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Crypto Currents: Binance, Celsius, CryptoPunks

Other crypto stories breaking waves this week...

Table of Contents

Other crypto stories breaking waves this week...

Binance Suspiciously Moves $400m, Expects to Pay Fine

Binance made headlines this week for moving over $400 million to a trading firm managed by Changpeng Zhao.

Records show that between January and March 2021, $400 million was moved from Binance.US to Merit Peak Ltd. The Binance.US account was registered under the name of BAM Trading. Company messages show transfers to Merit Peak started in 2020.

The SEC launched an investigation surrounding Binance.US and the same trading firm in February 2022.

A Binance.US spokesperson said Merit Peak was “neither trading nor providing any kind of services on the Binance.US platform."

Meanwhile, Binance is preparing to pay penalties to "make amends" for regulatory violations.

Binance chief strategy officer Patrick Hillmann told the Wall Street Journal that it was initially "unfamiliar" with certain laws and regulations surrounding money laundering, sanctions evasion, and corruption.

Consequently, Binance expects to face fines and is “working with regulators to figure out what are the remediations we have to go through now to make amends for [past violations].”

“It will be a good moment for our company because it allows us to put it behind us,” he added.

Rekt Celsius Customers Might Get Funds Back

Celsius is looking to exit bankruptcy with the help of NovaWulf Digital Management, which is buying its retail platform.

Six parties submitted bids as part of the sale of Celsius's retail business but NovaWulf Digital has surfaced as the winner.

The deal would allow Celsius to exit Chapter 11 and could see customers having their funds returned, if approved by the bankruptcy court and accepted by the majority of Celsius customers.

Users would receive a share of their liquid crypto stuck on the platform.

Japan to launch pilot program for digital yen in April

The Bank of Japan (BoJ) has announced a pilot programme that will test the feasibility of its central bank digital currency (CBDC), the digital yen, in April. The program will have two objectives: to test the technical feasibility of the digital yen and to utilize the insights and skills of private businesses to design a CBDC ecosystem in preparation for social implementation.

The Bank of Japan has been conducting proof-of-concept experiments for more than two years around the digital yen, as China's digital yuan continues to lead the global CBDC race. However, the pilot is not expected to see any actual transactions between retailers and consumers, the bank said.

Related: Japan to Lift Stablecoin Ban By June 2023

Metaverse & NFT News

Europe's Largest Modern Art Museum Exhibits CryptoPunks

The Centre Pompidou, which houses the largest museum for modern art in Europe, Musée National d'Art Moderne, is exhibiting a series of NFTs, including CryptoPunks.

CryptoPunk #110 and Autoglyph #25 are among the 18 NFT works from 14 artists donated to the Paris museum.

The spring exhibition marks the first time French art museum will feature NFTs in its collection; traditional artists showcased at the museum include Vassily Kandinsky, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse and Frida Kahlo.

Lamborghini Enters NFT Space with VeVe Marketplace

Italian luxury car manufacturer Lamborghini is the latest high-end brand to enter the non-fungible token (NFT) space. The company has partnered with NFT marketplace VeVe to launch digital collectibles of its iconic sports cars, featuring the Huracán STO model with various rarity traits.

The move comes as other luxury automakers like Porsche, McLaren, and Alfa Romeo have already dipped their toes into the world of NFTs. This growing trend shows how luxury brands are increasingly interested in exploring new digital frontiers and tapping into the potential of blockchain technology.

For car enthusiasts and collectors (and those less inclined to buy a luxury sports car), the opportunity to own a Lamborghini NFT can be an exciting and innovative way to engage with their favorite brand, though its not goning to get you to your next destination.

OpenSea blocks Rihanna's music NFTs

NFT marketplace OpenSea has blocked trading of a Rihanna music NFT collection on its platform, launched by Jamil “Deputy” Pierre, the co-producer of the song “Bitch Better Have My Money” that Rihanna performed at the Super Bowl.

The situation highlights the importance of protecting creator fees in NFT contracts. The NFTs offered a percentage of future royalties from streaming the master recording, which was flagged as promising fractional ownership and future profit, which is against OpenSea’s policies. OpenSea’s restrictions may impact the floor price of the collection, which is still available on other platforms.