Binance Drama, Meme Coins & Hacks: It's Just Another Day in Crypto Paradise 🌴
The SEC's Got Their Claws Out For Coinme, Elon Musk Is Forecasting Recessions And Failed Banks, And There's A Tug-Of-War Over Terraform Labs Founder Do Kwon's Extradition. Plus, Pepe The Frog Is Hopping Into The Crypto Market, And Binance Finds Itself In The DOJ's Crosshairs (Again!).
Hey there, beautiful souls! It's Charles, your trusty guide to the cryptoverse. We've got some piping hot news coming your way, so hold on tight as we venture into the digital unknown. Let's get ready to rumble, folks!
SEC's Barks N' Bitches: Coinme, Subsidiary & CEO Fined $4M Over UpToken Offering
The SEC just put crypto company Coinme and its CEO Neil Bergquist in the doghouse, fining them a total of almost $4 million for running an unregistered security offering for their UpToken. The SEC alleged that Bergquist and his subsidiary had misled investors about the demand for UpToken and the amount raised in the offering. To make matters worse, Bergquist has also been barred from acting as an officer or director of a public company for three years. Wishing them the best in their future endeavors, woof! (Read the story here: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/coinme-subsidiary-ceo-fined-4m-090832059.html)
In other news, Elon Musk is back at it again, stirring up the conversation about the economy.
It's official: Recession's Here? Elon Musk Says Failed Banks Are the Proof
This week, Elon Musk took stock of the pile of failed banks, and he's convinced that a recession is already here. Specifically, three major banks—First Republic Bank, Silicon Valley Bank, and Signature Bank—have collapsed in the last eight weeks alone. In a tweet, the billionaire Tesla, Twitter, and SpaceX chief said a mild recession is "already here" and that further rate hikes will trigger a "severe recession." In other words, Mr. Musk believes the central bank's 475-basis-point hike over the last year will have a dire effect on the economy.
@federalreserve@DavidWestin@BloombergTV Fed data has too much latency. Mild recession is already here.
It’s not like just the canary in the coal mine (SVB) died, one of the staunchest miners (Credit Suisse) died too & the cemetery is filling up fast!
Further rate hikes will trigger severe recession. Mark my words.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk)
Apr 30, 2023
Ex-Treasury Secretary Larry Summers agrees with Musk, claiming the odds of a US recession in the next year are now at 70%. He went on to describe how inflation expectations are already beginning to take shape, and that it's unlikely the Fed will hit its inflation target without triggering a "meaningful slowdown" in the economy. Talk about a perfect storm. (Read the story here: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/news/recession-elon-musk-says-pile-101500654.html)
While the economy seems to be taking a hit, there's a high-stakes extradition battle heating up between South Korea and the U.S. for Terraform Labs founder Do Kwon.
South Korean & U.S. Authorities Vie to Extradite Do Kwon
It's really heating up in the extradition pursuit of Do Kwon, the Terraform Labs founder arrested by Montenegrin police in March. South Korean and U.S. authorities have both thrown their hats into the ring. The U.S. wants to prosecute Kwon for allegedly defrauding U.S. investors who held certain tokens, but South Korea believe their chances of justice are better thanks to evidence gathered by investigator Dan Sung-han. Montenegrin Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic is ready to give the go-ahead—so it's now down to South Korean and U.S. authorities to battle it out and see who takes him first. Could be a drama as interesting as any soap opera, although with way more money and jail time at stake 😉. (Read the story here: https://en.ethereumworldnews.com/prosecutors-do-kwon-extradition/)
Speaking of drama, Binance seems to be in hot water with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) as they investigate possible Russian sanctions evasion.
DOJ Probes Whether Russia Used Binance to Elude Sanctions
It looks like the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is never done with Binance. Bloomberg reports that the DOJ is now investigating whether the exchange was used by Russian agents to evade financial sanctions imposed on the country in 2022. According to the report, the DOJ’s national security division is leading the investigation, to determine if Russia used the platform or if someone inside Binance helped it to avoid sanctions. On top of this investigation, the DOJ’s criminal division is also reportedly looking into the exchange for anti-money laundering violations. In response to the investigations, Binance launched an initiative to overhaul its corporate governance structure and has been cooperating with various international authorities to apprehend criminals. It looks like the DOJ is doing its due diligence to make sure bad actors don’t get away with it. Let this be a lesson – if you don’t do crypto right, the feds will find ya! (Read the story here: https://cryptonews.com/news/binance-faces-doj-probe-over-possible-breach-of-us-sanctions-russia.htm)
But hey, it's not all doom and gloom in the crypto world. The meme-based cryptocurrency, Pepe Coin, is making waves and climbing up the ranks.
PEPE the Frog is Taking Over the Crypto Market
It looks like the crypto market is "getting froggy" as Pepe Coin, the latest meme-based cryptocurrency, has been gaining attention and traction. Launched just weeks ago, Pepe Coin has already skyrocketed to a market cap of over $1 billion and climbed up to the top 100 cryptocurrencies in the world. This meme-coin is based on the iconic Pepe the Frog meme, which has been popular on the internet since the mid-2010s.
According to its website, Pepe Coin sees itself as the "king of memes" and has set itself a goal to overtake Dogecoin and Shiba Inu. While Pepe Coin is still in its early stages, it has already been listed on Uniswap, OKX, and Houbi and is now expanding to major exchanges like Binance.
It's been an exciting ride for Pepe Coin investors so far, though the developers warn that there is no intrinsic value or financial return with the coin, and it's completely useless and for entertainment purposes only. As with all meme coins, it is highly speculative and risky, but it will be interesting to see if it can live up to its goal of taking over the crypto market. (Read the story here: https://zycrypto.com/shiba-inu-and-doge-killer-pepe-coin-eyes-monstrous-highs-despite-already-gaining-2000-in-a-week/)
In other news, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is taking a stand against "central bank digital currency," raising concerns about potential government overreach.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Forewarns Ban on "Central Bank Digital Currency"
Despite his support for decentralized cryptocurrencies, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is taking steps to preemptively ban the implementation of a "central bank digital currency" in the state. The Republican and potential presidential candidate called out President Biden for trying to "get rid of crypto" and his "elite" agenda of "financial surveillance." Speaking at a press conference, DeSantis added that if the Federal Reserve or Treasury tries to implement a CBDC, the upcoming legislation being advanced to his desk will have a prohibition against it to ensure financial independence.
DeSantis also believes that Congress wouldn't authorize any such currency due to its potential to impair freedom and privacy. In any case, DeSantis' stance crystalizes the importance of protecting a digital asset ecosystem from excessive government control. This just goes to show the importance, now more than ever, of taking control of your own crypto and practicing self-custody. One reliable solution we use at Crypto Asset Recovery is the Ledger hardware wallet, which provides both security and ease of use. Here’s a special link (wink wink) to check it out if you're interested in stepping up your wallet security. On to more news! (Read the story here: https://www.theblock.co/post/229539/they-want-to-get-rid-of-crypto-florida-governor-ron-desantis-warns?utm_source=cryptopanic&utm_medium=rss)
Next, let's talk about some recent crackdowns going on in the crypto world.
288 Arrested, Over $53 Million In Crypto Seized In 'Unprecedented' Dark Web Crackdown!
Yikes! Law enforcement from the US, Europe, and South America just executed a massive takedown of the dark web, arresting 288 people and seizing a whopping $53 million in cash and crypto! In the US, over 150 of the arrests were made, with one in particular in California accused of selling $2 million worth of drugs.
Seems like a "strong message" is being sent to criminals on the dark web which could mean that more crackdowns are on the way! This isn't the first time though, it follows after the big shutdown of Hydra in 2022 and Genesis Market in 2023. Looks like it's time to keep an eye out for more law enforcement action because these dark web dealers are in for a wild ride. (Read the story here: https://cryptonews.com/news/global-dark-web-crackdown-288-arrested-drugs-guns-crypto-seized.htm)
Kyle Davis (left), Su Zhu (right) of 3AC and OPNX
Dubai regulators crack down on Three Arrows Capital Co-Founders Over New Unregulated Exchange OPNX
The crypto world is no stranger to controversy, and here's yet another one: Dubai's Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) has issued a written reprimand to the co-founders of defunct crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, Su Zhu and Kyle Davies, for launching unregulated digital asset exchange OPNX without the necessary local license. VARA became aware in February that OPNX was marketing the exchange without restrictions for UAE/Dubai residents, so a cease and desist order was issued. However, that was followed by an Investor and Marketplace Alert once OPNX had launched on April 4.
The folks at OPNX are claiming innocence, with CEO Leslie Lamb saying that the platform has not done any marketing specifically targeting Dubai or the UAE and is cooperating with VARA's investigation. OPNX's push for legitimacy comes as Dubai is trying to position itself as a global hub for the crypto industry, and coincides with broader efforts by the UAE to move off the Financial Action Task Force's 'gray list.' C'mon Dubai, give OPNX a break! (Read the story here: https://cryptonews.com/news/three-arrows-capital-founders-face-dubai-regulators-scrutiny-over-new-unregulated-exchange-opnx.htm)
Coinbase Execs Face Lawsuit for Allegedly Making Bank Off Inside Info!
It looks like Coinbase execs may be in for some trouble. Adam Grabski, a Coinbase shareholder, has filed a suit against the crypto exchange's nine executives and board members for allegedly profiting from inside information during their public listing. The suit claims that Brian Armstrong, the exchange's Chairman and CEO, as well as other execs, sold choice stock worth up to $2.9 billion in the month after their public listing in April 2021. As alleged, the execs offloaded the stock before the company's revenue margins and dilutive convertible offering were publicly disclosed, leading the share price to suffer a 37% decline by May 18.
Grabski is suing the execs for breach of fiduciary duty and unreasonable enrichment, claiming they would not have had the opportunity to cash in if Coinbase had done a public offering rather than a direct listing. Now, he's fighting to get damages and return of any profits the defendants made, as well as repayment for all associated lawsuit expenses. Talk about being bold! (Read the story here: https://cryptonews.com/news/coinbase-executives-sued-for-allegedly-profiting-from-inside-information-during-public-listing.htm#:~:text=The%20suit%20alleges%20that%20the,public%20listing%20in%20April%202021.)
YouTube Pulls Through For DidYouKnowGaming After Crypto Scam Incident
The crypto world was left holding its breath this week after popular YouTube channel DidYouKnowGaming reported that it had been hacked. With over 2.4 million subscribers, the team behind the channel was worried that their fans would fall victim to an XRP token cryptocurrency scam that had been promoted using their channel. Thankfully, YouTube came to the rescue!
The tech giant was quick to act and sprung into action by asking the YouTuber for information and connecting them with a specialist team to help them regain access to their account. Phew!
Unfortunately, this isn't the first time we've seen such an incident, and the risk of hacks is increasing with the rise in AI-generated deepfakes, now even money can buy. That's why it's important for crypto investors and enthusiasts to be careful when it comes to the information they consume and make sure it's coming from a reliable source. So be sure to do your research when it comes to Web3, blockchain, and cryptocurrencies so you don't fall victim to such attacks! (Read more here: https://cryptonews.com/news/xrp-crypto-scam-prevented-as-youtube-assists-recovering-hacked-channel.htm)
That's a wrap! Today we've covered everything from the SEC's doghouse to Elon's recession predictions, high-stakes extradition battles, and Binance's continued scrutiny. As always, stay vigilant, stay informed, and embrace the excitement that comes with the wild ride that is the world of cryptocurrencies. Keep exploring the vast crypto cosmos and remember, we're all just stars in this digital galaxy. Until next time, this is Charles, signing off. Stay groovy, folks!
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