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Deadline Day for SEC Bitcoin ETF Decision

The SEC's Bitcoin ETF decision may come today. Plus the top news, stats, crypto venture fundraises, and the top predictions for crypto in 2024.

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Issue Summary: Welcome back to Coinstack, the weekly newsletter for institutional crypto investors and industry insiders. We review the top news, stats, and reports in the digital asset ecosystem for our 200k weekly subscribers. This week, the SEC blames hack for incorrect post about Bitcoin ETF approval, Gary Gensler warns of volatility, Celsius unstakes $470M of Ethereum, and big new venture round for Bracket Labs ($2M).

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💵 Weekly Crypto Fundraises & Deals

Here are all the crypto fundraises we heard about this week, ranked by size…

  1. Bracket Labs, simple range-bound products to make money in any volatility condition, has raised $2M, led by BinanceLabs

  2. Memeland, focusing on building and investing in SocialFi and creator economies to connect creators and communities, has raised an undisclosed sum, led by Binance Labs Fund

  3. Riema Labs, an emerging leader in the Bitcoin ecosystem, has raised an undisclosed sum in an angel investment round

  4. DeMR, integrating MR seamlessly, stands out with assets like Compass NFTs, Land NFTs, and Node License NFTs, fostering strong connections with DeMR ecology and amplifying real-world influence and economic value, has raised an undisclosed sum in a strategic investment, led by KuCoin Labs

  5. Isspio, the first cross-chain inscription protocol built on SuiNetwork, has raised an undisclosed sum, led by KuCoin Labs

🗞️ Crypto News Recap: The Top 5 Stories

Welcome back to This Week in Crypto… everything you need to know in one scannable format. Here are the top 5 stories of the week… 

  1. 💸 Deadline Day Today for SEC Bitcoin ETF Decision: Today could be the day.

    The Securities and Exchange Commission faces a final deadline Wednesday to rule on at least one of 11 applications for exchange-traded funds that hold bitcoin. The decision is long awaited by cryptocurrency watchers—and the prospect that some or all of the applications will be approved has lately been seen as bullish for bitcoin. There was some drama late Tuesday: After a message on the social network X said the SEC had approved the funds, the message was deleted and the agency said its account had been "compromised."

  2. ⚖️ SEC Blames Hack for Incorrect Post About Bitcoin ETF Approval: The Securities and Exchange Commission’s official X account was hacked when the agency posted late Tuesday that it had approved exchange-traded funds holding bitcoin, forcing Chair Gary Gensler and the regulator to disavow the erroneous post.

  3. ⚖️ Gary Gensler Warns of Volatile, Risky Crypto Assets as Industry waits for Spot Bitcoin ETF Approval: Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler has a few tips for crypto investors, offering up "some things to keep in mind" as the broader market eagerly awaits any news from the regulator about whether or not it will approve the dozen applications its received for the first spot bitcoin ETF. 

  4. 💼 Celsius to Unstake $470M Ethereum Amid Restructuring Efforts, Raising Market Concerns: Bankrupt crypto lender Celsius will unstake 206,300 Ethereum, worth around $470 million, as part of efforts to facilitate the distribution of assets to creditors, according to a Jan. 4 statement on social media platform X (formerly Twitter). 

  5. ⚖️ Final Bitcoin ETF Application Filings Get Posted by Major U.S. Exchanges: U.S. spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) appear to be on the verge of launching after the exchanges that will list them filed amended documents, suggesting they expect U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approval in the coming days.

  6. 💼 DCG Completes Payoff of Short-term Loans from Genesis: Digital Currency Group said Friday that it had paid off all short-term loans to institutional investor crypto broker Genesis.

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💬 Tweet of the Week

Source: @RyanSAdams

📊 Key Stats of the Week

Here are the most important and interesting stats in crypto this week...

1. Liquid staking dominates DeFi with $31B TVL and new ways to participate.

Source: @OurNetwork

2. Jito StakeNet’s validator history program is storing ~3 years of data for over 2,000 Solana validators on-chain.

Source: @OurNetwork

3. Marinade introduces Protected Staking Rewards

Source: @OurNetwork

4. Pirex ETH attracts 1,200+ ETH in 3 weeks

Source: OurNetwork

5. frxETH nearing 220k in supply minted

Source: @OurNetwork

6. Top Moving Coins From the Top 100

📝 Highlights from the Top Crypto Reports

Here are the top highlights from the best crypto research reports this week…

About the Author: Paul Veradittakit, is a Managing Partner at Pantera Capital, one of the oldest and largest institutional investors focused on investing into blockchain companies and cryptocurrencies. This is an excerpt from the full article, which you can find here.


2023 marks 10 years since Pantera became the first institutional asset manager in the US to invest in Bitcoin, recognizing then its tremendous resilience and potential for disruption. This past year in particular has been a testament to the blockchain space’s ability to recover from even the harshest external conditions. From the depths of the “crypto winter” at the beginning of the year, the overall market cap of the crypto space has grown by 90% to $1.69 Trillion, with Bitcoin more than doubling from its yearly low of $16k in Jan 2023 to over $40k in December.

In 2023, we’ve continued to feel some of the aftershocks of the wave of major collapses in 2022, most notably the FTX trial and verdict and the Binance plea deal in November, as well as the momentary depegging of the USDC stablecoin in March amidst the banking crisis (which triggered memories of the Terra UST collapse in May 2022). At the same time, we’ve continued to see breakthroughs in the space, from technological innovations to regulatory wins, to increased institutional adoption to novel social and consumer experiences.

Some of the highlights over the past year include the Ethereum’s Shapella upgrade to a full Proof of Stake network in March, the ruling that XRP was not a security in July, the launch of Paypal’s PYUSD stablecoin and Grayscale’s win over the SEC for the Bitcoin spot ETF in August, and the pioneering of novel tokenized social experiences such as the rise of friend.tech. We thus enter 2024 with a great optimism on the road ahead.

Here are my top predictions for crypto industry in 2024:

1. The resurgence of the Bitcoin ecosystem and “DeFi Summer 2.0”

In 2023, Bitcoin has staged a comeback, with Bitcoin dominance (Bitcoin’s proportion of crypto market cap) rising from 38% in January to around 50% in December, making it one of the top ecosystems to look out for in 2024. There are at least three major catalysts driving its renaissance in the next year: (1) the fourth Bitcoin halving due for April 2024, (2) the expected approval of several Bitcoin spot ETFs from institutional investors, and (3) a rise in programmability features, both on the base protocol (such as Ordinals), as well as Layer 2s and other scalability layers such as Stacks and Rootstock.

On the infrastructure level, we expect to see a proliferation of Bitcoin L2s and other scalability layer to support smart contracts. The Bitcoin ecosystem will likely coalesce around one or two Turing-complete smart contract languages, with top contenders including Rust, Solidity, or the extension of a Bitcoin-native language such as Clarity. This language will become the “standard” for Bitcoin development, similar to how Solidity is considered to be the “standard” for Ethereum development.

We also see the fundamentals for a possible “DeFi summer 2.0” on Bitcoin. With Wrapped BTC (WBTC) today having a market cap and Total Value Locked (TVL) of around $6B, there is clearly an enormous demand for Bitcoin in DeFi. Today, Ethereum has about 10% of its $273B market cap in TVL ($28B). As Bitcoin DeFi infrastructure matures, we could potentially see Bitcoin DeFi Total Value Locked (TVL) rise from the current $300M (<0.05% of market cap) to ~1-2% of Bitcoin market cap (~$10-15B at current prices). In this process, many Ethereum DeFi practices are likely to be transferred and “naturalized” on Bitcoin, such as the recent rise of BRC-20 inscriptions and ideas such as staking such as in Babylon’s L2.

Bitcoin NFTs, such as those inscribed on Ordinals, may also see increased popularity in 2024. As Bitcoin has much higher cultural recognition and memetic value, it is possible that web2 brands (such as luxury retailers) will choose to release NFTs on Bitcoin, similar to how Tiffanys partnered with Cryptopunks to release the “NFTiff” pendants collection in 2022.

2. Tokenized social experiences for new consumer use cases.

Whereas Web2 has moved from social to finance, Web3 is moving from finance to social. In August 2023, friend.tech pioneered a new form of tokenized social experiences on the Base L2, with users able to buy and sell fractionalized “shares” of others’ X (fka. Twitter) accounts, reaching a peak of 30k ETH TVL (~$50M USD at the time) in October, and inspiring several “copycat projects” such as post.tech on Arbitrum. It seems that friend.tech, through financializing Twitter profiles, has successfully pioneered a new tokenomics model for the SocialFi space.

In the upcoming year, we expect more experiments in the social space, with tokenization (both as fungible and non-fungible tokens) playing a key role in reinventing the social experience. Fungible tokens are more likely to be novel forms of points and loyalty systems, whereas non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are more likely to serve as profiles and social resources (such as trading cards). Both would be able to be traded on-chain and participate in DeFi ecosystems.

Lens and Farcaster are two of the leading web3-native applications integrating DeFi with social networks. Projects like Blackbird will also popularize tokenized points systems for loyalty programs in specific verticals (such as restaurants), using a combination of stablecoin payments and tokenized rebates to reinvent the consumer experience, functionally providing an on-chain alternative to credit cards. 

This is an excerpt from the full article, which you can find here.

🎧 Top Crypto Podcasts of The Week

Here are the crypto podcasts that are worth listening to this week...

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Tracking the most important blockchain stories of the 2020s, including a decentralized internet and the creation of a new open global monetary system that works for everyone. As always, published for informational purposes only. Please do your own research. Just our opinions. Not intended as financial advice as we are not financial advisors. We may own some of the digital assets we write about as we believe strongly in the sector. Please do your own research. Published and written weekly by Ryan Allis and Mike Gavela. 

Coinstack is a news and analysis newsletter for the digital asset industry. None of the information here is a recommendation to invest in any securities or other types of investments. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Any historical returns, expected returns, or probability projections may not reflect actual future performance. All investments involve risk and may result in loss.

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