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DOJ Shall Not Pursue Campaign Finance Charge Against SBF
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has reportedly decided not to pursue a campaign finance charge against Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) in connection with his extradition from the Bahamas.
This is not the first time that the terms of his extradition treaty have influenced the charges against him. Previously, the DOJ indicated its readiness to prosecute him on eight counts from the original indictment in December of the previous year, temporarily setting aside five additional charges brought later.
However, under the extradition terms, any new charges would require approval from the Bahamian government. A court in the Bahamas has prevented the government from approving these additional charges, which include bank fraud, operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business, and bribery, until various lawyers are given a chance to challenge them.
In May, SBF had his legal team request the court to dismiss most of the criminal charges, arguing that they were exaggerated and turned what should be civil and regulatory matters into federal crimes. The charges also attributed the collapse of FTX to the infamous 2022 crypto winter.
FTX also previously faced a liquidity crisis after experiencing a selloff of its own FTT tokens. Despite SBF pleaing to dismiss the charges, the court, presided by Judge Kaplan, denied the request, stating that the arguments presented were either irrelevant or lacked merit.
Twitter Rebranding Sparks Excitement About Possible Integration With Crypto
CEO Elon Musk has expressed much interest in integrating viable payments methods into the social media platform, which is being rebranded as X. Musk envisions an everything app that could potentially alleviate the massive debt accumulated by the company via digital payments, including crypto options.
There are already some crypto-related features on the platform, such as allowing opted-in users to tip others with BTC and ETH. Users can also unlock special NFT-based profile pictures and view tweeted crypto collectibles. However, with the rebrand, there is speculation about further crypto integration, which could include support for various digital assets.
The possibility of Twitter accepting DOGE and other cryptocurrencies for ad spend is also considered, giving these coins real-world utility. However, some argue that users might not prefer cryptocurrencies for payments when other options with better attributes are available.
Despite the potential challenges, the rebranded Twitter is renewing its focus on creators by implementing a revenue-sharing program. Popular accounts are already receiving payments to retain influential personalities on the platform and compete with rival platforms like Threads.
Ultimately, whether crypto aligns with the overall vision for X remains to be seen, but there is optimism about its potential integration going forward given how much support and admiration Elon has for the industry.
Binance To Submit Motion Requesting Dismissal Of CFTC Complaint
The CFTC had filed a lawsuit in March, alleging that Binance, along with its founder Changpeng Zhao and compliance officer Samuel Lim, conducted derivatives trading operations in the United States and instructed American employees to hide their locations to evade regulations.
Additionally, Binance faced legal action from the SEC, which sought a temporary restraining order on all funds held by Binance.US. However, the restraining order was not imposed as Binance.US reached an agreement with the SEC, stipulating that the assets and servers of the American branch would be managed solely by its U.S. based staff.
Notably, the regulatory landscape in the U.S. has experienced a shift in sentiment, with Ripple recently obtaining a partial victory against the SEC.
Binance is expected to respond to the aforementioned complaint by July 27th, and the company has indicated that they will request an extension beyond the standard 15-page limit due to the intricacies of the case.
Additionally, compliance officer Samuel Lim plans to submit a separate Motion to Dismiss in response to the complaint. It is unclear as to whether this will be entertained by the appropriate authorities, however.
UK Banks Could Lose Licenses For Debanking Customers Based on Their Political Views
The British government is considering introducing stricter freedom of speech protections for banking permits after a public dispute involving Nigel Farage and Coutts bank. The government is expected to officially announce these measures soon.
Under the proposed rules, banks would be required to give customers three months notice before closing their accounts, and they must provide a clear reason for the account closure, allowing customers the right to appeal.
The catalyst for these potential changes was a disagreement between Nigel Farage, a politically conservative former politician, and Coutts, a private bank with royal family clients. Farage had his accounts closed, and leaked documents revealed that it was due to his conservative views not aligning with the values of the bank. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned the move, emphasizing the importance of free speech in democracy.
Nigel Farage is known for supporting cryptocurrencies, praising Bitcoin for its anti-lockdown investment potential and criticizing traditional fiat currency. He appeared at the Bitcoin Amsterdam Conference in 2022, highlighting the advantages crypto has in terms of anti-inflationary qualities and immutable infrastructure compared to traditional banking.
Crypto Could Be The Future Of France According To Recent Survey
With the introduction of MiCA regulations, numerous crypto companies are moving into the country, attracting the interest of numerous young investors. Among Internet users aged 18 to 60 in France, approximately 8% are involved in the crypto space, as indicated by a KuCoin survey conducted in May, involving 500 adults.
Out of these users, 31% have been in the crypto market for less than 6 months, while 23% have been investing in crypto for over 3 years. Notably, 40% of the Gen Z crypto investors in France have entered the space within the last 6 months. Surprisingly, a significant portion of these users, despite earning less than 35,000 Euros annually, have shown an avid interest in crypto investments.
This trend is not just limited to France, as Germany has also experienced a surge in Gen Z crypto investors, with 41% of them entering the digital asset market within the past year, according to a separate KuCoin survey in June. Additionally, 34% of German millennials have made their first crypto investments in the last 3 months.
The younger generation, particularly Gen Z, clearly demonstrates a fearlessness and a strong desire to participate in the crypto market, showcasing an unprecedented level of interest and adaptability. Compared to older investors, this generation shows a preference for quick returns from crypto investments and is more inclined to use digital assets for NFT purchases and payments.
The growing interest in crypto among young investors coincides with companies seeking regulatory approvals in France after the passage of the MiCA regulation in April. This regulation mandates crypto asset service providers to register with national authorities to offer services to EU clients.
Thus far, several crypto companies, such as OKX and CACEIS Bank, have applied for registration in France, with the country positioning itself as a European hub for crypto-related activities. Full MiCA implementation is expected by the end of 2024.
Ronald McDonald Goes Meta In Hong Kong
The Hong Kong division of one of the biggest fast food franchises in the world has entered the metaverse sector, following the footsteps of major global brands like Adidas, Coca-Cola, and Gucci. This metaverse, known as McNuggets Land, was created on the virtual gaming platform called The Sandbox.
This move comes as a celebration of the 40th anniversary of Chicken McNuggets, which were introduced worldwide in 1983. In McNuggets Land, users on The Sandbox platform can engage in various mini-games set in a virtual space themed around McNuggets.
By completing quests and participating in McNugget-related activities, players can earn rewards in the form of SAND tokens, the native cryptocurrency of The Sandbox ecosystem, as well as in-game accessories.
Additionally, players in Hong Kong can earn real-world restaurant coupons by accomplishing quests within McNuggets Land. The metaverse experience will be available until August 28th.
The McNuggets Land metaverse project in Hong Kong is not the first time the fast food giant has explored blockchain technology in its promotions. Both the U.S. and China branches of the company launched NFT collections in late 2021.
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong To Meet With House Democrats
The private meeting aims to discuss various areas, including tax regulations, national security, privacy, and environmental considerations related to cryptocurrencies, as well as general concerns regarding digital asset legislation.
This development occurs in the backdrop of the ongoing legal battle between Coinbase and the SEC. The agency has accused Coinbase of violating regulations by not registering as a securities exchange, a claim that Coinbase strongly disputes and is actively seeking dismissal of.
Coinbase argues that the actions taken by the SEC represent an undisclosed change in its interpretation of its own authority, characterizing it as an abuse of power. CEO Armstrong has long been an advocate for clear guidelines regarding digital assets, emphasizing the need for congressional legislation to address inconsistencies between the SEC and the CFTC.
Coinbase has proposed two bills to lawmakers that would provide explicit directions on how crypto exchanges should register with regulators. These efforts aim to close authority gaps between the CFTC and SEC and strengthen financial and technological innovation in the U.S.
Armstrong calling for clearer regulations aligns with the concerns of the broader crypto industry, which has faced increased scrutiny from the SEC. The Blockchain Association has criticized the agency for exhibiting bias against cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin, asserting that the SEC considers all digital assets as securities as was showcased in the XRP lawsuit.
Crypto Lending Platform With $29 Million In TVL To Shut Down
Geist Finance has made the decision to permanently shut down following a hack on the Multichain platform. The lending protocol, operating on the Fantom network, suffered losses due to the exploit, leading to the suspension of Geist contracts on July 6th.
The Multichain hack, initially reported by blockchain analytics experts on July 7th, involved the withdrawal of over $100 million from the Ethereum side of Multichain bridges. This included bridges connected to Dogechain, Fantom, and Moonriver. Although the Multichain team referred to the transactions as abnormal and urged users to cease utilizing the protocol, they refrained from explicitly labeling it as a hack or exploit until July 11th.
Although they briefly resumed operations on July 9th with limited functionality, a recent social media post from the development team confirmed that Geist will not reopen its lending and borrowing services.
Before the hack, Geist allowed users to utilize tokens from the Multichain platform as collateral, including popular cryptocurrencies such as BTC, ETH, USDC, and USDT. However, the oracles used by Geist, specifically Chainlink oracles, began reporting inaccurate values for these tokens after the exploit.
Instead of reflecting the values of the Multichain derivatives, the oracles started displaying the higher values of the non-bridged real versions of each token. This discrepancy, with the non-Multichain coins being valued at over 4 times the Multichain assets, renders it impossible to resume lending without incurring significant losses for holders of non-Multichain coins.
The Geist team made it clear that they do not hold Chainlink oracles responsible for the closure of the platform, emphasizing that the oracles worked as intended. They attributed the blame solely to MultichainOrg, the organization behind the Multichain platform.
Judge Analisa Torres Declares XRP Is Not A Security
The historic decision brings an end to a three year legal battle between Ripple Labs and the U.S SEC. The judge granted the motion for summary judgment on Programmatic Sales, Other Distributions, and sales by Larsen and Garlinghouse, but denied it for Institutional Sales.
This decision is not only a victory for Ripple but also for the entire crypto market, which reached over $1.20 trillion in value shortly after the ruling. Following the ruling, Coinbase announced that it would resume trading XRP. This outcome is seen as positive not only for Ripple but also for other crypto companies facing regulatory scrutiny, including Coinbase itself.
Additionally, Jacobi Asset Management plans to launch the first Spot Bitcoin ETF in Europe on the Euronext Amsterdam later this year, while heavyweight firms like BlackRock are awaiting approval for a similar ETF in the U.S. This ruling also establishes the legal status of XRP.
It is worth noting that the SEC may still appeal the decision, prolonging the legal battle. Nevertheless, the victory is a boost for the company, which has consistently argued that XRP is a legitimate cryptocurrency for cross-border payments, not subject to SEC regulation.
The court relying on the Howey test to determine investment contracts dealt a major blow to the SEC case, as it failed to prove that XRP sales met the criteria. Despite the damage caused by the legal battle, including delistings and a decline in value, the win has had a positive impact on the price of XRP which experienced a massive surge following the court ruling.
Analysts predict that XRP could potentially reach the $1 mark, and the victory provides regulatory clarity and may attract a large number of institutional investors who were initially cautious due to the lawsuit.
Elon Musk Announces Establishment Of A New AI Company
The Tesla CEO tweeted that the company, named xAI, will mainly focus on gaining a deeper understanding of reality. However, he did not provide any further specifics regarding any objectives, products, or financial backing.
Elon has a reputation for embarking on ambitious ventures such as Mars colonization, neural implants, and hyperloop transportation systems. He has also been an outspoken advocate for assessing both the benefits and risks associated with AI, considering it a critical concern for humanity.
Prior to xAI, Musk was involved in another AI enterprise called OpenAI, which he co-founded in 2015 alongside prominent researchers and entrepreneurs. However, he stepped down from the OpenAI board in 2018, citing potential conflicts of interest with his other endeavors. In 2020, his stake in OpenAI was sold after the organization transitioned into a for-profit entity.
According to the official website of xAI, the company is being developed under the direct leadership of Musk himself, with a dedicated team working on its various initiatives. Elon has also been as an avid supporter of cryptocurrencies, particularly Dogecoin (DOGE).
Microstrategy Could Benefit Immensely Following Bitcoin Halving Event
Berenberg Capital Markets recently published a research note suggesting that the upcoming Bitcoin halving event could potentially impact the share price of Microstrategy, a software firm based in the United States.
Berenberg speculates that the fourth Bitcoin halving might trigger a significant surge in the stock price for Microstrategy, as the company is known for its strong support of the flagship cryptocurrency.
The analysis focuses on the substantial Bitcoin holdings of Microstrategy, which currently exceed 150,000 units. The investment bank anticipates that a rally similar to previous halvings could have a positive effect on the prices for both Bitcoin and Microstrategy shares.
A recent research report from Standard Chartered further supports the positive outlook for Microstrategy. The British banking giant raised its Bitcoin price target, projecting that the leading cryptocurrency could reach $130,000 by the end of 2023.
U.S National Debt Experiences $1 Trillion Increase In A Month
Recent information provided by FiscalData reveals that on June 2nd 2023, the total outstanding public debt of the U.S amounted to $31.467 trillion. Just 28 days later, on June 30th, this figure surged to $32.332 trillion, indicating a remarkable rise of $865 billion.
The rapid growth in U.S debt during this 28 day period surpasses the combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 3 significant global economies, namely Greece, Finland, and Hong Kong. Collectively, these economies produced a total of $859.71 billion in wealth last year, which is lower than the debt accumulated by the U.S in just 4 weeks.
In a recent report, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that the national debt will far outpace GDP growth and could reach nearly 3 times the local GDP within the next few decades. The CBO further anticipates that by 2053, U.S GDP will rise to $79.5 trillion, while the debt will skyrocket to $143.895 trillion.
The federal agency warns that such high and escalating debt levels would impede economic growth, increase interest payments to foreign holders of U.S debt, and pose significant risks to the fiscal and economic outlook. Moreover, it could potentially limit policy options for lawmakers while simultaneously encouraing alternative financial options such as cryptocurrencies and other digital assets.