Blockchain This Week – Sensitive Data Collections, Apologies, Industry Recovery Fund, Proof of Reserves

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ConsenSys Collects User IP and Wallet Addresses

ConsenSys, the company behind MetaMask and Infura, has revised its privacy policy this week. It said it would collect the IP and wallet addresses of MetaMask users when they use Infura as the default RPC provider.

Uniswap Also Has a New Privacy Policy

The decentralized exchange Uniswap also published a new privacy policy to add clarity to the data it collects. As per the policy, Uniswap collects on and off chain data connected to users’ crypto wallets. Uniswap claims that it does not gather sensitive personal data, but some information related to users’ activities is still scraped from the company’s website.

Binance Leads Crypto Recovery Fund

Binance added another $1 billion to its recently announced Billion Dollar Crypto Industry Recovery Fund, bringing the size of the fund to over $2 billion. Aptos Labs, Jump Crypto, and other prominent crypto companies are contributing $50 million. Meanwhile, Binance had to clarify that its billion dollars came from its own pockets and not pilfered from its customers’ deposits.

Bybit’s $100M Fund

Crypto exchange Bybit has set up a $100 million fund to support institutional clients suffering the crypto winter. It will offer up to $10 million to the account managers and market makers on its platform.

Binance’s Proof of Reserve System

Crypto exchange Binance has released its proof of reserves system starting with bitcoin. It shows Binance has a reserve ratio of 101% for its users’ bitcoin deposits. Binance says it has 582,485 bitcoin in its reserves against its users’ net balance of 575,742 bitcoin.

Block.one and CEO Buy Stakes in Silvergate

Block.one, the company behind the EOS blockchain, has acquired a 7.5% stake in the crypto bank Silvergate Capital. Meanwhile, its CEO, Brendan Blumer, has separately bought 2.9 million shares of the company’s stock bringing his stake in Silvergate to 9.3% and making him its largest shareholder.

Bitget and Bitpanda Expand

Crypto exchange Bitget has registered in Seychelles as part of its plans to expand globally by setting up more regional hubs. It is also considering increasing its headcount. Meanwhile, crypto investment firm Bitpanda has obtained a license to offer crypto trading and custody in Germany.

On Chain Gold Trading

Dubai Multi Commodities Center (DMCC) has partnered with ComTech Gold for blockchain based gold trading. ComTech will deposit physical gold bars in DMCC approved vaults and issue tokens backed by the gold. These gold backed assets will be issued on the XDC blockchain.

BoJ To Try CBDC

The Bank of Japan (BoJ) plans to run digital yen experiments in the spring of 2023. It has enlisted three bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. for the trials.

El Salvador’s Digital Securities Bill

El Salvador’s Minister of Economy Maria Luisa Hayem Breve put forth a digital securities bill in the legislative assembly of the country. It proposes to establish a commission to oversee the regulation of digital asset issuers and service providers.

Nexo Sued

Three investors are suing crypto lender Nexo, alleging that Nexo blocked them from withdrawing over $126 million worth of crypto and pressed them to sell millions’ worth of Nexo tokens back to the firm at a discount price. Nexo called the legal claim “opportunistic.”

Sequoia Says Sorry to Investors, SBF to Employees

After writing off its entire investment in FTX, Sequoia Capital partners apologized to investors, promising them that the firm would have a Big Four accounting firm audit the early stage startups it invests in. Meanwhile, Sam Bankman Fried sent a mail to FTX’s employees saying he was “deeply sorry about what happened” and that he “froze up in the face of pressure.” Not a word on the allegations of misappropriation of customers’ funds was mentioned.

Million Dollar Properties

SBF’s FTX unit, his parents, and scores of senior executives of the failed crypto firm, bought at least 19 properties in the Bahamas over the past two years. These properties are worth around $121 million. They included seven condos as “residences for key personnel” and $16.4 million vacation homes for SBF’s parents.

FTX Shorts

FTX Japan plans to restart withdrawals by the year’s end once it has its new payment system in place, which would replace the suspended payment system of its parent company.

According to a court filing, FTX owes more than $3 billion to its top 50 creditors and must return close to $1.45 billion to the top 10. FTX Group also has a combined cash balance of $1.24 billion.

The person or entity behind the suspicious withdrawals from FTX, popularly known as the “FTX Drainer,” has moved $72 million of their $302 million in Ether to Bitcoin.

The Supreme Court of Bahamas has ruled that FTX has to pay for the costs incurred by the SEC of the Bahamas to hold FTX’s digital assets in its wallet.

Meanwhile, the acting CEO of FTX, John Ray III, has nominated crypto custodian BitGo to safeguard FTX’s assets in the bankruptcy proceedings.

FTX CEO SBF, Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison, and the Golden State Warriors are hit by a lawsuit for false advertising of FTX.

“Avengers Endgame” directors, the Russo brothers, will produce a mini series on FTX collapse for Amazon. They are reportedly in talks with several Marvel stars to feature in the series.

News Shorts

Bonds issued by crypto exchange Coinbase and bitcoin maximalist Mike Saylor’s BI firm MicroStrategy have slumped double digits as investors lose confidence in the industry following the collapse of FTX.

Crypto exchange AAX has liquidated all futures positions on its platform as it attempts to recover following a hack on Nov 13.

Nasdaq listed crypto firm Eqonex Group has sought judicial protection as it is battling a severe short term cash crunch.

Iris Energy unplugged mining hardware that was used as collateral for its $107.8 million loan after receiving a default notice.

NFT marketplace Magic Eden is integrating with Polygon, Ethereum layer 2 protocol, to explore blockchain gaming and NFT ecosystems.

Tornado Cash developer Alexey Pertsev is ordered to stay in jail until Feb 20 after a Netherlands court ruled him as being a flight risk.

Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest bought an additional 176,945 shares, worth $1.4 million, of Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust.

DBS bank of Singapore said it had become the first Asian bank to conduct fixed income trading on JP Morgan’s blockchain based trading network, Onyx.

Web3 Venture Funding

Binance’s venture arm Binance Labs has made an undisclosed strategic investment as a part of hardware wallet maker Ngrave’s Series A funding.

Cosmos based DeFi protocol, Onomy has raised $10 million in a private token funding round from investors, including Bitfinex, GSR, and Ava Labs.

Web3 gaming company Thirdverse has raised $15 million in a funding round led by MZ Web3 Fund.

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