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• Countdown to US spot ETF: 5 things to know in Bitcoin this week

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Bitcoin starts 2024 160% higher than a year ago — and arguably the year’s biggest news event is due within days.

BTC price strength endured over the yearly candle close, with no last-minute volatility disrupting either bulls’ or bears’ plans.

What’s next? The first half of January is set to be unlike any other in Bitcoin’s history — the deadline for approving the United States’ first spot price exchange-traded fund (ETF) is here.

Opinions over how markets will react to the decision — whether good or bad — are mixed.

Some believe that a green light will open the floodgates of institutional investment capital and that Bitcoin will never be the same as a result. Others see an ETF launch as ultimately a mixed blessing and that the immediate reaction to greenlighting it will be a snap BTC price retracement.

• All eyes on SEC’s January decision on spot bitcoin ETFs

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In ETF land, 2024 could kick off with a bang if, as expected, spot bitcoin ETFs win Securities and Exchange Commission approval in January.

Bloomberg Intelligence predicts a 90% chance the SEC will approve a spot bitcoin ETF by Jan. 10. That’s the deadline for the commission to either approve or deny a proposed rule change to list and trade shares of the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF, according to Bloomberg Intelligence ETF Research Analyst James Seyffart.

The application for a spot bitcoin ETF by Cathie Wood’s ARK Investment Management and 21Shares is first in line among the recent wave of 19b-4 filings for spot bitcoin ETFs.

However, the SEC is likely to greenlight multiple applications at once, Seyffart said.

• Over $80 Million Stolen in Orbit Chain Exploit, Assets ‘Remain Unmoved’

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Cross-chain bridge project Orbit Chain was hit by a “cyberattack” Monday, with over $80 million drained from its bridge.

The project stated that following “unidentified access” on Orbit Bridge, an attacker had taken and was holding $84.5 million worth of assets across multiple wallet addresses. The stolen funds total 26,741.6 ETH held across five addresses (worth around $64.5 million at current prices), with just under $20 million worth of the stablecoin DAI held in another three addresses.

• Bitcoin Birthday: 15 years after Satoshi Nakamoto mined genesis block

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While many celebrate Oct. 31, 2008 — the release of the Bitcoin whitepaper — as Bitcoin’s original birthday, others take a more technical approach to determining the true age of Bitcoin. For the latter, Jan. 3 is the actual date Bitcoin materialized as a store of value and transferable currency.

The genesis block, a.k.a. the first Bitcoin block, was mined on Jan. 3, 2009, by its myterious creator Satoshi Nakamoto. What followed was years of triumph versus naysayers that included critics, mainstream media, politicians and governments worldwide. On the occasion of Bitcoin’s 15th birthday, we take a bird’s eye view of the Bitcoin ecosystem.

• Michael Saylor begins selling $216M in MicroStrategy stocks for more Bitcoin

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MicroStrategy executive chairman Michael Saylor has begun a four-month process of selling $216 million worth of his shares in his firm MicroStrategy, previously stating part of it would be used to buy more Bitcoin.

In a Jan. 2 filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, Saylor disclosed that he had already started selling his 315,000 stock options awards, first granted to him in April 2014. The awarded stock options expire on April 30, 2024.

According to the filing, Saylor began the process on Jan. 2, selling his first tranche of 5,000 shares.

In MicroStrategy’s third-quarter earnings call on Nov. 2, Saylor said he planned to sell 5,000 MSTR shares daily for the next four months, which will go into addressing “personal obligations” and increasing the amount of Bitcoin he owns.

• How crypto adoption grew in 2023, from investing to new ventures

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Over 40 countries were actively involved in advancing regulations and legislation focused on cryptocurrencies in 2023, as highlighted in a report by Big Four consulting giant PwC. The efforts were broadly categorized into four main areas: regulating stablecoins, compliance with the Financial Action Task Force’s Travel Rule, licensing and registration, and overall development of a crypto regulatory framework.

The report reveals differing levels of engagement among countries. While some — such as Japan, the Bahamas and various European Union states — showed comprehensive involvement across all focus areas, others — such as Uganda, India and Brazil — limited their focus to one or two sectors, reflecting a more cautious approach to the crypto industry.

Concluding Notes:

  • Countdown to US spot ETF
  • All eyes on SEC’s January decision on spot bitcoin ETFs
  • Over $80 Million Stolen in Orbit Chain Exploit
  • Bitcoin Birthday
  • Michael Saylor begins selling $216M in MicroStrategy stocks for more Bitcoin
  • How crypto adoption grew in 2023

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