In July, the FDIC and Federal Reserve sent a cease and desist to Voyager, a company currently undergoing bankruptcy proceedings, which drew in customers with false promises that USD entrusted to the company were safe from any potential Voyager collapse thanks to FDIC insurance.
The FDIC sends cease and desist letters to FTX US and other entities who claim their products are insured
As expected, the lawyer consulted by the FT informed them that their chances of a do-over were pretty slim, and suggested that individuals negotiating a split with a partner don't take on all the high-risk assets like this person did.
As of August 20, Bitcoin was trading at around $21,200–70% lower than at its all-time-high of $69,000 in November 2021. Other major cryptocurrencies are faring similarly poorly, with ETH down 67% to $1,630 from its all-time-high of $4,890.
- "Can I cut my potential tax bills when returning to UK?", Financial Times
DegenTown first suffered issues in July, when the project's Twitter account was allegedly hacked, and users were tricked into approving a contract that drained their wallets. One individual behind the project promised they would compensate the users whose wallets were drained, but never did.
The project ultimately rug pulled instead, with Magic Eden acknowledging it in a blog post and Twitter thread on August 17. They wrote that they were "urging the original Degen Town founders to return the funds" — however, this is complicated somewhat by the fact that the identity of one of them is not known to Magic Eden. They explained, "Our prior policy was that we doxxed founders. NFTRamo claimed to be an advisor but we learned that he was actually the founder of the project and used being an advisor as a way of skirting our doxxing processes." This is not the first time their identity verification process was sidestepped — they introduced it after a serial rugpuller used their platform to anonymously sell and then rug pull another NFT project, but that same person was able to do it again only a few months later.
The DegenTown project minted 8,000 NFTs for 3 SOL apiece, bringing in $923,000. Beyond that, the creators took 7.5% in royalties on secondary sales. Magic Eden has said that they were able to get one of the two founders to return the funds they'd earned from the mint, and that they planned to use them to compensate buyers.
Bribe Protocol was incubated by Advanced Blockchain AG and Composable. Composable might ring a bell, because in February its pseudonymous head of product, 0xbrainjar, was revealed to be Omar Zaki, who had settled with the SEC over charges that he had misled investors while operating an unregistered investment advisement company and hedge fund. At the time, he wrote that "I do not want a mistake in my youth to cloud all of the team's efforts", though the SEC charge was filed less than three years prior, when Zaki was 21.
An employee of Figment Capital, one of the investors in Bribe Protocol, claimed that the project had formally shut down and returned 86% of the funds raised from institutional investors, though "retail took a huge L". However, this doesn't appear to have been publicly announced by the project.
Marszalek also tried to discourage employees from leaking about the layoffs, saying at a company town hall: "A number [of employees laid off] makes for a great headline, it's a great thing to gossip about. [But] as co-owners of this company, you should ask yourself, 'is it in my interest for this number to be out there?'" One employee told The Verge that this did nothing to assuage their fears about the layoffs, and that "[it felt like] I got told to shut up and get back to work. It felt insulting."
One recent review on Glassdoor claims that Crypto.com had laid off "more than 1,000 employees", and alleged that "They've removed the company directory so we can't see the numbers go down."
Although the FSC informed the exchanges they needed to register and report their activities, the exchanges did not comply. The FSC has moved to block access to these exchanges in the country, including by asking communications authorities to block access to the exchanges' websites. The FSC pointed to the risk of user data leaks and money laundering as motivations for their action.
Those operating unregistered exchanges in the country could face up to five years imprisonment or a ₩50 million ($37,900) fine, and be barred from registering in the country for five years.
The only evidence Hillman provided was a redacted conversation via LinkedIn, where he denies meeting with someone, and they reply: "they impersonated your hologram. This person sent me a zoom link then your hologram was in the zoom". (Again, hologram?) Amusingly, Hillman waxes poetic about the importance of security at Binance throughout the whole post, while also including a LinkedIn screenshot with a name that's blurred so poorly it remains completely legible.
Hillman goes on to claim, with no further evidence, that "a sophisticated hacking team used previous news interviews and TV appearances over the years to create a 'deep fake' of me". If so, this would be remarkable, as to date video deepfakes have mostly been limited to robotic-sounding and grainy pre-recorded Elon Musk impersonations, rather than anything that can respond naturally and quickly to alive conversation.
Another possible explanation is that Hillman is trying to cover Binance's collective ass after being caught taking listing fees for tokens they never list. But who's to say, really — maybe deepfakers have made a considerable breakthrough with startling implications, and Hillman just didn't feel it was important to elaborate on.
- "Scammers Created an AI Hologram of Me to Scam Unsuspecting Projects", Binance
- "Binance executive claims scammers made a deepfake of him", The Verge
- "News: $3b Bitcoin scam, BitConnect, Tezos ruling, bad ICO news, BitFi, Augur, Voatz", David Gerard
- "Update: Binance charged Blockstack $250,000 prior to listing Stacks, but both say it's not a listing fee", The Block
But Neumann has so far enjoyed a comeback thanks to the likes of Andreessen Horowitz, who led a $70 million funding round in May for Neumann's "Flowcarbon" startup, which aims to sell tokenized carbon credits — sorry, "Goddess Nature Tokens" — to companies trying to green up their image.
Andreessen Horowitz is now enabling another one of Neumann's new crypto schemes to the tune of $350 million — its largest investment to date. This one is just called "Flow", in which Neumann is returning to the real estate industry in a company that aims to help with the residential housing crisis... with blockchain, somehow.
God forbid the venture capitalists give money to deserving founders who haven't already been given, and squandered, a chance. Responding to the news that a16z had put $350 million into Neumann's new gambit — an amount larger than the money raised by all Black-founded startups in the US combined in Q2 — author and investor Kathryn Finney said it was a "slap in the face". "It sends a signal that you can really mess up as a white guy and still get second chances to win," she said.
Several weeks earlier, major crypto exchange FTX announced that they had removed HUSD from their USD basket, meaning they would not be able to be used as collateral.
Huobi worked to distance itself from HUSD as the coin de-pegged, emphasizing that the token is maintained by a different entity and claiming to have exited their stake in that entity in April. However, the token was originally launched by Huobi in 2018, and Huobi has continued to run promotions involving the token as recently as July.