FBI charges EminiFX CEO with fraud

Eddy Alexandre, CEO of the cryptocurrency and forex trading platform EminiFX, was charged by the FBI with fraud for his role in what he described to investors as a crypto investment scheme. Promising to double investors' money in five months with his secret robo-investing software and team of "experienced traders", in reality Alexandre pocketed most of the money. He spent $15 million of the money on his own expenses, including luxury vehicles. The small portion of funds he did invest ended up losing money.

The two fraud charges carry maximum sentences of 10 and 20 years.

Terra blockchain is halted after token crash increases threat of governance attacks

After $LUNA dropped below $0.01, Terra announced that they halted the Terra blockchain. "Terra validators have decided to halt the Terra chain to prevent governance attacks following severe $LUNA inflation and a significantly reduced cost of attack", they wrote on Twitter. This means that no transactions can continue on the Terra chain, and that holders of any tokens based on that chain (including the TerraUSD stablecoin or LUNA) can't do anything with those tokens.

Terra only announced this after halting the network, giving their users no opportunity to try to withdraw funds. They have made no announcement about whether or when they intend to bring the network back online, although it seems safe to assume that the enormous loss of confidence in Terra would make any restart short-lived.

Tether loses peg, drops below $0.95

Price chart of Tether to USD, showing a gradual decline below $0.99, then a dramatic dip to $0.95, before recovering to around $0.98 and then a more gradual recoveryTether/USD on May 11–12 (attribution)
Tether, the largest stablecoin, had a major wobble. Pegged to the U.S. dollar and widely used throughout the cryptocurrency ecosystem, even a fractional cent deviation from its peg can have enormous ramifications. Tether spent six hours below $0.99—at one point slipping down to $0.95—in the most significant deviation from its peg in recent history. The dip was widely connected to the recent and even more dramatic de-peg of the previously third-largest stablecoin, TerraUSD, as well as the general crypto market crash.

Tether began to recover somewhat as the day progressed, gradually returning to above $0.99. However, the de-peg has clearly shaken the cryptocurrency ecosystem. The heavy reliance on Tether means that a substantial or protracted loss of its peg would be devastating, and the open secret that Tether does not have the backing assets it once claimed has intensified fears about a possible run on Tether.

BitPrime exchange forced to pause trading due to lack of liquidity

The New Zealand cryptocurrency exchange BitPrime paused trading operations, issuing a notice to their customers: "A perfect storm has occurred, where liquidity has reduced, the market has crashed, and our overheads have increased. These have eroded trading capital and liquidity to a point where we felt we couldn’t guarantee fast trading execution and liquidity of customer funds." Unlike many exchanges, BitPrime doesn't also play the role of a wallet, so customers aren't prevented from moving their crypto as they would be if this happened with an exchange that holds customer funds.

CoinDesk reports that Terra's Do Kwon was behind another failed algorithmic stablecoin project

In a scoop published shortly after the catastrophes began with TerraUSD and Luna, CoinDesk reported that Terraform Labs CEO Do Kwan had also previously led a different failed stablecoin project. Using the pseudonym "Rick Sanchez", Kwon created "Basis Cash" (BAC), another algorithmic stablecoin. Basis Cash also aimed to peg to the US dollar, but never actually achieved this value. The coin has traded far below $1 for most of its existence, dropping and remaining below $0.01 in early 2021.

Do Kwon has never disclosed his involvement with this failed project. CoinDesk wrote that although their "default position is to respect the privacy of pseudonymous actors with established reputations under their well-known handles unless there is an overwhelming public interest in revealing their real-world identities", there was now "such public interest as Kwon’s UST stablecoin death spirals, wreaking havoc across the broader cryptocurrency market. Amid this precarious situation, investors deserve to know that UST was not Kwon’s sole attempt at making an algorithmic stablecoin work." It was not made clear in the article when CoinDesk first learned of Kwon's connection to Basis Cash, though the authors later stated they'd learned of it the night before they published.

Terra $LUNA token drops in price by 98% amidst ongoing TerraUSD stablecoin collapse

A chart showing the ostensible value of $LUNA in USD from April 11 to May 11, showing a precipitous drop between approximately May 5 and May 11Terra ($LUNA) to USD from April 11–May 11 (attribution)
Terraform Labs develops two cryptocurrencies: TerraUSD ($UST), an algorithmic stablecoin meant to be pegged to the U.S. dollar, and $LUNA, a crypto asset used both for speculation and to help maintain the UST peg. As UST dramatically lost its peg throughout early May, Luna plummeted in value alongside it. Luna was trading between $80 and $90 in the first days of May, but as of May 11 had lost 98% of its value and was hovering between $2 and $3. By midday on May 12, the token was trading at or below $0.01.

Such a dramatic crash in a cryptocurrency that was in the top ten by market cap has been devastating to some. Some members of the Terra/Luna community on Reddit have spoken of being massively over-invested in Luna, with some describing losing their life savings and appearing to be in crisis.

"Cryptoqueen" Ruja Ignatova added to Europol's most wanted list in connection to OneCoin ponzi scheme

Portrait of Ruja IgnatovaRuja Ignatova (attribution)
Ruja Ignatova, also known as the "Cryptoqueen", is a serial fraudster who has been on the run since 2017. In 2019, she was charged in absentia by U.S. authorities due to her connection with the OneCoin ponzi scheme.

OneCoin was a Bulgarian ponzi scheme in which investors bought packages of "tokens" with which they would supposedly "mine" cryptocurrency. Despite advertising as a decentralized cryptocurrency, OneCoin in reality was centralized on the company's servers. The scheme attracted around $4 billion in investments since its creation in 2014, and several people associated with the project have pled guilty to money laundering and fraud charges.

Coinbase adds new language regarding bankruptcy to its latest quarterly report

Coinbase added new language to its latest 10-Q, a quarterly report submitted by public companies to the SEC. In the section outlining risks to the business, Coinbase wrote: "Because custodially held crypto assets may be considered to be the property of a bankruptcy estate, in the event of a bankruptcy, the crypto assets we hold in custody on behalf of our customers could be subject to bankruptcy proceedings and such customers could be treated as our general unsecured creditors."

This serves as a stark reminder to users who keep their cryptocurrency on exchanges, that although it is often a more user-friendly way to keep crypto (compared to self-custodying), it exposes users to risk like this.

Some members of the crypto community expressed shock, with Swan Bitcoin CEO Cory Klippsten tweeting, "Is this real?!?"

Former footballer Michael Owen claims his NFTs "will be the first ever that can't lose their initial value"

Portrait of Michael OwenMichael Owen (attribution)
In what almost guarantees some fun lawsuits down the line, former footballer Michael Owen tried to hit back at "the critics" by announcing that "[his] NFTs will be the first ever that can’t lose their initial value". Owen's business partner quickly turned up to do damage control, writing "we cannot guarantee or say that you cannot lose. There is always a chance".

It appeared that Owen might have meant that there would be a lower bound on resale price of the NFTs, which is neither a new concept in NFTs (see Kaiju Kongz or Rich Bulls Club), nor does it mean the NFTs "can't lose their initial value". It just means that when the NFTs do lose their initial value, collectors can't recoup even a portion of their investment.

G.O.A.T. token developer rug pulls for $260,000

The G.O.A.T. ("Greatest of all Tokens") project claimed to be "the new standard in cryptocurrency", with vague claims that it would "add value by addressing scalability and risk management utilizing a broad range of strategies". Unfortunately for buyers, one risk they didn't manage was that one of the project developers would suddenly sell off their holdings, making off with $260,000 while crashing the token price to nearly $0.

The remaining project developers have tried to remain positive and restore faith in the community, accusing the developer who sold of "gluttony" and "greed". The project also implemented a steep 50% tax on remaining holders to discourage them from trying to sell.

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