Ether (ETH) and bitcoin (BTC) reached one-month highs last week following the launch of six ether futures ETFs in the U.S. Although traders initially anticipated high demand for these products, their performance turned out to be lackluster. On the first day of trading, less than $2 million was traded across the various ETFs, leading analysts to revise their bullish outlook and shift their focus to bitcoin investments instead. The ether futures ETFs only accounted for 0.2% of trading volume compared to BTC futures on their first day. Some analysts attribute this to a lack of institutional demand for ether, while others believe it is due to the current macroeconomic environment. Sui Chung, CEO of CF Benchmarks, stated that low volumes are expected in this environment, given the prevailing interest rates of 5.5%. He also noted that equities ETF volumes experienced a similar trend. Chung suggested that as the macroeconomic situation changes, there may be more interest in ether futures ETFs, but for now, investors are primarily focused on putting their money into bank accounts.
On Wednesday, Blackbird Labs, a crypto-powered app that aims to connect restaurants and their customers through its loyalty program, announced that it had raised $24 million in a Series A funding round led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). The app, built on Coinbase’s Layer-2 Base blockchain, allows customers to tap their phones on a near field communication (NFC) reader to create a non-fungible token (NFT) membership. These NFTs are minted when users “tap in” to the restaurant.
During the trial of FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, co-founder Gary Wang testified on Thursday, accusing Bankman-Fried of committing financial crimes. Wang, the fourth witness called by the U.S. Department of Justice, claimed that Bankman-Fried, Caroline Ellison (who managed Bankman-Fried’s Alameda Research hedge fund), and former FTX executive Nishad Singh were involved in wire fraud, securities fraud, and commodities fraud. Wang revealed that they granted special privileges to Alameda Research, allowing the fund to withdraw unlimited funds from FTX and lied about it. Wang, Ellison, and Singh all pleaded guilty to charges shortly after Bankman-Fried’s arrest.
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