It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no, it’s a crypto whale

5 min read


Follow me on Twitter @Jacqmelinek for breaking crypto news, memes and more.

Welcome back to Chain Reaction.

Earlier this week, I took a look at what some major crypto whales’ wallets were doing, where they parked their funds and how their activity signals movement in the broader market.

I examined six wallets, which were provided to TechCrunch by on-chain portfolio data from Nansen. The wallets are worth almost half a billion dollars, with the majority of their assets allocated on the Ethereum blockchain, the data showed.

A majority of the wallets include “wrapped” crypto assets, which is a tokenized version of the original coin that holds the same value. For example, there’s bitcoin (BTC) and wrapped bitcoin (wBTC) and an investor would own the latter if they wanted to use bitcoin on the Ethereum network, which it doesn’t operate on. It can, though, through the wrapped version.

Overall, these whales are generally risk-off, given the majority are holding liquid staking tokens, stablecoins and wrapped bitcoin and ether, signaling a conservative mindset.

There were also some surprising aspects to a few of the wallets, which we dive into further here.

This week in web3

Former SEC chair Jay Clayton feels ‘vast majority’ of crypto tokens are securities (TC+)

The definition of a security is “intentionally broad and flexible,” Former SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said. But, there’s a chance that something once labeled a security, “might not always be a security.” So what could cause that shift? Present utility versus future utility, Clayton said. Take broadway show tickets as an example: If someone bought 1,000 tickets for $10 and told their friends and family they would be able to resell those tickets for $100 or $1,000, then it’s a security, he said. “But if you just buy the ticket 10 years later, it’s just a ticket.”

Hong Kong eyes stablecoin regulatory regime by 2024

While the Western world debates how to regulate stablecoins, Hong Kong is forging ahead with a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies pegged to traditional financial assets. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is in the process of seeking comments from the public regarding stablecoins and aims to introduce a regulatory framework by the end of 2024, said the city’s Undersecretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Joseph Chan Ho-lim, according to local media.

London lures a16z’s first international office with ‘predictable’ crypto regs

US VC giant Andreessen Horowitz — which has about $35 billion in assets under management — is to open its first (yes, the first) international office in London, led by one of the firm’s general partners, Sriram Krishnan. The office will focus on supporting the development of crypto, blockchain technologies and associated web3 startups. a16z has committed $7.6 billion to crypto startups globally.

Robinhood’s decision to limit crypto trading makes good sense (TC+)

Consumer trading and investment app Robinhood is moving to restrict the holding and trading of certain major cryptocurrencies on its platform, barely a week after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s lawsuits against crypto exchanges Binance and Coinbase. After reviewing Robinhood’s most recent quarterly results, we feel that the decision is backed by some amount of reason.

US DoJ charges two Russians for hacking crypto exchange Mt. Gox

The U.S. Department of Justice has charged two Russian nationals for hacking and causing the subsequent collapse of Mt. Gox, one of the largest and most popular crypto exchanges. In an unsealed indictment, the DoJ named Alexey Bilyuchenko, 43, and Aleksandr Verner, 29, of hacking the exchange and conspiring to launder about 647,000 bitcoins, worth about $17.2 billion today. Mt. Gox shutdown in 2014 after filing for bankruptcy when the theft was revealed, and then was ordered to liquidate.

The latest pod

For this week’s episode, Jacquelyn interviewed Patrick Kaminski, the director of digital innovation for web3 and metaverse at L’Oreal, and Manon Cardiel, head of strategic planning and partnerships within web3 and metaverse at L’Oreal.

Patrick is the leader behind NYX Professional Makeup’s GORJS DAO, which launched in mid-January with hopes of combining the NFT world and the beauty industry in the metaverse. While Manon worked on the GORJS project, she also helped launch NFT collections for companies like Mugler and Yves Saint Laurent.

L’Oreal is best known for its beauty products, but the over 100 year old company is also home to a plethora of brands that many of us use and own like Maybelline, Yves Saint Laurent, Armani, Kiehls, Valentino, Prada, CeraVe and more.

We discussed why L’Oreal wanted to get into the web3 ecosystem, what it’s like incorporating a DAO into a traditional brand and how other brands and companies are – or aren’t – getting into the cryptosphere.

We also dove into:

  • Growing brand loyalty
  • Consumer demand and feedback
  • Brands skepticism of NFTs, metaverse
  • Advice to brands looking to get into web3

ICYMI: We had a bonus episode! Jacquelyn interviewed Paul Grewal, chief legal officer at Coinbase.

Grewal has been at Coinbase, the second largest crypto exchange globally, for almost three years. Previously he was the vice president and deputy general counsel at Facebook, among other roles.

Last week, the SEC sued Coinbase for securities laws violations, just one day after the SEC sued Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange.

We got into:

  • Potential crypto legislation from Congress
  • U.S. agencies sentiment toward digital assets
  • Future of assets listed on its exchange
  • Binance’s SEC case

Subscribe to Chain Reaction on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite pod platform to keep up with the latest episodes, and please leave us a review if you like what you hear!

Follow the money

  1. Gensyn raised $43M in round led by a16z for blockchain-based AI protocol
  2. Ironforge raised $2.6M for its Solana-focused interface
  3. Crypto payments solution BoomFi raised $3.8M to improve crypto and fiat settlements
  4. Interoperability protocol Connext raised $7.5M to help devs build multi-chain apps
  5. Collectibles.com raised $5M seed round to launch web3 community and marketplace

This list was compiled with information from Messari as well as TechCrunch’s own reporting.

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