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Demand for liquid Ethereum staking options continues to grow post-Merge

Blockchain data analytics carried out by Nansen highlights the ever-growing amount of Ether (ETH) being staked across various staking solutions in the months following Ethereum’s shift to proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus.The highly anticipated Merge has been a boon for decentralized finance (DeFi) in general, and staking solutions have been in high demand since Ethereum’s shift to PoS. This is according to blockchain data from a variety of staking solutions across the Ethereum ecosystem.Nansen’s report highlights the impact of the Merge in introducing staked ETH as an out-and-out cryptocurrency-native yield-bearing instrument that has quickly outstripped other collateralized yield-bearing services. The likes of Uniswap and other automated-market makers and liquidity providers remain popular but pale in comparison to the total value locked in staked ETH solutions. Over 15.4 million ETH is locked in Ethereum’s staking contract, which values the total staked ETH in the top six cryptocurrencies by market capitalization alone:“Staked ETH is thus the first yield-bearing instrument to reach significant scale in DeFi, and has the potential to both significantly grow and radically transform the ecosystem in the coming years.”Nansen provides some interesting insights from liquid-staked derivatives data. When Ethereum shifted to PoS, miners were replaced by validators who had to deposit or stake 32 ETH in order to propose new blocks and earn protocol rewards. Users that are unable or unwilling to stake 32 ETH can participate in pooled staking, also known as liquid staking. This also allows users to withdraw staked ETH at any time.Nansen’s metrics reveal that liquid staking holdings are weighted toward long-term holders, while recently launched protocols are attracting new deposits faster than established services. 5.7 million of the total 14.5 million ETH is staked in staking pools like Lido and Rocket Pool, accounting for over 40% of the total staked ETH in the ecosystem.Lido’s stETH dominates the space with a 79% share of the total market supply of staked ETH. 52% of the stETH tokens are found in Aave, Curve and Lido’s wrapped stETH contract indicating interest and utility for investors and DeFi applications. stETH has also seen a 127% increase in average daily trading volume since the Ethereum Merge.Related: 64% of staked ETH controlled by 5 entities — NansenMeanwhile, Coinbase’s Ethereum staking pool cbETH has surpassed all other assets besides stETH in supply. Both Rocket Pool’s rETH and Coinbase’s cbETH have seen the most growth over the past three months, at 52.5% and 43.3%, respectively.The growth of Coinbase’s ETH staking option also suggests that everyday users still trust centralized entities and are content earning yield from staked ETH as opposed to more complex, on-chain, yield-bearing strategies.

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Binance hires audit firm that served Donald Trump to verify crypto reserves

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance is working with accounting firm Mazars as part of its proof-of-reserve (PoR) audits triggered by the fall of FTX.Mazars, the accounting firm that worked for former United States President Donald Trump’s company, was appointed as an official auditor to conduct a “third party financial verification” as part of Binance’s PoR updates, the Wall Street Journal reported on Nov. 30.The accounting firm is reportedly already reviewing all of Binance’s publicly shared information on Bitcoin (BTC) PoR and will also be verifying future updates and tokens, a spokesperson for Binance reportedly said. “The first verification update for BTC will be completed this week,” the representative added.Mazars is an international accounting firm headquartered in Paris. Its United States division, Mazars USA, was the longtime accounting firm for Trump and had been involved in a controversy with a House Oversight and Reform Committee’s request for some of Trump’s financial records since 2019. The firm reportedly eventually cut ties with Trump and his family in 2022.The news comes amid Binance moving large amounts of cryptocurrency as part of its PoR audits. On Nov. 28, Binance sent 127,351 BTC, or about $2 billion, to an unknown wallet, with CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao subsequently announcing that the transaction was part of the ongoing PoR process.The action has triggered some concerns in the community, as previously, CZ argued that it’s bad news when exchanges have to move large amounts of crypto to prove their wallet address.As previously reported, Binance launched a PoR process and mechanism in response to the crash and bankruptcy of the FTX crypto exchange. On Nov. 25, the firm also published Merkle Tree-backed proof of funds for Bitcoin, which was just one of many Binance’s measures to prove its transparency.Related: OKX releases proof-of-reserves page, along with instructions on how to self-audit its reservesBinance is not alone in putting major efforts to maintain the trust of its customers in the aftermath of the FTX collapse, with many other exchanges like OKX and KuCoin rushing to release their PoR reports as well. In the meantime, some industry observers believe that the existing PoR process by exchanges is largely useless unless they also provide liabilities, which are very hard to fake.Binance did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

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Bitcoin sees worst monthly close in 2 years as traders watch $16.7K

Bitcoin (BTC) attempted to flip $17,000 to support on Dec. 1 after sealing its lowest monthly close in two years.BTC/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingViewBitcoin gains inch up as November endData from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView showed BTC/USD circling $17,100 in a second intraday charge at higher levels. The pair managed to avoid losses as the monthly candle closed, instead seeing solid daily gains of around 4.5% for Nov. 30.Nonetheless, Bitcoin shed 16.2% for the month, making November 2022 its worst since 2019.BTC/USD monthly returns chart (screenshot). Source: CoinglassThe more buoyant mood coincided with comments from the United States Federal Reserve. In a speech on inflation and the labor market, Chair Jerome Powell openly stated that smaller interest rate hikes could begin as soon as December.“Monetary policy affects the economy and inflation with uncertain lags, and the full effects of our rapid tightening so far are yet to be felt,” he said. “Thus, it makes sense to moderate the pace of our rate increases as we approach the level of restraint that will be sufficient to bring inflation down. The time for moderating the pace of rate increases may come as soon as the December meeting.” Powell characteristically cautioned on heralding a full turning point in policy, something markets had been keenly awaiting throughout the year.“Given our progress in tightening policy, the timing of that moderation is far less significant than the questions of how much further we will need to raise rates to control inflation, and the length of time it will be necessary to hold policy at a restrictive level,” he added.Nonetheless, stocks reacted positively, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Index ending the day up 3.1% and 4.4%, respectively, in line with Bitcoin.No euphoria among tradersIn responses of their own, meanwhile, crypto market commentators were equally cool on the immediate prospects despite the moderate month-end gains.Related: Bitcoin capitulation 4th-worst ever as BTC hodlers lose $10B in a weekCrypto Tony warned that bulls were “getting cocky” into December, and that now was not a suitable blind entry point.“Now is not the time to go all in, thinking this is the bottom on Crypto,” he told Twitter followers.“We have yet to see : – A macro higher high and higher low (Market structure trend change) – Bull volume coming in – Spot buys on the increase – Completed corrective structure.”BTC/USD annotated chart. Source: Crypto Tony/ TwitterA key level to hold for continuation of the “bullish market structure,” he added, was $16,700.Michaël van de Poppe, founder and CEO of trading firm Eight, agreed on the importance of an area focused on $16,700 for his own strategy.The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the authors’ alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

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CFTC chief says Bitcoin is the only commodity in the wake of FTX collapse

The chief of the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Rostin Behnam, claimed Bitcoin is the only crypto asset that can be viewed as a commodity during an invite-only crypto event at Princeton University, reported Fortune.Behnam’s comments are quite a contrast to his early statements in October, where he claimed Ether (ETH) could also be viewed as a commodity. The CFTC chief was answering a question on which crypto assets should be seen as commodities and which ones qualify as securities.The CFTC chief’s backtracking of his comments on ETH comes in the wake of heavy scrutiny of U.S regulators and accusations of corruption, with Republican lawmakers accusing the SEC chair of coordinating with FTX ‘to obtain regulatory monopoly.’The debate over which cryptocurrencies qualify as commodities under the law has been a long-drawn one. Bitcoin is unanimously seen as non-security because of its true decentralized nature whereas the status of Ether and several other cryptocurrencies have been a controversial topic. Ripple is currently facing a security lawsuit from the SEC as well.The American financial regulator has found itself in hot waters in the wake of the FTX crypto exchange collapse primarily because of its association with the exchange. CFTC was poised to receive oversight capacity through proposed Senate legislation called the Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act (DCCPA), The CFTC chief faced a lot of criticism for the same but defended the commission’s actions claiming they don’t have the luxury to wait.Behnam said the committee has limited oversight powers and blamed the “matrix of regulators” as an imperfect system. However, he called for better collaboration among the long list of regulatory bodies to come up with formidable regulations.Related: Here’s how the CFTC could prevent the next FTXThe CFTC chief is slated for a congressional hearing on Dec. 1, discussing the collapse of the now-bankrupt crypto exchange FTX and the lessons learned from the debacle. Breaking: 8 Congress Members tried to stop the SEC from inquiring into FTX by questioning the SEC’s authority to inquire about Crypto5 of those 8 members also received campaign donations from FTX, ranging from $2,900 to $11,600— Nancy Pelosi Stock Tracker ♟ (@PelosiTracker_) November 25, 2022The close ties of former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried with US policymakers and his lobbying efforts to make CFTC the primary crypto regulatory body has been questioned by many in the crypto community. A recent report also alleged that 8 U.S. congressman tried to stop the SEC from inquiring into FTX.

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