Ethereum’s Shapella Upgrade Complete

The Ethereum mainnet has completed its Shapella upgrade, allowing validators to finally withdraw their staked Ether on the Beacon chain. This successful execution is a significant step for Ethereum, as it enables validators to access their staked funds and provides an opportunity for ETH holders to move assets into Ethereum staking pools.

At the time of writing, a total of 126,955.07 ETH had been withdrawn by validators. Of the 559,549 active validators, about 44% of them, or 248,043 validators, have the ability to request a partial or full withdrawal. The majority of withdrawals currently vary between 2.8-3.2 ETH, indicating that most validators are only withdrawing their staking rewards.

The average price of staked ETH is $3,149, which could be a reason why validators are not withdrawing the whole amount. Additionally, the ETH price is currently trading just under $2,000, with the price acting as a key resistance. However, major crypto exchanges have announced their support for ETH unstaking, with several already processing withdrawal requests.

Coinbase, the world’s first publicly listed crypto exchange, has announced that ETH unstaking is now live on their platform. BitGo’s Chief Operating Officer Chen Fang also took to Twitter to announce that the exchange has successfully upgraded to Shapella, and ETH withdrawals are now live on the platform.

Kraken, on the other hand, began withdrawing validators for their United States customers on April 11th and began processing withdrawals of ETH after the completion of the Shapella upgrade. This early withdrawal of validators by the exchange was caused by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission action brought against Kraken’s Ethereum staking product back in February.

Binance, the leading crypto exchange by trading volume, has announced its support for the Shapella upgrade and will begin processing withdrawal requests starting from April 19th. The exchange has also added that the withdrawal request can take up to 15 days to process due to processing limitations.

Bitfinex, one of the leading crypto exchanges, congratulated the Ethereum community on the successful upgrade and announced that the ETH withdrawal details would be shared soon.

This unlocking event may create conditions for an exodus from the staking protocol, but the ability to freely stake and unstake in accordance with bonding periods specified by the protocol could equally attract many ETH holders. The move to unstaking could see a massive movement of assets into Ethereum staking pools.

Overall, the successful completion of the Shapella upgrade is a significant milestone for Ethereum, as it provides validators and ETH holders the opportunity to access their staked funds and move assets into Ethereum staking pools. With major exchanges supporting ETH unstaking and processing withdrawal requests, it will be interesting to see how many ETH holders take advantage of this opportunity in the coming days and weeks.


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Kraken Halts ACH Deposits and Withdrawals via Silvergate

In a move that has disrupted the cryptocurrency industry, Kraken, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, has announced that it will no longer support ACH deposits and withdrawals via Silvergate, citing difficulties with the automated clearing house. According to reports, Kraken sent an email notice to its users on March 22, notifying them that ACH deposits and withdrawals would no longer be available from March 27.

Kraken has assured its users that no other services would be affected by this change, including ACH instant purchases via Online Banking. The exchange has also advised its users to use alternative funding options, such as MVB Bank for Fedwire deposits and withdrawals, and other instant purchase options, to ensure an uninterrupted funding experience.

Kraken has joined the growing list of cryptocurrency exchanges that have halted their ACH deposits and withdrawals via Silvergate. The Winklevoss brothers-founded exchange, Gemini, also stopped accepting customer deposits and processing withdrawals through Silvergate ACH and wire transfers on March 2.

Silvergate is one of the crypto-friendly U.S. banks that collapsed in early March, alongside other lenders like Silicon Valley Bank, posing major challenges for the cryptocurrency industry. Many cryptocurrency firms hold significant exposure to these banks, which has led to disruptions in the cryptocurrency market.

Kraken joined the Silvergate Exchange Network in 2019, which allowed the exchange to offer deposits and withdrawals in U.S. dollars from Silvergate accounts. Kraken has assured its users that its team is working to make ACH funding available again as soon as possible.

Kraken is a cryptocurrency exchange founded in 2011 by Jesse Powell, who is currently the CEO. The exchange is based in San Francisco, California, and is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, trading over $1 billion daily, according to data from CoinGecko.

Silvergate is a U.S.-based bank that is known for its cryptocurrency-friendly policies. The bank is based in La Jolla, California, and was founded in 1988. In 2019, Silvergate launched the Silvergate Exchange Network, which allows cryptocurrency exchanges to offer deposits and withdrawals in U.S. dollars from Silvergate accounts.

Automated clearing house (ACH) is an electronic funds transfer system that allows businesses and consumers to send and receive payments electronically. ACH transfers are commonly used for direct deposit, payroll, and bill payments. ACH transfers are typically slower than wire transfers but are more cost-effective.

The cryptocurrency industry has faced significant challenges in recent years due to the lack of regulatory clarity and the volatile nature of cryptocurrencies. The industry has also faced challenges with banking relationships, as many traditional banks are hesitant to work with cryptocurrency firms due to concerns over money laundering and fraud. As a result, many cryptocurrency firms have turned to banks like Silvergate, which have more favorable policies towards cryptocurrencies.


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Bybit Launches Debit Card for Crypto Payments

Bybit, the Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange, has announced the launch of its new debit card that will allow users to make payments and withdraw cash using their cryptocurrency holdings. The Bybit card will operate on the Mastercard network and will initially allow fiat-based transactions by debiting cryptocurrency balances when used to pay for goods and services. The new service begins with the launch of a free virtual card for online purchases, while physical debit cards are set to be available in April 2023. The card will work with Bitcoin, Ether, Tether, USD Coin, and XRP balances on user accounts. Payments made with the Bybit card will automatically convert the balances of these initial cryptocurrencies into euros or pounds, depending on the user’s country of residence.

ATM withdrawals and global payments will be limited to the aggregated cryptocurrency holdings of a user’s Bybit account. The cards will be issued by London-based payments solutions provider Moorwand. Bybit’s move into the debit card space comes just days after the exchange announced the suspension of U.S. dollar bank transfers, citing “service outages” by one of its processing partners. Bybit users can continue to make USD deposits using Advcash Wallet and credit cards, while users are urged to carry out any pending U.S. dollar wire withdrawals by March 10.

The virtual and physical debit card offerings are a major step forward for Bybit, as they allow users to seamlessly use their cryptocurrency holdings in the real world. This move follows a report at the end of February 2023 that suggests Mastercard and Visa would hold off on announcing or embarking on further direct partnerships with the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry. However, Mastercard has been exploring payment options in USDC through new partnerships, while Visa has hinted at plans to allow customers to convert cryptocurrencies into fiat on its platform in 2023.

Overall, Bybit’s new debit card offering is a significant development for the cryptocurrency industry, as it marks a major step towards the integration of digital assets into everyday life. The ability to use cryptocurrency for daily transactions has long been seen as a key milestone in the industry’s development, and the Bybit card is a major step towards achieving that goal. With the popularity of cryptocurrency continuing to grow, it is likely that we will see more companies launching similar services in the coming years.


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FTX Japan Users Withdraw Funds Amidst Legal Battle

The legal battle between FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) has been ongoing, leaving FTX customers worldwide uncertain about the future of the exchange. In the midst of this, FTX’s subsidiary, Liquid Group, a Japanese crypto trading platform, had to halt withdrawals on Nov. 15, 2022. This was due to Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, announcing the liquidation of its substantial holdings of FTX Token (FTT), which caused a domino effect and led to the slowdown in fund withdrawals by FTX and its subsidiaries.

FTX Japan users have had to endure the frustration of not being able to access their funds for months. However, on Feb. 21, 2023, FTX Japan resumed withdrawals, which involved moving the funds from the defunct exchange to a Liquid Japan account. This news came as a relief to many investors, and it was soon followed by reports that a popular crypto trader from Japan, Hibiki Trader, had successfully withdrawn all of their funds.

The withdrawal of funds by FTX Japan users is not surprising, considering the uncertainty surrounding the legal battle between FTX and SBF. FTX is a well-known cryptocurrency exchange, and any negative news can impact user trust and confidence. Additionally, the slowdown in fund withdrawals caused by Binance’s liquidation of FTT holdings had a ripple effect on FTX and its subsidiaries, resulting in delayed access to funds for many customers.

It is important to note that the legal battle between FTX and SBF is not related to the slowdown in fund withdrawals or Binance’s liquidation of FTT holdings. The litigation is a separate issue that has been ongoing for some time, and its resolution is still unclear. FTX customers worldwide are eagerly awaiting a conclusion to the legal battle, which will hopefully bring some clarity and stability to the exchange.

In conclusion, the withdrawal of funds by FTX Japan users is a reflection of the impact of negative news and uncertainty in the cryptocurrency market. The legal battle between FTX and SBF and Binance’s liquidation of FTT holdings have added to the existing market volatility and has resulted in delayed access to funds for many FTX customers. It remains to be seen how the legal battle will be resolved and what the future holds for FTX and its customers.


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Vauld Suspends Withdrawals, Exploring Restructuring amid Market Downturn

Vauld, a crypto lending and exchange firm headquartered in Singapore, announced on Monday that it has suspended withdrawals, trading, and deposits on its platform, citing the current “financial challenges”.

Vauld admitted that it is witnessing financial woes amid the ongoing market downturn, which it said prompted customers to withdraw about $198 million since June 12.

Darshan Bathija, the founder and CEO of Vauld, said that the company is exploring restructuring options and so far, has engaged Kroll, a New York-based corporate investigation and risk consulting firm, for financial advisory services, and has hired Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP as legal advisors in India and Singapore respectively.

“We are confident that, with the advice of our financial and legal advisors, we will be able to reach a solution that will best protect the interests of Vauld’s customers and stakeholders,” said Bathijaand, adding that the firm will make specific arrangements for certain clients who need to meet their margin calls.

Vauld is a three-year-old crypto lending startup, which counts Peter Thiel-backed Valar Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, and Pantera Capital among its key backers. According to July last year, Vauld had raised a total of $27 million, from investors such as Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, Coinbase, Pantera Capital, and Cadenza Capital.

Vauld has been offering lending services and serving as an exchange. The platform enables clients to earn what it describes as the “industry’s highest interest rates on major cryptocurrencies.” On its website, Vauld claims to offer 12.68% annual yields on staking several stablecoins, including USDC and BUSD and 6.7% on Bitcoin and Ethereum tokens. The platform allows customers to borrow against their tokens and facilitates many other trading services.

Crisis in Crypto Lending Landscape

The announcement regarding Vauld’s suspension of customer withdrawals and trading comes after the lender laid off its employees by 30% one week ago.

The job cut came as a surprise. On June 16, Bathija assured Vauld customers that the platform had no exposure to prominent lending platform Celsius Network and high-profile crypto hedge fund firms Three Arrows Capital.

In recent weeks, crypto veterans, including Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, have warned that many more DeFi platforms are in danger of collapsing amid the current market crash.

On 13th June, Crypto lending platform Celsius Network paused all withdrawals and transfers for customers as the firm faced insolvency and bankruptcy fears. Last Friday, Three Arrows Capital filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy in New York after weeks of speculation that it was insolvent.

In addition, another major crypto lending platform, Maple Finance, recently halted customer withdrawals after facing liquidity-related issues.

Digital assets lending firm Genesis Trading is reportedly facing losses in the hundreds of millions after the company had significant exposure to financial woes facing Three Arrows Capital and crypto lending platform Babel Finance. BlockFi also experienced substantial losses related to its exposure to Three Arrows Capital.

Such lending firms normally collect crypto deposits from retail customers and invest them in the equivalent of the wholesale crypto market, including “decentralized finance (DeFi) sites that use blockchain technology to offer services such as loans, insurance, among others outside the traditional financial sector.

Image source: Shutterstock


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CoinDCX Suspends Deposits and Withdrawals, Citing Compliance Requirements

CoinDCX, an India-based major cryptocurrency exchange, has suspended crypto deposits and withdrawals for various users,citing compliance measures as the reason for the move.

After many customers expressed their disappointment on social media, Ramalingam S, Head of Branding, Marketing, and Communications at CoinDCX, stated: “While some wallets are under maintenance, there is a larger compliance requirement due to evolving regulatory needs resulting in increased scrutiny. The new process is being rolled out in phases, & it will reach all users in due course. Until then, I request your support.”

The exchange mentioned that customers must complete the Know-Your-Customer (KYC) process to enable crypto deposits and withdrawals.

Since 13th May, CoinDCX has put in place withdrawal restrictions, which have been extended until further notice to strengthen its compliance and risk framework.

CoinDCX is not the only one affected. Coinswitch Kuber also stated that the withdrawal suspension is because of the KYC requirements.

Last week, Coinswitch Kuber responded to its customers’ dismay via Twitter, stating that deposits and withdrawals have been disabled for everyone because it needs further clarity from regulators and policymakers.

Users Hit Hard by Crypto Meltdown

The latest suspensions by the major exchanges have not pleased Indian crypto investors. Some users have raised fears that the exchanges’ assets might have been swallowed by financial woes facing Celsius Network and BlockFi.

However, there is no evidence linking fallouts from Celsius and BlockFi with the suspensions. For now, it appears that users will have to complete the KYC process to ensure access to their funds.

The current global crypto plunge has come at a time when other factors already slow down India’s crypto industry.

Early last week, Bitcoin’s price declined to $18,000 while the market cap of crypto markets dropped to about $950 billion from $2.97 trillion witnessed in November 2021. Several crypto firms, including Coinbase, BlockFi, and, have announced massive layoffs and frozen hiring, including those in India, amid challenging times for crypto and equity markets.

The current downturn on the broader capital markets has been triggered by rising inflation and increasing interest rates by global central banks.

Since March, the Indian ecosystem has seen a 90% decline in trade volumes. Besides the global economic crisis, India’s tax rules and inadequate banking channels have also played disastrously. A weak risk appetite due to the global macroeconomic situation might keep India’s investors on edge in the near term.

Image source: Shutterstock


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Babel Finance Halts Withdrawals as Crypto Market Plunges

Babel Finance, a cryptocurrency lending firm based in Hong Kong, on Friday, announced that it has temporarily paused the withdrawals and redemption of crypto assets. The move comes as the crypto lender appears struggling to pay its customers after the recent plunge in the cryptocurrency market.

“Recently, the crypto market has seen major fluctuations, and some institutions in the industry have experienced conductive risk events. Due to the current situation, Babel Finance is facing unusual liquidity pressures,” the firm stated.

The company further elaborated: “Babel Finance is taking action to best protect the interests of our clients. We are in close communication with all related parties and will share updates in a timely manner.”

Babel has 500 customers and limits itself to Bitcoin, Ethereum, and stablecoins for its business operations. Last month, the crypto lender raised $80 million in a funding round that gave the firm a valuation of $2 billion. The firm ended last year with $3 billion of loan balances on its balance sheet.

Market Contagion Fears Spread

On Thursday, rival crypto staking and yield generation platform Finblox, based in Hong Kong, made a similar move, imposing a monthly withdrawal limit of $1,500 and suspended rewards in connection with uncertainty surrounding crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital and market volatility.

In a statement, Finblox said that it made the decision as it evaluates the impact of Three Arrow Capital’s recent issues. Last December, Three Arrow Capital made an investment of $3.6 million in the Hong Kong-based platform. Early this week, Three Arrows Capital, one of the largest crypto hedge funds in the world, raised fears of facing potential insolvency risks after several leading exchanges liquidated the fund’s positions.

On Monday, crypto prices fell hard triggered by major U.S. cryptocurrency lending company Celsius Network pausing withdrawals and transfers, as it cited “extreme” market conditions.

The crypto market is at its lowest point since December 2020, with Bitcoin trading narrowly above $20,000 while Ether holds onto the psychological level of support at $1,000. In the past few weeks, crypto markets crashed as rising interest rates and increasing inflation prompted investors to ditch riskier assets across financial markets.

The recent move by the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates by 0.75 percentage points, has led to a number of bubbles including tech stocks and crypto tokens. Crypto investors have also been adversely impacted by the collapse of the TerraUSD and Luna tokens in May.

Image source: Shutterstock


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Look out below! Dogecoin risks further downside after a key support is tested

Dogecoin (DOGE) is potentially at risk of losing critical support if the price falls from the ascending channel traded in for the last 53 days. Although technical analysis is not an exact science, a daily close below $0.26 will likely invalidate the current movement.

DOGE/USD price at FTX. Source: TradingView

Aside from the Bitcoin-driven headwinds, which are weighing on DOGE price, this week, the meme token underwent a software upgrade and users were requested to implement version 1.14.5. Two important security patches were involved: “Remote Code Execution in Dogecoin QT” (CVE-2021-3401) and “Sensitive Information Exposure on Unix platforms” (CVE-2019-15947).

The latest release finalized a new minimum fee recommendation, following a previous version’s reduction of relay and mining defaults. Additional changes included Berkley DB and OpenSSL updates and SLIP44 compatibility for the HD wallet deviation path.

Binance exchange faced issues after the upgrade

Even though users and developers did not experience any setbacks from the changes, Binance exchange unexpectedly suspended all Dogecoin network withdrawals on Nov. 11.

@michilumin, a Dogecoin core developer, explained that Binance had pending transactions due to insufficient fees for a couple of years. Despite recommendations by DOGE developers, the exchange failed to redirect those dormant transactions to their own wallets.

As the 1.14.5 upgrade successfully lowered fees, those pending transactions were eventually approved, unbeknownst to Binance.

Curiously, in February, Binance founder CZ expressed concerns about Dogecoin being “centralized” and “abandoned.”

Futures markets could have fueled DOGE’s correction

Surely enough, the Binance withdrawal restriction news could have been behind the recent price weakness down to $0.25. Still, it’s also possible that derivatives markets played an important part because Dogecoin’s open interest was facing a key resistance.

Dogecoin futures aggregate open interest. Source: CoinGlass

Unlike volume data, futures contract open interest provides a better picture of investors’ total risk exposure. Regardless of the trading activity, which can momentarily cede after strong price movements, open interest will remain high as long as players keep their positions afloat.

DOGE/USD price on FTX, log scale. Source: TradingView

Notice how the previous 4 attempts to break the $1 billion futures open interest mark resulted in substantial price corrections. Currently, the indicator stands at $850 million, so the imminent risk seems behind.

However, a 17% positive price move to $0.30 could potentially bring the DOGE derivatives metric back to the feared $1 billion open interest. There’s also the possibility of traders re-opening their leverage positions and inflating the open interest regardless of the price change.

Therefore, the classical chicken and egg problem stands before us: was Binance’s issue the leading cause for the recent crash below the 53-day ascending channel, or was it bound to happen due to excessive leverage positions?

Either way, DOGE traders should keep a close eye on that derivatives indicator to avoid further surprises.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.