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Zcash founder Zooko Wilcox steps down from Electric Coin, naming new CEO

Zooko Wilcox is stepping down as the CEO of Electric Coin Company, the team behind privacy-focused cryptocurrency Zcash (ZEC).

ECC announced a change in leadership on Monday, with Josh Swihart promoted to replace Wilcox.

Picture of Wilcox speaking about the history of privacy on the internet. Source: ECC

Swihart previously worked at ECC as one of the firm’s vice presidents of growth from October 2018 to August 2023 but took four months off working as a part-time investor at investment services firm Denver Angels in Colorado, according to LinkedIn.

“We feel confident in Josh’s leadership — in finding product-market fit, unlocking new partnerships and collaboration, improving Zcash usability and increasing adoption,” ECC said in a Dec. 18 post.

“In addition to a vision for ECC and an optimistic passion for Zcash, Josh has a strong entrepreneurial, technical and product background,” the firm added.

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Price analysis 12/18: SPX, DXY, BTC, ETH, BNB, XRP, SOL, ADA, AVAX, DOGE

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) rose 2.49% last week, extending its string of weekly gains to seven weeks, the longest such winning streak since 2017. However, Bitcoin (BTC) could not maintain its momentum and succumbed to profit-booking by the bulls. Trading resource Material Indicators said in an X (formerly Twitter) post that “ year-end profit taking and tax loss harvesting” will prevail in the short term.  

However, a crash is unlikely because several analysts expect the United States Securities and Exchange Commission to approve one or more spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications in January. If that happens, it could prove to be a game-changer for the sector.

Daily cryptocurrency market performance. Source: Coin360

VanEck CEO Jan van Eck said in an interview with CNBC that Bitcoin is likely to hit a new all-time high in the next 12 months. He expects Bitcoin to become an accompaniment to gold.

What are the important levels that could arrest the fall in Bitcoin and altcoins? Let’s analyze the charts to find out.

S&P 500 Index price analysis

The S&P 500 Index witnessed a strong bull move in the past few days, which carried the price above the overhead resistance of 4,650 on Dec. 13.

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Zilliqa on-chain transactions plunge amid ‘technical issue’

Update December 18, 2023 10:09PM UTC: The Zilliqa mainnet has been restored and is now fully operational. 

The $383-million Zilliqa ecosystem is experiencing disruptions due to a “critical situation” impacting the network.

According to a Dec. 18 post by developers, the Zilliqa blockchain faces a “technical issue that has resulted in an interruption to block production.” Blockchain data shows that daily transactions on Zilliqa subsequently plunged by roughly 50% to 30,906, compared to an average of 61,000 in the past few days.

Activity has since paused, with the last transaction occurring at around 11 am UTC, with no new blocks being produced since then. “The team are working hard to recover the network,” wrote Matt Dyer, Zilliqa’s CEO, in a follow-up.

Related: Zilliqa teases Web3 gaming console, Funko teams up with Warner Bros

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Unofficial Arweave forking plans draw community controversy

Irys, a prominent layer-2 network within the Arweave ecosystem, allegedly has plans to fork the Arweave network with the intent to “drop the dataset and reset the token supply,” according to a Dec. 17 post by Arweave founder Sam Williams.

He alleges that despite the existence of a safe upgrade mechanism with Arweave, Irys developers plan to proceed with a hard fork that “appears to be a play motivated by greed.” The Arweave founder wrote:

“Given this situation, Arweave intends to remove the Irys bundlers from the trusted set on the main Arweave gateways. This will lead to significant delays before user data is available.”

In a rebuttal post the same day, Irys developers stated, “Are we developing new provenance tech? You bet your ass we are,” accusing Arweave developers of “active censorship” in response to alleged efforts to “deplatform Irys from Arweave.” Developers added, “Stay tuned to this space; we have plenty of powerful new features we’re thinking through, and we can’t wait to share them.”

In the past two days, the Arweave token has lost over 20% of its value and is now trading at $8.90, partly due to the unveiling of the allegations. Irys is currently the largest layer-2 network on Arweave, accounting for over 90% of the blockchain’s 16 million daily transaction volume. However, the network’s volume has fallen by 31% since the allegations surfaced.

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Trader gambles $226K on Solana memecoin, hits $1.69M in 5 days

The Solana memecoin frenzy continues as a trader turns $226,000 into well over $1.6 million by gambling on a token with a beanie-wearing dog as its mascot. 

Between Dec. 13 and 15, a crypto trader bought over 19 million Dogwifhat (WIF) tokens, a dog-themed memecoin, as it debuted on the markets within the Solana network. According to blockchain analytics firm Lookonchain, the trader bought the tokens at an average price of $0.01137. Currently, the tokens’ total value hovers at around $1.69 million, making the trader about $1.47 million in profits within five days. 

As a new wave of interest hits the Solana ecosystem, memecoins based on the network have started to deliver massive gains. On Dec. 8, a dog-themed memecoin called Bonk (BONK) became the third-largest memecoin by market capitalization, joining fellow dog-themed memecoins Shiba Inu (SHIB) and Dogecoin (DOGE) in the top three and overtaking Pepecoin (PEPE), the frog-themed memecoin. 

Bonk’s price jumped by 370% in the 30 days leading to Dec. 11, going from $0.0000028 to $0.00002 at the time of writing. The token outpaced the growth of fellow dog memecoins SHIB and DOGE, which grew 20% and 35% in the same period. 

Related: Trader allegedly saw over 5,000x gains after Ankr protocol hack

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Blockchain-based private loans hit $582M, doubling from 2022

Blockchain-based lending has regained momentum in 2023, with the value of active tokenized private credit now sitting at $582 million — a staggering 128% increase from a year ago.

While still far from its peak of $1.5 billion in June 2022, according to data from real-world asset loan tracker, the resurgence could signal that loan-seekers are looking for blockchain-based alternatives to traditional financiers amid a recent rise in interest rates.

The current average percentage rate is 9.64% for blockchain-based credit protocols, while financiers have been offering small business bank loan interest rates between 5.75% and 11.91%, according to a Dec. 1 report by NerdWallet.

The loans being taken out aren’t small either. has tracked $4.5 billion in blockchain-based loans across 1,804 deals, which means the average loan comes out at about $2.5 million.

One of the most noteworthy loan-seekers of late is United Kingdom-based asset management firm Fasanara Capital, which took out a $38.3 million loan from Clearpool at a sub-7% base annual percentage yield (APY).

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Solana Saga sells for up to $5K on eBay as Bonk frenzy causes sell-out

A Solana Saga phone appears to have sold for as much as $5,000 on eBay — more than eight times its retail cost — after a frenzy to pick up a free memecoin airdrop caused the devices to sell out on the official website for the first time.

According to a Dec. 16 listing on the online marketplace eBay, two unopened, in-box phones have recently sold, listed for $5,000 or “best offer,” while another device has sold for $3,316 or “best offer.”

Solana Saga phones were being resold for as high as $5,000 on eBay. Source: eBay

An additional 20 devices managed to sell for over $2,000 over the weekend, a more than $1,400 markup on the original $599 price tag on the Solana Mobile website.

Since the device launched on May 8, each new Saga phone has come with a free 30 million Bonk (BONK) token airdrop. Last week, traders began noticing that a price surge in Bonk meant that the free airdrop had become more valuable than the device itself, causing the phone to sell out as of Dec. 16.

Buyers of these scalped Saga phones are likely a bet that the price of the memecoin will continue to appreciate even further. In the last 30 days, Bonk surged nearly 800% as the token gained mass traction among memecoin enthusiasts and opportunistic traders.

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Bitcoin's 8-week win streak is in danger, but ATOM, FIL, EGLD, and ALGO don't care

Bitcoin’s (BTC) eight-week winning streak is likely to end as the price is down nearly 4% this week. The recent weakness indicates profit-booking by traders but it does not change the short-term uptrend. The pullback will also help reduce the froth that may have been building.

After the initial shakeout, strong hands are likely to re-enter the crypto market as the macro environment remains bullish for risk-assets. The decision by the Federal Reserve to pause rate hikes and possibly reduce rates in 2024 could further boost demand for crypto products.

Crypto market data daily view. Source: Coin360

However, nothing goes up in a straight line. After sharp rallies, traders generally book profits and shift their focus to other coins. As Bitcoin takes a breather, traders' are likely to turn their attention to select altcoins.

What are the coins that may attract buyers in the short term? Let’s look at the charts of the top-five cryptocurrencies that are showing promise.

Bitcoin price analysis

Bitcoin is getting squeezed between the 20-day exponential moving average ($41,370) and the downtrend line. This sets the stage for a sharp breakout within the next few days.

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BlackRock revises BTC ETF filing, El Salvador’s crypto citizenship trending, and more: Hodler’s Digest, Dec. 10-16

BlackRock has revised its spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) application to make it easier for Wall Street banks to participate by creating new shares in the fund with cash rather than just crypto. The new in-kind redemption “prepay” model will allow banking giants such as JPMorgan or Goldman Sachs to act as authorized participants for the fund, letting them circumvent restrictions that prevent them from holding Bitcoin or crypto directly on their balance sheets.

El Salvador’s National Bitcoin Office says its $1 million Freedom Visa program has already received hundreds of inquiries since its launch on Dec. 7 and expects it to sell out before the end of 2023. Launched by the local government in partnership with stablecoin issuer Tether, the Freedom Visa is a citizenship-by-donation program that grants a residency visa and pathway to citizenship for 1,000 people willing to make a $1 million Bitcoin or Tether donation to the country. The program is limited to 1,000 slots per calendar year.

The lawyer responsible for Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried’s criminal trial defense has admitted that the case was “almost impossible” to win from the outset. During an interview, Stanford Law School professor David Mills said he recommended the legal defense of SBF admit to the allegations of witnesses and state prosecution and convince the jury that Bankman-Fried intended to save the company. Mills also disclosed that he had agreed to lend his expertise to Bankman-Fried’s defense at the behest of the FTX CEO’s parents, and described Bankman-Fried “as the worst person I’ve ever seen do a cross-examination.” is hoping arbitrage traders will return $1.4 million in funds after a multisignature scripting error resulted in a large amount of the protocol’s treasury being drained. The error occurred while Yearn was converting its yVault LP-yCurve — earned from performance fees on vault harvests — into stablecoins on the decentralized exchange CoW Swap. Yearn suffered significant slippage when it received 779,958 DAI yVault tokens from the trade, resulting in a 63% drop in the liquidity pool value.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission has delayed its decision on whether to approve or reject a spot Ether ETF proposed by Invesco and Galaxy Digital. The companies filed the spot ETH ETF application in September. The proposed spot crypto investment vehicle is one of many being considered by the commission, which, to date, has never approved an ETF with direct exposure to Ether, Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.

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Vesting in crypto, explained

What is crypto vesting?

The process of locking down cryptocurrency tokens or coins for a predetermined amount of time before allowing the tokenholder to fully access or transfer them is known as crypto vesting.

It is commonly used in initial coin offerings (ICOs), token sales and other cryptocurrency-related fundraising activities. Crypto vesting aims to incentivize long-term dedication and deter early investors or team members from hastily selling their tokens for a profit and then leaving the business. Individuals or entities that get tokens gradually gain access to them over time, usually at predetermined intervals, by imposing a vesting period.

While vesting schedules are subject to change, they usually consist of a waiting period (known as the cliff) followed by regular periods of release. Tokens may, for instance, have a one-year cliff and then be made available in equal monthly payments after that.

Vesting is frequently applied to:

Team and advisers: To ensure the team members’ and advisers’ continued dedication to the project, tokens given to project developers may be subject to vesting.Investors: Early investors in an ICO or token sale may also be subject to vesting periods to deter short-term speculation.Founders: To match their interests with the project’s long-term performance, a project’s founders or core team members may have their tokens vested.

Smart contracts on the blockchain are usually used to implement vesting, ensuring that the regulations are clear and automatically applied. This mechanism helps build trust among the community and investors, as it shows a commitment from key stakeholders to the project’s success in the long term.

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Price analysis 12/15: BTC, ETH, BNB, XRP, SOL, ADA, DOGE, AVAX, DOT, MATIC

Bitcoin’s (BTC) rally has been taking a breather for the past few days but its strong rally in 2023 has not gone unnoticed. A survey of United States financial services companies by crypto firm Paxos showed that 99% of the firms were putting as much or more focus on crypto projects this year as compared to previous years.

Analysts are increasingly bullish on Bitcoin and the crypto space in 2024. Bitwise senior research analyst Ryan Rasmussen made ten predictions for the crypto industry in 2024 in an X (formerly Twitter) post on Dec. 13. He believes Bitcoin will soar to $80,000 in 2024 and “more money will settle using stablecoins than using Visa.”

Daily cryptocurrency market performance. Source: Coin360

Along with crypto-specific issues, expectations of rate cuts by the Federal Reserve in 2024 are adding to the bullish sentiment. Arthur Hayes, the former CEO of crypto exchange BitMEX, reiterated his bullish view on crypto in an X post on Dec. 14. He said that the fiat was “a filthy piece of trash” and there was no reason not to be long crypto.

What are the vital support levels that could arrest the fall in Bitcoin and altcoins? Let’s analyze the charts of the top 10 cryptocurrencies to find out.

Bitcoin price analysis

Bitcoin has been stuck between the downtrend line and the 20-day exponential moving average ($41,221) for the past few days. This tightening of the price action suggests that a range breakout is possible in the short term.

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Solana phone sales skyrocket as degens scramble for pumped-up BONK

Memecoin hopefuls have been snapping up Solana’s crypto phone in droves after a recent price hike for Solana memecoin Bonk (BONK), which has risen more than 1,100% in the last 30 days. 

Since the Solana phone was launched on May 8, new owners have been able to claim a free 30 million airdrop of the memecoin, but a recent rise in the token’s price has presented an interesting arbitrage opportunity for buyers.

“Solana phone sales have > 10x’d in the past 48 hours, and are now on track to sell out before the new year,” wrote Solana co-founder Raj Gokal in a Dec. 15 post to X (formerly Twitter).

At current prices, the 30 million BONK airdrop is worth an astonishing $877 — $278 more than the current $599 price tag of the Saga phone — making it one of the more bizarre arbitrage opportunities available for crypto enthusiasts. 

Bonk has posted an outsized gain of 1,100% in the last 30 days, according to CoinGecko. The recent price performance saw Bonk’s market cap flip that of competitor memecoin Pepe. Memecoins are not often known for their stability.

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SafeMoon falls 31% in five hours after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

The token of decentralized finance protocol SafeMoon has fallen 31% in five hours after the company behind it filed for bankruptcy.

SafeMoon officially applied for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as “liquidation bankruptcy,” in a Dec. 14 filing to the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Utah. The voluntary petition was filed by attorney Mark Rose, with Judge Joel Marker assigned to the case.

SafeMoon bankruptcy filing. Source: CourtListener

A screenshot of a letter to employees purportedly written by the firm’s chief restructuring officer surfaced on Reddit, explaining that its bankruptcy run was why it could no longer pay employee wages before the filing.

“You will need to file a claim in the bankruptcy court for your unpaid wages,” the document read.

The latest blow comes only a month after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged SafeMoon, its founder Kyle Nagy, its CEO John Karony, and its chief technology officer Thomas Smith, with violating securities laws in what the regulator described as “a massive fraudulent scheme.”

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Korean crypto firm raises $140M, China’s $1.4T AI sector, Huobi battle: Asia Express

Our weekly roundup of news from East Asia curates the industry’s most important developments.

South Korean nonfungible tokens (NFT) developer Line Next secured a $140 million investment on December 13 from a consortium led by Peter-Thiel-backed private equity firm Crescendo Equity Partners. It’s the largest blockchain series funding round in Asia this year.

The firm’s NFT platform, dubbed “DOSI,” is scheduled to premiere in January 2024, integrated with Japanese NFT marketplace Line NFT.

“With this investment, Line Next also plans to introduce new services to further accelerate Web3 popularization. These include introducing a social app that allows users to communicate based on the characters they made utilizing AI technology and launching new Web3 games utilizing BROWN & FRIENDS characters that anyone can enjoy.”

Line Next plans to create the new services on public blockchain Finschia, with Line and Crescendo participating in the Finschia Foundation as governance members. The firm claims it has achieved over 470,000 cumulative transactions through various decentralized applications operating under its DOSI brand. Its popular messaging app, Line, has over 5 million users. 

The upcoming Dosi NFT platform.
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Cardano (ADA), Solana (SOL) and Polkadot (DOT) soar — Is it altseason?

Bitcoin (BTC) faced a sharp correction on Dec. 11, plummeting as much as 8% to a four-month low at $40,150, wiping out the gains of the past seven days

This drop in BTC’s price has triggered a marketwide reevaluation, prompting a debate on the potential for altcoins to spearhead the next significant rally in the cryptocurrency landscape.

Market experts and analysts believe the recent price crash is a part of the ongoing price cycle, and after two months of a bullish surge, a correction was inevitable.

Analysts’ insights into Bitcoin’s recent pull-back

Will Clemente, a crypto analyst and co-founder of Reflexivity Research, interpreted the market correction as a means to shake out weak positions and reduce the highly leveraged crypto markets, attributing this volatility to a necessary phase in market evolution.

Additionally, Kaleo, co-founder of the LedgArt nonfungible token (NFT) project, took to X (formerly Twitter) to express their belief that the recent downturn was “nothing more than a healthy correction after a massive parabolic extension.”

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'No excuse' not to long crypto: Arthur Hayes repeats $1M BTC price bet

Bitcoin (BTC) and altcoins are a no-brainer bet in the current macro climate, Arthur Hayes says.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Dec. 14, the former CEO of exchange BitMEX said that investors have “no excuse” to short crypto.

$1 million Bitcoin still in play in 2024 "great pivot"

Going long crypto is the key to success as markets bet on the United States Federal Reserve lowering interest rates next year, Hayes argues.

On Dec. 13, at the latest meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), Fed policymakers voted to continue a freeze on interest rate hikes.

While broadly expected, a subsequent speech and press conference with Chair Jerome Powell sparked talk of impending rate cuts — an event known as a “pivot” in policy.

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J1mmy.eth once minted 420 Bored Apes… and had NFTs worth $150M: NFT Creator

When the history books are written, and the documentaries are made on the formative days of NFTs, Jimmy McNelis, aka j1mmy.eth, will hold a special place in history as a creator, as a passionate advocate, and for having one of the greatest NFT collections of all time. 

An NFT OG who started his journey on Dec. 5, 2017, when he purchased his first CryptoKitty, the 45-year-old American is also the founder of Avastars, an early PFP project from February 2020 that set the scene for intellectual property (IP) rights being given to holders. 

That was popularized by Bored Ape Yacht Club and the 2021 PFP mania that saw IP rights for holders becoming the standard for most projects. Avastars was also a pioneer in putting the project on-chain, inspired by Autoglyphs, which minted 10 months earlier. 

J1mmy also has an almost unrivaled NFT collection worth around $150 million at the peak. The astonishing collection includes eight Autoglyphs, 19 Chromie Squiggles, 30 Bored Apes, five CryptoPunks, 11 Gazers, 61 Meebits, 114 CyberBrokers and a Twin Flame by Justin Aversano. 

“At its peak it was about $150 million. Whether or not that was actually liquid but $150 million was on one of the wallet portfolio sites. Today, it’s probably 1/10th of that,” says j1mmy. 

Autoglyph #190 by Larva Labs
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Ledger patches vulnerability after multiple DApps using connector library were compromised

Update (Dec. 14 at 2:45 pm UTC): This article has been updated to clarify that Ledger has reportedly fixed the issue.

The front end of multiple decentralized applications (DApps) using Ledger’s connector, including Zapper, SushiSwap, Phantom, Balancer and were compromised on Dec. 14. Nearly three hours after the security breach was discovered, Ledger reported that the malicious version of the file had been replaced with its genuine version around 1:35 pm UTC.

Ledger is warning users "to always Clear Sign" transactions, adding that the addresses and the information presented on the Ledger screen are the only genuine information. “If there’s a difference between the screen shown on your Ledger device and your computer/phone screen, stop that transaction immediately.”

SushiSwap chief technical officer Matthew Lilley was among the first to report the issue, noting that a commonly used Web3 connector was compromised, allowing malicious code to be injected into numerous DApps. The on-chain analyst said the Ledger library confirmed the compromise where the vulnerable code inserted the drainer account address.

Lilley blamed Ledger for the ongoing vulnerability and compromise on multiple DApps. The exec claimed that Ledger’s content delivery network was compromised, with JavaScript being loaded from the compromised network.

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Gemini creditors revolt over ‘brutal’ Bitcoin slashing reorg plan

Gemini Earn creditors are fuming over a proposed reorganization plan that could see their promised Bitcoin (BTC) payouts effectively slashed to about 30% of what they’re worth at current market rates.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Gemini Trust revealed it sent creditors an email on Dec. 13 outlining the proposed plan, which has now been put up for a vote.

Under the proposed plan, creditors will receive a payout equal to their Earn crypto balances as of Jan. 19, 2023 — the date that Gemini’s cryptocurrency lending partner Genesis Global Capital filed for bankruptcy.

Some observers, including Bloomberg exchange-traded fund analyst James Seyffart, described the plan as “brutal,” given that the prices of Bitcoin and Ether (ETH) were only $20,940 and $1,545 at the time. The assets have since rallied to $42,750 and $2,250, respectively, at the time of writing.

This would mean that in the worst-case scenario where creditors are given a 61% recovery, each Bitcoin that a creditor had on Earn would only be given $12,773, or 30% of what a Bitcoin is worth today.

Continue reading pleads arb traders to return funds after $1.4M multisig mishap

Decentralized finance protocol is hoping arbitrage traders will return $1.4 million in funds after a multisignature scripting error, resulting in a large amount of the protocol’s treasury being drained.

“A faulty multisig script caused Yearn's entire treasury balance of 3,794,894 lp-yCRVv2 tokens to be swapped,” according to a Dec. 11 GitHub post by Yearn contributor “dudesahn.”

The error occurred while Yearn was converting its yVault LP-yCurve (lp-yCRVv2) — earned from performance fees on vault harvests — into stablecoins on decentralized exchange CowSwap.

Yearn suffered significant slippage when it received 779,958 DAI yVault (yvDAI) tokens from the trade, resulting in a 63% fall in liquidity pool value from its treasury — relative to lp-yCRVv2’s spot price at the time.

Yearn confirmed the $1.4 million figure in a note to The Block.

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