MicroStrategy & Terra Shop for Bitcoin, Acquiring $420 Million in BTC
The accumulation of Bitcoin by whales and institutional investors has continued, with Nasdaq-listed company MicroStrategy and the Luna Foundation Guard scooping up significant portions of Bitcoin.
The CEO of Microstrategy, Michael Saylor, announced that his company had purchased an additional 4,167 bitcoins for $190.5 million (at an average price of ~$45,714 per BTC).
The recent purchase means that Microstrategy now owns 129,218 bitcoins, which the company has cumulatively acquired for approximately $3.97 billion.
The Luna Foundation Guard also continued its $10 billion bitcoin buying spree, with bitcoin worth $231 million becoming its latest purchase. Larry Cermak, the VP of research at The Block, reported that the LFG wallet had sent $231 million to Binance.
The 24 hour price chart for Bitcoin (BTC). Source: Tradingview
Over the past weeks, the trend of Bitcoin accumulation has heightened, with investors backing Bitcoin for significant gains in 2022.
Lightning Labs Raises $70 Million to Add Stablecoins to the Bitcoin Network
Bitcoin Lightning Network‘s developer Lightning Labs has raised $70 million in a Series B funding round to build ‘Taro’, a stablecoin and asset protocol, on the Bitcoin network. Taro will be based on Taproot, a recent blockchain upgrade.
Elizabeth Stark, co-founder, and CEO of Lightning Labs, announced the launch of Taro, an open protocol that will support the movement of assets across Lightning. Taro aims to bring stablecoins to the Bitcoin blockchain for instant USD and other fiat-pegged asset settlements.
Taro will help developers issue assets on the Bitcoin blockchain and onboard them to the Lightning Network for speed and scalability. Lightning Labs further explained that Taro will leverage Bitcoin’s liquidity to ensure interoperability between assets.
The funding round was led by Valor Equity Partners and joined by Baillie Gifford, Goldcrest, Kingsway, Stillmark, Brevan Howard, and NYDIG.
Taro could help further facilitate Bitcoin’s adoption by bringing more stablecoins and assets to the Bitcoin network.
Ethereum Gas Fees Fall by 90% in 6 Months, as ETH Prepares for Q2 Rally
The issue of high gas fees on the Ethereum network could soon become a distant memory, as the average fee paid for ETH transactions has steadily declined. In fact, the average Ethereum gas price is now 90% cheaper than it was six months ago.
According to crypto data intelligence platform Santiment, the average gas fee on the Ethereum network is currently $5.81, 90% less than that charged in November of 2021. According to Etherscan.io, gas fees are currently as low as $3.17.
The average Ethereum Gas Fee. Source: Santiment
On November 8th, 2021, the average users paid for transactions was $62.85, and in May 2021, gas fees hit their highest point of $69.57. Many experts attributed the spike in Ethereum gas fees in 2021 to the surge of NFT sales on the Ethereum network.
As gas prices become cheaper on the Ethereum network, performing transactions on Ethereum becomes more and more attractive for users.
U.S. – German Operation Shuts Down World’s Largest Darknet Market, Hydra
The Hydra Market, the world’s largest and oldest darknet marketplace of illegal items and services, has been shut down by German authorities in collaboration with U.S. law enforcement.
Reporting on the operation, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it had also charged one of Hydra’s operators — a 30-year-old resident of Russia, Dmitry Olegovich Pavlov — with counts of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
German authorities reported that they had seized Hydra’s server infrastructure and 543 BTC worth approximately $25 million.
Hydra accounted for roughly 86% of all illicit Bitcoin transactions in Russia in 2019, while sales on the illegal marketplace using cryptocurrency had reached somewhere in the region of $5.2 billion.
Authorities are actively targeting darknet markets and looking to curb the use of cryptocurrencies in illegal activities.
Dominance of Public Bitcoin Miners Grows, Now Accounting for 20% of Bitcoin’s Hashrate
In 2021, as much as 49.99% of Bitcoin’s hashrate stemmed from China, leading many to question the authenticity of the network’s decentralization. Since that point, there has been a notable rise in the number of public mining companies.
According to data tracker, Blockchain.com, the Bitcoin hash rate produced by public mining companies now consists of 19% of the network’s total; a significant increase since January 2021, when public miners contributed to only 3% of the total hash rate.
Currently, there are 26 publicly listed Bitcoin mining companies, including Riot Blockchain, Bitfarms, and Argo Blockchain. The dominance of public miners has increased as they “continually missed” hash rate growth targets.
The rise in the number of public miners is expected to increase the decentralization and security of the Bitcoin network.