Coinbase Reports “Tremendous Growth”

coinbaseCoinbase generated $2.5B of net revenue and $840M of net income in Q4, the company reported. At year-end they had 11.4M “Monthly Transacting Users.”

Coinbase said that strong growth in the “utilization” of crypto played a role in their success. “Prominent use cases [of crypto] included non fungible tokens (NFTs), decentralized finance (DeFi) adoption, decentralized applications, play to earn gaming, and metaverse related opportunities,” it stated in the annual report. NFT sales reportedly reached $20B in 2021 compared to just $100M in 2020.

“Going forward, we plan to add to our product suite by investing in products like Coinbase Wallet and Coinbase NFT, as well as international expansion, which we believe will generate more MTUs,” they added.

CeFi Goes DeFi With Celsius’ Newest Lending Pool

Maple Finance

Celsius, one of the largest CeFi lenders in blockchain finance, has announced a $30M sum of wrapped eth to Maple Finance in their first move of CelsiusX, the company’s newest addition, a DeFi-specific focus of their company. The pool will be held on Maple Finance, a DeFi provider of undercollateralized lending for institutional borrowers. They also offer fixed income opportunities for lenders.

“We are a technology platform for credit experts to run lending businesses and are in constant consultation with regulated and listed firms,” Sidney Powell, the co-founder and CEO of Maple Finance told The Defiant. “Our infrastructure is built to scale and support institutions across CeFi, DeFi, and TradFi.”

The tussle between DeFi and CeFi has been an ongoing schism in the crypto finance space. Believers of DeFi want the autonomy as account holders to choose where their assets are being lent out and at what terms, while CeFi believers think that institutions should have that power.

With Celsius making this investment into Maple, it shows that the two schools of thought can merge into one financial philosophy of a blend of DeFi and CeFi, rather than compete and argue which one is more morally and economically sustainable. 

From Celsius’ perspective, it looks like CelsiusX is a product offering to get more users on their platform. “We are excited to use Maple’s DeFi rails to provide efficient access to capital for blue-chip crypto institutions,” said Alex Mashinsky, the CEO of Celsius to The Defiant. “Celsius will draw on its deep experience in underwriting and look forward to welcoming new borrowers this year and beyond.”’

According to Powell, Maple has originated more than $768M worth of loans since launching in May of last year. He also claims that the company currently has $654M worth of assets in their protocols. 

Mashinsky even told The Defiant names of specific companies that were the first to be approved for funds. Leading algorithmic crypto market maker Wintermute, the digital asset venture capital firm Framework Ventures, and cryptocurrency trading firm Amber have apparently already been approved as some of the inaugural borrowers by Celsius.





Crypto’s Next Biggest Hub is… Bahrain?

As the digital asset market is making its way through Arab markets, the (United Arab Emirates) UAE has tried desperately to recruit cryptocurrency companies to call Dubai their Middle Eastern home. Despite its efforts, it seems to be losing to its tiny, little known neighbor, Bahrain.

Binance, one of the world’s largest and heavily trafficked crypto exchange platforms, recently got the green light to take the steps to become a fully regulated, centralized crypto exchange in Bahrain; a huge win for the UAE’s biggest crypto hub threat.

Bahrain is an archipelago nation of 83 islands, 33 of them being man-made. It’s a cash rich country with lax finance laws and a legacy crypto financial infrastructure. This combination may provide a haven for crypto companies who are trying to host business outside of heavily regulated western markets.

In a chat with CNN, one crypto CEO praised the country as a potential landing spot for the Arab crypto hub. 

“Unlike the UAE, [Bahrain] has banking regulation for crypto in place, and that is why crypto companies in the region are setting up there,” said Talal Tabbaa, the CEO of CoinMENA, an exchange licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) told CNN.

As a resident of the UAE, Tabbaa spoke on his home country’s lack of organzation when it comes to creating a crypto infrastructure and guideline for operation in the country’s financial system.

“If banking [in the UAE] was sorted, then Dubai could be the number one destination for crypto,” said Tabbaa.

The CBB allows digital assets as an official method of payment. They also allow banks to use crypto exchanges so that their account holders can withdraw and deposit their money simply. Unlike other countries, the responsibilities of establishing a crypto market is up to the banking system in Bahrain, not securities regulators. El Salvador, the country who has hedged all bets on Bitcoin, is currently the only nation to recognize the digital asset as a legal tender. 

Bahrain’s financial sector makes up 17% of GDP outside of oil. After creating crypto processes in banking back in 2019, they set themselves apart from other nations around the Gulf that were looking to push their cities as digital asset friendly.

Countries around the world have reacted to crypto’s emergence on their financial markets differently. China banned all crypto currency transactions, the UK  banned Binance’s operations in their country, and the US has been rumored to come out with overhauling regulations on a wild-west style market in the states. 


OpenSea is Sued Over Alleged Theft of a Bored Ape

OpenSeaPlaintiff Timothy McKimmy filed a lawsuit against OpenSea on Friday over the alleged theft of a Bored Ape NFT. McKimmy claims that he was the rightful owner of Bored Ape #3475, a digital piece of artwork that sports a cartoon ape wearing a blue hat and black sunglasses.

“On or about February 7, 2022, Plaintiff’s Bored Ape was stolen, listed, and sold to another individual on Defendant’s platform,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiff did not list his Bored Ape for sale on the marketplace. Defendant’s security vulnerability allowed an outside party to illegally enter through OpenSea’s code and access Plaintiff’s NFT wallet, in order to list and sell Plaintiff’s Bored Ape at a literal fraction of the value (at .01 ETH).”

The plaintiff blames OpenSea’s technical “vulnerabilities” that resulted in the loss. He is bringing two claims:

(1) negligence
(2) breach of fiduciary duty, trust, contract, and implied contract.

Plaintiff seeks return of the Bored Ape, damages, and/or redress of more than $1 million.

As of this date, the ethereum address 0x78cc85c982435774c0768741e16b9b7e5083a221 is in possession of the Ape.

A copy of the lawsuit can be downloaded here.