AEX crypto exchange limits withdrawals after a $1 billion "bank run"

The AEX crypto exchange is among a growing number of exchanges to limit customer withdrawals amidst a crypto downturn. In an announcement, AEX wrote that "we honestly admit that AEX Global platform has met some problems, which involve a bank run of more than 1 billion USD".

The exchange then announced they would be delaying the withdrawals of most popular cryptocurrencies for 36 hours "to avoid unnecessary panic withdrawal". A follow-up blog post the next day announced they would be allowing users to withdraw, but only up to $500 a day. They later adjusted the withdrawal limits to a more flexible model, but left them in place.

As an apology to their customers, AEX promised "AEX Shareholder Badges" to the people with the most funds in their platform. They also announced a Texas Hold'em Carnival to show their "appreciation" of their users, but they canceled it the same day. Perhaps focusing on the liquidity issue is the right choice...

Anna "Delvey" Sorokin announces she will "move away from the 'scammer persona'" and launch NFTs

Anna Sorokin, sitting with her chin on her hand in courtAnna Sorokin (attribution)
Anna Sorokin, the scammer who convinced people and companies to give her hundreds of thousands of dollars by pretending to be a German heiress, has decided to get into NFTs. After winding up with a "scammer persona", which she says is a result of the Netflix series about her and not a result of the scams that landed her in prison, she has announced her intentions to "move away from" it. Now she is focusing on an NFT collection, which she announced in an interview from a detention facility in New York.

Finblox implements withdrawal limits and pauses rewards due to exposure to Three Arrows Capital

Finblox is a crypto yield farming company that describes themselves as a "savings platform" and promises "up to 90% APY on your crypto!". They announced they would be preventing users from withdrawing more than $1,500 from the platform, or earning the rewards they were initially promised. In an announcement, Finblox wrote that they were making the changes due to "numerous media reports" about Three Arrows Capital, a hedge fund and investor in Finblox which is widely rumored to be insolvent amidst the crypto downturn.

Finblox announced that all users would only be able to withdraw up to $500 a day, up to a monthly maximum of $1,500—quite a change from the $50,000/day withdrawal limit for some of their users. They also wrote that they would be pausing reward distributions, and delaying their referral program and deposit rewards, and preventing newly registered users from creating new crypto addresses.

Finblox ended the message to their users by saying they would "do everything in its power to protect our users' funds and reinstate our services in full", but such a dramatic move seems to suggest the platform is another domino to fall as companies collapse throughout the crypto ecosystem.

Hacker steals over $1.2 million from Inverse Finance, their second such exploit in under three months

A hacker was able to perform an oracle manipulation attack enabled by flash loans to siphon crypto worth around $1.26 million from Inverse Finance. The loss to the protocol was higher, at around $5.8 million. The attacker has already moved most of the stolen funds to the Tornado Cash cryptocurrency tumbler.

Inverse Finance is a borrowing and lending protocol that was hit with a different oracle manipulation attack in early April, which resulted in a $15.6 million loss.

8 Blocks Capital calls on platforms to freeze Three Arrows Capital's funds after the firm goes silent

8 Blocks Capital is a Hong Kong-based trading firm. In a Twitter thread, Danny Yuan explained that 8BC had been using 3AC's trading accounts to reduce their trading fees. He wrote, "We had known them since 2018, thought they were competent and didn’t think they were degen enough to lose billions and not employ basic risk management."

When 8BC contacted 3AC to make a withdrawal on June 13, they never received a reply. "We didn't think much of it at the time. After a while, the market stablized so we no longer needed the funds. We thought maybe they were just busy." The following day, 8BC noticed $1 million missing from their accounts. When they tried to contact 3AC, they again received no response.

According to Yuan, "What we learned is that they were leveraged long everywhere and were getting margin-called. Instead of answering the margin calls, they ghosted everyone." He called on platforms that still have assets from 3AC to freeze those assets, "so that those who 3AC owes can be paid back in the future after legal proceedings."

Kraken crypto exchange announces 🚩 culture overhaul 🚩

The U.S.-based crypto exchange Kraken has announced that, despite the layoffs and hiring freezes among its competitors in the ongoing "crypto winter", they intend to keep hiring aggressively. They also took the opportunity to announce that they "believe bear markets are fantastic at weeding out the applicants chasing hype from the true believers in our mission", and that they had "taken this opportunity to align our internal culture around a set of shared values". They also make it clear that anyone who disagree with the changes can GTFO: "In commitment to these values, we also expanded our permanent benefits program to make moving on a bit easier for anyone who feels it's time for the next chapter in their career."

These internal values include requiring employees to believe in "The Mission", "to accelerate the worldwide adoption of cryptocurrency". Their culture explainer also includes various points (emphasis in the original):

  • "We will engage in lobbying, as a single-issue donor, supporting controversial politicians and legislation that furthers The Mission, possibly to the detriment of other civil rights causes"
  • We will advertise with and sponsor controversial television programs, podcasts, influencers and events, if it furthers The Mission
  • We may incorporate firearm and self-defense training in to corporate retreats
  • Should we aim to be exemplary in terms of stereotypical team diversity measurements? No.

The culture document goes on to say that "Someone Must be Offended, Some of the Time":

  • "Krakenites are welcome to request (and deny) personal language and communication preferences of each other"
  • Everyone is responsible for their own feelings
  • Being offended doesn't necessarily make you right
  • Being offended doesn't necessarily make you "harmed"
  • Words nor silence are ever "violence"
  • We do not call someone's words toxic, hateful, racist, x-phobic, unhelpful, etc.

Throughout the document are various notes to clarify that although some of what they're describing definitely sounds like they might be breaking the law, they're definitely not breaking the law: e.g., "Note: We are committed to eliminating all forms of discrimination against legally protected groups in every jurisdiction in which we operate."

BlockFi fined almost $1 million by Iowa regulators for offering unregistered securities

The Iowa Insurance Division announced that they had levied a $943,000 fine against BlockFi for failing to register securities they offered on their platform. The regulator also accused BlockFi of making "misrepresentations and omissions about the level of risk in its loan portfolio", particularly pertaining to statements that their loans were "typically" overcollateralized when in reality only around 16–17% were.

SEC reportedly begins probe into insider trading at crypto exchanges

According to FOX Business, the SEC has sent an inquiry to at least one "major crypto exchange", in what their source said they believed was an investigation spanning several exchanges. It's not clear whether this is a targeted probe spurred by specific instances of alleged malfeasance that might be a harbinger of impending enforcement action, or a broader examination pertaining to broad regulatory interest.

Three Arrows Capital crypto hedge fund may be insolvent

Blockchain data showed that Three Arrows Capital (3AC), a crypto-focused hedge fund based in Singapore, appeared to be dumping stETH as quickly as possible. stETH is Lido-staked Ethereum, a project that is facing liquidity issues and deviating from its peg as of late. The sales appear to be 3AC selling off stETH to pay off debts, presumably due to margin calls as the crypto ecosystem as a whole fell dramatically.

Making matters worse, 3AC co-founder Su Zhu tweeted during the mass sell-off to promote stETH, which certainly gives the appearance that he was trying to pump the price to improve price or liquidity. BlockFi later confirmed that they had liquidated some positions that 3AC held with them.

Speculation about 3AC has swirled, with little comment from 3AC or its executives besides a June 14 tweet from Zhu: "We are in the process of communicating with relevant parties and fully committed to working this out". Meanwhile, other organizations including 8 Blocks Capital have reported that they've been unable to reach 3AC about money they're owed.

Merit Circle DAO votes to renege on deal with investor, provide 30% of what was owed

Members of the Merit DAO, a DAO operating in the play-to-earn space, voted on proposals renege on a deal signed with an early investor to the DAO, Yield Guild Games (YGG). The proposal argued that YGG had not "added value" to Merit (besides monetarily, of course).

YGG pointed out that the seed investor agreement did not require investors to "provide any specific value add services", and "there is no provision for Merit... to unilaterally cancel the contract". The core team replied to say that, "We would like to honor all agreements, however... the DAO holds the ultimate power". One minority voice in the community argued, "You can not just look back 6 months later and be angry with someone who took an early bet on you and say 'here is a refund'. We must uphold trust in compensating those who take early risks."

Surprisingly, YGG ultimately accepted a deal with the DAO rather than take it to court. The final decision did not entirely eliminate their promised returns, but still only granted them around 30% of what they would have been owed with the original deal (which would have been over $5 million).

In a Twitter thread, CEO of the 101.xyz web3 platform detailed the saga and wrote, "it's hard to see this as anything other than a horrendous stain on the reputation of web3... Merit Circle DAO may not need outside support anymore, but many other projects do. And now they’ve made it harder for earlier projects to get the capital they need. Investors might rightfully ask 'what if your DAO decides to fuck us'".

No JavaScript? That's cool too! Check out the Web 1.0 version of the site to see more entries.