This Week on Crypto Twitter: Bitcoin Runes Mania and More Ethereum Legal Drama

Illustration by Mitchell Preffer for Decrypt

Crypto Twitter this week was dominated by the industry’s new hottest topic, Bitcoin Runes—plus a steaming hot serving of legal drama in the form of a preemptive lawsuit filed by Ethereum software giant against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

Ever since Bitcoin’s latest halving, Runes—a new Bitcoin-based protocol that can support fungible tokens like meme coins—has surged in popularity. DOG, a new Runes meme token, was airdropped on Wednesday to holders of the Runestones Ordinal project. The distribution to tens of thousands of wallets immediately made DOG the most popular Runes token yet created. 

Runes fever took such hold over the cryptosphere this week that activity on the protocol quickly surged to dominate the entire Bitcoin network.  

Some crypto users bemoaned the spike in Bitcoin network fees caused by the Runes frenzy. But other protocol supporters remained steadfast in their conviction that hype around the new class of tokens was only just beginning. 

Over on Ethereum, bullish news was found this week in the eye-popping, multi-million dollar sale of yet another CryptoPunk NFT. Punk #635, an ultra-rare Alien Punk, sold on Thursday for a whopping $12.38 million to an anonymous collector. 

The sale marked the third occasion within weeks that an Alien Punk had traded hands for north of $11 million. 

It wasn’t all smiles for everyone in the Ethereum NFT ecosystem, however. On Friday, Yuga Labs, the multi-billion dollar company behind the once-dominant NFT collection Bored Ape Yacht Club, laid off an undisclosed number of employees. In a message to employees, the company’s CEO and co-founder, Greg Solano, conceded that the company has “lost its way.” 

The biggest bombshell of the week, however, came on Thursday, when Ethereum software giant Consensys revealed in a proactive lawsuit against the SEC that the federal regulator is allegedly seeking to sue the company and potentially declare Ethereum to be a security in the process.

Industry leaders immediately took to Twitter to vocally support the suit, castigating the SEC for potentially attempting to effectively outlaw Ethereum after several other American government entities have indicated that ETH is not within the SEC’s jurisdiction. 

Hayden Adams, founder of decentralized exchange (DEX) Uniswap, likened the suit to a battle cry for the crypto industry to finally take an aggressive, collective stance against the SEC in a Lord of the Rings-esque battle. Uniswap revealed earlier this month that it, too, is being sued by the SEC for alleged securities violations. 

Disclosure: ConsenSys Mesh is one of 22 investors in Decrypt. Edited by Ryan Ozawa.

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