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May 25,2024

Woman Who Laundered 150 BTC Sentenced To Jail By UK Court

A woman has been sentenced by the Southwark Crown Court in London, UK, to nearly seven years in jail for her involvement in a money laundering scheme involving Bitcoin. She allegedly knowingly took part in a billion-dollar investment scam.


More Than Meets The Eye

Jian Wen, formerly employed in fast food, received a sentence of six years and eight months for her role in laundering substantial amounts of Bitcoin (BTC) associated with a $6.4 billion fraud in China. The trial found her guilty of laundering funds tied to approximately 150 Bitcoin for a Chinese individual between 2017 and 2022. Authorities seized over 61,000 BTC worth more than $4 billion.

During the sentencing, Judge Sally-Ann Hales emphasized the sophistication of the offense, stating that Wen knew the nature of her actions. Despite holding British and Chinese citizenship, Wen denied the allegations and is appealing her conviction, portraying herself as a victim manipulated by another individual.

However, prosecutors argued that Wen acted out of greed, playing a significant role in managing the crypto wallet linked to the laundering operation. They described her as a front person facilitating the conversion of stolen funds into Bitcoin and back into cash.


A Crime Of Ignorance

Wen maintained her innocence, claiming she was striving for a better life for her son and denying knowledge of the criminal origins of the Bitcoin in question. Yet, she was found guilty of one count of money laundering in March, while two other counts resulted in a hung jury.

Judge Hales stressed that while there was no evidence linking Wen to the initial fraud, she was aware of handling criminal proceeds. Wen was sentenced to six years and eight months in prison for a single count of money laundering.

Regarding broader regulations, the EU recently passed an anti-money laundering regulation targeting crypto-asset service providers (CASPs). The regulation aims to empower Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) to detect and combat money laundering and terrorist financing, introducing enhanced due diligence measures and oversight through a new supervisory body, AMLA.


May 24,2024

Polygon CEO Lambasts Meme Coin Critics Despite Rumors Of Manipulation

The playful and entertaining essence of meme coins often finds inspiration in various sources, including the pets of influential individuals. A notable instance is Floki Inu (FLOKI), which drew inspiration via Shiba Inu (SHIB) which shares the same name.


Right To Personal Enjoyment

The meme coin market has seen a resurgence, particularly on the Polygon (MATIC) network, where this trend has gained traction. However, it has stirred controversy amid allegations of insider manipulation, with accusations of pumping and dumping tokens within the community.

Recent events have intensified tensions within the community, notably when Polygon (MATIC) Labs CEO Marc Boiron openly supported a new meme coin inspired by his own dog. The response by Boiron to critics has been defiant, asserting his right to enjoy himself without external judgment. Despite his stance, criticism persists within the community, with some members expressing skepticism about the timing and motives behind his involvement with the NIGHT meme coin community.


Divided We Stand

The controversy surrounding the Polygon Labs team is a result of their association with ELE meme coin, allegedly inspired by a pet elephant owned by Polygon co-founder Sandeep Nailwal. Accusations have emerged, implicating several Polygon Labs insiders in promoting the project while exploiting developers and engaging in dubious practices.

While the actions of Boiron with NIGHT mirror those of Nailwal with ELE, Polygon Labs has yet to address the allegations or respond to inquiries regarding these accusations. In any case, the fallout due to the controversy has raised doubts about the integrity of the Polygon Labs team, especially given the drastic decline in the value of ELE since its inception. The community remains divided, with uncertainty lingering over the validity of the allegations against Polygon Labs.


May 24,2024

BlackRock ETH ETF Officially Listed On DTCC Website

The BlackRock Ethereum ETF, known as $ETHA, has reportedly been listed on the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC), following approval by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The move comes shortly after the SEC approved several spot Ether ETFs.


Key Details

The SEC has also greenlit eight other spot Ethereum exchange-traded funds (ETFs). These ETFs, proposed by various entities including VanEck, Fidelity, Franklin, Grayscale, Bitwise, ARK Invest & 21Shares, Invesco & Galaxy, and the BlackRock iShares Ethereum Trust, are slated for listing on Nasdaq, NYSE Arca, and the Cboe BZX Exchange.

However, it is important to note that trading will not begin immediately, as this largelyt depends on the S-1 filing approval for each of the ETFs. This approval process could take weeks to several months, depending on numerous factors and changing circumstances.


Time For Ether

Bloomberg ETF analyst James Seyffart noted that while the 19b-4 approval is certainly a significant step in the right direction, trading will not start until the SEC approves the S-1 documents as previously mentioned, a process that is notorious for being plagued with multiple delays.

Thus far, the SEC has initiated discussions with ETF issuers regarding the S-1 forms, with Seyffart estimating a potential five-month approval timeline. Following initial approval by the SEC, VanEck swiftly submitted an amended S-1 form. Additionally, the firm released a brief advertisement celebrating the approval, encouraging viewers to Enter the Ether.


May 23,2024

Crypto Legal Clarity Will Be Provided After FIT21 Bill Passes With Two Thirds Majority

Legislation known as the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act (FIT21) was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday, offering much-needed legal clarity on the classification, registration, and custody of crypto assets.

FIT21 received overwhelming support by Republicans and garnered 71 additional votes via Democrats, resulting in a final count of 279 yes to 136 no. The proponents of the bill aim to put an end to the approach by the SEC in terms of regulating the crypto industry through enforcement actions.


A Step In The Right Direction

Regarded as a significant step in crypto regulation, industry leaders hailed the bill as a crucial move towards establishing clear rules for digital asset trading and registration. Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong lauded the legislation on X, emphasizing the importance of protecting consumer rights in using crypto and ensuring regulatory clarity to prevent misuse.

According to Representative French Hill (R-AR), the bill introduces an interim oversight mechanism for digital asset firms to file a notice of intent to register with federal regulators while regulatory responsibilities are being sorted out. Hill stressed that the main focus of the bill will be on stringent consumer protections to prevent incidents like the collapse of FTX. Moreover, the legislation aims to delineate which digital assets fall under the jurisdiction of the SEC and the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), resolving long-standing disputes over regulatory authority.


A Mixed Bag For Democrats

Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee expressed concerns that the bill would favor wealthy crypto firms avoiding SEC registration at the expense of ordinary investors. SEC Chairman Gary Gensler criticized the bill, arguing that existing laws are sufficient for crypto regulation and that the industry needs to comply with them rather than seeking further regulatory clarity.

Despite some opposition, a considerable number of Democrats supported the bill, emphasizing its importance in keeping the nation competitive in crypto regulation. The Biden administration initially opposed FIT21 but expressed willingness to collaborate with Congress on a comprehensive regulatory framework for digital assets.

It is also worth mentioning that, unlike recent crypto banking legislation, the administration did not indicate plans to veto FIT21, which passed the House with bipartisan support.


May 23,2024

Metaplanet Witnesses Massive Surge In Stock Price

Metaplanet, a Japan-based investment firm, has witnessed a surge in its stock price by 158% in the past week, making it the top performer among all Japanese stocks. Currently priced at 93 Japanese yen, Metaplanet shares have soared by 127% in just two days. Such rapid growth prompted the Tokyo Stock Exchange to trigger circuit breaker trading halts multiple times within the week.


Making History

With a market cap nearing $1 billion, Metaplanet finds itself on the verge of breaching the threshold.

Per Tokyo Stock Exchange regulations, listed stocks priced under 100 Japanese yen are subject to a maximum daily increase of 30 Japanese yen, a limit Metaplanet surpassed for two consecutive days.

Dylan LeClair, the Director of Bitcoin Strategy for the company, highlighted this recent exceptional performance while noting its back-to-back status as the best-performing stock in Japan over two days. This is largely because, after unveiling its Bitcoin investment strategy on April 8th, 2024, Metaplanet has amassed a whopping 117.7 BTC, valued at $7.2 million presently. This move has propelled its stock price by 389%.


The Key Reasons

The company expressed intentions to leverage a full range of capital market tools to strategically enhance its Bitcoin reserves in a statement on May 13th. Metaplanet attributes its Bitcoin investment strategy to hedging against local escalating debt burden and the depreciating Japanese yen. The firm cited the staggering domestic debt-to-GDP ratio of 261%, the highest among developed nations, alongside the 34% decline of the yen against the US dollar since the start of 2021.

While the yen has depreciated, Bitcoin has appreciated by nearly 190% against the Japanese national currency in the last year. Metaplanet shares are currently exclusive to the Tokyo Stock Exchange, limiting access for US investors. Nevertheless, Arnab Naskar, one of the founders of the security token platform STOKR, has expressed interest in tokenizing Metaplanet shares on Liquid, a Layer-2 Bitcoin network, similar to what MicroStrategy has done in the past.

May 22,2024

Trump Continues To Embrace Crypto As Biden Administration Intensifies Crackdown Efforts

On May 21st, 2024, the campaign of former US President Donald Trump launched a fundraising page that permits federally permissible donors to contribute using cryptocurrency via Coinbase Commerce. Trump being open to adopting crypto presents a stark contrast with the current administration and their position on digital assets.

The campaign announced that supporters can visit the specified website to donate to the Trump campaign using cryptocurrency. All donation limits and disclosure requirements for crypto donations will comply with Federal Election Commission regulations.


Liberating Americans

In the announcement, Trump stressed his aim to lessen government control over financial choices for all Americans. Accepting crypto donations reflects his dedication to an agenda prioritizing individual freedom over increased government control, according to the campaign.

Biden surrogate Elizabeth Warren stated in opposition to cryptocurrency that she was assembling an anti-crypto army to limit autonomy in financial decision-making. MAGA supporters, now with a new cryptocurrency option, will assemble a crypto army, propelling the campaign to victory on November 5th, the announcement states. The mention of MAGA is intriguing, given that MAGA is a Trump-themed meme coin. It appears that Trump intends to signify openly embracing crypto through this asset.


Key Details

The campaign accepts various cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Solana (SOL), USDC, XRP, Dogecoin (DOGE), 0x (ZRX), and Shiba Inu (SHIBA). Supporters can donate in custom amounts or choose various predefined options such as $20.24, $2,024, $45, $47, and $4,547. The numbers 45 and 47 represent the fact that Donald Trump was the 45th President of the United States and aims to be the 47th.

However, it is worth noting that while the announcement claimed Trump as the first major party nominee to accept crypto donations, he is not the official nominee until July. Additionally, in 2015, Republican Senator Rand Paul accepted Bitcoin donations for his own presidential campaign.


An Intriguing Opportunity

The focus on crypto in politics comes as President Joe Biden and his administration demonstrates a tougher stance toward the digital assets industry. This shift is notable, considering Trump was skeptical of crypto during his first presidency between 2017 to 2021.

Nevertheless, many believe that Trump being re-elected could offer a positive outlook for the crypto industry. Standard Chartered Researcher Geoffrey Kendrick previously noted that the Trump administration might adopt less stringent regulatory measures for crypto compared to the current Biden administration. This potential shift in policy could also prompt foreign official buyers of US treasuries to consider alternative financial assets like Bitcoin, potentially driving its price higher.


May 22,2024

How To Find NFT Gaming Gems In A Saturated Market

NFT-based gaming ventures frequently boast ambitious promises of groundbreaking gameplay and intricate digital economies. Yet, many of these initiatives meet untimely demise due to inadequate development efforts or, in some cases, deliberate abandonment by unscrupulous creators.

Amidst the turbulent landscape of promising but often underperforming projects, it is crucial for gamers and investors to prioritize sustainable development and genuine utility when assessing blockchain gaming endeavors. In response to this scenario, CryptoWeekly has compiled a brief guide outlining what to seek (and be cautious of) when evaluating new projects.


Identifying A Committed Community

A vibrant community serves as the backbone of any successful GameFi project. Prospective gamers should seek active participation on platforms like Discord, Telegram, and Twitter, where lively discussions and frequent updates indicate a strong connection between developers and their audience. Authentic dialogues and substantive updates are preferable to mere promotional content. Additionally, community teams should maintain well-organized and regularly updated servers.

Also, while project size does not always correlate with health, an engaged community sustains interest and facilitates organic marketing through word-of-mouth and social sharing. Active involvement by development teams, even in periods without significant updates, fosters familiarity and support within the community.


Assessing NFT Performance

Examining the historical performance of NFTs provides valuable insights. While notable collections like CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club are widely recognized, other successful NFT gaming collections offer lessons on the attributes contributing to their longevity and value. Instead of fixating solely on token price, longevity and consistency should take precedence over short-term speculation.

Professional presentation across platforms

Initial impressions matter, especially in GameFi projects, where online expression across various platforms reflects legitimacy and professionalism. Conversely, a lack of transparency or poor presentation can raise doubts about overall commitment and competence. Moreover, observing price movements in response to announcements or broader market shifts also provides insights into stability and growth potential.


May 21,2024

Web3 Fundraising Deals - May 14th to May 20th, 2024

Sorbet, a platform focusing on innovative financial solutions, secured a strategic raise supported by Adaverse on May 19th.



Bitlayer, a tech company specializing in blockchain infrastructure, secured a strategic raise backed by OKX Ventures on May 19th, gaining notable traction with 396.48K Twitter followers.



Focus Tree, a startup developing advanced AI-driven tools for businesses, raised $2M in Seed funding via Sfermion on May 17th, with influencers like Eva Beylin and Andrew Steinwold showing support.



FantaGoal (FGC), a sports and entertainment platform, secured $3M in undisclosed funding with KuCoin Exchange Ventures on May 17th.



Chainstack 🛠️💙, a blockchain infrastructure provider, raised $6M in undisclosed funding through SBI Investment on May 16th.



Param Labs Inc, a pioneer in decentralized finance (DeFi) solutions, raised $7M in undisclosed funding through Animoca Brands on May 16th, engaging a vast audience of 896.74K on Twitter.



Multipool (MUL), a DeFi protocol, secured $650K in undisclosed funding by NXGEN on May 15th. DEX (STON), a decentralized automated market maker (AMM) built on the TON blockchain, completed an undisclosed funding round led by CoinFund on May 15th.



RavenDAO, a proprietary high-frequency algorithmic trading firm and market maker active on both centralized and decentralized exchanges, raised $2.7M in Seed funding by Hack VC on May 15th.



Pencils Protocol (PenPad), an auction platform and yield aggregator, secured a strategic raise supported by OKX Ventures on May 15th.



Humanity Protocol, a platform aiming to revolutionize human resource management using blockchain technology, secured a substantial $30M in Seed funding by Kingsway Capital Partners on May 15th.



Shogun (GUN), an intent-centric protocol that aims to maximize trader extractable value (TEV) via optimized orderflow and complete chain abstraction, raised $6.9M in Seed funding by Polychain Capital on May 15th, with 24 notable backers.



Cross The Ages (CTA), an NFT and digital arts project trading card game, secured $3.5M in undisclosed funding via Animoca Brands on May 15th.



GamicHQ (GNG), a social app & chat for gamers, creators, and blockchain enthusiasts, raised $1.8M in undisclosed funding by LD Capital on May 14th.



Anomaly, an AI-powered zero-gas layer 3 gaming platform and studio, raised $1.45M in Pre-Seed funding by Shima Capital on May 14th.



Re, a decentralized global insurance transaction layer, raised $7M in undisclosed funding by Electric Capital on May 14th.



Polymarket, a decentralized prediction market, raised an impressive $45M in Series B funding through Founders Fund on May 14th.



Chainalysis, a blockchain data platform that caters to various companies in over 70 countries, completed an undisclosed funding round led by Haun Ventures on May 14th.


May 21,2024

Over $210 Million Worth Of GALA Tokens Stolen By Hacker

Gala Games, a project in Web3 gaming, encountered a significant security breach on May 20th. An individual exploited the smart contract of the platform, creating 5 billion GALA tokens, valued at around $214 million. This event has caused considerable concern within the community and led to widespread speculation.


Gala Games Security Breach

Following the exploitation of the smart contract, the individual promptly sold 592 million GALA for 5,952 ETH, approximately $21.8 million. The Gala Games team swiftly took action to minimize the impact, by blacklisting the address of the individual in question, thereby preventing further token offloading.

In an official statement, the team underscored their dedication to security and openness. They reassured users of their ongoing cooperation with law enforcement to locate the culprits. This incident was isolated, and its root cause has been resolved, according to the team, who will update the community as the investigation progresses and implement all necessary measures to avert future occurrences.


Taking Responsibility

Eric Schiermeyer, CEO of Gala Games, expressed regret over the incident. He acknowledged that the breach was detected and contained within 45 minutes. He also highlighted the security of their ETH contract for GALA, safeguarded by a multi-signature wallet.

Eric claims that there were certainly gaps in internal controls, and that while this should not have happened, the team is currently implementing measures to prevent its recurrence. He went on to say that the team has successfully identified the responsible party and are cooperating with the FBI, DOJ, and international authorities. It is worth mentioning that the matter of daily distribution remains unresolved, and that there will still be a node vote on its resolution as the community will decide the next course of action, Schiermeyer stated.

Following the admission of internal control deficiencies by Eric, a Solidity developer known as Quit corroborated the findings. According to Quit, the address behind the exploit possessed admin-level permissions, enabling it to execute arbitrary actions involving the smart contract. Quit advocates for banning contracts with admin privileges allowing arbitrary token minting.


May 21,2024

SEC Allegedly Changes Its Mind As Ethereum ETF Looks Imminent

Bloomberg ETF analysts have made a surprising move, suddenly raising their odds for spot ETH ETF approval to a whopping 75% compared to the previous 25%. The rumours that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission may approve an Ethereum ETF has caused the crypto market to surge, with ETH recently crossing the $3,700 mark.

Most recently, the SEC has approved various forms for listing and trading spot Ethereum ETFs. It is worth mentioning that the agency still needs to approve the forms by the issuers before these products may be released.


Renewed Communication

Eric Balchunas, a senior Bloomberg ETF analyst, revealed that the SEC has unexpectedly changed its mind about rejecting spot ETH ETFs. This has led issuers to quickly finalize their applications before the first decision deadline on May 23rd.

It is worth mentioning that even though the Biden Administration has recently taken a strong anti-crypto stance, Balchunas believes the increasing political debates around crypto are behind this sudden shift. Earlier today, the market was pessimistic about Ethereum getting spot ETF approval, with Polymarket showing only an 11% chance. Now, the odds have shot up to over 50% for the first time since January, as the ETH/BTC ratio strengthens.


An Inevitability

Balchunas suggests political pressure made the SEC change its stance, but the approval of an Ethereum ETF has seemed inevitable for a while now. Various experts had noted that the lack of meaningful communication between the SEC and issuers was a bad sign, suggesting denial. However, when the SEC approved commodity futures-based ETH ETF products last October, it likely decided then that Ether was not a security.

With renewed confidence by the experts, the crypto community is now widely expecting ETH ETF approval to happen this Thursday. Still, as is so often the case with the crypto industry, anything could happen in the blink of an eye, and traders are being urged to think carefully before making any big decisions regarding their investments.


May 20,2024

Buterin Claims Ethereum Does Not Censor Anything Despite Evidence To The Contrary

Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin recently lauded the ecosystem and its commitment to free speech. Nonetheless, his claim encountered criticism on social media, particularly regarding how Ethereum may not in fact be open to criticism. Some have gone as far as to say that Ethereum silences dissenting opinions about its protocol or ecosystem.


More Than Meets The Eye

Vitalik Buterin stated that he is immensely proud of the fact that Ethereum does not have any culture of trying to prevent people when it comes to speaking their minds, even when they have very negative feelings toward major things in the protocol or ecosystem. However, as alluded to earlier,  his comment, hinting at censorship on other blockchain platforms, was met with pushback. Some social media users reported experiencing censorship by Ethereum influencers and even called Vitalik ignorant and tone deaf.

An X user, using the pseudonym dubzy, reportedly said that after telling someone that ETH fees were expensive and needed to be addressed, he was met with abuse for 13 minutes before being completely shut down. Meanwhile, Matthew Gould, founder and CEO of blockchain firm Unstoppable Domains, stated he also experienced censorship and criticism for divergent opinions on the network.


Why It Matters

Constructive criticism is essential for technological advancement and industry progress, as experts frequently emphasize. In a surprising twist of events, Anatoly Yakovenko, co-founder of Solana, supported Buterin and his perspective, noting it as a widespread industry characteristic. Solana and Ethereum are fierce competitors, so many were shocked to see Yakovenko support Vitalik so openly.

Anatoly stated that he thinks this industry is amazing and that it is exceedingly unlikely that we will see the likes of Apple, Microsoft, and Google engineers all in one chat room constantly challenging each other and their design decisions.

Regardless, like any other initiative, Ethereum has both positive and negative aspects. It is praised for its robust blockchain technology, smart contract capabilities, and active developer community, making it a leader in decentralized applications (dApps). However, it faces criticism for high transaction fees and scalability issues.


May 20,2024

Kraken Will Not Delist USDT In Europe Despite MiCA Regulations

After several rumours last week of Kraken potentially delisting the USDT stablecoin, the cryptocurrency exchange has now reassured users that it does not intend to remove USDT in Europe and will continue adhering to all legal obligations. The rumours began when the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) bill, which will be implemented later this year, introduced new rules focusing on stablecoins, which are designed to maintain a stable value against traditional currencies.

Kraken Global Head of Asset Growth and Management, Mark Greenberg, addressed recent speculation regarding the potential delisting of USDT in the European market in a social media announcement. He stated that European users highly value access to USDT and the company is exploring all options to provide USDT under the forthcoming regulatory framework.


The Lawsuit Against Kraken

In November 2023, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against Kraken, alleging that it had been operating an unregistered securities trading platform. This action followed a settlement of charges related to previous staking services provided by Kraken months earlier.

In February 2024, Kraken sought to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the case was based solely on a registration issue, asserting that cryptocurrencies complying with SEC regulations should be classified as commodities rather than securities. Recently, Kraken intensified its defense, urging the court to dismiss the SEC and its claims to avoid a major restructuring of the U.S. financial regulatory system, according to court documents filed in the Northern District of California on Thursday.

The SEC opposed Kraken and their motion to dismiss, asserting its enforcement action falls within its authorized mandate and highlighting its role in enforcing registration requirements for securities intermediaries. Kraken has pushed for the dismissal of these claims by the SEC in order to prevent a significant restructuring of the U.S. financial regulatory system.


Stablecoin Comparison

There has been ongoing debate about the safety of stablecoins, specifically USDT and USD Coin (USDC). As of April, the market capitalization of USDT stood at $104 billion, more than three times that of USDC which is at $32 billion. This disparity is partly due to the network effect, with USDT having launched in 2014, four years before USDC. Still, the dominance of USDT is also reflected in its daily trading volume, which is 7.5 times higher than that of USDC.

Stablecoins come in several different types, each employing unique mechanisms to maintain their value. Fiat-collateralized stablecoins are backed by reserves of fiat currency, such as the US dollar, held in a bank account, with USDT and USDC being prominent examples. Crypto-collateralized stablecoins, like DAI, use other cryptocurrencies as collateral, leveraging mechanisms like over-collateralization and smart contracts to ensure stability. Algorithmic stablecoins maintain their value through algorithms and smart contracts that adjust the supply based on market demand, without relying on collateral, TerraUSD (UST) was a notable example before its collapse. Additionally, commodity-backed stablecoins, such as PAX Gold (PAXG), are supported by reserves of commodities like gold or oil. Each type of stablecoin aims to provide price stability but uses different strategies to achieve this goal.