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Web3 Uncertainty

Web3 Valuations Uncertain Following Binance’s $4.3 Billion Settlement


“OpenAI leadership controversy tanks company valuation, Binance CEO CZ pleads guilty to money laundering, Moonraker Search joins CryptoUK to boost Web3 industry.” 




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TradFi & Global Market News

Global Market: S&P 500 & NASDAQ

With the holiday season approaching, the annual “Santa Claus” rally as both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are up 10.58% to 4553.05 and 12.66% to 14247.70, respectively. Both indices have benefited from the petering of interest rates in the US. Some analyst have taken a dovish stance, expecting interest rates to by about 100 basis points in 2024, with some banks like UBS estimating as high as a 2.75% cut in the existing target interest rate range of 5.25% to 5.50%. However, some analysts are also looking towards 2024, where calls for a recession since earlier have crept back onto their minds. The typical take is that a 2023 recession is now unlikely, but there are signs that mid-2024 might start the new recession from the 3Ps of bearish positioning, recessionary profits and policy-easing.

Global Market: FTSE100

FTSE100 prices closed 0.1% down from Friday as commodity players took a minor 0.4% decline. This minor dip fails to reflect the slight corrections made to the recent rally of the index’s price. Overall, the index has risen by 1.82% from its valuation a month ago, and analysts believe this valuation has priced in consumers, meaning that interest rate hikes will stop early in 2024. Earlier today, PM Rishi Sunak announced investment pledged from UK companies that amounted to £29.5 billion to “kick-start the economy”. Sunak maintains his focus on economic rejuvenation by releasing further tax breaks for companies. Secured funding is merely one aspect of this growth engine, as the government now needs to convince investors of their certainty on the commitments. This has been marred by the recent U-turn on the HS2 railway infrastructure project, and the PM will need to reignite confidence in the businesses for his UK-founded innovation-led vision to work.

Artificial Intelligence News: OpenAI

OpenAI is best known for creating ChatGPT, one of the best commercially available generative AI tools on the market. Their CEO, Sam Altman has been at the heart of the latest drama in our markets this November. On the 17th of this month, Altman was suddenly ousted from his company and was almost instantaneously poached by OpenAI’s biggest backer, Microsoft, to run their new AI leadership. Within 4 days of the firing, 700 of OpenAI’s 770-strong workforce threatened to quit and Microsoft added more pressure as they offered to match the salaries of the workers who wanted to leave. This resulted in Altman returning to his position as of 21st November. The damage had already been done to the company as their estimated $86 billion is expected to tank slightly following these controversies. Still, investors at least take solace in their trusted leadership being back on the board.

There were two big reasons for the ousting of Altman. Firstly, some board members felt there was ideological conflict between their structural elements. OpenAI has a for-profit business arm organised by a non-profit board. While Altman is clear that his vision for AI is to be open-sourced and for everyone’s use, there could be reason for some board members to pivot towards profitability without his leadership.

The second and more contentious reason is Altman’s secrecy behind the safety of AI. Theorists and doomsayers have constructed apocalyptic views of Generative AI that seem straight out of a fantasy novel. Yet, this saga begs the question of whether there is some validity to these concerns. The new buzzword is artificial general intelligence (AGI), which refers to the possibility that an autonomous system could surpass human capabilities in most tasks. One of Altman’s ousters was Scientist Ilya Sutskever, who led Project Q*, an AI model created to solve simple math problems. Some staff have expressed concern over the model as it would become the foundation of a model that could potentially replicate the benefit of “experience”. This could mean that future models can solve problems humans have not witnessed before, the foundations for AGI. Technologists and investors need to probe deeper into this prospect before celebrating Altman’s return so quickly, so keeping an eye on this story will be exciting.

DeFi & Digital Assets News

Cryptocurrency Market: Bitcoin & Ethereum

Volatility characterises the market this month as valuations take a slight dip. Bitcoin is down 1.24% to 36958.80, while Ethereum is down 1.81% to 2026.65. In the past month, the potential spot ETF has been driving valuations up, but recent events caution investors if these are empty bullish momentum. Previously, most investors believed that the spot ETF could be approved as early as 2024 Q1 however, recent events suggest this may be different. Bitcoin whales have been helping to sustain the bullish pressures, but there is reason to believe time has run out. This could result in a bearish divergence instead, and some analysts predict the value of Bitcoin may fall to as low as 31000. Nevertheless, existing indicators like the market value to realised value ratio (MVRV) suggest that buyers of Bitcoin failed to make substantial profits from Bitcoin trades. The current MVRV is only at 3.4%, indicating that it is unlikely there will be a massive sell-off, usually occurring from 6.7% onwards.

Regulation News: Binance

The most significant wave in the market these weeks comes after Changpeng Zhao (CZ) pled guilty to money laundering charges in a  $4.3 billion settlement with the US Department of Justice. Over 100,000 transactions made on the exchange were estimated to be related to illegal activities like terrorism in the recent Israel-Palestine conflict or narcotics. The ruling sets the perception of cryptocurrencies back a few years as the risk of legal infringements on such a privacy-laden technology has resurfaced at a crucial time for investors waiting for the spot ETF approval.

Two dominant views set the tone for the market. The pessimistic view is that these actions will stop the upswing for cryptocurrencies as the SEC will become even stricter on new projects during this period. This will likely set the market back and drive the abovementioned divergence.

An optimistic view is taken by players like the CEO of CoinBase, whose company’s reserves of Bitcoin have skyrocketed at the expense of the decline of confidence in Binance. CEO of CoinBase, Brian Armstrong, believes this will be the “turning page” for digital assets as the new wave of regulations will only bolster existing players working hard to build a tangible digital financial economy. These processes only purge the illegitimate innovators in the space, thus laying the foundation for a resilient and compliant economy. The new CEO of Binance, Richard Teng, echoes the sentiments by sharing Binance’s refocus on ensuring compliance. Be it window dressing or not, it would be a good business decision for them to become a more compliant business or risk shutting down entirely. That said, they do have the leverage of being the highest-volume traders of cryptocurrencies. Hence, it would not be in the regulator’s best interest to push them to that extreme if possible to preserve stability. Investors should remember to be mindful that the macroeconomic condition of the US will also play a part in the valuations, and the positive trend of interest rate abatement has been favourable thus far.


In Other News…

Moonraker Search Joins CryptoUK as a Community Member

Moonraker Search is pleased to announce its recent membership in CryptoUK, a self-regulating trade association representing the Web3 industry in the United Kingdom. This membership marks a significant step forward in Moonraker Search’s efforts to strengthen its interconnectivity with the UK’s Web3 ecosystem and contribute to the overall growth and development of the industry.

CryptoUK plays a pivotal role in coordinating best practices among industry players and advocating for the benefits of digital assets to policymakers and regulators. By actively participating in CryptoUK, Moonraker Search gains access to a valuable network of industry peers and the opportunity to collaborate on initiatives that promote the responsible and sustainable adoption of Web3 technologies.

As regulatory scrutiny of the digital asset space intensifies, industry participants must foster transparency and engage in constructive dialogue with governing bodies. Moonraker Search’s membership in CryptoUK aligns with its commitment to responsible innovation and its belief that collaboration is essential to shaping a regulatory landscape that supports the growth of the Web3 industry while safeguarding investor interests.

Through its engagement with CryptoUK, Moonraker Search is committed to:

  • Driving talent acquisition best practices across the UK digital asset space 
  • Promoting the responsible and ethical development of Web3 technologies
  • Collaborating with industry peers to establish and uphold industry standards
  • Advocating for regulatory frameworks that foster innovation while protecting investors
Moonraker Search is confident that its membership in CryptoUK will further strengthen its position as a leader in the UK’s Web3 ecosystem and contribute to the ongoing growth and success of the industry.
Short Updates:

Wave Devouring Propulsion (WDP) – Singapore recently announced their first electric cargo fleet, bringing sustainable maritime technologies to the forefront of the logistics industry. The latest from Cranfield University is WDP, an engineering innovation modelled after whale fins that harness energy from waves to help propel vessels. This innovation complements the development of clear, autonomous vessels as the technology is compatible across a scale of ship sizes.


Opportunity Spotlight

A digital asset market-making firm is seeking a Head of Engineering for its London-based headquarters. The ideal candidate will have 10+ years of experience in engineering leadership, including experience in the financial services industry. Additionally, the candidate should have a deep understanding of digital asset markets and market making strategies, as well as strong programming skills in Rust and other languages used in the development of financial trading systems.
We are seeking a Lead Quant Developer to join a team of cutting-edge engineers in building and maintaining high-performance trading platforms for options trading using C++. In this role, you will lead a team of developers in designing, developing, and delivering high-quality software solutions that meet the needs of traders and researchers. You will also work closely with other teams across the firm to ensure that trading platforms are integrated with other systems and processes. The fund in question manages over $30 billion in AUM and has recently hired a global head of options trading. This is a major strategic initiative for the fund.

About Moonraker Search

We are a specialised digital asset trading & technology talent acquisition advisory firm.

We provide astute strategic guidance in human capital, delivering rare talent required by innovative organisations looking to shift paradigms. We partner with incredibly selective and dynamic clients, often pushing the boundaries of what’s technically possible. Having built teams from the ground up with recognised brands in traditional and digital asset markets, we are well-positioned to deliver the full spectrum of talent needed for high performance across Technology, Research, Data and Trading. We offer a range of services for our clients, including: 

Talent Acquisition

  • Embedded
  • Retained
  • Contingent

Market Advisory

  • Internal talent platform & process optimisation
  • Salary benchmarking
  • Competitor analysis

Moonraker Search does not cover other industries or domains and takes special care to ensure we are embedded into our market as a specialist advisor. We cover algorithmic trading & technology at the mid to senior level, from Software Engineers to Global Heads of Trading or CTOs. We do not cover graduate or junior hiring.

Please reach out if you’d like to discuss how we can partner with you confidentially.

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