Wyoming lawmakers pass bill prohibiting courts from forcing disclosure of digital asset

The legislature in Wyoming recently approved a measure that, with one tiny exception, would make it illegal for judges in the state to compel individuals to provide the secret keys to their digital assets.

On February 15, the measure was approved by the Wyoming House of Representatives with a vote of 41-13, one day after receiving approval from the Wyoming Senate with a vote of 31-0.

The new legislation is scheduled to go into effect on July 1 of this year if Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon signs the measure into law.

According to the soon-to-be-enacted law in the state of Wyoming, “No person shall be compelled to produce a private key or make a private key known to any other person in any civil, criminal, administrative, legislative, or other proceeding[s],” in Wyoming. “No person shall be compelled to produce a private key or make a private key known to any other person.”

The legislation encompasses any private keys that are connected to a person’s digital assets, digital identity, or any other interests or rights that are provided by the private key.

The one and only exception to this rule is in situations in which a public key is either not accessible or is unable to divulge specifics of a digital asset, digital identity, or any other interest or right.

However, the act also states that the new law will not prevent anyone from being compelled “to produce, sell, transfer, convey, or disclose a digital asset, digital identity, or other interest or right” that a private key could provide access to. This provision states that the new law will not prohibit the disclosure of digital assets, digital identities, or other interests or rights.

In addition to this, it does not protect an individual from being forced to “disclose information about the digital asset, digital identity, or other interest or right.”

The new statute will be known as “Production of private keys; prohibition,” and its number will be W.S. 34-29-107.

The law pertaining to private keys is found in Chapter 29, which is titled “Digital Assets.” This chapter is a subset of Title 34, which is titled “Property, Conveyances, and Security Transactions.”

The private key legislation has been in the works since as early as September 2019, and the passage of the bill comes as a result of the law’s progress.

Wyoming has a long history of being recognized as one of the states in the United States that is most favorable to the use of cryptocurrencies.

It was the first state in the United States to declare a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) as a limited liability company (LLC) in July 2021. Additionally, it had previously considered a state-issued stablecoin in February 2022; however, it appears that those endeavors haven’t progressed very much since then.


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Former Tmon CEO faces arrest for taking bribes to promote Terra Classic

After the former CEO of Tmon, a Korean e-commerce platform, was accused of taking billions of won worth of Terra (LUNA), which is now known as Terra Classic (LUNC), in exchange for promoting Terra as a straightforward payment gateway, prosecutors in South Korea have asked for an arrest warrant to be issued for the individual.

According to a report by the Dong-A Ilbo media outlet, the head of the financial and securities joint investigation team at the Seoul Southern District Prosecutor’s Office requested an arrest warrant for bribery charges to be brought against the former CEO of Tmon, referred to as “Mr. A,” as well as a person referred to as “broker B,” who worked on lobbying in the financial sector in favor of Terra.

According to the allegations, Mr. A was given LUNC tokens by Shin Hyun-Seong, who is also known as Daniel Shin, the co-founder of Terra. Shin urged Mr. A to actively promote Terra as a straightforward method of payment. Following this event, Tmon began promoting LUNC and spreading the word that the token is a reliable investment. The investigators believe that the advertising were responsible for the price growth of the token since they raised the expectations of investors.

It is speculated that the former CEO of Tmon has profited billions of won from the sale of the LUNC tokens that were obtained in return for the marketing. In addition, the investigation emphasized that in spite of warnings from financial regulators, Shin has apparently contributed money to other businesses such as Tmon to promote LUNC as a secure payment mechanism. This was one of the points that was underlined in the research.

On November 14, prosecutors in South Korea made an official request for Shin to assist with the investigation into the collapse of the Terra. The police said that Shin had been in possession of LUNC tokens without the knowledge of the investors and had made illicit transactions totaling more than 105 million dollars prior to the collapse of the firm.

The prosecutors who are in charge of the case have been continually broadening the scope of their investigations and focusing their attention on additional individuals implicated. On the 30th of November in the year 2022, the authorities in South Korea issued an arrest order for Shin, along with three investors in Terra and four engineers responsible for the project.


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Many Lawmakers and Witnesses Call for hearing exploring the crash of the crypto market

During a hearing that was called to investigate the collapse that occurred in the cryptocurrency market, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Gary Gensler, the director of the SEC, came under criticism from attendees. Throughout the course of the hearing, a number of legislators and witnesses directed their criticism in this general direction.

During a hearing on February 14 titled “Crypto Crash: Why Financial System Safeguards are Needed for Digital Assets,” the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, Tim Scott, stated that Gensler should appear before Congress before September to discuss additional enforcement actions in the cryptocurrency space. The hearing was titled “Crypto Crash: Why Financial System Safeguards are Needed for Digital Assets.” In addition to this, Scott has been critical of the chairman of the SEC for not testifying and instead “making rounds on the morning talk shows.” The following was the focus of the hearing: “The Collapse of Cryptocurrencies and the Reasons Why Financial Systems Require New Protective Measures for Digital Assets The senator from South Carolina stated that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had not provided “the least amount of guidance,” which may have been a contributing factor to the absence of investor protection at financially struggling businesses such as FTX, Terra, BlockFi, Voyager, and Celsius.

 “to assume that the SEC has failed to take any significant preventive effort to assure that this type of catastrophic failure does not happen again” “to presume that the SEC has not made any significant attempt to prevent this from happening” “Have they just been dozing off behind the wheel despite the fact that they have every necessary piece of equipment? It would be quite beneficial if Chairman Gensler could make his way in here as soon as possible rather than later on, and deliver his views as soon as feasible.


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Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried Used VPN

The prosecutors who are handling the criminal case against Sam Bankman-Fried, the former chief executive officer of FTX, have asked for more time to investigate the potential legal ramifications of Bankman-use Fried’s of a virtual private network, sometimes known as a VPN.

The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, stated in a document that was filed on February 13 with the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York that the Justice Department had discovered that Bankman-Fried accessed the internet on January 29 and February 12, with the latter date being the day of Super Bowl LVII. Williams claims that the government’s position was that the use of a virtual private network (VPN) “raises several potential concerns.” He cites the example of users based in the United States accessing certain international crypto exchanges, as well as the obscuring of data from websites that Bankman-Fried may be visiting.

In the petition, it was said that using a virtual private network (VPN) “allows data transfers without discovery via a secure, encrypted connection [and] is a more secure and covert manner of accessing the dark web.” “The defense contends that the defendant was not making use of a virtual private network (VPN) for any unlawful purpose, and it has stated that it would appreciate the chance to engage in negotiations with the government about the problem,”

Mark Cohen, an attorney with the company Cohen & Gresser who is defending SBF in the criminal action, claims that the former CEO of FTX utilized the VPN to watch sporting events, including the Super Bowl. He went on to say that until the controversy was settled among attorneys, Bankman-Fried would not employ a virtual private network (VPN).

“He watched the AFC Championship game on January 29, 2023, as well as the NFC Championship game, then he watched the Super Bowl on February 12, 2023. This usage of a virtual private network does not give rise to any of the concerns expressed by the government in its letter.

According to the court filing, Bankman-legal Fried’s team was reportedly considering whether the usage of a virtual private network (VPN) by the former CEO of FTX may be added as a condition of his release. Since SBF was arrested, the prosecution has already requested that the court place restrictions on Bankman-use Fried’s of specific messaging applications and order her to desist from making contact with current or former workers of FTX and Alameda Research. The attorneys for Bankman-Fried and the U.S. prosecutors have asked further time until February 17 to explore the potential implications of SBF utilizing a virtual private network (VPN) for his bail terms.

The criminal trial against Bankman-Fried is slated to begin in October, and he is expected to face eight charges connected to wire fraud and breaches of regulations governing campaign money. The civil lawsuits that SBF is facing from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission will be put on hold until the end of the criminal case, according to a ruling that was handed down on February 13 by a court.


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Banks Holding Cryptocurrencies Face Strict New Regulations in European Parliament

A report on a draft measure that would require banks that hold cryptocurrencies to put aside a significant amount of capital in an attempt to mitigate possible risk has been published by the European Parliament.

EU lawmakers stated in a notice dated February 9 that any framework that is applied to crypto assets should “adequately mitigate the risks of these instruments for the institutions’ financial stability.” These lawmakers proposed that banks apply a risk weight of 1250% on their exposure to digital assets, which is one of the highest risk ratings for investments. The regulations were not supposed to take effect until the 30th of December in 2024, according to the draft legislation.

According to the report, “the rapid increase in the activity of financial markets on crypto-assets and the potentially increasing involvement of institutions in crypto-assets related activities should be thoroughly reflected in the Union prudential framework,” with the goal of “adequately mitigating the risks of these instruments for the institutions’ financial stability.” This recommendation was made in light of the fact that “the rapid increase in the activity of financial markets on crypto-assets and the potentially increasing involvement of institutions in crypto-asset “In view of the recent unfavorable events in the markets for crypto-assets, this matter is far more pressing than it already was.”

The parliament said that the proposed modification was in accordance with the recommendations made by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, also known as the BCBS, regarding the mitigation of possible risks. The legislators agreed that these guidelines have to be put into effect before the year 2025.

A vote on the legislation is anticipated to take place in April. The draft law said that the European Commission should present a proposal on the crypto framework by the 30th of June, taking into consideration the criteria under the EU’s Markets in Crypto-Assets framework, or MiCA. After then, it is probable that the whole parliament will be given the option to vote on whether or not the proposed measure should be made into law.


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Eddy Alexandre Pleads Guilty to Commodities Fraud

In a New York district court, Eddy Alexandre, the CEO of a putative cryptocurrency trading platform known as EminiFX, pled guilty to commodities fraud. As part of his plea deal, he agreed to pay back millions of dollars to investors who had lost money due to his “cryptocurrency investment hoax.”

On February 10, the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the United States of America made the announcement that Alexandre had pleaded guilty to one count of commodities fraud. Alexandre will pay approximately $248 million in forfeiture in addition to restitution, the amount of which has not yet been determined.

In May, Alexandre was arrested and prosecuted for his part in EminiFX. He first pled not guilty to the charges, but on February 10 he changed his plea to guilty. He might get a term of up to ten years in jail if convicted.

Between approximately September 2021 and May 2022, Alexandre allegedly ran the crypto and forex trading platform and “solicited more than $248 million in investments from tens of thousands of individual investors,” as stated by Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

According to Williams, Alexandre claimed that EminiFX could provide “monthly returns of at least 5%,” but in fact, the CEO didn’t invest a “significant amount” of the money and “even utilized some funds for personal expenditures.” Williams alleged that Alexandre lied about EminiFX.

He promoted EminiFX as a platform for earning passive income by virtue of its use of a top-secret new technology for automating trading in crypto and foreign currencies, which allegedly “guaranteed” the returns on investment that were advertised.

Alexandre avoided answering the investors’ questions on the nature of the technology but assured them that they would see a return on their investments in just five months. Investors in the scam were given misleading information to the effect that they had obtained the promised 5% returns on their investments.

In point of fact, Alexandre lost tens of millions of dollars on the cash that he did invest; nevertheless, he did not make this information known to the investors.

He also transferred over 14.7 million dollars to his own personal bank account, spent approximately 155,000 dollars on the purchase of a BMW, and more than that amount on the monthly payments for a Mercedes-Benz.

Despite the fact that Alexandre committed fraud, he retained the support of a number of the investors in EminiFX.

According to a story published on the 10th of August by Bloomberg, a few individuals flew from outside the country to attend a plea hearing in August. One of Alexandre’s supporters said that the prosecution against him was racially motivated.

In addition to this, he is being sued in a separate civil case by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which claims that Alexandre engaged in “fraudulent solicitation and misappropriation” in connection with cryptocurrency and foreign exchange trading.


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Secret Network to Restructure as Nonprofit with ‘Transparent Operation’

The decentralized autonomous organization known as Secret Network, which regulates the blockchain with an emphasis on privacy, has apparently made the decision to reorganize its foundation so that it functions as a nonprofit organization with a “transparent operation,” as stated on the website for the proposal. On the webpage devoted to the proposal, this decision was disclosed to the general public.

According to the plan that was developed, the newly established group “would be registered as a NPO [nonprofit organization] and present an annual account of its operations, including key performance indicators (KPIs), funds, and objectives.” At least three people who are already involved in the community that the foundation serves will make up its board of directors, which will be responsible for overseeing the organization’s operations. It is proposed that no one entity be permitted to have more than two seats on the board at the same time if the notion is to be implemented as it is now. The present restriction of one seat per corporation would be increased to accommodate this new provision.

The victory was theirs to take with 90.13 percent of the vote in their favor. There was not a single vote cast by DAO members in support of vetoing the move, and 9.87% of the membership elected not to take part in the vote. There was also not a single vote cast in favor of vetoing the proposal.

After a public dispute that erupted between two independent entities that promote Secret Network named SCRT Labs and Secret Foundation, the license was finally granted. The dispute revolved about who would be given priority when it came to advertising Secret Network. Guy Zyskind, the chief executive officer of SCRT Labs, accused Tor Bair, the chief officer of Secret Foundation, of cashing out SCRT tokens as a dividend paid out to himself without disclosing the transaction. Guy Zyskind is the chief executive officer of SCRT Labs. Tor Bair is the chief officer of Secret Foundation. On the 14th of January, this claim was brought forth.


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BAYC Copycat NFT Collection’s Founder Files Opposition being filed

An objection notice was filed against Yuga Labs’ 10 trademark registrations by one of the original creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) imitation NFT collection, RR/BAYC.

This action signals yet another bizarre turn in the continuing fight over intellectual property between the people who created BAYC, Yuga Labs, and the people who founded RR/BAYC, Jeremy Cahen and Ryder Ripps.

On February 9, Cahen submitted the objection notice to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). At the time that this article was being written, the opposition status on each and every trademark application was listed as “pending.”

The majority of Yuga Labs’ trademark applications were sent in during the second half of the year 2021. They went through a number of BAYC logos, pieces of artwork, and branding that may potentially be used across a variety of digital goods, such as artwork based on nonfungible tokens (NFTs), trading cards, and metaverse wearables.

The files also include a potential for tangibly produced BAYC goods such as apparel, jewelry, watches, and keychains, in addition to the possibility of providing entertainment services like as gaming, television, and music.

In an interview on the 11th of February with Bloomberg Law, a spokeswoman for Yuga Labs played down the possibilities of Cahen’s challenge being successful and said that the action was only another effort to generate difficulty for the company.

Jeremy Cahen’s filing is just another attempt to distract from the real issue at hand, which is his infringement of the Yuga intellectual property, they said. “The Trademark Office has preliminarily approved Yuga Labs’ trademark applications for registration, and we look forward to their full approval in due course,” they added.

Cahen provides a comprehensive list of “grounds for disagreement” to the files made by Yuga Labs in the notice that he submitted. In particular, Cahen asserts that the corporation “abandoned all rights” to certain logo and artwork designs as a result of BAYC NFT sales transferring “all rights” to the digital pictures’ owners. Cahen bases this argument on the fact that the company sold BAYC NFTs.

In addition to this, he asserts that Yuga Labs is not the legitimate owner of certain skull designs since the company is said to have transferred ownership of these rights to the ApeCoin decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) in March of 2022.

In addition, Cahen contends that Yuga Labs failed to provide a “bona fide intent to lawfully use” the trademarks in its filings, despite the fact that NFTs ought to be registered and categorized as securities in accordance with federal law. Cahen’s argument is based on the fact that NFTs should be registered.

Yuga Labs, the company that developed BAYC, filed a lawsuit against digital artists Ryder Ripps and Cahen in June 2022, accusing them of exploiting BAYC graphics in their RR/BAYC collection. The company also claimed that the two individuals were purposefully “trolling Yuga Labs and tricking customers” into buying their imitation NFTs. This was an additional allegation made by the company.

Cahen’s action comes only three days after Yuga Labs resolved a separate case against RR/BAYC website and smart contract creator Thomas Lehman. Cahen’s move also comes just three days after Yuga Labs’s settlement.

As part of the agreement, Lehman basically consented to a permanent injunction that prevents him from taking part in future “confusingly comparable” BAYC-related ventures. This provision was included in the settlement. Lehman has distanced himself from Ryder Ripp and Cahen in a statement that he has released.


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Kazakhstan plans to reduce tax fraud and unlawful business operations

Kazakhstan, which is one of the main centres for Bitcoin (BTC) mining in the world, has revealed intentions to establish new crypto legislation in order to cut down on tax fraud and illegal business activities.

On February 6, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed a new legislation that renewed the nation’s stance against the unlawful issuance of crypto assets and mining activities. This law also reinstated the nation’s stance against illegal mining operations. The first of the two separate pieces of law mandates that issuers of secured digital assets get authorisation from the government.

In addition to this, such issuers will be monitored in accordance with the legislation that is now in effect in the country, which is titled “On Combating the Legalization (Laundering) of Proceeds from Crime and the Financing of Terrorism.” The new regulation will go into effect on the first of April in 2023.

The second piece of proposed law targets insecure digital assets, which are often acquired via the process of crypto mining. In Kazakhstan, cryptocurrency miners will soon be required to sell at least 75% of their earnings via licensed cryptocurrency exchanges. This measure is being taken to limit the likelihood of tax avoidance. This regulation, which will take effect on January 1, 2024, will remain in force until January 1, 2025, and its primary objective is to gather “information on the revenue of digital miners and digital mining pools for tax reasons.”

Every cryptocurrency mining license in Kazakhstan is only valid for a period of three years and varies in price according on whether or not the miner owns the mining facilities. In Kazakhstan, all mining licenses are provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

Alongside the implementation of the aforementioned regulations, Kazakhstan initiated the “digital tenge” pilot project for its central bank’s digital currency (CBDC) initiative.


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Creditors, Borrowers, and US Trustee Object to Celsius delaying reorganization plan

The reorganization plan has been put on hold because of a move that was taken by the debtors, which has been met with criticism from the unsecured committee of creditors as well as other parties participating in the bankruptcy case of crypto lending firm Celsius.

The committee, the holders of the Withhold account, the United States Trustee, and the Celsius borrowers all filed separate objections to a motion on February 8 that sought to extend the period of exclusivity for a Chapter 11 restructuring plan from February 15 to March 31. The motion was aimed at extending the period of exclusivity for a Chapter 11 restructuring plan. On March 31st, the exclusivity period that is now in effect will come to an end. The goal of the motion was to make a request that the due date be moved forward to March 31 from the current due date of February 15. If what is being suggested for an extension is approved and carried out as planned, creditors of Celsius will have the opportunity to provide a plan for the company’s restructuring until the 30th of June.

Because of the effect on Celsius customers, the Unsecured Creditors Committee of Celsius ordered that the bankruptcy case “must move towards a resolution.” This decision was made in light of the fact that the issue involves Celsius. They made this remark in light of the fact that many of the customers have been waiting for their payments for a number of months at this point in time. Objections were raised by the United States Trustee as well as by Celsius borrowers, who stated that the bankruptcy was “consum[ing] large amounts of professional expenditures” without offering any assurance that it would be resolved. These individuals stated that the bankruptcy was “consuming” large amounts of money.

The committee has issued a declaration in which it states, “Many account holders’ lives and financial situations have been thrown into disarray as a direct result of the previous behavior of the Debtors and several of its former directors and officials.” The declaration was made after the committee made a finding that “many account holders’ lives and financial situations have been thrown into disarray.” According to this announcement, “many account holders’ life and financial circumstances have been thrown into turmoil.” 


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