchain, they were made aware that their staked ETH and any rewards would remain locked up until Shanghai. Unfortunately, some funds had remained frozen since December 2022, when Ethereum’s PoS Beacon Chain went live. On April 12th, those validators can decide what to do with their stake.


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