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Firmer footing 🦶
Cryptocurrency prices may not be climbing but at least they’re no longer in freefall. The bitcoin price is more or less flat on this time yesterday, despite making a break higher yesterday. Bitcoin climbed to almost $43,000 before falling back toward $40,000.
Most of the rest of the crypto top ten, as measured by CoinMarketCap, is equally unmoved after a surprisingly quiet weekend. Ethereum is down almost 1% along with its biggest rivals Binance’s BNB, solana and cardano. Terra’s luna is leading the major market lower with a near-5% drop.
Just outside of the top ten, ethereum challenger avalanche and polygon’s matic are both making gains this morning, however, up 2% and 3% respectively.
Now read this: The metaverse needs a constitution
CZ is going to make it 🥂
Have fun staying rich: While crypto traders desperately try to call the bottom of the collapsing market, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, the founder and chief executive of the world’s biggest crypto exchange, Binance, has had his worth estimated at $96 billion by Bloomberg—and that’s without taking into account CZ’s personal crypto holdings so is likely a considerable under-estimation.
But but but… to reach the $96 billion number, Bloomberg assumed CZ owns 90% of Binance, and estimated the exchange’s revenue from spot and derivatives trading volumes and advertised fees and valued the business using its publicly traded peers. However, CZ declined to comment on the report and Binance disputed the accuracy of the estimates. Binance boasts 24-hour trading volume of $106 billion as of January 6, according to crypto data site CoinGecko, and generated $20 billion of revenue last year, according to Bloomberg.
Rich list: The calculation makes CZ one of the world’s richest people, putting him into the top 10 around the level of Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg and the legendary investor Warren Buffett, according to Forbes‘ latest rich list. Meanwhile, CZ easily takes the top spot among the crypto wealthy, beating out the likes of FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried ($22.5 billion), Coinbase’s Fred Ehrsam ($3.5 billion) and Brian Armstrong ($11.5 billion), Gemini’s Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss ($4.3 billion each) and Ripple and Stellar co-founder Jed McCaleb ($3 billion). Bloomberg puts the wealth of the mysterious bitcoin founder known only as Satoshi Nakamoto at $45 billion.
Big stack: CZ’s road to crypto riches began in 2013 in Shanghai, according to the Bloomberg report, when Bobby Lee, then CEO of BTC China, and investor Ron Cao, encouraged him to put 10% of his net worth into bitcoin.
Size matters: “Coinbase might appear to be the 800-pound gorilla from a U.S. perspective, but Binance is significantly bigger,” DA Davidson & Co analyst Chris Brendler told Bloomberg. Binance’s rapid growth has put it in the crosshairs of regulators around the world in recent months and the company is still grappling with authorities that have taken a dim view of its contentious “decentralized” corporate structure.
CZ on Elon Musk: “I would love to be associated with him in the future,” CZ said at a Bloomberg event in November.
N26 missed the crypto boat 🚣
🗺️ N26, the Berlin-based neobank that counts Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures and Hong Kong business magnate Li Ka-shing among its backers, should have focused on crypto over geographical expansion, according to an interview with the online bank’s co-founder and co-chief executive Max Tayenthal.
🗣️ “Should we have built trading and crypto instead of launching in the U.S.? In hindsight, it might have been a smart idea,” Tayenthal told the Financial Times. N26 is planning to launch a cryptocurrencies trading business this year and an equities brokerage after that.
🙇 N26, which is now quitting the U.S. market after bowing out of the U.K. in 2020, is one of Europe’s most highly valued financial technology startups, snagging a price tag of €7.8 billion ($8.8 billion) last year, when it raised a further €780 million.
The week ahead 📅
👀 Look out for these cryptocurrency and crypto-adjacent events this week.
📑 Tomorrow, the World Economic Forum publishes its latest global risks report. Bubbly markets and assets prices could well feature and crypto prices may even be named as a risk to the financial system after a number of economists and world leaders made such warnings recently.
📢 Also tomorrow, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell will appear before the Senate Banking Committee on for a hearing on his nomination to a second term helming the U.S. central bank.
🏷️ On Wednesday, the latest U.S. consumer price index drops and will provide an update on inflation. Price growth hit a 39-year high in November and is spurring the Federal Reserve into action, causing investors to run for cover.
📃 On Thursday, the United Nations is set to publish its World Economic Situation and Prospects report for 2022.
💸 Fourth-quarter earnings season gets underway this week with Wall Steet giants JPMorgan
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