Mooners and Shakers: Blockchain co’s scrabbling like startled cats to stay alive until the end of the year
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Rob “If this Hammock’s Rockin’…” Badman is enjoying a well-earned Xmas break, so you’re stuck with me again for the next few days. Bear with me as I emerge from my Christmas Turkey Coma to try to make heads and tails of what’s been happening in the world of crypto.
A quickfire look at the majors this morning, and things are looking relatively stable, if a little spongy. BTC and ETH are selling close to 1.0% down this morning, as trading volume across the exchanges ramps up after a mid-Christmas slowdown.
It was almost as if a large portion of the crypto community actually took a break to spend time with family… either that, or the combined bandwidth drain of billions of new gaming consoles being unboxed and plugged in on Christmas morning slowed the entire internet to a crawl.
Let’s jump into a few headlines to whet your appetite for the morning, and then I’ll have some specifics and maybe even a pretty chart to show you. How exciting!
The past couple of weeks have been pretty weird in Japan’s financial circles. The Bank of Japan recent pivoted on its policy to allow the yield on 10-year Japanese government bonds to shift up to 0.50 per cent instead of its long-preferred 0.25 per cent cap.
That made people’s tummies rumble and sent the yen soaring against the USD, up 4.0% in a day – which probably doesn’t sound like all that much, but for an actual hold-it-in-your-hand currency, it’s outrageous.
Japanese regulators haven’t ignored the crypto space, though, announcing moves that will see Japanese exchanges include stablecoins on the roster for the first time, provided they:
Japan is still (we think… it’s hard to tell) dishing out some pretty serious side-eye suspicion about whether stablecoins are going to be used properly (as stores of value, etc) or improperly (for laundering money, because of course it’s going to be) – but the move is a step in the right direction for bringing Japanese exchanges in line with most other major markets.
NEAR Protocol blockchain Octopus Network has gone Full Grinch this Christmas, using the Happiest Time of the Year to unveil a cost-cutting restructure that will send 12 of its 30 core employees off to the bread line.
The 40% headcount cut is taking place alongside a 20% gutting of the surviving employee’s wages – a robust sign that times at Octopus are about as tough as a slab of BBQ tentacle that hasn’t been adequately tenderised.
(See, the gag there is that it takes an enormous amount of effort to get octopus meat tender enough to cook nicely, and usually involves a prolonged and thorough beating of the cephalopod’s corpse once it’s dead. #TheMoreYouKnow #CookingWithCrypto).
Octopus CEO Louis Liu remains positive and upbeat, however, saying: “the crypto winter will last at least another year, perhaps much longer. Most Web3 startups will not survive. I wouldn’t recommend that ordinary people launch a Web3 startup in the coming year unless they receive support from large institutional investors.”
Wait… that’s not even remotely upbeat. And I’m not sure what he means by “ordinary people” – so maybe only Batman, Superman and a few people with Asperger’s will flourish in Liu’s version of the future of Web3.
Still, it’s obviously a super-classy act, to fire your workers at Christmas time… but it neatly sums up what a proper prick of a year 2022 has been for a lot of small companies.
And if Louis Liu’s Pentapus of Positivity hasn’t got you all jacked to the milkers with good feeling about how the market’s handling things, there is an announcement on the way from NASDAQ-listed Argo Blockchain that is hanging like the Sword of Damacles.
Argo, to put it nicely, has been in deep, deep s–t for a while now, with liquidity issues mounting to the point that it has been restructuring harder than a gaggle of Gold Coast bogans on The Block.
Whether Argo’s about to shut up shop, or there’s been a Christmas miracle and its managed to secure a sizeable backer to keep it afloat, remains unclear, but the announcement is expected pre-market, so we’ll find out which way the Argonauts are sailing this arvo some time.
With the overall crypto market cap at US$840 Billion, down 0.5% since this time yesterday, here’s the current state of play among top 10 tokens – according to CoinGecko.
(Stats accurate at time of publishing, based on CoinGecko.com data.)