Sam Bankman-Fried is known for T-shirts and cargo shorts. A defense lawyer explains why his glow-up matters to a jury

How a defendant dresses, while seemingly superficial, can play a crucial role in how they’re perceived, and it’s why so much time goes into crafting outfits that fit into a defense team’s strategy.

Examples abound of defendants who have adjusted their looks to send a certain message to a jury, including fake heiress Anna Sorokin, who changed out of her prison-issued brown uniform for a Miu Miu-designed black gown, and Elizabeth Holmes, who traded in her signature black turtlenecks for a light gray pantsuit and blue button-down shirt.

With Sam Bankman-Fried’s trial starting Tuesday, the disgraced T-shirt-donning crypto entrepreneur is already in the process of changing his usual look to (literally) suit the occasion.

Last week, the FTX founder was granted permission from the court to wear “business attire clothing,” including three suits (consisting of slacks and jackets), four dress shirts, three ties, one belt, four pairs of socks, two pairs of shoes, and “appropriate undergarments,” according to a court filing.

In pre-trial appearances SBF ditched his usual outfit and donned a suit and tie, although he seemed visibly uncomfortable in formal attire and has been quick to untuck his shirt after leaving court.

While he may be uncomfortable, criminal defense attorney Patrick Stangl said SBF should dress in a way that shows respect for the court and the judicial process.

“From the moment that the jury sees you, they in their mind are making judgments about you. Now, of course, they can only make judgments based on the evidence, but, you know, we are all human beings,” Stangl told Fortune.

Still, there may be some advantage to maintaining some of Bankman-Fried’s disheveled look, especially if his defense centers on him being ignorant of any crimes committed, Stangl added. Instead of being overly rigid, he should try to strike a balance between being respectful and authentic.

“While I want my clients to dress respectfully,” Stangl said, “I don’t want them to dress like something that they’re not, either.”

Before Bankman-Fried was ever accused of any impropriety—he maintains that he’s innocent—the FTX founder followed the fashion playbook of the early-2000s tech entrepreneur, namely, minimalist T-shirt-heavy looks. While for a time he was known as the “white knight of crypto” more often than not he dressed like a serf, in an FTX-branded gray shirt, baggy cargo shorts, bunched up white socks, and a pair of simple sneakers.

Meta, formerly Facebook, founder Zuckerberg was a trailblazer in popularizing the new tech worker uniform. In the days leading up to Facebook’s initial public offering in 2012, the then-27-year-old founder made waves for showing up to an investor meeting in a hoodie—a move that at least one Wall Street analyst, Wedbush’s Michael Pachter, said signaled his “immaturity,” according to a CNN article from the time. 

Bankman-Fried got a similar reaction from Wall Street and the media when his public profile started rising after founding FTX in 2019. But for SBF, the message was simple: “I’m so busy changing the world, I don’t have the time or energy to care about how I look.” Although he was criticized by some, others were quick to point to his outward appearance was a sign of his genius and dedication.

By the time he was arrested in December, Bankman-Fried’s signature look had taken on a whole different connotation. Instead of portraying him as an aloof savant, some said the 31-year-old’s sense of style showed the recklessness with which he approached his company and finances—as apparently evidenced by the Justice Department’s charge that FTX was commingling customer funds with sister trading firm Alameda Research.

Ultimately, his lack of fashion sense may come from ignorance or just plain apathy, according to details revealed in a newly published excerpt from Michael Lewis’ upcoming book on FTX, Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon.

Bankman-Fried seemingly struggled with the idea of what a formal outfit consisted of, according to Lewis. In July 2022, he forgot dress shoes and a belt to match the wrinkled, blue “D.C. suit” he planned to wear at a first-time meeting with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. And, although having little to do with his looks, SBF may have committed an even bigger faux pas when he angered fashion icon Anna Wintour by blowing off the Met Gala

As SBF’s trial grew nearer, ex-convict Martin Shkreli said in a post on X that Bankman-Fried had already made at least one subtle touch up to his look: he cut his hair.

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Bankman-Fried agreed to pay Tom Brady $55M for 20 minutes of his time—and Gisele $20M

Although Bankman-Fried reportedly wasn’t a big sports fan, being partial instead to video games like League of Legends, he agreed to eight-figure partnerships with Tom Brady and his ex-wife Gisele Bündchen to serve as “ambassadors” for FTX. Brady, in particular, appeared in TikTok videos, at events, and in commercials promoting Bankman-Fried and the company. In 2021, the former quarterback also signed an endorsement deal that promised him $30 million almost entirely in FTX stock, according to the New York Times.

In reality, Bankman-Fried’s relationship with Brady and Bündchen began when SBF reportedly agreed to pay Brady $55 million and Bündchen nearly $20 million for 20 hours of their time yearly over three years, according to a Washington Post article by Michael Lewis, whose book on FTX, Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon, will be released Tuesday. For context, in one of his last seasons in the NFL, Brady earned about $30 million for his on-field performance with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to Forbes.

What started as a very comfortable arrangement for Brady blossomed into a friendship, according to a 60 Minutes interview with Lewis that aired on Sunday. Lewis said Brady “adored” SBF. 

“I think Tom Brady thought he was just a really interesting person. I think he liked to hear what he had to say,” Lewis said.

And although SBF’s interests differed wildly from those of the seven-time Super Bowl winning quarterback, he got along well with Brady, Lewis added.

“He really liked Tom Brady. And Sam wasn’t, like, a big sports person, so it was funny to watch that interaction,” Lewis told 60 Minutes. “It was like, ‘These two people actually get along.’ It’s like the class nerd and the quarterback.”

FTX’s collapse was a major blow to Brady financially, as the company shares he was promised were suddenly worth nothing, but he was personally affected as well, according to Lewis.

“Brady was, I think, crushed,” Lewis told 60 Minutes host Jon Wertheim. “And I think as time has gone by, and he’s ceased to get a really good explanation about what’s happened—I think he’s just like, ‘He tricked me. I’m angry. I don’t wanna have anything to do with it anymore.’”

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Cofounder of bankrupt crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital arrested trying to flee Singapore

Su Zhu, a cofounder of the bankrupt crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, was apprehended by authorities at Singapore Changi Airport as he tried to flee the country on Friday, according to the company’s joint liquidators. 

He reportedly was arrested in accordance with a committal order granted to the liquidators. Zhu allegedly refused to comply with a court order that compelled him to cooperate with their investigation and account for his activities at 3AC, according to a statement from the the liquidators.

Zhu is set to be imprisoned for four months, according to the statement, and during that time the liquidators said they’ll try to work with him to help recover 3AC assets still owed to creditors.

A similar court order also was granted in Singapore for the arrest of Zhu’s 3AC cofounder, Kyle Davies.

The $4 billion hedge fund filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy in June 2022 following the collapse of Terraform Labs’ TerraUSD stablecoin and sister cryptocurrency Luna, which the firm had invested in and helped support.

The company’s liquidators at the consulting and advisory firm Teneo have sought to recover $3.3 billion for the company’s creditors since the bankruptcy was announced last year. The liquidators are seeking $1.3 billion personally from Zhu and Davies, Bloomberg reported, based on debts that the cofounders reportedly racked up for the company in the months leading up to the bankruptcy. 

Earlier this month, Singapore’s financial regulator, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, banned Zhu and Davies from participating in the country’s regulated financial industry for nine years. That ban includes serving as a director, a majority shareholder, or in the management of any capital market services firm, according to Coindesk. The pair had previously been working on a new venture called OPNX, a crypto exchange meant to allow customers to trade bankruptcy claims.

Since their hedge fund collapsed, Zhu and Davies have shown little remorse for their actions and, at least for a time, were enjoying the slow life in Bali, according to a June profile by the New York Times.

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Aptos Labs launches immersive digital experience for ‘The Exorcist: Believer’ with Universal Pictures

Web3 company Aptos Labs is partnering with Universal Pictures to create a digital experience for the upcoming release of The Exorcist: Believer.

The film, set to debut on Oct. 6, will include an opportunity for horror fans to immerse themselves in a digital fan experience that’s powered by the Aptos blockchain.

The film follows Victor Fielding, played by Leslie Odom Jr., who gets caught up in a supernatural affair after his daughter, Angela, played by Lidya Jewett, and her friend, Katherine, played by Olivia O’Neill, disappear into the woods and return three days later with no memory of what happened.

Those who buy a ticket through Fandango will receive a redemption code for the digital experience where they can collect exclusive artwork, see behind-the-scenes footage, and use an Exorcist-themed AR filter. Users can also enter to win a variety of prizes.

“Our ultimate goal with Web3 is to craft interconnected digital experiences across all our platforms,” Greg Reed, Universal Pictures’ vice president of technology, said in a statement.

Aptos Labs was founded in 2021 by Mo Shaikh and Avery Ching, who previously worked at Meta’s crypto payments network Diem, formerly “Libra.” The Aptos blockchain was built with a Meta-designed programming language called Move that’s meant to enhance security and help programmers avoid common errors.

The partnership with Universal is Aptos Labs’ second foray into Hollywood. Earlier this year, the company teamed up with NBCUniversal for the release of the Nicolas Cage Dracula film Renfield. Aptos helped create an online game where users had to find insects in a series of photos based on scenes from the movie.

“We have the benefit of working with exceptional partners to build on top of Aptos, the only enterprise-grade layer1 blockchain that can handle a global volume of immersion and gore required to wow millions of Exorcist: Believer fans,” Aptos Labs CEO and cofounder Mo Shaikh said in a statement.

Learn more about all things crypto with short, easy-to-read lesson cards. Click here for Fortune’s Crypto Crash Course.

A timeline of Sam Bankman-Fried, who could go down as one of history’s most notorious fraudsters

With the trial of disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried set to begin next week, “SBF” could join the ranks of notorious hucksters Charles Ponzi and Bernie Madoff if convicted. But neither Ponzi nor Madoff ever operated on such a massive scale.

The crypto exchange Bankman-Fried cofounded in 2019 was worth a whopping $32 billion at its peak and his personal net worth was once an estimated $16 billion—before it all came crashing down. Those stratospheric figures make his impending trial one of the most closely watched in the history of financial crime. (He still maintains he is innocent.)

But how did this once-lauded wunderkind from a prominent background find himself before a jury of his peers? It all began at Stanford.

How it started

1992: Sam Bankman-Fried is born in Santa Clara County, Calif., on the campus of Stanford University. Parents Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried were both professors at Stanford Law School. His father, Bankman, is a clinical psychologist and a lawyer specializing in tax law. His mother, Fried, focused on the intersection of law, economics, and philosophy, according to her bio on the Stanford Law School website.

2010–2014: Bankman-Fried attends MIT, the Massachusetts institute of Technology, in 2010 after flipping a coin to decide between it and Cal Tech. He majored in physics in college and earned a minor in math. Despite his natural intelligence, SBF was less interested in his classes than he was in hanging out with his friends in the Epsilon Theta fraternity, which at one point included several future FTX employees including cofounder Gary Wang. SBF reportedly held all-night game sessions where he enjoyed solving puzzles with a time restraint.

2014: Shortly after graduating, SBF lands a job at the Wall Street quant firm Jane Street, where he had completed an internship. SBF was reportedly interested in the firm because of his friends in the effective altruism movement (which advocates for trying to help the most people in the most effective way). Several Jane Street employees later joined FTX, including the future CEO of SBF’s crypto trading firm Alameda Research, Caroline Ellison, and the future president of FTX US, Brett Harrison. The firm specialized in arbitrage, or taking advantage of subtle price discrepancies in the market, which would later become Alameda’s bread and butter.

2017: SBF approaches Wang to ask him to help create crypto trading firm Alameda Research while he’s working as a software engineer at Google. The company originally had $55 million under management that came from employees as well as loans from wealthy crypto investors, according to the New York Times.

2019: FTX is founded in part because of Alameda Research. While Alameda was still using its arbitrage strategies in the broader crypto markets, competition intensified and SBF saw FTX as a way to bring in revenue that could help fund Alameda’s trading. The exchange and founders moved from Hong Kong, where Alameda was based, to the Bahamas. The company soon created FTT, its own cryptocurrency that brought in revenue for FTX but that Alameda had a large stake in and major sway over. SBF and his employees, including Wang, lived in a compound of luxury apartments in Nassau called the Albany. A $40 million waterfront penthouse served as FTX’s base of operations. Employees lived and worked communally.

2022: FTX goes on an advertising spree. Its now-infamous Super Bowl commercial with Larry David aired in February, to kick off its sports involvement. In April, FTX signed a 19-year deal worth $135 million with Miami-Dade County to emblazon its name on the home arena of the Miami Heat. The company struck a deal with Major League Baseball in June for umpires to wear the firm’s logo on their uniforms. And in September, the company partnered with Formula 1 team Mercedes. 

How it’s going

Nov. 2, 2022: A report by CoinDesk reveals that FTX and Alameda Research are more intertwined than had been publicly disclosed. CoinDesk reported Alameda’s biggest asset was FTT, the cryptocurrency issued by its sister company, which raised concerns about its viability.

Nov. 6, 2022: In response to the CoinDesk report, Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao says he will unload all of his exchange’s FTT holdings, which amounted to $580 million. “We gave support before, but we won’t pretend to make love after divorce…” CZ wrote in a tweet at the time. 

Nov. 8, 2022: CZ and Binance sign a letter of intent to buy FTX, and SBF claims in a tweet that customer funds would be protected as part of the deal. The price of FTX’s FTT token quickly plunges 80%.

Nov. 9, 2022: The Wall Street Journal reports that Zhao and Binance have backed away from the deal to acquire FTX, with the company saying in a statement that “issues are beyond our control or ability to help.” The company was left with a $6 billion hole on its balance sheet. Before approaching Binance, SBF was reportedly turned down for more funding by Silicon Valley and Wall Street billionaires and was denied help by rival crypto exchanges such as Coinbase and OKX. Reuters reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission had been investigating FTX’s handling of customer funds for months.

Nov. 10, 2022: A Bahamian regulator freezes FTX’s assets, saying it’s aware certain assets may have been “mishandled, mismanaged, and/or transferred to Alameda Research.” California’s Department of Financial Protection and Innovation is the first to announce an investigation into FTX.

Nov. 11, 2022: FTX, Alameda, FTX US and other related entities file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Nov. 11 and SBF steps down as CEO. He’s replaced with John J. Ray III, an experienced restructuring lawyer who once oversaw the liquidation of failed energy company Enron. In a Twitter statement SBF expressed regret: “I’m really sorry, again, that we ended up here. Hopefully things can find a way to recover.”

Nov. 12, 2022: The Wall Street Journal reports that higher-ups at FTX and Alameda knew FTX had lent customer funds to the trading firm to help cover for bad investments. Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison reportedly says in a video meeting that she, as well as SBF and FTX executives Nishad Singh and Gary Wang, were aware of the decision to intermingle funds.

Nov. 16, 2022: Lawmakers call on SBF to testify before Congress. House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) says in a statement at the time that “The fall of FTX has posed tremendous harm to over one million users, many of whom were everyday people who invested their hard-earned savings into the FTX cryptocurrency exchange, only to watch it all disappear within a matter of seconds.” 

Nov. 30, 2022: Bankman-Fried speaks virtually at the New York Times’s DealBook Summit and claims some responsibility for the collapse of FTX. He maintains that he’d been truthful in his statements about FTX and that although his lawyers didn’t approve of him giving the interview, he had “…a duty to talk and to explain what happened.” He claimed that he never tried to commit fraud.  

Dec. 9, 2022: SBF said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that he would testify before the House Committee on Financial Services on Dec. 13, although he said, “…there is a limit to what I will be able to say, and I won’t be as helpful as I’d like.”

Dec. 12, 2022: On the day before SBF is set to testify before members of the House, he’s arrested in the Bahamas. The FTX cofounder is charged with counts that include wire fraud and conspiracy, according to an indictment from the U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York. On the same day, the SEC charges Bankman-Fried with defrauding investors in FTX Trading Ltd.

Dec. 21, 2023: SBF is extradited to the U.S. from the Bahamas, and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announces the guilty pleas of Ellison and Wang. 

Dec. 22, 2023: A New York judge grants SBF a $250 million bail, which he met in part thanks to his parents putting up their Palo Alto home as collateral.

Jan. 3, 2023: SBF pleads not guilty in a New York court. 

Feb. 14, 2023: The judge overseeing SBF’s case orders him to stop using a VPN (virtual private network) to obscure internet browsing after he reportedly used one to watch the Super Bowl.

Aug. 11, 2023: Bankman-Fried is sent to a jail in New York after a federal judge revokes his bail. The 31-year-old had been under house arrest at his parents’ home in Palo Alto but was accused by prosecutors of interfering with witnesses.

Aug. 22: 2023: Lawyers for SBF claim in court documents that the jail he is being held at, the overcrowded Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, isn’t accommodating his vegan diet or giving him access to his prescription of Adderall. “He’s literally now subsisting on bread and water, which are the only things he’s served that he can eat, and sometimes peanut butter,” said attorney Mark Cohen. 

Sept. 12, 2023: Bankman-Fried is denied early release before his trial, which is set for early October. The federal judge overseeing his case argues that SBF should remain in custody because he’s had more than seven months to prepare for it and has had “extensive access” to electronic materials relevant to his case.

Leaders in Buenos Aires want to improve citizens’ access to personal documents. They’re turning to blockchain and zero-knowledge proofs

Argentina’s capital city is leaning into Web3 with a new blockchain- and zero-knowledge proof-based system that promises citizens faster and more reliable access to their most important government documents.

Buenos Aires’ new service, QuarkID, was created in partnership with blockchain digital identity company Extrimian. Set to be released in October, QuarkID acts as a private decentralized wallet that will give users access to digital and verifiable versions of documents like certificates for birth, marriage, and divorce.

Before setting up a QuarkID account, each citizen must go through a KYC (know your customer) check just as they would to validate their identity with the city government. The service then utilizes Matter Labs’ zkSync Era Layer-2 protocol as a settlement layer to ensure each document a person claims in their wallet actually belongs to them through signed transactions on the blockchain that don’t include personal information. At no point is a personal document stored in a centralized database or on-chain, which makes such data impervious to hacks, according to Diego Fernández, the secretary of innovation for Buenos Aires’ city government.

“People will soon use the advantages of blockchain without knowing what they’re using. And that’s possible. That’s a way to evolve,” Fernández told Fortune.

Courtesy of Diego Fernández

The QuarkID platform was developed using open-source technology and international standards with the hope that future Buenos Aires city documents can be verified by other governments around the world. Fernández said keeping the technology open source also enables the private sector to build applications that could utilize QuarkID.

“If I need to go to the States, for example, and rent a car, I just pull out my driver’s license and my passport and I’m ready to go. If I need to do that in the online—in the digital—world, that’s much more complex,” he said.

In November, the city government plans to roll out other types of official documents on QuarkID, including proof of income and certificates of academic attendance, which are important documents used to claim government benefits.

Learn more about all things crypto with short, easy-to-read lesson cards. Click here for Fortune’s Crypto Crash Course.

Ben ‘BitBoy’ Armstrong posts bail after arrest for loitering at former business partner’s house

Ben “BitBoy” Armstrong was arrested after livestreaming himself attempting to confront a former business partner, the crypto investor and consultant Carlos Diaz, at the latter’s home. 

The influencer and crypto investor was released on bail Monday after being charged with “loitering/prowling” and “simple assault by placing another in fear,” according to CoinDesk, which cited records from the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Department in Georgia.

Armstrong paid a $2,600 bond and was released after eight hours in jail, according to a Tuesday post on X, formerly Twitter.

Armstrong was ousted from his company, BitBoy Crypto, in August, and has since tried and failed to reclaim the firm from its owner, the HIT Network, through an emergency injunction. Earlier this month, he posted a video owning up to mistakes he made that led to his ouster and said he would cooperate with the HIT Network. He also revealed that he had an affair, which chipped away at his image as a supposed family man.

The conflict boiled over into Monday’s livestream posted to X, where Armstrong can be seen ranting about Diaz stealing his Lamborghini among other allegations.

Armstrong is later captured in the livestream being arrested by police, whom he calmly greeted with a “How’s it going?” before they asked him repeatedly to stop walking toward them and to drop his phone and fanny pack. Armstrong said he wasn’t armed but that he had a weapon in the backseat of his car, and when the officers asked who else was with him, he hesitated before replying that the woman he had an affair with, Cassie, was in his car.

Crypto Twitter pounced on the incident, with some claiming his actions either were a sign of crypto’s rock bottom or the beginning of another bull run.

Ben Coin, Armstrong’s namesake crypto token, tumbled more than 20% on Tuesday following news of his arrest, according to CoinMarketCap.

Learn more about all things crypto with short, easy-to-read lesson cards. Click here for Fortune’s Crypto Crash Course.

Ethereum’s Shanghai update has been ‘rather disappointing,’ with transactions falling since update, says JPMorgan

Ethereum’s latest update hasn’t quite panned out as expected, according to JPMorgan Chase.

A team of analysts at the bank, led by managing director Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, said in a note late last week that although Ethereum’s Shanghai upgrade in April made important changes to the network, the update has in other ways shown to be lackluster.

“The Ethereum supply is shrinking and staking rose sharply (with the amount of ether staked up by 50% since the Shanghai upgrade),” the note said, adding that “the increase in network activity has been rather disappointing.”

The Shanghai update enabled users to withdraw staked Ether that was put up following last year’s much-ballyhooed Merge, which reduced the blockchain’s energy footprint by 99% by transitioning the network to proof of stake from the more energy intensive proof of work.

Since the Shanghai upgrade, daily transactions on Ethereum have fallen by 12%, while the number of daily active addresses and the total value locked on the network have dropped 20% and 8%, respectively, according to JPMorgan.

“While staking has jumped by 50% since the Shanghai upgrade, which helps to improve network security, the share of liquid staking protocols such as Lido remains uncomfortably high, raising questions about centralization,” the analysts wrote.

The next major update to Ethereum is the planned EIP-4844 upgrade, also known as “Protodanksharding,” which is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. It aims to allow Ethereum to process more data than it could previously.

The analysts wrote that they hoped this update would help turn the tide for activity on Ethereum, but “continued bearish crypto forces remain a headwind.”

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Web3 gaming company Proof of Play raises $33 million from a16z’s Chris Dixon and Greenoaks

Proof of Play got a stamp of approval and $33 million from a16z’s Chris Dixon and venture capital firm Greenoaks, the company announced Thursday.

The Web3 gaming firm was founded by veterans of traditional video game companies like Epic Games, Zynga, and Activision, and is looking to expand rapidly with games backed by blockchain technology.

The craze of “play-to-earn” games has fizzled since its peak in 2021, but Proof of Play CEO Amitt Mahajan said the company is guided by a different mission.

“I tell my team it’s not enough just to build cool technology, we actually need to build games that are fun,” Mahajan told Fortune

The funding will be used to hire more software engineers, he said, but also to develop new games to find its first hit.

Although the funding environment for crypto and blockchain-related startups is on the decline, Mahajan, who helped create and lead development of Zynga’s most popular title, Farmville, said Proof of Play was able to buck the trend because of the wealth of experience of its team.

In creating his own company, Mahajan said he wanted to make sure Proof of Play’s users avoided the fate of Farmville’s users, who lost everything when Zynga shut down the game at the end of 2020.

“All that player investment and creativity, and that universe building that the community of players built, just disappeared because the game creator decided that the game had to be shut down for whatever reason,” he said.

With the blockchain, games can now outlive their creators—or at least that’s the goal, Mahajan said. With all gaming assets and code on a blockchain, a game could technically exist as long as someone is willing to fund the “nodes” that power the chain used by that game.

The company’s first title, Pirate Nation, also launched Thursday in “free-to-play” mode, where users don’t need to buy anything to start playing, but there is still a waitlist, Mahajan said.

Pirate Nation is the first step, the CEO said, in creating a new class of “decentralized” games that could essentially last forever.

“Ultimately,” he said, “this is a return to the original intention of the internet.”

Learn more about all things crypto with short, easy-to-read lesson cards. Click here for Fortune’s Crypto Crash Course.

Coinbase’s top lawyer ‘optimistic’ battles with SEC will ‘help shape the landscape and bring clarity for all of us’

Coinbase is embroiled in two separate cases with the Securities and Exchange Commission, but you wouldn’t know it by the calm demeanor of the company’s chief legal officer.

The SEC issued a Wells Notice to the company in March, warning that it could potentially sue Coinbase, which then filed a lawsuit against the agency to try to force it to take a stand on whether it would set clear rules for the crypto industry. In June, the SEC followed through on its notice, suing Coinbase for allegedly operating as an unregistered securities exchange, broker, and clearing agency. The company has rejected this claim.

Yet, none of this appeared to bother Paul Grewal—not just Coinbase’s chief legal office but a former federal judge—who told Blockchain Association CEO Kristin Smith at Messari’s Mainnet conference on Wednesday that he was optimistic about both cases. In particular, he noted that the lawsuit Coinbase filed against the SEC has the chance to make a lasting impact on the industry.

“We’re optimistic that that’s also going to help shape the landscape and bring clarity for all of us that I think we all desperately need,” he said.

Grewal said Coinbase was encouraged that in the SEC’s case against the company the court agreed that whether the agency has jurisdiction over the crypto industry is relevant—and should be weighed accordingly. He also said the case exemplified the agency’s attitude toward the entire industry.

“The case against Coinbase is really a case against digital assets and crypto more generally,” Grewal said.

Additionally, Grewal noted that several court decisions in crypto-related cases, including those against Grayscale and Ripple, have yielded positive results already.

“You’re seeing judges, in courts all over this country, express a certain healthy skepticism—if I can put it that way—about the SEC’s approach to regulating this industry, about their legal theories, and frankly about the record that they have either assembled or failed to assemble in order to substantiate their claims to authority over this entire industry,” Grewal added.

Still, the SEC’s cases against Grayscale and Ripple aren’t finished. The agency has already said it plans to appeal the July decision in favor of Ripple, and the Grayscale ruling, which dealt with the firm’s rejected application to create a spot Bitcoin ETF, doesn’t force the SEC to accept Grayscale’s application but merely to review it again.

The SEC has until the first week of October to review and respond to Coinbase’s most recent motion in the case. Once Coinbase has a chance to respond again, the presiding judge will decide whether a full jury trial is required.

Learn more about all things crypto with short, easy-to-read lesson cards. Click here for Fortune’s Crypto Crash Course.

Hong Kong may be warming to crypto, but rules are rules: A crypto influencer and 5 others were just accused of ‘conspiracy’

As Hong Kong opens its arms to crypto, it’s also shutting down those it says aren’t obeying new regulations for the sector.

Hong Kong police on Monday arrested crypto influencer Joseph Lam and five others over an alleged “conspiracy to defraud” investors, according to the Wall Street Journal

Lam was a promoter of the crypto exchange JPEX, which was publicly admonished last week by the Hong Kong’s version of the SEC, the Securities and Futures Commission, or SFC. Lam said he has incurred large financial losses and is cooperating with the police.

The Hong Kong securities regulator had issued a warning about JPEX using influencers and social media to advertise to Hong Kong clients despite not having a license to operate in the city.

Similar to other now-bankrupt crypto companies in the U.S., such as Voyager Digital and Celsius, JPEX offered high yields—in this case, up to 21%—to customers.

“The SFC takes this opportunity to warn investors to be cautious about investment opportunities that seem too good to be true,” the agency wrote in its JPEX warning statement.

The leader of Hong Kong, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu, said at a press conference Monday that he was concerned over JPEX’s behavior and that it highlighted the need for proper crypto regulations.

“The licensing regime that has been introduced is exactly for that purpose—that is, to protect investors,” he said.

Although crypto trading is still officially banned in mainland China, Hong Kong has increasingly warmed to the industry. In June, the city launched a new licensing system and gave the green light to some crypto trading under the new plan. Hong Kong regulators have even gone so far as to encourage banks to add crypto exchanges as clients.

Learn more about all things crypto with short, easy-to-read lesson cards. Click here for Fortune’s Crypto Crash Course.

Key legal and risk executives leave Binance.US after CEO steps down

The same week Binance.US announced that CEO Brian Shroder is stepping down, the Wall Street Journal reports that the firm’s head of legal, Krishna Juvvadi, and chief risk officer Sidney Majalya are also set to leave the exchange.

The departures come after Binance.US also laid off 100 employees, about a third of its workforce, earlier this week. Binance.US general counsel and chief legal officer Norman Reed has been appointed as interim CEO.

Founded in 2019, the U.S.-based exchange was meant to serve U.S. customers with a more limited set of crypto-investing options than available via Binance’s global platform. In the years since its launch, the company raised more than $200 million in a funding round that valued it at $4.5 billion, but it has also struggled with criticism, and legal action, from regulators based in part on its tightly knit relationship with Changpeng Zhao’s Binance.

The Securities and Exchange Commission in June sued both Binance and Binance.US over allegedly violating U.S. securities laws and misleading investors. The agency leveled 13 charges against Binance and its associated entities accusing it of, among other things, allowing some U.S.-based customers to illegally access the main Binance platform. 

The SEC also accused Binance and Zhao of commingling customer assets and of running Binance.US behind the scenes, despite the company’s constant claims that Binance.US was an independent company.

Learn more about all things crypto with short, easy-to-read lesson cards. Click here for Fortune’s Crypto Crash Course.

Bitcoin shakes off its slumber for a two week high as crypto stocks rally

Bitcoin may be turning a corner after a lull that just saw it fall below $25,000 for the first time in three months.

The cryptocurrency hit a two-week high of about $26,700 on Thursday before paring back gains. The coin was trading up about 1%, at $26,500, on Thursday afternoon. The second-most-popular cryptocurrency, Ethereum, was up nearly 2% to $1,600.

Bitcoin’s surge comes after investor uneasiness pushed the coin’s price below the $25,000 level earlier this week. Fears that a major crypto selloff from the FTX bankruptcy estate could depress prices pushed Bitcoin to multi-month lows. Those fears now appear to be subsiding, despite FTX receiving court approval to begin offloading its $3.4 billion crypto portfolio on Wednesday.

Crypto-related stocks also rallied on Thursday, with Bitcoin mining companies Riot Platforms and Marathon Digital notching intraday gains of 7% and 2%, respectively. U.S-based crypto exchange Coinbase also jumped just over 3%, while Bitcoin-holding Microstrategy advanced 2.6%.

The Thursday rally stands in stark contrast to a history of monthly setbacks in September for both stocks and Bitcoin. Since 2013, the cryptocurrency has only twice recorded positive monthly returns in September. Bitcoin is still down from the $30,000 level where it held mostly steady for about two months earlier this year.

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Binance.US CEO departs and 100 employees are laid off at amid clashes with regulators

Binance.US is looking for a new CEO—again.

The crypto exchange for U.S. customers said on Tuesday it would reduce headcount by about one-third, cutting 100 jobs. CEO Brian Shroder is also set to depart, leaving the company to replace its CEO for the third time since it was founded in 2019.

The first CEO, Catherine Coley, became the first woman to head a major crypto exchange when she took the helm at launch. By 2021, Coley was forced out and replaced with Brian Brooks, who as former acting comptroller of the currency was once in charge of regulating U.S. banks. 

Brooks departed just months into the job amid disagreements with Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, according to Intelligencer. Brooks had a plan to help Binance.US ease regulators’ concerns about the company, which included raising a new round of capital and adding American board members at Binance. He also wanted to move Binance’s technology to the U.S. from abroad. The transfer of certain trading processes and features to U.S. servers reportedly was underway when CZ scrapped the plan.

Although Binance.US was set up as an independent firm to serve U.S. customers, for years the company has faced accusations by regulators and legislators that it was more intertwined with parent company Binance than it revealed.

Shroder ascended to the CEO position a month after Brooks’ departure and led the company through a $200 million funding round last year that valued Binance.US at $4.5 billion. He also led the company through some of its toughest regulatory challenges, including lawsuits from the U.S. government.

Now, the company is without a leader as it faces a lawsuit the SEC filed in June. The regulator accused Binance and Binance.US of evading laws meant to protect American investors by sending billions of dollars of customer funds to a company controlled by Zhao. The complaint also alleges Binance allowed some U.S. customers to illegally access its main platform.

After the SEC filed its complaint in June, Binance.US avoided a full asset freeze requested by the regulator but said that its banking partners had cut it off, causing it to halt customer trading with U.S. dollars on its platform

Binance has until Sept. 21 to formally respond to the SEC’s allegations. The company did not immediately respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

Learn more about all things crypto with short, easy-to-read lesson cards. Click here for Fortune’s Crypto Crash Course.

Bitcoin drops below $25K before bouncing back after concern over impending FTX crypto sale

Bitcoin is now rising after dropping below $25,000 on Monday, with many investors gearing up for the FTX estate to sell billions of dollars in crypto assets back into the market.

The most popular cryptocurrency, after falling to $24,900, rebounded and was up nearly 1.6%, to about $26,100, on Tuesday morning. The second-most popular cryptocurrency, Ethereum, was up less than 1% to about $1,600.

Behind the decline was investor anxiety over potential actions from the FTX bankruptcy estate, which is responsible for more than $3.4 billion in crypto. The estate is keen to unload it to recover as much as possible for the firm’s creditors. Last month, under its new CEO, the bankruptcy expert John J. Ray III, the company asked permission of the court overseeing its case to hire Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital Capital Management to help it start selling, staking, and hedging crypto assets.

Under the plan FTX submitted to its bankruptcy court, the company would be allowed to sell up to $100 million in tokens per week, a figure that could increase to $200 million for specific tokens. The plan must still be approved by the bankruptcy court.

The company owned an estimated $268 million in Bitcoin as of January, according to Decrypt, and offloading too quickly could depress prices. Likely, though, more pain would be inflicted on smaller cryptocurrencies like Solana and Polygon, of which it owns an estimated $685 million and $39 million, respectively, that could potentially be unloaded.

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$690,000 hack of Vitalik Buterin’s X account includes theft of $244,000 CryptoPunk NFT

A hacker took control of Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin’s X (formerly Twitter) account over the weekend and promptly stole hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of high-profile NFTs.

In a now-deleted post, Buterin’s account advertised what appeared to be a link to a free NFT celebrating “Proto-Danksharding,” in partnership with Consensys, the company behind the MetaMask crypto wallet. Instead, when users clicked on the link and connected their wallets, the hacker drained their assets. In total, the exploit netted about $690,000 for the attacker, according to crypto sleuth @ZachXBT.

Although Buterin’s father quickly posted on X that his son’s account had been hacked, the exploiter still managed to steal several expensive NFTs, including CryptoPunk #3983, which was last valued at 153.62 Ether, or nearly $244,000, as of Monday.

The attack was quickly highlighted as yet another example of how crypto enthusiasts are at risk of being hacked. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao also seized on the moment to criticize X for what he called lax security standards. He noted that his X account has been locked several times when hackers attempted to crack his password.

“Twitter’s account security is not designed as financial platforms. It needs quite a bit more features: 2FA, login id should be different from handle or email, etc,” Zhao wrote on Sunday.

The attack on Buterin’s X account is the latest in a long list of social media hacks aimed at capturing crypto and NFTs. These types of hacks often target celebrities and public figures to get the biggest possible reach, enabling theft from even greater numbers of unsuspecting social media users.

In June, a hacker who took over the X accounts of people like Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Kim Kardashian, Joe Biden, Kanye West, and Warren Buffet for a crypto scam was sentenced to five years in prison and three years of supervised release. According to blockchain data platform Chainalysis, crypto scammers had stolen $1 billion in 2023 as of June, which comes after stealing some $5.9 billion in 2022.

Learn more about all things crypto with short, easy-to-read lesson cards. Click here for Fortune’s Crypto Crash Course.

JPMorgan could launch blockchain-based deposit token ‘relatively quickly’ after regulator approval

JPMorgan Chase, the biggest U.S. bank by assets, may soon create a blockchain-based “deposit token” for customers to use—as long as regulators are on board.

Deposit tokens act as a digital version of a person’s deposits in a bank. The bank is still in early stages of exploring the concept, according to Bloomberg, but the blockchain technology backing a deposit token could allow for instantaneous payment settlements and cheaper transactions. 

Most of the infrastructure to run the token is already in place, and the company may launch it in less than a year—after it’s approved—Bloomberg reported, citing a confidential source.

“Should that appetite develop, our blockchain infrastructure would be able to support the launch of deposit tokens relatively quickly,” a JPMorgan spokesperson told Bloomberg.

Despite CEO Jamie Dimon’s disdain for crypto, the company has been among the leaders in experimenting with blockchain and metaverse technology when it comes to traditional financial firms. 

The bank created the blockchain-based “JPM Coin” in 2019 to allow some corporate clients to move euros and dollars internally. The coin has been used for some $300 billion worth of transactions, according to the bank, although that pales in comparison to the $10 trillion in transactions it processes daily, according to Bloomberg.

The new deposit token would likely be available in dollars at first, and would differ from “JPM Coin” because customers could use it to transfer funds between banks and for the settlement of tokenized securities—financial vehicles recorded on the blockchain.

Although it is similar, the JPM deposit token would not serve to replace stablecoins like Tether and USDC, which are designed to maintain their peg to the U.S. dollar. The token would also likely be limited to the traditional financial system.

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Former OpenSea employee withdraws bail request and will start serving his 3 month prison sentence for NFT ‘insider trading’

An ex-OpenSea product manager convicted on fraud and money laundering charges last month will report to prison as he waits for his appeal to be processed.

Nate Chastain, 33, withdrew his request for bail in a Wednesday letter to the federal judge overseeing his case. He will surrender before Nov. 2 and start serving a three-month sentence.

Chastain was sentenced last month in what the Justice Department describes as the first “digital asset insider trading scheme.” Chastain, a former employee at OpenSea, one of the largest NFT marketplaces, used non-public information about which non-fungible tokens were to appear on the website’s homepage to personally pocket more than $50,000. As part of his sentence, Chastain was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine and forfeit 15.98 in Ethereum tokens, worth just under $26,000 as of Thursday.

Chastain faced up to 20 years in prison for each of the two counts he faced, but prosecutors asked for something in line with the federal sentencing guidelines of between 21 months and 27 months to send a message to future fraudsters. In the end, he received a much shorter sentence.

The ex-OpenSea employee’s case was publicly labeled insider trading, but prosecutors more broadly pursued the charge of wire fraud. Chastain’s lawyers argued unsuccessfully that the case should be dismissed because traditionally insider trading cases deal with securities. The Justice Department later took a similar approach against an ex-Coinbase employee who was sentenced to two years in prison for tipping off his brother and a friend about which coins were soon to be listed on the crypto exchange.

At his sentencing last month, Chastain said he regretted orchestrating the scheme.

“I am here today because two years ago I let down the community I was serving and lost sight of the person I aspired to be,” he said at the hearing. “I’m sorry for putting my colleagues and friends at OpenSea through this ordeal.”

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September is often a bad month for Bitcoin. And this year, even with the optimism around spot ETFs, could be among the worst

September has never been a great month for Bitcoin, and, according to analysts, this year could be worse than usual.

Bitcoin has only recorded positive monthly returns in September twice since 2013. Otherwise, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency has consistently taken modest drawdowns, according to crypto data firm CoinGlass. A year ago, the coin fell 3% in September, and while it typically falls by single digits during the month, it fell as much as 19% in 2014, a year in which the coin lost half its value.

This year, some analysts are predicting a monthly decline of up to 10%, which as of Wednesday, would put Bitcoin around the $23,000 range. The top crypto had been trading consistently at around $30,000 between June and mid-August before falling back to Earth. Since then, barring a few spikes, its floated between $25,000 and $26,000. That said, it’s still up 55% year-to-date, but far from its 2021 high of more than $68,000.

On Crypto Twitter (now X), pseudonymous crypto analyst Rekt Capital said in a Tuesday tweet that they expected a decline of 7% to 10% based on historical data. Benjamin Cowen, another crypto analyst and influencer, said 10% is more likely.

Grayscale’s victory over the Securities and Exchange Commission last week sent Bitcoin up as much as 8%, to $28,000, but in just a few days those gains were erased

Ric Edelman, the founder of the Digital Assets Council of Financial Professionals, said investor eagerness following the Grayscale decision was misplaced. “This was a euphoric response from those who naively believed that the ruling would instantly translate into a spot bitcoin ETF becoming available for purchase,” he told Fortune.

Although the court vacated the SEC’s decision to deny Grayscale’s proposal to create a spot Bitcoin ETF, the agency also isn’t being forced to approve one immediately. But that could happen in October.

In the wake of the Grayscale decision, some analysts have said the odds of the SEC eventually approving a spot Bitcoin ETF have improved. Valkyrie Investments chief investment officer Steven McClurg said in a TV interview with Bloomberg News on Tuesday he thinks the odds of his firm’s application being approved in October are greater than 50%. Still, the SEC has already delayed its final decision on several spot Bitcoin ETF applications, including those from Valkyrie and BlackRock, until mid-October.

Edelman pointed out that the agency has several other options that don’t include approving a spot Bitcoin ETF.

“The SEC could instead appeal the court’s decision, demand that Grayscale refile its application, delay all pending spot bitcoin ETF applications for 240 days each, or even rescind its prior approval of bitcoin futures ETFs (which would seemingly satisfy the court, which objected to the ETFs being treated differently),” Edelman added via email. “Any of these actions would send bitcoiners into despair, and likely cause Bitcoin prices to fall 20% or more.”

Still, some analysts, including Vetle Lunde, a senior analyst at digital assets brokerage K33 Research, believe now is the time to buy. In a Tuesday note, Lunde said Bitcoin should not be trading at a three-month low, given that the last quarter brought about several positive developments—BlackRock’s spot Bitcoin ETF application and Grayscale’s court victory among them.

“The last three months have greatly enhanced the odds of an ETF approval,” Lunde wrote, “yet prices are far from reflecting this.”

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After a boost from Grayscale court decision, Bitcoin erases all gains

Bitcoin, which jumped following Grayscale’s court victory over the Securities and Exchange Commission that many believe will lead to a flurry of Bitcoin spot ETFs entering the market, has since sputtered, erasing all gains.

Following the decision on Tuesday, in which a federal court ruled that the agency unreasonably denied Grayscale’s application to launch a spot Bitcoin ETF, the top cryptocurrency jumped as much as 8%, to $28,000, in just a few hours. It’s been all downhill since.

On Thursday, the SEC delayed seven applications to create a spot Bitcoin ETF, including from the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock. The agency has until mid-October to make a decision on whether to approve spot Bitcoin ETF applications from BlackRock and other TradFi firms like Fidelity and VanEck.

In roughly a day, the SEC’s latest decision has erased all gains since Tuesday, with Bitcoin tumbling from about $27,400 to $25,700, where it had been prior to the ruling. Bitcoin was trading near $25,900 on Friday morning.

The decline comes even as some analysts predicted that the odds of the SEC approving a spot Bitcoin ETF by the end of the year had increased following the court’s decision. Bloomberg senior ETF analyst Eric Balchunas wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter) that he believed the odds had risen to 75%.

Many investors had hoped Grayscale’s victory would lead to the SEC rapidly approve a spot Bitcoin investment product, which it has still not done, at least as its lawyers stated in court, out of fear of market manipulation. Some believe that the entry of an ETF that actually holds Bitcoin, instead of relying on derivatives that track its price, has the potential to bring an influx of investors and capital into the crypto market. For now, they’ll have to continue to wait and see.

Learn more about all things crypto with short, easy-to-read lesson cards. Click here for Fortune’s Crypto Crash Course.

Grayscale CEO Michael Sonnenshein hails spot Bitcoin ETF decision as ‘huge win’ for crypto and investors

After Grayscale’s landmark court victory over the SEC, CEO Michael Sonnenshein took a victory lap.

“Huge win for Grayscale, huge win for our investors—and really the crypto and investment community as a whole,” he said Wednesday morning in a TV interview with Bloomberg News.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit sided with Grayscale in its more-than-year-long case with the Securities and Exchange Commission in which it claimed that the federal agency had unreasonably denied its request to create a spot Bitcoin ETF. The court found that the SEC could not reasonably explain why it denied Grayscale’s request to convert its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust digital asset investment product into a spot Bitcoin ETF after already approving Bitcoin futures products.

Crypto advocates celebrated the ruling as a rare bright spot amid the lingering bear market. News of the decision fueled a 6% jump in the price of Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, on Tuesday. It was trading at around $27,000 on Wednesday afternoon.

Sonnenshein said in the interview that the court’s decision vacated the SEC’s denial of its GBTC application to create a spot Bitcoin ETF. He pointed out that the SEC has 45 days to request a rehearing, but following that period there will be a final mandate from the court.

Despite increased competition from BlackRock and Fidelity over spot Bitcoin ETFs, Sonnenshein said he didn’t see a need for a surveillance-sharing agreement when it comes to GBTC—an approach considered by peers—although a court ultimately could require one.

“The court agreed with us,” Sonnenshein continued, “that the arguments we’ve been putting forward all along throughout this process are such that the SEC already has the tools it needs to approve spot Bitcoin products like GBTC.”

Sonnenshein added that Grayscale will lower fees for GBTC once it’s converted to an ETF, which he said the company is working with the SEC to accomplish “expeditiously.” GBTC charges a fee of 2%, much higher than the average fee of 0.54% across other ETFs, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

Following the landmark decision on Tuesday, Eric Balchunas, a senior ETF analyst for Bloomberg, wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter) that he and fellow Bloomberg analyst James Seyfartt believed the odds of the SEC approving a spot Bitcoin ETF by the end of the year had risen to 75%—and to 95% by the end of 2024.

The marketplace entry of a spot Bitcoin ETF, which allows investors to put money into the cryptocurrency directly without owning it, has the potential to supercharge crypto markets with billions of dollars in liquidity. But that’s also led to some concerns over whether TradFi giants might use their outsize influence to push for changes in the crypto space.

Learn more about all things crypto with short, easy-to-read lesson cards. Click here for Fortune’s Crypto Crash Course.

Future of Finance: BitGo CEO Mike Belshe on the company’s recent funding round and why crypto is an alternative to “bad money”

Before venturing into crypto, BitGo CEO Mike Belshe helped revolutionize technology with his work at Netscape and later at Google, where he worked on the Chrome team and later built HTTP 2.0, a major rework of the internet.

As CEO of BitGo, Belshe is now trying to help revolutionize finance through crypto. Fortune caught up with him to learn more about his company’s recent $100 million raise, the changes in the industry over his career, and why having stable money is a human right.

(This interview has been edited for length and clarity.)

What are some of the biggest impacts you’ve made over your career, in both tech and in crypto?

In starting your career, you don’t always know which direction to go in. But hopefully you gravitate towards projects that have big impacts. Early on, I was fortunate enough to join Netscape before anybody had heard of Netscape. And, obviously, that ushered in an era of change in the internet like we’d never never seen before. Growing in my career, I did a number of startups, created one that did email search before people thought about email search as a thing. I sold that to Microsoft, so hopefully, that was worthwhile. And then I was lucky enough to join the Chrome team, kicking back into the browser space, where we saw that Internet Explorer was the de facto standard for browsers, and nobody liked it.

We just wanted to have web applications be first-class alongside their desktop counterparts, and the incumbents in the space were not necessarily interested in making that happen. Of course, I’m talking about Microsoft and Apple. So we wanted to come up with a standards-based browser that really pushed. Nobody on the early Chrome team—I was one of the first 10 guys there—nobody thought that Chrome would be as successful as it turned out to be. And of course, today, it’s at 90% market share. We, at Google, were probably one or two companies on the planet that could have pioneered a better internet protocol. We hadn’t seen change for the HTTP protocol for 15 years. We hadn’t seen much change to the transport layer for 30 years, and we started figuring out how to do that. So I became the lead author of HTTP 2.0. I led a team to make that happen inside of Google, and I was really lucky to be able to see that through.

Turning our sights to the future, maybe where I am today, we are working on finance. Software, as Marc Andreessen said back in the early ’90s, mid ’90s, has a tendency to just eat the world. What that means is that when software gets into a particular field—and it doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about browsers and information technology, or whether you’re talking about supply-chain management, or whether you’re talking about autonomous driving—software just has a tendency to turn industries upside down. With the advent of the blockchain, we’re finally seeing that software is starting to eat into financial services, which is pretty exciting.

Right now, as we speak, the price of Bitcoin in Argentina is the highest it’s ever been. There’s so much demand for it because their main currency is imploding—it’s not the first time that Argentina has seen this movie. It’s happened three times over now. Maybe one last thing, just to really frame the importance of finance: It’s been one of the last industries to really be breached by software. But it’s clearly the most important. You’re working right now, I’m working right now, and we are spending our days in the pursuit of money. It’s important to us, for our families, for our housing, for our food. When you have bad money, which most of the world has, you can lose your life savings due to nothing, no fault of your own. So software is coming to change all of that. I’ve been doing this for 10 years now. I think it’s going to take a little bit longer. But, hopefully, when you ask me at the end of my career, maybe in another 10 years or so, we’ll be able to say “Yeah, that was worth spending time on.”

Could you talk about BitGo’s recent $100 million raise? How will you use the money, and what does it say about the business that you’re still able to raise significant capital in this current market?

We’re pretty excited about it. It’s a difficult time to raise, in all of the markets, there’s just not a lot of liquidity available right now. I think it speaks huge volumes to the status of BitGo as a brand, as a key foundational part of the digital asset landscape today, and then, hopefully, also to the fact that there’s so much potential out there for the future. Investors are excited about not just where we are, but of course, where we’re going to go.

We recently launched the BitGo Go Network, which is really the first big attempt by anyone in the market to try to solve market structure. You can try to mandate it, I suppose, and have regulators come in and say it has to exist, but so far, none of those have been able to work. But this is really the first true attempt to start to separate a way. You’ve got trading and you’ve got custody—very different skill sets, very different risk profiles—it’s very important to have checks and balances between these two different parties so we can have strong markets and that everybody else can invest without having to worry about someone taking their money.

What do you think has changed the most about crypto in the decade you’ve been in the industry?

We’re seeing innovation happen, and we’re seeing some of the unsolved problems of legislators and regulators be unearthed. So back in 2012, 2013, when we were building the first multi-sig capabilities for safely securing Bitcoin, this idea that money can be held not by a single person but by multiple people was brand new. You never had this idea to deposit at both Wells Fargo and Bank of America, but with multi-sig you can do that. Our laws didn’t address some of those basic things. Since then, there’s been a ton of innovation. We went through 2017, which is this ICO boom. Suddenly, people are like, “Is this a new way to raise money?” No, it’s not. We had to go through some sorting out there. But the idea that we can create subtokens that can be used for all different purposes and start to set the rules for those inside of smart contracts, that’s an innovation and an evolution that’s happened. Obviously, there’s a ton of use cases that are being pursued, as we go on—blockchain scalability, just fundamentals of the technology, how do we scale this up to billions of humans, trillions of transactions, there’s been a lot of progress there. You can see across the different competing blockchains, a number of different approaches. The advent of stablecoins has come along, the idea that, “Hey, maybe we can have a digital representation of just our regular currency, our dollars, and use that programmatically in ways that you’ve never been able to use money before.”

The industry is changing tremendously. I think, in terms of reconciling that with what I said about legislators and regulators, the legislators and regulators have new problems surfacing that they’ve known about for a long time but never had to tackle before. Specifically, we are now in a global economy, with a global financial system, whether we like it or not, and yet we’ve been regulated in very regional ways. The U.S. has got its rules. In Europe, you’ve got each country having its rules, but then, of course, its overlying E.U. rules. You’ve got China’s rules. All of these have been kind of local fiefdoms, and all of a sudden digital money breaks through all of the borders between our countries, and riding on top of the internet which connects all people. These are challenges that are yet unsolved.

Generally, how are you feeling about regulations for crypto in the U.S.?

Wall Street has been the economic powerhouse around the globe for decades. Part of that is because we have good, safe markets that you can invest in. Not only can Americans invest in them, but foreigners can also participate. Thanks to the fact that we have a democracy, there’s a level of trust. That’s the good news.

We now have a new asset class, and, frankly, the unsolved problems that I mentioned, from a global scale, the regulators don’t know how to solve them. Not only that, a lot of the people that are in power today were not around when the rules were made. They may not have a very strong grasp as to what makes good money, as to what investor protections they should be caring about, and how to prioritize the many different investor protections that they’ve put in place. A lot of things that we hear about the SEC are disclosures. I strongly believe that if you’re selling an investment security that you should disclose and be open and transparent. But if I had to prioritize perfect disclosures versus somebody being able to just come in and rug-pull, take the money out from underneath everybody, I would prioritize that: Solve the rug-pull problem first. I’m not saying that the disclosures aren’t important. They’re very important. But you got to be able to prioritize these things, and I think our existing regulators are struggling to figure out how to build the foundation first.

Making sure you can prevent insider trading is a big deal. There are so many investor protections that the U.S. market has, it becomes pretty complex for any single person to solve. The legislators and regulators look at this from the top without having a full understanding. The net summary is it’s going to take a while to untangle this and really sort it out. The risk, I think, for the U.S. is if we try to apply too quickly the rules that were built for yesterday to today’s markets, that somebody else around the globe is going to build a new set of trading and market systems, which take advantage of what’s now possible with the technology. So, anyway, it’s going to take a while to sort out, but in the end, people want digital assets.

What would you see as being a key part of a revival in crypto markets? Is there anything that needs to be done at all?

We’re still working on making it easier to use, but let’s make sure we don’t have the problem misstated. What we have right now is a macro downturn. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. Everybody’s affected by the current financial health of the United States. We are concerned about the inflation that was caused by the money printing and the monetary policy of the Fed, which was employed during the COVID period. That affects everything. As a result, crypto assets are also down now.

In the early stages of a technology or an asset class, in this case, I would expect higher volatility in that new asset class simply because it’s not big enough. It’s not plumbed into enough markets. The market efficiencies that you see in other markets haven’t fully been built yet. It is hard to use. Regulations are unclear. People are still trying to figure out how it’s going to work. So it’s going to see higher highs, and it’s going to see lower lows. I think this is just a general market problem. And I think the U.S. is going to have to solve its monetary policy issues—and nobody knows how to solve those yet—in order to help make the overall markets better.

It feels like from what you’ve said there’s more time needed for some of these use cases for crypto to reach its full potential. Some will point out that crypto has been around for a decade and had plenty of time to develop a killer use case. What would you say to those critics?

The traditional financial markets have been evolving for 80 years now, 90 almost, and they’re still evolving. Major new regulation happens every decade or so. Dodd Frank is, what, 15, 20 years old, somewhere in that range? We’re constantly tweaking the markets and the regulations in order to try to make it better. Crypto has only had a few years, but here’s the main thing, the simple statement: Bitcoin, since its inception in 2009, has had the longest-standing unchanged monetary policy in all of humankind. That is, there has never been an economy, a market under human control, which has been able to keep a consistent monetary policy for as long as Bitcoin already has. I mean, that’s an amazing accomplishment. I don’t see how people can see it for anything else. Now, changing and upending 100 years of markets, solving the global financial problem which has never, ever been solved before, I mean, these are big deals, and so I would expect them to take a long time. I think we will be continuing to evolve forever, but I think it’s absolutely unquestionable that digital assets are going to carry a huge part of all future markets.

What do you see as the future of finance?

I like to bring this back to something that most Americans don’t think about, because we have a pretty stable financial system. I got lots to complain about in the U.S., but we’re probably better off than most other parts of the world. But I think the future of finance is actually one which provides better human rights than anything we’ve seen before. And that is, people all across the planet are trying to make their lives better, make their family’s lives better. They want to have an education. They want to live a reasonably healthy life. They want to have a roof over their heads, etc. When you’ve got monetary systems that collapse, whether it’s Argentina, Turkey, Venezuela, Nigeria—go around the globe—you’ll see lots of these have happened. These are really an erosion of human rights. It causes massive disruptions for the people that are affected, and we can fix this. We can fix this with a global financial system that has transparency and immutable rules at its core, and, frankly, needs to take some of the power away from some of the humans that otherwise will mismanage it. The future of finance is good. I think we’re going to see a much better human quality of life if we keep going down this track.

Digital Currency Group could pay back nearly all money owed to Genesis customers if new agreement approved

Digital Currency Group, the parent company of bankrupt crypto lender Genesis, reached an agreement to pay out up to 90% of the amount owed to Genesis customers with the help of new loans.

In a Tuesday court filing, lawyers for DCG wrote that the company has reached an agreement in principle with Genesis Global Holdco and the committee representing unsecured creditors (mostly customers) in the bankruptcy proceedings to repay Genesis’ $630 million in unsecured loans along with a $1.1 billion unsecured promissory note due in 2032, as well as certain other potential claims. The agreement could result in Genesis customers recouping 70% to 90% of what they are owed in U.S. dollars.

To repay Genesis’ debts, DCG said it would take on two new loans, a $328.8 first-lien facility with a two-year maturity and an $830 million second-lien facility with a seven-year maturity. These loans are secured by collateral put up by DCG, which also intends to pay multiple installments of $275 million. The plan still has to be approved by the bankruptcy court before it’s implemented.

“We look forward to executing on this important milestone and for Genesis to begin its distributions to creditors,” DCG wrote in a statement.

Genesis first halted withdrawals in November following the collapse of crypto exchange FTX. In January, it was reported that the company owed more than $3 billion to creditors, including crypto exchanges Coinbase, Kraken, and

The company filed for bankruptcy in late January, joining other crypto companies like Celsius and Voyager Digital that were hit hard by a downturn in crypto prices.

Genesis’ parent company, DCG, which also owns the media company CoinDesk and investment manager Grayscale, is also in a protracted conflict with Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss’ crypto exchange Gemini. In a public letter, Gemini cofounder Cameron Winklevoss claimed in January that DCG owed the company more than $1 billion, which included funds Genesis was supposed to pay out to Gemini customers through its now defunct Earn product.

On Tuesday, DCG got a win after a federal court ruled that the SEC unreasonably denied Grayscale’s proposal to launch a spot Bitcoin ETF.

Learn more about all things crypto with short, easy-to-read lesson cards. Click here for Fortune’s Crypto Crash Course. fees and transactions tumble just weeks after the crypto social app debuts on Coinbase’s Base

After rising rapidly in popularity and garnering support from high-profile people in and outside of crypto, the latest blockchain-based social media app,, has declined dramatically.

The app, which launched in closed beta earlier this month, recorded $1.68 million in fees last week (a gauge for the number of people using it), propelling it briefly into the top three decentralized applications by fees, just below the Ethereum network. Yet, on Monday, the app fell out of the top 10 applications by fees, with just $161,000 collected over 24 hours, according to DeFiLlama. The number of transactions on the network also fell Monday, to just over 25,000, compared with a peak of half-a-million a week ago, according to Dune. launched on Coinbase’s layer-2 Base blockchain and quickly gained traction with social media influencers and others with big followings. The app allows influencers to sell “keys” linked to their X (formerly Twitter) accounts that allow their fans to message them privately. 

Notable people like YouTuber Ricky “FaZe Banks” Bengston reportedly raked in tens of thousands of dollars from thanks to a revenue split where 5% went to creators and 5% to the platform every time a key changed hands. Fueled in part by a new feature that allows influencers to send photos via private message to their followers, the app also attracted a flurry of OnlyFans creators, who were charging many multiples more for one of a few keys on compared with a subscription to their content via OnlyFans.

The app previously had been criticized for lacking a privacy policy and for what some said was an unsustainable business model. Similar to predecessor BitClout, has fallen flat after an initial wave of excitement.

Lisandro Rodriguez, a payments risk manager at Coinbase, said in a thread on X (formerly Twitter) over the weekend that failed because after the initial hype of influencers promoting their keys, all that was left was a platform with lots of bots and a subpar user experience.

Learn more about all things crypto with short, easy-to-read lesson cards. Click here for Fortune’s Crypto Crash Course.

NFTs of Donald Trump skyrocket after he talks to Tucker Carlson and has his mugshot released

In a lagging market for NFTs, former President Donald Trump can still move inventory.

Sales of the presidential candidate’s Trump Digital Trading Cards, which portray him in different poses and costumes, have jumped nearly 500% following an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, and the release of the former president’s mugshot on Thursday.

At release, the NFTs offered buyers the chance to win experiences with Trump, including a phone call, dinner, or cocktail hour. After a successful release in December that brought in about $4.5 million for the $99 per-piece NFT collection over 24 hours, the non-fungible tokens had recently fallen flat along with the rest of the NFT market.

On Tuesday, the collection recorded just $745 in sales, according to CryptoSlam. That shot up to $36,700 over the past day. The lowest-priced piece in the collection also shot up 62% on Thursday to 0.224 Ether ($367) from 0.138 Ether ($226), before retreating on Friday, according to NFT marketplace OpenSea.

Trump, despite his relative success with NFTs, has never been a fan of cryptocurrencies. In 2019, as president, he said he was “not a fan” of crypto and that digital currencies were “not money.” 

Still, according to documents published by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, Trump apparently holds about $2.8 million in cryptocurrency in a digital wallet, CoinDesk reported. He also reportedly got $4.87 million in licensing fees for lending his name and likeness to the Trump Digital Trading Cards collection.

Learn more about all things crypto with short, easy-to-read lesson cards. Click here for Fortune’s Crypto Crash Course.

Pepe price crashes as developers send $16 million to exchanges and prompt fears of a rug pull

Pepe, once a high-flying memecoin, is falling back to Earth after several large token transfers by its developers have sparked fears of an impending rug-pull.

The token, which is based on a cartoon frog with a complicated history, fell as much as 18% on Friday morning after the multi-sig wallet that contains the developers’ Pepe coins sent about $16 million worth of the tokens to multiple crypto exchanges.

According to boutique digital asset research firm ASXN, the developers changed the number of signatures required for funds to be transferred from the wallet to two out of eight from five out of eight, making it easier to move the tokens. The crypto wallet then sent millions of dollars in Pepe tokens to several exchanges, a sign that the tokens could soon be sold.

The wallet sent $8.36 million to OKX, $6.6 million to Binance, $438,000 to Bybit, and $400,000 to an unknown exchange or wallet, according to ASXN. Around $10 million worth of Pepe cryptocurrency remains in the developers’ wallet.

While many on Crypto Twitter were upset about the developers’ sudden transfers, some chose to see the brighter side of things. Several among the Pepe faithful said the developers should sell the remaining $10 million they control so true believers can snap them up.

The Pepe cryptocurrency was created in April by anonymous developers that run its account @pepecoineth on X (formerly Twitter). Building on the success of previous memecoins like Dogecoin and Shiba Inu, Pepe rose to a market cap of $1.6 billion in just three weeks, Fortune reported. After the developers’ transfer, the coin’s market cap is sitting at about $350 million.

Learn more about all things crypto with short, easy-to-read lesson cards. Click here for Fortune’s Crypto Crash Course.

FTX wants to repay creditors in cash, and the bankrupt crypto exchange wants Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy to help

FTX wants to pay back creditors in cold hard cash, in lieu of crypto, and the ailing firm wants Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital to help get it done, according to a late Wednesday court filing.

FTX, which declared bankruptcy in November, said in an April filing that it held $3.4 billion in crypto, but it previously made clear that it wants to turn those assets into cash before distributing them. The Wednesday filing said the company, led by caretaker CEO John J. Ray III, wants to enlist Galaxy to help it “enter into hedging and staking arrangements,” which it believes will help it limit the assets’ loss of value and maximize what can be paid back to creditors. The request to hire Galaxy must be approved by the bankruptcy court.

Still, other bankrupt crypto companies, like the crypto lender Celsius, have chosen to distribute payments in crypto rather than cash

For its services, FTX would pay Galaxy a monthly management fee, as well as reimbursements for out-of-pocket costs and expenses, including commissions, interest, and custodial and brokerage fees. On top of this, FTX is reportedly spending $1.5 million daily on legal fees, CoinDesk reported.

Lawyers for FTX wrote in the court filing that Galaxy is the best fit to advise on hedging and staking activities because it has significant experience in digital asset management and trading.

Meanwhile, former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has spent just under two weeks in jail after his bail was revoked on Aug. 11. SBF’s lawyers said this week that his diet is not being accommodated in prison and he is “subsisting” on bread and water. His trial is set for October.

Learn more about all things crypto with short, easy-to-read lesson cards. Click here for Fortune’s Crypto Crash Course.

Future of Finance: Guillaume Poncin joins Alchemy from Stripe to help bring DeFi to the masses

After spending two years building up the crypto team at the payments company Stripe, Guillaume Poncin is joining blockchain developer platform Alchemy for a new challenge as the head of engineering. Poncin has spent most of his career on the engineering side of the mainstream tech world, including a 12-year stint at Google, but he sees crypto as the catalyst for solving major financial problems at a global scale.

He recently caught up with Fortune to shed some light on his move to Alchemy, what lessons crypto can take from traditional finance and vice versa, and how blockchains can help people transfer value as easily as they transfer information.

(This interview has been edited for length and clarity.)

What drew you to crypto?

There is the technology fanatic in me that says, “Hey, this is really cool. It’s distributed systems, but very different from the way Google does them.” It’s like very much the frontier of research in terms of cryptography and running these things at scale with distributed consensus and such. So, super interesting from a technical standpoint—that got me into the rabbit hole. But then, from a longer arc of thinking about this and thinking what impact it can have in the world, there’s a lot of use cases that resonate with me in crypto. I think one that we worked on at Stripe was this idea that if you’re a creator in Argentina, or a freelancer in a country that maybe doesn’t have a very stable currency, you can now get paid with stablecoins. That’s a much better medium of exchange for you. Crypto makes that much, much, much easier to implement.

You come from an engineering background. What do you think surprised you the most about the financial side of crypto?

I had my degen moment: I did some leveraged yield farming and obviously didn’t know anything that I was doing, and so I lost a bunch of money. I mean, not a lot of money, it was like gambling money. I think the more you look into this, the more you’ll realize, “Hey, there is quite a bit of depth.” There has been decades of financial innovations, and we’re sort of retracing the steps here, to an extent, and making new steps. But there is a lot to learn in the financial system. And so the more I read about it, the more I want to read about it, and there’s just this giant rabbit hole of: There’s a lot here, and everything has been created for a reason. You can sort of start to understand how everything works if you retrace the steps to it. I find it very, very interesting academically. But it’s also this realization that most of Web3 has yet to be built. We’ve only just started scratching the surface, and there is so much we can learn from how finance developed, how other industries developed, even how social networks have developed over time.

What were you doing at Stripe, and why did you take the role at Alchemy?

I got the opportunity to build a crypto team within Stripe and focus on some of the very traditional Stripe problems, like global money movement and accepting payments and such, but also exploring what does it mean to onboard a billion users into Web3? So that was sort of the calling: Can we get a billion users to use blockchain and crypto routinely? So a lot of the focus at Stripe was that, and I think Alchemy was sort of the logical step of, “Can I have a much higher level on that?” I’m more familiar with the infrastructure layer than I am with the financial layer, so for me to have a higher level Alchemy made a lot of sense for that goal of onboarding the next billion users into Web3.

Where can you most make an impact at Alchemy?

I think onboarding lots and lots of users is probably the motivation. Alchemy, to me, is a super interesting place to do this because it’s one of these companies that actually sees what everybody wants. I think Stripe had sort of that privileged position for the space of payments. It’s very similar. What I think I can contribute is, many people see Alchemy as the RPC node provider, and then we started adding APIs on top of it. I think it’s only the beginning of the story. As we get the call to be even more reliable, more scalable, we’ll be able to support much bigger enterprise-type customers. And at the same time, try to expand into new ideas, new markets, whatever is the next big thing, maybe app chains, multi-chain, multi-region, in any number of these sort of expansions. When you try to do that, as a startup, you’ll realize at some point that you need to start to organize the great talents you have, and I think I’ve become pretty good at that. I’m hoping I can contribute that and sort of retain the velocity and the execution speed that a small startup typically has.

What lessons do you think crypto could take from traditional finance? What about the other way around?

What excites me about crypto that I would love for traditional finance to emulate is the speed of iteration. You can try your thing, and it works or it doesn’t, and then you can move incredibly fast in the crypto space. Many ideas are terrible, but you can iterate through them and get to something really cool. I love that. I love that speed of iteration. At Stripe, it became very apparent that if you want to do a transfer in the U.S., you have to use ACH, which takes five days. I know there are systems that are faster and are coming online, but trying to close that gap in terms of the iteration cycle would make a huge difference in the speed of innovation in the space. Conversely, I think crypto has a lot to learn from traditional finance. In a way, I think crypto is retracing all the steps of the last 200 years of traditional finance and stumbling into the same potholes in places and rediscovering some of the rules. We could probably run through this even faster by looking at what happened there.

How do you feel about U.S. crypto regulation?

I think there is progress. There’s a lot of movement, some that I like, some that maybe I dislike, but that’s all personal preference. I’m excited that there is activity in the legislative space. That should bring clarity, and it should make our lives much easier as developers in the space of Web3. From the vantage point of Alchemy, we’re maybe one layer down from that, so it’s less immediately impactful. But we see more and more developers in the space of Web3—we’ve quadrupled the number of teams that we work with since early last year—and many of these teams have to contend with tough and uncertain legal landscapes, so I’m actually quite excited to see that there is a lot of activity and interest in that.

What do you think is missing to onboard the next million people into crypto?

I have kids, teenagers. I would love to introduce them to crypto. They have a Revolut account. Why don’t they have a crypto wallet? It’s incredibly complicated. I don’t want to do that today. It shouldn’t be any more difficult than opening an account in an online bank, but it is. I was trying to open a bank account for my wife—for my wife’s business—and it took me a week, back and forth. All of this is insane friction. My hope for crypto is that it becomes as simple as getting an email address.

What are the biggest engineering challenges you see in Alchemy’s business of powering billions in on-chain transactions?

The blockchain has a very unique engineering problem. All of this code is open-source. Anybody can run a node on the blockchain. It’s a decentralized network, it’s peer-to-peer. If you want to do that in your garage, you can. As a hobby project, you can very easily talk to the blockchain directly. But if you’re a big company, if you’re a startup in the space, and you’re starting to get traction, doing it yourself becomes incredibly difficult. Because now you have to maintain multiple nodes. They have to be consistent with one another. You have to worry about scaling or when you have a spike in traffic. All of that work essentially is something that becomes more and more of a specialized skill set. And if you’re building an NFT marketplace, maybe you don’t want to dedicate half of your company to developing that skill set. The thought for Alchemy, and where we can help, is to make all of that much, much easier.

What do you think is the future of finance?

In layman’s terms, because I don’t precisely know finance, I would love for the future of finance to be programmable money, if you will. In very simple terms, I want to be able to have a bucket of money, create a bucket of money, move money between buckets, and then exchange money with others. I want to treat that like I treat information and have very convenient tools and be able to tell my Alexa device to move money between accounts. All of that should be programmable and very, very easy to interact with.

Web3 app lets influencers literally cash in on their follower counts

For years, influencers and celebrities have experimented with everything from brand partnerships to merch sales in order to profit from an abundance of social media followers., a Web3 app that launched in closed beta earlier this month, has a more direct approach: It allows influencers to sell “keys” to fans who can then message their X (Twitter)-linked accounts directly.

To start using the app, potential “key” buyers must first deposit at least 0.01 Ether. An influencer’s first key costs .0000625 ETH, about 12 cents, and prices increase as the number of shares increases—two, 10, 25, etc.—so buyers are strongly incentivized to get in early. For each trade, the app charges a 10% fee—half goes to the influencer, half to the platform—but as key prices increase, so does the pricing model’s spread from which influencers get their fees, meaning that they’re not incentivized to inflate the size of their communities. Talk.Markets founder Lux Moreau broke it down on X:

The platform has already attracted big names like gaming influencer Ricky “FaZe Banks” Bengston and NBA player Grayson Allen. Already, top users, including Bengston, have racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars from the platform, Decrypt reported.

Since its Aug. 10 beta launch on Coinbase’s Base layer-2 blockchain, the app has recorded a total volume of $67.4 million over 1.76 million transactions, according to Dune. In the past 24 hours, it has surpassed all but the Etherum blockchain with $1.68 million in fees, according to DeFi Llama.

The app has in recent days garnered support from prominent people in the crypto space including Circle founder Jeremy Allaire and Messari CEO Ryan Selkis.

But despite its rising popularity, the app is still a work in progress. On the day of its launch, the app went down when it was overloaded with users, according to its page on X, formerly Twitter. It also renamed the social stock offered to followers to “keys,” from “shares,” which it said in a tweet was meant to be a placeholder name.

“We think Keys better illustrates their purpose as in-app items used to unlock your friends’ chatrooms,” tweeted on Monday.

Some have speculated that the name change was an attempt to avoid any complications with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has recently cracked down on the crypto sector.

Some on Crypto Twitter have also raised concerns about the app’s business model and approach to privacy. Pseudonymous crypto researcher Ignas said in a Sunday tweet that it could lead to controversial personalities or negative people earning more than others in the space.

Another big complaint is that as of Tuesday, did not have a privacy policy available on its website. Instead, it had a placeholder message that said, “Coming soon!” Its team, known by their online aliases of @0xRacer and @shrimppepe, are also anonymous, which has raised concerns.’s website says that its privacy policy is coming soon.

The app’s rapid rise is a boon for Coinbase’s Base blockchain, which has already seen a pickup in transactions on the chain. Base, a layer-2 blockchain built on Ethereum, launched earlier this month and has been looking to attract users and developers. Coinbase is promoting the chain with a three-week-long campaign called “Onchain Summer,” which includes brand partnerships, NFT mints, and grants to new Base developers.

“We had over 100 dapps live on Base at launch. We’re encouraged to see many builders launching on Base and excited to see the creativity of what developers bring to Base over the upcoming months and years,” a Coinbase spokesperson said in an email to Fortune. is the latest iteration of crypto developers experimenting with social media, but it may be short lived, according to Columbia Business School professor Omid Malekan. He told Fortune that although the app seems fun and is innovative, nobody has really found the right model for “decentralized social” yet.

“I don’t believe it’s sustainable,” he said, “and the hype is partly an indication of boredom within the industry as prices stall and we await greater regulatory clarity.”

Learn more about all things crypto with short, easy-to-read lesson cards. Click here for Fortune’s Crypto Crash Course.

The crypto world wants to known why Vitalik Buterin just deposited $1 million in Ether with Coinbase

Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin sparked a flurry of online speculation on Monday after sending 600 Ether, about $1 million worth, to the crypto exchange Coinbase.

The 29-year-old sent the funds from his publicly labeled address, vitalik.eth, according to Etherscan. The transfer comes as Ether has dropped more than 10% over the past week. On Monday, it was trading down about 0.35%, near $1,600. 

X, formerly Twitter, was filled with theories regarding Buterin’s transfer, with some saying he was paying off a debt while others were claiming that he was looking to dump the coin before it fell further.

Some also speculated the transfer may have something to do with Coinbase’s new layer-2 blockchain, Base, which is built on top of the Ethereum blockchain. The network officially launched earlier this month, and Coinbase has tried to attract users and developers through a multi-week “Onchain Summer” Web3 festival that includes brand partnerships, NFT mints, and 100 Ether in grants designated for developers seeking to build on the chain.

Still, several people pointed out that Buterin’s transfer to Coinbase is a confidence setback for Ether, which has taken a hit in the past couple weeks as investors have fled to other asset classes.

Despite what would seem to many investors as a large transfer, some pointed out that Buterin still holds about $6.5 million worth of Ether in the vitalik.eth wallet.

Learn more about all things crypto with short, easy-to-read lesson cards. Click here for Fortune’s Crypto Crash Course.