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Early Ethereum Advisor Allegedly Being Targeted By FBI
Steven Nerayoff, who served as an early adviser to the Ethereum (ETH) network, has recently made some serious accusations against U.S. law enforcement and regulatory bodies. Nerayoff alleges systemic corruption within these agencies, citing his own three and a half year legal battle with the DOJ, SEC, and FBI, accusing them of fabricating charges against him.
In a direct response to Senator Warren, Nerayoff advocates for robust crypto regulations but highlights his prosecution as a victim of government pressure due to his knowledge of high level SEC corruption. He claims to have been coerced into revealing information about other crypto players, resisting the demand.
The legal battle, initially involving extortion charges related to a 2017 ICO, ended with the dismissal of criminal charges in May 2023. His defense portrayed him as a target for insider knowledge, accusing the FBI, DOJ, and SEC of collaborating to exploit industry connections. Nerayoff firmly believes his case being dismissed is indicative of the apparent fact that the aforementioned agencies are indeed guilty and have colluded to fabricate charges against him.
More than meets the eye
Despite the seriousness of the citation, in an astonishing turn of events, a New York judge dismissed the criminal extortion charges against Steven back in May of this year, bringing his multi year long legal battle to a close. This dismissal came shortly after federal prosecutors admitted to acquiring exculpatory evidence and admitting they were unable to prove the charges beyond any reasonable doubt.
As of this moment, the claims made by Steven are rapidly gaining momentum with Nerayoff recently revealing an SEC letter admitting the discovery of over 14 gigabytes of relevant data, contradicting earlier denials. This, coupled with delayed responses, fuels allegations of misconduct. Notably, Nerayoff is also preparing fraud charges against Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin and Joseph Lubin after a 2015 revelation.
CrvUSD Introduces New Proposal To Try And Restore $1 Peg
The Curve community is presently engaged in voting on a proposal aimed at increasing interest rates for its decentralized stablecoin, CrvUSD, in an effort to restore its peg. CrvUSD is currently the 16th biggest stablecoin with a $156 million market cap.
A stablecoin is a cryptocurrency whose value is supposed to be pegged to a reference asset, which could be fiat currency, exchange-traded commodities like precious metals, or another cryptocurrency.
Increasing interest rates
The proposal, initiated on November 21st, suggests elevating the interest rate multiplier of the protocol for both ETH and BTC tokens as well as for staked ETH. The anticipated outcome is a range of borrowing rates between 0.1% and 15% for staked ETH and between 0.07% and 11% for ETH and BTC.
This adjustment is intended to counteract crvUSD's price decline that CrvUSD has been experiencing when it headed towards $0.99 earlier in November, with the goal of pushing it back to $1. The recent trading value of the token was $0.9927. The voting process began two days ago and will continue until November 28th. As of now, the proposal has received unanimous support, although the number of votes is limited.
The proposal coincides with changes in the decentralized stablecoin sector. DAI, previously the third largest stablecoin with a $5.3 billion market cap, has faced criticism for its reliance on centralized collateral assets, creating opportunities for other stablecoins with decentralized backing. Curve introduced CrvUSD back in May, allowing users to mint the token against assets deposited in the protocol.
Aave also entered the arena with its GHO stablecoin in July, enabling users to mint the token against deposits. However, any chances of adopting GHO were hindered by poor price performance, trading near $0.96 in recent weeks. Other stablecoins like FRAX, LUSD, mkUSD, and ALUSD are also part of the decentralized stablecoin landscape, each facing unique challenges and opportunities.
Jack Dorsey Gets Rid Of Performance Reviews And Names New CTO
In an effort to reshape the company culture, Block Inc CEO Jack Dorsey has introduced a novel approach to performance management and appointed a new CTO (Chief Technology Officer). The company intends to eliminate the practice of conducting annual performance reviews and implementing PIPs (Performance Improvement Plans).
Time to step up
Dorsey communicated his objective to cultivate a culture of excellence at Block through a staff memo. Following the upcoming review cycle, the company will abandon its customary annual assessments for employees. Jack has also named Dhanji Prasanna, a seasoned professional at Block and the current Chief Scientist, as the new CTO.
This decision follows the recent announcement made by Dorsey regarding an anticipated 10% reduction in the workforce over the next few months. Instead of annual reviews, regular employee evaluations will take precedence, aiming to dispel the perception that Block allows its workforce to rest and vest throughout the company, according to Dorsey. Employees falling short of expectations may face immediate dismissal, bypassing formal feedback or performance enhancement strategies.
Fairness is key
Beginning next year, Block will introduce performance ratings categorizing employees as meet, exceed, or fall below, with each employee having access to their respective rating. Dorsey believes this shall facilitate a fair two-way conversation which holds everyone accountable to always raising the bar.
These modifications come at a time when Block has demonstrated outstanding performance in the market. The company witnessed a 37.5% growth in Bitcoin revenue, reaching $2.42 billion compared to the previous year, and generated a gross profit of $44 million through Bitcoin in Q3. This exceptional performance led to a substantial increase in the share price of the company.
Everything You Need To Know About The New Binance CEO
Singaporean industry veteran Richard Teng, recruited by Binance in 2021 to enhance its global compliance efforts, has assumed the role of CEO (Chief Executive Officer) at the largest crypto exchange in the world, succeeding Changpeng Zhao (CZ) who recently resigned.
Zhao, stepping down as CEO, endorsed Teng as a highly qualified leader and expressed confidence that he would steer Binance through its next phase of growth, emphasizing the commitment to security, transparency, compliance, and overall expansion.
A wise choice
Teng initially joined Binance as the CEO of Binance Singapore and, most recently in May this year, took on the position of head of regional markets, following roles such as head of MENA. Binance made a statement which highlighted the various responsibilities Richard had in terms of covering the MENA and European regions and eventually overseeing all regions outside of the United States.
Before his tenure at Binance, Teng served as the CEO of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority at Abu Dhabi Global Market and as the Chief Regulatory Officer at SGX, leading the regulation division overseeing policy frameworks related to listing, trading, and clearing activities.
Working alongside regulators
Teng has extensive regulatory experience that spans 13 years at the MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore), where he held many roles including Director of Corporate Finance. During his time at MAS, he played a significant role in regulatory matters across banking, insurance, and capital market segments, contributing to the rapid transformation of the financial services sector in Singapore.
In a statement on X, Teng expressed his commitment to leveraging his three decades of financial services and regulatory experience to guide his new team, emphasizing a focus on ensuring that users remain confident in the financial strength, security, and safety that Binance provides. He also emphasized collaboration with regulators to maintain globally high standards that encourage innovation while ensuring consumer protections.
Crypto Crackdown Continues As Kraken Gets Targeted By The SEC
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has initiated legal action against the cryptocurrency exchange known as Kraken. The regulatory agency filed a lawsuit, asserting that Kraken engaged in running an online crypto trading platform without registering with the institution beforehand.
The lawsuit, directed at Payward Inc., which is commonly referred to as Kraken, and Payward Ventures Inc., contends that Kraken operated an online trading platform for buying and selling crypto assets since 2013. The SEC claims that many of these assets were investment contracts under U.S. securities laws.
According to court documents, Kraken functioned as a broker, dealer, exchange, and clearing house for these crypto asset securities without SEC registration. This led to the accumulation of substantial fees and trading revenue, bypassing compliance with U.S. securities laws designed to safeguard investors.
In response to the allegations levied against it, Kraken insists that these claims are baseless and that despite what has been said, the exchange has always prioritized the safety and satisfaction of the customers above all else. Kraken stated that it intends to vigorously defend its position as one of the top exchanges in the United States.
Bad to worse
The SEC further alleges that the aforementioned business practices, inadequate internal controls, and deficient record-keeping pose additional risks. For instance, Kraken reportedly held over $33 billion worth of customer crypto assets at times, commingling them with its own assets, creating a significant risk of loss for customers.
The agency asserts that Kraken also held over $5 billion in cash on behalf of customers, occasionally blending it with its own cash. Notably, Kraken allegedly covered operational expenses directly via bank accounts containing customer cash.
In addition, the legal case is grounded in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, enacted to regulate national securities markets. The SEC contends that the activities of Kraken fall within the purview of U.S. securities laws due to its operation of a platform where crypto assets are offered and sold as investment contracts.
Binance Must Pay $4 Billion To End Criminal Case
United States authorities are reportedly pressing for $4 billion as part of a resolution for the criminal case involving Binance, the biggest crypto exchange in the world. Charges are anticipated for Binance and its founder, Changpeng Zhao (CZ), with experts believing that a final decision is likely before this month concludes.
Following the announcement, the value of Binance Coin (BNB) surged by more than 7%, reaching its highest point since June. Nevertheless, it remains notably below its peak in May 2021.
A necessary compromise
In ongoing negotiations between Binance and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), it is being considered that CZ might face criminal accusations in the US as a part of a settlement to address allegations related to money laundering, bank fraud, and sanctions violations.
Although Zhao is presently residing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which lacks an extradition agreement with the United States, he could still voluntarily appear in the US. The demand by the DOJ amounts to over $4 billion, potentially resulting in one of the largest settlements in the crypto realm. While facing the prospect of criminal prosecution, an agreement might permit Binance to sustain its operations in the US, averting significant disruptions in the market.
A case for the history books
If finalized, this settlement could rank among the most substantial in the entire history of the cryptocurrency industry. As of now, Binance is yet to provide a response, but various industry analysts view the ongoing situation as an opportunity for the exchange to enhance compliance and foster investor friendly practices.
In addition, the development follows a recent conviction related to cryptocurrency fraud in which, notably, the accused was also residing in the UAE, with no extradition ties to the US. This adds a unique dimension to the case involving Binance as it is largely distinct compared to other lawsuits filed by US regulators against the exchange in the past.
Atomic Wallet Tries Repelling Lawsuit By Citing Lack Of US Ties
As the crypto industry continues to grow, the number of hacks and other digital exploits has also increased over time. The Atomic Wallet company is no exception, and it has now reportedly urged a U.S. court to dismiss a class action lawsuit seeking compensation for a $100 million hack.
Location is key
The Estonian firm contends that the claims should have been filed in Estonia, its home country, emphasizing its lack of U.S. connections. In a motion for dismissal filed on November 16th, 2023, in a Colorado District Court, Atomic argued that its end-user license agreement mandates litigation to occur in Estonia.
Atomic further pointed out that the approximately 5,500 affected users had agreed to its terms of service, explicitly disclaiming liability for losses resulting via theft and capping damages at $50 per user. Additionally, the company asserted that only one user in Colorado was purportedly impacted.
Not a simple matter
The company challenged the legal merit of negligence claims, asserting that there was no established legal duty for them to maintain the security of Atomic Wallet and protect against hacking. Company representatives also highlighted that similar claims had been rejected by the court previously, as Colorado does not recognize such a duty.
In addition, the Estonian-based wallet provider refuted allegations of fraudulent misrepresentation. The class action was initiated in August, two months after the $100 million exploit on Atomic Wallet took place, impacting around over 5,000 users as previously mentioned. Both North Korean and Ukrainian groups were implicated in the attack, however definitive proof has yet to be unveiled. Atomic Wallet customers are also becoming very impatient thanks to the lack of regular updates.
Argentina Will Have A New Bitcoin Friendly President
In a historic triumph, Javier Milei has secured the presidential seat in Argentina, indicating a potential significant change in the economic landscape of the nation going forward. Milei, renowned for fervently supporting Bitcoin and strongly criticizing central banks, has injected a wave of optimism into the cryptocurrency market. Following the announcement of his victory, BTC experienced an immediate increase, rising by 2% to reach over $37,300.
Time for a change
The success experienced by Milei in the elections reflects the increasing dissatisfaction that Argentina has with conventional financial institutions, amidst the country grappling with one of the highest inflation rates worldwide. His outspoken opposition to central banks, which he outright labels as a scam, and his advocacy for transferring financial authority to the private sector through cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin resonated with a significant portion of the voting population.
Provisional results indicate that Milei secured more than 55% of the votes, representing a clear mandate by the Argentine public. His primary competitor, Sergio Massa, conceded the run-off vote prior to the official results being declared. This victory is particularly noteworthy as it signifies a remarkable ascent for Milei, a former television commentator and political outsider who vowed to break up with the status quo.
A need to be independent
One of the most ambitious campaign pledges that Milei put forward is to dollarize Argentina, where the dominant currency would be USD. If implemented, this action would be unprecedented for a country of this scale, effectively relinquishing control of its monetary policy to decision-makers in the United States. This proposal underscores the commitment that Milei has to radical economic reforms, including a potential shift towards cryptocurrencies.
At any rate, the election may very well usher in a new era for Argentina, where the adoption of digital currencies may emerge as a fundamental aspect of its economic policy. The global financial community is closely monitoring this shift, as it could establish a precedent for nations dealing with high inflation and skepticism towards traditional banking systems, potentially turning to decentralized digital currencies for stability and progress.
As Argentina embarks on this transformative path with a pro-Bitcoin leader at the helm, the world observes with keen interest to witness the unfolding of this daring experiment in national economic reform.
Crypto Fundraising November 14 - 20
On behalf of the hashtagWeb3 community, we would like to extend our warmest congratulations to the companies that announced their success in fundraising between 14th November and 20th November 2023. We are thrilled to see such tremendous support from all involved. Well done!
Fnality International raised $145M - Fnality International started its life as a pure research project to better understand how DLT could change financial markets.
BC Tech Group raised $90.91M - This strategic transaction is a testament to OSL's unwavering commitment to setting new standards in digital asset security, compliance, and technological innovation.
Kakarot zkEVM raised an undisclosed amount - The primary objective of this funding is to grow KakarotZkEvmteam and speed up the development of Ethereum scaling solutions.
Baton raised $4.2M - The investment will go toward hiring several engineering, product and marketing roles, as well as allow Baton to develop a mixed-media collaboration and rights management ecosystem for visual artists, filmmakers and designers.
EthXY raised $1.6M - EthXY have implemented various innovations that make using Base as seamless as chatting on Telegram. For the user, they're simply interacting with the chat, while underneath the service, they're conducting all their games on-chain.
SteakHut Finance raised an undisclosed amount - The funding will help SteakHut launch and scale the growth of the upcoming decentralised market-making platform.
Arkham raised an undisclosed amount -  The company has closed $12 million in funding, and plans to exit beta and launch publicly by the end of 2023.
Kinto raised $5M - The Kinto network features native know-your-customer (KYC) checks &ndash a type of anti-money-laundering prevention.
Uniblock raised $2.3M - Uniblock's goal is to be the default developer platform that companies use when building for the blockchain.
beoble raised $2M - Beoble asserts that the messaging platform will offer advanced end-to-end encryption and secure wallet-to-wallet communication for decentralized connectivity.
Superstate raised $18M - Superstate is a blockchain-based government bond fund, using the Ethereum blockchain as a secondary record-keeping tool.
Sei raised an undisclosed amount- Sei, the first layer 1 blockchain optimized for DeFi, announced a $5 million funding round led by Multicoin Capital with participation from.
CFX Labs raised $9.5M- CFX Labs's funding round will provide resources to expand its network reach and continued development of innovative technologies supporting international payments.
To stay updated with news about future Web3 Funding Rounds, Follow CryptoWeekly
Fidelity Files Ethereum Spot ETF Application To Compete With BlackRock
Fidelity Investments officially submitted a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on November 17th, seeking approval for an Ethereum exchange-traded fund (ETF). Cboe BZX, in turn, filed a 19b-4 document outlining a proposed rule change to list and trade shares of the planned fund. Fidelity previously submitted an application for a spot Bitcoin ETF to the SEC in late June.
The race is on
In a similar vein, BlackRock, the main competitor to Fidelity, recently filed an S-1 document for its spot Ethereum ETF on November 15th, following its spot Bitcoin ETF application in June. The near-simultaneous submissions by these asset management giants may be attributed to their significant market standing.
BlackRock holds the position of the largest asset manager worldwide with $9 trillion in assets under management (AUM), while Fidelity ranks as the third biggest with $4.2 trillion in AUM. Various other asset managers have also presented applications for spot Bitcoin and spot Ethereum ETFs after these high-profile submissions. The SEC is anticipated to make a decision on a Bitcoin ETF by January 10th, 2024, particularly regarding the application submitted by ARK Invest earlier in May.
All eyes on the SEC
While the SEC evaluates both spot Ethereum ETFs and spot Bitcoin ETFs separately, approval of one type of fund could set the stage for the other. It is worth noting that the SEC has not yet greenlit any Bitcoin or Ethereum spot ETFs, but it has approved futures ETFs for both types in recent months and years.
Following these developments, ETH experienced a slight increase in price and volume, gaining approximately 0.5%. Despite major Wall Street companies sequentially applying for spot Ethereum ETFs, the SEC has yet to reach a decision on spot Bitcoin ETFs.
In related news, the SEC has postponed two different Bitcoin ETF applications, including the Global X Spot BTC ETF, which had not reached its final decision date. Various analysts suggest that if Bitcoin ETFs gain approval, the likelihood of approval for Ethereum ETFs is strong.
Cardano Founder Wants To Work With Former OpenAI CEO
Charles Hoskinson recently extended a friendly gesture to former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman on the X platform, openly inviting him to explore the prospect of collaborating on a decentralized Large Language Model (LLM) for a Cardano PartnerChain.
This unexpected partnership could unite the innovative minds of two prominent figures in the computing realm. At any rate, a potential collaboration between Cardano and Altman could lead to the creation of a groundbreaking platform surpassing conventional centralized AI models.
A rude awakening
It is noteworthy that this invitation follows closely on the heels of OpenAI announcing that Sam Altman was indeed fired before anointing Mira Murati as interim CEO. Sam being fired was extremely surprising, but experts believe that the departure was largely attributed to a lack of transparency in his actions and a conflict with the Board of Directors. Sam has also hinted at potential consequences if the conflict worsens.
Furthermore, the departure of three key researchers, namely Jakub Pachocki, Aleksander Madry, and Szymon Sidor, in addition to Altman being fired and President Greg Brockman resigning, has added plenty of tension and complexity to the recent upheaval at OpenAI, hinting at internal challenges. This instability coincides with significant leadership changes at the company, prompting concerns about the future direction of the influential AI developer.
While the reasons behind these departures and changes in OpenAI leadership remain unknown, they could influence key strategic decisions and research pursuits going forward. Altman and Brockman expressed surprise and discontent with the aforementioned decision, and Sam likened the experience to reading your eulogy while you are still alive.
Cardano, a blockchain platform known for its commitment to robust technology and decentralized applications, has been gaining plenty of attention in the crypto market. As such, Hoskinson inviting Altman into the world of DeFi reflects how Cardano is striving to push the boundaries of innovation in the technology sector.
Even in the realm of AI, the concept of a decentralized LLM aligns with what Cardano wants to achieve in terms of creating sustainable and scalable solutions. A decentralized LLM also signifies a fundamental shift in AI research and utilization, potentially offering enhanced security, transparency, and accessibility through blockchain technology.
Germany Should Make BTC Legal Tender, According To Local Parliament Member
In a significant development with potential ramifications for the cryptocurrency landscape, German legislator Joana Cotar is reportedly leading an effort to designate Bitcoin (BTC) as an official currency in the country. As of now, El Salvador and the Central African Republic (CAR) are the only nations to have made BTC legal tender.
Bitcoin in the Bundestag
Cotar, a member of the German Bundestag, aims to commence a preliminary examination to establish a legal framework acknowledging Bitcoin as an official medium of exchange in Germany. Stressing the importance of legal certainty for both businesses and individuals, she also addresses potential risks linked to Bitcoin, including money laundering, tax evasion, and various other illicit activities.
As part of her awareness-raising campaign within the parliament, Cotar has launched the Bitcoin in the Bundestag initiative. Her key focus areas encompass advocating for the numerous features that Bitcoin has, including but not limited to freedom, privacy protection, security standards, and prevention of excessive regulation.
Bitcoin takes priority
Despite there being so many cryptocurrencies, Cotar is exclusively interested in Bitcoin and has outlined plans to establish a formal Bundestag committee to delve into the technological distinctions between Bitcoin and other digital assets. Known for her harsh criticism of the CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency) plans put forth by the European Central Bank, Cotar decided to add her perspective to the ongoing discourse on digital currencies and payments in Europe.
At any rate, Cotar pushing for Bitcoin to attain legal tender status in Germany occurs amid a global conversation on the role of cryptocurrencies in mainstream finance. Her specific emphasis on Bitcoin, to the exclusion of other cryptocurrencies, aligns with the viewpoint of many advocates who see Bitcoin as the most promising digital asset in terms of being both a valuable investment and long term source of storage.