Blockchain This Week – FTX, Binance, Coinbase, OpenZeppelin, Trump NFTs

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Heads up folks. I will be taking the next couple of weeks off to recharge. Hence, this one is the last newsletter of the year. When I come back next year, there will be more and better articles and newsletters.
Happy Holidays and a very happy and peaceful New Year to all!!

SBF Arrested, Denied Bail

The former CEO of FTX, Sam Bankman Fried (SBF), was arrested in the Bahamas at the request of the US government earlier this week. He has been charged with defrauding investors and customers. While charges against him are quickly piling up, SBF is planning to fight extradition to the US. Meanwhile, a magistrate judge in the Bahamas denied his bail and sent him to prison until Feb 2023.

FTX Wants to Sell Solvent Businesses

FTX’s new leadership is seeking permission from a federal bankruptcy judge to sell off parts of the company that it claims to be solvent. FTX filed a motion to auction crypto derivatives platform LedgerX, stock trading service Embed, FTX Japan, and FTX Europe.

Binance.US Rolls Out Fee Free Service

The US subsidiary of crypto exchange Binance has added a new feature to its mobile app called Pay. Pay allows users to send, request, and receive crypto instantly, with zero fees. Close to 150 cryptocurrencies are currently supported, including bitcoin and ether.

Binance Withdrawals Surge

After being lambasted for the narrow scope of its proof of reserves report, Binance saw a surge in withdrawals. News about US prosecutors mulling over criminally charging Binance  for possible money laundering further spooked the investors. The net outflow amounted to $902 million. All these developments led to CEO CZ warning his employees of “turbulent times ahead.”

Binance Auditor Pauses Crypto Business

Mazars, the auditing firm working with Binance, Crypto.com, and KuCoin, among other crypto companies, announced a pause on its work on proof of reserve reports. Mazars said the decision was due to concerns regarding public misunderstanding of these reports.

Binance Delists Four Tokens

Binance delisted MITH, TRIBE, REP, and BTCST tokens from the exchange’s listing. Mithril, the firm behind the MITH token, demanded a refund of the 200,000 BNB tokens, worth around $53 million, that it paid Binance to list its token in 2018. CZ, however, defended the decision not to return the deposit, claiming that the exchange violated the listing terms.

Coinbase’s Asset Recovery Tool

Crypto exchange Coinbase launched a new asset recovery tool that helps users recover close to 4,000 unsupported ERC 20 tokens mistakenly sent to their Coinbase address. Coinbase will charge a fee for the service.

Coinbase Prime Got SOC Certified

Coinbase’s broker platform, Coinbase Prime, received SOC 1 Type 2 and SOC 2 Type 2 attestations certifying that Coinbase follows industry best practices. The assessment was conducted by auditor Delloite.

Ark Adds Coinbase Stock

Cathie Wood’s Ark Investment Management has bought an additional 78,982 shares in Coinbase, adding another $3.2 million worth of Coinbase stock to its portfolio. With it, the ARK Innovation ETF holds 5.8 million Coinbase shares.

OpenZeppelin’s Metaverse Security

Web3 security firm OpenZeppelin launched its metaverse security service this week and signed up The Sandbox as its first client. The Sandbox will use OpenZeppelin’s security tools called the Defender to detect potential threats in real time. Furthermore, OpenZeppelin will audit the smart contracts for the metaverse project.

Revival of Hal Finney’s Twitter Account

This week, the Twitter account of one of the bitcoin pioneers, Hal Finney, was in the news. First, it was at the risk of getting purged as a part of Twitter’s decision to delete 1.5 billion inactive accounts. Then, mysteriously, some activity was detected on his Twitter page, which added suspicions about it being compromised. It, however, became clear that it was his wife, Fran Finney, who was tweeting, in an attempt to prevent the account from getting deleted.

Trump’s NFTs

Former president of the US, Donald Trump, announced a new NFT series on his Truth Social account. Each card’s initial mint price was “only $99,” as per the collection’s website. The 45,000 NFTs were sold out in a matter of hours and had racked up over 648 ether or about $785,000 in trading volume.

Raydium Exploited

The decentralized exchange built on Solana, Raydium, suffered an exploit with the hacker transferring more than $2 million from Solana to the Ethereum network. Raydium stated that the attacker took control of the admin wallet to perpetrate this exploit.

Bitcoin Group to Buy German Bank

Crypto investment company Bitcoin Group SE is acquiring Bankhaus von der Heydt, the German bank established in 1754, for 14 million euros and 150,000 shares. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2023, subject to approval from the German regulator, BaFin.

MetaMask and PayPal Join Hands

Crypto wallet provider MetaMask and payments giant PayPal are collaborating to offer an ether onramp. Users can log into their PayPal account using MetaMask and buy ether, which is then sent back to the web3 wallet.

Web3 Shorts

Investment fund manager M31 Capital chose Anchorage Digital Bank as custodian for the $100 million Web3 Opportunity fund it had launched in Oct.

Arkansas electric utility company Entergy is offering a special tariff to reduce the costs for crypto miners.

Credit Suisse, Pictet, and Vontobel tested issuing tokenized investment products on the Ethereum testnet and settled the transactions with fiat by trading them on the BX Swiss securities exchange.

Rabobank ran a pilot with Euroclear and Northern Trust, where it issued 40 million euros worth of commercial paper across 19 transactions.

Australia plans to revamp its regulatory architecture to include crypto products and services next year.

US Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) introduce digital assets anti money laundering bill that seeks to bring KYC rules to crypto wallet providers and miners.

Unstoppable Domains is integrating with blockchain explorers Etherscan and Polygonscan to make it easier for users to trace domain addresses on the two platforms.

Microsoft updated its service terms this month to prohibit crypto mining on its cloud services without written approval.

WisdomTree has launched nine blockchain enabled digital funds after getting approval from the US SEC.

Web3 Investments

Crypto insurance firm Evertas raised $14 million in a Series A round led by Polychain Capital.

Nillion, a decentralized data transfer and storage platform that does not use blockchain, has secured $20 million in seed funding in a round led by Distributed Global.

B.Riley Financial is providing a lifeline to the struggling bitcoin mining firm Core Scientific by offering a $72 million package to extend its runway by over two years.

Embattled crypto lender Amber Group has raised $300 million in a Series C round led by Fenbushi Capital US.

Privacy focused web3 firm Aztec Network obtained $100 million in a Series B funding round led by a16z.

NFT infra protocol Decent raised $3.5 million in a seed funding round led by VC firm Archetype.

Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey donated 14 bitcoin worth over $245,000 to fund the development of Nostr, a decentralized protocol that aims to build a censorship resistant global social network.

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