Fraud, scandal, regulatory squabbling, and bankruptcy marked crypto's 14th year. 2023 may have been one brutal year in the industry, but ironically, it may still have been one of the sector's best years. cryptocurrency As macro conditions rally and Bitcoin bounces back, financial cops and entrepreneurs anticipate similar to the 2013 BTC-led bull market. This article looks back at the highlights of 2023 in anticipation of a possibly glamorous 2024. A Whirlwind Year For Crypto 2023 was ruthless, to say the least, with a cast of malefactors associated with the 2021 crypto boom meeting justice by and large. From Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) to Changpeng Zhao (CZ) and other less prominent individuals making all the bad press as US authorities flexed their muscles on crypto. Furthermore, the early teen industry still notched notable wins like Bitcoin's 160% surge. Industry players were overjoyed as courts judged in favor of crypto in two high-profile court cases (XRP and Coinbase). Moreover, there's pregnant anticipation regarding a long-awaited approval for a popular investment product in January, potentially bringing new investors. It was a year of cryptocurrency resiliency as digital assets benefited from cooling inflation and a growing economy. The year 2023 hit the road with an exuberant start, with the crypto market's entire market cap posting a $1.2 trillion gain (50%, according to AltCoinTrader). The gain somewhat reversed the damage occasioned by FTX's collapse, while Q2 saw the market take a breather to consolidate the gains. In Q2, a and other news about securities was the big news. The SEC approved Grayscale’s Bitcoin spot ETF approval and sparked a positive run in Q4. This pushed the crypto market cap to $1.65 trillion. 30% surge in Ethereum staking What Will 2023 Be Remembered For? BTC's Annual Low of $16,680 Bitcoin’s value slid from an all-time high of $69,000 in November 2021 to an all-time annual low of $16,800 in January 2023. This was a culmination of the sad events of 2022, like the collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange that saw BTC's value continually decrease. Thankfully, Bitcoin later created a bullish candlestick that brought it close to $42,668 at the time of writing. https://twitter.com/dan_pantera/status/1734594848974315828?embedable=true Ripple Wins in SEC Case Ripple Labs Inc. scored a last July following a landmark ruling stating the firm never violated the federal securities law. US District Judge Analisa Torres's ground-breaking ruling that sent the XRP price surging by up to 75% and is considered a victory for the entire cryptocurrency industry is likely to galvanize other crypto firms toward battling the SEC amidst the ongoing regulatory confusion. partial victory against the SEC Later in October, the Bard Garlinghouse and executive Chairman Christian Larsen, making it a third consecutive win in the long-drawn legal tussle that had become a stain on Ripple and XRP. The SEC lawsuit that was filed in 2020 had accused Ripple Labs' executives of selling $1.3 billion in unregistered digital asset securities, with the pair personally accused of effecting at least $600 million in illicit securities sales. SEC dropped its case against Ripple CEO Journey towards the Approval of a Spot Bitcoin ETF The price of Bitcoin of $37,970 last October following BlackRock's taking initial steps towards an Ether Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF). BlackRock is among at least nine different asset management firms, including Valkyrie and WisdomTree, eagerly awaiting the SEC's approval of their desire to issue spot Bitcoin ETFs, which experts believe could happen . US-based investors can only buy Bitcoin futures ETFs from firms with futures contracts with plans to sell later at agreed-upon prices. The highly-anticipated Bitcoin spot ETFs awaiting SEC approval would enable users to invest in BTC directly and potentially make it accessible to the masses. scored an 18-month high in early 2024 SBF's High-Profile Trial After a , the highly-anticipated Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) case returned a guilty verdict. The prosecutors accused the former founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX of stealing and using billions of dollars belonging to his customers. Bankman-Fried may have maintained his innocence throughout the trial. However, the guilty verdict means he could earn . The sentencing is expected in March 2024. month-long trial up to 110 years in jail Bitcoin above $44K For the first time since April 2022, Bitcoin in early December. The digital asset that’s now trading at $42,643 brought the entire crypto market with it in its wake. That was a great achievement, considering it opened the year at less than $17,000. BTC's increasingly improving performance happens at a time when numerous respected Wall Street firms are awaiting the SEC's approval of their Bitcoin ETF application approvals. Analysts believe the SEC will likely approve the popular investment vehicle that tracks the digital asset's value and is expected to give traditional investors to crypto in a safe and regulated environment. crossed the $44,000 mark SEC against Binance and CZ Crypto billionaire Changpeng Zhao, the founder and CEO of Binance, was forced to step down after he pleaded guilty . According to the criminal charges filed by the SEC, both CZ and his firm, Binance, violated the Bank Secrecy Act. According to the Department of Justice (DOJ) documents, CZ and Binance agreed to a $4.3 billion settlement. to 13 charges facing him https://twitter.com/cz_binance/status/1727063503125766367?embedable=true The against the world's largest crypto exchange by trade volume and its founder, accusing them of commingling billions of dollars of customers' funds and sending them to a Europe-based company controlled by CZ. According to the US securities watchdog, CZ and his exchange subverted "their controls" by allowing high-net-worth American investors to trade at their unregulated international exchange. According to the complaint, the accused used Binance.US as a shield for CZ and the parent company to retard law enforcement and insulate Binance. SEC had filed 13 charges in June 2023 NFTs are Coming Back There's every sign of the as we draw the curtains on 2023. Despite what appeared like prices hitting rock bottom, major NFT brands like are seeing renewed interest in their products from online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores. Moreover, established firms are trooping back to the NFT space, with brand building expected to become a significant driver of Web3 adoptions in 2024 resurgence of interest in NFTs Pudgy Penguins https://twitter.com/pudgypenguins/status/1659325632499572736?embedable=true While mainstream media may have written off NFTs following their dismal performance and poor demand, stores like Walmart and others are jostling to sell them alongside physical products. They could end up building stronger NFT brands. There's every indication that the next wave of viral NFT products could be somewhat different from the previous successful ones by focusing on value creation instead of speculation. Moreover, they could center on large quantities sold at more affordable prices and target a broader market. Some companies that successfully experimented with mass-market NFTs include Starbucks, Mike, and Reddit, to name a few. Summary of 2023 Once again, the cryptocurrency market is experiencing unprecedented growth. Every indication is pointing towards an inevitable Bull-Run. It’s, therefore, important for every crypto enthusiast to equip themselves with knowledge and insight so they can make informed decisions. Should everything hold constant, we can expect a fresh liquidity boost from institutional investors as banks and other large investors allocate portions of their assets under cryptocurrencies. As it was in 201, 2017, and 2021, the emergence of new crypto projects is likely to become the foundation of a recent surge of users in 2024 and 2025, with the main driver being the adoption of Web3 by large Web projects and introduce a new audience to the crypto sphere.