Quixotic NFT marketplace hacked for more than $100,000

Quixotic, an NFT marketplace on the Optimism network, was attacked after a hacker was able to exploit a recently updated smart contract. The attacker made off with at least $100,000.

Quixotic is the largest NFT marketplace on Optimism, a layer 2 Ethereum network. Despite being the largest marketplace on the network, it still does fairly little in volume compared to NFT marketplaces on other networks, boasting only around $420,000 in trading volume in the last 30 days.

Quixotic paused marketplace activity after discovering the hack, and promised to reimburse all users who had tokens stolen from them.

Ankr gateways for Polygon and Fantom compromised, seed phrases possibly stolen

The Ankr public RPC gateways (basically an API for dApps and other services to communicate with the blockchain) for Polygon and Fantom were impacted when attackers compromised the projects' DNS management. Those who accessed Polygon or Fantom using Ankr's RPC gateways saw pop-up windows stating that "funds are at risk", and prompting them to enter their seed phrases at a website linked from the popup to "restore their wallet".

Polygon's chief information security officer Mudit Gupta told CoinDesk that day that "no funds [were] lost as far as we know but we are still investigating", and that dApps using the Ankr RPC endpoint were non-functional. Ankr later announced that the RPC systems had been fully restored, and that the breach had come from a "third-party vendor" that enabled attackers to change Ankr's domain hosts.

Voyager Digital suspends withdrawals and other activity

Voyager Digital announced that they had suspended trading, deposits, withdrawals, and loyalty rewards. This came after it was revealed that Voyager had issued a notice of default to the bankrupt Three Arrows Capital on a loan of more than $670 million worth of USDC and Bitcoin. On June 22, Voyager had reduced their withdrawal limit, suggesting they were having trouble meeting customer demand for withdrawals. The week before that, Voyager had secured a large loan from FTX to try to help them stay afloat.

Voyager announced that they were making the decision "given current market conditions", and that it "gives us additional time to continue exploring strategic alternatives with various interested parties". They also released some financial and balance sheet updates that painted a pretty grim picture.

Coca-Cola launches Pride NFTs, bringing the commercialization of Pride to new lows

A 3D rendering of a glass coke bottle with pink and orange swirls on it, surrounded by faceted spherical prisms and rainbow lightsCoca-Cola Pride Bottle #8 (attribution)
If it wasn't already nauseating to watch a huge corporation like Coca-Cola use LGBTQ Pride Month to market their products and pay lip service to supporting LGBTQ rights while supporting anti-LGBTQ politicians, now they're doing it with NFTs. Coca-Cola launched "The Coca-Cola Pride Collection" of 136 NFTs, which are minting for 335 MATIC (~$158). The website states that all proceeds will go to LGBTQ+ charities.

At that price, Coca-Cola will only be earning about $21,500 (minus any expenses) if the project mints out, plus any resale fees. A many-billion-dollar company like Coca-Cola might consider just donating the 20 grand themselves.

Mirror Trading International charged after $1.7 billion fraud

Mirror Trading International was a South African Bitcoin pool operator that advertised to investors that it would generate 10% returns a month, with bonuses for referring friends and family. In reality, the project was a global pyramid scheme that lied to investors about the existence of a "trading bot", falsified account statements, engaged in no profitable forex trading, and used participants' deposits to pay out "returns" to other investors. The company operated from May 2018 until its bankruptcy and liquidation in early 2021, pulling in more than $1.7 billion.

Mirror Trading International was founded and operated by Cornelius Johannes Steynberg, who had been on the run from South African police until recently being detained in Brazil on an INTERPOL warrant. The CFTC is seeking full restitution, disgorgement, and bans from future trading.

Owner of Circle Society platform, which advertised 600% returns, charged with fraud

The U.S. Department of Justice announced fraud charges against David Saffron, the owner of the Circle Society cryptocurrency investment platform (with no relation to Circle). Saffron allegedly lied to investors, saying he operated a cryptocurrency trading bot that would generate 500–600% returns on investment. He also reportedly held meetings at luxury homes in the Hollywood Hills and traveled with armed security "in order to create the false appearance of wealth and success".

The scheme ultimately drew in about $12 million from investors, beginning in late 2017. Saffron was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit commodities fraud, and one count of obstruction of justice. If convicted of all charges, he faces up to 115 years in prison.

Previously, in April 2021, the a court ordered Circle Society and Saffron to pay $32 million in relation to the scheme after a default judgment in a lawsuit from the CFTC, who described the whole thing as a Ponzi scheme.

Operator of fraudulent Titanium Blockchain Infrastructure Services ICO charged with securities fraud

The U.S. Department of Justice charged Michael Alan Stollery with securities fraud over his role as founder and CEO of Titanium Blockchain Infrastructure Services (TBIS). TBIS was a supposed cryptocurrency investment platform that launched an initial coin offering in 2018. The ICO drew in $21 million until the SEC obtained a court order to halt the offering on May 29, 2018.

The DoJ alleges that Stollery falsified the TBIS whitepaper, wrote fake testimonials on the project website, and made up business relationships with the U.S. Federal Reserve Board and large companies including Apple, Pfizer, and Disney.

If convicted on all counts, Stollery faces up to 20 years in prison.

U.S. Department of Justice charges founders of the $100 million EmpiresX ponzi scheme

The U.S. Department of Justice announced they had filed charges against Emerson Pires, Flavio Goncalves and Joshua David Nicholas, the two founders and the "head trader" of the EmpiresX cryptocurrency investment platform. The DoJ alleges that the project was a Ponzi scheme, and that they were offering an unregistered security. They also alleged that the duo were misrepresenting a supposed proprietary trading bot, and fraudulently guaranteeing investment returns. The EmpiresX scheme reportedly pulled in $100 million from investors, and appears to have run from 2020 until early 2022.

All three are facing charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and Pires and Goncalves have also been charged with conspiracy to commit international money laundering. If convicted on all counts, Pires and Goncalves face up to 45 years in prison and Nicholas faces up to 25 years in prison.

U.S. Department of Justice charges one person behind the "Baller Apes" rug pull

Illustration of a purple neon themed bar scene with crypto price charts on the wallsBaller Ape Club website (attribution)
The U.S. Department of Justice announced charges against Le Anh Tuan, who was one of the individuals behind the "Baller Ape" NFT rug pull in October 2021. According to the DoJ, Tuan and his partners made off with $2.6 million of investor funds through the Baller Ape NFT project. He was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit international money laundering, and faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of all counts.

The people behind the Baller Ape NFT project were also reportedly behind at least two other NFT rug pulls, including "Big Daddy Ape Club". These projects were not mentioned in the DoJ press release.

FTX reportedly approaches a deal to buy BlockFi in "fire sale"

According to CNBC, the cryptocurrency exchange FTX is hammering out the details on an agreement to acquire crypto lending platform BlockFi. Earlier in June, it was reported that FTX had agreed to lend BlockFi $250 million, bailing out the exchange after it suffered substantial losses.

BlockFi was last valued at $4.8 billion, but FTX is expected to pay around $25 million to buy the company. BlockFi CEO Zac Prince refuted what he described as a "market rumor": "I can 100% confirm that we aren’t being sold for $25M." A leaked call with Morgan Creek Digital investors suggested they were trying to counter FTX's offer, and that BlockFi was being valued at less than $500 million. The call also revealed that BlockFi's loan to Three Arrows Capital had been $1 billion, and that it was backed by collateral of $1.33 billion in Bitcoin and GBTC.

CNBC reported that, according to one of their sources, "equity investors in BlockFi are 'wiped out' and are now writing off the value of their losses."

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