DOJ Plans to Call Former FTX Consumers, Investors, and Employees as Witnesses in Upcoming Samuel Bankman-Fried Trial

The judicial spotlight is soon to be on Samuel Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX, as the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) outlines its strategy for the upcoming trial. On September 30, 2023, the DOJ disclosed through a letter motion in limine, the array of witnesses it intends to call upon. These individuals, hailing from different interactions with the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, are expected to provide crucial testimonies concerning the company’s handling of customer funds under Bankman-Fried’s watch.

A significant part of the trial will hinge on the testimonies from a variety of individuals who had differing relationships with FTX. Initially, the government intends to call upon some customers of FTX, who deposited funds on the platform. Their testimony will aim at shedding light on their expectations and understandings regarding how the company would manage and safeguard their deposits.

Following that, investors who purchased shares in FTX are expected to testify about the representations made by Bankman-Fried concerning FTX’s role as a “custodian” of customer funds. Their insights will delve into how these representations influenced their understanding and decisions in investing in FTX.

Moreover, certain cooperating witnesses, who have already pled guilty to conspiring to commit fraud with the defendant, are anticipated to testify about their interactions and understandings of certain actions and statements made by Bankman-Fried during the period under scrutiny.

Among the witnesses, a notable mention is an individual from Ukraine, referred to as “FTX Customer-1.” Given the ongoing unrest in Ukraine, traveling to the U.S. to testify presents a significant challenge. The DOJ, recognizing this hurdle, has suggested the use of video conferencing as a viable alternative to ensure the witness’s testimony is recorded and considered.

On the other side of the aisle, the defense team of Bankman-Fried argues that these interrogations could implicitly show guilt on Bankman-Fried’s part, which could be prejudicial and undermine the “innocent until proven guilty” principle.

With the process of jury selection scheduled to begin on October 3, the upcoming trial has garnered significant attention. The spotlight on this high-stakes legal showdown is expected to intensify as the trial date nears. The case is not only pivotal for the involved parties but is also likely to have broader implications on the regulatory landscape surrounding cryptocurrency exchanges, particularly concerning the safeguarding of customer assets.

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Ukraine receives over $70M in crypto donations

Since the start of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, Ukraine has received over $70 million in cryptocurrency donations, according to a report by blockchain data platform Chainalysis. The funds, which have primarily come in the form of Ether and Bitcoin, have provided the nation with much-needed resources for military equipment and humanitarian aid efforts.

The conflict between Ukraine and Russia began in 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine. The conflict has since escalated, with fighting in the eastern regions of Ukraine resulting in the deaths of over 13,000 people. The conflict has also displaced millions of people and caused significant damage to infrastructure.

Despite the challenges, the people of Ukraine have received support from the international community, including through cryptocurrency donations. The Chainalysis report found that donors have contributed to Ukraine’s efforts in a variety of ways, with the majority of funds going towards military equipment and humanitarian aid. The report also noted that donors have contributed through non-fungible tokens, such as UkraineDAO’s auction of a Ukrainian flag NFT that sold for $6.1 million.

The use of cryptocurrency in conflict zones has become increasingly common, as it provides a means of bypassing traditional financial systems and allows for anonymity. In some cases, it has been used to fund illicit activities, such as terrorism or money laundering. However, in the case of Ukraine, the cryptocurrency donations have been used for legitimate purposes and have made a significant impact on the country’s ability to provide for its people during a time of crisis.

While the conflict in Ukraine remains ongoing, the cryptocurrency donations provide a glimmer of hope for the people of the country. As the use of cryptocurrency continues to grow, it is possible that it will play an increasingly important role in humanitarian efforts and conflict resolution around the world.


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Pro-Russian Group Raises $400K in Crypto to Support Russian Military Actions

Pro-Russian groups are raising funds through cryptocurrencies to support Russian military operations as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, CNBC reported on Oct. 3.

Since the war started on Feb. 24, the groups have raised $400,000 in cryptocurrency as of Sept. 22, according to a research report published Monday by digital asset compliance and risk management firm TRM Labs.

Cryptocurrency risk watchdog TRM Labs said it found that the pro-Russian group used the encrypted messaging app Telegram to deliver messages and provide people with a way to raise funds to help Russian-affiliated militias fund and support operations close to the Ukrainian border train. ,

Ari Redbord, head of legal and government affairs at TRM Labs, said the exchange the group uses could be one that doesn’t comply with anti-money laundering and other regulations.

He added that:

“They’re probably using non-compliant exchanges to off-ramp those funds [into fiat currency].”

One group TRM Labs identified as raising funds is the Russian Task Force, raising money on Telegram channels for projects such as thermal imaging equipment and radios.

The U.S. Treasury described the Russian task force as a “neo-Nazi paramilitary group that has participated in combat alongside Russia’s military in Ukraine.”

The cryptocurrency market was full of bearish sentiment right after Russia launched the latest military operations against Ukraine earlier this year.

U.S. President Joe Biden has announced new sanctions on the crypto assets of sanctioned Russians as additional punishment for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

There are concerns that Russia could use cryptocurrencies to evade those penalties. But experts say there is insufficient liquidity in cryptosystems to move money on the scale Russia needs.

TRM Labs identifies Russia-linked groups by publicly available wallet addresses and cross-checking other websites and online activity. However, there is no way to know whether these groups work with the Russian government or receive support from government agencies.

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Ukrainian Retailer VARUS Partners with Binance Pay to Launch Crypto Payments

On September 16, Binance announced on its official Twitter page that it has cooperated with Ukrainian food chain retailer VARUS to launch cryptocurrency payments.

Customers can now order groceries online and pay their bills through the Binance Pay wallet.

Binance said the move will allow the community to enjoy seamless crypto payments with fast delivery across the country of Ukraine. Major cities that will be served include the capital Kyiv, Dnipro, Kamiansk, Kriverich, Zaporozhye, Brovali, and Nepal Cities such as Kopol, Vishhorod, and Pavlograd.

Varus is Ukraine’s largest chain-owned retailer with more than 100 supermarket stores in Ukraine and became the first supermarket in Europe to accept Binance Pay.

Users can visit the Varus website by downloading the Binance app, selecting the products they want to buy, and sending digital currency from the Binance Pay wallet to pay for the relevant goods.

Retail space accepting cryptocurrency is steadily increasing, a piece of evidence that shows that the crypto market is continuing to grow.  

This April Merchants on Shopify, a global e-commerce giant, will have the option of receiving Bitcoin off-chain payment through the Bitcoin Lightning Network after sealing a deal with Strike. Shopify further expanded crypto payment options through a partnership with so its merchants can accept cryptocurrency payments from customers through Pay.

The Canadian e-commerce giant will now give its merchants the option to accept payments in more than 1,000 cryptos.

BigCommerce announced a strategic partnership with cryptocurrency providers BitPay and CoinPayments to deliver crypto payment solutions to BigCommerce merchants in select countries.

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Russian Finance Ministry on Track to Legalize Crypto for Cross-Border Payments

The current economic landscape in Russia is forcing both the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance to rethink their approaches to cryptocurrencies. 


According to the State-backed TASS News Agency, Deputy Finance Minister,Alexei Moiseev said athatthe Central Bank and the Ministry thave reached an agreement that the use of cryptocurrencies for cross-border payments can no longer be undermined.

“As for the regulation of the cryptocurrency market, the difference in approaches has remained. But I can say that the Central Bank has also rethought [the approach], taking into account the fact that the situation has changed, and we are rethinking it. Because the infrastructure that we plan to create is too rigid for the use of cryptocurrencies in cross-border settlements, which, of course, we must, first of all, legalize somehow. On the one hand, give people the opportunity to do it. On the other hand, put it under control so that there is no laundering, paying for drugs, and so on,” Moiseev said.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the former country has been battling a series of sanctions that have crippled its global financial capabilities. In light of these, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin hinted at the possibility of using Bitcoin for cross-border transactions.

With Moiseev maintaining a similar stance, it seems obvious that the official legalization of Bitcoin, which was once under the consideration of being banned earlier this year, is just a matter of time. 

According to Moiseev, the move to support crypto is to have the opportunity that will aid easy monitoring as crypto native users find a way to either HODL or trade crypto either in or offshore.

“Now people open crypto wallets outside the Russian Federation. It is necessary that this can be done in Russia, that this is done by entities supervised by the Central Bank, which are required to comply with the requirements of anti-money laundering legislation, and first of all, of course, to know their client,” Moiseev said.

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UK Requests Crypto Exchanges to Report Suspected Sanction Breaches

Cryptocurrency exchanges are now requested to report suspected sanctions breaches to UK authorities under new rules recently introduced amid concerns that cryptos are being used to evade restrictions imposed in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The Guardian media reported the matter on Sunday., citing the updated official guidance of HM Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) on August 30. The regulator explicitly included cryptocurrencies and other valuable digital assets like non-fungible tokens (NFTs) among those that must be frozen if sanctions are imposed on an individual or a company.

The rules set by the regulator now mean that crypto exchanges commit a criminal offence if they fail to report customers designated for sanctions.

Under the latest regulation, crypto exchanges must immediately act if they suspect that one of their clients is under sanctions or if they suspect a breach of sanctions.

The new policy has given such exchanges obligations similar to just the likes of professionals like estate agents, accountants, lawyers, and jewellers.

Financial sanctions on people and firms linked to the regime of Vladimir Putin have been among the UK’s most prominent responses to the Ukraine invasion.

Targets for sanctions have included Russian oligarchs and relatives with direct interests in crypto assets, including Vladimir Potanin, Said Gutseriev, and Oleg Deripaska, among others.

In April, Binance cryptocurrency exchange blocked the accounts of relatives of Russian politicians, including Polina Kovaleva, the stepdaughter of the foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, and Elizaveta Peskova, the daughter of Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov.

This came as a response by the western powers led by the US, the UK, and the EU imposing unprecedented financial sanctions on Russia. During that time, fears amounted to Russian companies considering using cryptocurrency for international payments to dodge sanctions.

Using crypto to evade sanctions and move money across the globe was already illegal under UK laws. However, the new changes underline authorities’ concern that the new asset class could be used for evading sanctions because users do not depend on regulated entities to make transactions.

Whether Russia may try using cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions has been an open discussion since March this year. And decentralized finance (DeFi) and decentralized exchanges (DEX) platforms are seen as particularly vulnerable.

Cryptocurrencies have already been used to evade sanctions in Iran and North Korea.

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Ukraine Ranks Second of Crypto Adopters following Legalization: Report

Eastern European nation Ukraine has been ranked as the second nation with the overall adoption of digital currencies, following only the United States in a recent survey report released by Merchant Machine. 


The report was designed by taking cognizance of such parameters as the total number of crypto owners in the country and the global decentralized finance adoption index. The other parameters include the number of businesses that accept crypto payment, the total number of Automated Teller Machine (ATM), and the monthly search volumes of cryptocurrency terms.

With these parameters, the US ranked number one with an overall crypto score of 7.75; Ukraine’s score was 5.96, while the United Kingdom came in at 5.79. India, Thailand, Russia, France, Netherlands, Vietnam, and Colombia are the top ten countries profiled by the Merchant Machine survey.

It did not come as much of a surprise that Ukraine was ranked top 2. The country has shown a very positive disposition to the digital currency ecosystem with the legalization of cryptocurrencies earlier in the year. Following the invasion of its shores by the Russian army, the country solicited support from the digital currency ecosystem, and there was a massive turn up for the country.

From cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance to protocols like Solana, Polkadot, and Tron, the number of donors to humanitarian aid in Ukraine skyrocketed. The support was massive, and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) were donated to the Ukrainian government. The funds accrued through crypto donations were worth more than $100 million.  

With Bitcoin and crypto transactions being legal in Ukraine, digital currency exchanges and businesses accepting crypto as payment began to rise. These factors collectively contributed to the high ranking of Ukraine as one of the most notable powerhouses for digital currencies. 

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AI-Generated NFT Collection to Preserve Ukrainian Art and Offer Humanitarian Support

Through a global coalition of advocates, digital innovators, artists, and educators, an AI-generated NFT collection has been established to conserve Ukrainian art and raise funds for humanitarian aid.

Dubbed MINT FOR UKRAINE, the non-fungible token (NFT) collection of one million artworks is seen as a stepping stone toward keeping Ukrainian culture in the history books. 

Tymofiy Mylovanov, the President of the Kyiv School of Economics, noted:

“There is no nation without its culture. Now with the help of AI and the blockchain, we have a chance to make pieces of Ukraine stay forever in the world’s history. While we are fighting for the freedom of our country, join us in the fight for our culture and help Ukraine.” 

Minting the NFT art pieces will be done for free after creating a wallet and donations channelled through crypto or currency of choice. Per the announcement:

“Up to 10% of donations are directed to support the Ukrainian culture (artists and cultural institutions), while the remaining 90% are devoted to humanitarian support of Ukraine, through the vetted network of charities.”

Phil Bosua, the creator of the collection, pointed out:

“I think the human/AI collaboration is the next great art movement. We now have a direct line from thought to expression and we can create as much art as we can imagine. When we pair these ideas with a global cultural crisis, art has the ability to cause change on a scale we’ve not yet imagined.”

The MINT FOR UKRAINE is also being made a reality through a joint effort by OpenSea, the Kyiv School of Economics Foundation, four Ukrainian Ministries, Polygon, Artificial Intelligent Mind Collective,, Polygon Studios, and Reface. 

Last month, Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation launched a MetaHistory NFT Museum, a blockchain-based collection of digital images, to tell the story of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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Ukraine Government Restricts Crypto Purchases Using Local Currency

Ukraine’s Central Bank, the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU), announced last Friday that it has restricted crypto purchases using the country’s local currency as part of efforts to prevent capital outflows amid martial law.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared martial law in Ukraine on February 24, when Russia launched its war on Ukraine.

Last Friday, The Ukrainian Central Bank announced a series of restrictions on cross-border “quasi-cash transactions” (such as those involving cryptocurrency) using its national fiat currency. As a result, the new restrictions local citizens from buying crypto coins with the national fiat currency, the hryvnia (UAH).

As per NBU’s announcement, Ukrainians may now buy quasi-cash assets — digital assets, traveller’s checks, and forex accounts — up to a limit of 100,000 UAH ($3,400) per month only with foreign currencies. 

Ukraine’s Central Bank has considered crypto purchases as “quasi cash transactions” together with operations such as travel payments, electronic wallet deposits, and foreign exchange transactions. The Central Bank has adopted restrictions on such transactions to prevent the “unproductive outflow of capital” from the nation amid martial law.

According to the NBU, “The relevant changes will help improve the foreign exchange market, which is a prerequisite for easing future restrictions, as well as reducing pressure on Ukraine’s international reserves.”

The Ukrainian Central Bank acknowledged that the demand for international transactions has significantly increased amid martial law, as millions of citizens are being forced to leave Ukraine.

However, the Central Bank admitted that it cannot afford “unproductive capital outflows,” which include investing in crypto. The regulator further added: “Quasi cash transactions […] are mainly carried out to circumvent the current restrictions of the National Bank, in particular for investing abroad, which is prohibited under martial law. Therefore, the relevant transactions should be interpreted as leading to unproductive capital outflows.”

However, such quasi-cash transactions are “temporarily” prohibited, the Central Bank explained.

Crypto’s Role in The War

Ever since the start of the war in late February, crypto assets have been helping to raise millions of dollars for Ukraine’s government as it fights off the Russian invasion.

The use of crypto was part of Ukraine’s strategy right from the beginning when government officials used Twitter accounts to share details of crypto wallets, where donations could be made.

By just four days after the invasion, Ukraine had managed to raise $10.2 million. And the success story continued. So far, the Ukrainian government has raised more than $100 million through crypto donations. Cryptocurrency has proven to be an effective and fast approach for the Ukrainians to get immediate funding for supplies.

At the height of the war, Ukraine passed legislation to develop a legal framework for crypto, allowing cryptocurrency exchanges to operate in the nation and banks to open accounts for crypto companies. The government also plans to amend tax and civil codes to incorporate digital assets. This marks a significant step forward for digital assets regarding how they are viewed in Ukraine and across the globe.


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10,000 Ukrainian Flags Minted as NFTs to be Sold on The Sandbox

As the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine enters its second month, a lot of people have stood with Ukraine, as its people and economy continue to suffer from the pangs of the destruction the war ushered in.


In a recent move, as many as 10,000 Ukrainian flags, modelled as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are up for sale on the Mauer website. 

The project, which is targeted at raising funds to support the people of Ukraine most affected by the ongoing war, is dubbed, ‘Wave With Ukraine’. It is in collaboration with The Sandbox, the renowned blockchain gaming protocol.

Each Ukrainian NFT flag will cost $100 and will be for sale from March 30 to April 15. Per the cost price per unit NFT, and the associated total, the Wave with Ukraine NFT is poised to generate at most $1,000,000, all of which will be donated to charities vetted by MAUER’s Ukrainian employees in a bid to ensure that the raised funds make maximum impact.

As a way to allow massive participation, the NFT flags can be acquired through cryptocurrencies or by payment cards, both of which are supported by the Mauer platform. As a way to show solidarity, The Sandbox said it would match the raised funds dollar for dollar, meaning the project is expected to donate a total of $2 million if it receives the proper participation.

Ukraine has received more than $100 million in funding from the digital currency ecosystem alone. While mainstream governments have continued to support Ukraine with humanitarian funds, the solidarity that the digital currency ecosystem has shown has revealed how the nascent asset class can be used as a force for good.

With prominent cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Tron (TRX), and Solana (SOL) amongst those donated, NFTs have also shown it is equally viable as an asset in the donation scene.

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Bitcoin (BTC) $ 28,063.52 3.72%
Ethereum (ETH) $ 1,726.47 2.95%
Litecoin (LTC) $ 67.44 2.16%
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) $ 242.57 2.38%