Lee Jeong-hoon, the former chairman of Bithumb, one of South Korea’s primary cryptocurrency exchanges, faces a potential 8-year prison sentence. The Seoul High Court is expected to deliver its verdict in the appeal case on January 18, 2024.
The legal battle revolves around accusations against Lee for his dealings with Kim Byung-gun, chairman of BK Group, in a potential acquisition of Bithumb. The prosecution alleges that Lee duped Kim Byung-gun out of 110 billion won (approximately $70 million) through a fraudulent agreement involving the listing of BXA tokens on the Bithumb exchange.
The prosecution claims that Lee was fully aware of the challenges in listing the BXA token but deliberately withheld this information from Kim. Furthermore, they argue that Lee’s restructuring plan for Bithumb aimed to profit from exchange tokens while evading financial regulations.
Lee’s defense team, however, challenges these allegations. They argue that inconsistencies in Kim’s testimony undermine his credibility. Moreover, they assert that Lee fulfilled all obligations as a seller and extended the payment deadline upon request, only to be unexpectedly sued by Kim.
The outcome of the appeal is critical, not just for Lee Jeong-hoon but also for the broader cryptocurrency industry. It is poised to set a precedent in legal disputes involving crypto exchanges and governance. Additionally, with Bithumb preparing for an IPO on the Kosdaq by 2025, the verdict will significantly influence the exchange’s future and the fate of BXA tokens.
The trial’s decision, expected in January 2024, could lead to a reassessment of governance structures in cryptocurrency exchanges and potentially attract increased regulatory scrutiny. The legal outcome will be a pivotal moment for the industry, potentially reshaping policies and practices in cryptocurrency exchanges.
Yuzo Kano, co-founder of bitFlyer, a prominent cryptocurrency exchange in Japan, plans to reintroduce himself as CEO in an attempt to reinvigorate the company. Kano left the company in 2019 amidst a series of management disputes, but he aims to lead the company towards an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the coming months, according to a report by Bloomberg. He also hopes to put Japan back on the map in the world of cryptocurrency by making bitFlyer capable of competing on the international stage.
Kano intends to introduce stablecoins to the trading platform, build a token-issuance operation, and open-source bitFlyer’s “miyabi” blockchain to the public if he is reinstated. He believes that the company has become stagnant in his absence, with no new products or services launched, which he aims to change. He claims that bitFlyer is “a company that produces nothing new.”
Regulatory pressures imposed by Japan’s Financial Services Agency in 2018 led to management issues at bitFlyer, with the need to adopt more stringent money laundering policies. Despite this, bitFlyer remains one of the larger cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan, with over 2.5 million accounts. The departure of international competitors such as Kraken and Coinbase has left bitFlyer with a stronger position in the Japanese market.
Kano retained a 40% stake in the company despite stepping down as CEO, and he believes that he can help bitFlyer reclaim its former status as an innovative and dynamic company. He plans to introduce new products and services, including stablecoins and token-issuance operations, and he hopes to take the company public in the near future.
If Kano is reinstated as CEO, his plans for bitFlyer could help to solidify the company’s position in the Japanese and international cryptocurrency markets. By introducing stablecoins and other innovations, he could attract new users and investors to the platform. Additionally, opening up bitFlyer’s blockchain to the public could foster collaboration and innovation in the broader cryptocurrency community.
In summary, Yuzo Kano, co-founder of bitFlyer, aims to return as CEO in an attempt to revitalize the company and lead it towards an IPO. He plans to introduce new products and services, including stablecoins and token-issuance operations, and he hopes to make bitFlyer capable of competing on the international stage. By doing so, he believes that he can put Japan back on the map in the world of cryptocurrency.
It is becoming a trend for crypto firms to seek the public market pursuit. While Coinbase pioneered these growth metrics when listed on the Nasdaq exchange back in last year April, other outfits, including eToro, and Huobi are also notably considering various public entry routes.
According to an insider, Blockchain.com is actively conducting interviews with banks for the most likely public offering this year.
But the specific IPO time may not happen until next year, but the plan may still change, after all, this is an anonymous private discussion.
Blockchain.com is one of the few crypto unicorns as it was valued at $14 billion. Seeing its continuous growth trend, the company’s Chief Financial Officer Macrina Kgil hinted at the possibility of the firm going public in 2023 in an interview with Forbes.
A few days ago, dubbed as the first crypto deal in the National Football League (NFL), the Dallas Cowboys have chosen cryptocurrency platform Blockchain.com as its “exclusive digital asset partner.”
As reported by blockchain.News on April 7, Cryptocurrency exchange Blockchain.com launched a new asset management brand called BCAM, aimed at institutional investors, family offices, and high net worth individuals.
Currently, it has 37 million verified users with 82 million wallets created.
Bitcoin (BTC) seems to be on everyone’s mind lately as the world recently witnessed the price of BTC take a rather unexpected bearish turn this month. On January 21, 2022, Bitcoin reached six-month lows, sinking below $40,000 for the first time in months.
While some panicked, other industry experts pointed out that the Bitcoin network has become verifiably stronger than ever before. The growth of the Bitcoin network has become apparent, as hash rate figures for BTC continue to set new highs this month. For example, on Jan. 22, the BTC network recorded an all-time high of 26.643 trillion with an average hash rate of 190.71 exahash per second (EH/s).
The hash rate will continue to grow, which is a good thing
Samir Tabar, chief strategy officer at Bit Digital — a publicly listed Bitcoin miner — told Cointelegraph that the BTC hash rate refers to the amount of computing power being contributed to the network at any given time. Tabar explained that when it comes to Bitcoin mining, a higher hash rate equates to a good hash rate. “The more computing power going towards maintaining a network, the more secure it will be and the more transactions it will be able to handle,” said Tabar.
As such, the recent hash rate figures for Bitcoin are extremely notable, even with the price of BTC being down. Peter Wall, CEO of crypto mining firm Argo Blockchain, told Cointelegraph that he wasn’t surprised to see the BTC hash rate hit close to 200 EH/s. Wall further stated that even with events that have recently disrupted BTC mining hash rate like the political upheaval in Kazakhstan, the hash rate will continue to grow higher each month:
“Argo Blockchain’s mining margin last year in 2021, which is our revenue minus our direct costs, was over 80%. It was a very good year for miners. In 2020, where BTC prices were much lower, our margin was 41%. So, this year I think we will still see strong margins in the space despite the recent drop in the price of Bitcoin and the increase in the hash rate.”
Darin Feinstein, co-founder and co-chairman of Core Scientific — a major publicly-traded blockchain infrastructure provider — told Cointelegraph that based on previous Bitcoin mining hash rate data, the BTC network grew by 200% following the mass exodus of miners from China:
“The Bitcoin network one year ago was approximately 143 EH/s. Following the mining ban in China, the network fell to 63 EH/s. Today, the hash rate has grown to approximately 198 EH/s. This recent increase represents three important metrics. One, it represents a 130 EH hash rate increase on the network. Two, it represents 130 EH of new hosting infrastructure and primarily new generation hardware deployment and three, this deployment has taken place in geographic regions that use far cleaner energy than the energy used in China.”
With this in mind, Feinstein noted that even though the BTC network has hit all-time highs in terms of EH/s, due to the massive improvements in miner chip technology and geographic distribution away from China, the network is now the most efficient and sustainable than it has ever been. Feinstein added that this data is important because it shows how much energy every terahash uses, which is generally represented by a metric called jules/terahash. He noted that this ratio has fallen greatly over the last several years, demonstrating a major increase in mining energy efficiency.
Will infrastructure support network growth?
Michael Levitt, co-founder chairman and CEO of Core Scientific, told Cointelegraph that he fully anticipates for the BTC global hash rate to continue growing at an aggressive pace.
However, Levitt mentioned that this growth is dependent on the price of Bitcoin moving forward, along with the success of the infrastructure currently being built. “The amount of infrastructure expected will be challenged by global supply chain issues,” he remarked.
Feinstein added that infrastructure is the biggest challenge when it comes to mining Bitcoin. “The bottlenecks for Bitcoin mining are land, energy, equipment, and lastly, infrastructure. There is plenty of ASIC hardware to be purchased, energy and land are also readily available, but miners need a place to plug in power, and, historically, that is where miners run into issues,” he commented.
North America has become one of the world’s largest Bitcoin mining hubs, as per data from the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, which shows that 35% of the average monthly BTC hash rate comes from the United States, while 10% comes from Canada. Wall explained that North America has taken the lead as a global Bitcoin mining hub for a number of reasons. “This is the case due to the region’s crypto-friendly jurisdiction, its stable regulatory environment, pro-innovation nature and, most importantly, access to the most important thing miners need — low-cost power, preferably renewable.”
Wall elaborated that the low costs of power in the U.S. have been significant for miners, especially when organizations tap into the right part of the power grid. “We’ve seen significant growth in Texas over the last 12 months,” he said.
Cointelegraph previously reported that the Bitcoin mining industry in Texas consumed around 500 to 1,000 megawatts (MW) of power during Nov. 2021. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas reportedly anticipates that demand could increase as much as fivefold by 2023 and has planned an additional 3,000 to 5,000 MW.
Wall elaborated that many miners are moving to Texas due to the fact that the state operates its own power grid that consists of a high degree of power from sustainable generation sources, but needs more flexible demand, or load:
“Miners can provide a consistent load that is flexible. It’s also helpful that Texas has demand response programs in place, where miners will shut down and give power back to the grid when there is high demand. This makes the grid more resilient.”
Benefits such as these have prompted Argo Blockchain to build its next 200 MW facility in Dickens County, west Texas, directly next to a 5.5-gigawatt substation. “There is a lot of congestion at that substation and they need local load to relieve it. The power from west Texas needs to go a long way to reach major urban cities like Dallas and Houston. But, if we can use that energy much closer to where it’s being generated, that relieves the congestion,” remarked Wall.
By drawing power from a nearby substation, Argo Blockchain is demonstrating the use of sustainable energy. According to Wall, the mining company has been carbon negative since 2020. This is important, as Tabar stated that a massive environmental, social and governance movement is currently facing the crypto mining industry:
“Miners must draw from clean sources of power or else they will be regulated out of business. It can’t always be about the cheapest sources of power. Miners will eventually suffer valuation discounts if they use dirty power, even if that source is cheap.”
The perks of going public
A rush of mining firms to go public is another trend the Bitcoin mining industry is likely to witness this year. Most recently, Texas-based Bitcoin mining company Rhodium announced plans to offer 7.69 million shares at $12–$14 each in an initial public offering (IPO).
Core Scientific went public on Jan. 20 after merging with Power & Digital Infrastructure Acquisition in a SPAC transaction. Although shares of Core Scientific have
The first IPO for the crypto industry in 2022 comes from a Texas-based Bitcoin (BTC) mining company, Rhodium Enterprises.
In an SEC filing made last week, Rhodium plans to offer 7.69 million shares at $12-$14 each in an initial public offering (IPO). Trading under the ticker “RHDM” on Nasdaq, 56.8 million class A and 67.5 million class B shares will be released, ultimately valuing the company at just shy of $1.7 billion.
Rhodium is a cryptocurrency technology company that uses proprietary tech and liquid cooling technology to self-mine Bitcoin. Their goal is to be the most sustainable and cost-efficient producer of Bitcoin in the industry.
The company joins a growing list of US-based companies that mine Bitcoin. Over the past three years, Marathon, Bitdeer Technologies, Riot Blockchain, and Bit Digital listed on stock exchanges such as NASDAQ.
According to the filing, Rhodium currently runs 125 megawatts (MW) of mining power capacity at its first Texas site. 33,600 Bitcoin miners are running, churning out a total combined hash rate capacity of approximately 2.7 EH/s.
Following the IPO and a raise of $100 million capital, it will run a second site in Texas where they “expect to develop 225 MW of additional capacity.” By the end of 2022, the company will effectively more than double its current capacity.
Bearing in mind that the average cost per BTC in 2021 was about $47,000, their electricity cost basis is staggering:
Our infrastructure platform allows us to mine Bitcoin at a significantly lower cost compared to the industry average. For the period from January 1. 2021, to September 30. 2021, our average electricity cost to produce one Bitcoin was approximately $2,507.
Related:Mr. Wonderful plans to invest in mining company stocks
Texas continues to carve out a reputation as a Bitcoin mining-friendly state. In quarter four of 2021, Senator Ted Cruz commented that Texas should use Bitcoin mining to capture wasted natural gas while the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) anticipated that Texan Bitcoin mining power demands could jump 5 times by 2023.
Rhodium takes advantage of Texas’ “independent power market and abundance of low-cost renewable energy resources,” and pro-Bitcoin business environment.
Given the company’s experience with liquid-cooling technology and efficiency; for tiny Bitcoin miners seeking to solve valid blocks, it just got a bit harder.
On late Wednesday night, the popular social platform Reddit announced that it has started the process of making the company public. The company filed a confidential S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) informing them of their intentions for going public.
Per SEC regulations, they cannot provide any details about shares or prices until after a quiet period is over to protect trade secrets from being leaked before an IPO date is set. The SEC filing confirmed long-running rumors about Reddit’s plans for a public offering.
Back in August, Reddit raised $700 million in fresh funding, making it worth more than $10 billion. In a recent update, Reddit stated that it had made $100 million in ad revenue for the second quarter of 2021, which represents a nearly 200 percent increase over the previous year.
Hi, we have some news. pic.twitter.com/DjkjBRloHF
— Reddit (@Reddit) December 16, 2021
“The initial public offering is expected to occur after the SEC completes its review process, subject to market and other conditions,” Reddit stated in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Reddit competes with ad-supported social media platforms such as Meta and Twitter. According to Huffman, the firm has grown up in the shadow of Facebook, now Meta, and Google, and every dollar they make is a struggle. On the other hand, Reddit has already established its cryptocurrency in the form of Reddit Community Points, or RCPs.
Related:Reddit to reportedly tokenize karma points and onboard 500M new users
As of August, Reddit boasted about 52 million daily users and more than 100,000 active subreddits. Reddit is a forum where seasoned traders congregate to share their expertise, as well as a popular gathering spot for notorious meme stock r/wallstreetbets, which has had a big influence on stock markets and cryptocurrency markets this year with its retail trading and pumping tactics. The group’s popularity prompted the creation of crypto counterpart r/SatoshiStreetB which now has 509,000 members.
India’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, CoinDCX, has no immediate plans for a public listing as the regulatory environment in the country remains uncertain.
CoinDCX has no definitive route or clause as to when to go ahead with a potential initial public offering (IPO), the firm told Cointelegraph in an official statement on Nov. 29.
“Any growing company aspires to take an IPO route in due course. We at CoinDCX also have similar aspirations. We would like to reiterate that there is no immediate plan in the foreseeable future to announce an IPO,” a spokesperson said.
The latest announcement adds to the claims of CoinDCX co-founder Neeraj Khandelwal who earlier today claimed that CoinDCX would pursue an IPO “as soon as the government or the situations allow” the exchange to do so. Khandelwal said in a Bloomberg interview that CoinDCX would decide on a “precise timeline” depending on upcoming government regulations.
The spokesperson for CoinDCX emphasized that the focus of the Bloomberg interview was to “discuss the regulatory framework in India about the crypto bill being tabled in the parliament.”
CoinDCX is one of the largest crypto companies in India. In August, CoinDCX raised $90 million in a Series C funding round, becoming the first crypto business in India to reach unicorn status.
According to local reports, India’s finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman declared on Nov. 29 that the government has no plans to recognize Bitcoin (BTC) as a currency. She also noted that the government does not collect data on Bitcoin transactions.
Related:Experts divided on how far India’s ‘private crypto’ ban will go
The latest news follows years of uncertainty around cryptocurrency regulation in India as the industry remains unregulated after the central bank of India attempted to ban crypto in 2018. Earlier this year, several supposed government-linked sources stoked fears of another upcoming crypto ban, suggesting that the Indian government was planning to impose a blanket ban on the industry.
Prime Blockchain, also known as PrimeBlock, is reportedly preparing for a public offering in the United States through a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.
In a Thursday report, Bloomberg said Bitcoin (BTC) mining firm PrimeBlock is currently discussing going public in the U.S. through a merger with 10X Capital Venture Acquisition Corp II. Though the terms of the deal are reportedly not yet finalized, the merger could result in a valuation of the two firms at roughly $1.5 billion following a $150 million fundraising round from the venture capital firm.
A crypto mining company based in the United States, PrimeBlock rolled out its first operations in Tennessee and North Carolina in September. The firm announced on Nov. 4 it had appointed Goldman Sachs veteran Gaurav Budhrani as the company’s CEO and former tZERO chief legal officer Alan Konevsky as its CLO.
As of Nov. 4, PrimeBlock reported it held more than 10,300 rigs equipped for BTC mining, as well as 2,600 Ether (ETH) miners. According to Bloomberg, the company currently mines roughly five BTC daily operating at a hashrate of one exahash.
Related: These publicly traded firms are pulling institutions into crypto
Other crypto firms have used the SPAC route to go public in the United States. In March, Bitfury’s U.S. subsidiary Cipher Mining said it would be merging with Good Works Acquisition Corp as part of a $2 billion deal to become a publicly listed company. Bitcoin miner Core Scientific is also set for a public listing on Nasdaq following a $4.3 billion merger with Power and Digital Infrastructure Acquisition Corp.
Cointelegraph reached out to PrimeBlock, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.
Galaxy Digital Holdings, Mike Novogratz’s cryptocurrency investment management firm, is not going public in the United States in late 2021 as the firm previously planned.
Galaxy Digital has postponed plans for a U.S. listing, now expecting to go public in the first quarter of 2022, the company’s founder and CEO Novogratz announced Monday.
“We look forward to our U.S. listing and the close of our BitGo acquisition, which we now expect will occur in the first quarter of 2022,” he said.
The U.S. The Securities and Exchange Commission is yet to approve Galaxy Digital’s potential listing on an American exchange, Galaxy reportedly said.
Novogratz’s crypto investment manager is also still in the process of closing the acquisition of cryptocurrency custodian BitGo after initiating the purchase earlier this year. The acquisition is expected to close in the first three months of 2022.
Galaxy Digital officially announced the company’s plans for a U.S. listing in May, with Novogratz expecting the firm to go public in the U.S. in the second half of 2021. The firm did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.
One of the largest crypto investment companies in the world, Galaxy Digital has already been trading on a major Canadian stock exchange. The company debuted its first-ever listing on Toronto’s TSX Venture Exchange in August 2018 after acquiring local crypto startup Coin Capital.
Trading under the ticker symbol GLXY, Galaxy Digital’s stock has posted significant growth recently, surpassing $40 for the first time last week. At the time of writing, the stock is trading at $41, up around 0.2% over the past 24 hours, according to TSX data.
The news comes amid Galaxy Digital announcing its Q3 financial results on Monday. Its net comprehensive income surged to as high as $517 million from $42 million over the same period last year. Galaxy Digital also reported that it managed $3.2 billion in assets as of October 2021.
Related:Bitcoin miner Stronghold will list almost 6M shares in its $100M IPO
“As the crypto economy continues to mature and adoption trends accelerate, driving both asset price increases and greater quantities of institutional capital into the space, I have never been more bullish about the future of our Company,” Novogratz added.
A new Chainalysis report shows that the number of decentralized exchanges (DEXs) is growing faster than all other types of crypto exchanges. But Similar Web data shows centralized exchanges are far from unpopular, with Binance seeing 171 million visitors in October.
Chainalysis published a report on crypto exchanges on Nov. 11 and provided an analysis by breaking the exchanges down by their business models including DEXs, CEXs, over-the-counter (OTC) brokers, derivatives platforms and high-risk exchanges with minimal know your customer (KYC) requirements.
According to the data, the number of DEX’s between Q1 2019 and Q3 2021 increased more than 100% to sit at around 205 as of June this year. In comparison, the number of CEX’s temporarily increased from around 100 to 120, before dipping back to the 100 region within that time frame.
The amount of OTC brokers also increased significantly, gaining around 50% to sit at the 150 mark in Q3 2021. The number of derivatives exchanges got a slight bump to around 125 in 2019, and has essentially held at the region since, while high-risk exchanges broke out during the middle of 2020 to around the 150 mark, before sharply dropping below 100 in Q3 2021.
“Of course, the number of active exchanges in each category isn’t the only way to judge the health of those categories. After all, cryptocurrency businesses aren’t simply trying to survive — they need to grow their userbases and transaction volumes in order to thrive,” the report said.
Across all categories however, the number of small exchanges has dropped, suggesting the exchange market can no longer support niche players. The lesson? Exchanges need to reach a mass audience, or a small audience of large-scale traders, in order to stay in business.
— Chainalysis (@chainalysis) November 10, 2021
Chainalysis emphasized that the growing popularity of DEXs over the past two years has coincided with the “explosive growth of the DeFi category in general.” The firm highlighted that the total value received by DEX’s grew from around $10 billion in July 2020 to a peak of $368 million in May 2021, marking an increase of roughly 3579%.
Binance is still the top dog
Despite facing intense scrutiny and pushback from regulators across the globe in recent months, data shows that the centralized exchange Binance still towers over its competitors.
According to data from Similar Web compiled by Finbold, Binance had the most web traffic out of all crypto exchanges in October with a total of 171 million visitors. The figure represents a 12% increase compared to the month before. Coinbase ranks second with 91 million visitors last month, and had a 31% surge in traffic compared to the month before.
Notably the third most popular exchange is PancakeSwap, a DEX that operates on the Binance Smart Chain, with 25 million visitors and a 14% month-over-month increase. While Bybit sits at fourth with 24 million (down 8% from September).
Coingecko data shows that Binance is well ahead of its competitors in terms of volume, with the platform seeing more than $33.3 billion over the past 24 hours. That figure is more than five times larger than the total of second-ranked Coinbase, which generated $6.6 billion worth of 24-volume.
Related:Binance to spend $115M in France to develop European crypto ecosystem
On Thursday the Wall Street Journal reported that former Binance executives estimated that the firm could be worth up to $300 billion as a publicly-traded company. It is unclear when or how Binance will go public, considering its lack of a formal headquarters. However, CEO Changpeng Zhao said in September the Binance’s U.S. branch was looking at an initial public offering (IPO) in 2024.