Celsius customers send letters to the judge in the bankruptcy case

Correspondences of my email sent to support on 15 Jun 2022:  To: support@celsius.network Cc: ceo@celsius.network  Dear Alex and Celcius support, I am writing this email to ask for your special consideration to allow me to make a small withdrawal on my BTC held in Celcius. I understand that Celsius made the decision to pause withdrawals in a volatile market condition, but do hope that you review my case and give me special permission.  I am 5.5 months pregnant with my third child. I am expecting to give birth in early October and I do need the fund to pay for the hospital, doctor and baby items such as cot, clothes, nappies etc. I also need the fund to pay for school fees for my two other schools aged children.  I have attached a recent scan of my baby and a letter from my obstetrician confirming my pregnancy and planning for admission into the hospital.  Scan of my baby that am carrying: [ultrasound photo of a fetus]Email to Alex Mashinsky and Celsius support (attribution)
Celsius customers have begun to send letters to the judge presiding over Celsius Network's bankruptcy case in the Southern District of New York. More than fifty letters have been entered into the docket since July 15, and new letters are continually being added.

Many customers write of being convinced by Alex Mashinsky personally, particularly in his weekly "AMA"s where he regularly claimed that Celsius was a safe platform with substantial reserves that could cover any potential losses. Mashinsky often denigrated traditional banks, referring to Celsius as a better and safer option.

Some of the letters are particularly heartbreaking, with customers referring to suicidal ideation or saying that they've been too ashamed to share the news of their financial losses with their family. One woman included a copy of an email she sent to Mashinsky and Celsius support, pleading for them to allow her access to her crypto, and including an ultrasound photo of a baby. "I do need the fund to pay for the hospital, doctor and baby items such as cot, clothes, nappies etc. I also need the fund to pay for school fees for my two other school aged children," she wrote.

Founder of My Big Coin convicted of $6 million crypto fraud

Randall Crater, founder of the cryptocurrency company My Big Coin, was convicted of multiple charges including wire fraud for a crypto scheme in which he stole more than $6 million from investors. Crater falsely marketed his business, which he operated between 2014 and 2017, as operating "a fully functioning cryptocurrency backed by $300 million in gold, oil and other valuable assets", which he fraudulently stated was partnered with MasterCard. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Crater used the $6 million in stolen funds "for his own personal gain and spending on goods, including hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of expenses on antiques, artwork and jewelry".

Former Coinbase product manager charged with tipping off co-conspirators about tokens that were about to be listed on the exchange

Ishan Wahi, a former product manager for Coinbase, was indicted on two charges of wire fraud and two charges of wire fraud conspiracy for allegedly tipping off his brother and friend to make trades based on his insider knowledge.

Wahi allegedly used his access to highly confidential information around which cryptocurrency tokens would be listed and when the news would be announced to tip off his brother and friend, who would then use multiple anonymous Ethereum wallets to purchase large quantities of the token before the prices spiked on the news. According to the press release, the two took positions in at least six tokens before Coinbase announced in April 2022 that they would be listing them on the exchange. The DoJ said that the scheme had generated approximately $1.5 million in gains. The DoJ acknowledged a "Twitter account that is well known in the crypto community", likely referring to Cobie, who identified the suspicious activity.

The DoJ also reported that when Coinbase's director of security operations contacted Wahi in May asking him to attend a meeting regarding the suspicious activity, Wahi purchased a one-way flight to India in an attempt to flee the country. He was stopped by law enforcement.

Each of the charges (four against Wahi, two each against his brother and friend) carry a maximum sentence of 20 years. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York stated in the press release, "Today's charges are a further reminder that Web3 is not a law-free zone... fraud is fraud is fraud, whether it occurs on the blockchain or on Wall Street."

Blockchain.com lays off 25% of its employees

The cryptocurrency exchange Blockchain.com announced they would be cutting 25% of their employees, or around 150 people. They attributed the decision to the crypto market conditions, as well as the need to compensate for financial losses—likely alluding to the $270 million loss they're facing due to a loan to the now-insolvent Three Arrows Capital crypto hedge fund.

Blockchain.com also announced that they would close their Argentina-based offices, cancel plans to hire in several countries, and cut executive salaries.

Blockchain-powered carbon offset company Land Life starts 35,000-acre forest fire in Spain

Still frame from a video of the Ateca fireStill frame from a video of the Ateca fire (attribution)
Five villages were evacuated and a rail line was closed as a wildfire has burned 14,000 hectares (~35,000 acres) near Ateca in northwestern Spain. The fire was reportedly sparked by equipment used by a contractor to dig trees for Land Life. Land Life is a carbon offset company that focuses on reforestation, and speaks about its "autonomous planting, remote monitoring and blockchain verification". The Dutch company raised €3.5 million in a Series A round in October 2018.

The wildfire is reportedly the second fire in that same location attributed to the company in the last month. Spain has been facing devastating fires brought on by record-breaking temperatures and drought, and Land Life acknowledged that contractors should not have been working during the heat wave due to the extreme fire risk.

NFT collector loses 100 ETH (~$150,000) in a joke gone wrong

The image representing the ENS domain for stop-doing-fake-bids-its-honestly-lame-my-guy.eth, with the default blue gradient background.A pricey joke (attribution)
Bored Ape aficionado franklinisbored has apparently found a new source of entertainment by placing high bids on his own ENS domains with amusing names, causing a Twitter bot that announces ENS domain offers to tweet about it. After amusing himself by placing 100 ETH bids on joebiden.eth, elonmusk.eth, barackhusseinobama.eth, and donaldjtrumpjr.eth, he solicited suggestions on Twitter for what ENS domain he should create and then place a fake bid on next.

Based on a follower's suggestion, he created the ENS domain stop-doing-fake-bids-its-honestly-lame-my-guy.eth and placed a 100 ETH bid on it. To his surprise, another person came along and offered him 1.9 ETH (~$2,900). Apparently excited to receive a sizeable offer for a gag NFT, franklinisbored accepted the offer and took to Twitter to write about his good fortune: "Well this is the most surprising 1.891 ETH I have ever made. I owe it all to #ENS and @gweiman_eth's creative idea. #Marketing101".

Meanwhile, he had forgotten to cancel his joke 100 ETH offer, which remained active. The new buyer accepted the offer and sold the NFT back to him, pocketing 98 ETH in the process. Franklinisbored wrote on Twitter, "I was celebrating my joke of a domain sale, sharing the spoils, but in a dream of greed, forgot to cancel my own bid of 100 ETH to buy it back. This will be the joke and bag fumble of the century. I deserve all of the jokes and criticism." He also sent the 1.9 ETH back to the other person, with a message asking them to reverse the transaction. The other person replied, "No, thank you for the money though."

Tesla announces they sold 75% of their Bitcoin

Tesla announced in their Q2 financial report that they had sold about 75% of the Bitcoin they had been holding. The company first bought $1.5 billion of Bitcoin in January 2021, at between $31,000 and $32,000, but sold 10% of that shortly after.

In their report, Tesla stated that "Conversions in Q2 added $936M to our balance sheet." Assuming this is all Bitcoin, this suggests Tesla sold at around $28,900—a 7–10% decrease from their buy price. The company stated in a shareholder presentation that the "Bitcoin impairment" had damaged the company's Q2 profitability.

This is grim news for some crypto enthusiasts, a group that overlaps considerably with Tesla and Musk superfans. Musk's Bitcoin purchases helped to convince many new people to buy in, and the news of Tesla's decision caused a sharp 2.5% decrease in Bitcoin prices.

Zipmex indefinitely halts withdrawals

Singapore-based crypto exchange Zipmex is the latest in a long string of crypto platforms to suspend customer withdrawals. "Due to a combination of circumstances beyond our control including volatile market conditions, and the resulting financial difficulties of our key business partners, to maintain the integrity of our platform, we would be pausing withdrawals until further notice," they wrote on Twitter.

According to CoinDesk, Zipmex faces an enormous loss on a loan of $100 million worth of assets to Babel Finance, an exchange that suspended withdrawals in mid-June and is now hiring restructuring attorneys.

On July 21, the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission sent a letter to Zipmex asking them to explain their decision, requesting details on customer assets under custody and where they were invested—particularly around any assets deposited in Celsius or Babel Finance.

Minecraft announces they will not support or allow NFTs

Cover of the video game Minecraft, showing a group of blocky characters standing on grassy ledgesMinecraft cover art (attribution)
Minecraft is a massively popular sandbox-style video game that had almost 140 million monthly active users as of 2021. Its developer, Mojang Studios, published a blog post detailing upcoming guidelines to clarify their position on NFTs and blockchain more generally. They wrote that "NFTs ... can create models of scarcity and exclusion that conflict with our Guidelines and the spirit of Minecraft." They announced that "blockchain technologies are not permitted to be integrated inside our client and server applications, nor may Minecraft in-game content such as worlds, skins, persona items, or other mods, be utilized by blockchain technology to create a scarce digital asset."

Korean authorities raid seven cryptocurrency exchanges in relation to Terra investigation

Korean police cars parked outside an office building at nighttime. A lit "Upbit" sign is visible.Korean police executing one of the raids (attribution)
Prosecutors working on the fraud case around the May Terra/Luna collapse raided seven cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea including Bithumb, Upbit, and Coinone. They also raided eight other offices and residences in connection to the investigation. The investigators are reportedly looking for evidence to determine whether Terra founder and CEO Do Kwon may have intentionally spurred the collapse of the ecosystem.

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