Welcome to Around the Blockchain, Huobi Learn’s daily rundown of the crypto markets.
According to El Salvador President Nayib Bukele, there is a 90% chance officials can harness geothermal energy from one of the country’s inactive volcanoes, Conchagua, to power its Bitcoin City project with 42 megawatts — “enough to provide energy to the entire Bitcoin City”. He added that the state-owned electrical company LaGeo was continuing to increase its production of geothermal power from different Salvadoran volcanoes, so there would be other power sources for Bitcoin City, should its power consumption exceed Conchagua’s capacity. Bukele further claimed that any energy surplus would go to mining Bitcoin to add to the country’s coffers.
The UK Parliament and House of Lords have established the Crypto and Digital Assets Group, chaired by Scottish National Party (SNP) MP Lisa Cameron, to ensure that new rules for the crypto industry support innovation. Serving as the group’s secretariat is digital asset trade association CryptoUK, which has been lobbying lawmakers to introduce positive crypto regulation. Other members include former Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey and Tory MP Harriett Baldwin, a former JP Morgan executive.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is fining blockchain-based trading platform tZERO $800,000 for allegedly violating federal disclosure rules, and has issued a cease-and-desist as part of a settlement with the firm. tZERO had reportedly failed to disclose vital details, such as its sharing of order information with a broker-dealer affiliate and Blue Ocean Technologies (a trading partner in Singapore) in accordance with federal regulations. The SEC’s order further claimed that the company had neglected to file a required amendment to its Form ATS with the SEC for over two years after it started sharing this information. Although tZERO proposed the settlement that was accepted by the SEC, it has neither confirmed nor denied the latter’s findings.
Sports NFT minting platform Lympo lost 165.2 million LMT tokens (worth $18.7 million) in a hot wallet security breach on 10 Jan, during which hackers accessed its operational hot wallet to steal LMT tokens, and compromised 10 different project wallets in the process. Preliminary investigations show that most of the stolen tokens were sent to a single address and swapped for ETH on Uniswap and Sushiswap before being sent elsewhere. Following this, the LMT price fell by a dramatic 92% to $0.0093, and Lympo said today that it was “working on stabilizing the situation and resuming all operations”. In the meantime, it has removed LMT from liquidity pools to “minimize disruption to token prices”, and encouraged traders to avoid buying or selling LMT tokens before the ongoing investigation is over.
NFTs’ sudden immense popularity saw sales in 2021 hit approximately $25 billion, up from just $94.9 million in 2020, according to data from market tracer DappRadar. NFT prices shot up so quickly that on numerous occasions, speculators could ‘flip’ them for a profit in a matter of days. However, different data providers have conflicting information on the topic — CryptoSlam, for instance, placed the 2021 total at $18.3 billion, while NonFungible.com arrived at $15.7 billion. Meanwhile, data from leading NFT marketplace OpenSea showed that sales peaked in August, declined throughout September, October and November, then picked up again in December.
The Associated Press (AP) has announced a new marketplace to sell NFTs of its photojournalists’ work, set up in collaboration with platform-as-a-service (PaaS) NFT specialist Xooa and built on the environmentally friendly Polygon blockchain. AP says the NFTs will “include a rich set of original metadata” that covers details such as the date and location of each photo, adding that the virtual tokens will be released at “broad and inclusive price points”. Its first collection — launching 31 Jan — will include NFTs featuring photos of “space, climate, war and other images to spotlight the work of specific AP photographers”, and proceeds from the sales will go to funding AP’s journalistic endeavors.
Show me the money
According to data from the Huobi Global, BTC’s trading volume is relatively sluggish, though the daily charts show it has risen slightly today, a reverse of yesterday’s decline. Similarly, ETH also rose slightly to reach a current maximum of 3,146.68 USDT, reversing yesterday’s decline amid relatively sluggish trading volume.