Next FOMC meeting: Sept 20th 2023.
Solana Labs has introduced Solana Pay, a decentralized payment application, as an available payment method for businesses on the popular e-commerce platform Shopify. Initially featuring the stablecoin USDC as a payment alternative, this integration allows millions of Shopify-based businesses to leverage Solana Pay for crypto transactions with zero fees until 2024.
Josh Fried from Solana Foundation emphasized the significance of crypto in payments, citing the almost negligible transaction costs of Solana Pay compared to traditional credit card fees. The addition offers innovative loyalty schemes, such as NFT-based rewards, and is already being adopted by several crypto-centric brands. Despite previous network outages, Solana, which is faster and more affordable than both Bitcoin and Ethereum, has maintained steady performance since February. Shopify, a significant player in global e-commerce, had previously embraced other crypto payment solutions, such as Strike for Bitcoin lightning network payments.
Nvidia (NVDA) significantly surpassed its Q2 earnings estimates, reporting revenues of $13.51 billion, which is far above the expected $11.19 billion, with earnings per share at $2.70, beating the $2.08 estimate. Furthermore, the chipmaker forecasts its Q3 revenue to be around $16 billion, in contrast to the predicted $12.59 billion. Nvidia's CEO, Jensen Huang, emphasized the global shift towards generative AI.
Following these results, AI-related cryptocurrencies, such as FET, GRT, INJ, RNDR, and AGIX, experienced gains of over 4% in the past day, surpassing the CoinDesk Market Index's 3% increase. Nvidia's optimistic Q1 outcomes last May, combined with the expanding mainstream presence of AI, have boosted AI-associated cryptocurrencies. Following the release of the Q2 results, Nvidia's stock increased by over 7% in after-hours U.S. trading. This year, the stock's value has climbed by more than 200%.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has unveiled charges against Roman Storm and Roman Semenov, co-founders of Tornado Cash, an Ethereum-based coin mixer used to obscure cryptocurrency transactions. While Tornado Cash claimed to be a sophisticated privacy tool, the DOJ alleges that it facilitated criminals, having processed $1 billion in illicit gains, including funds from North Korean cybercrime groups. The charges encompass conspiracy to commit money laundering, sanctions violations, and operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business. While Storm has been apprehended in Washington State, Semenov has not yet been located or arrested. The U.S. Treasury has sanctioned Semenov, warning that anyone dealing with him could face similar consequences. Another developer, Alexey Pertsev, was arrested in 2022 but has not been charged by the DOJ. Despite the Treasury's sanctions in 2022 and a hack in May 2023, Tornado Cash continues to function, with DefiLlama data showing $245 million in total value locked, a drop from its peak of $1.1 billion.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq advanced on Thursday, buoyed by robust Q2 results from chipmaker Nvidia, underlining the growing enthusiasm in the artificial intelligence sector. Nvidia's shares commenced the day at an all-time peak following a significant earnings outperformance. The company also projected an optimistic outlook for the forthcoming quarter, reflecting the heightened chip demand. Consequently, Nvidia's stock has appreciated over 220% since the beginning of the year.
Market participants are also keenly anticipating remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, set to address from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Friday. Wall Street is optimistic that this engagement will shed light on the trajectory of benchmark interest rates.
The S&P500 rebounded off the gap in June and traded 3% higher since. The index has started to pull back right off the 50-day moving average, serving as a great entry for a short position.
Bitcoin enjoyed a much anticipated intraday breakout yesterday afternoon as prices broke above 26,300 to reach a session high of 26,850. If we trade below the breakout level of 26,300, then we can expect to continue to trade sideways within the tight range of 25,725 and 26,300.
On Friday, Deribit, the leading exchange responsible for approximately 90% of worldwide crypto options trading, is set to settle August options contracts encompassing 72,000 BTC, valued at $1.9 billion, and 535,000 ETH, with a total worth of $893 million. The max pain levels for BTC and ETH settlements are currently at $28,000 and $1,800.
In other news, the two founders of Tornado Cash, the widely known Russian cryptocurrency mixer, have been accused of sanctions violations and laundering money through Tornado Cash, including hundreds of millions of dollars for the Lazarus Group, a sanctioned North Korean state-backed hacking group. Roman Storm was arrested Wednesday in Washington state, but Roman Semenov remains at large.
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