Meanwhile, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission and other agencies continue to tighten regulation of the virtual currency industry, sparking pessimistic speculation in the market about the future of the virtual currency industry.
The virtual currency market took a shocking dive
The virtual currency market continued to fall this week, pulling back from the previous $30,000 round number mark, and was particularly sold off continuously throughout the day on April 20, with bitcoin falling more than 5% at one point to $28,500.
According to futures data provider Coinglass, as of 12 p.m. Beijing time on April 22, 74,962 people had exploded their positions in the last 24 hours, and $249 million (about 1.716 billion yuan) in funds had evaporated.
Industry insiders told China Securities Journal that the decline was mainly influenced by the latest move by U.S. regulators to crack down on virtual currencies, as well as rising expectations for a Federal Reserve interest rate hike.
Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at foreign exchange market maker Oanda, said bitcoin's recent decline comes after the chief executive of virtual currency exchange giant Coinbase said "Coinbase could pull out of the U.S. if there is uncertainty about industry regulation.
If Coinbase leaves the U.S. market, many traders could lose confidence in virtual currency trading, meaning the global cryptocurrency market would shrink significantly," Edward Moya said. Until regulatory attitudes become clear, Bitcoin will struggle at its current point and prices will move lower."
On Monday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) enforcement division recommended that well-known virtual currency trading platform Bittrex be prosecuted for alleged violations of the Investor Protection Act, and it was reported that the SEC's enforcement division had sent a regulatory notice to Bittrex last month informing it of the possible action it could take. The enforcement agency said Bittrex violated the law by operating as a trading platform, broker-dealer and note exchange without registering with the regulator.
Meanwhile, semiconductor giant Intel has also opted out of the virtual currency mining sector.
Recently, Intel announced that it stopped producing the Bitcoin mining series chip Blockscale 1000, and did not announce plans for subsequent production of related chips.
An Intel spokesperson said, "We have ended production of the Blockscale 1000 series of ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) due to prioritizing investments in our IDM 2.0 strategy, while we will continue to support Blockscale's customers."
Intel announced its entry into bitcoin mining about a year ago, and the first customers of Blockscale chips include a number of blockchain technology companies such as Argo Blockchain, Block, Griid Infrastructure and Hive Blockchain.
The reporter found that the Blockscale chip's detailed product page is no longer available on Intel's official website.
Chinese richest man's assets shrink
Under the collapse of the virtual currency industry, the wealth of the cryptocurrency super-rich has also shrunk significantly.
According to data released by Forbes last week, billionaires in the global virtual currency industry will lose a combined $110 billion (about RMB 760 billion) in 2022.
The trigger for the rapid evaporation of the fortunes of these super-rich was the successive explosions of Luna coin and cryptocurrency exchange FTX last year, which triggered a global virtual currency shock and once plunged the market into pessimism, with the price of bitcoin falling to $15,600 per piece in 2022, the largest drop of 70% during the year.
Forbes data shows that as of March 10, 2023, the total assets of the richest people assets in the global virtual currency industry rich list shrunk from about $140 billion to less than $30 billion. In addition, a "bloodbath" in 2022 resulted in the number of billionaires in the global virtual currency industry dropping from a record 19 to just nine.
Currently, Zhao Changpeng, co-founder and CEO of the world's largest virtual currency trading platform, Cryptocurrency, remains number one on the global virtual currency billionaire list. According to Forbes, Zhao Changpeng's wealth has fallen to $10.5 billion from $65 billion in 2022.
In second place, Jed McCaleb, co-founder of blockchain projects Stellar and Ripple, now has a net worth of $2.4 billion, just $100 million lower than in 2022. Third place goes to Brian Armstrong, CEO of cryptocurrency trading platform Coinbase, and Chris Larsen, another co-founder of Ripple, both of whom have seen their assets shrink to $2.2 billion from $6.6 billion and $4.3 billion, respectively, in 2022.
The Regulatory Storm Has Arrived
So far this year, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and other agencies have continued to tighten regulations on the virtual currency industry, which has sparked pessimistic speculation about the future of the industry.
Late last month, Changpeng Zhao was sued by the CFTC in Chicago federal court for allegedly violating trading and derivatives rules. According to the lawsuit documents released by the CFTC, it alleges that Cryptocurrency, under the direction of Zhao Changpeng, inadvertently bypassed legal regulation by assisting Chief Compliance Officer Samuel Lim to generate revenue from U.S. customers, prioritizing commercial success over compliance.
According to foreign media reports, recently CoinA's U.S. subsidiary is trying to find a bank to deposit its customers' cash, but its recent attempts to establish partnerships with banks such as Cross River Bank and Customers Bancorp have all ended in failure.
The report says that Cryptocurrency's customers have been directly affected. Cryptocurrency said it will transition to a new bank and payment service provider in the coming weeks.
Currently, Cryptocurrency is holding customer funds through Prime Trust, an intermediary financial technology company. Media reports, citing people familiar with the matter, say that due to the collapse of cryptocurrency-friendly banks such as Silvergate and Signature Bank, CoinA's customers' funds have nowhere to go but in intermediary banks, which can significantly slow down the process of transferring funds.