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Fake Crypto ETFs Are the New Pump & Dumps

XRP jumped 10% as a fake Delaware corporation registry document for the iShares XRP Trust was leaked to the public. Also, job cuts at Cake Group, your bitcoin might get you residence in Hong Kong, wins license in Dubai, The Block has new owners, and Hodlnaut faces liquidation.

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There's no quicker way to make a few bucks than a snappy pump-and-dump scheme. Market manipulation at its finest, pump and dumps remain a key strategy of the most unscrupulous market participants. With that in mind, where better to find unscrupulous market participants than the crypto sector?

We don't have to look too far to find visible examples of pump-and-dump schemes in the crypto industry, just as Logan Paul's CryptoZoo buyers or the millions of NFT projects that skyrocketed before plummeting to zero.

Now, crypto pump-and-dumpers have levelled up their game to leverage their TradFi cousins.

That Cointelegraph Incident

As both the TradFi and crypto industries await the approval of Bitcoin ETFs from the SEC, traders and investors are hovering their fingers over the BTC buy trigger.

A few weeks ago, these traders fired a blank as Cointelegraph erroneously reported that the SEC had approved BlackRock's iShares spot Bitcoin ETF. The fake news triggered a 10% surge in Bitcoin's price. 

Whilst this was fake news, it revealed that the market was ready to pounce at the mere announcement of the SEC's approval.

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Those "lucky" enough to buy ahead of the "announcement" made a decent profit if they sold before the news was debunked. In other words, those who leaked the fake news most likely made a sneaky buck that day.


Lightning doesn't strike twice, unless you're in the crypto industry. In a similar fashion to the Cointelegraph saga, Ripple's XRP jumped 10% overnight as a fake Delaware corporation registry document for the iShares XRP Trust was leaked to the public.

The document mirrored those that BlackRock legitimately filed ahead of its applications for Bitcoin and Ethereum ETFs.

Clearly, whoever photoshopped the document had another agenda. And it worked. Of course, XRP has since returned to its pre-pump price, but that's exactly how the "dump" plays out.

With the market unashamedly showing its hunger for these crypto ETFs, pump-and-dumpers don't require too much effort to exploit its desperation.

Twice bitten third shy? As excited as the market is about crypto ETF approvals, it urgently needs to fact-check the "news." Or just subscribe to Blockhead.


  • Cake Announces Staff Reductions: In a significant organizational shift, Julian Hosp, CEO of Cake Group, announced the decision to downsize the company by 52, reducing the team to approximately 120 members, effective immediately. This move is aimed at achieving a sustainable break-even state for the company, Hosp said. The resizing impacts all verticals – Bake, Levain, Ordzaar, Birthday Research – across both Singapore and Kuala Lumpur offices. Hosp cited the ballooning of operating costs, as well as "both the longevity and extent of a broader slowdown in the crypto landscape, and the impact it would have on investor sentiment." Amidst rumors of leadership changes, Hosp confirmed his ongoing role as CEO.
  • Goodbye Hodlnaut, We Hardly Knew Thee: The Singapore-based crypto exchange will be liquidated as the High Court of Singapore ended judicial management, Cointelgraph reported. Hodlnaut, which applied for creditor protection in August 2022, tried but failed to find a white knight to rescue the company.
  • Wins Provisional License in Dubai: has been granted a Virtual Asset Service Provider Licence pending operational approval  from Dubai's Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority. This allows the platform to perform exchange, broker-dealer, and lending and borrowing services in the emirate, which is also the company's regional hub for the Middle East and Africa. “Dubai continues to show it is a leading market when designing effective regulation for the crypto space while still supporting adoption and innovation," CEO Kris Marszalek said in a statement.
  • New Chapter for The Block: Asian Investor Buys Majority Stake, Cuts Ties with FTX Founder: Singapore-based Foresight Ventures has acquired a majority stake in cryptocurrency-focused media outlet The Block. This move involved buying out shares linked to a loan from Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, at a $70 million valuation. The publication had previously faced scrutiny due to the undisclosed loan from Bankman-Fried, raising concerns about potential conflicts of interest. "This tx gives The Block a fresh start ahead of the bull market and provides us with more capital to build out new exciting products and expand our footprint into Asia and the Middle East," CEO Larry Cernak said on X.
  • Hong Kong Wants More Crypto Bros: The city has restarted its investment immigration program after eight years, with an entry threshold of 30 million Hong Kong dollars (~US$3.84 million) – three times as much as before – and Bitcoin might be part of the mix, if one local lawmaker has his way. Legislator Duncan Chiu proposed allowing the digital asset, if purchased through licensed local exchanges, to qualify as part of the program. Investment in real estate is not allowed, and mainlanders do not qualify either.


Hong Kong Cracks Down on Worldcoin's Data Collection Practices

Hong Kong Cracks Down on Worldcoin's Data Collection Practices

Authorities found that Worldcoin failed to adequately inform users about the collection of their personal data and did not obtain their informed consent. Worldcoin also retained user data for extended periods beyond what was necessary and did not provide a Chinese translation of its privacy policy.