As 2023 fades into the background, the new year has started with significant developments in the cryptocurrency world. January 10th saw the SEC approve 11 U.S. spot Bitcoin ETFs, a significant milestone in crypto history. After just one week of trading, these ETFs outperformed silver ETPs, making Bitcoin the second-largest exchange-traded commodity by volume. This development has sparked speculation about the potential for spot ETFs for other cryptocurrencies. Coupled with the anticipated Bitcoin halving in April, there’s a strong sentiment of confidence across various sectors about potential price increases, fostering a sense of optimism regarding future value growth.
The February edition of the Cointelegraph Research Monthly Trends Report delves into the industry’s response to the introduction of U.S. spot Bitcoin ETFs, covering a wide range of sectors, including crypto-mining businesses, derivatives markets, the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector, tokenization of real-world assets, among others. This report provides a thorough overview of each segment, incorporating in-depth analysis, future projections, and sentiment analysis, offering readers a comprehensive summary of the current landscape and expectations.
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DeFi market sees strong growth in January, offset by exploit
January 2024 showcased the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector as a true reflection of the broader cryptocurrency market: volatile, exciting, and unpredictable. A surprise security breach in the Socket protocol resulted in the theft of $3.3 million in ETH. The Socket protocol team swiftly identified and rectified the vulnerability shortly after the incident. Thanks to collaborative efforts from various analytics firms, about 70% of the stolen funds were reclaimed within a week, offering considerable reassurance to the impacted stakeholders.
While the total value locked (TVL) and the price of numerous DeFi tokens saw an increase at the beginning of the month, there was a noticeable slowdown in the latter half. However, Sui and Pulse Chain demonstrated remarkable TVL growth, surging 107% and 189%, respectively. The notable increase in Pulse Chain’s value can be attributed to the expansion of its native decentralized exchange (DEX), PulseX, particularly underscored by the transfer of more than 20 million DAI stablecoins from Ethereum to PulseChain in less than a week. Meanwhile, the growth in Sui’s TVL is linked to the rising popularity of two lending protocols, Navi Protocol, which grew by 162%, and Scallop Lend, which saw a 229% increase. The launch of Scallop Lend’s second phase of its airdrop and rewards program on January 16th contributed to a doubling in the protocol’s TVL.
Regulatory challenges leave derivatives trading exposed as bulls deleverage
Throughout 2023, considerable differences in regulations across countries and regions, coupled with stringent regulatory measures, have markedly restricted retail derivatives trading globally. Centralized exchanges (CEXs) and DeFi projects found themselves compelled to cease operations entirely, as acquiring trading licenses for various products became increasingly challenging. Major industry players, including Crypto.com and Binance, were forced to curtail their operations, scaling down their service offerings, reducing leverage ratios, limiting the types of products available, and restricting access for certain users. Despite these challenges, the derivatives markets continue to serve as a crucial indicator of sentiment within the industry.
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