First Mover Americas: Coinbase Acquires Stake in Circle

The latest price moves in crypto markets in context for August 22, 2023.

AccessTimeIconAug 22, 2023 at 12:18 p.m. UTC
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This article originally appeared in First Mover, CoinDesk’s daily newsletter putting the latest moves in crypto markets in context. Subscribe to get it in your inbox every day.

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Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase (COIN) bought a minority stake in stablecoin issuer Circle Internet Financial. The two companies also dissolved their Centre Consortium partnership, which issued USD Coin (USDC), the world’s second-largest stablecoin. As part of the move, Circle will bring issuance and governance of USDC fully in-house. Also, six more blockchains will gain native support for USDC, which is pegged at $1, bringing the total number of supported blockchains to 15. Coinbase and Circle, in a blog post and interviews with CoinDesk, did not disclose the size of the stake acquired by Coinbase. Coinbase did not give Circle cash for the stake, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The U.S. Department of Justice and Sam Bankman-Fried filed competing sets of jury instructions for the October trial of the FTX founder a day before he is set to be arraigned on a new superseding indictment. Prosecutors filed the document, titled "the government's requests to charge," late Monday, adapting from various previous sets of jury instructions including past statements from Judge Lewis Kaplan, the Southern District of New York judge overseeing Bankman-Fried's case. The FTX founder faces seven different charges, ranging from wire fraud, securities fraud and commodities fraud conspiracy to money laundering allegations, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

Social platform Friend.tech, which lets holders buy "shares" of people who hold an account on X, formerly known as Twitter, and grants the buyers certain privileges, has surged to more than 100,000 addresses since its Aug. 10 launch according to a database created by Yearn Finance developer @Bantg. The database, listed briefly on GitHub and now withdrawn, apparently listed the crypto wallet addresses and linked X accounts. The growth correlates with the huge revenues made by the platform since the launch, with over $25 million in fees generated, according to DefiLlama. A Dune Analytics dashboard corroborates the finding, pegging the number of unique users to at least 80,000, with 15,000 users added since Sunday.

Chart of the day

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  • The chart shows spread between bitcoin’s next month and front month futures contracts trading on the CME and bitcoin’s spot market price.
  • The spread remains elevated after last week’s 10% slide.
  • Historically, negative spread has marked interim and bear market bottoms.
  • Source: TradingView.

- Omkar Godbole

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Edited by Parikshit Mishra.

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CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Lyllah Ledesma

Lyllah Ledesma is a CoinDesk Markets reporter currently based in Europe. She holds bitcoin, ether and small amounts of other crypto assets.

Omkar Godbole

Omkar Godbole is a Co-Managing Editor on CoinDesk's Markets team.


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