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Signal Boost: What can Eric Adams do for crypto?

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Happy Saturday! New in the noise: NYC has a pro-crypto mayor, bitcoin mining stocks are falling down, and Samsung is opening a store in the metaverse. Signal: below. Mike Orcutt here.
Behind the Headlines
Eric Adams is pro-crypto. So what? New York City’s new mayor went out of his way during the campaign to broadcast his enthusiasm for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In fact, though, he has thus far only made fairly vague promises, including that he’s going to look into “what’s preventing the growth of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in New York.” As Aislinn Keely explains in her latest feature, while he may be able to do that, he doesn’t have the authority to remove what many see as New York’s biggest barriers to the crypto industry.  
The great crypto hiring spree keeps rolling on. Last year, 27 major crypto firms hired 8,700 people — part of a remarkable migration to the industry from traditional tech and finance. December did not buck the trend, reports Tim Copeland in his latest monthly crypto industry hiring roundup. Headlining December’s moves into crypto were hires from Amazon Web Services, WhatsApp and the US Attorney’s office.  
The UK’s ad regulators are fed up with crypto ads. If at some point in the past nine months you’ve ridden on London’s subway (called the tube) or a bus, it’s likely that you saw some kind of cryptocurrency advertisement. Now an advertising industry watchdog is attempting to reign in what it sees as misleading marketing.  
The Block filed a freedom of information request to London’s transportation department and was able to obtain data showing the s breadth of the ad push by crypto companies last year. The most prolific advertiser was London-based exchange Luno. In May, the UK’s Advertising Standards Association (ASA) forced Luno to change an ad campaign that included the slogan: “If you’re seeing Bitcoin on the underground, it’s time to buy.” 
Besides Luno ads, there have also been ads for meme coins including Floki and Puglife. The ASA is now conducting more investigations, reports Lucy Harley-Mckeown in her latest feature. That could lead to fines or sanctions for companies it deems ran misleading ads. 
Bitcoin mining stocks continue to be an even wilder ride than bitcoin. In March of last year, Ryan Weeks explained how investors were viewing shares in publicly trading bitcoin mining companies as “a kind of levered play on bitcoin” that provides extra “torque” when the price rises. Unfortunately for those investors, the phenomenon is the same on the way down. 
Now Ryan has an update: several of the largest crypto miners have seen their share prices fall by half since reaching highs in November. 
ICYMI: ICYMI: Samsung is opening a store in Decentraland. CoinDesk formally joined a Tether freedom of information case in New York. Coinbase insiders sold more than $40 million worth of COIN in December. MoonPay bought a CryptoPunk for $3 million. Crime-related crypto transactions in 2021 were worth $14 billion, according to Chainalysis. DC sources say the US Congress is preparing an oversight hearing focused on Bitcoin mining. Bitcoin mining pool hash rates fell amid political chaos in Kazakhstan. Quentin Tarantino intends to move forward with ‘Pulp Fiction’ NFT auction despite a lawsuit from Miramax aimed at blocking it. OpenSea raised $300 million at a $13 billion valuation, with backing from Coatue and Paradigm. GameStop is reportedly pursuing an NFT platform. 
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Under the Microscope
The NFT market has come back to life.  During the past week, NFT trading activity on Ethereum has seen a “meteoric comeback,” writes Thomas Bialek in the latest edition of his weekly Deciphering the Metaverse series (The Block Research Subscription Required). Art and collectibles have led the way, but the gaming scene has started to breed real innovation in trading card games. Thomas explains how a game called  Adult Fantasy, which he describes as a “community-built superhero universe,” is setting the pace. 
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Off the Block
In El Salvador, Bitcoin’s Libertarian Streak Meets an Autocratic Regime. That’s the headline on a new feature from Wired, which makes the case that many people in El Salvador are unhappy with the way that bitcoin was made legal tender in their country. It also recounts how the bitcoin push has come as President Nayib Bukele has “tightened his grip on power.” 
The Money Quote
“Although $1 billion of open interest was liquidated on the move to $43,000, there will be far more damage below $40,000 where more levered long stops live.”
—Josh Lim, head of derivatives for Genesis, speaking about the bitcoin price to Frank Chaparro on Thursday. According to Frank’s reporting, “crypto traders fret an overheated futures market amid fall in spot prices.”
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