Former Banker Charged with Crypto Investment Fraud

In a recent case in the federal court in Brooklyn, New York, a former investment banker and registered broker named Rashawn Russell has been charged with defrauding numerous investors. According to court documents, Russell misled investors by promising profits on fake cryptocurrency investments and then used the funds he received to finance his personal lifestyle. It is alleged that Russell took advantage of the growing interest in cryptocurrency investments to deceive multiple investors into reinvesting their fiat savings into cryptocurrencies. He promised significant or even “guaranteed” returns on their investments, but instead used their money to fund his own lavish lifestyle.

The court documents indicate that Russell’s fraud involved a scheme where he would convince investors to invest their money in cryptocurrency, promising high returns. However, rather than investing the money as promised, Russell is accused of diverting the funds to his personal accounts to finance his lifestyle. The documents also reveal that Russell made false statements to investors, providing them with misleading information and financial reports to give the impression that their investments were profitable.

The alleged victims of Russell’s scheme suffered significant losses as a result of his fraud. According to the court documents, Russell’s scheme caused his victims to lose over $1 million. The victims include a retired police officer, a retired teacher, and a small business owner. Russell is facing multiple charges related to securities fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering.

This case highlights the risks of investing in cryptocurrency and the importance of due diligence when making investment decisions. Investors must be wary of promises of high returns and conduct thorough research before investing their money in any investment opportunity. The case also emphasizes the need for regulatory oversight and enforcement to protect investors from fraudulent activities.

In conclusion, Rashawn Russell, a former investment banker and registered broker, has been charged with defrauding investors with fake cryptocurrency investments and misappropriating funds to finance his lifestyle. This case serves as a reminder of the risks associated with investing in cryptocurrency and the importance of conducting due diligence before making any investment decisions. It also highlights the need for regulatory oversight and enforcement to protect investors from fraudulent activities.


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Elon Musk Moves Forward with AI Plans for Twitter

Elon Musk, the chief executive officer of SpaceX, Tesla, and Twitter (as of October 2022), has made news for his attempts to limit the development of artificial intelligence owing to fears about the influence AI would have on society. In spite of this, it would seem that Musk is proceeding with his own ideas for AI infrastructure. An article published by Business Insider claims that Elon Musk has acquired roughly 10,000 graphics processing units (GPUs) for the purpose of implementing an artificial intelligence project at Twitter.

As a result of the vast amount of compute power needed by the technology, it is common practice for large-scale AI models to make use of graphics processing units (GPUs). Prior to this, on March 18, 2018, Musk stated that the business will employ AI to “detect & highlight manipulation of public opinion” on Twitter. According to unnamed individuals acquainted with the firm, the procurement of such a large amount of graphics processing units (GPUs) demonstrates that Musk is devoted to this initiative. In addition, the sources disclosed that the project makes use of a substantial language model; nonetheless, the precise function of generative AI at Twitter is yet unknown.

Twitter has just just added two new engineers who both have substantial experience working in AI, in addition to the GPU purchase. After working at DeepMind, an artificial intelligence research unit of Alphabet, which is the parent company of Google, Igor Babuschkin and Manuel Kroiss joined Elon Musk’s team. These new advances come only a few short weeks after Elon Musk signed an open letter, along with hundreds of other experts working in the technology area, asking for a temporary pause to the development of artificial intelligence due to the threats it presents to mankind.

Musk has been quite open about his fears surrounding artificial intelligence, and he has in the past cautioned regulatory bodies that AI research needs to be controlled “before it’s too late.” It seems that he is adopting a proactive approach to the development of artificial intelligence technology, as shown by the fact that he has acquired AI expertise at Twitter and has also purchased GPUs. Although it has been claimed that the project is still in its early phases, Musk’s devotion to it suggests that he has no intention of slowing down in his attempts to enhance AI infrastructure.


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Argentina Approves First Regulated Bitcoin Futures Index

The National Commission of Value (CNV), the securities regulator of Argentina, has approved the country’s first regulated Bitcoin futures index to debut on the Matba Rofex exchange. The Bitcoin (BTC) futures contract will begin trading in May, making it the first regulated Bitcoin futures index in Latin America. The approval of the Bitcoin futures index is part of Argentina’s strategic innovation agenda, which aims to develop new and creative products in the capital market through public-private collaboration.

The Bitcoin futures contract will be based on the price of BTC provided by various entities in Argentina offering BTC/ARS trading pairs. All trades will be settled in the national fiat currency, and traders will be required to deposit Argentine pesos through bank transfer. To provide and use payment services in the country, an exchange must have a valid contract with a payment services provider registered with the Central Bank of the Argentine Republic.

The launch of the regulated Bitcoin futures index offers qualified investors a safe and regulated way to gain BTC exposure in a transparent environment. However, the CNV has also asked the Matba Rofex exchange to incorporate alerts that warn investors of the risks associated with such financial instruments. With the high inflation rate in Argentina, many citizens have turned to Bitcoin to mitigate its effects. The country’s peer-to-peer Bitcoin trading volume has also hit new highs as a result.

The approval of the Bitcoin futures index comes just a week after Binance announced its expansion to Argentina, indicating the growing interest in cryptocurrencies in the country. Argentina has taken a pro-crypto stance over the years, with crypto adoption nearly double its neighboring countries. The Ministry of Economy recently proposed a bill that encourages citizens to declare their crypto holdings and incentivizes them with tax benefits.

In conclusion, the approval of the Bitcoin futures index in Argentina provides a safe and regulated way for qualified investors to gain BTC exposure in a transparent environment. As the country struggles with high inflation, the launch of the Bitcoin futures contract comes as citizens turn to Bitcoin as a way to mitigate its effects. With a pro-crypto stance and growing interest in cryptocurrencies, Argentina is becoming a favorable destination for crypto-related businesses and investments.


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Spanish Tax Agency Cracks Down on Crypto Holders

The Spanish Tax Administration Agency (AEAT) wants to send out 328,000 warning notifications to individuals who are responsible for paying their taxes for the 2022 fiscal year. This move is being made in an attempt to collect taxes on crypto assets. The number of notices has climbed by forty percent in comparison to the previous year, reaching a total of fifteen thousand in 2021. This rise is a clear indication that the monetary authorities are beginning to take the matter more seriously.

The efforts of the AEAT to collect taxes are not primarily concentrated on cryptocurrencies and related assets. This year, more than 660,000 people who underreported their rental income will get a notice, and 807,000 people who did not record their income earned outside the country will receive a notice. Both groups will receive letters. The notifications function as an offer to voluntarily pay the tax, the rate of which ranges between 19% and 23% and applies to profits realized from the sale of digital assets. Those who are late in making their tax payments will be liable to a fine of an extra 26%, which will be determined based on the total amount of money that remains due.

According to the research published by the National Securities Market Commission in August 2022, there is a rising population of crypto asset holders in Spain. According to the report, 6.8% of the country’s population now own crypto assets. The majority of these holders have at least some level of higher education, are between the ages of 35 and 44, and make more than 3,000 euros per month. The nation also has the most cryptocurrency ATMs in all of Europe, with 231 machines, which accounts for around 15% of the entire number. This places it in first place in Europe. Spain comes in at number four on the global scale, after the United States, Canada, and Australia.

The expanded efforts of the Spanish Tax Administration Agency reflect a rising pattern of governments throughout the globe striving to regulate and collect taxes on crypto assets. This trend was highlighted by the enhanced efforts of the Spanish Tax Administration Agency. This should not come as a surprise considering the expanding usage of cryptocurrencies across a wide variety of sectors, as their popularity continues to rise. Individuals and enterprises need to ensure that they are up to date on their tax duties in order to prevent the possibility of facing legal repercussions as a result of the proliferation of crypto assets.


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OpenAI Launches Bug Bounty Program

OpenAI, the artificial intelligence (AI) company behind ChatGPT, has announced the launch of a bug bounty program to combat privacy and cybersecurity concerns. The program rewards security researchers and ethical hackers for identifying and addressing vulnerabilities in OpenAI’s technology and company, with cash rewards ranging from $200 for low-severity findings to $20,000 for exceptional discoveries.

OpenAI has partnered with Bugcrowd, a bug bounty platform, to manage the submission and reward process, ensuring a streamlined experience for all participants. The company has also offered safe harbor protection for vulnerability research conducted in compliance with its specific guidelines. OpenAI believes that expertise and vigilance will play a crucial role in keeping its systems secure and ensuring users’ security.

The launch of the program comes in the wake of recent bans in different countries on AI technology and concerns about privacy and cybersecurity. On March 20, OpenAI suffered a data breach, which exposed user data due to a bug in an open-source library. The incident highlighted the need for increased security measures and prompted OpenAI to launch the bug bounty program.

The global community of security researchers, ethical hackers, and technology enthusiasts have been invited to participate in the program. OpenAI hopes that the initiative will help to identify and address vulnerabilities in its systems and improve its overall security posture.

The program’s rules state that researchers must comply with all applicable laws and regulations, and safe harbor protection is provided for vulnerability research conducted according to OpenAI’s guidelines. If a third party takes legal action against a security researcher who participated in the program and followed the rules, OpenAI will inform others that the researcher acted within the program’s guidelines. This is because OpenAI’s systems are connected with other third-party systems and services.

The launch of the program follows a statement by the Japanese government’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, stating that Japan would consider incorporating AI technology into government systems, provided privacy and cybersecurity issues are addressed. OpenAI’s bug bounty program demonstrates the company’s commitment to addressing these concerns and improving its security posture. By inviting the global community of security researchers, ethical hackers, and technology enthusiasts to participate, OpenAI hopes to increase vigilance and expertise, directly impacting the security of its systems and ensuring users’ security.


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Gamers in Africa Can Earn Bitcoin While Playing Classic Titles

Zebedee, a fintech and payments processor, has partnered with Bitnob to allow African gamers to earn Bitcoin while playing classic games such as Counter-Strike. The partnership will provide African users with a new way to earn Bitcoin through Zebedee-powered apps and games. The offering serves as a second layer in games that allows developers to replace vague in-game points rewards with satoshis, the smallest denomination of Bitcoin. These, in turn, can be converted to a local currency like the Nigerian nairas.

The partnership was driven by game developers who had Bitcoin in mind for tournaments and other gaming rewards. Zebedee’s chief strategy officer, Ben Cousens, explained that the Bitcoin Lightning Network will allow game developers to offer rewards to African gamers without the high costs associated with fiat rails.

“If I’m Activision Blizzard or EA Games and I have 30 million players of my games in Africa, and I run tournaments or giveaways, I cannot pay those players on fiat rails — it is too expensive. I am limited to the U.S., and I lose money from loss of engagement. Try sending $0.01 to these territories on another rail,” Cousens said.

Africa benefits from a young demographic and a digitally native population. Cousens continued, “We’ve seen consistent evidence of high demand for our platform across the African continent, where the purchasing power of Bitcoin is considerably higher than markets like the U.S. and Europe.”

The partnership between Zebedee and Bitnob highlights the growing trend of using the Bitcoin Lightning Network in gaming. Cousens stated that it is a natural evolution of the interactive entertainment landscape, where “Rewarded Play” provides meaningful performance uplift for game developers against a backdrop of slowing growth in mobile gaming revenue while engaging players in a fun and creative way.

In addition to its partnership with Bitnob, Zebedee has also launched its own mobile game, Infuse Challenge. The game allows players to earn Bitcoin by completing simple challenges and is powered by the Bitcoin Lightning Network. The company is also working on a gaming platform that will allow game developers to integrate Bitcoin Lightning Network payments into their games.

Zebedee’s innovative use of the Bitcoin Lightning Network in gaming has the potential to revolutionize the way gamers earn rewards and interact with their favorite games. With the growing popularity of Bitcoin in Africa, it is likely that more African gamers will be eager to take advantage of this new way to earn Bitcoin while playing their favorite games.


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InfStones aims to simplify ETH staking through Shappella upgrade

InfStones, a blockchain infrastructure provider, has announced a new Ethereum validator service that aims to simplify ETH staking through the upcoming Shappella upgrade. The service will utilize Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to make staking easier for both users and institutional investors, with the goal of attracting more participants to the Ethereum ecosystem.

The Shappella upgrade, which is expected to bring heightened market demand for ETH staking, will allow participants with less than 32 ETH to stake their tokens on InfStones’ platform. This is a significant development, as currently, there is a requirement of 32 ETH to participate in staking.

InfStones founder Zhenwu Shi stated that their Ethereum validator service enables anyone to launch validator nodes for staking purposes with just a few clicks. In addition, the platform is targeting institutional investors by providing a way to set up around 1,000 validators for ETH staking.

The project’s goal is to attract more participants to the Ethereum ecosystem by creating an easier staking experience. InfStones’ platform aims to capitalize on the Shappella upgrade by offering a more streamlined staking service. Liquid staking platforms may also get a boost when ETH is released from the Beacon Chain following the upgrade, according to analysts from blockchain analytics firm Glassnode.

However, Ethereum staking deposits have seen a slight decline recently, which has been attributed to both regulatory pressure in the United States and the upcoming Shappella upgrade. Despite this, community members have expressed various sentiments on the news, with many praising the developers for achieving the next milestone for the Ethereum ecosystem.

As the Ethereum ecosystem continues to grow, InfStones’ new validator service aims to make staking more accessible for both individual users and institutional investors. By providing an easier staking experience, the platform hopes to attract more participants and contribute to the growth of the Ethereum network.


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NFTs Get Security Boost with New Warranty Service

The rise of Web3 has led to an explosion in the popularity of nonfungible tokens (NFTs), which offer unique ownership of digital assets, including art, music, and even tweets. However, the Web3 space has seen its fair share of exploits, with hackers exploiting more than $320 million in the first quarter of 2023 alone. As a result, securing digital assets has become a top priority for many users, particularly those considering joining the Web3 space.

To address this security gap, Wert and Avata have launched a new NFT warranty service. The opt-in service will provide coverage for up to 90% of the value of compromised digital assets in a smart contract hack, offering a sense of security and trust for both active and prospective collectors. The service will be available on nearly 80 digital asset marketplaces, including the KnownOrigin NFT marketplace.

According to Vano Basiladze, CEO of Wert, the NFT protection will be charged at 6% of the asset cost at checkout, with coverage calculated by the purchase price rather than the current market value. By offering a service that ensures some degree of protection against hacks and theft, Basiladze believes that mass adoption of NFTs and Web3 technologies in general will be perpetuated.

“Overall, any consumer looking to get into the NFT space wants to protect their money invested, and by offering them that sense of security, they are able to engage in Web3 on a deeper level with reduced risk,” Basiladze said.

Basiladze also noted that high-value NFTs, similar to traditional collectibles and art, are often bought by serious investors who are more worried about security than the average collector. By offering warranties, the NFT industry can become more open to professional collectors and investors.

The NFT market has exploded in recent years, with some projections estimating that NFT-related global transactions will skyrocket from 24 million in 2022 to nearly 40 million by 2027. In fact, a recent study from CoinGecko revealed that 25% of NFT owners have a collection of 51 digital assets or more. As such, the need for increased security and protection of digital assets is more important than ever.

In conclusion, the launch of Wert and Avata’s NFT warranty service represents a significant step forward for NFT security. By reducing the risk for both active and prospective collectors, the offering aims to encourage mass adoption of NFTs and Web3 technologies. With the NFT market continuing to grow, the need for increased security measures is paramount, and this warranty service is a welcome addition to the ecosystem.


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Binance CEO Emphasizes Importance of Understanding Crypto for Proper Regulation

During a fireside chat at the Hong Kong Web3 Festival, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) shared his views on the importance of regulators having a deep understanding of the crypto industry to properly regulate it. According to CZ, applying traditional financial industry regulations to crypto is not ideal since crypto is different from banks and traditional financial industries.

One of the challenges of regulating the crypto industry is deciding on how to classify different assets. CZ explained that there are many types of crypto assets, and some may look like securities, others like commodities, or utility tokens, and some may even have a combination of those characteristics. Therefore, it is important for regulators to know how to classify these assets to decide on appropriate regulations.

CZ also stressed the importance of having regulatory clarity. He stated that unclear regulations are “the worst,” and having clear regulations is better. However, he also suggested that it is best to let the industry develop fully before introducing regulations, as it is difficult to predict what exactly will be popular in the industry.

In terms of engaging with regulators, CZ advised crypto industry players to be actively engaged with them. While many crypto regulators around the world are receptive, some are still skeptical. However, CZ believes that skepticism should not deter industry players from engaging in conversations with regulators.

When asked about what could trigger mass adoption of crypto, CZ pointed out that government efforts to restrict traditional financial markets may push more people towards crypto, ultimately leading to mass adoption. He explained that the more governments try to come for crypto, the more it will grow.

Finally, CZ stressed the need for patience among crypto industry players. He believes that the first draft of regulations is often overly restrictive, but a balance is usually found in due time. Therefore, it is important for industry players to be patient and understand that regulations will continue to evolve over time.

Overall, CZ’s fireside chat highlighted the importance of understanding the crypto industry for proper regulation. As the industry continues to grow and evolve, it is crucial for regulators to keep up and engage with industry players to ensure effective regulation.


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ApeCoin Experiences Sharp Price Surge on South Korean Exchange

On April 12, the price of ApeCoin (APE), which is an ERC-20 token that was produced by Yuga Labs, had a large spike, reaching $90.00 per token on the cryptocurrency exchange that is known as Upbit and which is based in South Korea. The price surge was just a brief phenomenon, however, and was followed by a sharp collapse that wiped out the bulk of the profits. In spite of this fact, APE is still trading at a significant premium of around $4.50 above other exchanges, with each token going for $10.90 at the time this article was published.

It would seem that a retail mania and a limitation of viable trading routes on Upbit were the primary factors that led to the price increase that took place. At the present, the only trading pair for APE that is listed on the exchange is BTC/APE, which only accounts for a minuscule portion of the coin’s overall trading activity. Other trading pairs for APE are expected to be added in the near future. During the course of the day, transactions involving around 4 million APE tokens took place. This is in comparison to the total amount of APE tokens now in circulation, which is 369 million.

However, it’s probable that the rise didn’t continue very long since Upbit places trading limitations on its users’ accounts. On the same day, the exchange put a hold on deposits and withdrawals of Ether (ETH) and ERC-20 tokens as they awaited the completion of the Ethereum network’s Shanghai upgrade. These actions were carried out in advance of the forthcoming hard fork. Users of Upbit were unable to convert their APE, which is an ERC-20 token and is regarded as a memecoin by some people, into other ERC-20 tokens such as Tether (USDT) and ETH by selling or purchasing APE in exchange for those tokens. APE is a memecoin and is believed to be a cryptocurrency by some individuals. As a consequence of this fact, the one and only option that was still available was to exchange Bitcoin (BTC) for Australian Dollars (BTC/USD).

Since the price increase, cryptocurrency price aggregators like CoinMarketCap have labeled the APE pricing on Upbit as a “outlier” when computing the aggregate prices of cryptocurrencies. This is due to the fact that Upbit’s prices are much lower than those of the competition in the market. Since the price increase on Upbit was not mirrored on any other exchanges, this may imply that it was an isolated event that occurred just on Upbit. Nevertheless, this occurrence highlights the potential for sudden price volatility in cryptocurrency markets, as well as the effect trading restrictions may have on the value of cryptocurrencies.


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Bitcoin (BTC) $ 27,273.31 2.13%
Ethereum (ETH) $ 1,652.63 0.95%
Litecoin (LTC) $ 65.67 0.60%
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) $ 231.66 7.85%