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Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, and Fintech News Headlines Update on June 21, 2022

Blockchain startup to tokenise US Air Force supply chain budget using blockchain

Blockchain startup SIMBA Chain is working on a project to tokenise the supply chain budget in the United States Air Force. The project will track the movement of funds between departments and suppliers and keep tabs on key potential supply risks. “DOD’s budgeting process can create mismatched incentives for military departments and their field commands, leading to less efficient execution of strategic goals,” said Jeff Curtis, SIMBA Chain’s Director of Defense and Supply Chain. This “will bring greater transparency to actual expenditure of resources, identifying execution vs intent mismatches.” Read More: SIMBA Chain to tokenize US Air Force supply chain budget using blockchain

Dogecoin investor sues Elon Musk, Tesla, SpaceX for $258 billion

An American Dogecoin investor has filed a class action lawsuit accusing Elon Musk and his companies Tesla and SpaceX of operating ‘an illegal racketeering enterprise to inflate the price of the cryptocurrency’. The lawsuit mentions Musk’s frequent references of Dogecoin on his Twitter account and his references to himself as the “Dogefather” as what is claimed is proof that Musk has been controlling the cryptocurrency and is liable for damages for causing the token price to spike. The complaint calls for triple the damages of $86 billion, the amount the plaintiff alleges has been lost by investors since Musk first started tweeting about Dogecoin, which has fallen from its high of nearly $0.74 to just over $0.05. The complaint says “Since Defendant Musk and his corporations SpaceX and Tesla, Inc began purchasing, developing, promoting, supporting and operating Dogecoin in 2019, Plaintiff and the class have lost approximately $86 billion in this Crypto Pyramid Scheme.” Dogecoin promptly rose by 8.5% in around 24 hours on Sunday after he tweeted he would keep buying it…. Read more:

Coinbase is facing class action suits over unstable stablecoins GYEN, TerraUSD

A class-action suit has been filed against Coinbase accusing the crypto exchange of failing to do due diligence of Terraform Labs before it listed the now failed TerraUSD, and of misrepresenting its risk as an algorithmic stablecoin. The suit alleges Coinbase failed to disclose its financial relationship with Terraform Labs, that its investment arm, Coinbase Ventures, was one of the largest backers of Terraform Labs, and that was additional motivation for the company not to disclose TerraUSD’s volatility. This is the second class-action suit outstanding against the exchange, following one filed last month in connection with the de-pegging of GYEN in November. Read More: Coinbase is facing class-action suits over unstable stablecoins GYEN, USTC

Class action suits forming for investors affected by Terra fallout

In addition to US investors filing a class action suit against Coinbase for their role in promoting Terra, another class action suit has been filed against Terraform Labs and its founder Do Kwon for selling unregistered securities, making false statements about the stability of TerraUSD stablecoin and its Luna token to induce investors to purchase them. (Business Wire) Lawyers at UK law firm CMS is looking at what can be help affected UK investors. They invite affected investors to email [email protected]

Read more: TERRAFORM CLASS ACTION NOTICE: Scott+Scott Attorneys at Law LLP Files Securities Class Action Against Terraform Labs PTE. LTD, its Executive Officers, and Insiders

$10 Billion Crypto Hedge Fund Three Arrows Capital ‘Ghosted’, Insolvency Rumours

$10 billion dollar crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital has been the focus of rumours that it is unable to meet lender margin calls and is facing insolvency. Customers are reportedly unable to withdraw their funds and 3AC founders have reportedly stopped responding to requests for withdrawal. Firms are trying to distance themselves from the fund to assure their own customers. 3AC had become a prominent investor in the crypto space. The fund has allegedly confirmed rumours of insolvency, according to a The Wall Street Journal report. It has hired a team of legal and financial advisors to “work out a solution for its investors and lenders” as stated by 3AC co-founder Kyle Davies. It reportedly suffered “heavy losses from a broad market selloff” having been exposed to LUNA and stablecoin UST which lost almost 99% of their values. Read more:

Crypto Lending Platform Celsius Is Reportedly Running Out of Options to Stay Solvent

According to a report by crypto research firm Kaiko, crypto lending platform Celsius may have limited options left to stay solvent, after its decision to freeze withdrawals contributed to the current crypto crash. The report says Celsius now finds itself in a “Lehman-esque” position after a combination of poor risk management, bearish market conditions, and overexposure to staked Ether or stETH, a derivative of Ethereum. Kaiko thinks the firm may not regain trust of crypto buyers even if it survives. Read More: Celsius Is Running Out of Options to Stay Solvent, Kaiko Says

Celsius Reportedly Hires Restructuring Lawyers and Citigroup For Options

Celsius has reportedly assigned Citigroup to advise on its next steps, including offers and Nexo’s bid to buy some of its assets. The crypto lending platform has also reportedly hired restructuring lawyers from Washington, DC-based law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld “to advise on possible solutions” for its “mounting financial problems” and explore potential financing options from investors. according to a report by Wall Street Journal. Read more:

Celsius exodus: $320M in crypto sent to FTX, user withdrawals paused

In addition to pausing its customers’ withdrawals, Celsius has reportedly moved $320 million worth of funds from Aave into FTX exchange for reasons not specified. This has left the crypto community speculating, leaving some to question how the platform is managing user funds. Read More: Celsius exodus: $320M in crypto sent to FTX, user withdrawals paused

Crypto Lending Platform Babel Halts Withdrawals Citing ‘Liquidity Pressures’

Crypto lending platform Babel has halted withdrawals citing liquidity pressures days after Celsius paused withdrawals over what it called “extreme market conditions.” A Babel notice said “During this period, redemptions and withdrawals from Babel Finance products will be temporarily suspended, and resumption of normal service be notified separately”. Babel, which terms itself “the world’s leading wholesale crypto financial services provider,” had received a valuation of $2 billion after it completed an $80 million Series B financing round last month. At the end of 2021 Babel had an outstanding loan balance of more than $3 billion. It said it was in close communication with all related parties on the actions it was taking in order to best protect its customers. Read More: Crypto Lending Platform Babel Halts Withdrawals Citing ‘Liquidity Pressures’

49.94% of Total Bitcoin Supply In Loss As BTC Drops Below $20k

Bitcoin dropping below $20k has put almost 50% of total bitcoin purchases at a price less than their purchase price. The metric checks the transfer history of each coin on the chain. If the previous selling price of a coin was more than the current BTC price, then that particular coin is being held at some loss right now. During the last two bottoms of the bitcoin price, between 55-60% of the total supply was in loss. Read More: Bitcoin Supply In Loss Reaches 50% As BTC Drops Below $20k

Bitcoin Long-Term Holders Now Own Nearly 80% Of Realized Cap

Long term holders- those that have been holding their coins without selling or moving for at least 155 days now hold nearly 80% of Bitcoin. Historically, Bitcoin has tended to form bottoms around when the long-term holder share of realised cap has exceeded 80%. Read More: Bitcoin Long-Term Holders Now Own Nearly 80% Of Realized Cap

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) to launch market intelligence platform

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Innovation Hub will launch a new set of projects targeting traditional and crypto payments including a cryptocurrency market intelligence platform and security for retail central bank digital currency. The project is largely driven by the recent collapse of several stablecoin projects and DeFi lending platforms. Its official announcement says “The project’s goal is to create an open-source market intelligence platform to shed light on market capitalisations, economic activity, and risks to financial stability.” Read More: Binance.US faces class-action lawsuit over LUNA and UST sale

Magic Internet Money token latest stablecoin to lose its dollar peg

Magic Internet Money (MIM) of the Abracadabra ecosystem is the latest US dollar pegged stablecoin to lose its peg. The sudden de-pegging saw the token’s price drop to $0.926 in three hours on June 17th. Autism Capital has claimed, citing insider knowledge, that Abracadabra accrued $12 million in bad debt as a direct result of Terra’s sudden downfall, which has been refuted by founder Daniele Sestagalli. There have been allegations that the convicted fraudster co-founder of the scam exchange Quadriga, Michael Patryn, is associated with the project. Read more:

NFT Real Estate Sale Goes Awry after $12M Price Drop due to Ethereum price crash

On May 30, a landlord listed an office building in New York City’s Flatiron District for sale as an NFT on the main NFT marketplace, OpenSea, for 15,000 ether, worth $29 million at the time. However, in the two weeks since he listed the NFT for sale, the value of 15,000 ether dropped to about $15 million. Luckily for the landlord, no one bought the property. Still, this shows a risk of listing real world assets in crypto. One reason Chris Okada, the landlord, wasn’t worried about the price drops was that the legality of a title deed — or any other right of ownership — transferred via cryptocurrency is legally uncertain at best. The legalities involved in real estate sales mean the NFT cannot “warrant the completion of the real estate transaction, or reflect the transfer of the deed or title. The traditional real estate process must still be complete.” And so the sale of the NFT was not for the title to the property. But rather “exclusive rights to acquire the building all its uses rights & related deed covenants.” Basically, an option. Read More: NFT Real Estate Sale Goes Awry after $12M Price Drop

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Optimism Pays Off

A hacker has returned 18m OP tokens (worth roughly USD$14m) stolen from the Optimism Foundation crypto currency project. They managed to take possession of 20m tokens after they were deliberately sent to an address the intended recipient hadn’t (yet) taken ownership of. The hacker kept 2m (about USD$1.6m) tokens as a “reward”, so this is what winning in the cryptocurrency space looks like.

EU Faces Citizens’ Opposition in Race for Digital Euro

The European Commission today (Tuesday 14th June) closes a public consultation on the digital euro, after overwhelmingly negative feedback from EU citizens indicating that a central bank digital currency (CBDC) will unsurprisingly not be as welcomed as regulators had hoped for. By Monday, regulators had received 16,299 responses, 98% of which from EU citizens, and just 0.3% from companies. The overwhelming majority of comments from EU citizens opposed the adoption of a digital euro, with many seeing that with a CBDC citizens ‘would lose privacy in their transactions and the government would have more control over their finances and eventually over their lives.’ Others questioned the need for additional digital money led by governments when private companies and banks already offering digital alternatives. Those responses that weren’t entirely negative requested more information to have a better understanding of the CBDC. It would be optimistic to hope that we will be safe from having government controlled CBDCs forced on citizens, given how much data and control a CBDC would give governments. Read More: EU Faces Citizens’ Opposition in Race for Digital Euro

Crypto lender Celsius pauses all withdrawals and transfers as markets plummet

Crypto lender Celsius, which has recently caused concern to investors about its liquidity levels, on Monday froze all withdrawals and transfers, causing panic and seemingly much of the slump in the crypto markets. Celsius said in its blog ‘Due to extreme market conditions, today we are announcing that Celsius is pausing all withdrawals, Swap, and transfers between accounts. We are taking this action today to put Celsius in a better position to honor, over time, its withdrawal obligations.’ Celsius’ CEL token tanked about 49% on the news. Celsius had been widely used by crypto investors for the high yields it offers for token deposits, which it lends to other crypto companies. The platform had recently come under fire for lending out investor funds to the recently collapsed platform Terra. Read More:

Binance stops Bitcoin Withdrawals for a few hours on Monday

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, has paused Bitcoin withdrawals ‘due to a stuck transaction causing a backlog’ – according to a tweet by CEO CZ. CZ originally tweeted that the problem was expected to be fixed in around 30 minutes. A few minutes later he said the problem would take longer to resolve. CZ had said that funds are SAFU – referring to Secure Asset Fund for Users and a play on words of safe. CZ then tweeted a few hours later to say that BTC withdrawals would again start. Investors are now watching to see if other exchanges also stop withdrawals. Read More: Binance Resumes Bitcoin Withdrawals After Pause

More crypto exchanges and lending platforms lay off staff

The CEO of crypto exchange Crypto .com has said the exchange will lay of 260 employees representing 5% of its workforce, and crypto lending platform BlockFi has said it will reduce its headcount by 20%. This is the latest exchange to follow Gemini in laying off 10% and Coinbase in freezing hiring and rescinding job offers amidst the crypto market slump, which has meant less revenue from trading fees for the exchanges. Read More: BlockFi, Crypto.com Slash Jobs as Market Meltdown Worries Swirl

Binance.US faces class-action lawsuit over LUNA and UST sale

Binance.UK is facing a class-action lawsuit from a group of investors who lost money from the now collapsed LUNA and TerraUSD (UST) tokens. The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of California on Monday, alleges that Binance sold unregistered securities in the form of LUNA and UST to investors and mislead them into buying them, and that ‘Binance.US is not registered as a broker-dealer in the United States and thus clearly violates U.S. securities laws’. The plaintiffs accused the exchange of ‘knowingly promoting a flawed project in which the parent company had invested earlier’ and alleged that it ‘not only supported and promoted the security token, but its parent company also listed the second version of LUNA 2.0 after the failure of the first.’ This could be the first of many such lawsuits for U.S.-listed crypto exchanges that offered LUNA or UST to customers. Read More: Binance.US faces class-action lawsuit over LUNA and UST sale

SEC Investigating Company Behind TerraUSD Stablecoin: Report

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating if Terraform Labs – the Singapore-registered firm that created the TerraUSD (UST) stablecoin and Luna (LUNA) token that collapsed dramatically last month losing billions of investors’ money – violated U.S. laws regarding how it marketed the crypto coin and whether investor protection rules were broken. Read More: SEC Investigating Company Behind TerraUSD Stablecoin: Report

Terraform Labs Probed for Alleged Bitcoin Embezzlement Following UST Collapse

South Korean authorities are investigating Terraform Labs for alleged Bitcoin Embezzlement, saying the implosion of the company’s tokens affected about 280,000 citizens, according to a report by the Financial Times. Co-founder of Terraform Labs, Daniel Shin, has denied allegations of fraud. (Coindesk) This follows rumours that founder Do Kwon had been trying to get as much funds as possible before Terra collapsed, with interviewed employees allegedly confirming that Do Kwon had allegedly been taking around $80 million a month from company funds to secret crypto wallets and foreign bank accounts before the collapse. This also follows reports that Do Kwon and Terraform Labs were allegedly aware of design flaws but ignored warnings, and raised interest from 3.6% to 20% a week before launch, making UST crash. Read more:

Bitcoin (BTC) Falls 18% in 24 hours to $22,000, Sets 18-Month Low

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics which on Friday announced that the consumer price index – also known as the inflation rate – increased 8.6% in May compared to May 2021 sent stock and digital asset prices tumbling. This, combined with other factors in Crypto including Celsius pausing withdrawals sent crypto markets to their lowest in 18 months with Bitcoin on Tuesday morning going to just above $21,000. Read More: Bitcoin (BTC) Falls 18% in 24 hours to $22,000, Sets 18-Month Low

In happy news: Pennsylvanian pharmacist feeds thousands of homeless using crypto

A Pennsylvania-based pharmacist has used crypto donations to feed thousands of homeless people with his New Jersey registered non-profit organisation Crypto for the Homeless (CFTHL). Kenneth Kim said he got the idea of using crypto to feed the homeless from science fiction movies such as the 2017 Blade Runner 2049 and In Time which have different futuristic forms of currency. He said he had always “wanted to do something with crypto” that could “make the world a better place.” He founded the non-profit in 2019 – when he delivered his first four meals in Philadelphia, since which he has fed more than 5,000 around the world through crypto donations and a volunteer network. Read More: Pennsylvanian pharmacist feeds thousands of homeless using crypto

Bloomberg Terminal supersizes its crypto coverage: 40 more coins

Bloomberg Terminal has added coverage of 40 crypto assets to the existing 10 cryptocurrencies it has covered in its terminal since 2018. This gives its institutional investor client base of financial professionals and institutions real-time financial market data and the ability to place trades. The is Bloomberg’s largest expansion of its crypto data since it began tracking BTC in 2013. Read More: Bloomberg Terminal supersizes its crypto coverage: 40 more coins

Bermuda’s Crypto Companies Are Launching an Industry Association

14 digital asset companies that have been licensed by the Bermuda Monetary Authority including Apex Group, Bittrex, BlockFi, Circle and the newly licensed digital asset bank Jewel have come together to form the jurisdiction’s first digital asset industry association called Next. Bermuda’s Premier David Burt “The formation of Bermuda’s first trade association for licensed digital asset businesses is a significant milestone in the development of Bermuda’s fintech industry”. Bermuda has sought to establish itself as a digital asset hub including last year testing a digital dollar and now approving a license for its first digital asset bank as part of its plans to build a comprehensive crypto ecosystem. Read More: Bermuda’s Crypto Companies Are Launching an Industry Association

Anonymous hacker served with restraining order via NFT

A law firm has served a defendant in a hacking case with a restraining order dropped into their wallet via an NFT that was created and airdropped by its asset recovery team. The stolen funds had been laundered through a crypto mixer but were tracked down through “algorithmic forensic analysis,” which allowed the company to find the wallets linked to the hacker, and then freeze the wallets. The fact of dropping court order via an NFT bears no relation their ability to freeze funds. A good PR stunt? Read More: Anonymous hacker served with restraining order via NFT

Top 5 Most-Popular Methods Hackers Use to Steal NFTs

The top five most popular methods hackers are currently using to steal NFTs:

  1. Phishing – ie duplicating a legitimately operating website/marketplace
  2. Discord Scams- basically don’t click on links
  3. Copycat NFTs – Mining similar NFTs to those held by celebrities and influencers
  4. Fake social media accounts, imitating those held by influencers
  5. Stolen social media accounts

Read More: Top 5 Most-Popular Methods Hackers Use to Steal NFTs

Quit if you’re not happy, Coinbase boss Armstrong tells workers in wake of petition

Coinbase’s CEO Brian Armstrong has told – unhappy employees to quit the cryptocurrency exchange platform – in a Twitter thread- after a petition calling for the removal of 3 top executives was leaked. Armstrong said the “Operation Revive COIN” petition was “really dumb on multiple levels”. He said “First of all, if you want to do a vote of no confidence, you should do it on me and not blame the execs. Who do you think is running this company? I was a little offended not to be included :),” adding “Second, if you have no confidence in the execs or CEO of a company then why are you working at that company? Quit and find a company to work at that you believe in!” Valid points. This comes after its shares have collapsed this year and it has been withdrawing job offers. Read More:

Lithuania aims to tighten crypto regulation and ban anonymous accounts

Lithuania has decided to tighten its crypto regulation and ban anonymous accounts in advance of upcoming EU regulations that could effectively ban noncustodial wallets, as well as in a bid to fight money laundering risks and the possibility of Russian elites circumventing financial sanctions. The new regulations would also increase demands on exchange operators as of Jan. 1, 2023. The senior management of such companies would also have to be permanent residents of Lithuania. This announcement follows the swift rise of crypto companies in the country after a regulatory tightening in neighboring Estonia. 2020 saw eight new crypto companies in Lituania, while 2021 saw 188 new entities. Read More: Lithuania aims to tighten crypto regulation and ban anonymous accounts

Scotcoin to go global with ProBit listing

Scottish cryptocurrency Scotcoin is being listed on ProBit Global exchange meaning people around the world will be able to buy and sell the token. Scotcoin – which calls itself a cryptocurrency with a social purpose and has been around since 2013- aims to tackle things such as poverty and environmental issues. It currently has a few thousand holders but is aiming for the circa 10 million Scots worldwide who may want to send money through its system, where transactions happen instantaneously and without payment of gas fees. Scotcoin has applied to be registered with the FCA but hasn’t yet achieved this- alongside the majority of other crypto companies that applied. Read More: Scotcoin to go global with ProBit listing

Mastercard partners NFT marketplaces on card purchases

Mastercard has partnered with a number of non-fungible token (NFT) marketplaces to make it easy for people to buy NFTs with their cards. Mastercard has already partnered with Coinbase on its NFT marketplace. Mastercard recently filed 15 NFT and metaverse trademark applications as part of a plan to extend its payment processing system, slogans and branding into the new virtual economy. Read More: Mastercard partners NFT marketplaces on card purchases

Brazil organisations launch public sector blockchain network to tackle corruption

The blockchain network launched by Brazil’s national audit office and its development bank has been rolled out to other public sector bodies. The initial aims of the Brazil Blockchain Network are to help prevent public sector fraud and corruption, thinking it will be harder to hide money and corrupt transactions when they’re publicly open on the blockchain. It hasn’t yet worked out how to get around the potential problem of false data being added to the blockchain in the first place. After blockchain, the Brazilian organisations aim to soon be interacting with citizens in the metaverse. Read More: Brazil’s audit office, development bank launch public sector blockchain network

Central African Republic wants to tokenise mineral resources

President Faustin-Archange Touadéra of the Central African Republic has announced the country’s plans to use blockchain to tokenise its mineral resources to raise funds for the country. The CAR has hugely valuable commodities deposits but remains one of the world’s poorest countries with one of the lowest GDPs per capita, estimated at $448 in 2019. The government owns the resources but global mining firms haven’t yet swooped in, largely due to the ongoing civil war since 2012 and the ESG issues of conflict. Blockchain could possibly help ensure that proceeds from mineral rights are appropriately used, where normally in exploitation of natural resources, citizens don’t tend to be the ones to benefit. Read More: Central African Republic wants to tokenize mineral resources

How Fractional Ownership Is Bringing Iconic Real-World Objects To The Public

The aviation space is one of the industries using fractional ownership to offer on-demand flight services to investors of luxury aircraft. French hybrid-electric aircraft developer VoltAero is one such that has launched a fractional ownership program for a five-seater plane. Using NFTs for this allows the aircraft to establish authenticity and the transference of rights.

US Arrests Former Employee of Opensea NFT Marketplace in ‘First-Ever Digital Asset Insider Trading Scheme’

A former employee of NFT marketplace Opensea has been arrested in what The U.S. Department of Justice called the “first-ever digital asset insider trading scheme.” As part of his role, the former product manager was responsible for selecting NFTs to be featured on its homepage. The DOJ said “Opensea kept confidential the identity of featured NFTs until they appeared on its homepage”. “After an NFT was featured on Opensea’s homepage, the price buyers were willing to pay for that NFT, and for other NFTs made by the same NFT creator, typically increased substantially.” From June to September 2021, the defendant allegedly used Opensea’s confidential information about what NFTs were going to be featured on its homepage “to secretly purchase dozens of NFTs shortly before they were featured”, purchasing about 45 NFTs on approximately 11 separate occasions, court documents show. The DOJ added “To conceal the fraud, Chastain conducted these purchases and sales using anonymous digital currency wallets and anonymous accounts on Opensea.” Chastain has been charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering, each of which carries a maximum of 20 years in prison. Read More: US Arrests Former Employee of Opensea NFT Marketplace in ‘First-Ever Digital Asset Insider Trading Scheme’

‘Crypto Winter’ Forcing Crypto Exchanges To Sack Employees

Brazilian crypto unicorn 2TM, the investment firm for Brazil’s largest crypto exchange Mercado Bitcoin, has let go of 90 staff representing 12% of its overall headcount, citing ‘Crypto Winter’. Crypto exchange Gemini has also slashed 10% of its workforce in what are reportedly its first cuts since its inception in 2014, citing the same reasons. Coinbase has also set in place a hiring freeze and rescinded job offers. Read more:

Reuters report: How Binance became a hub for hackers, fraudsters and drug traffickers – At Least $2.35B in Crypto Has Been Laundered Through the exchange

A Reuters investigation has found that Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has served as a conduit for the laundering of at least $2.35 billion in illicit funds over the last 5 years. Reuters examined court records, statements by law enforcement and blockchain data to find that during this period, Binance reportedly processed transactions totalling at least

$2.35 billion from hacks, investment frauds and illegal drug sales. Crypto analytics firm Chainalysis, hired by U.S. government agencies to track illegal flows, ‘concluded in a 2020 report that Binance received criminal funds totalling $770 million in 2019 alone, more than any other crypto exchange’. Reuters found that Binance kept weak money-laundering checks on its users until mid-2021 allowing hackers including the North Korean government-sponsored Lazarus group to launder money through the exchange. Reuters’ data included showing crypto that passed through multiple digital wallets before reaching Binance. Crypto firms typically see “indirect” flows with links to known suspicious sources as red flags for money laundering. Binance says Reuters was wrongly including indirect flows in its calculation. Read More: How crypto giant Binance became a hub for hackers, fraudsters and drug traffickers

‘Pig slaughtering’ crypto scams reap millions on Silicon Valley dating apps

People in Silicon Valley are falling victim to a wave of “pig slaughtering” crypto scams via dating applications, as the FBI has noted ‘a rising trend’ in crypto dating scams. An investigator found that one in 20 people who approached her on dating apps in San Francisco was involved in running a scam. The fraudsters behind these scams, which started in China and are known as ‘pig butchering scams’, spend weeks or months of work to build a fake relationship with the victim. Rather than asking the victim to send funds, the scammers spend hours a day chatting using realistic-looking profiles before persuading their victims to invest in crypto ‘via either a duplicated version of a legitimate website or by transferring funds to a dodgy wallet address’. The FBI has noted that its Internet Crime Complaint Center received more than 4,300 complaints in 2021, resulting in more than $429 million in losses from this type of scam in the US. Read More: ‘Pig slaughtering’ crypto scams reap millions on Silicon Valley dating apps

CFTC Sues Crypto Exchange Gemini for Sharing Misleading Information

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is suing crypto exchange Gemini for allegedly misleading the regulator when gaining approval for a Bitcoin futures product in 2017 and is taking the battle to court. It says Gemini Trust Company, LLC provided “false or misleading statements of material facts or omitting to state material facts” to the regulator. ‘Gemini’s Bitcoin future, which it launched in December 2017, proposed a price-settlement technique determined by an auction on the final day before expiration. The exchange, dthrough its designated contract market (DCM), allegedly summited false or misleading Bitcoin pricing data between July 2017 to December 2017 to the regulator.’ It has also alleged that Gemini personnel “knew or reasonably should have known” about the false or misleading information the exchange was providing. This is one of the major US regulatory actions taking place in crypto space. Read More: CFTC Sues Crypto Exchange Gemini for Sharing Misleading Information

IRA Financial Trust to sue Gemini over $36M crypto assets exploit back in February

A platform providing self-directed digital asset retirement and pension accounts, IRA Financial Trust, has filed a lawsuit against crypto exchange Gemini for alleged negligence in safeguarding customers’ digital assets during an exploit of its client accounts held in Gemini’s custody. The February 8 breach in question saw $36 million in crypto assets stolen from its customers’ accounts via unauthorised withdrawals. It isn’t known yet whether there will be any recourse for investors in recovering the lost funds. Since then, both companies have reportedly blamed each other for being responsible for the loss of funds. Representatives at Gemini said they ‘reject the allegations in the lawsuit.’ Read More: IRA Financial Trust to sue Gemini over $36M crypto assets exploit back in February

SEC investigates Binance over 2017 ICO of its BNB token

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is looking into crypto exchange Binance’s early Initial Coin Offering sale of its digital tokens in 2017 to see if it broke securities rules, when it reportedly should have been registered with the agency. The SEC has already filed dozens of enforcement actions against ICOs. Binance’s BNB token is currently the fifth largest by market cap in crypto, and has reportedly been a central part of Binance’s rise in popularity. Read More: SEC Investigates Binance Over ICO of BNB Token

These are the least ‘stable’ stablecoins not named TerraUSD

The recent collapse of the once third-largest stablecoin, TerraUSD (UST), has raised questions about the safety of other fiat-pegged tokens and their ability to maintain their pegs. Here are some other stablecoins trading below their dollar pegs: Kava Network’s USDX coin lost its peg in the turmoil surrounding UST, dropping to a low of $0.66 and is still trading around $0.89 with signs that traders are selling their tokens. Algorithmic stablecoin VAI has seemingly struggled to maintain a dollar peg at all dropping to a low of $0.74 in September and currently trading at $0.94. Other stablecoins have so far more or less maintained their dollar peg. Read More: These are the least ‘stable’ stablecoins not named TerraUSD

After record growth, VC crypto investments decline 38% in May

Venture capital investments in the crypto industry almost doubled since last year, but are down 38.2% down since April this year. This seems to be correlated to the recent market correction where many cryptocurrencies have lost up to 50% or more of their value. Data released by Dove Metrics shows total venture capital investment in crypto declined from $6.8 billion in April to $4.7 billion in May, but still shows a 97.8% increase since last year. The data shows infrastructure companies received 21% of the investment, decentralised finance (DeFi) startups 14%, whilst centralised finance (CeFi) and nonfungible token (NFT) projects each received 13%. Read More: After record growth, VC crypto investments decline 38% in May

Portuguese Parliament Rejects Proposals to Tax cryptos

The Portugal Parliament has rejected proposals presented by two left-wing parties, Livre and Bloco, to tax crypto. The Bills presented sought to tax crypto profits in excess of €5,000 ($5,340.45). Portugal’s ruling Socialist Party has not submitted any tax Bill as yet, but its Finance minister Fernando Medina said earlier this month that crypto assets in the country soon would be subject to capital gains taxes. Portugal has exempted cryptocurrencies from taxes since 2018 but levies a 28% capital tax on other financial investments. Read More: Portuguese Parliament Rejects Proposals to Tax cryptos

Japan passes stablecoin law

The Japanese parliament has passed a revised Funds Settlement Law which includes new provisions regulating stablecoins. Only banks, licensed money transfer companies that have asset custody capabilities, and trust companies will from now on be able to issue stablecoins. The new licensing system means that intermediaries such as brokers must now be registered, which may make it harder for foreign organisations to participate. The provision does not support algorithmic stablecoins. Read More: Japan passes stablecoin law

Bermuda confirms crypto hub ambitions despite market downturn

The Bermuda government, which has been actively expanding its crypto sector since 2017, is now pushing on with its ambitious plans to become a cryptocurrency hub despite the current market downturn. Minister of Economy and Labor Jason Hayward said “We are aware of the recent devaluation in the price of cryptocurrencies and remain confident that it does not threaten the island’s ability to become a crypto hub”. Read More: Bermuda confirms crypto hub ambitions despite market downturn

Metaverse Attracts Over $177 Million Of Investment From South Korean Government

The South Korean government has become an early investor in the metaverse, in a move which is thought may trigger other states to invest in the technology. The investment comes under South Korea’s newly launched Digital New Deal program, aimed to invest in the technologies linked with the country’s economy, kickstart the Metaverse and create new jobs. Leading the investment, Lim Hyesook, Minister of Science and ICT, said the Metaverse is “an uncharted digital continent with indefinite potential” and said the investment would be used first to launch a metropolitan level metaverse to facilitate virtual government services and schemes for civilians. Read More: Metaverse Attracts Over $177 Million Of Investment From South Korean Gov.

DeFi-Compatible Liquid Staking Tokens Launched by Swarm Markets

Decentralised finance (DeFi) platform Swarm Markets is launching institutional-grade liquid staking tokens capable of integrating into DeFi automated market maker pools to generate additional yield in a protected environment. A State of Staking Q1 2022 report by Staked found annualised staking rewards have last year grown to $15billion. Co-founder Philipp

Pieper said “We’re making it easier for people to have a tradable position on their staked assets, giving institutions an entry point in the price discovery process for proof-of-stake networks.” Read More: DeFi-Compatible Liquid Staking Tokens Launched by Swarm

Johnny Depp’s NFT collection rallies….

Johnny Depp’s “Never Fear Truth” collection of 3,850 NFTs launched in January has now taken off following the heavily televised defamation case against Amber Heard. The legal battle helped his NFTs gain more attention, though seemingly not price, with a current floor price of 0.52 Eth, down from 0.7 Eth. Nothing like jumping on the NFT bandwagon to capitalise on anything… Read More: Johnny Depp NFTs Rally After Actor Wins Vs. Amber Heard In Defamation Case

Bored Ape Yacht Club Plunges By 60% Last Month

Although Bored Ape Yacht Club sales are comparably higher than other NFTs, BAYC values have crashed by 60% since May 1 with a (still very high) average trading price of $382,894. A hike in unique buyers increased from 475 to 591 in April, but the average sales have dropped since. The APE token has lost 66% of its value since May. Read More: Bored Ape Yacht Club Plunges By 60% Last Month

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