Senators Lummis and Gillibrand work across the aisle to please cryptocurrency industry with their proposed legislation

Senators Lummis (R-WY) and Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the "Responsible Financial Innovation Act", the first major proposal for cryptocurrency regulation in the US. A press release from Lummis included statements of support from Kraken, Coinbase, FTX, crypto lobbyists, and various other major players in the cryptocurrency industry—unsurprising support for a bill that is incredibly friendly to the sector. Notably, the bill broadly avoids classifying cryptocurrencies as securities, which would be regulated by the SEC and provide some consumer protections. Instead, the Senators create a foggy definition for sufficiently "decentralized" cryptocurrencies that would treat them as commodities and place them under the purview of the CFTC—the much smaller and less aggressive regulator that has been the preference of most in the cryptocurrency industry.

Senator Lummis has long been a strong supporter of Bitcoin and crypto more generally, sporting a "laser eyes" profile picture on Twitter and speaking at Bitcoin Miami, where she was introduced as a "champion of Bitcoin".

People get an anticlimactic sneak peek at one of the first NFT games to be released on Epic Games store

A screenshot from a video game, showing a cowboy character holding a pistol in a grey roomGrit gameplay (attribution)
You might think that, since Epic Games has decided to distinguish itself from its major competitor Steam by welcoming blockchain games to its platform, they might try to make a splash with a few flashy titles to be the first listed on the platform. Alas, it is not to be, as the first known game that will be offered, Grit, has been described by Kotaku as "gimmicky" and "remarkably beige". The trailer mostly looks like a worse version of Red Dead Redemption, featuring horses that appear to hover through grassland. A gameplay teaser posted by an NFT games enthusiast to Twitter features him narrating that the game "is looking insane in the membrane", as he does nothing other than fire a gun into an empty room and spin.

500 attendees of the "Galaverse" event (a gathering put on by Grit's creators, Gala Games) were airdropped "epic" rarity horse NFTs, which those with keen eyes were quick to observe are simply a premade asset the developers purchased from the Unreal Engine Marketplace.

SEC reportedly reviewing whether Binance's BNB token broke securities laws

The same day that Reuters released an investigation implicating Binance in helping to launder billions of dollars of illicit funds, Bloomberg reported that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had opened an investigation into whether Binance had broken securities laws when they launched their BNB initial coin offering. Bloomberg based its reports on conversations with anonymous sources, as the SEC has not publicly disclosed the existence of such a probe into Binance.

Reuters reports that Binance facilitated $2.35 billion in illicit transfers from 2017–2021

A Reuters investigation alleged that Binance "served as a conduit for the laundering of at least $2.35 billion in illicit funds" between 2017 and 2021. Binance is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. Reuters tracked hundreds of millions in funds passing through a Russian darknet drugs market called Hydra thanks to Binance, and pointed to Binance as facilitating the laundering of money from German investment fraud schemes and North Korean cybercrime groups.

A wave of Discord moderator account hacks impacts multiple NFT-related servers

The June 4 compromise of the Bored Apes Discord was only one of several Discord hacks in the same time period. All the attacks appeared to involve user accounts of individual moderators being compromised and used to post fake announcements that lured users of the server to phishing sites that stole NFTs. Discord servers for Yung Ape Squad, Apocalyptic Apes, Bubbleworld, and Aiternate were among the projects affected.

The Apocalyptic Apes Discord attackers stole around 21 NFTs. Bubbleworld attackers stole 171 NFTs, with combined floor prices amounting to around $243,000.

Decentralized exchange Maiar exploited for $113 million

Hackers were able to discover and exploit a bug in the decentralized exchange Maiar, stealing $113 million. Maiar developers took the exchange offline soon after discovering the exploit, but not before the hackers made off with 1.65 million EGLD (the native token of the Elrond blockchain, on which Maiar is built). The sale of the pilfered EGLD caused the token to plummet from $76 to $5 on the Maiar exchange.

Maiar's founder and CEO has claimed that "most exploited funds have been either recovered in full, or will be covered by the Elrond Foundation", though it's not clear how (or if) any of the funds were recovered.

Collector loses ten pricey NFTs to phishing scam

An illustration of a mummified grey cat wearing a fluffy white bathrobe and a crown encased in flamesCool Cat #2941 (attribution)
An NFT collector hoping to claim NFTs from the Goblintown collection was phished, resulting in ten of their NFTs being stolen from them. The scammers took two Mutant Ape NFTs and eight Cool Cats. "They stole everything from me," the collector wrote. "I'm devastated".

The collector had bought or minted the NFTs at various points over the past year, spending a total of 84 ETH on the ten stolen NFTs (worth ~$312,000 based on ETH prices at the time of each purchase). The thief has so far flipped seven of the Cool Cats NFTs for a total of 34.5 ETH (~$62,000). This collector doesn't appear to be the phisher's only victim; their Ethereum wallet shows a total balance of $365,000.

Bored Apes Discord compromised again, 32 NFTs stolen and flipped for $360,000

Phishing message from Bored Apes DiscordPhishing message from Bored Apes Discord (attribution)
Scammers were able to compromise the Discord account of a Bored Apes community manager, then use it to post an announcement of an "exclusive giveaway" to anyone who held a Bored Ape, Mutant Ape, or Otherside NFT. When users went to mint their free NFT, the scammers were able to steal their pricey NFTs. The scammer quickly flipped the stolen NFTs for a total of around 200 ETH (about $360,000), then began transferring funds to Tornado Cash.

The Bored Apes Discord was also compromised on April 1, along with those of several other big-name NFT projects.

New York legislators pass moratorium on permits for fossil fuel powered crypto mining operations

The New York state Senate passed a bill putting a two-year halt on issuing new or renewing existing permits for crypto mining at fossil fuel plants—a practice that has been happening near Seneca Lake and elsewhere in the state. The bill will also begin an environmental impact study on such facilities.

Next, the bill will go to Governor Hochul to sign or veto.

FTC reports $329 million lost to crypto scams in Q1 2022

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that "Although it's yet to become a mainstream payment method, reports to the FTC show [crypto is] an alarmingly common method for scammers to get peoples' money." They found that consumers have reported $329 million in fraud only in the first quarter of 2022: already half as much as was lost in the entire prior year.

The report also detailed that 25% of the monetary amount lost to fraud since the beginning of 2021 was lost via cryptocurrency, and that the median individual loss was around $2,600. Most of the crypto scams were investment frauds, followed by romance scammers and business and government impersonators.

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