TikTok Crypto Influencers Mislead Viewers

TikTok, the popular social media platform, has become a go-to source of information for many young people today. However, a recent study conducted by daapGamble reveals that over one-third of cryptocurrency influencers on TikTok are sharing unvetted misinformation about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency investments. Many of these influencers are promoting crypto investments without properly warning viewers about the risks, convincing unwary investors to put their hard-earned money into cryptocurrencies that are likely to lose value.

The study analyzed 1,161 crypto-related videos on TikTok, which used the hashtag “#cryptok.” More than one in three of these videos were found to be misleading, while just one in ten videos contained some form of disclaimer about the risks of investing. Additionally, 47% of the crypto influencers were found to be pushing services for their own profit.

The potential financial risk for unwary investors is high, with one in three misleading videos on TikTok mentioning Bitcoin. Furthermore, videos using popular crypto-related hashtags, such as #crypto, #cryptoadvice, and #cryptoinvesting, have cumulatively garnered over 6 billion views. However, viewers often overlook the ill intent of influencers and trust their content purely based on its high number of views or likes.

The study found that both new and seasoned investors should do extensive research on crypto projects before making any form of investment. While the reach of crypto influencers is smaller than that of mainstream celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian, Jake Paul, and Soulja Boy, the potential financial risks for unwary investors remains equally high.

In recent years, many mainstream influencers have been accused of promoting cryptocurrencies to their millions of fans without disclosing the payments they received. For instance, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission forced Kim Kardashian to pay $1.26 million in penalties for promoting EthereumMax (EMAX).

In April 2022, a $1 billion lawsuit was filed against crypto exchange Binance, CEO Changpeng Zhao, and three crypto influencers for allegedly promoting unregistered securities. The Moscowitz Law Firm and Boies Schiller Flexner, who filed the lawsuit, called this a classic example of a centralized exchange promoting the sale of an unregistered security.

In conclusion, while TikTok can be an excellent source of information, viewers are advised to exercise caution when it comes to crypto influencers and do their own research before making any investments.


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Terraform Labs co-founder defends against SEC allegations

Do Kwon, co-founder of blockchain company Terraform Labs, has defended himself against allegations of fraud brought by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Kwon’s lawyers requested the dismissal of the lawsuit, arguing that the SEC’s allegations were unfounded and that US law prohibited regulators from asserting jurisdiction over the digital assets in question.

According to a Bloomberg report, Kwon’s lawyers stated that “US law prohibits the SEC from using federal securities law to assert jurisdiction over the digital assets in this case.” They also claimed that the SEC failed to prove that Kwon had defrauded US investors in connection with the collapse of Terra’s stablecoin, UST.

Kwon’s legal troubles began in March 2022 when he was arrested at Podgorica airport in Montenegro while allegedly attempting to fly to Dubai using fake documents. Following his arrest, both South Korean and American authorities requested Kwon’s extradition. As of now, it remains unclear which country, if any, will be granted their extradition request.

Montenegrin Justice Minister Marko Kovač recently commented on the matter, stating that “determining to which state they will be extradited is based on several factors like the severity of the committed criminal offense, the location and time when the criminal offense has been committed, the order in which we have received the request for extradition and several other factors.”

In addition to defending himself against the SEC’s allegations, Kwon’s lawyers also argued that the UST stablecoin is a currency, not a security. This claim is significant, as US securities law only applies to securities, not currencies.

The collapse of Terra’s UST stablecoin has been a point of controversy for some time. The stablecoin was designed to maintain a stable value of $1, but its value plummeted to $0.85 in late 2021. The collapse reportedly cost investors $40 billion.

While Kwon fights against the SEC’s allegations, another Terraform Labs co-founder, Shin Hyun-Seong, has managed to avoid legal trouble. The Seoul Southern District Court recently denied an arrest warrant for Shin, citing the unconfirmed nature of the allegations and the unlikeliness of Shin being a flight risk or destroying evidence.

In conclusion, the legal proceedings against Do Kwon and Terraform Labs are ongoing, and it remains to be seen how the case will be resolved. However, Kwon’s lawyers’ defense against the SEC’s allegations suggests that there may be significant legal challenges ahead for the regulatory agency.


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Bored Ape Yacht Club wins legal battle

Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) creator Yuga Labs has emerged victorious in a legal battle with Ryder Ripps, the co-creator of copycat NFT project RR/BAYC. Yuga Labs had filed a complaint against Ripps and his co-founder, Jeremy Cahen, alleging trademark infringement, false advertising, and unfair competition, among other things. The US District Court for the Central District of California ruled in favor of Yuga Labs in a pre-trial summary judgment on April 21, finding that Ripps and Cahen had indeed infringed Yuga Lab’s trademarks with their RR/BAYC NFT collection. The court has also ruled that Yuga Labs is entitled to an injunction and damages, which will be determined at trial.

This legal victory is being hailed as a landmark moment for Web3, as it sends a message to scammers and counterfeiters that they will be held accountable. Ripps and Cahen had created RR/BAYC back in May 2022 as a protest against Yuga Labs, using all of the same imagery as the original BAYC NFTs. Ripps is also known for his conspiracy theory that the BAYC artwork was designed to convey racist caricatures, and that the project’s logo and branding have several nods to certain Nazi symbols and language.

In other news, Mandala Metaverse has selected Polkadot to host its first major NFT drop on April 28. Mandala Metaverse is a story-based project that spans TV, graphic novels, gaming, and AR, and its gaming elements have been developed in Epic Games’ AAA quality Unreal Engine. The NFT drop, called “Cryptonauts,” features various avatars that will serve as playable characters in the game. The artwork was illustrated by comic artist Bruce Zick, who has worked with giants such as Disney and Marvel.

Polkadot is not known for hosting gaming and NFT projects, with no recorded sales data on aggregators such as CryptoSlam. However, Mandala Metaverse CEO Jon Shanker believes that Polkadot’s real future-proof NFT applications, such as nesting, staking, and the ability to send NFTs over bridges, make it an ideal choice for the Cryptonauts NFTs.

Moving on, Square Enix, the developer of Final Fantasy, has partnered with Web3 infrastructure firm Elixir Games to bring blockchain gaming to the mainstream. Although details on the partnership are still scarce, Elixir Games offers both traditional and Web3 games on its platform, along with Web3 distribution features such as NFT sales and marketplaces. Square Enix is increasingly interested in launching games via Elixir, and this partnership is expected to bring blockchain gaming closer to mass adoption.

Finally, a free-to-play multiplayer NFT cricket strategy game called Cricket Stars has been launched on the Tezos blockchain.


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Gemini Launches Offshore Derivatives Platform

Gemini, the US-based cryptocurrency exchange, has announced the launch of a derivatives platform outside the United States. The new platform, called Gemini Foundation, will provide services to customers based in over 30 countries, including Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Argentina, Bahamas, Bermuda, and the British Virgin Islands, among others. This move is seen as a response to the tightening regulatory environment for crypto firms in the United States.

Gemini Foundation’s first derivatives contract will be a Bitcoin perpetual contract denominated in Gemini Dollar (GUSD). This will be followed by an ETH/GUSD perpetual contract shortly after. Eligible customers will be able to trade both spot and derivatives products and convert US dollars and USD Coin into GUSD on a 1:1 basis. Fees, profits, and losses will also be processed in GUSD. The default leverage on the platform is 20x, with the maximum leverage being 100x.

Perpetual futures trading is not regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and exchanges offering crypto futures contracts, like BitMEX, are not available for US customers. Gemini Foundation will not offer services for customers in the United States.

The launch of the offshore derivatives platform comes just a few days after Gemini revealed plans to establish a new engineering hub in India. Gemini’s founders, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, have stated that the exchange has “big plans for international growth this year in APAC.” Earlier this month, Gemini filed a pre-registration with the Ontario Securities Commission to become a restricted dealer in Canada.

Gemini has been scrutinized by US authorities, with the New York State Department of Financial Services reportedly investigating the exchange over claims that many users had believed assets in their Earn accounts were protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Gemini’s Earn program halted withdrawals in November after its operating partner, Genesis, cited “unprecedented market turmoil.” In January, the firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Reports at the time suggested that up to $900 million in Earn user funds could have been locked. The US Securities and Exchange Commission also charged the exchange with offering unregistered securities through Earn in January.

In light of these controversies, Gemini’s move to launch an offshore derivatives platform seems to be a strategic attempt to expand its business and distance itself from the regulatory scrutiny in the United States. The launch of Gemini Foundation is a significant step for the company, which has been expanding its services and geographical reach in recent years. With the new platform, Gemini is positioning itself as a player in the global derivatives market, targeting customers in countries where regulatory frameworks are more favorable.


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Trust Wallet Discloses Security Flaw Resulting in $170k Loss

The popular cryptocurrency wallet known as Trust Wallet has acknowledged that it had a security weakness that resulted in the loss of over $170,000 for some of its customers. The firm has said that the vulnerability has been fixed, and that it has sent notifications to all of the people who were impacted.

The Trust Wallet bug bounty program is credited with the discovery of the vulnerability, as stated by the company. In November of 2022, a security researcher disclosed a WebAssembly flaw that was present in the open-source framework known as Wallet Core. Trust Wallet additionally noted that new wallet addresses issued by the Browser Extension between November 14 and November 23 included this vulnerability.

On the other hand, the organization reminded its customers that any email addresses that were established before or after those dates are completely secure. Users of Trust Wallet were encouraged to upgrade their apps and establish new addresses in order to strengthen the security of their accounts.

Popular mobile cryptocurrency wallet Trust Wallet supports over 20 different blockchains, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Binance Smart Chain, among others. Binance, which is one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, is the owner of the platform.

The bug bounty program is an effort that gives researchers in the field of cybersecurity the opportunity to search for and disclose security flaws in return for financial compensation. Researchers are incentivized via the initiative to discover and disclose vulnerabilities, which paves the way for businesses to strengthen their own security protocols.

Both the promptness with which Trust Wallet addressed the problem and the openness with which it disclosed the existence of the security flaw have earned the company accolades. This event brings to light the need of taking precautions while dealing with cryptocurrencies, and it should serve as a warning to users that they need to be extra watchful when it comes to protecting the assets they have.

In summing up, the security flaw that was found in Trust Wallet thanks to its bug bounty program has been fixed. The impacted customers have been notified by the firm, who has also suggested that they update their app and establish new wallet addresses. The necessity of taking precautions to protect one’s bitcoin holdings is highlighted by Trust Wallet’s openness on the issue and its prompt response in trying to resolve it.


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Bankman-Fried’s Bail Conditions Extended

As a new development in the ongoing court action involving crypto millionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, his legal team has asked for a third extension on the execution of his updated bail terms. This information was revealed in a new legal filing. The petition was submitted to the court on April 19 in a file that was made in the Southern District of New York. The attorneys, Mark Cohen and Christian Everdell, have indicated that they have effectively enforced “all of the bail conditions set forth in the Order,” with the exception of one of the restrictions, which is monitoring the use of Bankman-Fried’s parents’ mobile phones. The attorneys noted difficulty in installing the requisite monitoring software, which is designed to snap a picture of the user “every five minutes.” They also highlighted issues in obtaining the appropriate user permissions.

Concerns over Bankman-Fried’s access to electronic devices have been voiced on previous occasions, thus this is not the first time the issue is being brought up. Prior to this, Judge Kaplan issued a cautionary statement stating that there was “probable cause” to assume that Bankman-Fried was engaged in an effort to tamper with a witness. On March 28, it was reported that Bankman-Fried’s parents had agreed to restrict their son’s access to their electronic devices and signed affidavits promising not to bring forbidden electronic equipment into their house. Additionally, it was stated that Bankman-Fried had limited his access to their gadgets.

Because of these concerns, Kaplan suggested on March 4 that Bankman-Fried be banned from using any video game platforms or devices, including cellphones, tablets, PCs, and anything else that enables chat and voice contact. According to the plan, Bankman-Fried’s only option for communication should be a “flip phone or other non-smartphone with either no internet capabilities or internet capabilities disabled.”

The continuation of the bail terms imposed on Bankman-Fried draws attention to the continuing judicial struggle that surrounds the billionaire’s suspected participation in an effort to tamper with a witness. While his legal team tries to install the required monitoring software on his parents’ mobile phones, it is now unknown whether or not Bankman-Fried will be able to abide by the court’s updated bail terms. This is the case even though Bankman-Fried is already out on bond.


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China and Singapore establish task force for green finance cooperation

China and Singapore have joined forces to establish a task force aimed at deepening bilateral cooperation in green and transition finance. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced the collaboration with the People’s Bank of China (PBC) in creating the China-Singapore Green Finance Taskforce (GFTF). The two major Asian economies seek to develop a set of financial standards, products, technologies, and definitions to support a low-carbon future in the region.

The GFTF will facilitate greater public-private sector collaboration and create concrete initiatives to catalyze capital flows to support a credible and inclusive transition to a low carbon future for both countries and the region. Public-private participants from China and Singapore will work together to co-develop the necessary initiatives. According to Gillian Tan, the assistant managing director and chief sustainability officer of MAS, this collaboration is vital in ensuring that both countries’ financial sectors remain sustainable in the long term.

Initially, the GFTF will focus on finding common ground for taxonomies and definitions regarding each other’s existing transition activities. The task force will also strengthen sustainability bond market connectivity, which includes two-way access to green and transition bond products. MAS and PBC will collaborate on this initiative to ensure that sustainable finance adoption is more widely accepted and accessible to all stakeholders in the region.

The GFTF’s technology initiative will involve MetaVerse Green Exchange, a licensed crypto exchange from Singapore, and Beijing Green Exchange, a Beijing municipal government-approved company. The two companies will help facilitate sustainable finance adoption and pilot digital green bonds with carbon credits. This initiative aims to promote sustainable finance adoption by providing more accessible and user-friendly digital platforms for investors and other stakeholders.

Chinese banks are reportedly opening bank accounts for regulated crypto companies, with several acting as a payment layer for the crypto platforms. The state-owned Bank of Communications is in talks to open accounts for regulated companies. Additionally, Hong Kong’s largest virtual bank, ZA Bank, will act as the settlement bank for crypto companies, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. This initiative aims to provide more opportunities for crypto companies to access the necessary funding for their operations while ensuring that the financial system remains safe and stable.

In conclusion, the China-Singapore Green Finance Taskforce (GFTF) is a significant step towards greater collaboration in green and transition finance initiatives in the region. The task force’s focus on developing financial standards, products, technologies, and definitions will enable the region to make significant strides towards a low-carbon future. The involvement of public and private participants from China and Singapore is vital in ensuring that the region’s financial sector remains sustainable in the long term. Additionally, the GFTF’s technology initiative involving MetaVerse Green Exchange and Beijing Green Exchange aims to promote sustainable finance adoption by providing more accessible and user-friendly digital platforms for investors and other stakeholders.


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Biden’s Communications Director Restricted From Handling Crypto Firms

US President Joe Biden’s communications director, Ben LaBolt, will reportedly be restricted from handling matters related to any cryptocurrency or technology firms he previously represented, according to an April 22 Bloomberg Law report. However, he will be allowed to advise on the president’s approach to regulating cryptocurrency and social media companies.

LaBolt was previously a partner at Bully Pulpit Interactive (BPI), a communications firm that had 23 clients paying fees exceeding $5,000 in a year. These clients included decentralized exchange UniSwap, venture capital firm Andressen Horowitz, and companies such as Meta Platforms, Shopify, and West Street.

In a public financial disclosure report published on April 21, LaBolt disclosed owning $50,001-$100,000 in Bitcoin and $15,001-$50,000 in Ethereum 2. However, he will be barred from “participating in legal matters, investigations, or contracts involving cryptocurrency or technology firms he previously represented.”

These restrictions are in line with the ethics rules followed by senior White House staff. Despite the restrictions, LaBolt will be allowed to advise on crypto regulation.

This move comes after Biden signed an executive order (EO) on digital assets on March 9. The EO outlined an interagency process that will involve 16 high officials, initially starting with the task of producing an elaborate series of reports. These reports are due at intervals ranging from 90 days to over a year from the publication of the EO.

While the EO did not specify any regulatory actions, it attracted attention from government officials and industry leaders alike. Republican “Crypto Senator” Cynthia Loomis of Wyoming praised the administration’s growing interest in digital assets.

Ari Redborn, head of legal and government affairs for blockchain-based intelligence firm TRM Labs, said that he was “expecting certain things and the positive tone was not necessarily one of them.”

The move to restrict LaBolt’s handling of matters related to crypto firms may be seen as a way to ensure ethical behavior in the White House. This move is in line with the Biden administration’s focus on transparency and ethical governance.

It is worth noting that this move may also affect LaBolt’s former clients, such as UniSwap and Andressen Horowitz. It remains to be seen how this move will affect their business dealings with the White House.

Overall, this move highlights the growing interest in crypto regulation by the Biden administration. With the interagency process set in motion by the EO, it is likely that the US government will take a more active role in regulating the crypto industry.


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Google Merges Teams to Form Google Deepmind for AI Breakthroughs

Google has announced the formation of a new business unit, Google DeepMind, aimed at advancing the development of artificial intelligence (AI) in a safe and responsible manner. The unit is the result of a merger between Google’s Brain team and London-based AI company DeepMind, which Google acquired in 2014.

According to Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, the merger is intended to “significantly accelerate our progress in AI.” By combining Google’s AI talent into one focused team, Pichai hopes to create breakthroughs and products that can shape the future of AI.

To achieve this goal, Pichai has appointed Chief Scientist Jeff Dean to lead the development of powerful, multimodal AI models. Dean, who will report directly to Pichai, has been tasked with building a team that can accelerate the company’s progress in AI and create products that are both safe and responsible.

The new business unit, Google DeepMind, will focus on developing AI technologies that can be applied to a wide range of industries, from healthcare and finance to transportation and communication. This includes developing algorithms that can improve the accuracy of medical diagnoses, predicting stock prices with greater accuracy, and enhancing the capabilities of self-driving cars.

One of the key challenges in AI development is ensuring that the technology is used in a safe and responsible manner. This includes ensuring that AI models are not biased or discriminatory and that they are transparent and explainable. Google DeepMind will be dedicated to developing AI technologies that are both safe and transparent, with the goal of promoting the responsible use of AI across industries.

In addition to developing new AI breakthroughs and products, Google DeepMind will also focus on training the next generation of AI experts. This includes partnering with universities and research institutions to provide training and education in AI technologies.

The formation of Google DeepMind is part of Google’s broader strategy to become a leader in AI development. The company has been investing heavily in AI research and development over the past decade, and has already made significant breakthroughs in areas such as natural language processing and computer vision.

By creating a dedicated business unit for AI development, Google hopes to accelerate its progress in this field and create breakthroughs and products that can have a significant impact on society. With Jeff Dean at the helm, Google DeepMind is poised to become a leading force in AI development and shape the future of the industry for years to come.


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Changshu Civil Servants to Receive Digital Yuan as Payment

Changshu, a city located in the Jiangsu Province of China, has issued a notice stating that all civil servants in its jurisdiction will be paid their full salaries in digital RMB or digital yuan from May 2023. This means that civil servants, including public service personnel, public institution personnel, and personnel of state-owned units at all levels in the city, will receive their salaries in digital yuan payment.

The notice was issued jointly by the Changshu Local Financial Supervision Bureau and the Changshu Municipal Bureau of Finance. In addition to civil servants, an on-site staff member of a local hospital confirmed that the workforce would also receive payments in digital yuan starting next month. Moreover, employees can opt for digital yuan settlements through self-service terminals.

This move is part of China’s pilot program to establish an efficient and convenient digital RMB operation and management system by 2025. The province of Jiangsu, where Changshu is located, has initiated this pilot program for digital RMB in Q1 2023.

China has been pushing for the adoption of its central bank digital currency (CBDC) or digital yuan in recent years. In fact, several Chinese city governments gave away over 180 million yuan ($26.5 million) worth of the CBDC during the Lunar New Year period in February 2023 to boost adoption.

However, the government’s push for CBDC adoption has not been well-received by residents of Hong Kong. In the first four days of the digital yuan hard wallet launch, only 625 Hong Kong residents had signed up, despite a 20% discount on purchases from 1,400 local vendors, subsidized for CBDC owners by the government.

The lack of adoption in Hong Kong is due to various factors, including concerns about the potential loss of privacy and autonomy, as well as uncertainty about the long-term stability of the digital yuan. Despite this, China is pushing ahead with its CBDC adoption plans, and Changshu’s decision to pay its civil servants in digital yuan is just one example of this ongoing effort.


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