Tether generates surprising profits and doubts

Tether (COIN:USDTUSD) reported profits of over $1 billion in its latest quarterly attestation, which seems surprising for a company with only around 60 employees. The company holds a large amount of US Treasuries, which may explain its profitability. However, the lack of real money on its balance sheet is concerning and raises questions about its clients’ USDT guarantee. While the attestation is a good check of the numbers, it is not the equivalent of a full audit. Speculation around Tether will continue due to regulatory issues and legal costs.

Huobi makes strategic purchase of CRV tokens

Jun Du, co-founder of Huobi, acquired 10 million Curve DAO Tokens (COIN:CRVUSD) for $4 million from Curve Finance founder Michael Egorov to reduce his exposed lending position. Du confirmed the purchase and blocked the tokens as veCRV, gaining voting rights on the platform. Egorov took out a $100 million stablecoin loan using CRV as collateral, but faces significant debt following the July 30 protocol exploration. The purchase of Du came after negotiations involving various parts of the crypto community.

The Evil Pepe Coin meme coin aims for the top

The Evil Pepe Coin meme coin (EVILPEPE), is scheduled to launch on decentralized exchanges (DEXs) for today. The marketing team publicized the project and created hype, with support from crypto influencers. The token aims to reach a market capitalization of $100 million.

Developer blocks 5 ether for 100 years

A developer accidentally locked five ether (COIN:ETHUSD) for 100 years while working on his first test token on the 4chan forum, thinking he was using test funds on the Ethereum testnet. The test token skyrocketed to a market cap of $6 million before dropping 70%. Some suspect the story was fabricated to attract attention, while others feel it was a genuine failure. The developer will have to wait 100 years to unlock the tokens.

BlackBerry battling cyberattacks

BlackBerry’s Cybersecurity Unit (NYSE:BB) stopped more than 1.5 million cyberattacks between March and May, identifying malware families that aim to hijack computers to mine or steal cryptocurrency. The industries most affected by the attacks are finance, healthcare and government. Clop ransomware targets banks and financial institutions. Linux was the main target for operating systems. OpenAI announced a $1 million cybersecurity grant program for AI-driven cybersecurity technologies.

Shiba Inu works on digital identity with DeFi ambitions

The Shiba Inu ecosystem plans to introduce a blockchain-based digital identity called Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) to strengthen trust between Shiba Inu users and governments. The project wants to move away from its meme currency image and become a serious competitor in the decentralized finance (DeFi) space. Deployment of SSI will be prioritized in community projects utilizing SHIB and the upcoming Shibarium blockchain. The Shibarium network will utilize tokens such as BONE (COIN:BONEUSD), TREAT, SHIB (COIN:SHIBUSD) and LEASH (COIN:LEASHUSD) for applications built on the layer 2 blockchain.

Twitter bots manipulate prices of Alameda Research-related tokens

A report by the Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI) revealed that a legion of Twitter (X) bots has boosted the price of five FTX-listed tokens traded by Sam Bankman-Fried’s Alameda Research. Fake tweets about the tokens heavily influenced prices – by up to 30% in some cases – after their listing. Alameda owned at least five of the tokens before they were listed. Previous reports have also shown close links between Alameda and FTX, raising concerns about market manipulation and insider trading.

Robinhood Q2 Results

Robinhood (NASDAQ:HOOD) reported stronger-than-expected Q2 results, beating Wall Street’s revenue estimates despite a drop in the number of cryptocurrency and stock traders. Total net income increased 10% to $486 million. The brokerage attributed part of the success to higher interest rates, boosting its net interest income to $234 million. While cryptocurrency revenue is down 18%, the company plans to introduce a non-custodial wallet for customers to control their cryptocurrencies. Robinhood believes it has captured market share from its competitors in the cryptocurrency industry.

MicroStrategy claims to be a leader in Bitcoin exposure

MicroStrategy (NASDAQ:MSTR) President Michael Saylor says his company will remain the primary way for investors to gain exposure to bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) without buying it directly, even if a bitcoin ETF launches. Saylor likens the company’s stock to a fast car to supercharge bitcoin exposure, while an approved ETF would be the supertanker to boost the market. The company has a large amount of bitcoin on its balance sheet and the investment strategy generated a 254% return, outpacing the growth of bitcoin itself. MicroStrategy has not achieved Wall Street estimates in second-quarter results released Tuesday, with revenue down 1% YoY to $120 million, and operating expenses down more than 88% compared to the same quarter last year. 

BitGo leads the Go Network for institutional trading

Matthew Ballensweig, former managing director of Genesis, has been hired by BitGo to lead the Go Network, an initiative that allows hedge funds and institutions to access trading liquidity on multiple exchanges without withdrawing their assets from regulated custody. Genesis struggled after the cryptocurrency boom last year and filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2023. The Go Network includes multiple exchanges and offers instant USD for crypto settlement, providing the framework for the next generation of institutional trading of cryptocurrencies.

Binance innovates with FDUSD trading and appoints Kristen Hecht to handle regulatory investigations

Binance will allow trading of bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) and ether (COIN:ETHUSD) with First Digital’s stablecoin FDUSD (COIN:FDUSDUST), waiving all trading fees for BTC/FDUSD and creator fees for ETH /FDUSD. This move aims to diversify trading volumes across stablecoin pairs following the regulatory crackdown on Binance USD (COIN:BUSDUSD) in February. FDUSD is a stablecoin issued by a registered fund under Hong Kong’s digital asset rules. In other news, Binance has announced the appointment of Kristen Hecht as Deputy Head of Compliance and Head of Global Money Laundering Reporting to handle regulatory investigations. Several legal and compliance executives have recently left the exchange due to pressure from investigations, despite Binance’s denial. Hecht, former global head of corporate compliance at Binance, will primarily work on the compliance program and interact with regulators and industry bodies.

Ripio launches stablecoin UXD against inflation

Ripio, a Latin American provider of cryptographic services, has launched the stablecoin UXD, also known as Cryptodollar, pegged to the US dollar, aiming to offer Argentines a way to protect their assets from 115% inflation. The stablecoin is available in Argentina and Brazil, hosted on LaChain, Latin America’s tier 1 blockchain. The company plans to incorporate the UXD into its Ripio Card, and believes that the use of stablecoins in Latin America is growing due to the complex economic situation in the region.

Upbit outperforms rivals in trading volume

South Korean exchange Upbit outperformed Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) and OKX in spot trading volume in July, according to data from CCData. Upbit’s trading volume increased by 42.3% to reach $29.8 billion, while Coinbase and OKX saw their volumes drop. Upbit is now the second largest exchange by trading volume, behind Binance. The report also highlights that centralized exchanges recorded the second lowest trading volume since 2021, while decentralized exchanges saw a significant increase in volume.

Crypto influencer Evan Luthra sues Bitget

Evan Luthra, a crypto influencer, is suing cryptocurrency exchange Bitget for freezing his account after selling tokens from ReelStar, a little-known token project he promoted. ReelStar had promised 150 million REELT tokens (COIN:REELTUST) to Luthra in installments over 20 months as part of a consulting agreement, but the project terminated the agreement after the token was listed on Bitget. The situation illustrates the challenges faced by small-cap token projects, where post-listing volatility can cause losses to buyers.

Tel Aviv Stock Exchange offers crypto services

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange has signed an agreement with digital asset platform Fireblocks to offer regulated cryptographic services. The collaboration will enable TASE to provide institutional-grade digital asset solutions to regulated entities. The initiative builds on the success of the Eden Project, which applied blockchain infrastructure to the issuance and settlement of digital government bonds. TASE plans to create a blockchain-based digital asset platform, expanding its cryptocurrency trading activities to non-bank members. The partnership is considered a milestone in the global digital asset industry.

Coinbase announces that Base will be released to the public in August

Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) has announced that its layer 2 blockchain, Base, will open to the public on August 9. Initially launched for developers in July, Base will allow users to connect their ether (COIN:ETHUSD) and will be the center of the “Onchain Summer”, an event attended by major companies such as Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), Atari and OpenSea . More than $68 million worth of ether has already been transferred to the network before its official opening. Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz will also release its own Tier 2 rollup called Magi.

HashKey obtains first cryptocurrency license in Hong Kong

Cryptocurrency exchange HashKey has become the first entity to receive a license under Hong Kong’s new cryptocurrency licensing regime. HashKey Exchange obtained Type 1 and Type 7 licenses, allowing it to expand its business scope. Hong Kong has been looking to boost its adoption of Web3 and blockchain, luring cryptocurrency companies with new regulatory guidelines. HashKey Group’s COO stated that issuing licenses will bring greater transparency and confidence to investors. The favorable regulatory stance has attracted substantial interest from digital asset companies to the city.

Marathon Digital: Leader in bitcoin mining

Marathon Digital Holdings (NASDAQ:MARA) became the largest publicly traded bitcoin miner in July, with a self-mining hashrate of 18.8 exahash/second (EH/s). The company outperformed former leader Core Scientific (USOTC:CORZ), which has been facing bankruptcy proceedings since December 2022. Marathon nearly tripled its hashrate in 2023, reaching 15 EH/s in May. Marathon’s share price is up 360% this year, while bitcoin’s price is up about 76%. Other miners are also rushing to plug in new machines ahead of the next bitcoin halving, scheduled for April 2024.

SEC seizes assets in fraudulent scheme

The SEC obtained a restraining order and temporary asset freeze against DEBT Box from Draper and its directors, accusing them of operating a fraudulent scheme to sell unregistered “node licenses”. The defendants promised investors that the licenses would mine profitable cryptocurrencies, but in reality, they were creating cryptocurrencies instantly using code on a blockchain. The SEC has taken emergency action to protect investors and prevent further damage. The scheme raised about $50 million.

New York Times fights for the First Amendment

The New York Times has filed a criminal lawsuit in defense of the First Amendment seeking to allow certain parties to provide information to members of the media in the case of Sam Bankman-Fried, former CEO of FTX. The letter sent to the judge expresses concern about the gag order and the release of private diaries of a key participant in the proceedings. The NY Times argues that the public has a First Amendment right to relevant information. The trial is scheduled for October 2023 and March 2024.

eToro faces ASIC lawsuit over financial violations

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has filed a lawsuit against trading platform eToro for alleged violations of financial regulations related to cryptocurrency derivative products. eToro is accused of breaching design and distribution obligations between October 2021 and July 2023, resulting in losses for two-thirds of CFD traders. eToro faces accusations of improperly determining its target market and allowing unsuitable investors to trade CFDs, exposing them to significant losses. The company is seeking to resolve the matter with ASIC.

BlockFi undergoing reorganization following conditional approval from Bankruptcy Court

BlockFi’s reorganization is underway, with conditional approval of the disclosure statement by the US Bankruptcy Court. The company and the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors issued a statement urging eligible parties to vote on the plan by September 11th. The plan aims to resolve Chapter 11 cases and recover funds from defunct companies. Customers have the option to release BlockFi from claims against them. The SEC has agreed to defer a $30 million fine until creditors are fully repaid.

Patreon payouts have been temporarily suspended

Patreon, a subscription platform for content creators and their supporters, temporarily disabled payments to creators due to an identified issue with its Payoneer payments system on August 2. “An unrelated issue is causing a slightly higher than normal number of patron payments to be erroneously flagged as fraudulent by their banks,” according to the Patreon Status account on X (Twitter). “We regret the inconvenience this may cause creators and their patrons. We are working diligently with our partners to resolve this.” Users reported crashes on Wednesday and the company plans to provide an update on the situation soon.

NFT market suffers sharp drop in July

According to a report by DappRadar, the NFT market saw a 29% drop in trading volume and a 23% drop in the number of sales in July, recording the lowest sales figures for the year. The Bored Ape Yacht Club collection still topped the ranking of traded collections, but only two collections made it into the top 10 compared to previous months. The Polygon network saw increased activity with 772,424 traders, while the Pudgy Penguins and DeGods collections posted more promising numbers amid the gloomy backdrop.

Futureverse launches Born Ready venture fund

Futureverse co-founders Shara Senderoff and Aaron McDonald launched the $50 million Born Ready venture fund focused on investments in Web3 technology and early-stage metaverse. Futureverse, formed by the merger of eight companies and three more absorbed, recently raised $54 million in a Series A round led by 10T Holdings. The Born Ready fund will invest between $250,000 and $1 million per project and has already deployed capital in several companies including FCTRY Lab, Power’d Digital, Polemos and Walker Labs.

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