Welcome to Blockhead's Daily Digest, your go-to source for staying informed on the dynamic and ever-changing world of cryptocurrency. Whether you're a seasoned investor, blockchain enthusiast, or simply curious about the latest developments, we've got you covered with the most comprehensive news and analysis.
It's a topsy-turvy world in the crypto industry but isn't that why we love it?
Over in New York City, famed crypto villain Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) has earned a court win in which prosecutors conceded to withdrawing several charges against him.
Federal prosecutors are withdrawing five of thirteen charges against the FTX founder, including bank fraud and foreign government bribery. SBF's army of lawyers had argued that prosecutors should not be allowed to charge him after his extradition from the Bahamas to the US.
It's a rather remarkable move, considering the trial has yet to begin. The withdrawal also marks the second win for SBF this week after he won a ruling in the Bahamas that the Bahamian government should not consent to the additional charges,
However, there is some hope left for those rooting against SBF, as a second trial in early 2024 is scheduled to address the withdrawn five counts.
Speaking on behalf of the crypto world, if we may be so bold, we're all hoping SBF faces the harshest punishment for his crimes that ultimately crippled the industry. Anything else would be a severe injustice, but that's crypto for you!
Meanwhile, BlackRock has filed a surprise filing to the SEC for the creation of a spot Bitcoin ETF. The iShares Bitcoin Trust will consist of bitcoin held by Coinbase, which was sued by the SEC.
As the world's largest asset manager, BlackRock's filing demonstrates resilience against the SEC, which previously rejected spot bitcoin ETF proposals from other companies.
It also comes at a time when the SEC has expressed its disapproval of the crypto industry, following its lawsuits against the likes of Binance as well as Coinbase.
Whilst there is no guarantee at all that the SEC will approve the filing, BlackRock's move has nonetheless stirred excitement within the crypto industry.
- A new key figurehead has emerged at Binance. Guangying Chen AKA Heina Chen has been uncovered as a leading person in Binance, whose name appears on various bank accounts and documents relating to the exchange's activities. Chen has no official title or public presence (until now) but controlled multiple bank accounts and even served as a director at various Binance entities. She also oversaw the company's treasury, as well as a network of companies that processed billions of dollars in transactions. Chen allegedly inflated trading volumes on the platform and facilitated fund transfers for CEO Changpeng Zhao's personal expenses, such as the purchase of a jet and a yacht. The revelation of Chen's existence comes as Binance is being sued by the SEC and has just laid off 50 employees at Binance.US.
- OKX's subsidiary, OKX Middle East Fintech FZE, has received a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) Preparatory license from the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA). OKX Middle East plans to open a new office in Dubai and increase its Dubai-based team. The MVP preparatory license allows OKX Middle East to offer regulated virtual asset activities, including spot, derivatives, and fiat services, to institutional and qualified retail customers.
- Three Arrows Capital's NFTs have been sold for $10.9 million at a Sotheby's auction in New York. The fund had initially purchased the 37 NFTs for $15.5 million worth of cryptocurrency in July and August 2021. The most expensive item, "Ringers #879 (The Goose),"by artist Dmitri Cherniak, was sold for $6.2 million. The firm bought it for 1,800 ETH, amounting to almost US$5.9 million on the day of trade.
- A recent blog post by Chainalysis has shown how ransomware actors and crypto scammers are using mining pools for money laundering. $19.1 million of cryptocurrency from ransomware addresses and $14.1 million from mining pools have been sent to a mainstream exchange. The value sent from ransomware wallets to mining pools has steadily increased since 2018. $1.8 billion in illicit cryptocurrency has been transferred to deposit addresses associated with extensive mining activity.
- Malaysia's public blockchain platform developer Zetrix and Universiti Malaya (UM) is partnering with China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) to develop AI. The project, titled "Research on Key Issues of Transborder Blockchain Infrastructure and Pilot Applications," is part of the intergovernmental collaboration between Malaysia and China in the field of Science, Technology, and Innovation. The collaboration aims to leverage AI to streamline cross-border trade processes, reduce inefficiencies, and enhance the speed and ease of transactions.