Pretty much a year happened in the past week in crypto. DeFi wobbles, Richard Heart and Hex in deep doo-doo, a rapper comes clean, stablecoin concerns and more.

And all the while, Bitcoin’s price action remains about as exciting as you, trying to explain what blockchain actually is to anyone willing to have their ear bent for 10 minutes.

And yep… XRP, what gives? It’s pretty much retraced all its recent gains after its recent SEC court case win. We’ll touch on some price action in a tick, but first, a quick-ish catch-up on what’s been making headlines of late…



DeFi – is it dead?
Nope, but it hasn’t exactly been the most confidence-inspiring week or so in this important crypto sub-sector, either.

Curve balls
About a week ago, one of DeFi’s blue chips, Curve Finance, was hit by a series of “reentrancy attacks, which saw roughly US$70 million lost from several DeFi pools setting the DeFi landscape into panic-selling and withdrawal mode.

The exploit came via a vulnerability present in older versions of Vyper – a third-party Ethereum contract-based, Python programming language used by Curve and various other decentralised protocols.

The CRV price subsequently fell off a cliff but has at least recovered somewhat since, but events surrounding the hacks mean things are still shaky.

The Curve CEO, Michael Egorov, had around $100m in loans backed by a whopping 47% of the circulating supply of the protocol’s CRV token. That 47% represented about $427.5m.

The fear was that Egorov’s collateralised loans would be liquidated – something that would likely create even greater volatility across DeFi and crypto.

Egorov reduced this debt position by selling 39.25 million CRV to notable DeFi entities, including Justin Sun, Machi Big Brother and others, and for now, his re-financing efforts seem to have put a finger in the decentralised finance dyke.


• Okay, that’s not great, but what’s this we’re hearing about stablecoins? 

Yeah, there are concerns in this area of DeFi, too – specifically around the decentralised stablecoin DAI.

Influential VC firm a16z appears to have sold the last of its MakerDAO (MKR) holdings, which has fuelled some negative speculation about the protocol and the stablecoin it enables/generates – DAI.

It also appears that Circle, the issuer of one of the leading stablecoins, USDC, has also been de-risking from MakerDAO, while others seem to be de-risking from USDC itself as its market cap continues to steadily decline.


Richard Heart and Hex

The “flamboyant” founder of Hex, one of crypto’s most controversial “projects” has been charged by the SEC for misappropriating roughly US$12 million dollars amid offering the US$1 billion HEX sale as an unregistered security, along with claims he defrauded investors.

The Hex protocol, in which users can stake HEX tokens, leaving them untouched for years in the hope of stupendous ROI over time, has long faced criticism from knockers, who consider it a BitConnect-style Ponzi scheme.

Heart allegedly spent the misappropriated investor funds on some personal effects – nothing much, just a supercar or two, multipe luxury watches, ridiculously expensive and tacky leisure wear shell suits and, among other things, a 555-carat black diamond known as ‘The Enigma’.

Here he is, buying some of it…


Razzlekhan’s rap sheet

The husband-and-wife duo Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan (aka the crypto-rich online “rapper” Razzlekhan) have finally pled guilty to laundering laundering money stolen in a 2016 hack of the crypto exchange Bitfinex.

The duo admitted they carried it out through an elaborate scheme that, according to reports, involved them burying gold coins and burning documents in a bin in Kazakhstan.

In a hearing before a US District court in Washington, Lichtenstein admitted to hacking the exchange and enlisting his wife to help conceal 119,754 of stolen Bitcoin.

Those tokens were worth US$71m at the time they were stolen, but appreciated to more than US$4.5 billion by the time the two were arrested in the time of their arrests in February 2022.


Top 10 overview

With the overall crypto market cap at US$1.21 trillion, pretty flat since this time yesterday, here’s the current state of play among top 10 tokens – according to CoinGecko.



Yep, Bitcoin has been in Stagnant City for pretty much an entire month, just treading water around the US$29k mark. It could be worse, of course, and perhaps the crab market is the ideal time to just keep accumulating as we head into another Bitcoin “halving” year.

Hedge fund manager Dan Morehead, the CEO of Pantera Capital, certainly thinks Bitcoin is due a rally.

In a new Pantera update, Morehead noted that after last year’s de-stabilising of the industry, what with the collapse of Terra and FTX, the market is ready to turn bullish once more.

“Having traded 35 years of market cycles, I’ve learned there’s just so long markets can be down,” said Morehead. [There’s] only so much pain investors can take. It’s been a full year since TerraLUNA/SBF/etc. It’s been enough time. We can rally now.”

Morehead also believes that the crypto market has actually decoupled from trad markets, which seems optimistic, but still, like the hopium that brings…

“Blockchain has massively decoupled,” he said. “It’s just hard to notice in the moment.”

Meanwhile, XRP has been struggling to retain its positive narrative since its recent “not a security” court victory over US regulator the SEC. However, true believers, such as outspoken, pro-Ripple lawyer John Deaton, still… well, believe.