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A Crypto Holiday Special: Past, Present, And Future With Ex-Binance CFO Wei Zhou



2022 is coming to an end, and our staff at Bitcoinist decided to launch this Crypto Holiday Special to provide some perspective on the crypto industry. We will talk with multiple guests to understand this year’s highs and lows for crypto.

Zhou: “It won’t be business as usual for centralized exchanges. For one, the days of commingling users and the exchanges’ assets are long gone.”

In the spirit of Charles Dicken’s classic, “A Christmas Carol,” we’ll look into crypto from different angles, look at its possible trajectory for 2023 and find common ground amongst these different views of an industry that might support the future of finances.

We are ending our institutional round with Wei Zhou; for three years, he worked as Chief Financial Officer at the largest crypto exchange worldwide, Binance. Above the rest, this company and its current CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, heavily impacted the nascent industry and will continue to exercise influence in the coming years.


Zhou: “Bitcoin, just like the Internet, will survive any storm that comes its way; this I have no inkling of doubt about.”

Zhou reviews the biggest moment in 2022 from his unique perspective. In addition, he talks about the fundamentals that will keep crypto alive and on track to fulfill its destiny. This is what he told us:

Q: What’s the most significant difference for the crypto market today compared to Christmas 2021? Beyond the price of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others, what changed from that moment of euphoria to today’s perpetual fear? Has there been a decline in adoption and liquidity? Are fundamentals still valid?

A: The crypto market has certainly changed a lot in the past year.

Collapse of key industry players


I think the biggest change this year has been due to the collapse of some key industry players, from Celsius, 3AC to BlockFi and most recently FTX. With billions of dollars affected, investors have become cautious. The collapse of these giants has served to remind us to be prudent and diligent with our crypto investment decisions. Users should conduct thorough research and abstain from entities whose licensing and regulatory status is unclear. I believe that the situation will change in 2023 and that investor confidence will resume, but we can’t afford to forget the lessons learned this year.

Liquidity affected but adoption will continue to grow

With the collapse of a big market maker like FTX, liquidity in the market was affected as several exchanges relied on it. Investors have also pulled quite a bit of their money from exchanges which further escalated the liquidity crunch.  Speculative trading may have pulled back, but for those to whom crypto was more focused on use cases like value transfer, web3 gaming and financial inclusion, crypto adoption will continue to surge especially in the Philippines.

Q: What are the dominant narratives driving this change in market conditions? And what should be the narrative today? What are most people overlooking? We saw a major crypto exchange blowing up, a hedge fund thought to be untouchable, and an ecosystem that promised a financial utopia. Is Crypto still the future of finance, or should the community pursue a new vision?

This year’s market downturn has fueled crypto skeptics and several mainstream media houses who have become re-energized in their fight against crypto. This narrative has put doubts in the minds of investors. However, most people are overlooking that Bitcoin is designed to be a decentralized electronic currency.


Crypto is still the future of finance. If you recall, when the dot-com bubble burst, there were all manner of questions about the viability of the Internet as a technology and the companies building on it. But look at Amazon, Facebook, Google and others today – they are defining the world we live in. This is because, despite the shake-ups with the market players, the underlying technology was fundamentally transformative. Bitcoin, just like the Internet, will survive this winter.

Q: If you must choose one, what do you think was a significant moment for crypto in 2022? And will the industry feel its consequences across 2023? Where do you see the industry next Christmas? Will it survive this winter? Mainstream is once again declaring the death of the industry. Will they finally get it right?

A: I would point to the FTX collapse as a landmark moment. Its impact has been and will continue to be felt in the industry.

  • Investors are keener about who they trust with their assets and how custodians and exchanges store the assets. Investors are now exploring self-custody solutions, which contrary to opinion I think is a great direction to take. When they require to trade their assets, they are now keen to work with exchanges that are fully regulated like which is licensed by the Philippines central bank and is regularly audited.
  • Regulators are more concerned about the industry. We will also see a trend where regulators around the world will begin to create a more comprehensive regulatory framework around cryptocurrency.

The crypto industry has gone through worse. In 2017, the crypto markets peaked and crashed to $3,000, and the industry endured a three-year-long crypto winter. In 2022, we now have institutional investors who are advancing the sector, unlike during prior winters.

I believe the industry will survive because there are now much more use cases than there were in the past.

Q: What’s next for exchanges such as Binance in 2023 and beyond? Do you think the recent events with FTX will jeopardize the future of these platforms? Many are already speculating about the shift in liquidity from Centralize to Decentralize Exchanges (DEX) due to the users’ lack of confidence in the former


A: The days of commingling users and the exchanges’ assets are long gone. FTX has woken up the entire industry to the dangers this practice can have. Proof of reserves is already becoming a big trend as more investors ask questions about how and where their assets are stored.

Related Reading: A Crypto Holiday Special: Past, Present, And Future With Blofin

Regulators are also cracking down much harder on exchanges. In the Philippines, for instance, the BSP was quick to audit exchanges in order to probe if they had been exposed to the FTX contagion. Thankfully, neither nor our peers were exposed to FTX.

Crypto holiday BTC BTCUSDT Binance CFO Wei Zhou
BTC’s price moving sideways on the daily chart. Source: BTCUSDT Tradingview

The crypto industry will be shifting to focus on Web3, decentralized exchanges and self-custody. More users are now exploring wallets that give them full ownership of their crypto. I am a big supporter of self-custody for those with the technical ability to do it successfully. When they require trade, I would advise them to always use an exchange that’s licensed and supervised by a recognized national or regional watchdog.


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Over 77% Of Bitcoin Millionaires Wiped Out As Crypto Winter Rages



Bitcoin’s price has taken a hit since it hit its all-time high back in 2021, and as a result, the number of bitcoin millionaires has dwindled dramatically since then. These addresses holding more than $1 million in BTC peaked in November 2021 and have been on a steady decline since then.

Bitcoin Millionaires Suffer Losses

Back in November 2021, when the bitcoin bull market was in full bloom, the number of BTC millionaires had crossed 100,000 wallets. At its highest point, there were 108,886 wallets with more than $1 million worth of BTC in their balances, but according to data from BitInfoCharts, this number has dropped below 25,000.

At a current count of 24,533 millionaire wallets, more than 77% of bitcoin investors with the millionaire status have been wiped out in a little over a year. The majority of the losses came in the first half of 2022 and by June 2022, there were only a little over 26,000 BTC wallets with more than $1 million in their balances. 

Wallets holding at least $10 million worth of BTC also took a hit during this time. It was sitting at only 3,852 at the time of this writing. However, smaller investors have been on the rise. According to a report from Glassnode, the number of BTC addresses holding higher than 0.1 and 1 BTC reached new all-time highs on Tuesday, January 10.


This marked accumulation from these smaller addresses shows that investors are not deterred by the decline in prices. But rather, are taking advantage of the low prices to increase their holdings.

Bitcoin price chart from

BTC price holding steady above $17,000 | Source: BTCUSD on

BTC Profitability Declines As Well

The drop in the number of bitcoin millionaires is also in line with the decline in the profitability of the digital asset. Bitcoin started the year 2022 with only about a quarter of its investor seeing losses, but by January 2023, it has dropped drastically, and now only 51% of BTC investors are in profit.

Bitcoin investors in profit

Its large holder concentration has also dropped during this time. Only 10% of wallets are now classified as large holders, indicating a redistribution of BTC from whales to smaller holders. It also points to more decentralization with supply being more adequately distributed for market participants.

As for bitcoin’s price, it is still trading well below its all-time high price despite its recent recovery above $17,000. Data from Messari shows that the price of the digital asset is currently down more than 74% from its November 2021 high.

BTC is changing hands at $17,320 at the time of this writing. It is up 3.7% in the last week with a 24-hour trading volume of $16.2 billion.

Follow Best Owie on Twitter for market insights, updates, and the occasional funny tweet… Featured image from TechBullion, chart from


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Terra And Do Kwon Lawsuit Voluntarily Dismissed, But Why?



The plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against TerraUSD and its affiliated companies voluntarily dismissed their case on Monday.

Matthew Albright filed the lawsuit on behalf of others against Terraform Labs (TFL), Pte Limited, and other affiliates in the Southern District of New York Court in August 2022.

The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants falsely promoted, manipulated, and offered UST stablecoin and LUNA. Zhu Su, a cofounder of failed crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC), announced the voluntary dismissal of the class action lawsuit via a tweet on January 10.

Matthew Albright, the lead plaintiff in the case, filed a notice in Court stating a voluntary dismissal of the case against the defendants. The defendants include Terraform Labs, Do Kwon, Delphi Digital Consulting, Luna Foundation Guard (LFG), Jump Trading, Nicholas Platias, and three others.


Albright and his co-plaintiffs accused TerraUSD and the other defendants of falsely promoting UST, LUNA, and other related coins. According to the lawsuit, the defendants falsely projected the coins’ stability while laundering the profits from Terraform Labs into personal accounts.

3AC Blames FTX For TerraUSD’s Fallout

The lawsuit could be linked to the November tweets by 3AC’s cofounder Zhu Su that FTX and Alameda Research manipulated the crypto market. Zhu claimed that FTX was part of a conspiracy that resulted in the UST collapse.

Three Arrows Capital got hit badly by the crisis and went bankrupt shortly after due to severe exposure to Terraform Labs. Zhu Su and TerraUSD’s founder, Do Kwon, previously blamed Genesis and Alameda Research for UST and LUNA’s crash.

Terra And Do Kwon Lawsuit Voluntarily Dismissed
LUNAUSDT price enters in the green zone on the 24-hour chart l LUNAUSDT on

Nonetheless, TerraUSD and its affiliates also faced two other class action cases, which are still active. Bragar Eagle and Squire, P.C. law firm, and Scott + Scott, a securities and consumer rights litigation firm, filed the lawsuits.

Primary Cause Of TerraUSD Collapse, Was It A Hack?

Meanwhile, investigations on collapse remain ongoing. In a December 6 tweet, FatmanTerra alleged that TFL’s claims that UST recorded a hack attack are false. FatmanTerra, is an integral part of the puzzle in TerraUSD collapse, and its been reporting on the firm’s collapse for over a year. The Twitter user has been helping the crypto community to bring the founder of TerraUSD to justice.

According to Fatman’s tweet, Terraform Labs dumped over $450 million UST on the open market a few days before the implosion.


Fatman cited data from Cycle_22, an anonymous researcher who discovered Hodlnaut, a Singapore-based crypto lender’s insolvency. The data revealed that TFL started dumping millions of UST a few days before the depeg.

According to Fatman, dumping such an amount of UST within that short period reduced the stablecoin’s liquidity and weakened its peg.

The UST dump and the $2.7 billion removed by TFL through Degenbox contributed to the implosion. Fatman implied that Do Kwon and Terraform Labs withdrew real dollars from the ecosystem, making UST redemption impossible.

More so, the independent audit released by TFL and Luna Foundation Guard (LFG) to show its efforts in redeeming the UST peg were incomplete. According to the Twitter user, the audit did not account for the 47,000BTC sent to Jump Crypto by the LFG.

This revelation further increased the evidence against TFL and Do Kwon, who remains on the run from South Korean prosecutors.


Meanwhile, LUNA witnessed a 12.79% price surge in the past 24 hours and trades at $1.56. LUNA’s price rally happened during the ongoing developments on the 2.0 chain.

Jared from TFL revealed, via a tweet, that the current version of TerraUSD Station undergoes an automatic update, which is incompatible with the Classic. Jared told the Station users on Classic that an update to Station will occur on January 10, 2023. Cover image from Pixabay, LUNA chart from Tradingview.


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Gemini Earn Users Swindled By Barry Silbert?



Crypto Exchange Gemini co-founder, Cameron Winklevoss, sent another open letter regarding the Genesis borrowing agreement. This time, the executive addressed the Digital Currency Group (DCG) Board of Directors, Genesis’ parent company. 

In the letter, Winklevoss accused the current DCG CEO, Barry Silbert, of allegedly conspiring and defrauding Gemini Earn users. Gemini offered the latter, which allowed users to obtain a yield by lending its crypto assets to Genesis. 

According to the document, Genesis was operating under a negative balance sheet for years. The crypto lender was allegedly affected by the collapse of one of its major partners, Three Arrows Capital (3AC). Winklevoss wrote: 

These parties (Silbert and others) conspired to make false statements and misrepresentations to Gemini, Earn users, other lenders, and the public at large about the solvency and financial health of Genesis. They did so in an effort to mislead lenders into believing that DCG had absorbed massive losses that Genesis incurred from the Three Arrows Capital Ltd. (3AC) collapse (…).

Winklevoss Unveils DCG’s “Toxic Trade”

According to the document, DCG and Genesis lent over $2 billion to 3AC before its collapse. The crypto lender was left holding over $1 billion in debt, which was allegedly “absorbed” by the DCG. 


The Gemini co-founder claims that Genesis’ parent company never took on debt from the crypto lender. They allegedly used a financial solution to “pretend to” have fixed the issues. Publicly, the company announced that it “assumed certain liabilities of Genesis.”

Behind the curtains, Winklevoss claims that the DCG issued a promissory note, to be mature in 2032, to “cover” Genesis’ balance sheet hole. This note was used as a “misleading” instrument to maintain the crypto lender operating and using it to prompt up another DCG product, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust. 

However, the collapse of FTX precipitated a liquidity crunch in Genesis. Genesis owes Gemini over $1 billion, and its customers are still awaiting a resolution. These events forced DCG to shut down its operations, locking Gemini Earn Users from their funds. 

Bitcoin BTC BTCUSDT Winklevoss Gemini
BTC’s price with small gains on the daily chart. Source: BTCUSDT Tradingview

DCG Replies, Is Winklevoss Pulling A “Stunt”?

As Bitcoinist reported, the Gemini co-founder sent a letter to Silbert one week ago. On this occasion, Winklevoss gave DCG a deadline to reach an agreement, January 8th. The date came, but the parties failed to announce a resolution. 

Now, Winklevoss said the following on the path forward, the introduction of a new DCG management, and the fate of Earn users: 

(…) Genesis lenders, including Earn users, have been seriously harmed and deserve a resolution for the recovery of their assets. I am confident that with new management at DCG, we can all work together to achieve a positive, out-of-court solution that will provide a win-win outcome for all, including DCG shareholders.

The DCG Board of Directors and Silbert replied to Winklevoss. The company called the letter an “unconstructive publicity stunt,” part of a strategy to wash his public image, per the statement. 


The Silbert-led company claims that Gemini was solely responsible for marketing and promoting Gemini Earn. DCG concluded:

We are preserving all legal remedies in response to these malicious, fake, and defamatory attacks. DCG will continue to engage in productive dialogue with Genesis and its creditors with the goal of arriving at a solution that works for all parties.


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