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Big Business Wants Bitcoin

Weekly Recap: Big ETF Buys, Big Court Loss
David C David C May 18, 20243 min read
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Big Business Wants Bitcoin

1️⃣ Bitcoin ETF Holders

Bitcoin saw a ~10% rally this week, breaking through $67K on Friday due to positive CPI readings and notable ETF holdings disclosures.

  • Millennium Management, one of the world’s largest hedge funds, disclosed $2B in Bitcoin ETF holdings from BlackRock's iShares Bitcoin Trust and Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.
  • Bracebridge Capital, a hedge fund managing Yale and Princeton's endowments, announced $262M in ARK 21Shares ETF and $81M in BlackRock’s IBIT.
  • Point72, the Knicks Owner Steven Cohen’s $34B hedge fund, held $77.5M in the Fidelity BTC ETF (FBTC) as of Q1.
  • The Wisconsin Investment Board reported $162M in Bitcoin ETF holdings.

Research from River, a Bitcoin brokerage firm, shows 13 of the top 25 U.S. hedge funds bought BTC ETFs in Q1. While these holdings might be a long-term bet on Bitcoin, they could also be for market making, hedging, or short-term flipping.

2️⃣ Tornado Cash Dev Sentenced

Privacy was deemed a crime this week when Alexey Pertsev, a Tornado Cash developer, was convicted of money laundering and sentenced to 64 months by a Dutch court. The sentence alleges Pertsev laundered billions through Tornado Cash between 2019 and 2022. Pertsev's co-founder, Roman Storm, faces similar charges in the U.S., with his trial set for September.

A Sad Day for The Netherlands on Bankless
Developer Alexey Pertsev was sentenced to prison over privacy software.

3️⃣ Senate Votes to Overturn SAB 121

The Senate voted 60-38 to repeal the SEC’s SAB 121, which required firms to record customer digital assets as liabilities instead of as the same as traditional holdings — a major point of friction for adoption. The resolution now heads to President Biden, who has threatened a veto. This marks a significant step for crypto legislation, with bipartisan support reflecting growing interest in thoughtfully developing crypto policy. If Biden vetoes, Congress may attempt to override, challenging the SEC’s stance on crypto in the process.

4️⃣ Pump.fun Exploit

Pump.fun, a popular Solana memecoin launcher, paused operations after a flash loan exploit costing 12.3K SOL (~$2M). Former employee staccoverflow claimed responsibility, citing disdain for his former bosses and personal troubles. The exploit involved accessing a private key and using flash loans to manipulate memecoin bonding curves, then withdrawing liquidity meant for Raydium pools. The platform generated $1.9M in revenues over the two days preceding the exploit, which would cover 95% of the losses, and also flipped Solana in revenue. While, yes, pump can compensate users, this incident highlights, as always, the importance of private key security.

5️⃣ Roaring Kitty Sparks Meme Coin Frenzy

Keith Gill, aka Roaring Kitty, known for leading the GME short squeeze in 2020, resurfaced on Twitter this week. Following his post, over 14,500 new tokens on Solana were created on Sunday, setting a record. Gamestop’s stock GME nearly quadrupled as well before dropping. Gill’s return has reignited interest in meme stocks and crypto, generating millions in profit for traders. Yet, some think he is not actually back, as his YouTube and Reddit accounts remain inactive.

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David C

Written by David C

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David is a writer/analyst at Bankless. Prior to joining Bankless, he worked for a series of early-stage crypto startups and on grants from the Ethereum, Solana, and Urbit Foundations. He graduated from Skidmore College in New York. He currently lives in the Midwest and enjoys NFTs, but no longer participates in them.

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