Coinbase stopped sending price notifications during crypto crash

Mother Jones has reported that the Coinbase crypto exchange stopped sending the email notifications that it had previously sent some users when the price of a cryptocurrency changed noticeably. Coinbase had been trialling these price change alerts in January, and some users had grown to rely on them to notify them when cryptocurrency prices changed noticeably. However, the company quietly stopped sending these emails sometime in February, before they were re-enabled for all users.

While the choice could be chalked up to the end of an A/B test, some legal experts have expressed concern about the sudden and unannounced change in behavior: "It’s potentially illegal... This seems straight up deceptive. They said we’ll email you price alerts and then stopped doing it without saying they were [going to stop]." He also noted that even if a customer didn't sue for damages, depending on the number of users who saw the alerts, "if they caused harm to people who didn’t sell crypto that they would have sold, that is potentially actionable by regulators." Another expert observed that a traditional brokerage firm would likely be penalized by FINRA if they did something similar.

Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky reportedly sells off some of his $CEL holdings during price increase and attempted short squeeze

Alex Mashinsky sitting onstage, wearing a Madonna microphone and a t-shirt reading "Banks are not your friends." with the Celsius logoAlex Mashinsky (attribution)
A wallet identified as belonging to Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky sold off 17,475 CEL (the native token of the Celsius lending platform) for around $28,000. Celsius is undergoing bankruptcy proceedings, and users remain without access to their cryptocurrency that's locked in the platform.

CEL enjoyed an all-time-high of around $8 in June 2021, but has been trading for less than half that for this year. The token hit $0.15 on the day Celsius announced they would be pausing withdrawals, but has, oddly, recently spiked above $2. Some have attributed this to the ill-advised attempts at a short squeeze by a group of people who believe that exchanges are somehow running out of CEL tokens to provide to short-sellers, and that a properly-coordinated short squeeze could somehow realistically send the token to $100. Protos did a useful explainer on why this is unlikely to work, but those pushing the idea have a fervency not unlike what was seen with those pushing the GameStop short squeeze, and enjoy dismissing those who question the strategy as "CEL shorters" who are trying to ruin any chance of a Celsius recovery.

All the same, Mashinsky can possibly thank the short squeeze folks for helping him pump his bags, and sell off a pile of tokens for over 10x more than what he previously could have.

Analytics firm Elliptic says RenBridge has been used to launder more than $540 million in proceeds from crimes over the last two years

Two days after OFAC sanctioned crypto tumbler Tornado Cash, the blockchain analytics firm Elliptic pointed to cryptocurrency bridges as a likely future target for sanctions if the Treasury Department continues its attempts to crack down on crypto money laundering. In addition to their purpose of allowing different currencies to be used cross-chain, cryptocurrency bridges are a useful tool for obscuring the path of cryptocurrencies, as it can be difficult for outside observers to link cryptocurrencies flowing into a bridge with the destination wallet(s) on the other end.

Elliptic singled out the RenBridge chain in particular, saying that at least $540 million in funds linked to crimes have been moved through the bridge in the last two years. $153 million of this, they say, originated from ransomware plots, and $53 million is allegedly linked to the Russia-based group behind the Conti ransomware.

Blur Finance rug pulls for over $600,000

The yield aggregator Blur Finance rug pulled, taking more than $600,000 in assets from the BNB Chain and Polygon-based projects before deleting their website and social media accounts. The project had only been active for about a month, and had accumulated about 750 users on its original BNB Chain implementation, and on August 5 had announced their launch on Polygon. In the announcement, they boasted returns of over 4,000% APR.

Hotbit crypto exchange suspends trading due to criminal investigation

Tweet from Hotbit News: 📢Announcement on the Suspension of Hotbit Website Service on August 10th, 2022 Details👉https://hotbit.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/8074249353495 ⚠️User's assets are safe, please don't worry. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused!😢
Followed by a GIF of Anya Forger from Spy x Family cryingHotbit announcement tweet (attribution)
The Hotbit cryptocurrency exchange abruptly announced they would be suspending services because they were under criminal investigation, and law enforcement had frozen some of their assets. Hotbit claims that the investigation pertains to a former employee who was involved in a "project" unbeknownst to Hotbit, which investigators believe was illegal. Hotbit urged that all customer funds were safe, which seems a bit of a bold statement when their funds are currently frozen to the point where the exchange can no longer operate.

Hotbit announced the suspension on Twitter with a GIF of a crying Anya from the anime series Spy × Family which, despite demonstrating their good taste in shows, does not seem like it would exactly inspire confidence among customers.

CoinFLEX files for restructuring

The cryptocurrency exchange CoinFLEX announced they had filed for restructuring, a move that probably didn't surprise too many people after they stopped customer withdrawals in June, sued Roger Ver over $84 million they claimed he owed them in July, and then significantly cut staff in order to try to massively reduce their costs.

As tends to happen with insolvent exchanges, they are hoping to "compensate" their depositors with a mix of CoinFLEX-issued tokens and equity, rather than actual money or more liquid, established cryptocurrencies.

Nuri crypto exchange files for insolvency

The German cryptocurrency exchange Nuri, formerly known as Bitwala, filed for insolvency. Interestingly, they did not stop customer withdrawals—as have many exchanges who later announced they were insolvent—allowing its existing users to continue to withdraw funds and otherwise use their services.

Their announcement began by saying, "We would like to inform you about an important development that does not affect our services, funds or investments with Nuri," and throughout the post they stressed that customer funds were safe.

Nuri blamed the insolvency on everything from "the ongoing after-effects of the Corona pandemic" to "the economic and political uncertainties in the markets after Russia's invasion of Ukraine" to the more recent crypto bear market.

Curve Finance frontend compromised, $620,000 stolen but later recovered by exchanges

Curve Finance's frontend at curve.fi was compromised, prompting users to give token approval to a malicious smart contract. Stolen funds were then transferred out to the FixedFloat cryptocurrency exchange and the Tornado Cash tumbler. It appears that at least 362 ETH (~$620,000) have been stolen.

Curve acknowledged the apparent exploit, tweeting at the iwantmyname domain platform to say they believed the issue was on their end. Around an hour after the issue was widely noticed, Curve announced the "issue has been found and reverted", and to use the alternate Curve Finance domain until DNS changes propagated for the affected domain. They also urged users to revoke any recent contract approvals they'd made on the Curve platform.

FixedFloat tweeted that they had been able to freeze 112 of the stolen ETH (~$192,000) that had been transferred to their platform. Binance later announced that they'd recovered the remaining stolen funds, with founder CZ tweeting, "The hacker kept on sending the funds to Binance in different ways, thinking we can't catch it. 😂"

Truth in Advertising sends letters to 17 celebrities about undisclosed promotion of NFTs

A collage of sixteen of the seventeen recipients of TINA's letters: Drake Bell, Tom Brady, DJ Khaled, Eminem, Jimmy Fallon, Paris Hilton, Eva Longoria, Madonna, Floyd Mayweather, Meek Mill, Von Miller, Neymar, Shaquille O'Neal, Gwyneth Paltrow, Logan Paul, and Snoop DoggSome of the recipients (attribution)
Non-profit advertising watchdog organization Truth in Advertising (TINA) sent letters to seventeen celebrities, urging them to follow FTC requirements on clearly disclosing when they are being paid to promote a brand. TINA had also previously sent such letters to Justin Bieber in relation to his promotion of the inBetweeners NFT project, and to Reese Witherspoon in relation to her endorsement of World of Women.

The celebrities who received letters from TINA were Drake Bell, Tom Brady, DJ Khaled, Eminem, Jimmy Fallon, Paris Hilton, Eva Longoria, Madonna, Floyd Mayweather, Meek Mill, Von Miller, Neymar, Shaquille O'Neal, Gwyneth Paltrow, Logan Paul, Snoop Dogg, and Timbaland.

At least 101 NFT Discord servers compromised in July

A fluorescent green skull with blond hair, a piece of cheese floating above its head, a rainbow connecting its eye sockets, and padded armorTasty Bones' Discord was hacked twice in July (attribution)
I've largely stopped covering crypto Discord compromises because they occur so frequently it would drown out everything else. OKHotshot has been keeping count, though, and according to them, at least 101 servers have been compromised in the month of July. Four of the projects—EY3KON, Tasty Bones, Universe by Barnabe, and Angry Dinos—were each compromised twice in that month.

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