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.

U.S. Office of Government Ethics issues guidance prohibiting executive branch employees who hold crypto from working on crypto policy

The U.S. Office of Government Ethics issued a legal advisory stating that government employees who hold cryptocurrency may not work on policy or regulation that could potentially impact the value of their holdings. They also clarified that "Cryptocurrencies and stablecoins do not meet the definition of 'publicly traded securities' for purposes of these exemptions. This is true even if individual cryptocurrencies or stablecoins constitute securities for purposes of the Federal or state securities laws."

The OGE's purview is limited to the executive branch, meaning that although this impacts White House employees and federal agencies like the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department, it unfortunately does not apply to legislators.

Polium gaming console is announced, in a feat of vaporware impressive even for web3

Two logos arranged horizontally. On the left is the Polium logo, a white cube with cutouts resembling a P. On the left is a GameCube logo, a purple cube where the purple somewhat resembles a G.Polium logo (left) and GameCube logo (right) (attribution)
Vaporware is hardly a new phenomenon in the web3 space, but the Polium project is bringing it to new heights. They announced their product—a "multi-chain console for Web 3 Gaming"—with no extant console, no design for one, and no games for it.

The website advertises specifications for an eventual console that contradict—it will be both 4K and 8K, for example—and promises to integrate Apple's TouchID (despite the fact that Apple does not allow non-Apple products to use that technology). The product's Medium page describes their plans to take pre-orders before the console hardware is built (good sign), and estimates a release date of Q3 2024.

Polium has also gotten flak for its logo, which quite resembles the GameCube logo. Although they claimed in a tweet that "we did not copy the Nintendo's GameCube logo", they also promised to "illustrate a new logo that is original"—apparently acknowledging that theirs is not.

CoinLoan crypto lending platform reduces account withdrawal limit

Claiming that they had no exposure to the various high profile collapses in the crypto industry lately, CoinLoan announced that they nevertheless would be reducing account withdrawal limits as they anticipated liquidity issues. They announced that users could only withdraw up to $5,000 a day, a change from the previous $500,000/day limit. CoinLoan tried to reassure customers that "rest assured that your assets are safe"—a statement that has also been made by various other crypto platforms recently, shortly before they announced insolvency.

Apparently forgetting the industry they're in, CoinLoan also wrote that their "strategy bars risky activities that could endanger CoinLoaners' funds".

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