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Bitcoin jumped and Coinbase’s app crashed, while Aptos eyes Hong Kong and Telegram rolls out rewards with TON

4 min read
Bitcoin spot ETF volume rose, Coinbase went to court, Solana Mobile announces new device and Google cuts crypto apps in India


Welcome to TechCrunch Crypto, formerly known as Chain Reaction.

To get a roundup of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important crypto stories delivered to your inbox every Thursday at 12 p.m. PT, subscribe here.

Hello and welcome back to the TechCrunch Crypto newsletter. I was out last week, so there was no newsletter, but we’re back to regularly scheduled news bits and some fresh recurring segments and features — so if you like what you see (or don’t), let me know at jacquelyn@techcrunch.com.

Here’s what was the biggest news this week: bitcoin’s price jumped over $60,000 and Coinbase’s app crashed, Telegram rolled out a plan to pay out rewards using toncoin on the TON blockchain and Nigerian crypto users faced difficulties with some exchanges. Let’s get into it.

This week in web3

  1. Ex-Meta employees’ Aptos tests Hong Kong’s crypto appetite
  2. Bitcoin’s so high, it crashed Coinbase
  3. Telegram is launching ad revenue sharing next month using toncoin
  4. Crypto users in Nigeria briefly lose access to Binance, Kraken and Coinbase
  5. Starbucks Odyssey’s community lead sees NFTs as the best way to build brand loyalty

Crunching numbers

This week the crypto market was very hyped up as the two biggest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, bitcoin and ether, both jumped about 23.6% and 18%, respectively, on the week, according to CoinMarketCap data. The total crypto market cap increased 19.4% over a seven-day period to $2.34 trillion.

The recent price jump for bitcoin, coupled with the incoming bitcoin halving and spot bitcoin ETF approvals in early January boosting demand, has many crypto market players wondering if the grandfather of cryptocurrencies will hit a new all-time high soon or if this rally is short-lived.

Our favorite ‘Crypto Twitter’ post

ICYMI, last week a lot of crypto people were tweeting about emails from Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin. Satoshi said a lot of interesting things, but this post on X by Tom Schmidt, partner at Dragonfly Capital, got a lot of attention and even caused some Bitcoiners to go out and buy a pineapple and jalapeno pizza in honor of it. Which brings me to the question…would you eat that?

The latest pod

Chain Reaction is doing a monthly series diving into different topics and themes in crypto. This month we’re focusing on NFTs.

Because there was no newsletter last week, we’re highlighting last week’s episode, where I interviewed Steve Kaczynski, co-author of the book “The Everything Token,” and co-host of a web3 morning show, Coffee with Captain.

He also co-authored the first Harvard Business Review article about NFTs. Outside of that, he consults with agencies and brands about building their web3 strategies, including his role with Starbucks, where he is a community lead for its NFT-focused loyalty program, Starbucks Odyssey.

Before getting into the web3 world, Steve worked in communications and marketing roles for more than 15 years.

Jacquelyn and Steve discussed what got him interested in NFTs, how important it is to build understanding for the sector and why communities matter more than floor prices.

They also dove into:

  • Future adoption for Bored Ape Yacht Club
  • Growing Starbucks’ NFT-based loyalty program
  • What agencies and brands need to know about web3
  • How to get started in the NFT space

BONUS: For this week’s episode, we’re resharing a conversation I had in June 2023 with Jack Lu, CEO and co-founder of Magic Eden.

When we recorded this episode, NFT sales were down around $640 million at the beginning of the month, compared to today where February 2024 NFT sales volume hit $1 billion, for the first time since February 2023.

Looking back on this conversation, we decided this episode was a great addition to the NFT series to add some context for what a crazy year it has been and how much things have changed (and some things stayed the same) — especially for people building in the NFT space.

Magic Eden originally began as a Solana-based NFT trading platform, but has expanded its support to other blockchain networks like Polygon, Ethereum and Bitcoin. In June 2022, Magic Eden raised $130 million in a Series B round that granted it unicorn status.

We discussed why the NFT marketplace expanded its support to other blockchains, its BRC-20 token support and how the company plans on staying competitive in the constantly changing market.

We also talked about:

  • NFT market volatility
  • Royalty fees
  • Web3 gaming expansion
  • Advice for NFT community

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. Silence Laboratories, a cryptographic security startup, secures $4.1 million in funding
  2. Initia raises $7.5 million seed round to simplify blockchain development
  3. Asymmetric Financial has a plan to unlock Bitcoin’s trillion-dollar potential with dedicated DeFi fund
  4. Crypto wallet and exchange Backpack raised $17 million in strategic Series A round
  5. Ethereum-based Etherfi raised $27 million in a round led by Bullish and CoinFund

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

What else we’re writing

Want to branch out from the world of web3? Here are some articles on TechCrunch that caught our attention this week.

  1. Why VCs are investing in startups that help other startups shut down
  2. Don’t ignore Asia tech
  3. Mark Zuckerberg woos Big Tech in Asia to double down on AI chips
  4. The Apple Car that never was: A timeline
  5. Tim Cook says Apple will ‘break new ground’ in GenAI this year



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