Crypto's Rollercoaster Year: Scandals, Surges, and Big Wins in 2023



by FARUK IMAMOVIC

Crypto's Rollercoaster Year: Scandals, Surges, and Big Wins in 2023
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The cryptocurrency industry's 14th year has been a paradoxical blend of scandal and success. Notable figures such as Sam Bankman-Fried, Changpeng Zhao, and Alex Mashinsky have become almost synonymous with controversy in the crypto space.

This year also featured the less prominent but equally intriguing Heather “Razzlekhan” Morgan and Ilya Lichtenstein, dubbed the ‘Bitcoin Bonnie and Clyde.’ Despite the negative headlines, the industry recorded significant achievements.

Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency, saw an impressive 160% increase over the year. The industry also celebrated victories in two high-profile court cases and eagerly anticipates the approval of a mainstream investment product in January, which could attract a flood of new investors.

Macro Factors and Regulatory Developments

The improvement in the broader economic landscape, characterized by cooling inflation, a growing economy, and the anticipated end of the Federal Reserve's interest rate hikes, has also buoyed digital assets.

Kyla Curley, a crypto expert and partner at global advisory StoneTurn, described 2023 as "the year of crypto’s resiliency."
A significant aspect of this resilience has been the proactive enforcement stance of U.S.

authorities, particularly the Department of Justice, in the absence of clear regulations. Curley emphasized that regardless of technology or industry, human nature's propensity to exploit rules remains a constant challenge.

2024: A Pivotal Year for Crypto

Looking ahead, the main event for the crypto world in 2024 is the anticipated U.S. regulatory approval of the first spot bitcoin ETF, or exchange-traded fund. This product, which allows investors to track Bitcoin's price without owning the digital currency, is expected to attract mainstream investors.

ETFs' integration into traditional stock exchanges and the prospect of regulatory oversight add layers of accessibility, protection, and transparency. Antoni Trenchev, co-founder of crypto lender Nexo, pointed to the significance of the Bitcoin 'halving' event in 2024, where the number of new tokens entering circulation will be halved.

This event, combined with the expected approval of the spot ETF, could propel Bitcoin's value to unprecedented heights.