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Five top crypto stories this past week: ETF updates, Terraform Labs' reemergence, why


Five major crypto stories made headlines this week. Major asset managers are filing for Ethereum ETFs as the SEC punts on yet another decision. Terraform Labs, known for creating the Terra/Luna ecosystem, made its first major acquisition post Do Kwon’s exit, while Jump Trading continued its shift away from crypto by spinning off Wormhole. Finally, South Korea’s pension fund bought millions of Coinbase shares as Ordinal-like tokens made a splash on Polygon. 

Let’s take a closer look at each story in this recap. 

Latest Bitcoin and Ethereum ETF updates 

BlackRock and Fidelity, two major asset management firms, have both filed with the SEC for spot Ethereum ETFs. BlackRock’s iShares Ethereum Trust aims to reflect Ethereum’s price, with Coinbase as its custodian. Fidelity’s filing emphasized the importance of such ETFs for U.S. investor protection, claiming investors are seeking riskier ways to get exposure. 

Meanwhile, the SEC has delayed its decision on the Hashdex Nasdaq Ethereum ETF, which would include both spot ether and futures, until January 2024. The SEC’s delay, citing the need for more time to consider the proposal and related issues, also affected a decision regarding a Hashdex bitcoin futures ETF application. 

Terraform Labs makes acquisition as Do Kwon sits in jail

Terraform Labs, known for developing the Terra blockchain, has acquired Pulsar Finance, a cross-chain portfolio management and analytics startup. Despite ongoing legal disputes, including a major case with the SEC over allegations of selling unregistered securities, Terraform continues to build its capabilities, as its original co-founder Do Kwon sits in prison in Montenegro. 

Chris Amani, who replaced Kwon as CEO, emphasized the strategic importance of the Pulsar acquisition, which will enhance Terraform’s technology stack and facilitate the launch of cross-chain applications. Pulsar, established in 2021, supports 96 networks and over 700 protocols, offering tools for tracking a variety of tokens, DeFi positions, and NFTs. 

South Korea’s pension fund bets on Coinbase

South Korea’s National Pension Service (NPS), the world’s third-largest pension fund by assets, has made a significant foray into the cryptocurrency space by purchasing $19.9 million worth of Coinbase shares. This purchase, reported in the NPS’ latest holdings report, marks the first time the pension fund, which had assets under management of $755 billion as of June, has included a crypto-related security in its investment portfolio. 

Notably, the NPS has a policy against directly investing in crypto assets, though it had previously indicated a potential interest in investing in crypto exchanges. 

Jump Trading spins off Wormhole amidst shift in focus

Jump Trading has announced the transformation of its cross-chain protocol Wormhole into an independent business entity. This strategic move occurs amidst a significant downsizing of Jump Crypto, the firm’s cryptocurrency division, which has seen a 50% reduction in staff from its peak of 150 in 2022. This shift in focus and resources comes after Jump Trading scaled back its crypto market activities due to U.S. regulatory uncertainties and ended its long-standing partnership with Robinhood. 

Notably, Jump Crypto had swiftly intervened to restore $323 million worth of ETH lost in a major hack on Wormhole in early 2022, which marked one of the largest exploits in decentralized finance history. Jump Crypto had also been impacted by the collapses of the FTX crypto exchange and Terra’s algorithmic stablecoin​​.

Polygon saw a spike in transactions with Ordinals-like tokens

Polygon’s network experienced a surge in daily transaction volume, attributed to the large-scale minting of “PRC-20” tokens, an Ordinals-inspired token standard unique to Polygon. This surge, which saw daily transactions jump from 2.89 million to over 6 million, led to a significant increase in gas fees, peaking at over 7,000 Gwei before settling down. 

Despite the temporary spike in transaction costs, fees on the Polygon network remained significantly lower than those on the Ethereum mainnet, highlighting Polygon’s efficiency and cost-effectiveness for blockchain transactions​​.

Disclaimer: This article was produced with the assistance of OpenAI’s ChatGPT 3.5/4 and reviewed and edited by our editorial team.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.



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