Onchain: Australia gets an ETF, North Korea hacks, Merge delays

Onchain: Australia gets an ETF, North Korea hacks, Merge delays

Story One

ASX greenlights the first Australian Bitcoin ETF

While all the focus is understandably on the prospects of a US Bitcoin ETF, Australia has gone and put itself in the history books by announcing that our first spot Bitcoin ETF will start trading next week.

While the approval process has been drawn out due to the onerous margin conditions imposed by the ASX’s clearing house (requiring any participants to stake 42% of every trade made), the suspected demand for a Bitcoin ETF has meant that four players have stumped up the cash to get things moving.

Hopes are high that the launch will blast past the previous single day ETF volume record – a modest $30m for the Crypto Innovators Fund last November – and quickly reach around $1 billion under management. But it will be interesting to see if our humble addition to the ETF pile can overcome the current lack of market enthusiasm vis-a-vis crypto as a whole. (See also: Overheard on Twitter below).

Story Two

North Korea gets its hands dirty

Remember that US$625 million hack that we talked about in the last Onchain? Well, the Americans have done some digging and it very much looks like the culprits are a North Korean outfit called the Lazarus Group. You may remember them from such hacks as the 2014 Sony exploit and the WannaCry ransomware attacks in 2017.

While the idea that cryptocurrency is or will be used to evade sanctions is overblown –  who would have thought a public blockchain would make it easy to track malign actors? – when a country gives as few fs as North Korea does, well, anything goes.

And while we’re in the mood for inventive exploits of new protocols, algorithmic stablecoin Beanstalk was hacked for a cooooool US$182 million after someone took out a flash loan on AAVE, used the funds to buy a heap of the project’s governance token and then used their newfound voting power to create and pass a motion allowing them to drain the project’s funds to a private wallet – while also donating US$250k to Ukraine. Bada bing, bada boom.

A reminder once again that you should never trust your money to any protocol named after a foodstuff.

Overheard

New Nasdaq survey of financial advisors (who control $26T in assets) finds 72% of them would be more likely to invest in crypto if a spot ETF were available. Also of advisors curr investing in crypto, 86% plan to increase investment and their ideal allocation is 6% of port.

@EricBalchunas

Story Three

Ethereum’s Merge delayed until September

For those of us who’ve been waiting for Ethereum’s transition to Proof-of-Stake since early 2019, the news that there’s been yet another delay in the rollout is pretty triggering.

In many ways, Ethereum has been the victim of its own success. Worth around US$370 billion and having settled an estimated US$6 trillion in 2021, the stakes are understandably pretty high for such a far-reaching change to the network's consensus mechanism.

So, it’s reassuring that they’re being so fastidious about things – if something went wrong, literally hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake (so to speak).

But there’s no denying that the hunger for change is real. More than 11 million ETH (around 9.5% of the total supply) is already locked and loaded in the Ethereum 2.0 contract. The demand is so high that they’re expecting staking rewards to be roughly half the amount originally anticipated.

And then, of course, there’s the 99.95% reduction in the network’s energy usage.

Anyway, fingers crossed that the end is in sight. A thriving, carbon-conscious Ethereum could be just what we need to fire up this market once more.

Luke from CoinJar

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