Here’s a quick breakdown of the biggest news stories and developments in the cryptocurrency sector for October 13, 2022.
1. U.S. CPI figures rock crypto markets
The cryptocurrency markets saw a burst of volatility today as the latest CPI (Consumer Price Index) figures released by the U.S. Department of Labor showed that inflation in the United States is higher than expected. The latest CPI figures, which cover the month of September, are an 8.2% increase in the overall CPI compared to a year ago and a 6.6% increase in the core CPI (doesn’t include food and energy) in the same time period.
The markets seem to be in agreement that these figures cement the chances that the U.S. Federal Reserve will enact another 0.75% interest rate hike in November in an attempt to control inflation. This is seen as bearish for the stock markets, and both S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 futures tumbled on the news.
The cryptocurrency markets also took a big hit, with Bitcoin seeing a 4% drop and Ethereum falling by about 6.5%. Smaller altcoins took a bigger hit, with some coins in the cryptocurrency top 100 falling by 10% or more. Bitcoin fell all the way down to $18,300, but has since produced a small recovery towards the $18,600 price level.
2. Uniswap Labs raises $165M in Series B round, hits $1.66B valuation
Uniswap Labs, the leading developers behind the Uniswap decentralized exchange, have raised a $165 million Series B round that values the company at $1.66 billion. The round was led by prolific crypto investor Polychain Capital, and also included other notable players such as a16z and Paradigm.
According to Uniswap founder Hayden Adams, Uniswap Labs will use the capital to invest in their web application, developer tools, NFT-related products, and the mobile market. In June, Uniswap Labs acquired NFT marketplace aggregator Genie, showing their intentions to enter the NFT market.
As a point of interest, we should point out that the Uniswap protocol’s governance token UNI currently has a market capitalization of about $4.5 billion.
3. French authorities charge 5 individuals connected to NFT-stealing scheme
French authorities have charged 5 individuals who allegedly used fraud to steal $2.5 million worth of NFTs (non-fungible tokens). NFTs from the popular and highly valuable Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) collection were among the stolen digital collectibles. The fraudsters stole the NFTs through a phishing scheme, setting up a website that promised to create animations out of the users’ NFTs.
According to a report by AFP, French cyber-crime authorities were prompted to investigate the matter by a Twitter thread from “ZachXBT”, a prominent user in the “crypto Twitter” community that’s known for exposing and documenting instances of crypto fraud.
4. Coin Center sues OFAC over Tornado Cash sanctions
Coin Center, a Washington D.C.-based crypto think tank, has filed a lawsuit against OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) over the sanctions it levied on the Tornado Cash protocol. According to Coin Center founder Jerry Brito, the think tank is challenging the authority of OFAC to sanction smart contracts, as the precedent set by the Tornado Cash sanctions could allow them to sanction entire protocols like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Tornado Cash is a protocol on the Ethereum blockchain that allows users to obfuscate the origins of their funds. The service is valuable because the Ethereum blockchain has a fully transparent ledger of transactions, which presents financial privacy concerns for all users. However, the protocol is unfortunately also commonly used by hackers and other criminals to launder illicitly obtained funds. OFAC levied its sanctions against Tornado Cash in August, making it illegal for Americans to use the protocol.
5. Stepn denies reports of layoffs
Stepn, the “move-to-earn” app that allows users to earn tokens while running or jogging, has denied reports of laying off employees. In a statement to Decrypt, the a company spokesperson has denied claims of layoffs as “baseless” and “factually inaccurate”, and said that it parted ways with volunteer moderators that haven’t been active in their roles for an extended period of time. The spokesperson also said that Stepn is hiring for several roles across the company.
The number of active Stepn users has decreased significantly from over 700,000 in May to about 98,000 in September.
The GMT token, which is one of the tokens used in the Stepn app, was affected negatively by the crypto market downturn today, with its price dropping by about 9.7% in the last 24 hours.