Shocking revelations in the Sam Bankman-Fried trial, and threat of confiscation of luxury jets

In the trial of former CEO of defunct cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, the prosecution plans to call two of the defendant’s close associates to testify. Among the witnesses are Adam Yedidia, a close friend of SBF and former employee of FTX and Alameda Research. Also, Gary Wang, SBF’s former associate at FTX, will be attending for the first time. Wang is a co-founder of FTX and a key figure in the prosecution after pleading guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud before the SEC and CFTC. Revelations during the investigation indicate a long relationship between Wang and SBF, who shared a famous penthouse apartment in the Bahamas. The trial is scheduled to continue in New York, and confessions from Bankman-Fried’s associates could complicate his defense. According to the Wall Street Journal, Some FTX employees in the US were aware of a vulnerability in the exchange that allowed Alameda Research to withdraw billions of customer funds. They alerted the management, including Nishad Singh, but the problem was not resolved. The team discovered the issue while evaluating the possibility of using FTX’s code in the US. Additionally, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on October 4 that the two multimillion-dollar luxury jets belonging to Sam Bankman-Fried are under threat of confiscation.

Solana records 40% increase in total assets locked on its blockchain

The Solana blockchain reached an annual record in total assets locked (TVL) at $335 million on October 2, according to data from DeFillama. Currently, TVL stands at around $329.59 million, indicating a recent influx of investors into the network’s decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem. While this is notable year-over-year growth, Solana’s DeFi TVL is still below the record high of over $10 billion reached during the 2021 market peak.

Polygon co-founder Jaynti Kanani leaves daily position on the project after six years of contribution

Jaynti Kanani, co-founder of the Polygon project, announced that he is leaving his day-to-day position on the project after six years of contribution. He intends to focus on new adventures while continuing to support Polygon from the outside. The Polygon project, a Layer 2 solution for Ethereum, has several co-founders who are taking on different roles and projects within the ecosystem. The price of Polygon’s native token (COIN:MATICUSD) records a drop of -2.26% in the last 24 hours, and a weekly increase of 8.84%. The project continues to develop, with a focus on the Polygon 2.0 update.

SIM swap attacks affect Friend.Tech users, with Ether losses estimated at $385,000

Users of the Friend.Tech app continue to be targeted by SIM swapping attacks, resulting in estimated losses of $385,000 worth of Ether (COIN:ETHUSD) since the start of the week. While the Friend.Tech code itself has not been exploited, the attacks are targeting influential accounts, including some on social app X. Developers are introducing measures to mitigate attack vectors by allowing users to change their login methods. Security experts suggest implementing two-factor authentication for additional protection.

Crypto startup funding falling

Seed funding in the crypto industry has plummeted, reaching Q4 2020 levels. According to Messari, crypto startups raised just $2.1 billion across 297 deals in Q3 2023, a 36% drop in compared to the previous quarter and almost 70% compared to the same period in 2022. Seed funding, which raised US$488 million across 98 deals, stood out as the largest fundraising category.

Cryptocurrency money laundering reaches $7 billion

Analytics firm Elliptic revealed that $7 billion in “high-risk or illicit funds” was laundered through cross-chain and cross-asset services, exceeding its original estimate. Criminals are using more complex methods, such as derivatives trading and limit orders, to hide their laundering activities. Elliptic also named North Korea’s Lazarus Group as the main culprit for laundering more than $900 million through cross-chain methods.

International regulators require banks to disclose cryptocurrency holdings

In response to recent bank collapses attributed in part to the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies, the Basel Committee on Bank Supervision is implementing plans that require banks to disclose their exposures to uncollateralized crypto assets such as Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) and Ether (COIN:ETHUSD). The Committee, which sets standards for traditional financial institutions, seeks to reduce systemic risk and increase financial transparency. The consultation document proposes additional disclosure requirements and reflects concerns about the influence of cryptocurrencies on traditional finance.

Crypto firms in Netherlands win legal battle against $2.3M regulatory fees

Crypto firms in the Netherlands such as Bitvavo and Coinmerce won a partial victory against Dutch regulators, challenging fees of $2.3 million that they considered excessive and discriminatory. A Rotterdam court ruled that the Dutch Central Bank exceeded its authority by charging fees related to anti-money laundering requirements in violation of European Union law in 2021. The Dutch Central Bank insists that taxpayers should not bear substantial supervisory costs in the crypto sector.

Kraken announces acquisition of Coin Meester BV for European expansion

US cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has revealed a pending deal to acquire Dutch exchange Coin Meester BV (BCM) as it seeks to expand its presence in Europe. While financial details remain confidential, the acquisition comes after the European Union implements Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulations. Kraken plans to strengthen its base in the Netherlands by taking advantage of the country’s robust economy, high cryptocurrency adoption and culture of innovation. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval, including that of the Nederlandsche Bank.

CoinDCX expands Okto wallet with Transak platform integration

CoinDCX, India’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, has expanded its self-custodial wallet, Okto, by integrating the Transak platform. This integration expanded Okto’s global support from 60 to 155 jurisdictions, allowing users to purchase cryptocurrencies directly on Okto using multiple fiat currencies. Transak is the first access solution introduced on Okto, simplifying fiat-to-crypto conversion and offering support for over 160 tokens.

Wirex launches W-Pay encrypted debit card service based on zero-knowledge proof

Wirex has launched W-Pay, a non-custodial crypto debit card service based on zero-knowledge proof (ZK proof). The solution uses zero-knowledge technology and is built on Polygon’s Chain Development Kit (CDK), promising scalability and security. W-Pay allows non-custodial wallets and decentralized applications to issue encrypted debit cards, eliminating third-party risks and maintaining sole control over users’ money. The solution offers Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatibility and account abstraction to simplify transaction processes.

HKEX introduces Synapse to automate stock market operations

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) has launched the Synapse program, an enhanced version of Stock Connect, which uses smart contracts to optimize post-trade processes and increase efficiency in the stock market. Synapse will be deployed on October 9, 2023, allowing investors to access mainland Chinese stocks listed on HKEX, and will offer additional support to institutional investors using Stock Connect, enabling them to more effectively manage their post-trading activities, even when dealing with different time zones. The Northbound Stock Connect program recorded a 5% increase in trading volume in the first half of 2023, highlighting its growing popularity among international investors.

Marathon Digital increases monthly production and improves finances

Bitcoin mining company Marathon Digital (NASDAQ:MARA) increased its monthly hash rate by 20%, producing 1,242 Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) in September, a 16% increase from August and 245% growth in 12 months. The company now holds 13,726 BTC and has demonstrated global expansion plans, including the Abu Dhabi facility. Its finances have also improved significantly, with a crypto asset and cash balance of $471.2 million.

Starbucks celebrates 20 years of Pumpkin Spice Latte with NFTs

Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) announced a special collection of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to celebrate 20 years of its famous Pumpkin Spice Latte drink. Members of Starbucks Odyssey, its Web3 rewards program, will have exclusive access to “The PSL Collection: Spiced Stamp” digital stamps, while non-members can join the waitlist. Each NFT will cost $20 and four different types will be available, representing different variations of the drink.

Phaver raises $7 million in seed funding

Phaver, a Web3-based social media platform, has raised $7 million in seed funding, with investors including Polygon Ventures, Nomad Capital, Symbolic Capital, dao5, Foresight Ventures, Alphanonce, f.actor, and Superhero Capital. Its mobile app allows users to enter the crypto world without the need for a digital wallet, using their email or social media to create a Web3 wallet. The company seeks to connect Web3, allowing users to build their decentralized identity, find communities, and expand relationships on blockchain social networks like Lens.

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