The Week in Crypto – Lazarus, USDC, Ethereum staking and more!

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This week in crypto we’ve seen Binance.US go all out in the Ethereum staking wars, Circle try and spin Binance’s rejection and Chainalysis chase down the Ronin hackers. But which stories tickled our fancy the most? Let’s find out…

No. 3 – Binance.US Raises Ethereum Staking Stakes

Binance.US announced this week that it is starting its Ethereum staking APY at a massive 6%, beating out all the competition by some margin. This means that anyone holding more than 0.001 ETH can stake it on the platform and earn passive income when Ethereum shifts to proof-of-stake next week, although there are some caveats.

The first is that Binance.Us will hold your funds and receive the rewards, which they will then dole out to stakers, something that, for those who aren’t too comfortable with letting third-parties look after their crypto, could be a deal breaker from the get go.

Secondly, while the rewards will be collected from the time of the Ethereum switch, stakers won’t actually be able to get their hands on their money until the change is 100% complete. This may not be until early 2023, with both the staked amount and the rewards locked up until that point.

Finally, the entire premise is predicated upon the merge being successful. While developers are naturally doing their utmost to ensure that everything works smoothly, no one has ever tried such a shift before, so there is no guarantee of success. If there were to be some kind of catastrophic failure, your staked ETH is lost forever.

No. 2 – Binance Rolls USDC, USDP and TUSD Into BUSD

Binance raised some eyebrows this week when it announced that it was going to scrap all trading pairs relating to several stablecoins, leaving just Tether (USDT) and Binance USD (BUSD). This will mean that all TUSD, USDP, and USDC deposits will be auto-converted into BUSD, with the move aimed at increasing liquidity.

Those who have tried to trade with TUSD will know that liquidity is generally non-existent apart from the bigger coins, so the move makes sense to Binance, but for USDC owner Circle it is a PR disaster.

Nevertheless, Circle CEO Jeremy Alliare tried to put a brave face on this, saying that it would result in more USDC flowing into Binance and being used, but no one is really falling for that.

No.1 – $30 Million Ronin Hack Funds Recovered

Crypto hacks have garnered mainstream as well as crypto news headlines this year, none more so than the $540 million Ronin hack by North Korean hacking group Lazarus in March. This was, and still is, the biggest crypto hack of all time, but the amount stolen can now be reduced by at least $30 million thanks to the efforts of blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis.

At the Axie Con event last week, Erin Plante, Senior Director of Investigations at Chainalysis, announced that Chainalysis had worked with Axie Infinity and law enforcement to trace the and eventually seize more than $30 million worth of the cryptocurrencies stolen by Lazarus. This is the first time that any funds have ever been recovered from the hacking group, which shows that, finally, blockchain investigators are making headway in tackling the scourge.

Honourable Mentions

This week we also learnt that:

We’ll be back next week for another review of the week’s top crypto news.