Jury convicts Do Kwon, meme coins enjoy Q1 gains, Ripple to launch stablecoin | Weekly Recap

Last week, a jury in New York declared Terraform Labs and its founder Do Kwon guilty of fraud charges. Meme coins had an average return of 1,312% in the first quarter (Q1), and Ripple wants to launch a USD-backed stablecoin. Here’s our weekly recap.

Do Kwon guilty

  • The Do Kwon saga took a new turn this week when the Supreme Court of Montenegro revoked a previous decision from the country’s Appellate Court to extradite the Terraform Labs founder to his home country, South Korea.
  • While Do Kwon remained uncertain of his fate in Montenegro, a jury in New York delivered a guilty verdict on the South Korean developer, finding him liable on the charges leveled against him by the U.S. SEC after a two-week trial. 

Meme coin narrative takes center stage

  • As Solana continued to attract most of the successful meme coin projects, the team behind the BNB Chain ecosystem unveiled a program to reward meme coin developers on the network with prizes up to $1 million. 
  • As a result, a report from market tracker CoinGecko confirmed that the meme coin narrative was the most profitable in crypto during the first quarter of 2024, with an average return of 1,312%.
  • BODEN, a meme coin named after U.S. president Joe Biden, witnessed a 70% gain to a market cap of $324 million following results of a recent poll. 
  • Investors of Solana-based meme coin CONDOM recorded absolute losses when the team behind the project allegedly escaped with $906,000 from pre-sale and deleted their X account.

Global adoption on the rise

  • Global institutional interest in blockchain and cryptocurrencies also saw an uptick this week. Notably, Hong Kong-based investment bank GF Securities leveraged Ethereum to launch the region’s first tokenized commercial paper.
  • Hong Kong banking giant ZA Bank disclosed this week that it plans to introduce a special banking service for issuers of stablecoins. Smart wallet infrastructure provider Grindery provided a solution to allow one-click payments for Telegram users.
  • Xoom, the PayPal service that facilitates international transfers, revealed this week that it would now allow PayPal users to make cross-border transfers using PYUSD (PayPal’s stablecoin). 
  • Ripple announced plans to launch a USD-backed stablecoin on the XRP Ledger (XRPL) and Ethereum networks later this year.

Increased regulatory efforts and enforcement

  • The uptick in global adoption coincided with growing regulatory efforts and enforcement actions. Reports from April 1 confirmed that Argentina’s securities regulator had introduced a scheme that mandates all entities involved in crypto-related activities to register with the agency.
  • With the scheme lumping Bitcoin with the rest of the crypto market, Bitcoin maximalist Max Keiser criticized Argentina’s pro-crypto president Javier Milei, claiming the legislation put the Economist’s plans to save the country back by years.
  • In an interview on April 2, Simonas Krėpšta, a representative of Lithuania’s monetary authority, the Bank of Lithuania, revealed that the country will tighten its crypto regulations by 2025, requiring license of operations for crypto exchanges domiciled in the country.
  • The legal battle between Nigerian authorities and Binance reps continues. Binance demanded the release of Tigran Gambaryan, who remained detained in Nigeria, arguing that he has no decision-making authority in the company.
  • A court in Nigeria pushed back the hearing for Gambaryan to April 19, further extending his detention in the country. Reports from April 1 confirmed that Binance had appointed a new board for the first time amid its global regulatory woes. 

KuCoin’s BTC balance drops

  • Data revealed that customers were rapidly fleeing the exchange following the indictment by the U.S. DoJ and CFTC. Notably, KuCoin’s Bitcoin balance dropped by 20%.
  • While the crypto industry in the U.S. bemoans regulatory uncertainty, the SEC maintains that the industry has ample clarity. SEC Enforcement Director echoed this stance this week when he criticized the crypto industry for its lack of compliance.
  • Meanwhile, the U.S. government sparked investor concerns this week when it moved 30,175 BTC previously confiscated from Silk Road, the defunct dark web marketplace, to Coinbase, triggering selloff fears.

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