Swyftx lays off another 40% of employees

Following a round of layoffs in August that cut 21% of their workforce, Australian cryptocurrency exchange Swyftx has just performed another round of layoffs less than four months later. This time they're cutting 40% of their staff, around 90 people.

Swyftx's CEO admitted the company had grown too fast. He attributed the decision to the continued downturn in the crypto market and shaken trust as a result of FTX, though Swyftx says they had no direct exposure to the bankrupt crypto exchange.

Orthogonal Trading is insolvent, defaults on $36 million in loans

The unsecured lending platform Maple Finance published a blog post announcing that they were severing ties with Orthogonal Trading, who had "misrepresented its financial position" for a month. "It is now clear that they have been operating while effectively insolvent, and it will not be possible for them to continue operating a trading business without outside investment," wrote Maple.

On December 3, Orthogonal Trading admitted to Maple that they were unable to meet loan repayments. The group was unable to repay a $10 million loan due the following day. The group has $36 million in liabilities across various loans on Maple's USDC and wETH pools.

Orthogonal Credit, a sister group to Orthogonal Trading, published a blog post distancing themselves, writing that they were "shocked and dismayed" by Trading's misrepresentation. "We are speechless by the extent of the exposure and liquidity position of Orthogonal Trading’s book of business," they wrote. They attributed the insolvency to FTX exposure.

Bybit lays off another 30% of employees

After reducing their staff by 20–30% in June, Dubai-based cryptocurrency exchange Bybit is doing another round of layoffs. This time the cut is estimated at around 30%, which is likely around 750 people based on their headcount.

In a Twitter thread, Bybit CEO attributed the layoffs to the "deepening bear market" and said the layoffs touch all departments.

"We are all saddened by the fact this reorganisation will impact many of our dear Bybuddies and some of our oldest friends," he wrote. On the bright side, they no longer have to be called "Bybuddies".

Genesis owes $900 million to customers of Gemini Earn

After a domino effect in which Gemini suspended withdrawals from its "Earn" lending product due to Genesis suspending withdrawals due to FTX's collapse, it's been revealed by the FT that Genesis holds around $900 million in Gemini customer assets.

Gemini has formed a creditor committee to try to recoup funds from Genesis, as well as Genesis parent company DCG.

AAX customers search for executives, beat staff members

On November 13, the AAX cryptocurrency exchange suspended withdrawals, claiming they were dealing with a botched system upgrade. Shortly before, they had reassured their customers that they had stable reserves and no exposure to FTX.

On November 28, the company's vice president for global marketing and communications acknowledged that he had resigned from the company, explaining on Twitter that "I did fight for the community but none of the initiatives we came up with were accepted."

Upon realizing that the exchange was unlikely to resume withdrawals, some customers have taken it upon themselves to try to find AAX's executives. Some showed up at the Hong Kong headquarters, only to find it deserted. Another user appeared at their Singaporean coworking space, also to find it empty. Users have been posting leaked personal identity documents of listed executives on Telegram, hoping to locate them. Some of the exchange's customers in Nigeria stormed the local office, and according to local news, beat some of the staff that they did encounter.

Oracle attack on Helio, enabled by a separate hack on Ankr, allows attackers to steal $15 million

Attackers were able to take advantage of an exploit on the Ankr protocol to obtain around 183,000 aBNBc tokens for only 10 BNB (~$2,900). Before the Ankr exploit, which crashed the price of aBNBc, this many aBNBc tokens would have had a notional value of around $55.5 million. An issue with the price oracle on the staking platform Helio allowed attackers to borrow 16,444,740 HAY, a stablecoin intended to be pegged to the US dollar. The attackers then swapped those HAY for around $15 million in the BUSD stablecoin. Meanwhile, the HAY stablecoin lost its peg, crashing as low as $0.20.

Ankr defi project exploited for over $5 million

The BNB Chain-based Ankr defi protocol suffered an exploit of their aBNBc token. "We are currently working with exchanges to immediately halt trading," they wrote. However, the attacker had already bridged and tumbled around $5 million in funds from the exploit before the announcement was even made.

The attacker, and possible subsequent copycat attackers, used a vulnerability in the project smart contract to mint quadrillions of aBNBc, which they then swapped to various other tokens.

Binance halted trading on aBNBc tokens, as well as on HAY tokens, a stablecoin project that was subsequently exploited. Ankr also tweeted that "We have been in touch with the [decentralized exchanges] and told them to block trading", although decentralized exchanges are typically not supposed to be able to "block trading".

Maersk and IBM announce the discontinuation of their blockchain-based TradeLens platform

Tough news for folks who insist that blockchains' obvious use case is for supply chains: IBM and Maersk have discontinued their private blockchain-based TradeLens platform due to lack of interest.

The idea was to use a private blockchain to "promote more efficient and secure global trade" by allowing shipping companies to share information including shipping container contents and tracking. However, it was apparently tough to convince these companies to actually adopt the project, and Maersk and IBM pulled the plug.

Auros misses loan payment due to FTX exposure

Crypto trading firm Auros missed a payment on its 2,400 wETH (~$3 million) loan from the Maple defi lending project. According to M11 Credit, the operator of the credit pool from which Auros has taken the loan, this was due to "a short-term liquidity issue as a result of the FTX insolvency".

In total, Auros has 8,400 wETH (~$10.7 million) and $7.5 million in USDC in loans from M11 credit pools, plus another $2.4 million in loans from the Clearpool defi lending project, for a total of more than $20 million in unsecured loans.

Kraken pays over $360,000 to settle violations of sanctions against Iran

The US cryptocurrency exchange Kraken settled charges from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) alleging that they had violated sanctions against Iran. In the agreement, Kraken will pay $362,158.70 for the potential civil liability, and agree to commit $100,000 in various compliance controls.

The OFAC investigation was first revealed in July, in reporting from the New York Times.

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