Hypernet Labs shuts down shortly after being hit with a fraud lawsuit

Ivan Ravlich, founder of the nebulous crypto firm called Hypernet Labs, announced on Twitter that "Hypernet's road has reached an end". "Hypernet was impacted by the same market headwinds that have touched millions around the world since May. Unfortunately, the treasury was also held in Ethereum, which disproportionately exacerbated the bear market's impact on our balance sheet", he wrote.

What he didn't mention was the lawsuit that had just been filed against the company, by investors who allege that Ravlich and his co-founders lied to investors and never created any usable product or service. Investors claim to have lost millions in cryptocurrency, and one alleged that Ravlich and his compatriots used a shell company in the Cook Islands to make it harder for him to recoup his losses.

Hypernet initially promised to build a system for renting unused computing power, and in 2018 raised around $20 million in an initial coin offering. In late 2021, Hypernet "pivoted hard" into NFTs, which one investor stated was a "knee jerk reaction to the flavour of the day" and a "last-ditch attempt to find a non-existent market for a non-existent product".

Blockchain.com faces a $270 million loss from their loan to Three Arrows Capital

Crypto exchange Blockchain.com announced in a letter to shareholders that they could lose the $270 million in cryptocurrency and USD they loaned to Three Arrows Capital, a now-insolvent crypto fund that is pursuing bankruptcy. The ripple effects of the 3AC implosion have been felt throughout the crypto ecosystem, contributing to liquidity issues and the outright failure of some other platforms. Blockchain.com assured customers that they would not be one of those platforms, writing that the company "remains liquid, solvent and our customers will not be impacted", but they also would not be the first crypto company in recent weeks to assure customers that everything is fine shortly before being forced to reveal that everything is not fine at all.

Former asset manager for Celsius files lawsuit alleging the company was a Ponzi scheme

Jason Stone, founder of the KeyFi company who formerly managed assets for Celsius, filed a complaint against Celsius Network in a New York court, alleging the company was operating as a Ponzi scheme and owes them "a significant sum of money". Stone alleged that, despite claiming that Celsius's trading teams would properly hedge against any impermanent loss or loss due to token fluctuation incurred by KeyFi, they were doing nothing of the sort. Upon learning this in March 2021, they terminated their relationship with Celsius. However, Stone alleges that Celsius owes KeyFi "a significant sum of money", which Celsius has not acknowledged. Instead, Stone claims, Celsius has accused them of theft.

The legal complaint reads, "Prior to Plaintiff coming on board, Defendants had no unified, organized, or overarching investment strategy other than lending out the consumer deposits they received. Instead, they were desperately seeking a potential investment that could earn them more than they owed to their depositors. Otherwise, they would have to use additional deposits to pay the interest owed on prior deposits, a classic 'Ponzi scheme.' The recent revelation that Celsius does not have the assets on hand to meet its withdrawal obligations shows that Defendants were, in fact, operating a Ponzi-scheme."

Reddit launches more NFT avatars, but won't call them NFTs

A collage of six cards, each showing a different illustration of Reddit's "Snoo" characterReddit's "Collectible Avatars" (attribution)
Reddit announced that they will be selling "Collectible Avatars", artist variations on the Reddit "Snoo" figure that users can then customize. Amusingly, Reddit's announcement carefully dodges describing them as NFTs, instead writing that "Collectible Avatars are backed by blockchain technology". Despite this, the avatars are indeed NFTs, created on the Polygon blockchain, though users will be able to buy them with plain ol' fiat.

This is not Reddit's first foray into NFTs. The platform launched four 1-of-1 "CryptoSnoo" NFTs in June 2021, which allow the four holders to display the NFTs on their profile. The "Collectible Avatars" appear to be an attempt to open this same functionality to a broader group of Redditors, while simultaneously appearing to try to sidestep the more negative sentiment around NFTs that has developed since their last project.

Crypto platform 2gether closes user access to accounts

The Spanish cryptocurrency platform 2gether suddenly announced that they were "forced to close service for private accounts" due to "lack of resources and crypto winter". Users found themselves unable to access their accounts via the website or the app, which showed an "under maintenance" message. The company also closed all social media accounts. The previous day, the company had announced they would begin charging a €20 ($20.33) fee for users because it was "impossible to maintain the free service", but apparently decided to go much further. Around 100,000 users found themselves unable to withdraw their funds.

2gether had previously made news in August 2020, when hackers stole 114 Bitcoin and 276 ETH—then worth around €1.183 million ($1.2 million), and representing 15% of customer funds. The company successfully raised €1.5 million ($1.52 million) in a financing round several months later to cover the loss.

User trying to swap $5 in stablecoins via Decentral Bank ends up with $10 trillion

A user tried twice to swap $5 of the USN stablecoin for Tether on the Decentral Bank platform. Both times, the transaction failed due to a bug that prevented users who didn't already hold Tether from swapping other currencies for Tether. The refund mechanism also had a bug, and both times the system failed to process the transaction, the user ended up being refunded $5 trillion instead of $5.

Decentral Bank paused the smart contract upon noticing the decimal point bug, and burned the excess $10 trillion supply to restore the proper amount of stablecoins in circulation.

Luckily for them, they were able to pause the contract before anyone exploited it in ways that were not so easily rectified. The ability to receive $1 trillion in USN out of $1 could have easily been used to drain the USN/USDT liquidity pool.

Bitstamp tries to launch "inactivity fee", cancels it after backlash

The cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp announced its plans to charge a €10 (~$10.17) monthly fee to inactive users outside of the US who had account balances below €200 ($203.38). The exchange explained that "keeping inactive accounts on the books is a cost", and that users could buy or sell crypto, make deposits or withdrawals, or sign up for staking to avoid the fee.

The plans enraged some of their users, who called the company a scam and questioned the decision to charge only the users with the least funds. Following the backlash, Bitstamp walked back the decision to impose the fee.

Genesis lost hundreds of millions due to exposure to Three Arrows Capital and Babel Finance

Genesis, a crypto broker and lender, suffered "a few hundred million dollars" in losses during the recent crypto downturn. This were largely due to the firm's exposure to the bankrupt Three Arrows Capital.

Genesis is owned by the deep-pocketed Digital Currency Group (DCG), which may enable it to weather this loss better than some of its crypto brethren. CEO Michael Moro tweeted that "DCG has assumed certain liabilities of Genesis" relating to Three Arrows Capital's inability to meet a margin call.

Report reveals that crypto investment firm Uprise lost 99% of customer funds trying to short Luna during its collapse

According to Seoul Economic Daily, the Korean cryptocurrency investment fund Uprise lost 99% of its customer funds when they tried to short Luna during its collapse in May. Although Luna crashed in price from around $90 to fractions of a cent, brief price spikes were enough to wipe out Uprise's positions. The firm lost 99% of its customers' funds, or ₩26.7 billion ($20.5 million), as well as an additional ₩3.9 billion ($3 million) of its own money.

The firm advertised its AI-enabled automatic trading strategies, which it said would reduce the risk involved with leveraged crypto trading.

A spokesperson for Uprise stated, "It is true that damage to customer assets has occurred due to unexpected great volatility in the market."

Voyager Digital files for bankruptcy

Voyager Digital, a crypto broker that suspended withdrawals a week prior, announced that it had filed for bankruptcy. They attributed their decision to "prolonged volatility and contagion in the crypto markets", as well as their exposure to Three Arrows Capital, an also-bankrupt crypto fund that defaulted on a loan from Voyager worth around $660 million.

Voyager CEO Stephen Ehrlich wrote on Twitter that he expected that Voyager would "emerge as a stronger company", certainly an optimistic prediction for a crypto broker that froze customer funds with no promise they will ever be able to access them, then filed for bankruptcy.

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