As 2023 comes to a close, it is time to recall this year’s top cryptocurrency events, including high-profile arrests and regulatory triumphs. With its fair 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 step in its cryptocurrency journey since first engaging with the space in 2020. Pegged to the U.S. dollar and issued by Paxos Trust, PYUSD aims to enhance digital token adoption for payments. This launch followed PayPal’s earlier initiatives, including enabling U.S. customers to buy, sell and hold select cryptocurrencies and use them for payments at global merchants.
9. Bill Gates rejects Web3 (January)
At number nine, Bill Gates expressed skepticism about Web3 and crypto, arguing that AI is a more significant technological shift. Gates, known for his cautious stance on crypto, advised against heavily investing in trends like Web3 and metaverse. Recalling the dot-com bubble, he emphasized the potential long-term impact of new technologies, which may not be immediately apparent. Gates’ January comments align with his previous critical views on crypto and NFTs, focusing on issues like Bitcoin’s high energy consumption.
8. The depegging of USDC (March)
Eighth place is taken by the USDC stablecoin’s depegging from its 1-to-1 dollar value in March, a significant event in the stablecoin arena that underscored the fragility of digital currencies amid traditional banking upheavals. This depegging, with values dropping as low as 94 cents on Kraken, was attributed to the fallout from Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse. Concerns arose as an undisclosed portion of USDC’s cash reserves were held at the failed bank.
7. Do Kwon getting jailed (March)
In March, South Korean officials confirmed the arrest of Terra founder Do Kwon in Montenegro. This followed the collapse of TerraUSD stablecoin and Luna token. An arrest warrant was issued by Seoul prosecutors, and Kwon was on Interpol’s red notice. Despite his claims of not hiding, it was discovered that Kwon had 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, showcased the potential of Ethereum layer-2 networks to enhance transaction efficiency.
Shibarium, an Ethereum layer-2 network supported by SHIB tokens, aims to facilitate faster, more affordable, and private transactions off-chain while leveraging the security of the Ethereum blockchain.
The network’s launch was initially marred by software bugs. Following a rocky start, the Shibarium network saw a remarkable recovery. The number of daily transactions and wallet addresses surged dramatically in late 2023, with the total number of transactions surpassing 200 million.
5. Sam Bankman-Fried getting convicted (November)
Midway through our countdown, the conviction of Sam Bankman-Fried in November for multiple criminal charges, including securities fraud and money laundering, marks a significant moment of accountability in the crypto exchange sector.
Prosecutors demonstrated that he and his top lieutenants secretly diverted billions of dollars in customer assets from FTX to Alameda Research, a private trading firm he also controlled. The trial revealed Bankman-Fried’s manipulation of funds for personal and political gains, contrasting sharply with his public persona. He is facing decades in prison.
4. BlackRock files for a spot Bitcoin ETF (July)
Advancing 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 mainstream financial institutions.
This development from such a significant firm has created a realistic possibility of the SEC approving such an ETF. The action has set a precedent, encouraging other firms to follow suit. The SEC is widely anticipated to approve a spot Bitcoin ETF in early January.
3. Bitcoin (BTC) price comes close to $45,000 (December)
One of the biggest events in the cryptocurrency world in 2023 has been the remarkable surge in the value of Bitcoin, with an increase of 157.06%. This rally was highlighted by Bitcoin surpassing the significant milestone of $44,000, marking a substantial rebound and drawing considerable attention from investors and analysts on the crypto market. This achievement not only underscores Bitcoin’s resilience and ongoing relevance in the digital currency space.
2. CZ’s downfall (November)
At number two, Changpeng Zhao’s decision to resign and plead guilty to U.S. anti-money laundering law violations marked the end of an entire era. This decision was part of a significant agreement to protect the cryptocurrency giant. Binance agreed to admit to criminal misconduct and pay a $4.3 billion fine to settle both criminal and civil charges.
1. Ripple wins the SEC lawsuit (July)
Ripple’s significant legal victory over the SEC in July has topped our 2023 countdown. U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres decided that Ripple Labs Inc’s sale of XRP tokens on public exchanges did not violate federal securities law. This was a groundbreaking victory for Ripple and the wider cryptocurrency industry.
This legal victory for Ripple has had a significant impact, leading to the relisting of XRP on various cryptocurrency exchanges.
The court not only rejected the regulator’s motion for an interlocutory appeal but also dropped charges against Ripple executives Brad Garlinghouse and Chris Larsen.
Let’s look forward to 2024 with anticipation and the wisdom gleaned from the past year. Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year to the crypto community!