New York has been the home of some battles against crypto-miners who have set up shop at dormant fossil fuel plants. The Greenidge Bitcoin mining operation near Seneca Lake has been the locus of some particularly bitter battles against the industry: a dormant coal power plant that was converted to natural gas and devoted to Bitcoin mining in 2019, its permit renewals have been the focus of fierce protests. It will not be affected by this particular legislation, which only bans mining operations who have not already submitted applications for new or renewed permits.
- "New York Enacts 2-Year Ban on Some Crypto-Mining Operations", The New York Times
The Wall Street Journal then reported that Genesis had been seeking a $1 billion emergency loan due to a "liquidity crunch due to certain illiquid assets on its balance sheet".
The halting of withdrawals from Genesis' lending business has already had major downstream impacts, as it is a major partner of other crypto lending services. Gemini and Coinhouse both followed Genesis in suspending withdrawals, as did other firms including Donut and GOPAX.
A Genesis bankruptcy would be a monumental event in crypto, with enormous downstream exposure.
This was not helped by Grayscale's response to those in crypto who were pushing Grayscale to follow suit with some other crypto platforms and publish proof of reserves. Grayscale announced that "due to security concerns, we do not make such on-chain wallet information and confirmation information publicly available through a cryptographic Proof-of-Reserve, or other advanced cryptographic accounting procedure". They did not elaborate on what these "security concerns" might be, and stoked fears in some that the company might not have the backing they ought to have.
Grayscale published a letter from Coinbase that basically said "we have Grayscale's assets, we promise", which did not seem to assuage the fears that have formed around centralized entities promising they have the assets they claim. This is understandable, given that FTX made similar promises, only to collapse.
Since then, there has been little communication and a series of shady activities. According to HOO CEO Rexy Wang on Twitter on July 15, Hoo employee and former Binance head of security Fang Wenbin (known as "Top") "took advantage of his position at Hoo to delete the company system privately, causing everyone in the company to be unable to access the system, resulting in a temporary failure of the main domain name". Top replied to allege that, "Rexy himself has transferred most of the assets from the platform. Employee salaries and platform users cannot withdraw coins".
At some point after that, Wang made his Twitter private. Hoo's social media channels have been inactive. On November 18, the exchange website was replaced with a post that identified the "Hoo de facto controller", Xu Tong Hua, and said: "Currently all permissions for Hoo's wallet and website programs are controlled by Mr Xu, so please contact the official email if you have any questions."
Meanwhile, customers have been active on social media complaining about the apparent fraud, and some have formed an informal group pushing for legal action against Hoo.
ASX will write off the AU$245–$255 million (US$164–$170M) they have poured into the project, and start again on designing a replacement for the CHESS system.
- "ASX kills its blockchain project, will write off $250 million", Financial Review
The suit alleges that the celebrities violated the anti-touting provisions of securities laws by failing to disclose the nature, scope, and amount they were compensated to promote the platform.
Nestcoin had nearly all of the funds remaining from their $6.45 million funding round locked in FTX — approximately $4 million.
The company said in a blog post that they were "working with the Genesis team" to restore withdrawals. Like Genesis, they tried to urge that the issue would not affect other Gemini products. However, a service outage that same day did little to strengthen trust in the company.
They urged in their announcement that the decision would not impact their trading or custody businesses — though if I was a user of their other services I might not be feeling so reassured given crypto companies' poor track record of segregating operations.
Genesis has about $2.8 billion in total active loans as of the end of September 2022.
Ten of the NFTs in the collection came with lifetime passes to Coachella, and sold for six figures. Each year, the NFT holder has to go through the redemption process to obtain their festival pass.
Many of the token owners bought their NFTs with FTX and simply left them in their accounts on the platform. Some were able to transfer their tokens before FTX's NFT platform stopped operating, but many did not.
- "Aust crypto exchange suspends withdrawals", Shepparton News
Now, the Wall Street Journal reports that BlockFi has been considering layoffs, and has been in talks with bankruptcy attorneys about a possible Chapter 11 filing.
Although BlockFi disputed reports that they had been custodying client assets at FTX, they acknowledged that they had "significant exposure to FTX and associated corporate entities that encompasses obligations owed to us by Alameda, assets held at FTX.com, and undrawn amounts from our credit line with FTX.US".
- "BlockFi Prepares for Potential Bankruptcy as Crypto Contagion Spreads", The Wall Street Journal
This not entirely unlike someone trying to sell you a house that is "otherwise sturdy, but in an engulfed-in-flames crisis".
He says the project is intended to reduce the "cascading negative effects of FTX", underscoring how nervous this whole debacle is making other players in the industry.
He announced that they would continue trading their remaining assets, and continue operating their venture fund. However, he said the future of the hedge fund was unclear, and likely to depend on what happens with FTX customer withdrawals.
"I'm pretty disgusted with the space as a whole and kinda humanity in general," he continued. "I'm at a loss for words at the depth & breadth of the pieces of shit that permeate crypto. So many fucking sociopaths were granted the opportunity to do so much damage. It's hard for me to imagine the space bouncing back quickly from this ordeal. Too many got burned too hard."
Users have been hesitant to believe this explanation, given the enormous shakeup in the industry lately, and the tendency for firms to be less-than-forthcoming when they are in major crisis.
Three days prior, the company had published a blog post claiming that AAX had no exposure to FTX and its affiliated companies, that AAX had stable reserves, and that user funds were never exposed to counterparty risk.
This serves as a good example of how theft amounts shouldn't be naively calculated based on the token price before the theft × the number of tokens stolen. $FLARE was priced at around $18.25 before the attack, and a naive calculation would place the theft amount at $71 billion. However, the lack of liquidity caused the token price to plummet to $0.0000018, and the attacker ultimately ended up with around $17 million.
The total funds stolen appear to be around $4.17 million, according to analysis by SlowMist.
Tokensoft intentionally publishes personal data of around 5,000 users who they believe are "bad actors"
Several users replied to the message in shock that their data was exposed, saying they'd never done anything wrong. The Tokensoft employee replied, "If you made it on the naughty list...yes, shame on you....I shared your info, better luck next time".
The project later deleted the link from the Discord server, then tried to claim that it had never been posted at all, then issued a statement that "information was mistakenly posted in Tokensoft's social media channels".
Bahamas Securities Commission issues statement that they didn't instruct FTX to process withdrawals for Bahamian customers
This contradicted FTX's previous statement that "Per our Bahamian HQ's regulation and regulators, we have begun to facilitate withdrawals of Bahamian funds." The announcement that they would be processing withdrawals for Bahamian customers led to a slew of non-Bahamian customers trying to find ways to withdraw their funds via bribes and shady NFT deals.
Some have viewed FTX's choice to enable Bahamian withdrawals as evidence that they were trying to allow FTX employees and family members to get access to their funds on the exchange, even when most customers had no such access.
Crypto.com CEO admits company accidentally sent 320,000 ETH ($416 million) to another crypto exchange a few weeks prior
Crypto.com's CEO, Kris Marszalek, replied: "It was supposed to be a move to a new cold storage address, but was sent to a whitelisted external exchange address. We worked with Gate team and the funds were subsequently returned to our cold storage." He later clarified that all of the funds were returned.
Twitter users, reasonably, reacted in horror at the revelation that the platform had accidentally sent such a substantial portion of their funds elsewhere in a careless mistake, and that such a monumental mistake was even possible. They were lucky that they erroneously sent the funds to another exchange, and one who agreed to return the funds.
This is not the first time Crypto.com has erroneously transferred funds; in August of this year, they sued a woman to whom they'd accidentally sent $7.2 million that wasn't hers.
An FTX account administrator wrote on the FTX support Telegram, "FTX has been hacked. FTX apps are malware. Delete them. Chat is open. Don't go on FTX site as it might download Trojans". The message was pinned by FTX General Counsel Ryne Miller.
Miller later wrote on Twitter, "Investigating abnormalities with wallet movements related to consolidation of ftx balances across exchanges - unclear facts as other movements not clear. Will share more info as soon as we have it."
A Telegram admin subsequently wrote, "Not all hope is lost. Engineers have managed to retrieve substantial amount of funds," but no details were provided beyond that. A later announcement by Miller claimed that FTX had "initiated precautionary steps to move all digital assets to cold storage", suggesting some of the transfers may have been a part of that effort.
Many speculated that the so-called hack had been coordinated by insiders.
FTX announced that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States. Sam Bankman-Fried resigned as CEO.
SBF had spoken about trying to raise additional funds. In leaked Slack messages, he had allegedly written that "One could maybe say, if they wanted to be optimistic, that we have a lot theoretically in and/or potentially for the raise". No one was actually saying this.
Analysis by the crypto security firm SlowMist attributed the theft to a compromise of Shen's seed phrase. Shen had been using the Trust Wallet software, though the theft does not appear to be related to security issues with the wallet software.
"Any FTX employees willing to change my accounts country of residence to Bahamas to facilitate withdrawal I am offering $1 million and unlimited legal fees", wrote one trader (who later claimed to be joking).
A popular crypto Twitter user named "Algod" offered $100,000 to any FTX employee who would process their KYC documents, allowing them to withdraw. He was subsequently seen to be successfully withdrawing over $2 million in assets from the platform. He also shared links to a Telegram group where his partner was offering to buy people's FTX accounts for 10¢ on the dollar, from customers who feared they may never see the money again, or would only regain access to a fraction of it after years of court proceedings. Algod later denied "erroneous and defamatory statements" that he'd bought discounted claims/assets", admitting that he'd considered it, but claiming he ultimately decided not to.
Some observers noticed over $21 million withdrawn via NFT trades, that appeared to be being used as a way to bypass the internal blocks on users transferring balances to one another. People with funds locked in FTX bought NFTs from Bahamas-based users, spending their full account balance on the NFT and thus enabling the Bahamian user to then withdraw the funds. "This appears to be the first recorded case of NFT utility in existence 👍", wrote Cobie.
The announcement went on to say, "The Commission is aware of public statements suggesting that clients' assets were mishandled, mismanaged and/or transferred to Alameda Research. Based on the Commission's information, any such actions would have been contrary to normal governance, without client consent and potentially unlawful."
- Media release by the Securities Commission of the Bahamas
Now, the bailer is the one requiring the bailing, and the possible bailout of FTX by Binance fell through. This means that BlockFi is in a tough and uncertain spot, which is why they announced through Twitter that "until there is further clarity, we are limiting platform activity, including pausing client withdrawals". They also wrote that they had learned about the FTX collapse via Twitter.
BlockFi founder and COO Flori Marquez had tweeted only two days prior, just after the FTX news, that "All BlockFi products are fully operational. BlockFi is an independent business entity. We have a $400MM line of credit from FTX.US (not FTX.com) and will remain an independent entity until at least July 2023. We are processing all client withdrawals."
According to Binance, "As a result of corporate due diligence, as well as the latest news reports regarding mishandled customer funds and alleged US agency investigations, we have decided that we will not pursue the potential acquisition of FTX.com."
FTX is really up a creek. Reports suggest that the hole on their balance sheet is looking like $8 billion, a circumstance that is certainly not improving as FTT prices continue to plummet.
There is still no news about what will happen to Alameda, but the SBF-owned quant firm's website has ominously been taken offline.
It appears that the Binance move was a last-ditch effort to save FTX, which went from being a powerful player in the crypto market offering bailouts and looking to acquire bankrupt companies to an insolvent exchange struggling to stay afloat in an incredibly short period of time.
CZ of Binance hedged a bit in his announcement, underscoring that "Binance has the discretion to pull out from the deal at any time" and would be performing "full [due diligence]" before the deal moved forward. It's not yet clear how much the Binance sell-off of FTX tokens contributed to the instability of the exchange.
Following the report, Binance CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao announced they would be liquidating their FTT holdings. CZ also took a shot at SBF's recent controversial policy recommendations, writing, "Liquidating our FTT is just post-exit risk management, learning from LUNA. We gave support before, but we won't pretend to make love after divorce. We are not against anyone. But we won't support people who lobby against other industry players behind their backs."
SBF first appeared conciliatory towards Binance, writing "I respect the hell out of what y'all have done to build the industry as we see it today, whether or not they reciprocate, and whether or not we use the same methods. Including CZ. Anyway -- as always -- it's time to build. Make love (and blockchain), not war." However, he later wrote that "A competitor is trying to go after us with false rumors" and urged that "FTX is fine. Assets are fine."
In March 2021, the SEC sued LBRY over their LBC tokens, which were used for paid streaming, tipping, and as rewards for using the platform inviting other users. On November 7, 2022, a federal judge of the District Court for the District of New Hampshire ruled that "because no reasonable trier of fact could reject the SEC's contention that LBRY offered LBC as a security, and LBRY does not have a triable defense that it lacked fair notice, the SEC is entitled to judgment." The judge granted the SEC's motion for summary judgment, meaning the case will not go to trial.
U.S. Attorney convicts individual in 2012 theft from the Silk Road, announces seizure of over 50,000 Bitcoin priced at more than $1 billion
The government has filed a motion in the case against Ross Ulbricht, the founder and operator of the Silk Road who is serving life in prison, seeking to retain the seized Bitcoin. At the time of seizure in November 2021, the Bitcoin were notionally worth $3.36 billion. On the date the charges were announced, they would be notionally worth $1.06 billion.
- "U.S. Attorney Announces Historic $3.36 Billion Cryptocurrency Seizure And Conviction In Connection With Silk Road Dark Web Fraud", U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York
Telegram later introduced some of the repossessed usernames for sale as pricey NFTs on their new "collectible usernames" market, dubbed Fragment. Although Durov had claimed that "70% of all Telegram usernames had been reserved in inactive channels by cybersquatters from Iran", and that the only usernames that were "withdrawn" had been out of use, users were given no warning or option to keep their names.
On October 27, Durov announced that "in a few days, we will also introduce the ability for users to sell their existing usernames on Fragment" — unwelcome news for those whose usernames were sold out from under them by Telegram.
Some of the usernames that have sold on the marketplace include brand names like Facebook (which sold for 60,000 TON, or ~$94,200), FIFA (sold for 600,000 TON, or ~$972,000), Amazon (sold for 262,500 TON, or ~$425,000), and Meta (sold for 404,000 TON, or ~$723,000). There is no indication the buyers are necessarily associated with the brands in question. Furthermore, the username marketplace is not available in the USA.
However, the Huobi crypto exchange has claimed that pNetwork's actions were not white hat, and that they profited $4.5 million from their actions. pNetwork rebutted that they had not made any money from the operation, and threatened to sue Huobi over the accusations.
Some traders who attempted to "buy the dip" and profit from the plunge in value of the GALA tokens were also upset with Huobi, when they found that the exchange had replaced their tokens with new, worthless $pGALA tokens.
The project was unusually frank in their announcement, writing on Twitter that the hack had "render[ed] the Treasury and the $SKYWARD token effectively worthless... We recommend users to withdraw their funds safely where they can and for the community to no longer interact with Skyward."
The enormous sale caused the token price to plummet from $0.082 to $0.016, an 80% decrease. The stolen tokens were nominally worth almost $2.8 million (priced at the value before the theft), but it's not likely the attackers were able to exchange them for that much given the lack of liquidity to absorb such a huge sale.
Deribit is also among the primary creditors of failed crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, which defaulted on an $80 million loan from the exchange.
Sounds like everything's above board over there! It was also exposed in August that the company had lied to its users about their exposure to the Terra collapse.
Anyway, friesDAO seems to have fallen victim to the same Profanity vulnerability that has affected projects who used the tool to generate vanity wallet addresses. friesDAO wanted a wallet address beginning with 51D35 ("SIDES"), and as a result they opened themselves up to a major loss.
The project had previously announced that they had raised $5.4 million in funding, suggesting this attack drained almost half of the project's funds.
Core Scientific blamed their precarious financial situation on "the prolonged decrease in the price of bitcoin, the increase in electricity costs, the increase in the global bitcoin network hash rate and the litigation with Celsius Networks LLC and its affiliates". Bankrupt crypto platform Celsius owes Core Scientific around $5.4 million.
Core Scientific's stock plummeted from around $1 a share to around $0.20 on the news, an 80% decrease. The stock started the year at $10.43 a share, and has decreased in value by 98% year-to-date.
Security firm PeckShield initially suggested the issue might have been with QiDAO, which creates the $MAI stablecoin. The vulnerability is not with their project, although it's possible that the theft will impact the collateralization of their stablecoin.