Monthly report of June 2022
This monthly report reviews the most important cryptocurrency news in June and delves deeper into the problems of Celsius and Three Arrows Capital, the acceptance of cryptocurrencies as a payment method, and events related to the Ethereum Merge.
June in the cryptocurrency market
In particular, the prices of the highest market cap cryptocurrencies, i.e. Bitcoin and Ethereum, decreased quite significantly during June. The price of Bitcoin fell by about 35 percent and the price of Ethereum by nearly 45 percent. The price of Aave was also in a big decline, falling by more than 45 percent during the month. Of the cryptocurrencies offered by Northcrypto, Chainlink, Litecoin, and Polygon survived June with a smaller drop as their prices decreased by about 15, 19, and 25 percent. The decline in the cryptocurrency market was driven by general economic uncertainty, increased inflation, and problems within cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Problems of Celsius and Three Arrows Capital
The collapse of the Terra ecosystem in May affected the cryptocurrency ecosystem also in June as the cryptocurrency lending and interest rate service Celsius and the hedge fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC), which specializes in cryptocurrencies, ran into major problems. Among other things, Celsius froze the withdrawals of all its customers on the grounds of extreme market conditions. The problems with Celsius are due to failed investments in Terra and various DeFi services. Celsius has approximately 1.7 million customers worldwide. 3AC was also in trouble as the collaterals of some of its loans have been liquidated, i.e., force sold. Like Celsius, 3AC suffered significant losses in the collapse of the Terra ecosystem. This hedge fund, which has managed assets of around €10 billion, is estimated to be close to insolvency.
Cryptocurrencies are accepted more widely as a payment method
In June, several companies announced that they are starting to accept cryptocurrencies as a payment method. Swiss luxury watch brands Hublot and Breitling both announced that they would start accepting cryptocurrencies as a payment method in partnership with BitPay, which specializes in bitcoin-related payment solutions in particular. In addition to luxury watch brands, The Spanish airline Vueling will also start co-operating with BitPay as Vueling announced it would start accepting cryptocurrencies as a payment method in early 2023. Both watch brands and Vueling approve cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and USDC.
In addition to the European companies, Chipotle, one of the largest restaurant chains in the United States, announced that it now accepts cryptocurrencies as a payment method. Chipotle does this in partnership with Flexa, a company specializing in cryptocurrency payments, through which it is possible to pay with nearly 100 cryptocurrencies, including all cryptocurrencies offered by Northcrypto.
News about the Ethereum Merge
Ethereum is moving from the Proof of Work algorithm to the Proof of Stake algorithm (the Merge) likely at the second half of this year as part of the Ethereum 2.0 update. In June, a significant step forward was made in connection with the Merge as it was successfully implemented in Ropsten which is the oldest testnet of Ethereum. However, there was also some negative news about the Merge in June when Ethereum's difficulty bomb update was postponed. Difficulty bomb refers to a measure designed to encourage Ethereum miners to switch from Proof of Work to the Proof of Stake algorithm by making Proof of Work mining eventually impossible. The postponement was not seen as a positive thing for the implementation of the Merge.
The prices of the major cryptocurrencies continued to head steeper down in June than in previous months. However, there are many ways to deal with the fall in cryptocurrency prices. MicroStrategy, which owns nearly 130,000 bitcoin, bought about 480 more bitcoin at the end of the month for just under 10 million euros. While MicroStrategy's latest purchase is not very significant compared to the company's bitcoin holdings, it reflects MicroStrategy's strong belief in Bitcoin, as the company's 130,000 bitcoin are currently at an average loss of around €10,000.
The collapse of the Terra ecosystem in May had consequences on the cryptocurrency market in June when Celsius and 3AC ran into serious problems. Also, at the end of the month, information on the problems of other similar actors began to circulate. In the longer term, however, the fallout of such unhealthy and high-risk actors will probably make the cryptocurrency ecosystem stronger and healthier. In turn, the acceptance of cryptocurrencies as a payment method has shown signs of acceleration this year, as evidenced by the four companies' announcements in June, as well as the news earlier this year that the use cases of the Bitcoin Lightning Network increase significantly. There has been a long wait for Ethereum's most important step towards Ethereum 2.0, the Merge. In June, there was both positive and negative news about the Merge, and it will be interesting to see if the Merge will happen successfully this year, as many currently believe.
Ville Viitaharju Cryptocurrency specialist