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Good ol' Monday has swung around again - the universal signal for "Back to the Office" and "Why isn't coffee available in IV form?" As you drag yourself out of weekend mode and into the workweek hustle, we've got something to lighten your load - your daily dose of crypto news. So let's dive into another manic (but hopefully magical) Monday in the world of blockchain and digital assets. Buckle up, it's about to get interesting! As ever, if you’re here from a friend, subscribe now.
Sam Bankman-Fried (AKA SBF, AKA Sam Bankman-Fraud) is going to jail... But not for the reasons he should've been there in the first place.
In case you forgot, the crypto billionaire's now-defunct trading platform FTX lost $8.9 billion of customer funds, which SBF used to allegedly prop up FTT, fund Alameda Research and buy political influence.
Thanks to a rather lenient US justice system, SBF was placed on a $250 million bail, serving house arrest at his parents' Stanford residence. Under the conditions of his arrest, SBF was required to wear an ankle monitor, undergo regular health evaluations, obey a $1,000 cap on withdrawals, and of course, not do anything illegal.
Despite committing one of the biggest frauds since Bernie Madoff and deceiving the entire global financial market, the US judge had trusted SBF to not break his bail.
Now, on new charges, the Justice Department accuses SBF of witness tampering through interactions with the press. Revoking SBF's bail, the government claims that he sent over 100 emails to the media and made 1,000 phone calls to the press over the last several months. SBF truly crossed the line by leaking private diary entries of his ex-girlfriend, Caroline Ellison, to the New York Times.
Defence attorneys argued that through speaking with journalists, SBF was simply executing his first amendment rights and did not violate his bail conditions. His lawyers claimed that he would not be able to prepare for his trial properly as he needed access to important documents via a computer with internet access.
Even the New York Times and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press objected to SBF's detention. In a letter to the U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan, the New York Times argued that the public has the right to be informed about the scandal and that news organizations have the right to receive information. Restraints on non-lawyers speaking to the press are justified only in limited circumstances, the paper stated.
SBF will remain in custody until his criminal trial on 2 October 2023. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ inmate locator, SBF is in the same Brooklyn jail that previously housed Ghislaine Maxwell and Martin Shkreli.
"Sucks for Sam. If the past is prologue, he will not see home for 15-30 years. Played a high stakes game and wanted a shortcut. Doesn't work that way!" Shkreli unsympathetically tweeted.
Sucks for Sam. If the past is prologue, he will not see home for 15-30 years.— Martin Shkreli (e/acc) (@wagieeacc) August 11, 2023
Played a high stakes game and wanted a shortcut. Doesn't work that way!
Perhaps we're just salty that SBF didn't call Blockhead but we're actually glad the crypto fraudster is behind bars. He also didn't call Coffeezilla either, so perhaps he's just as intimidated by us as the ruthless YouTube investigator.
If you're reading this, SBF, give us a call next time... Don't bojio la...
- Bitcoin ETFs Delayed: The SEC has postponed a decision on a Bitcoin ETF, but needs to decide on the Bitwise Bitcoin ETP Trust by 1 September 2023. Decisions for applications from BlackRock, VanEck, WisdomTree, and Invesco are expected a day later. Analysts expect further delays in September, citing Grayscale's lawsuit against the SEC. Approval of Cathie Wood's Ark 21Shares Bitcoin ETF has also been delayed by the SEC from 13 August to potentially 2024.
- Singaporean or not?: Earlier this month we reported that 3AC founder Kyle Davies refused to acknowledge the US' jurisdiction, saying that he became a permanent resident of Singapore in 2017. It now seems that his citizenship is actually playing a part in legal proceedings. In a filing on 11 August at the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, Judge Martin Glenn said previous rulings did not consider Davies' non-US citizenship and residence outside the country. The court had initially dealt with Davies as a US national, but the subpoena has been rendered invalid due to the court's incorrect assumption about his American citizenship. The judge has thus denied a request to hold Davies in contempt of court and impose sanctions.
- Ripple's HK Plan: Ripple is planning to collaborate with Hong Kong's blockchain ecosystem. "Hong Kong has a high concentration of developers and blockchain related investments," the firm tweeted. "We're excited to work with innovative businesses and financial institutions to move, manage and tokenize value within Hong Kong and throughout Asia." Kirit Bhatia, Ripple's Head of Worldwide Business Development, highlighted Hong Kong's strong concentration of developers and blockchain-related investments and revealed that Ripple is actively partnering with local businesses and financial institutions.
Hong Kong has a high concentration of developers and blockchain related investments. 🇭🇰— Ripple (@Ripple) August 9, 2023
We're excited to work with innovative businesses and financial institutions to move, manage and tokenize value within Hong Kong and throughout Asia. pic.twitter.com/vLLLlluNS0
- Gas Fees Too Complicated: Visa believes that the process of paying gas fees on the Ethereum blockchain is too complex for the public. In a recent blog post, Visa revealed it is testing a new approach to enable users to pay these fees using traditional fiat currency through their credit cards. "What if sending blockchain transactions using self-custodial wallets was as straightforward for the user as using your card to pay for a cup of coffee?" Visa questions. "With a self-custodial wallet, the same level of ease has yet to be achieved when it comes to user experience on a blockchain." Visa suggests utilizing smart contracts to function as wallets through "account abstraction" and using a paymaster contract to cover gas fees on behalf of the users. Visa has been testing the process on Ethereum's Goerli testnet.
Monday 14 August 2023: Exploring DeFi, ZKP, and App Architecture in Web3 by imToken
Tuesday 15 August 2023: Metaverse & Virtual Real Estate Masterclass by Blockchain Smart Solutions
Wednesday 16 August 2023: WEB3WED August Meetup by WEB3WED
Thursday 17 August 2023: Singapore Web3 Blockchain Community by Metacamp
Friday 18 August 2023: Fintech 65 - 2023 Edition, A Fintech Nation Initiative by Fintech65
Saturday 19 August 2023: Blockmeet by Blockmeet