ProBit Bits — ProBit Global’s Weekly Blockchain Bits Vol. 76

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 Bitcoin Breaches $35K For First Time in 16 Months As ETF Hopes Mount

Bitcoin's price crossed the $35,000 threshold this past week for the first time since May 2022. The flagship cryptocurrency reached the milestone on Wednesday amid growing speculation that the SEC may soon approve a spot bitcoin ETF in the US.

Bitcoin has climbed over 24% in the past week alone, fueled by optimism that asset managers like BlackRock and Ark Invest are close to getting regulatory approval for their bitcoin ETF filings. The prospect of easier mainstream investment access through an ETF has boosted bitcoin's price while leaving altcoins lagging.

Bitcoin now accounts for over 54% of the total crypto market capitalization, its highest dominance rate since April 2021. The bitcoin price rally has also lifted the overall crypto market back above $1 trillion. Still, some analysts warn bitcoin may face one more flush out before confirmation of an SEC-approved ETF sparks the next major crypto bull run.

 Polygon's MATIC Replacement POL Token Deployed to Ethereum Mainnet

Polygon has launched the token contract for its planned MATIC replacement, POL, on the Ethereum mainnet. The new token is part of Polygon's move towards a zero-knowledge powered layer-2 ecosystem known as Polygon 2.0.

While MATIC currently remains the main token for Polygon's proof-of-stake network, the deployment of POL represents the first step in transitioning to the new token. Polygon states POL will eventually allow token holders to stake across multiple zk-based chains on Polygon.

However, the team emphasized users don't need to swap their MATIC for POL yet. The token is not currently being used for any Polygon systems. The full transition from MATIC to POL is expected to occur over the next four years.

Polygon highlighted its plan to become the "value layer" of the internet. The launch of POL paves the way for other parts of the Polygon 2.0 roadmap, including a new staking layer and upgrading to zkEVM. Polygon is competing with other layer-2 ecosystems like Optimism which uses optimistic rollups.

 Binance Believed to Be Supporting Hong Kong Exchange Amid Legal Issues Abroad

Binance, the world's largest crypto exchange, is reportedly linked to a new Hong Kong-based exchange called HKVAEX. According to industry insiders, while HKVAEX maintains a separate legal identity, it shares resources with Binance. This includes utilizing Binance's servers. Binance itself has not confirmed any connection.

The launch of HKVAEX is seen as a strategic move by Binance to take advantage of Hong Kong's growing crypto market. It also provides a potential avenue to legally operate in Hong Kong amid increasing overseas legal scrutiny. HKVAEX was formed in late 2022 and aims to obtain a crypto license from Hong Kong regulators. The company acknowledged it sources from global exchanges like Binance but emphasized its independence. Still, the platform's operations show clear parallels with Binance, confirming insider claims of an association between the two exchanges.

 Nigerians Turn to Crypto as Inflation Drives Citizens To Find Naira Alternatives

Amid severe inflation and a sharp drop in the value of the national currency, Nigerians have increased their adoption of digital assets like stablecoins and Bitcoin by 9% over the past two years, according to a report from Chainalysis. As the Naira has lost two-thirds of its value versus the dollar, many Nigerians and businesses are turning to the dollar-pegged USDT stablecoin to preserve savings and facilitate payments. Exchange giant Binance has filled a void by prohibiting local banks from working with crypto exchanges. Nigerians are increasingly using Binance's P2P platform to access digital assets. Experts say stablecoins have become a lifeline for weathering economic storms and maintaining commerce in Nigeria.

 Rug Pulls Remain Commonplace Despite Audit Reports, According to Hacken

According to a new report from blockchain security auditor Hacken, roughly 85% of crypto rug pulls in the third quarter of 2022 did not publicly disclose undergoing independent security audits. Citing its analysis of 78 Q3 rug pulls, Hacken claims such exit scams have been easily carried out due to investors' failure to properly vet projects and ignore red flags.

The company noted fear of missing out and an overly simplistic investment process have contributed to rampant rug pulls. Hacken advised cryptocurrency users to thoroughly examine audit reports and assess security scores, rather than just assume a project is secure because it was audited.

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