(February 12) Check out other fresh news in the crypto world in today’s issue of the PDAXScope. 📰
Spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs), within just 20 days of trading, have surged to an astounding USD 10 billion in assets under management (AUM), reflecting intense investor enthusiasm for this emerging investment avenue. Notable players like BlackRock's iShares Bitcoin Trust and Fidelity's Wise Origin Bitcoin Fund lead the pack with USD 4B and USD 3.4B in holdings respectively, while ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF recently crossed the USD 1B milestone on February 10. Despite Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) witnessing outflows, albeit at a reduced pace, with its smallest daily withdrawal recorded on February 9, analysts project sustained expansion as trading firms finalize their assessments of these investment instruments.
Metaco, the cryptocurrency custody firm acquired by Ripple in May 2023, faces a shake-up as its CEO and chief product officer depart the company. Ripple confirmed the exits of CEO Adrien Treccani and Chief Product Officer Peter DeMeo, acknowledging their contributions to building a leading custody business and integrating it with Ripple's operations post-acquisition. Custody remains pivotal to Ripple's expansion plans, despite recent departures. Metaco's pre-acquisition reputation as a favored partner for European banks, including recent collaboration with HSBC, has been overshadowed by reports of banks reassessing ties following the Ripple acquisition.
The UN launches a probe into North Korea's alleged cyberattacks on crypto firms, suspected of funding its weapons program with USD 3B in stolen funds. Over 58 hacks from 2017 to 2023 are under scrutiny, raising concerns about the nation's nuclear and missile ambitions. Despite a slight decrease from previous years, experts warn of rising sophistication in attacks, signaling heightened risks for crypto firms in 2024.
The Israel Defense Forces successfully rescued two hostages, Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70, from Rafah in a daring overnight mission. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to ensure the safety of the civilian population in Rafah, where over 1 million Palestinians seek refuge in shelters. Concerns escalate over a potential Israeli ground assault on Rafah, intensifying global apprehension. Netanyahu asserts that targeting Rafah is crucial in combatting Hamas, but the fate of the densely packed population remains uncertain, with limited options for seeking safety amid mounting tensions.
The recent deceleration in commodity prices is anticipated to bolster Finance Secretary Ralph G. Recto's optimism regarding rate cuts by the Monetary Board in the latter half of the year. Speaking at the 2024 National Tax Campaign, Recto stated that with inflation aligning with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) expectations, no further rate hikes are foreseen. In January, inflation moderated to 2.8 percent, well within the BSP's target range of 2 to 4 percent, as reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
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