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SEC Request For Inspection Of Binance US Documents Gets Rejected
Binance US has been under the spotlight ever since the United States Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) initiated legal action against it. This legal battle resulted in a decline in trading volume for the firm and significant departures.
In the midst of the ongoing drama, the crypto exchange successfully defended itself against the SEC on September 18th, 2023. The SEC had previously requested an investigation into Binance US, alleging that the custody platform Ceffu was closely linked to Binance and used to transfer the funds of US customers overseas, thus violating their prior agreement.
The SEC specifically sought access to the records and communications of Binance US with its wallet custody service providers. In response to these developments, the crypto exchange argued that the request was excessive, unnecessary, and inconvenient.
Ultimately, District Judge Zia Faruqui denied the request for an inspection. However, the court did instruct the crypto exchange to provide additional documentation and expressed doubts about whether Binance US was indeed in control of its assets.
Tokenization Continues To Revolutionize The World
The Boston Consulting Group predicts that the tokenization of tangible assets could emerge as a $16 trillion industry in the near future. However, its influence extends beyond mere financial statistics and can offer novel solutions to real-world challenges, particularly benefiting individuals in developing nations.
During a panel moderated by Kristina Lucrezia Cornèr at the Swiss Web3 Fest, numerous industry professionals provided insights into the practical application of tokenization to real world assets, showcasing its potential to enable unprecedented solutions.
Tokenization Could Be The Answer
Christoph Mussenbrock, representing the decentralized insurance protocol Etherisc, discussed how tokenization solutions can positively impact agricultural production. He highlighted that Kenyan farmers now receive prompt payouts, even if their yields fall short of expectations, in stark contrast to the traditional insurance sector, where waiting periods of up to six months prevail. Such delays can often significantly jeopardize the livelihoods of families.
According to Mussenbrock, traditional insurance companies are increasingly seeking on-chain solutions, marking a significant shift in the industry. He emphasized that this transition is already underway.
Stephan Rind, a member of the BrickMark Group, similarly highlighted how asset tokenization can grant access to financial products that are currently inaccessible to the majority, thus contributing to bridging wealth disparities. Rind stressed the potential for financial inclusion, democratization of capital, and the tokenization of a wide array of assets in various categories, be it real estate or livestock.
A Bright Future
Carlos Mazzi, representing Finka, recounted the experience of tokenizing La Pradera, a 3,000 hectare cattle ranch in Bolivia housing over 3,500 cows. They tokenized the value creation process, converting grass into protein and eventually cash. Mazzi acknowledged the challenges in achieving this, including financial engineering and legal frameworks. However, he noted that market adoption has been slower than expected, attributing it to systemic issues.
Moreover, Rind expressed confidence that central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) will surpass adoption hurdles. He believes CBDCs will provide wallets to billions worldwide, and regulatory changes will facilitate more capital flowing into asset tokenization.
Jose Fernandez, representing Tokengate, also shared an optimistic perspective, predicting that within a decade, most individuals will engage with tokens daily, whether they are consciously aware of it or not. In any case, the world is certainly changing and tokenization will play a huge part in that paradigm shift going forward.
Changpeng Zhao Unveils New CEO As Shroder Leaves
Following the departure of Binance US CEO Brian Shroder, there has been significant apprehension surrounding the legal challenges plaguing the company in the United States.
The SEC recently accused Binance US of refusing to cooperate in a comprehensive investigation. Federal regulators were mostly concerned about Ceffu, a custody service linked to Binance US. Ceffu emphasized its independence however, stating that it has always functioned as a completely separate wallet solution provided to institutional clients.
Breaking his silence on the matter, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) responded to the recent speculations. CZ acknowledged the recent leadership changes within the American branch of the exchange and expressed his belief that Shroder deserved a break following his notable contributions to the company.
CZ extended his gratitude to Shroder for his service and refuted allegations that he left his position to evade the legal issues facing the company. Nevertheless, CZ announced the appointment of Norman Reed, presently serving as the interim CEO, as the new official CEO of Binance US.
CZ also attributed this decision to the evolving landscape of the crypto industry, emphasizing the increasingly stringent regulatory environment. He highlighted the previous roles Reed held at the SEC, New York FED, Ripple, and DTCC, affirming his suitability for the role.
Despite all the controversy surrounding Binance, which continues to be the largest crypto exchange in the world, CZ urged everyone to disregard the recent fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) and encouraged ongoing global development while adhering to the necessary regulations.
Cardano Introduces Game Changing Staking Feature
Staking plays a pivotal role in fostering decentralization within the cryptocurrency industry, and Cardano looks to be at the forefront of this movement as one of its early adopters.
With more than 1.3 million stakers on the network, the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) chain and its ecosystem are continuously innovating to enhance the accessibility and decentralization of network participation and staking.
The latest addition to Cardano is a unique feature provided via Lace Wallet, namely multi-pool delegation.
Using a distinctive approach, Lace Wallet generates multiple stake keys within the same account, creating a fresh address for each pool with a predefined amount of ADA tokens the user wishes to stake. This allows ADA holders to simultaneously stake their tokens in up to five distinct pools, thereby diversifying their stake across various Stake Pool Operators (SPOs) within the Cardano network.
This move fosters a more decentralized network with a wider array of block creators. From the perspective of SPOs, the new feature grants them the ability to attract more users, as they are no longer constrained to support just one pool.
Initially, users can select a fixed ratio for distributing their stake among these five pools. However, Lace Wallet has indicated that this ratio may be subject to adjustment in future updates.
Regardless, the feature plays a crucial role in promoting true decentralization. By allowing ADA holders to stake their tokens across multiple SPOs, Cardano aims to mitigate the risk of centralization while providing a more widely distributed network, one which aligns with the overall core vision of Cardano.
3AC Founders Hit With Whopping 9 Year Ban In Singapore
The founders of Three Arrows Capital (3AC) have been handed a 9 year trading ban by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). According to the MAS, this order restricts the founders from engaging in the management, direction, or ownership of any registered capital markets services firm within the country.
Tthe MAS had rebuked 3AC in June 2022 for providing false information to the regulator. Now however, the MAS revealed that it had conducted further investigations into the company and its founders, revealing additional violations of its regulations spanning from August 2020 to January 2022.
These infractions pertain to the delayed notification to the MAS regarding the appointment of Mr. Cheong Jun Yoong Arthur as a portfolio manager and the failure to establish an adequate risk management framework for identifying, monitoring, and addressing risks related to crypto and digital asset investments under their management.
Ms. Loo Siew Yee, an assistant managing director at the MAS, emphasized that robust risk management measures must be implemented to safeguard investors and their interests. The MAS will also take measures to remove senior managers who engage in any kind of misconduct, she added.
Users Can Now Pay With Crypto Via PayPal
Global online payment giant PayPal has introduced a novel capability enabling Web3 merchants in the United States to accept cryptocurrency payments from their clientele.
Aptly named PayPal On and Off Ramps, this feature represents an integration with the preexisting services already provided by PayPal, which permits US consumers to engage in the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies endorsed by the payment processor.
The new feature reportedly facilitates the integration of wallets, dApps, and NFT marketplaces within PayPal, furnishing customers with a swift and seamless avenue for crypto transactions within the US. This feature also capitalizes on the robust fraud management, chargeback mechanisms, and dispute security controls and tools provided by the company.
According to PayPal crypto wallet users in the US can directly convert their cryptocurrency holdings into USD, which can be utilized for shopping, sending funds, saving, or transferring to their bank accounts or debit cards.
PayPal On and Off Ramps is now accessible to Web3 merchants and is compatible with MetaMask, one of the most widely used cryptocurrency wallets and browser extensions.
Crypto Fundraising September 5 - 11
On behalf of the Web3 community, we would like to extend our warmest congratulations to the companies that announced their success in fundraising between 5th September and 11th September 2023. We are thrilled to see such tremendous support from all involved. Well done!
Animoca Brands Secures $20M Funding for its Innovative Mocaverse Project
Animoca Brands secures $20M for Mocaverse, backed by top Web3 investors. Dive into their vision for the future of NFTs and blockchain gaming.
Helix, a startup incubated by Singapore-based private credit business Helicap, raised $2 million in pre-seed funding for its real-world assets protocol.
Truflation raised an undiscloed amount, enters the scene as an onchain financial oracle, providing automated and unbiased daily inflation reports, including the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
OpenCover raised $4.6mn introduces a groundbreaking concept as the first Layer-2 (L2) insurance aggregator, collaborating with underwriters like Nexus Mutual.
Onboard raised $1.9mn provides an on-chain, self-custodial solution for users to onramp and offramp crypto assets. Their platform relies on Multi-Party Computation (MPC) wallets and smart contracts.
BSX aims raised an undisclosed amount to democratize onchain trading with its decentralized limit order book. Users can engage in both long and short positions with leverage.
Avantis Education raised an undisclosed amount is a decentralized leverage trading platform for cryptocurrencies and forex. One big area of innovation here is introducing dynamic risk management for liquidity providers via tranches.
GAM3S.GG raised $2mn with an aim to continue evolution as home of web3 gaming with exciting upcoming features, and being trusted compass in this new gaming frontier.
Brine.fi, raised $16.5mn is powered by Ethereum scaling system StarkWare, is a non-custodial, decentralized orderbook that allows privacy for trading positions via so-called zero-knowledge proofs.
Zeebu raised $7mn, the innovative blockchain-based settlement platform for the telecom carrier industry, has successfully raised $25 million in a presale funding round, surpassing its hard cap target of $15 million.
Paragraph raised an undisclosed amount, is a publishing platform that helps web3 writers, DAOs and NFT communities monetize their content through an all-in-one newsletter service.
LeverFi raised $5mn, is a Developer of decentralized leverage trading platform intended to provide users with the ability to trade with leverage permissionless and transparent platform
Trident raised $8mn, will launch with a yield product that ties yields to the risk-free rate while ensuring treasuries physically back any deposits.
To stay updated with news about future Web3 Funding Rounds, Follow CryptoWeekly
Senator Emmer Lambastes SEC And Gary Gensler For Abusing Power
U.S. Senator Tom Emmer, a Minnesota Republican and U.S. House Majority Representative, has initiated a fresh effort to diminish the influence of the SEC within the crypto sector.
Emmer has therefore introduced an amendment as part of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2024. This amendment seeks to limit the allocation of resources by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for enforcing regulations on digital assets until comprehensive guidelines are established.
The goal behind this change is to prevent the SEC from utilizing taxpayer funds as a tool against the crypto industry, as stated by Emmer. He criticized SEC Chairman Gary Gensler for what he perceived as an abuse of authority to expand his influence at the expense of the American people.
Emmer also stressed the need for Congress to utilize various tools, including the appropriations process, to prevent Gensler from using additional taxpayer funds in this manner. Consequently, he intends to sponsor an appropriations amendment that places restrictions on the allocation of funds that the SEC may use to enforce digital asset regulations until clear and definitive rules are implemented.
Emmer is known for his strong advocacy of regulatory transparency and innovation in the crypto space. He has previously co-sponsored multiple bills with the aim of enhancing transparency and safeguarding consumers in the digital asset market, including the Blockchain Regulatory Clarity Act, the Securities Clarity Act, and the Removing Barriers to Innovation Act.
Massive Phishing Scam Occurs As Vitalik Buterin Sees His X Account Get Hacked
On September 9th, 2023, cyber attackers directed their efforts towards the Twitter account of Vitalik Buterin, one of the co-founders of Ethereum. They employed a deceptive tactic, sharing a fraudulent ConsenSys link, which resulted in the theft of nearly $700,000.
Dmitry Buterin, the father of Vitalik, confirmed the security breach and noted that his son was actively working to regain control of the account. The deceptive post, which lured in many followers, contained a misleading link.
This link was accompanied by a message announcing the release of a commemorative NFT by ConsenSys, celebrating the introduction of the latest Ethereum feature, Proto-Danksharding. Consequently, users were enticed to click on the link in anticipation of receiving a free NFT, only to fall into a trap.
What made matters worse was the apparent authenticity of the message, as it appeared to originate via a verified account. Tragically, those who fell for the ruse and clicked on the link ended up losing their valuable NFTs. In any case, many called the security of the social media platform into question following the incident.
Additional Security Needed
The hackers executed their scheme in a simple yet effective manner, as the deceitful link granted them access to the wallets of unsuspecting followers, resulting in significant NFT asset losses. In particular, Ethereum developer BookyPooBah suffered the loss of two notable CryptoPunks, namely 3983 and 1751, along with other NFTs such as Milady 4755, Meebit 9965, and Meridian 918.
On-chain analyst ZachXBT estimated the total value of the stolen assets at approximately $691,000. More importantly, this incident highlights a growing concern surrounding the surge in phishing scams on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter, which has witnessed a troubling increase throughout the year.
Prominent figures in the cryptocurrency community, including ZachXBT and even Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, have voiced their mounting concerns about the proliferation of these cybercrimes. They emphasize that wrongdoers frequently deploy verified bots and strategically target influential accounts to disseminate their fraudulent links. During a previous incident in July, hackers infiltrated the accounts of notable individuals, including Uniswap founder Hayden Adams and the blockchain network Aptos. In a separate case, it was reported that one crypto enthusiast suffered a staggering loss of $24 million due to a similar phishing scheme.
In response to this alarming trend, Zhao called on the online community to exercise caution and suggested that additional features must be implemented as soon as possible, such as two-factor authentication (2FA) and separate login IDs besides handles or emails. He pointed out that he had faced multiple instances of his Twitter account being locked due to hackers attempting to brute-force it by repeatedly trying different passwords.
Inaugural Spot Ethereum ETF Filed For By ARK Invest
ARK Invest and 21Shares have submitted a request for regulatory authorization regarding an ETF (Exchange-Traded Fund) designed to directly hold Ether (ETH). This petition was recently disclosed in a submission to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The Ark 21Shares Ethereum ETF represents the inaugural endeavor to introduce such a fund in the United States, one that directly invests in ETH, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.
The custody of assets for this ETF would be entrusted to the Coinbase Custody Trust Company. Upon the release of this news, Ether and Bitcoin (BTC) initially experienced price surges, but these gains were short-lived, with both cryptocurrencies subsequently returning to their pre-filing levels.
This submission follows a series of applications for a highly sought-after Bitcoin ETF, including a collaborative effort by Ark and 21Shares. Last week, the SEC postponed its decision on all these applications.
Furthermore, this development precedes the anticipated SEC approval of the initial futures-based Ether ETF. The impending decision by the regulatory agency on this matter is projected to be reached on or before mid-October.
Going forward, the industry is likely to advocate for more crypto ETFs, drawing inspiration from the recent legal victory secured by trust issuer Grayscale against the SEC.
In any case, a spot Ether ETF is expected to be a prominent contender, primarily due to its structural similarities to BTC, involving actively traded futures and spot markets on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), a pivotal regulated platform for institutional investors.
MetaMask Simplifies Buying Capabilities Even Further
MetaMask wallet users can now reportedly convert their ETH holdings into fiat currency with a simple button press. Supported fiat currencies currently include US dollars, Euros, and British Pounds Sterling.
At the outset, this cash-out option is available for ETH on the Ethereum mainnet, with MetaMask having intentions to expand to other layer-2 networks and assets in the future. The specific layer-2 networks and tokens they plan to support and the timeline for this expansion were not disclosed.
Users in the US, the UK, and certain parts of Europe can now transfer the proceeds from their ETH sale to a linked PayPal account or bank account. MetaMask is collaborating with four known crypto-fiat off-ramps, namely MoonPay, Transak, Sardine, and Banxa. These services will provide real-time quotes for users interested in selling ether.
Moreover, once a user selects their preferred provider, they will be directed to the website of the provider, where they will need to establish a connection with their bank account. After the transaction is confirmed within the corresponding MetaMask wallet, funds will become available in the linked account within a few days.
MetaMask has been steadily expanding its platform over recent months. One of its recent additions is a swaps feature that consolidates token prices various decentralized exchanges, enabling users to trade tokens seamlessly. However, MetaMask is not exclusively targeting retail customers lately. In March, it launched a new platform catering to companies and institutions interested in staking on Ethereum after the Merge.
BitGo And Hana Bank Partner Up To Introduce Digital Asset Services
KEB Hana Bank, one of the major financial institutions in South Korea with a total asset portfolio valued at $448 billion, unveiled plans during Korea Blockchain Week in Seoul to introduce digital asset custody services starting in the latter part of 2024.
This initiative will involve a collaboration with BitGo Trust Company, a reputable provider of digital asset custody solutions. The forthcoming digital asset custody services would also rely on the blockchain security technology provided by BitGo. However, specific details about the services offered under this partnership were not disclosed.
In a joint press release issued by Hana Bank and BitGo, it was emphasized that this partnership is anticipated to serve as a significant milestone in elevating the standards of the domestic digital asset market to an international level while encouraging greater participation by institutional investors.
Hana Bank is ranked among the top 5 banking institutions in the country, and it reported a net profit of over $2.4 billion USD in the previous year. BitGo, a digital asset custodian with a global presence spanning across 50 countries, cited the local regulatory environment as a primary reason for expanding its operations in South Korea.
Additionally, the company intends to establish an office in South Korea in the latter half of 2024, following the acquisition of necessary licenses in compliance with local regulations. BitGo also recently concluded a Series C funding round, securing $100 million in investment and achieving a valuation of $1.75 billion.
Furthermore, in July, the Financial Services Commission of South Korea announced its intention to amend electronic securities laws to incorporate blockchain powered security tokens within its regulatory framework.