SEC targets Coinbase, Do Kwon arrested and FTX sells $95M in Mysten Labs: Hodler’s Digest, March 19-25
Top Stories This Week
Coinbase could face SEC enforcement action for ‘potential violations of securities law’
Crypto exchange Coinbase received a Wells notice from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) suggesting an upcoming enforcement action. According to Coinbase, the “legal threat” could potentially target its staking program, listed digital assets, wallet or Coinbase Prime services. The exchange’s chief legal officer, Paul Grewal, said the warning “comes after Coinbase provided multiple proposals to the SEC about registration over the course of months, all of which the SEC ultimately refused to respond to.” Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong renewed calls for crypto users to “elect pro-crypto candidates” after the development.
FTX debtors agree to $95M sale of stake in Mysten Labs
As bankruptcy proceedings for FTX move forward, debtors of the defunct crypto exchange have approved an agreement seeking to sell $95 million worth of its preferred stock in Mysten Labs, the company behind the Sui blockchain. Court approval is still pending, as is the potential for other bids on the stocks. In a related headline, FTX is seeking to recover $460 million of allegedly misappropriated customer funds from venture capital firm Modulo Capital, which received a sizeable investment from Alameda Research last year. The investment was reportedly directed by Sam Bankman-Fried, who faces multiple counts in federal court related to alleged fraud during his time as CEO.
Do Kwon faces fraud charges from US prosecutors hours after arrest
Just hours after being arrested in Montenegro, Terraform Labs CEO Do Kwon was charged with eight separate counts by United States prosecutors in New York, including commodities fraud, securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to defraud and engage in market manipulation. According to reports, Kwon is also facing criminal charges in Montenegro for allegedly forging travel documents. Prosecutors in South Korea issued an arrest warrant for Kwon in September last year, followed by a red notice listing from Interpol weeks later. The charges laid against him are in relation to his alleged role in the collapse of the $40 billion Terra Luna Classic token and TerraClassicUSD stablecoin in May 2022.
Mastercard to settle transactions for stablecoin wallet in APAC
Mastercard is launching a stablecoin digital wallet integration to allow retail customers in the Asia-Pacific region to spend U.S. dollar-pegged stablecoins anywhere Mastercard is accepted. The international payment company plans to convert the USDC stablecoin into fiat and settle on its network by partnering with Australian stablecoin platform Stables. The service will be initially available for users based in Australia before expanding to Europe, the United States, the United Kingdom and most of the Asia-Pacific.
Celsius custody account holders can receive 72.5% of their crypto, says bankruptcy judge
The judge overseeing the bankruptcy case for crypto lending firm Celsius Network has approved a settlement plan that allows custody account holders to get back 72.5% of their crypto assets. Holders will have 30 days to review the terms. If they opt in, the assets will be returned in two distributions — 36.25% up front and 36.25% upon plan resolution (or at end of year). The defunct platform announced in February that NovaWulf Digital Management would act as a sponsor for its restructuring plan, claiming that more than 85% of Celsius customers would recover roughly 70% of their crypto..
Winners and Losers
At the end of the week, Bitcoin (BTC) is at $27,157, Ether (ETH) at $1,734 and XRP at $0.41. The total market cap is at $1.15 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap.
Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are Mask Network (MASK) at 24.22%, Flare (FLR) at 22.23% and XRP (XRP) at 11.89%.
The top three altcoin losers of the week are Arbitrum (ARB) at -89.76%, Immutable (IMX) at -25.82% and Toncoin (TON) at -15.12%.
For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.
Most Memorable Quotations
“What is happening in these months is just demonstrating that the Bitcoiners and Bitcoin maxis were right all along.”
Paolo Ardoino, chief technology officer of Tether
“It’s not crypto versus Goldman Sachs or crypto versus institutions. It’s a race to who can do crypto better.”
“Stablecoins will play a pivotal role in the new financial system and will be core to bridging the worlds of traditional and decentralized finance.”
Daniel Li, chief operating officer of Stables
“What the central bank digital currency is all about is surveilling Americans and controlling behavior of Americans.”
Ron DeSantis, governor of the U.S. state of Florida
“Bitcoin was designed in reaction to Lehman Brothers in the 2008 crisis. It was designed because you can’t trust central authorities.”
Pascal Gauthier, CEO of Ledger
“We are in serious risk of seeing an entire strategic technology arena slip away from US leadership.”
Jeremy Allaire, CEO of Circle
Prediction of the Week
Bitcoin likely to outperform all crypto assets following banking crisis, analyst explains
The banking crisis could be the spark that will kick off the next crypto bull run, in which Bitcoin is likely to outperform all other cryptos, according to Mike McGlone, senior commodity strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence.
According to McGlone, the United States Federal Reserve’s unwillingness to ease monetary policy despite the banking crisis is driving the U.S. economy into a recession. This macro environment will ultimately favor Bitcoin, which is going to outperform all other cryptocurrencies.
“The more the Bitcoin can sustain above $25,000, then the more the S&P 500 potentially pressures below 4,000, you’re going to have an indication that Bitcoin is going to take off,” McGlone pointed out. “I think Bitcoin will outperform virtually all cryptos, including Ethereum,” he concluded.
FUD of the Week
US Senator Ted Cruz tries again with new bill to block CBDC
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has introduced a bill to block the Federal Reserve from launching a “direct-to-consumer” central bank digital currency as it “could be used as a financial surveillance tool by the federal government.” According to Cruz, the federal government has “no authority to unilaterally establish” the digital dollar. A similar bill was introduced by Cruz with other senators on March 30, 2022, seeking to prohibit the Fed from issuing a CBDC directly to individuals. Nearly 12 months later, the bill still hasn’t moved past the introduction phase.
Hindenburg Research reports Block short position, claiming fraud facilitation and inflated metrics
A report following a two-year investigation from Hindenburg Research claims digital payments company Block has “systematically taken advantage” of its users, alleging the firm inflated its user metrics and facilitated fraud. According to the report, Block’s practices allowed users to set up fraudulent accounts, catering to many criminals who used the platform to steal funds. Block labeled the report “factually inaccurate and misleading,” declaring it intends to take legal action against the research firm.
European banks head into another weekend of uncertainty as default risks surge
European banks faced another weekend of renewed fears surrounding their future, as shares of Deutsche Bank plunged on the New York Stock Exchange on March 24, after a down day on Frankfurt’s markets. Shares of the German bank were impacted by an increase in the cost of insuring against its potential default risk, with its five-year credit default swaps climbing during the week and closing at 222 basis points on Friday. Fears about European banks are not limited to Deutsche Bank. European shares of Commerzbank, Société Générale, and UBS also fell in European trading.
Best Cointelegraph Features
Best and worst countries for crypto taxes — plus crypto tax tips
Resident tax expert Elias Ahonen looks at the best and worst countries in the world for crypto taxes. Where do the U.S. and U.K. rank?
Creating ‘organic’ generative art from robotic algorithms: Emily Xie, NFT Creator
When creating generative art, the world just disappears for this Harvard graduate living in New York.
US enforcement agencies are turning up the heat on crypto-related crime
Recent high-profile indictments by the Department of Justice and collaborative agencies suggest that the federal government intends to aggressively go after alleged crypto criminals in the United States and abroad.
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