(MarketWatch) This is Mark DeCambre, Editor in Chief at MarketWatch. Welcome to week No. 2 of 2023 and a fresh installment of Distributed Ledger. It has been another week of chockablock activity in crypto: digital-asset focused bank Silvergate revealed heavy withdrawals as the FTX implosion roiled the industry.
And there appears to be a public spat between the Winklevoss twins, who founded Gemini, and Barry Silbert, another influential player in crypto.
And of course, Sam Bankman-Fried pleaded NOT guilty earlier this week, setting the stage for an October court case if a deal isn’t struck between the 30-year-old founder of FTX and federal prosecutors. Our white-collar attorney contacts advise to watch this space closely over the ensuing weeks and months.
In any case, holler at me on Twitter at and at MarketWatch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crypto-centric bank Silvergate Capital Corp. was at a steep loss to cover some $8.1 billion in withdrawals amid the chaos following FTX’s collapse in November. The bank published an update on Thursday stating that it had lost $718 million from selling assets at losses.
“We took commensurate steps to ensure that we were maintaining cash liquidity in order to satisfy potential deposit outflows, and we currently maintain a cash position in excess of our digital asset related deposits,” said Alan Lane, chief executive officer of Silvergate, wrote in a note.
Silvergate is also reducing its head count by around 200 employees, or 40% of staff, “in order to account for the economic realities facing the business and industry today.”
The outlook and the ‘halvening’
Tim Draper is betting (once again) that bitcoin prices will hit $250,000 a coin by the end of 2023. Of course, he made a similar bet in 2022, as his T-shirt in the following tweet indicates.
Despite his relentlessly bullish view on bitcoin prices, it is worth noting that the most recent “halving” or “halvening,” that occurs every four years in bitcoin, was ultimately followed by bitcoin surging to a new high at around $65,000 in 2021. The last such event was 2020.
The halvening means that rewards for those who support bitcoin by verifying transactions will be, quite literally, cut in half. This halving will bring the reward to 6.25 bitcoins and will fall to 3.125 in March of 2024.
William Cai, co-founder and managing partner at Wilshire Phoenix, an asset management firm, said that his outlook is fairly constructive for bitcoin.
“Crypto has shown to be very resilient in 2022, and we lean toward a positive and exciting year as the space moves forward in 2023,” he wrote in emailed comments.
“We are likely to see continued price volatility in 2023, with several battling factors such as the uncertain overall economic environment, technical rather than fundamental driven pressures, and continued institutional adoption but with possible FTX-like events and related regulatory actions,” said.
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