$265M in BTC Withdrawn from Binance in 2018 Suspected of Money Laundering

A prominent Bitcoin address has come under the spotlight for allegedly laundering approximately $265 million through various Bitcoin mixers. The address in question, 1EU2pMence1UfifCco2UHJCdoqorAtpT7, was initially funded with 9,999.99 BTC from Binance in May 2018, as reported by crypto analyst ZachXBT today, on 28 August 2023.

The nature of the transactions has raised eyebrows in the crypto community. ZachXBT highlighted that the deposits were all on-chain, making them easily traceable. “With this much volume it’s harder to hide,” he commented.

The use of the term “laundering” has sparked debate among crypto enthusiasts. The Intelligent Investor, a known figure in the crypto space, pointed out the challenges of truly hiding such a significant amount. “If you got a black box that ‘mixes’ a few million dollars of peon size common transactions, then a whale shows up one day to ‘mix’ $250m, surveillance is just gonna track all outputs that day,” they remarked.

Others questioned the use of the term “laundering,” seeking clarity on whether the funds were illicitly obtained. ZachXBT responded by emphasizing the suspicious nature of the transactions. “It was spread out across smaller deposits to avoid detection,” he noted, adding that using a centralized exchange as a mixer would be more effective for such a large amount if the source was not illicit.

ZachXBT further stated that casual mixer use for privacy enthusiasts is typically associated with platforms like Samourai or Wasabi, rather than the methods observed in this case.

The debate highlights the persistent challenges and concerns about crypto laundering and its potential misuse. As the industry evolves, the imperative for transparency and accountability becomes even more pronounced.

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Breaking: Key US House Committee Leaders Challenges Federal Reserve on Stablecoin

The House Financial Services Committee’s top brass, including Chairman Patrick McHenry (NC-10), Vice Chairman French Hill (AR-02), and Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, Bill Huizenga (MI-04), have formally expressed their concerns to the Federal Reserve Board (Fed) regarding its recent regulatory moves on payment stablecoins.

In a letter addressed to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, the trio voiced their objections to the Fed’s recent supervision and regulation letters, specifically “Creation of Novel Activities Supervision Program” (SR 23-7) and “Supervisory Nonobjection Process for State Member Banks Seeking to Engage in Certain Activities Involving Dollar Tokens” (SR 23-8), both issued on August 8, 2023. The committee members believe these actions could potentially undermine the progress Congress has made in establishing a regulatory framework for payment stablecoins.

The letter highlights Congress’s understanding of the need for regulatory clarity in the digital asset ecosystem, emphasizing the “Clarity for Payment Stablecoins Act” as a bipartisan effort to provide such clarity. However, the Fed’s issuance of SR 23-7 and SR 23-8, shortly after the Committee’s endorsement of the aforementioned act, has raised eyebrows.

The committee members argue that the Fed’s actions, particularly through SR 23-7 and SR 23-8, seem to deter banks from issuing payment stablecoins or even participating in the stablecoin ecosystem. They further assert that the “Novel Activities Supervision Program” under SR 23-7 appears to impose additional regulatory burdens on banking institutions engaging with crypto-assets. This, combined with previous policy statements and decisions by the Fed, could lead to an implicit prohibition on banks’ involvement in the digital asset ecosystem.

Furthermore, the committee members pointed out that the Fed did not follow the notice and comment process as mandated by the Administrative Procedure Act when issuing SR 23-7 and SR 23-8. They view this as an attempt by the Fed to set policy without being accountable to market participants and the public.

Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Patrick McHenry has been aggressively working to protect laws governing digital assets because he believes that organisations like the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, and the IRS are undermining these laws. He criticised the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the requirements for reporting digital assets that was released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury on August 26, 2023 as a result of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. He referred to this as yet another effort by the Biden government to damage the American digital asset ecosystem and encouraged the government to work together with Congress to provide clear laws for the sector.

Widespread criticism has been levelled at the Treasury and IRS’s proposed rules, which would require brokers to disclose sales and swaps of digital assets made by their clients. The Tax Law Centre at NYU Law has also voiced its worries and warned of possible financial repercussions over the delay in adopting these measures.

In conclusion, as the ecosystem for digital assets develops, the struggle between Congress and regulatory agencies highlights the need for a well-defined strategy that protects both consumers and market players while ensuring the industry’s expansion.

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Animoca Brands Reports US$402 Million Bookings for 2022

Animoca Brands, a leading figure in the realms of digital entertainment and blockchain technology, has unveiled its financial performance for the year ending 31 December 2022, providing a comprehensive insight into its achievements and future prospects.

The company’s financial health appears robust, with bookings escalating to a commendable A$594 million (approximately US$402 million). This figure represents a significant uptick from the A$428 million (around US$291 million) reported in the previous year. Such bookings are not just mere numbers; they encapsulate the company’s diverse ventures, including token sales, NFT (Non-Fungible Token) sales, and other activities that don’t necessarily fall under the blockchain umbrella.

Diving deeper into their financial reservoir, Animoca Brands has showcased a strong liquidity position. Their cash and stablecoin reserves are pegged at A$286 million (approximately US$191 million). Furthermore, the company’s liquid digital assets, which comprise reserves of the SAND utility token used predominantly in The Sandbox platform, are valued at a substantial A$690 million (roughly US$469 million). Such figures not only highlight the company’s financial prowess but also underscore its strategic investments in digital assets, which are becoming increasingly pivotal in today’s digital age.

Another noteworthy mention is the off-balance sheet token reserves associated with Animoca Brands’ majority-owned Web3 subsidiaries. These reserves have reached a staggering A$2.4 billion (about US$1.6 billion). This includes an array of tokens such as PROS, ASTRAFER, QUIDD, PRIMATE, REVV, TOWER, GMEE, and several others, reflecting the company’s diversified approach in the rapidly evolving blockchain space.

In terms of business expansion, 2022 was a landmark year for Animoca Brands. The company strategically acquired six firms, broadening its portfolio and fortifying its position in the market. These acquisitions include industry players like Grease Monkey Games, known for its prowess in game development, and PIXELYNX, a unique music metaverse gaming platform. Such acquisitions are a testament to Animoca’s vision of integrating diverse digital platforms to offer unparalleled user experiences.

The introduction of Web3 services by Animoca Brands in 2022 is a significant stride towards bridging the gap between traditional web platforms (Web2) and blockchain-based platforms (Web3). With this venture, the company aims to guide other businesses in seamlessly integrating tokens and NFTs into their existing models. This initiative alone contributed a whopping US$120 million to the total bookings for the year, underscoring its success and potential for future growth.

On the leadership front, the company has infused fresh talent into its senior management. The induction of industry stalwarts like Alan Lau, Minh Do, and Jared Shaw is expected to steer the company towards newer horizons.

Product development has also been in the limelight, with Blowfish Studios’ “Phantom Galaxies” making waves by securing US$19.3 million from its Planet Private Sale.

In conclusion, Animoca Brands, with its recognition from industry giants like Deloitte and the Financial Times, continues to shape the digital landscape. Its vast portfolio, strategic acquisitions, and focus on innovation position it as a formidable player in the digital property rights domain and the burgeoning open metaverse.

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Rocket Pool GMC Treasury Considers USDC Diversification to Stabilize $RPL Value

In a strategic move to diversify its assets and encourage broader external participation, the Grants and Bounties Management Committee (GMC) of Rocket Pool ($RPL) has proposed the integration of USDC into its financial framework. The proposal, detailed on the Rocketpool DAO forum, underscores the potential benefits of including USDC payments, aiming to attract a more varied applicant pool.

Starting from September, the GMC has outlined plans to convert 20% of its monthly inflow payments into USDC. This decision is influenced by the current RPL price, which stands at a comparatively low $25. With the GMC receiving an estimated 3275 RPL monthly, this translates to a value of $81,875. From this, a sum of $16,375, or 20%, is earmarked for conversion to USDC.

The move to diversify into USDC is not without its challenges. “Statistics regarding the number of applicants preferring USD over RPL were hard to ascertain,” the proposal stated, emphasizing the complexity of determining the optimal allocation strategy.

A notable contribution to the discussion came from a user named @Dondochaka, who suggested a system where “all applications specify payment amounts in USD value.” This approach would allow recipients to select their preferred payment denomination, be it in USD or RPL. Furthermore, for bounties, the recommendation is to denominate payments in USD until an applicant claims completion.

The overarching objective behind these proposed changes is clear: to mitigate the impact of RPL price fluctuations on the GMC. By efficiently locking in exchange rates and diversifying assets, the GMC aims to establish a more stable and transparent financial framework.

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Over 115 Billion USDT Used in Southeast Asia’s Illicit Activities in 2022: Revealed Bitrace

Bitrace, a leading blockchain analytics firm, has unveiled data highlighting the scale of illegal cryptocurrency activities in Southeast Asia. The insights challenge prevailing media narratives, offering a more detailed perspective on the region’s crypto landscape.

Cryptocurrencies, celebrated for their anonymity, decentralization, and borderless capabilities, have found favor among criminal groups in Southeast Asia. Their involvement spans a range of activities, from online gambling and fraud to money laundering. These unique attributes of digital currencies have made illicit operations more covert, enabling the rapid movement of unlawful funds.

Tether (USDT), a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar, stands out as the primary currency in these illegal undertakings. Bitrace’s findings indicate that in 2022, a staggering 115 billion USDT was implicated in illegal and gambling activities under their purview.

Diving deeper into the flow of this vast sum, 371.6 billion USDT was channeled into online gambling, 697.8 billion USDT was earmarked for money laundering, and a relatively smaller figure, less than 4.6 billion USDT, was associated with fraudulent schemes.

The ramifications of this illicit USDT flow extend to various trading platforms. In 2022 alone, trading platform accounts saw an influx of over 14.6 billion USDT from these activities. While major platforms inadvertently process a significant chunk of these transactions, there’s a discernible preference among Southeast Asian illegal crypto operators and gamblers, mainly Chinese, for certain exchanges.

Yet, amidst these challenges, the transparent nature of blockchain ledgers emerges as a beacon. Bitrace’s team, equipped with an extensive array of address labels and open-source intelligence, can effectively trace funds tied to illegal crypto activities.

In conclusion, as cryptocurrencies continue to be scrutinized for their ties to illicit operations, it’s imperative to crack down on illegal use of cryptos and stablecoins, especially USDT.

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FTX Crypto Exchange Suspends Claims Portal Access After Kroll Data Breach

FTX, a bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange, has announced the temporary suspension of impacted user access to its claims portal. This decision comes in the wake of a cybersecurity breach at Kroll, a firm overseeing FTX’s ongoing bankruptcy proceedings as the appointed claims and noticing agent.

The announcement, made on the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), underscores FTX’s proactive approach to safeguarding its users and assets. The breach at Kroll led to the exposure of non-sensitive data of claimants involved in the bankruptcy case. In response to potential concerns, FTX has issued a strong advisory to its users. “Users are strongly cautioned against making alterations to their claims or the accepted schedules in light of the incident,” the exchange stated.

Despite the unsettling circumstances surrounding the breach, FTX remains confident in the security of its infrastructure. The exchange has gone on record to assure its user base that “the security of account passwords, internal systems, and financial assets remains uncompromised.”

Kroll, on its part, has taken the initiative to reach out to affected individuals. The firm is actively advising them on precautionary measures to ensure self-protection against potential threats.

However, the situation has taken a concerning turn. ZachXBT, a renowned blockchain analyst, has reported the emergence of phishing emails targeting FTX customers. This development hints at a potential compromise of personal data, raising alarms within the crypto community.

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HashKey Launches as HK’s First Licensed Retail Crypto Exchange, Begins BTC and ETH Trading

On 28 August 2023, HashKey Exchange, the city’s first licensed retail virtual asset exchange (crypto exchange), commenced operations today. The official launch, hosted at the Maritime Museum Central, was attended by key figures from the HKSAR government, leading banks, insurance entities, and representatives from the Big 4 auditing firms.

The platform, which supports direct bank transfers in both USD and HKD, introduced initial fiat trading pairs such as BTC/USD, ETH/USD, and USDT/USD. Joseph Chan Ho-lim, JP, Undersecretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, and Norman Chan Tak-lam, GBS, JP, Chairman of the Hong Kong Web3 Association, were among the notable speakers who shed light on the evolving landscape of the Web3 industry in Hong Kong.

Livio Weng, COO of HashKey Group, highlighted the capabilities of the HEX Engine, a robust system designed to handle up to 5,000 transactions per second (TPS). Emphasizing compliance, HashKey Exchange operates under the stringent guidelines set by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission. This includes rigorous user admission protocols, anti-money laundering measures, and consistent transaction monitoring. Additionally, the platform has fortified its security measures, storing 98% of its digital assets in cold wallets. To ensure transparency and adherence to regulatory standards, regular audits are conducted by the Big 4 accounting firms.

In celebration of its inauguration, HashKey Exchange is offering a temporary waiver on trading fees and has introduced the “HashKey Grand Launch Festival,” providing added benefits for its new user base.

HashKey Exchange, a subsidiary of HashKey Group, stands as the pioneer in Hong Kong, having received the green light for virtual asset trading for retail users from the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). HashKey Group, a prominent digital asset financial service provider in Asia, delivers a comprehensive suite of services, ranging from trading to Web3 infrastructure, with operations spanning Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan.

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Ronaldinho’s Crypto Scam: A Deep Dive into the $61 Million Controversy

The cryptocurrency landscape in Brazil is currently overshadowed by a high-profile investigation involving football icon Ronaldinho Gaúcho. The former Paris Saint-Germain, F.C Barcelona, and AC Milan player is facing legal scrutiny over his alleged ties to a cryptocurrency scam, casting a shadow on celebrity endorsements in the volatile crypto market.

At the heart of the matter is Ronaldinho’s venture, ’18kRonaldinho’. The company is under the lens for promising clients daily returns of over 2% through cryptocurrency investments. A significant lawsuit, intertwined with a broader probe into crypto frauds in Brazil, is seeking damages exceeding $61 million, citing the company’s failure to deliver on its promises.

The intrigue deepened when Ronaldinho missed a congressional hearing on August 24, marking his second such absence. While “adverse weather conditions” were cited as the reason, the missed appearance has only intensified the legal spotlight on him. Congressman Aureo Ribeiro has indicated that another opportunity for testimony has been set for August 31. If Ronaldinho remains absent, the situation could escalate with potential law enforcement intervention.

In a twist to the narrative, Ronaldinho’s legal representatives have positioned him as merely an “ambassador” for ’18kRonaldinho’. They argue that his image and name were leveraged without proper consent, painting him as another victim of the alleged scam rather than a perpetrator.

Further complicating the situation is Ronaldinho’s brother, Roberto de Assis, who attended a recent hearing. Assis conveyed that Ronaldinho has been actively cooperating with ongoing investigations and has previously provided clarifications to Brazil’s Public Ministry. However, lawmakers are insistent on hearing directly from Ronaldinho.

This isn’t the first time Ronaldinho has been embroiled in legal controversies. A 2020 incident saw him and his brother arrested in Paraguay over counterfeit passports, resulting in a 170-day jail term. The current crypto investigation, with Assis’s involvement, adds another layer to the unfolding story.

As the events continue to unfold, they underscore the potential pitfalls of celebrity endorsements in the crypto sector. Both the football and crypto communities are keenly awaiting further developments, seeking clarity on Ronaldinho’s involvement and the broader implications for the crypto industry.

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Binance to Remove Liquidity Pools: ADA, APE, AVAX, DOT and More

Binance, one of the world’s premier cryptocurrency exchanges, has announced the removal of a significant number of liquidity pools from its Liquid Swap platform. This decision stems from Binance’s periodic review aimed at refining the trading experience for its users by concentrating liquidity. Traders should closely monitor these tokens, as the removal of token trading pairs may influence their prices.


Users with positions in these liquidity pools will automatically have their deposited assets returned to their Spot wallets at the aforementioned date and time.

It’s crucial for users to understand that the removal of these liquidity pools won’t affect the trading of the corresponding pairs on Binance Spot. Starting from August 28, 2023, at 06:00 (UTC), the platform will cease accepting liquidity additions to these pools. However, users have the option to redeem their assets from these pools before the removal date. After September 1, deposits in these liquidity pools will be determined based on the prevailing composition ratios of each pool and will be automatically redeemed to users’ Spot wallets.

Binance has also emphasized that Liquid Swap positions might undergo changes in composition ratios due to the inherent nature of liquidity pools. For a deeper understanding, users are directed to the platform’s FAQ section.

The announcement was officially made on August 28, 2023, by the Binance Team.

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Shibarium Goes Live: A Comprehensive Overview

Shibarium, the Ethereum layer-2 scaling blockchain, has officially announced its successful operation, marking a significant milestone in the crypto landscape. The platform, which is a proud fork of Polygon, has garnered over 65,000 wallets and witnessed 350,000 transactions since its inception, as revealed in a recent blog post titled “SHIBARIUM IS LIVE AND OPERATING WELL!”

However, the journey to this commendable achievement has been fraught with challenges. Shortly after its launch, Shibarium faced an unprecedented surge in user activity, leading to technical challenges that momentarily halted its operations. The system’s fail-safe mode was triggered, ensuring the safety and security of funds on the platform. This mechanism, as detailed in the “Shibarium Update” post, was a crucial step in maintaining the platform’s integrity during its initial teething phase.

The overwhelming traffic was quantified in “compute units,” a measure of the platform’s processing capacity. To provide context, Shibarium had allocated a monthly limit of 400 million compute units. However, nearly half of this allocation was consumed within just 30 minutes of its launch, as highlighted in the “Shibarium Insane Influx” post. This unexpected demand underscored the crypto community’s enthusiasm for the platform but also posed significant scaling challenges for the Shibarium team.

In response to these initial hiccups, the team embarked on a rigorous scaling journey, as chronicled in a series of updates on the platform’s official blog. Collaborations with teams like Alchemy facilitated a 1500% scaling of operations. Additionally, the decentralized team and validators scaled the server infrastructure by a similar percentage, ensuring Shibarium’s capability to handle the burgeoning user base.

The platform’s commitment to transparency and security has been evident throughout its journey. Addressing concerns and rumors, Shytoshi Kusama, a leading figure in the Shiba Inu ($SHIB) community, emphasized the safety of the funds. As a testament to Shibarium’s commitment to its user base, an insurance provision covering up to $2 million was highlighted, safeguarding against potential glitches as operations resumed.

Diving deeper into Shibarium’s architecture, the platform employs a cutting-edge proof-of-participation consensus mechanism. Validators are chosen based on their cryptocurrency holdings, ensuring a seamless collaboration with the primary Ethereum layer-1 blockchain. This design aims to offer more efficient and scalable transactions. Notably, before its public unveiling, Shibarium underwent extensive testing, engaging millions of users and resulting in the creation of 21 million wallets.

In light of the recent events, the Shibarium team has urged its community to rely solely on official channels for information, cautioning against potential misinformation from unofficial sources. This advisory underscores the platform’s commitment to maintaining a transparent and trustworthy relationship with its user base.

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