Five Things to Know in Crypto This Week: Coinbase, SEC v Crypto, and Senator Warren

Bob Mason
Published: Feb 17, 2024, 06:58 UTC

BTC returned to the $52,000 handle for the first time since 2021, while Senator Elizabeth Warren and SEC Chair Gary Gensler were under the spotlight.

Five Things to Know in Crypto This Week

In this article:

Key Insights:

  • BTC-spot ETF market net inflows reach a new record weekly high.
  • The SEC v Ripple case took an unexpected turn.
  • Coinbase (COIN) shares surged 26.99% in the week ending February 16 as investors reacted to Q4 earnings.

BTC-Spot ETF Market: Net Inflows Break the $2 Billion Barrier

BTC was up 8.07% to $52,049 from Monday to Saturday. BTC-spot ETF market net inflows continued driving buyer demand for BTC. Significantly, BTC struck a Thursday high of $52,868, the highest level since December 2021.

BTC hit $52,000 for the first time since 2021.
BTC Weekly Chart 170224

iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT) led the way throughout the week, contributing a sizable amount to net inflows of $2,265.6 million in the week ending February 16. Total net inflows were almost double the total net inflows of $1,194.4 million from the previous week. Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) saw total weekly net outflows of $624 million, up from $415.5 million in the week ending February 9.

BTC net inflows see a strong week.
BTC-Spot ETF Net Flows 160224

Coinbase Earnings for Q4 Impress

On Thursday, Coinbase (COIN) released Q4 and full-year earnings for 2023. Earnings for Q4 impressed, with total revenue up 41% to $954 million versus an expected $818.36 million. Coinbase also reported net income of $273 million. In Q4, Coinbase beat an expected EPS of $0.20 with a reported EPS of $1.04.

Consumer trading volume reflected the change in investor sentiment toward the crypto market, surging 164% to $29 billion.

Coinbase shares surged 26.99% to $180.31 in the week ending February 16. Significantly, Coinbase hit a high of $193.64 before easing back. Coinbase last breached the $190 threshold in April 2022.

Coinbase returned to $190
Coinbase Weekly Chart 170224

The upside came despite the ongoing SEC v Coinbase case. The SEC and Coinbase await a court ruling on the Coinbase Motion to Dismiss (MTD).

In August 2023, Coinbase filed the Motion to Dismiss, arguing the SEC lacks the statutory authority to regulate crypto exchanges. If the court grants the Motion to Dismiss, the SEC may have to rein in its regulation by enforcement tactics.

On Friday, Coinbase showcased its commitment to Bitcoin. Brink announced a $3.6 million Coinbase donation to fund Brink engineers and their open-source development work on Bitcoin.

SEC v Ripple: SEC Plans to Appeal the Programmatic Sale Ruling in Question

On Thursday, the ongoing SEC v Ripple case took an unexpected turn. Empower Oversight, a non-profit government watchdog, announced the final stages of an investigation into conflicts of interest within the SEC.

The conflicts of interest relate to William Hinman, the former SEC Director of the Division of Corporation Finance. Empower Oversight filed a lawsuit against the SEC in 2021, claiming former SEC officials were biased against Ripple Labs and XRP.

In a well-publicized speech in 2018, Hinman said bitcoin (BTC) and ethereum (ETH) were not securities. William Hinman formerly worked for Simpson Thacher, part of a group promoting Enterprise Ethereum. Empower Oversight alleged Hinman received millions of dollars while working on crypto regulations as an SEC director. Hinman returned to Simpson Thacher after leaving the SEC.

During the SEC v Ripple case, the court ordered the SEC to release Hinman speech-related documents to the Ripple defense team. The SEC failed to shield the documents despite more than six attempts. The documents showed that Hinman continued to engage with Simpson Thacher despite warnings from the SEC Ethics division.

The outcome of the OIG investigation could impact SEC plans to appeal against the Programmatic Sales of XRP ruling. In July, Judge Analisa Torres ruled that programmatic sales of XRP do not satisfy the third prong of the Howey Test. SEC plans to appeal against the ruling have left XRP trailing the broader crypto market.

XRP responded positively to the news that could pave the way to XRP-spot ETFs.

XRP was up 6.46% to $0.5601 from Monday to Saturday.

XRP revisited the $0.47 handle.
Weekly XRP Chart 170224

Senator Warren Drew Unwanted Attention on Hamas Crypto Claims

On Wednesday, House Majority Whip and Republican Tom Emmer shared a Q&A on Capitol Hill with US Undersecretary Brian Nelson. Undersecretary Nelson affirmed Hamas is using relatively small amounts of crypto compared to recent media reports and statements from certain US Senators. Republican Emmer closed out by saying,

“I’m talking about the misinformation that the Wall Street Journal has suggested and that certain senators are trying to base legislation on that would literally destroy the innovation in this country, and I take it that you don’t have a position then as to whether Treasury has an obligation to correct this record with the data that they have.”

In November, Forbes published an article titled ‘How Misinformation on Group (Hamas) and Crypto Fooled Nearly 20% of Congress.’ The Forbes article discussed how Senator Elizabeth Warren convinced over 200 Congressional colleagues to co-sign a letter. The letter asked the US Administration to investigate the use of crypto for illicit financing.

Senator Warren proposed the Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act. The drive to link crypto to Hamas fueled support for the bill. The bill would impose bank-style anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) regulations on the crypto space.

Other News:

SEC Chair Gary Gensler in the Hot Seat: On Wednesday, February 14, SEC Chair Gary Gensler faced more scrutiny. Ripple Chief Legal Officer Stuart Alderoty called out the SEC Chair, who claimed court interpretations of the law affected SEC success in the courts.

It was a bad week for the Anti-Crypto Army, with the SEC Motion to Dismiss the charges against Debt Box also resonating.

About the Author

Bob Masonauthor

With over 20 years of experience in the finance industry, Bob has been managing regional teams across Europe and Asia and focusing on analytics across both corporate and financial institutions. Currently he is covering developments relating to the financial markets, including currencies, commodities, alternative asset classes, and global equities.

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