VanEck to bid goodbye to Bitcoin (BTC) Strategy ETF

https://ambcrypto.com/vaneck-to-bid-goodbye-to-bitcoin-btc-strategy-etf/

American investment management firm – VanEck has announced that it will liquidate and close Bitcoin (BTC) strategy ETFs. The announcement comes days after the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) approved its spot Bitcoin ETF application. Notably, both the exchange-traded funds are different from each other.

The spot Bitcoin ETF tracks the price of Bitcoin in real time, meaning that the product provider will purchase and own BTCs. Meanwhile, VanEck’s Bitcoin Strategy ETF is linked to Bitcoin futures contracts and does not directly invest in BTCs.

The company said that the decision to liquidate the ETF was influenced by performance, liquidity asset under management, investors interest, and operational considerations among other factors. Moreover, the fund will officially be delisted at the end of this month, January 30, 2024, giving investors about two weeks time to sell their shares.

If the shares remain unsold, the company said it will distribute cash proportionate to “the amount of the net asset value of their shares” after the liquidation of the ETF. The liquidation date is set to happen around February 6, 2024.

The story is still developing…

Vanguard doubles down on anti-Bitcoin stance, pulls support for BTC futures ETFs

https://ambcrypto.com/vanguard-doubles-down-on-anti-bitcoin-stance-pulls-support-for-btc-futures-etfs/

  • Vanguard has stated that it will be terminating support for all crypto products
  • The investment management giant had earlier said it will not support the purchase of spot Bitcoin ETFs

America’s second largest investment management firm – Vanguard has taken an extra mile on its anti-Bitcoin (BTC) stance. In the latest development, the company has taken down its support for Bitcoin Futures ETFs, along with terminating purchasing of all other crypto products.

The company disclosed the information to Axios, stating, “In addition to spot Bitcoin ETFs not being available for purchase on the Vanguard platform, effective immediately, Vanguard will no longer accept the purchase of cryptocurrency products, including Bitcoin futures ETFs.” The firm further said,

“This change allows us to focus on offering a core set of products and services consistent with our commitment to serve the needs of long-term investors”

Vanguard closes all doors for Bitcoin

Notably, the announcement comes days after Vanguard stated that it would not allow the purchase of spot Bitcoin ETFs on its platform. The spot Bitcoin ETFs went live on 11th January, the same day Vanguard revealed it would have no part in the party.

The move had taken the crypto space by surprise. This was particularly the case given that Blackrock – the largest American investment management firm – actively rallied to get an approval for a spot Bitcoin ETF. Blackrock was among the 11 companies that had its applications approved by the United States Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC).

In an interview with Wall Street Journal, Vanguard had stated “products do not align with our offer focused on asset classes.” Notably, the company has been quite infamous for its anti-crypto stance. In September 2021, it had published an entire article on its take on cryptocurrencies. The post concluded they believe cryptocurrencies’ “long-term investment case is weak”.

Subsequently, while spot Bitcoin ETFs have been a product the market has awaited for years, the excitement for the same has not quite reflected on the price of the coin. According to CoinMarketCap, BTC was trading at $42,618 with a market cap of £835 billion. The coin has seen a price slump of over 7 percent in the past 24 hours, while the seven-day chart showed a fall of over 3 percent.

Just In: USDC stablecoin issuer Circle confidentially files for an IPO

https://ambcrypto.com/just-in-usdc-stablecoin-issuer-circle-confidentially-files-for-an-ipo/

The year seems to have kicked off with a bang for the cryptocurrency market. A day after the United States Securities and Exchanges Commission approved spot Bitcoin ETFs, a major stablecoin issuer – Circle has filed for an IPO. According to Reuters, Circle has confirmed that it has confidently filed for an IPO, in line with its plan to become a publicly traded company.

Notably, the company has been planning on going public for quite some time. Reports of this coming to fruition in 2024 emerged towards the end of 2023. A then report by Bloomberg stated that the stablecoin issuer had managed to draw in Goldman Sachs, General Catalyst, and Blackrock as its backers.

The number of shares that would be sold and the price range for the new IPO filing still remain unclear. Nonetheless, if this IPO passes the SEC’s review, it will become the second major crypto player to launch an IPO. The first crypto firm to make headlines under the same subject was Coinbase, a leading American crypto exchange.

The story is still developing.

SEC Chair says Grayscale’s court judgement impacted spot Bitcoin ETF approval decision

https://ambcrypto.com/sec-chair-says-grayscales-court-judgement-impacted-spot-bitcoin-etf-approval-decision/

The Chairman of the United States Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) – Gary Gensler – has given a statement on the approval of all 11 spot Bitcoin ETF applications. All the applications were approved on an accelerated basis minutes ago and all of them are expected to begin trading tomorrow.

Notably, in his statement, Gensler stated that, unlike previous rejections, there were some factors that resulted in the approval of all spot Bitcoin ETFs. A mention of the SEC versus Grayscale was made in the statement, hinting at the influence of the case on the approval decision. The statement read,

“The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held that the Commission failed to adequately explain its reasoning in disapproving the listing and trading of Grayscale’s proposed ETP (…) Based on these circumstances and those discussed more fully in the approval order, I feel the most sustainable path forward is to approve the listing and trading of these spot bitcoin ETP shares.”

The story is still developing.

Confirmed: US SEC approves all 11 spot Bitcoin ETF applications

https://ambcrypto.com/confirmed-us-sec-approves-all-11-spot-bitcoin-etf-applications/

The United States Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) has finally approved a spot Bitcoin ETF. The commission has given the green light to all 11 applications. These applications were filed by Blackrock, Valkyrie, Franklin, Bitwise, Fidelity, Hashdex, Ark Invest, Grayscale, WisdomTree, Van Eck and Invesco Galaxy.

Notably, the confirmation of approval first came from Grayscale, with its founder – Barry Silbert reposting congratulatory messages on its efforts. Moreover, the SEC’s announcement link is back on its website, with the announcement stating,

The announcement read,

“IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Exchange Act,87 that the Proposals (SR-NYSEARCA-2021-90; SR-NYSEARCA-2023-44; SR-NYSEARCA- 2023-58; SR-NASDAQ-2023-016; SR-NASDAQ-2023-019; SR-CboeBZX-2023-028; SR- CboeBZX-2023-038; SR-CboeBZX-2023-040; SR-CboeBZX-2023-042; SR-CboeBZX-2023- 044; SR-CboeBZX-2023-072) be, and hereby are, approved on an accelerated basis.”

The story is still developing.

Breaking: US SEC takes down spot Bitcoin ETF approval announcement again

https://ambcrypto.com/breaking-us-sec-takes-down-spot-bitcoin-etf-approval-announcement-again/

Confusion takes over the cryptocurrency market as once again the US Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) makes an approval announcement but only to take it down. In today’s series, the official website of the SEC published a PDF announcing the approval of all 11 spot Bitcoin ETF applications. However, the link to the announcement was taken down immediately after it caught the crypto community’s attention.

It now remains unclear whether or not the commission has actually approved all 11 spot Bitcoin ETF applications. Notably, the announcement published today read,

“IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Exchange Act,87 that the Proposals (SR-NYSEARCA-2021-90; SR-NYSEARCA-2023-44; SR-NYSEARCA- 2023-58; SR-NASDAQ-2023-016; SR-NASDAQ-2023-019; SR-CboeBZX-2023-028; SR- CboeBZX-2023-038; SR-CboeBZX-2023-040; SR-CboeBZX-2023-042; SR-CboeBZX-2023- 044; SR-CboeBZX-2023-072) be, and hereby are, approved on an accelerated basis.”

This acted as a confirmation of approval for all 11 spot Bitcoin ETF applications. But the link that gave the above information now looks like:

Source: SEC

Source: SEC

The story is still developing…

Multiple spot Bitcoin ETFs to begin trading on CBOE tomorrow, pending SEC approval

https://ambcrypto.com/multiple-spot-bitcoin-etfs-to-begin-trading-on-cboe-tomorrow-pending-sec-approval/

  • Leading American options trading exchange lists six spot Bitcoin ETFs for trading, which begins tomorrow
  • The trading is still subjected to approval by the US SEC

The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) has listed multiple spot Bitcoin ETFs to begin trading tomorrow. The leading stock exchange has published a trading circular for a total of six spot Bitcoin ETF products.

The products that have made it on its list are ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF, Fidelity Wise Origin Bitcoin Fund, Franklin Bitcoin ETF, Invesco Galaxy Bitcoin ETF, VanEck Bitcoin Trust, and WisdomTree Bitcoin Fund. All these Bitcoin products are meant to begin trading as a new issue on January 11, 2024. Interestingly, CBOE has not listed the Bitcoin product of a key market player – Blackrock, an investment management giant.

The announcement has not had a significant impact on Bitcoin’s price. According to CoinMarketCap, BTC was trading at $46, 291.21 with a market cap of $907 billion. The coin did not register a massive gain or loss in the past day. Whereas the seven-day chart showed a gain of over 8 percent.

Spot Bitcoin ETF trading subjected to SEC approval

Notably, the move from the largest American options exchanges comes before the US Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) official announcement. While the entire market is optimistic about an approval this time around, the power still ultimately rests in the hands of SEC, which Gary Gensler heads.

However, the scenario has been different this time around, particularly with the participation of Blackrock. Unlike previous applications, the commission seems to have held multiple dialogues with the applicants. This has been followed by multiple submissions of amended applications.

Additionally, all the companies have issued their sponsor fees for the product. This event has even led to a competition on who offers lesser fees, with companies announcing slashes every day.

Moreover, the CEO of Van Eck, Jan van Eck stated that he was expecting the SEC to approve the applications today and for the exchange-traded fund to begin trading tomorrow. Even market experts are expecting the commission to make an announcement today but after the traditional market closes.

Breaking: US SEC has not approved a spot Bitcoin ETF, X account compromised

https://ambcrypto.com/breaking-us-sec-has-not-approved-a-spot-bitcoin-etf-x-account-compromised/

The United States Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) out out a Tweet on its official X account stating that it has approved Bitcoin ETFs. However, this is not the true situation as Gary Gensler confirmed that the commission’s social media account was hacked.

The story is still developing.

SEC Chair gives another warning as decision on spot Bitcoin ETF approaches

https://ambcrypto.com/sec-chair-gives-another-warning-as-decision-on-spot-bitcoin-etf-approaches/

  • SEC Chairman took to X the second time within the past 24 hours to warn of the dangers of the crypto market
  • The warning comes right when the market expects multiple spot Bitcoin ETFs to start trading by the end of this week

US Securities and Exchanges (SEC) Chairman – Gary Gensler seems to be having a meltdown on X. This comes right as the market is abuzz about the soon-approaching approval of multiple spot Bitcoin ETFs. Taking matters to X for a second time this week, Gensler stated,

“If you’re considering an investment involving crypto assets, be cautious. Crypto asset securities may be marketed as new opportunities but there are serious risks involved.”

Notably, the second warning comes within less than 24 hours from the first warning. In the first warning, put out on January 8th, Chairman Gensler warned that the “crypto asset investments/ services” offering might not comply with securities laws.

He added that crypto asset investments might be “exceptionally risky & often volatile”. Additionally, the Chairman warned that fraudsters continued to exploit and lure investors through various schemes.

Warning comes on the eve of a likely spot Bitcoin ETF approval

Interestingly, the back-to-back warning comes days before the decision day for spot Bitcoin ETF applications. During a CNBC interview, VanEck CEO – Jan van Eck stated approval for spot Bitcoin ETF was expected to come by the end of Wednesday i.e., January 10th. Additionally, the CEO expects the products to start trading in the market by Thursday morning.

Notably, van Eck expects the SEC to approve 10 ETFs filed by multiple companies, with Blackrock – the investment management giant – being one of them. And, this approval is speculated to bring in billions of dollars within the first few months of listing.


Read Bitcoin’s [BTC] Price Prediction 2024-2025


Amidst a confident sentiment of approval, top spot Bitcoin ETF contenders have publicised the fee for their product in the latest amended applications. Bitwise currently has the lowest fees, set at 0.20%. Notably, this fees will be applied after the first six months of listing or until the fund has $1 billion in assets. Before that, there would be no fees on its spot BTC ETF.

Spot BTC ETF fees | Source: X

Spot BTC ETF fees | Source: X

Blackrock, on the other hand, has set a fee of 0.2% for the first 12 months or till the fund reaches $5 billion in assets. Post this, the fees will increase to 0.3%. Most other companies are also offering little to no fees on their BTC products for the first few months or until the product has reached a set benchmark of assets.

Binance, Kraken, and 7 other crypto exchanges URLs to be blocked in India

https://ambcrypto.com/binance-kraken-and-7-other-crypto-exchanges-urls-to-be-blocked-in-india/

  • Nine crypto exchanges will have their URLs blocked in India as per FIU IND directions
  • The instructions come in place as the exchanges have not complied with the Prevention of Anti-Money Laundering rules

The world’s largest exchange, Binance, comes under another regulator’s radar. This time, the exchange is not the only crypto entity to hit the spotlight. Earlier today, India’s financial wing gave directions to block the URLs of Binance and eight other crypto exchanges. The regulatory authority under authority in this subject matter is the Financial Intelligence Unit India (FIU IND).

Crypto exchanges flagged for lack of compliance

The authority has asked the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to implement the instructions. In a press release, the authority stated that this action was a result of a lack of compliance with the rules under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act provisions. Furthermore, the Indian financial authority has claimed that a “complaint Show Cause Notice” has been issued to these 9 crypto exchanges.

The crypto exchanges are Binance, Kraken, Bitfinex, Bittrex, Gate.io, Kucoin, Huobi, Bitstamp, and MEXC Global. The press release read,

“FIU IND writes to Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to block URLs of the nine entities operating illegally without complying with the provisions of PML Act in India”

Under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, crypto exchanges, both within India and outside, are required to be registered with the FIU IND. These entities should represent as a Reporting Entity and follow the rules under the Money Laundering Act, which includes record keeping, and reporting.

So far, 31 crypto exchanges have registered with the FIU IND. However, according to the financial regulator, several crypto exchanges with substantial Indian users have not been “getting registered and coming under the Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Financing of Terrorism (CFT) framework.”

Registration aside, India has introduced one of the most stringent tax systems for crypto investors. India’s financial ministry passed a bill mandating 1% Tax Deduction at Source (TDS) for transactions exceeding INR 5000 (over $600) in one accounting period. Additionally, the government has also taxed 30% of profits arising from crypto sales, and trades.

This rule has, however, been contested by several actors within the Indian crypto space. Some have called for the TDS to be reduced to 0.01%, with a study showing that most users were moving their assets offshore as a result.

Crypto exchange KuCoin reportedly settles lawsuit that labeled ETH as security

https://ambcrypto.com/crypto-exchange-kucoin-reportedly-settles-lawsuit-that-labeled-eth-as-security/

  • Kucoin settles its case with NYAG and will be existing from New York state as part of the deal
  • The lawsuit was the first regulatory action labelling Ethereum (ETH) as a security

The case of New York Attorney General – Letitia James versus Kucoin has reportedly come to an end. According to Reuters, the crypto exchange has decided to settle the lawsuit brought against it by the NYAG, instead of confronting it. The settlement will cost the platform a whopping $22 million along with an exit from the state.

The NYAG had sued the exchange in March of this year for operating in the state without registering as a security and commodities broker-dealer. The Attorney General’s office also alleged that the exchange had falsely represented itself. Moreover, the lawsuit aimed to stop the exchange from operating in New York and block users from accessing the website till it complies with the law.

Kucoin lawsuit claimed ETH to be a security

Interestingly, the lawsuit also alleged that popular cryptocurrencies like Ethereum (ETH), LUNA, and TerraUSD (UST) were securities and commodities. This was the first big profile lawsuit that claimed Ethereum (ETH) to be a security, which was previously argued to be a commodity by most regulators. A press release on the lawsuit read,

“This action is one of the first times a regulator is claiming in court that ETH, one of the largest cryptocurrencies available, is a security. The petition argues that ETH, just like LUNA and UST, is a speculative asset that relies on the efforts of third-party developers”


Read ETH’s Price Prediction 2023-24


In a statement with Reuters, AG Letitia James stated that “Crypto companies should understand that they must play by the same rules as other financial institutions”. Although an official statement on the settlement is yet to be made by either of the parties.

While this case seems to have to an end, US regulators’ faceoff against crypto companies is far from over. Just weeks before this case, US regulators settled a lawsuit against the world’s largest crypto exchange – Binance and its founder – Changpeng Zhao.

Notably, the case against Zhao is yet to come to completion due to pending sentencing. The founder faces at least 18 months in prison over money laundering violations. Meanwhile, Binance still has a pending case with the US Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC).

Moreover, the NYAG itself has pending cases against crypto exchange – Gemini, bankrupt crypto lender – Genesis Global, and its parent company – Digital Currency Group (DCG). The Attorney General’s office has alleged all three parties of defrauding investors of over $1 billion, which has been refuted.

Microstrategy’s Bitcoin (BTC) bullish sentiment continues with additional purchase

https://ambcrypto.com/microstrategys-bitcoin-btc-bullish-sentiment-continues-with-additional-purchase/

contributor

Posted: November 30, 2023

Microstrategy, the American business intelligence company, continues to place big bets on Bitcoin (BTC), the largest cryptocurrency by market cap. In its latest buying streak, the company has purchased 16,130 Bitcoins, according to its SEC filing.

Moreover, the purchase was made between November 1st and November 29th for an average price of $36,785 per BTC, including costs. Notably, these bitcoins cost the company $593.3 million in cash.

With the addition of the new BTCs, the company’s total Bitcoin holdings now stand at 174,530 BTCs. These coins were totally purchased at an aggregate price of $5.28 billion, with each coin averaging at nearly $30,252, including all expenses.

Interestingly, the value of all of the Bitcoins held by Microstrategy is over $6 billion or exactly 6,561,315,726.00 at the current market price. According to CoinMarketCap, Bitcoin was trading at $37,662.32 with a market cap of over $736 billion. The coin has not registered a major price swing in the past day or the past seven days.

The story is still developing…

Binance.US: CZ steps down as board chairman days after pleading guilty

https://ambcrypto.com/binance-us-cz-steps-down-as-board-chairman-days-after-pleading-guilty/

contributor

Posted: November 28, 2023

  • CZ steps down from the Chairman position days after bidding goodbye to Binane.com
  • This decision would bring down his role in the crypto exchange to that of an economic one

Days after Changpeng Zhao aka CZ stepped down as the CEO of the world’s biggest exchange – Binance, another similar move has followed. In an announcement made today, CZ will be stepping down as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Binance.US, the American affiliate of the global crypto exchange.

The announcement follows CZ’s decision to plead guilty to the money laundering charges brought against him and the crypto exchange by the US Government last week. And, one of the settlement conditions for Binance was to accept the resignation of CZ. In addition to this, the global entity was required to bar him from management or operational roles for a period of three years.

However, the US government’s case was solely against CZ and the global crypto exchange – Binance.US. This aspect was even made clear during the press conference held regarding the prosecution.

CZ severs direct relationship with Binance.US

In a post released on X, formerly Twitter, Binance.US stated that CZ’s voting rights would be transferred “through a proxy arrangement”. This would bring down his interest in the firm to a purely economical one and would not be part of the governance aspects.

The American crypto exchange also reiterated that it was not part of the settlements with the US Government, which cost the global entity over $4 billion. Additionally, the platform also claimed to not have any “outstanding enforcement matters with the DOJ, FinCEN, OFAC, or CFTC.”

However, the American entity does have a pending case with the US Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC). The commission has alleged securities law violations. And, according to the latest report by the Wall Street Journal, the commission was seeking evidence for potential fraud at Binance.US. Importantly, the commission is investigating whether or not Binance.US had a backdoor similar to FTX, a now-bankrupt crypto exchange.

The post further read,

We are exceptionally grateful to CZ for his guidance and counsel over the years. With his support, we have established Binance.US as a destination of choice of U.S. customers seeking a superior crypto trading experience.

US Government releases statement on Binance, while CZ bids goodbye

https://ambcrypto.com/us-government-releases-statement-on-binance-while-cz-bids-goodbye/

contributor

Posted: November 22, 2023

  • Binance gets a new CEO – Richard Teng with CZ vacating the post active immediately
  • Binance will have to completely exit from US markets in a deal with FinCEN, but Binance.US unaffected

The United States Department of Justice has finally made an official statement on the charges against the largest crypto exchange – Binance and its former CEO – Changpeng Zhao. The US government reached a deal with both parties earlier today, with CZ pleading guilty to charges first, followed by the crypto firm.

Moreover, the deal has also seen one of the heaviest penalties imposed on a crypto entity, with Binance having to pay over $4 billion in total. Moreover, even CZ was required to pay a fine of $50 million. This will be directed to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to absolve its charges against the exchange and its founder.

In its press conference held today, after the court hearing, the government flagged the sanctions violations and the crypto exchange’s services provided to US customers despite claiming to have exited the market.  Janet Yellen – US Treasury secretary – also claimed that the exchange knowingly withheld information from the regulators, despite flagging suspicious transactions.

Moreover, the officials revealed that the exchange also knew the platform being used by terrorist organisations such as Hamas, Al Qaeda, and ISIS. A press release by Secretary Yellen said that over 100,000 transactions belonged to illicit actors but Binance never filed a suspicious activity report. It further read that Binance “also allowed over 1.5 million virtual currency trades that violated U.S. sanctions.”

During the press conference, it was also revealed that Binance will be completely exiting the US market as part of the deal. However, this does not apply to its American affiliate – Bianance.US – as the firm is a regulated entity. Secretary Yellen said,

“The monitor will be able to access Binance’s systems, transactions, and accounts and will review and report on all actions included in the settlement agreements. Failure to live up to these obligations could expose Binance to substantial additional penalties.”

Binance’s CZ bids goodbye

Meanwhile, Changpeng Zhao, popularly known as CZ, bid his goodbye as the Chief Executive Officer of Binance on X today. The former executive claimed that this move was the “right thing to do”. He said,

“But I know it is the right thing to do. I made mistakes, and I must take responsibility. This is best for our community, for Binance, and for myself. Binance is no longer a baby. It is time for me to let it walk and run. I know Binance will continue to grow and excel with the deep bench it has.”

Notably, while the plea deal does mandate the resignation of CZ from the CEO post, the prohibition lasts for only three years. This could mean that Zhao could return to the post in time.

With CZ departing as the CEO, the role will now be taken over by Richard Teng – the former Global Head of Regional Markets. Notably, Teng served as the CEO of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority at Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), before joining Binance.

Speaking about what was next, CZ stated that he would not act as a CEO for another start-up again, adding that he would be taking a break first. He also stated,

“On that note, I am proud to point out that in our resolutions with the U.S. agencies they: – do not allege that Binance misappropriated any user funds, and – do not allege that Binance engaged in any market manipulation. Funds are SAFU! With that, I look forward to seeing the new leadership take the reins. Please join me in congratulating Richard on his well-deserved promotion. Onwards!”

The story is still developing…

Binance and CZ’s plea deal with US Government revealed in court filing

https://ambcrypto.com/?p=357715

contributor

Posted: November 22, 2023

  • CZ will be required to pay a fine of $50 million as part of the plea deal, which will absolve the CFTC’s charges
  • Binance will have to pay a fine of over $4 billion and accept CZ’s resignation

The plea deal between the largest crypto exchange – Binance, its founder – Changpeng Zhao aka CZ, and the US Government has been revealed in a court filing. The filing also revealed that CZ would be the first to make the plea deal, followed by Binance, which will be represented by a corporate officer. The filing was released minutes before the US Department of Justice is set to give a public statement on the matter

Notably, as per CZ’s plea deal, the crypto kingpin will plead guilty “to violating and causing a financial institution to violate” various sections under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). In addition, Zhao will also pay a fine of $50 million, which, in turn, would be directed to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). This would absolve the commission’s lawsuit against the exchange and Zhao. The filing also explicitly forbids CZ to,

“Defendant Zhao also agrees that he shall not— either directly or through present or future attorneys, agents, or any other person authorized to speak for him—make any public statement, in litigation or otherwise, contradicting his acceptance of responsibility, the facts described in the Information and Statement of Facts (…)”

Binance to accept Zhao’s resignation

Meanwhile, Binance as a firm will plead guilty to conspiring to “knowingly conduct, control, manage, supervise”  unlicensed money-transmitting business  (MTB) and violating the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). The firm will also plead guilty to conducting “unlicensed MTB affecting interstate and foreign commerce”. Binance will also take accountability for sanctions violations, with the court filing saying,

“Knowingly and willfully causing the exportation, sale, and supply, directly, and indirectly, from the United States, and by a United States person, wherever located, of services to Iran, without first having obtained the required authorization or license from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control”

The settlement for these charges includes full cooperation with the US government “in any and all matters relating to the conduct described in the Plea Agreement”. Moreover, the exchange will accept Zhao’s resignation from the CEO position and will bar his involvement in its operations or management. A fine of over $4 billion was also imposed by the US government on the crypto exchange, part of which it will be required to pay within 15 months of sentencing.

Source: Court FilingsSource: Court Filings

Source: Court Filings

The filing read,

“Binance agrees the appropriate sentence is a fine of $1,805,475,575 (“Criminal Fine”), which reflects a 20 percent discount off the bottom of the applicable Sentencing Guidelines fine range for Binance’s partial cooperation and remediation (…) an Order of Forfeiture requiring Binance to pay a money judgment, representing property forfeitable to the United States, in the amount of $2,510,650,588 “

Binance’s Changpeng Zhao to reportedly step down from CEO position and plead guilty

https://ambcrypto.com/binances-changpeng-zhao-to-reportedly-step-down-from-ceo-position-and-plead-guilty/

contributor

Posted: November 21, 2023

The United States Department of Justice announcement scheduled to be released today has stirred up the crypto market. According to reports, the announcement is going to be related to the criminal case against the largest crypto exchange – Binance and its CEO – Changpeng Zhao. Reports also claimed that the US regulatory authority sought over $4 billion from the exchange to settle the case.

However, this does not seem to be the only condition for dropping the criminal lawsuit. The authorities also reportedly sought Zhao’s resignation from the Chief Executive Officer position. And, according to the latest development, Zhao has agreed to step down from the executive position, Wall Street Journal reports.

Additionally, Zhao will plead guilty to money laundering violations and will appear before the Seattle court today. The crypto exchange is also said to follow suit and would subsequently pay a $4.3 billion fine.

The story is still developing…

US DoJ: Over $4 billion to end criminal case against Binance

https://ambcrypto.com/us-doj-over-4-billion-to-end-criminal-case-against-binance/

The United States has reportedly put a price on the criminal case against the largest crypto exchange – Binance and its co-founder – Changpeng Zhao. According to Bloomberg, the US Department of Justic

The post US DoJ: Over $4 billion to end criminal case against Binance appeared first on AMBCrypto.

Tether and OKX announce the largest-ever USDT freeze

https://ambcrypto.com/tether-and-okx-announce-the-largest-ever-usdt-freeze/

contributor

Posted: November 20, 2023

  • The largest-ever USDT freeze was announced by the stablecoin issuer – Tether
  • The freeze was connected to an international crime syndicate involved in pig butchering scam

Crypto exchange – OKX and USDT issuer – Tether announced the freeze of 225 million in stolen USDT, making it the largest freeze in USDT’s history. In a blog post released today, Tether stated that the funds were linked to an international crime syndicate. Additionally, the investigation into this matter was conducted in collaboration with the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

The blog post read,

“Tether proactively and voluntarily freezing approximately 225 million in USDT tokens in external self-custodied wallets linked to an international human trafficking syndicate in Southeast Asia responsible for a global “pig butchering” romance scam.”

The rising scam sees Tether taking proactive measures

Pig butchering is one of the rising scams in the crypto space. Originating in China, the scheme has the scammer reach out to the victim on different social media platforms. Upon gaining trust, the scammer persuades the victim to invest in crypto through a malicious app or website, which appears to be authentic.

Once the victim has deposited some amount of money on the platform, the portal will display the gains they have made. In the initial process, it would also allow the victim to withdraw their money. And, after the victim deposits all their money, the scammers would close the account and take home all the victim’s money.

Prior to Tether’s action, this scam has come under the authorities’ radar multiple times in the past. The most recent one was the Delaware DoJ’s action resulting in a cease-and-desist order against 23 entities. Moreover, this kind of scam has resulted in the loss of over $3.3 billion just last year, according to the FBI.

Notably, the USDT issuer also stated that the frozen wallets were on a secondary market and were not associated with its customers. Additionally, the firm stated that it deployed Chainalysis tools to conduct the months-long investigation.

OKX eyes Hong Kong permit

Subsequently, crypto exchange OKX has applied for Hong Kong virtual asset trading platform license, indicating its interest in expanding to the region. The application was submitted on November 16, as per the Securities and Futures Commission website. So far, there are a total of seven companies that have applied for the license, with OKX and Panthertrade being the latest.

In a statement to Bloomberg Law, the Global Chief Commercial Officer – Lennix Lai – said,

“OKX has always been an advocate for progressive regulation, as we believe that the global digital-asset ecosystem of the future will be regulated.”

Blackrock’s spot Ethereum (ETH) ETF application goes to the SEC

https://ambcrypto.com/?p=357571

contributor

Posted: November 16, 2023

Investment management giant – Blackrock’s spot Ethereum ETF application officially makes its way to the SEC’s desk. The firm has officially submitted its S-1 application for the spot Ethereum ETF on November 15, 2023.

The move comes days after the firm confirmed its big plan for Ethereum through a Nasdaq filing. According to Colin Wu, an S1 filing is a “registration statement filed by a company with the SEC and is an important step in the listing process.”

Interestingly, the predicted development has not had a major impact on the price of Ethereum (ETH). According to CoinMarketCap, at press time, ETH was trading at $2069.45 with a market cap of over $248 billion. The past hour chart showed gains by just over 1 percent, while the 7-day chart registered a massive uptrend of over 8 percent.

The story is still developing…

Germany’s fourth-largest bank secures crypto custody license

https://ambcrypto.com/germanys-fourth-largest-bank-secures-crypto-custody-license/

contributor

Posted: November 15, 2023

  • Commerzbank receives a license to custody crypto assets to provide services to institutional clients
  • It is the first bank in the country to receive such a license

Commerzbank – the fourth-largest bank in Germany – announced it received a crypto custody license, earlier today. Notably, it is the first full-service bank to gain such a license in a European country. Additionally, the bank seeks to provide crypto custody support to its institutional clients now that it has secured a license.

The announcement read,

“Commerzbank is the first German full-service bank to be granted the Crypto Custody Licence pursuant to Article 1 Section 1a Sentence 1 No 6 German Banking Act (KWG). The licence will enable the Bank to build up a broad range of digital asset services, with particular emphasis on crypto assets.”

European Union mulls over stablecoin liquidity

Notably, Germany’s leading bank received a green light when the European Union is set to implement one of the most comprehensive crypto rules. The Markets in Crypto Assets regulation (MiCA), which will go into effect this coming year, has gained praise from several leaders including France’s Finance Minster Bruno Le Maire. The minister claimed that the new regulation would “put an end to the crypto wild west”.

The new rules, adopted by 27 countries, will mandate crypto companies to have secured authorization in at least one of the 27 countries to provide services. Additionally, companies will have to start publishing a clear white paper on the offered crypto assets.

Furthermore, MiCA also has dedicated rules for stablecoins, which will be dubbed e-money tokens (EMTs), if it is pegged to fiat currency. Additionally, the rules will also ban EMTs, which are not pegged to EU currency, from having over 1 million transactions per day. This rule also extends to algo-stablecoins.

With this in place, the EU is currently mulling over the liquidity requirement for stablecoins. A draft published by the European Banking Authority (EBA) seeks periodic liquidity stress requirements for large stablecoins, along with liquidity requirements for reserve assets. The press release said,

“In the RTS on liquidity requirements of the reserve of assets the EBA proposes minimum percentage rates of the reserve of assets with a maturity of no longer than between 1 and 5 working days. Furthermore, the EBA proposes overall techniques for liquidity management of the reserve of assets. This includes minimum creditworthiness and liquidity soundness of credit institutions”

Justin Sun’s Poloniex reportedly loses over $60M

https://ambcrypto.com/?p=357046

Another day, another hack. This time around, Justin Sun’s crypto exchange – Poloniex – has reportedly fallen victim to a theft. This has resulted in the platform incurring a loss of over $60 million, according to Colin Wu. This incident was also confirmed by Peckshied, a blockchain security and data analytics company.

So far, the crypto exchange has lost money in several cryptocurrencies, including Link, TRX, and TUSD. According to the exchange’s latest Twitter post, Poloniex’s wallet “has been disabled for maintenance.”

The platform, however, did not mention the root cause for the suspension and there has been no official mention of a hack. The founder of Tron and owner of Poloniex – Justin Sun has also not spoken about the incident on his social media platform.

Poloniex becomes Sun’s second exchange to fall

Interestingly, reports of a hack surfaced months after Sun’s other crypto exchange – HTX also fell victim to a hack. The exchange, which was previously known as Huobi, lost 5000 ETH (nearly $8 million) over an attack that took place in September 2023.

However, despite the loss, Sun assured customers that the exchange “fully covered the losses incurred from the attack and has successfully resolved all related issues.”

The story is still developing…

ETH sees price gains as Blackrock moves toward spot Ethereum ETF filing

https://ambcrypto.com/eth-sees-price-gains-as-blackrock-moves-toward-spot-ethereum-etf-filing/

Ethereum (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency in the market, has seen significant gains in the past hour. The rise comes right when crypto Twitter is abuzz over a possible spot Ethereum ETF application from Blackrock. The notion stems from the firm’s move to register its iShares Ethereum Trust in Delaware.

Source: Delaware Department of State Division of Corporations

Source: Delaware Department of State Division of Corporations

 

The story is still developing…

Breaking: FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried found guilty on all 7 counts

https://ambcrypto.com/breaking-ftx-founder-sam-bankman-fried-found-guilty-on-all-7-counts/

The verdict on the FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s case is finally here. The jury has deemed SBF guilty of all seven counts of fraud and money laundering charges placed against him by the US Department of Justice. The ruling has finally brought an end to the nearly four week’s trial, which saw the top FTX executives testifying against Bankman-Fried.

The story is still developing…

SBF’s testimony: FTX founder struck by amnesia during cross-examination

https://ambcrypto.com/sbfs-testimony-ftx-founder-struck-by-amnesia-during-cross-examination/

  • In today’s hearing, SBF believed that most of his actions related to conversations with FTX’s executives were in line with the retention policy drafted by the Chief Regulatory Officer
  • However, there is no record of the policy that was used as a defense argument that SBF did what lawyers suggested

The criminal trial against FTX’s founder – Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) – continues to take the spotlight in all its grandeur. The latest development has SBF himself presiding on a testimony bench.

Today’s (26 October) hearing would determine whether or not the legal advice SBF received while reigning the firm was relevant to the case. Notably, this hearing took place without the jurors’ presence in court. The Judge dismissed them by saying it “doesn’t concern you.” After today’s hearing, the Judge would make a call on the relevant aspects the jury needs to hear.

SBF on Slack and Signal conversations

The testimony began with Bankman-Fried speaking about the communication channels deployed by FTX employees. Platforms such as Slack and Signal were listed by the former CEO, who remarked that they provided “more interactivity,” as per Bloomberg’s reporting.

Additionally, he claimed that the firm needed to use encrypted messaging applications. This was because there were external risks such as “constant hacking attacks”. Although he did note that the firm was never subjected to a “core breach.” However, the situation was quite the contrary for unnamed third parties with ties to FTX.

Furthermore, SBF brought up Dan Friedberg – an ex-FTX lawyer, and his role in the exchange. The former Chief Regulatory Officer previously came under the spotlight for being the “fixer” of the crypto exchange. In a lawsuit filed by the current FTX regime, Friedberg allegedly helped SBF in the “wholesale raiding of customer exchange deposits.”

He also allegedly whitewashed complaints by whistleblowers about the misuse of customer funds. The former executive even went to the extent of paying “exorbitant hush money” to one former employee.

SBF brings up the ‘I followed the policy’ argument

According to SBF, Friedberg was in charge of the firm’s documentation-retention policy. This dictated the circumstances that called for the retention or deletion of data.

Bankman-Fried also claimed that the lawyers were in charge of policy drafts and “what implementation would look like”. Thus, further adding that the retention policy differed for different jurisdictions.

He said,

“My big picture takeaway was that there were certain classes of data that we had very clear retentional policies around. Those tended to be regulatory”

SBF stated that the documents that required to be retained were usually discussed via email or Slack. Additionally, he stated that Slack was usually the go-to channel for communication with the attorney and compliance team. He stated that this platform was also devoted to “regulatory or compliance matters.”

Contrary to Slack, conversations that did not require retention landed on Signal, as per Bankman-Fried. These chats were subjected to auto-deletion, which was set on a weekly rotation. Notably, Nishad Singh – the former Chief Engineer, and Caroline Ellison – the former Alameda CEO – testified to sharing important information on Signal.

Some of these texts have been presented as evidence during previous hearings. Furthermore, Ellison claimed that she and Singh started saving them when FTX started to go downhill. Bankman-Fried claimed that Signal was “for chatter, for conversation”.

He also stated that auto-deletion was removed “on any place I found it,” including Signal during the November 2022 collapse. This was followed by the former executive bringing up the group created during the “crisis period” with Can Sun and Ryne Miller – FTX General Counsel, and Brett Harrison – former FTX US President.

Cross-examination probes at Signal chats

Notably, the messaging app and the retention policy were the first topics grilled by the prosecutors. Upon being asked about the first discussion with lawyers about the auto-deletion of messages on Signal, SBF said it took place “shortly after” he began using the application.

However, he claimed that this discussion did not take place as a “formal policy.” He also claimed to not “recall the exact date” of when he enabled auto-delete. But when asked if he explicitly asked lawyers for a greenlight on auto-deletion, he responded that it was something they were aware of, while evading the question altogether.

Furthermore, SBF claimed that the document-retention policy covered aspects that “applied to Signal, but I don’t know that it singled out Signal as a platform.” However, when asked about whether the policy spoke about deleting or destroying company documents, he said,

“I remember my memory of the policy is it laid out various circumstances when it was not permissible or there needed to be a lengthy retention period for company communication”

He also agreed that he believed documents and communication that did not explicitly fall under the regulated category could be deleted. This, to him, was informal chats that were not related to formal business decisions. He also did not believe that the seven balance sheets shared by Ellison needed to be saved. He had remarked,

“A rough draft of that that was still being workshopped — I would not have considered that a formal business document.”

SBF struck by amnesia during cross-examination

Furthermore, Bankman-Fried also claimed to not “specifically recall” having a conversation with Ellison, Singh, and Wang. The conversation revolved around shutting down Alameda because of its billion-dollar hole. However, Ellison claimed that this move would be impossible as the firm would not be able to repay its debt to FTX.

SBF continued to use his “I do not recall” defense during cross-examination. Upon being questioned if he asked Friedberg or Miller if he could share business decisions on Signal, he said that there were conversations surrounding the sharing of spreadsheets, adding that they “were aware that would happen”. However, he does not recall if they specifically told him to retain only “formal business discussions”.

Interestingly, when asked, SBF admitted that he had no record of the FTX retention policy. He also claimed that there were numerous requests for the same. Post this, the prosecutor had also asked if he violated the retention policy. To this, he said, “I don’t have any knowledge that I did, but I am not looking at a copy of it so I don’t know precisely what it says”

SEC vs Ripple: The briefing schedule deadline is set. What happens next?

https://ambcrypto.com/sec-vs-ripple-the-briefing-schedule-deadline-is-set-what-happens-next/

  • XRP community speculates whether the SEC’s pending case against Ripple would result in a settlement or dismissal
  • The speculation comes as a District Court Judge sets 9 November as the deadline for the briefing schedule

The US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) case against Ripple continues to move forward. This was despite the regulatory body’s consecutive losses against the crypto firm. In the latest development, Judge Analisa Torres has given a briefing schedule deadline to both parties.

Still battling it out…

With the deadline set for 9 November 2023, both parties are required to “jointly propose a briefing schedule with regard to remedies, or, if the parties cannot agree, shall jointly request that the Court set a briefing schedule.”

The fresh order came a day after the court officially dropped all charges against Ripple’s Brad Garlinghouse and Chris Larsen. Judge Torres approved SEC’s move to dismiss charges against them for their alleged role in “aiding and abetting” the institutional sale of XRP.


Realistic or not, here’s XRP’s market cap in BTC terms


This officially vindicated Larsen and Garlinghouse of any wrongdoings in terms of securities law violations. Moreover, this also eliminated the need for holding a trial. Note that the trial was initially set to take place during the July 2023 verdict.

With the executives’ case dissolved, the case against the company’s role in the institutional sale of XRP, which the court deemed formed an investment contract, still stands. And, today’s (24 October) court order was pertaining to the action Ripple and SEC would take with regard to this matter. The order has some of the community members speculating a settlement, while some expressed opposing views and claimed a dismissal would be “even better“.

The court document shared by James K Filan – former Federal Prosecutor – read,

“with respect to the pending issue in the case what remedies are proper against Ripple for its Section 5 violations with respect to its Institutional Sales of XRP and respectfully request until November 9, 2023”

Loss against Ripple, win against LBRY

While the commission has seen nothing but utter defeat against Ripple, the situation seems to be quite the contrary in its case against LBRY. In the latest development, the distributed storage network for user-created media has voluntarily dismissed its appeal.

The September 2023 appeal was made with regard to the First Circuit Court’s verdict. This imposed a fine on the platform and barred it from participating in future offerings. The final judgement was made in the SEC’s case that claimed that the platform had violated securities law.

Notably, the case has even resulted in the platform winding down its business last week. In a blog post, LBRY said,

“LBRY Inc. has debts to the SEC, its legal team, and a private debtor that it cannot pay. Its assets, including Odysee, are being placed into receivership. As of this post, all LBRY executives, employees, and board members have resigned. All will be doing what is required to satisfy any outstanding legal requirements, but no more.”

Breaking: BTC crosses $34k as Blackrock’s Bitcoin spot ETF sees development

https://ambcrypto.com/breaking-btc-crosses-34k-as-blackrocks-bitcoin-spot-etf-sees-development/

  • Blackrock’s Bitcoin spot ETF gets a birth certificate while the company might seed with cash
  • Bitcoin (BTC) sees momentous surge in the market, with the king coin topping the $35,000 level today

The crypto market’s call for a spot Bitcoin ETF seems to only intensify with each passing day. Today’s spotlight is taken over by two prominent players in the Bitcoin spot ETF market, Blackrock and Grayscale. One has secured a win against the US Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC), while the other seems to be preparing for the launch of a spot Bitcoin ETF in full scale.

With these latest developments, Bitcoin (BTC) has seen a momentous rise in the market. The coin has gained over $3,000 in the last 24 hours, with its latest move seeing it breach the $34,000 level.

According to CoinMarketCap, at press time, BTC was trading at $33,120.55 with a market cap of over $650 billion. The coin has witnessed a gain of over 5% in the past hour, while its past 24-hour gain stood at over 11%. Meanwhile, the seven-day chart showed a rise of over 16.60%.

Around 4:00 (UTC+5:30), the coin skyrocketed past the $34,000 level, hitting a high of 35,000 on Coinbase, before retracting and now settling around the $33,300 level.

Source: TradingViewSource: TradingView

Source: TradingView

Blackrock’s Bitcoin spot ETF sees developments

The investment management giant seems to be preparing for the launch of its spot Bitcoin ETF as it has officially gained a birth certificate. According to Scott Johnsson – finance lawyer at – the latest iShares amendments have two important changes. The first is that that it has “obtained a CUSIP in prep for a launch,” while the second aspect is that the firm “may be looking to seed with cash this month.”

As explained by crypto netizen – CryptoMartyX, CUSIP stands for Committee on Uniform Securities Identification Procedures, a “unique identifier assigned ot securities,” like a birth certificate. This basically indicates that the company is preparing for the issuance and trade of a new security, and in the case of Blackrock, the new security could be a Bitcoin spot ETF.

As for the second aspect of seeding with cash, CryptoMartyX said,

“When a new ETF is created, it needs initial assets to operate before other investors start buying shares. The mention that they may be looking to seed with cash this month implies that BlackRock might be putting their own capital into the ETF to get it started. This action can also demonstrate confidence in the product.”

Subsequently, the iShares Bitcoin Trust has also been listed on the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC). Eric Balchunas – senior ETF analyst for Bloomberg – said,

The story is still developing…

Deal sealed: Judge approves SEC’s lawsuit dismissal against Ripple’s executives

https://ambcrypto.com/deal-sealed-judge-approves-secs-lawsuit-dismissal-against-ripples-executives/

  • The US court approves SEC’s decision to dismiss the case against Ripple’s Garlinghouse and Larsen
  • With this move, both executives are now “legally vindicated” of all charges in the SEC’s now-debunked ‘XRP is a security’ case

The case against Ripple’s top executives has finally come to an end today. The U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres in Manhattan has finally signed the order dismissing the case against Brad Gralinghouse and Chris Larsen, according to a document shared by James K. Filan. The court approval comes days after the SEC yielded against the pioneering crypto firm by dropping its lawsuit against its executives.

The court-approved dismissal paper said,

“IT IS NOW STIPULATED AND AGREED, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 41, by and between undersigned counsel, that the claims alleged by Plaintiff Securities and Exchange Commission against Defendants Bradley Garlinghouse and Christian A. Larsen (…) are hereby dismissed in their entirety, with prejudice and without costs or fees to either party.”


Is your portfolio green? Check the XRP Profit Calculator


Ripple’s Garlinghouse and Larsen “legally vindicated”

In a lawsuit launched in 2020, the US securities regulatory body claimed that Garlinghouse and Larsen had aided and abetted Ripple in committing securities violations. The SEC, in particular, held the two executives responsible for the $1.3 billion institutional sales of XRP, classifying that the crypto was security. However, this allegation along with the claims of XRP being a security was taken up to the courts, with Ripple only claiming victory so far.

In July 2023, the case on whether or not XRP was a security came to an end. The court deemed that XRP in and by itself was not a security. However, the court also deemed that XRP’s institutional sale formed an investment contract. This court decision gave Ripple its first big victory, despite being partial.

The verdict also saw several US-based crypto exchanges relisting the coin, after over two years of hiatus. Top crypto exchange – Coinbase took the lead by providing services for the coin again on the very same day of the court ruling.

Post this, the commission had filed for an interlocutory appeal, however, this too was lost in the courts, marking Ripple’s second victory against the SEC. The latest decision of the regulatory body to dismiss the case against Ripple’s top executives was proclaimed as a “surrender” by the firm.

In a press release, Larsen had stated that they were “legally vindicated and personally redeemed in our battle against a troubling attempt to abuse the rules.” He also said,

“While justice ultimately prevailed, the government’s actions that led to this point raise questions about the origin, and motivation of this lawsuit. It is an abuse by the administrative state that politically connected special interests, with clear and proven conflicts of interest, were able to drag our names through the mud in an attempt to ruin us personally and destroy a company (…)”

Breaking: US SEC drops case against Ripple’s Larsen and Garlinghouse

https://ambcrypto.com/breaking-us-sec-drops-case-against-ripples-larsen-and-garlinghouse-in-xrp-case/

In an unexpected move, the United States Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) has dismissed its case against Ripple’s top executives. The ones in the spotlight today are Brad Garlinghouse – the CEO of Ripple, and Chris Larsen – the co-founder of Ripple.

According to a filed document shared by James K Filan – former Federal Prosecutor, the SEC said,

“IT IS NOW STIPULATED AND AGREED (…) the claims alleged by Plaintiff Securities and Exchanges Commission against Defendants Bradley Garlinghouse and Christian A. Larsen, for aiding and abetting Defendant Ripple Labs, Inc.’s (“Ripple”) violations of Sections 5 of Securities Act…)

The story is still developing

SBF’s brand endorsements gain attention in latest hearing. Assessing…

https://ambcrypto.com/sbfs-brand-endorsements-gain-attention-in-latest-hearing-assessing/

  • SBF’s defense counsel tried to argue that the brand endorsements were not all bad for the exchange
  • The exchange’s former chief engineer had earlier remarked that Sam’s spending was “excessive”

The criminal trial against Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) continues in all its glory. 17 October started with the cross-examination of FTX’s former Chief Engineer — Nishad Singh. The hearing continues to spill details about SBF’s celebrity fascination, with Singh speaking about an investment in a “tequila brand owned by a famous celebrity.”

SBF’s counsel argues endorsements were good for FTX

The celebrity in question happens to be Kendall Jenner — a popular supermodel and Keeping Up with the Kardashians reality star. According to Reuters, Bankman-Fried had poured in a whopping $216 million in FTX’s customer funds to buy a stake in Jenner’s 818 tequila brand. The former CEO made the investment through a shell company when 818 was valued at $2.94 million.

Notably, over $1 billion of FTX’s funds was spent on celebrity endorsements and marketing, with Singh remarking that SBF’s spending behavior was “excessive”. Furthermore, today, 17 October, the defense counsel pushed back on this remark by claiming that these investments were not “reckless and frivolous”.

Defense lawyer – Mark Cohen – even asked Singh if he thought these endorsements could have been useful for FTX’s brand. To which, Singh stated that he “understood it had business costs and benefits”.

Furthermore, Singh also agreed that he initially believed that Alameda Research’s right to backstop some trades was to protect customer funds. According to Financial Times, he said, “My view at the time [was that] it would be helpful for customers.”

FTX’s bankruptcy proceedings make headway

While the criminal case against SBF continues to take the spotlight, the bankruptcy proceedings are making headway, subsequently. According to an announcement made on 16 October, the amended ‘Alameda Plan’ could see customers getting “90% of distributable value worldwide”. This was if it gets approved by the bankruptcy court. Moreover, the funds would be distributed to customers by the end of the second quarter of 2024.

The proposal also suggested the division of assets into three pools: FTX.US customers, FTX.com Customers, and a general pool of other assets. Customers of the US branch and the main branch can make claims from their respective exchange pools.

They would also be eligible for a “shortfall claim” from the general pool. This would “correspond to the estimated value of assets missing at their exchange,” with the shortfall for FTX being $8.9 billion and FTX.US being $166 million.

Moreover, the FTX debtors stated that customers from both exchanges may not get a full payment. Additionally, FTX.com users may take a bigger hit. It also said,

“Future recoveries for customers and non-customers will depend on many variables, including the resolution of tax and governmental claims, the FTX team’s on-going asset recovery efforts, the results of avoidance action and other litigation, the claims allowance process, the extent to which compliance with Know-Your-Customer procedures reduces the number of filed or accepted claims (…)”

Fantom Foundation and team reportedly lose millions due to Chrome exploit

https://ambcrypto.com/fantom-foundation-and-team-reportedly-lose-millions-due-to-chrome-exploit/

  • Fantom Foundation has incurred heavy losses due to a zero-day exploit on Chrome
  • The foundation’s telegram admin has claimed that the loss is under $1 million, while a team members has lost millions

Fantom Foundation – a developer group dedicated to building Fantom – reportedly fell victim to a hack earlier today. As per a message on Telegram, the hack was a result of a zero-day exploit on Chrome. This has resulted in losses amounting to “hundreds of thousands of dollars”.

The representative said,

“Was on an earlier version of chrome released on September 29, 2023, but that update was vulnerable to another one. A few days ago Chrome announced another version”


Read Fantom’s [FTM] Price Prediction 2023-24


A zero-day exploit was found and fixed by Google Chrome in September 2023. The exploit allows outside parties to run commands on devices remotely. Reported by Apple Security Engineering and Architecture (SEAR) and The Citizen Lab, the bug has been exploited widely. In accordance with this, users have been advised to update their browser version as anyone could fall victim to this hack.

Fantom: the new crypto victim of hack

While the exact amount lost due to this hack remains unknown, speculations have run amok on social media platforms. According to a pseudonymous X user – Spreek – the multiple wallets of Fantom Foundation were affected because of the exploit.

Along with this, some personal wallets of team members have also been affected. This was also stated by a Telegram administrator going by ‘CellarDoor99’, who said, “A non foundation wallet was compromised with the foundations wallets… Foundations losses are under a million. In the hundreds of thousands The non foundation wallet had a bit more in it”

Moreover, one team member has lost money to the scope of $3.4 million, with the hacker taking home a whopping $6.7 million. The collective money in the hacker’s account is 4,501.58 ETH, which is $7 million. The Fantom Foundation team has not released an official statement on the attack, however, the Telegram team claimed that it would released soon.

Notably, the telegram administrator of Fantom Foundation – Jane – assured that most of the funds are stored in their cold wallets. The money that was drained was from one of their hot wallets. The representative also stated that the team was actively investigating the matter, further adding that TRM Labs – a blockchain intelligence firm – joined their efforts.

The news of a hack has had little to no effect on the price of Fantom (FTM). According to CoinMarketCap, at press time, the price of the token was $0.1779 and had a market cap of over $498 million. The coin had not had a significant price shift in the past hour but did register a loss of over 4% in the past 24 hours. However, this loss was also noted in the wider crypto market, with some alts shedding value by over 6% in the past day.