Two Months Later: Monero’s Former Lead Maintainer Released From US Custody

Riccardo Spagni, the former Monero lead maintainer who was recently arrested for charges unrelated to the privacy token, has reported that US officials have released him from custody.

  • CryptoPotato reported in early August when Spagni was arrested for alleged fraud committed between 2009 and 2011.
  • The reports indicated that his crimes had nothing to do with his work for the popular privacy coin Monero, as they were dated long before the inception of the network.
  • Instead, his alleged crimes were in connection to his time as an IT manager at Cape Cookies – a bakery in Cape Town, South Africa. More precisely, the allegations claimed that he intercepted invoices from another company (EnSync) and used false information to fabricate similar invoices related to the same company.
  • The arrest took place in July in Nashville, Tennessee, during a scheduled fueling stop while aboard a private jet on his way to Mexico.
  • Earlier this week, though, Spagni provided an update through Twitter saying he was “very pleased” that the US court had released him.
  • Additionally, the former Monero lead maintainer noted he was actively working with his lawyers to return to South Africa.


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CryptoKitties Company Dapper Labs Raises $250 Million

Key Takeaways

  • Dapper Labs has announced that it has raised $250 million, likely bringing its current valuation beyond $7.75 billion.
  • The non-fungible token company is best known for its CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shots series of collectibles.
  • Today it also announced a partnership with LaLiga and hinted at new partnerships with the UFC and Warner Music Group.

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The Vancouver-based blockchain company Dapper Labs has raised $250 million, according to a press release.

$250 Million Raised by Dapper Labs

Several investment firms participated in Dapper Labs’ funding round, including Coatue, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), GV (formerly Google Ventures), Version One Ventures, BOND, and GIC.

In April, the firm was valued at over $7.5 billion. As such, this fundraising round could raise that number beyond $7.75 billion.

Dapper Labs CEO Roham Gharegozlou said that the firm is “just scratching the surface of what this new technology can do for people.” He added that the investments will help scale its existing products and launch future product lines.

Today’s fundraiser comes just as the company announced a partnership with the Spanish pro football organization LaLiga. It will create a series of NFTs featuring videos of memorable moments from the sport, similar to its previous NBA Top Shots.

Dapper Labs Hints at New Partnerships

Dapper Labs is best known for CryptoKitties, one of the first series of NFT collectibles minted on Ethereum in 2017.

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More recently, it has gained attention thanks to its production of the NBA’s Top Shots collectible series. The company says the market for these collectibles grew by thirty times over this year, with more than $780 million of items bought and sold.

Today’s press release also hinted at new partnerships with household names such as UFC and Warner Music Group, as well as a partnership with the digital avatar company Genies.

The company’s Flow blockchain underlies many of its blockchain efforts. Flow is powered by Google Cloud, and over 3,000 content creators have begun to work on the platform.

Disclaimer: At the time of writing this author held less than $75 of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and altcoins.

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Why Cardano Bull Trend Isn’t Over And 91% Increase Is Imminent, deVere CEO Nigel Green

One look at the charts and any crypto investor will see Cardano is currently suffering. The digital asset is currently down with the rest of the market, which is suffering in the wake of the Evergrande situation in China. The market has been in a downtrend as the situation has evolved. Its biggest ties to the market being the fact that Tether allegedly owns some of the Evergrande bonds.

This has spilled over into the crypto market in a big way. Bitcoin fell to one-month lows with the news and as the altcoins have followed, Cardano has recorded receding prices also. Hitting lows that haven’t been seen since the rally began in August. Current indicators point to the market poised for further decline. But deVere CEO Nigel Green believes that while ADA may be down, it is definitely not out.

Cardano’s Streak Is Not Over Yet

Green explained his reasoning behind Cardano’s hot streak being far from over. The CEO cited the recent technological advancements in the project, namely the recent addition of smart contracts capability to the blockchain. Due to this, Green points out that the digital asset will be setting new all-time highs soon.

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Related Reading | Why The Hydra Layer 2 Solution Is Important To The Cardano Network

Talking to Insider, the CEO pointed out that Cardano currently has a reputation of being a “green” cryptocurrency. Along with a broader crypto market rally, Green sees the price of the digital asset hitting $4 by the end of 2021. Given the current price points of the asset, this would be a 91% increase to get to this point.

A major reason behind Green’s bullish stance on Cardano has to do with the applications of the network. The recent addition of smart contracts has now brought the booming decentralized finance (DeFi) market to Cardano. Once again increasing the use cases of the blockchain. The deVere CEO believes that its ability to solve problems is a major driving force.

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“Things you should be looking at are the purpose of the cryptocurrency, how long it has been in the market, market capitalization, and its underlying solutions. Cryptocurrencies that solve problems are likely to succeed more than those that do not. The longer a cryptocurrency has been in the market, the more trust it has attained, and cryptocurrencies that are developed on strong networks will stand longer,” Green told Insider.

Cardano (ADA) price chart from

Cardano (ADA) price chart from

ADA price falls to $2.11 | Source: ADAUSD on

Just As Bullish On Ethereum

Green’s bullish outlook does not fall solely on Cardano. The CEO also explained that he was just as bullish on Ethereum. Reasons for this were basically identical to the ones given for Cardano. Their vast use cases make both projects important to users and are thus poised to rally higher in the market. Investor interest has also grown in the project, which has made it more valuable than most projects in the market.

Related Reading | Cardano Founder Charles Hoskinson Says The Term Smart Contracts Needs To Be Changed

Ethereum, according to Green, is going to outperform bitcoin. Although the pioneer cryptocurrency will certainly return to its previous all-time high before the year ends, says the CEO. Giving bitcoin a price growth of 50% going further. Not surprisingly, given his stance, Green believes that Ethereum will trade higher than bitcoin in the next five years.

Featured image from Investors King, chart from


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NBA’s John Wall Reuses Fortnite Art for NFT—And Crypto Twitter Let Him Have It

In brief

  • NBA player John Wall is launching an NFT collectibles project called Baby Ballers.
  • The backdrop of the initial teaser image was “borrowed” from the video game Fortnite.

There’s already a lot of convergence between the NBA and the NFT industry. NBA Top Shot helped drive NFTs into the mainstream earlier this year, and some teams even have their own NFT projects. But not every high-profile NFT project lands well with collectors, as NBA player John Wall just discovered.

The Houston Rockets player has rapidly embraced NFTs, tweeting just a week ago that he was “hopping into the NFT wave” before announcing his own Ethereum-based NFT profile pictures project on Tuesday. Dubbed Baby Ballers, the project’s first teaser image shows a cartoonish illustrated baby spinning a ball on its finger and standing against a 3D basketball court.

But there’s an early hitch or two, and Wall has received criticism as a result. Most glaringly, the initial NFT teaser image was revealed to have repurposed a screenshot from Epic Games’ popular video game Fortnite, as social media sleuths quickly discovered. On top of that, the illustration appears to be strongly inspired by the character design from the “Boss Baby” film series.

An NFT acts like a deed of ownership for a rare digital item, including images and video clips, and Baby Ballers is similar in approach to a lot of NFT profile picture projects. This one will drop 4,000 images that can be minted and purchased, plus there’s a charity component with $100,000 set to be donated to unspecified causes. Wall says he will himself personally participate in rewards and benefits for the NFT owners, as well.

In a viral tweet, Twitter user SudoShoe tweeted a series of screenshots showing the comparison to Fortnite and Boss Baby assets, writing, “The progression of a celebrity trying to start an NFT cash grab.” Other users chimed in, suggesting that it was “disgusting and disrespectful” to other artists and web3 builders, or asking, “You think you can hide here?”

In an announcement in the Baby Ballers Discord server this morning, an administrator wrote that the final, minted NFTs would not use the Fortnite background. The team claimed that it “reached out to Epic Games” and was told that since the NFT project ultimately won’t sell the teased image, that it “falls under their fan art policy.”

Instead, the team plans to hire new artists and designers. Additionally, moderators have been squelching criticism and mocking posts in the Discord, warning new users against spreading “FUD”—a common crypto industry term for “fear, uncertainty, and distrust.” In other words, anything deemed to be negative about the project is off limits.

“Please understand that we have no plans of making this the typical celebrity ‘cash grab’ that is sometimes seen in the community,” the team wrote in the announcement post. “We have lots planned for our NFT holders including in-person fan experiences, valued merch, and lots of collaborative events and giveaways post launch.”

Wall has since deleted his tweet with the teaser image featuring the Fortnite backdrop, and shared a new tweet that has a Baby Ballers illustration on a plain white backing. The launch is currently planned for September 30, and “everything will be addressed” in a Discord community call with Wall tonight, per the moderators.


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Mike Novogratz: Gary Gensler ‘Wants to Be the Sheriff of Cryptoville’

Galaxy Digital founder and CEO Mike Novogratz famously said of institutional crypto adoption back in 2017 that “the herd is coming.” In 2021, the herd has indeed arrived, but so has the law.

The newly minted Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Gary Gensler did not set foot inside the Messari Mainnet conference in New York this week, but he was nonetheless ubiquitous, conducting an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday—streamed live at the conference—in which he called cryptocurrencies “an asset class that’s highly speculative.” His remarks added to a crypto market correction on Tuesday.

On a Wednesday morning panel at the conference, Novogratz was unequivocal when asked about Gensler. “Gary is smart, there’s absolutely no doubt about it he’s smart,” the billionaire investor and Bitcoin bull said. “There’s also absolutely no doubt about it that he wants to regulate crypto. Clear as could be. He wants to be the sheriff of Cryptoville.” 

Gensler also used his Post interview on Tuesday to make the case to D.C. lawmakers that the SEC is the entity best placed to regulate the nascent $2 trillion crypto industry and the lending protocols that are fueling its growth. “It’s highly likely that [lending platforms] have thousands of tokens, and it’s highly likely that they have on these platforms securities investment contracts or notes or others that fit the definition of a security,” Gensler said, concluding “there’s going to be a problem on lending platforms or trading platforms.” 

The SEC has flexed its muscle of late, allegedly pushing Coinbase to drop its Lend product before it could launch; Coinbase had planned to use the project to deliver high-yield returns on specific cryptocurrencies held with the exchange. Celsius and BlockFi, which run their own high-yield crypto interest accounts, have been hit with cease-and-desist letters and other enforcement actions by several state securities regulators, including in the companies’ home state of New Jersey.

But Novogratz isn’t working on crypto lending, at least not yet. His newest focus is to get a U.S. crypto ETF (exchange-traded fund) approved by the SEC, which has yet to approve one. Galaxy Digital this week partnered with giant investment management firm Invesco to file a new Bitcoin ETF proposal. ETFs are the holy grail of crypto investing because they trade like stocks and integrate easily into retirement portfolios. “Ubiquity is what’s going to allow us to get to the next level,” Novogratz said on the panel, because more people leads to increased liquidity and lower volatility.

Moreover, Novogratz isn’t concerned that he’s wasting his time. During the panel, he mentioned that he’s working to hire someone who can speak D.C.’s language and teach lawmakers about crypto.

“The SEC will get there,” he said. “I’m sure. I don’t know when, but I’m sure they will get there.”


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Here’s why Avalanche, OriginTrail and Coti hardly budged as Bitcoin fell to $40K

Admittedly, the last few days have not been not the most pleasant time for crypto traders as the price of Bitcoin (BTC) price fell short of breaking the $50,000 threshold, then slid to the low-$40,000 range and pulled the majority of altcoins down with it.

Despite this sharp downturn, a handful of tokens seemed to do much better than the rest of the market by posting weekly gains in their BTC and U.S. dollar-denominated pairs.

Some traders looking to rack up their Bitcoin holdings cannot be bothered to follow an altcoins’ price dynamics against the dollar. For them, BTC slumps like the recent one can be seen as a profit opportunity, but how does one tell what coins are likely to perform well when BTC is on its way down?

AVAX: Powered by the news

Avalanche (AVAX) has added 28.19% in its dollar pair and 43.46% against BTC over the past week. Furthermore, on Sept. 17, the price of AVAX rose from 128,600 satoshis (sats) to 153,600 sats on the news of a partnership between the Avalanche Foundation and DeFi liquidity hub Kyber Network.

AVAX price vs. VORTECS™ Score. Source: Cointelegraph Markets Pro

As AVAX’s price was coming down from this first peak, the pattern of market and social conditions around the asset’s price movement, trading volume, tweet volume and sentiment began to strongly resemble the patterns observed in previous dramatic price increases.

This was indicated by the coin’s algorithmic VORTECS™ Score — an indicator exclusively available to CT Markets Pro subscribers — going above 80, which can be seen on the dark green line marked by a red circle on the chart.

Scores of 80 and above indicate the model’s high confidence that the pattern is consistent.

Indeed, several hours after the VORTECS™ Score line had turned dark green, AVAX’s rally resumed. It was undercut by the market-wide slump in the early hours of Sept. 20, but the token’s individual bullish momentum was so strong that it rebounded in less than a day, trading at 156,900 sats on Sept. 22.

TRAC: A long turnaround

In the last seven days, OriginTrail’s Trace (TRAC) token has been up 6.02% against the U.S. dollar and 18.11% against Bitcoin.

TRAC price vs. VORTECS™ Score. Source: Cointelegraph Markets Pro

On Sept. 16, social and market variables around TRAC formed a historically favorable arrangement, and the coin’s VORTECS™ Score reached the value of 85 against the price of 852 sats. The algorithm is trained to detect conditions that have consistently preceded previous rallies by 12 to 72 hours, so sometimes price movement action can come days after a favorable score is registered.

This turned out to be the case with TRAC’s price action this week. Roughly 70 hours after the peak VORTECS™ Score showed up, the coin soared from 740 to 1088 sats in 24 hours. The Sept. 20 market flash crash took its toll on TRAC, but it recovered quicker and harder than most and secured positive weekly returns against both BTC and the dollar.

COTI: Enough momentum to weather the storm

COTI generated an extra 12.55% against the dollar and 26.51% versus BTC this past week.

COTI price vs. VORTECS™ Score. Source: Cointelegraph Markets Pro

The coin’s VORTECS™ Score briefly went beyond 80 briefly on Sept. 17 in the middle of a rally that took it from 668 to 926 Sats. COTI’s momentum began to recede before the Sept. 20 rout, with the asset trading at around 800 sats early that day. Yet, the robust market and social outlook detected earlier ensured that the asset’s recovery was smooth: The coin recouped much of the losses over the next two days.

While the VORTECS™ Score is by no means a prediction of future price movement, it can alert investors to historical trends that can be profitably incorporated into a trading strategy. 

Cointelegraph is a publisher of financial information, not an investment adviser. We do not provide personalized or individualized investment advice. Cryptocurrencies are volatile investments and carry significant risks including the risk of permanent and total loss. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Figures and charts are correct at the time of writing or as otherwise specified. Live-tested strategies are not recommendations. Consult your financial advisor before making financial decisions.