By TenSquared Research Team

Key Themes

Circle Plans IPO Early Next Year

  • It has been reported that Circle has started talking to advisers about a possible second run at the public markets (an IPO). The company is the first and largest U.S.-regulated stablecoin issuer and payment infrastructure provider. Bloomberg reports the company had over $1Bn in cash on the balance sheet as of Q2’23 and generated $779M in revenue and $219M in EBITDA in 1H’23.

  • Circle’s compliance approach, close ties to the U.S. banking system, and strict regulations are some of the reasons its market share has been lagging behind its unregulated competitor, Tether.

  • Last year, Circle was valued at $9Bn in a Goldman Sachs-backed SPAC transaction, which was called off in December 2022 due to market conditions.

10SQ View: Fantastic news. The digital asset space needs more public benchmarks outside COIN and the Bitcoin miners. Circle is a strong business, generating revenue and benefitting from market growth and macro tailwinds in a high-rate environment. See p.3 for more insights on the stablecoin sector.

Programmable Payments Launched By JPM Coin

  • Onyx by J.P. Morgan has launched programmable payments for blockchain-based accounts on JPM Coin. The solution allows users to program their transactions using an ‘If-This-Then-That’ interface, which frees clients from setting standing orders for a particular time or amount.

  • On November 6, Siemens AG completed its first payment using the feature, and FedEx and Cargill will go live with the solution in the next few weeks.

10SQ View: There has been a surge of blockchain activity among financial institutions in the past few months. Programmability has always been one of the critical advantages of using blockchain for payments. We see significant demand for such payment infrastructure from corporate treasurers in the current high-interest-rate environment, which allows them to earn more on deposits.

Binance Reached A Historic $4Bn Settlement With U.S. Regulators, Its CEO CZ Stepped Down

  • Binance and its CEO CZ pleaded guilty to criminal and civil charges, resulting in CZ stepping down and over $4Bn in company penalties and $150M in personal fines.

  • Binance will continue to operate but under close monitoring by U.S. regulators and new management, with new CEO Richard Teng taking the reins.

10SQ View: This news removes a long-standing overhang in the industry that kept many investors at bay, worried about sudden action and frozen funds. Binance’s influence and market share had been declining in 2023, softening the impact of the actions. In the long-term this is a positive outcome for regulated players like Coinbase, Kraken, and Gemini as they become beneficiaries of institutional flows.

CBOE Digital To Launch Margined Bitcoin & Ether Futures In January 2024

  • CBOE Digital will become the first U.S.-regulated crypto native exchange and clearinghouse to enable spot and leveraged derivatives trading on a single platform.

  • CBOE Digital's launch of crypto futures will complement its existing offering of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether, Litecoin, and USDC trading on its spot crypto market.

10SQ View: This initiative by CBOE Digital will bring more trust and transparency to the crypto spot and derivatives markets. Interestingly, Coinbase recently also received CFTC approval and announced the launch of similar derivative products for its U.S.-based customers.

World's First Cross-border Repo With A Digital Bond Completed By UBS, SBI and DBS

  • The transaction automatically and instantly settled a repo, natively-issued digital bond purchase, and redemption using regulated digital payment tokens on a public blockchain across regulated entities in three jurisdictions (Japan, Singapore, Switzerland).

10SQ View: Suddenly, it’s everywhere - blockchain can enable cross-border settlement of capital markets in a flexible and cost-effective way.

New CF Benchmarks' Staking Index Series For Institutional Clients

  • CF Benchmarks launched a new staking index series for institutional clients called the CF Staking Reward Rate Series, which has been registered with the European Union's Benchmark Regulation.

  • The new indices provide investors with the reward rates from certain Proof-of-Stake protocols; the reward rate data comes from four institutional non-custodial staking providers.

10SQ View: Indices like the CF Staking Reward Rate Series have the potential to become a core infrastructure for a new generation of products and services that enable investors to gain exposure to this potential high-yield activity. See more news on this topic on p. 5 of the newsletter.

Media Giant Disney Strikes An NFT Partnership With Dapper Labs

  • Dapper Labs launches a new brand, Disney Pinnacle. Users can trade digital “pins,” modeled off the popular physical collectible category, featuring Disney-related IP.

  • Dapper Labs is a Vancouver-based blockchain firm with experience building successful, consumer-facing Web3 apps, including NBA Top Shot.

10SQ View: Large brands are continuing to experiment with NFTs. Dapper, with its Flow protocol, is attacking the specific use case of digital collectibles. We believe gaming and art will be the gateways to Web3 tech adoption.

A Spotlight On The Stablecoin Sector

The TenSquared research team published “A Spotlight on the Stablecoin Sector” report on November 30, 2023.

Stablecoins have become critical financial infrastructure, enabling the transfer of value, facilitating trades, and acting as a safe haven against the volatility of other cryptocurrencies. This report guides the reader through the creation and growing importance of stablecoins, leading companies to monitor in the space, emerging trends likely to guide how the industry develops, and how the increasing adoption of stablecoins will impact the broader blockchain ecosystem.


  • Since the start of 2020, stablecoins have continued to grow in importance alongside the broader digital asset economy. At the beginning of 2020, there was just over $4Bn in stablecoins, and that has since grown to over $130Bn1 in total stablecoins issued now.

  • Stablecoins are also being used beyond the facilitation of trading on crypto exchanges. Users have sent $11Tn in stablecoins on-chain in peer-to-peer transactions.

  • Key drivers shaping the sector include higher interest rates, emerging opportunities to generate on-chain yields, progress in implementing central bank digital currencies, and increased demand for transparency to prove the reserves backing stablecoins.

  • Growth opportunities in the stablecoin ecosystem cover the companies operating in the following areas: stablecoin issuance, on-chain yield, financial and blockchain infrastructure, crypto exchanges, payment, and custody infrastructure.

1) The Block, as of October'23

TAM: Annual Net Revenue Generated by Stablecoin Issuers Projected to Reach $3.0Bn-$5.0Bn in 2028

By 2028, a stablecoin issuer with a 10% market share can be generating $300M-$500M in annual revenue

Consumer Brands Continue To Innovate Loyalty Programs By Using NFTs

NFTs can create many growth opportunities for brands, including tapping into new user bases and building an engaged community around the brand.

It has been less than three years since the earliest initiatives around brands and NFTs began. Brands like Adidas, Nike, TIME, and Gucci recognized the opportunity early and initiated their Web3 experiments during the NFT bull market in 2021 – 2022.

1) Delphi Digital, as of October’23

Staking Is A New Institutional Source Of Yield

Proof-of-Stake (PoS) is an alternative transaction validation method to Proof of Work which underpins Bitcoin’s transaction validation methodology. Proof-of-Stake and Proof-of-Work are consensus mechanisms regulating the process of verifying and adding transactions to a blockchain’s ledger.

Staking is part of the new architecture around the new PoS consensus mechanism that increases the number and viability of blockchain use cases and allows for faster validation and greater scalability on the blockchain.

PoS assets took center stage in Q3’23, which saw a surge in staking rates across the top 35 stakable assets. The average stake rate—the percentage of tokens from the circulating supply staked in a particular cryptocurrency network—for these assets has hit an all-time high in Q3’23, spiking to 52.4% from 49.3% in the previous quarter1. As a result of the sharp increase in stake rate, the value of staked assets reached $73.5Bn (+3% Q/Q).

1) The State of Staking report by Staked and Kraken, Q3’23, Decrypt

Important Disclosures

This newsletter is provided for informational purposes only, and should NOT be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. Furthermore, the content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors in any TenSquared Capital LLC (“10SQ”) managed funds. Please see for additional important details, including link to list of investments.