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The Morning After: The world of cryptocurrency continues to wobble

Rough times could be ahead.

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Mat Smith
June 15, 2022 7:15 AM
In this article: themorningafter, gear, newsletter
A representation of the cryptocurrency is seen in front of Coinbase logo in this illustration taken, March 4, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
Dado Ruvic / reuters

Transaction freezes at Celsius Networks, which we reported on a few days ago, seem to be just the start of another stormy week in cryptocurrency. Binance has been sued over the collapse of the TerraUSD stablecoin, and Coinbase — one of the biggest cryptocurrency platforms — cut over 1,000 jobs ahead of difficult economic conditions. The layoffs were abrupt. Coinbase cut affected employees' system access at the same time as the announcement, to prevent "rash decision[s]" by outgoing staff.

TerraUSD's value collapsed in May, causing massive losses for investors, who trusted its classification as a stablecoin that's supposed to maintain its value of $1 per coin. Unlike other stablecoins backed by real-world assets, though, TerraUSD is an "algorithmic" stablecoin not backed by fiat currency — like the US dollar.

Instead, it's backed by a cryptocurrency called Luna and has a mechanism to restore its value to $1 if it ever falls. That’s the issue a Utah resident took against Binance, accusing it of falsely advertising TerraUSD as a safe asset, backed by fiat currency.

There's a "crypto winter" coming, according to Coinbase’s chief Brian Armstrong — it’s just started in the summer.

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