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12/12/2022. Weekly CryptoNews Digest

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Hello all, and welcome again to the MNO blog where information has come first for over fifteen years already. While the HYIP industry has taken a plunge this year the crypto winter still brings us something to talk about. So make sure you stay subscribed to the MNO blog newsletter by submitting your email address on this page and follow MNO on Telegram, Facebook, and Twitter. And if you have any questions, concerns, or simply want to add your project to MNO it’s easy to stay in touch – submit this online contact form, email me directly at abramsonp@gmail.com or chat with me on Telegram @mnoblog

I honestly cannot believe we are so close to the end of the year already. 2022 started so brightly as a year of hope and high expectations for upcoming economic growth after most of the Covid-related restrictions had been finally lifted. Instead, we got another lingering war in Europe and galloping inflation with the cost of living dramatically increasing around the world, especially hitting the less well off. No wonder that in such conditions the HYIP industry has been almost dead and even cryptocurrencies took a hit and didn’t show particularly good results. In fact, BTC is now trading at about a third of what it cost at the end of 2021, losing its value remarkably fast. People have become poorer and among those the cryptocurrency fans have been the greatest sufferers. Will the year 2023 be any different? No one really knows, but MNO will keep its finger on the pulse and will keep informing my readers on the most prominent HYIPs and related news from the crypto world which have been intertwined so inexorably close.

Since the start of the year I have been posting the Weekly Crypto News Digest every Monday where I take a look at the most interesting and worthy of your attention events that happened over the previous week. So let’s have another glimpse at the last seven days, December 5, to December 11, 2022.


BAHAMIAN AUTHORITIES SEEK FTX CUSTOMER DATA BASE

I said it over a month ago now on the MNO CryptoNews Digest that the scandal involving FTX and the actions of disgraced former CEO would continue to dominate the headlines for a very long time to come. Regrettably I wasn’t wrong in that analysis as events there again make up the lion’s share of what we have to discuss this week.

Attorneys from the Caribbean island country of the Bahamas filed an emergency motion with a Delaware bankruptcy judge requesting access to FTX’s customer database to aid their ongoing investigations. You might remember that the Bahamas is where the former CEO of the company at the time of it’s collapse, Sam Bankman-Fried (popularly referred to by the moniker SBF) is currently domiciled meaning that would be the jurisdiction on the front line of any future legal proceedings while the US state of Delaware is where FTX is registered (due to that state’s notoriously lapse rules concerning the establishment of business entities for the benefit of their owners).

In fact authorities across the globe are fighting against time to bring justice to the millions of people impacted by the financial frauds committed by Bankman-Fried. As part of the ongoing investigations, attorneys representing the Securities Commission of the Bahamas seek access to FTX’s database with international customer information. The motion highlighted previous failed attempts to access the defunct crypto exchange’s database. As a result, the lawyers claimed that FTX employees and counsel prevented authorities from getting critical financial information. The database in question is reportedly stored on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Portal databases, which include personal information such as wallet addresses, customer balances, deposit and withdrawal records, trades and accounting data. According to the lawyers, the U.S. bankruptcy proceedings will “suffer no harm or hardship if this relief is granted.” While AWS was used to store customer information, FTX used Google services as an analytics platform for data of users residing outside of the United States.

According to the filing, the pursuing Bahamian authorities stated “While the Joint Provisional Liquidators are happy to engage in dialogue with the U.S. Debtors, their refusal to promptly restore access has frustrated the ability of the Joint Provisional Liquidators to carry out their duties under Bahamian law and placed FTX Digital’s assets at risk of dissipation.”

The latest domino effect of FTX fraud was felt by media outlet The Block, which had failed to disclose funding from Alameda Research. The Block CEO stepped down from his position after failing to disclose $27 million loans from FTX’s sister firm Alameda Research. Last week the new management team of FTX reportedly hired a team of financial forensic investigators to track down the missing customer funds exceeding $450 million in cryptocurrencies. They are being tasked with conducting asset-tracing to identify and recover the missing digital assets and will complement the restructuring work being undertaken by FTX.


US JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TO INVESTIGATE SBF FOR SIPHONING FUNDS OFFSHORE

The Bahamas of course is by no means the only place looking to have a quiet word in the ear of SBF. Far from it in fact, as the people he should arguably be most concerned with are the US Department of Justice. While it’s true that many crypto fraudsters were able to slip through the cracks in the past, the same does not seem a likely fate for this particular crook. Running parallel to the ongoing scrutiny related to FTX frauds (i.e. those carried out by the company), federal authorities are also now reportedly investigating a potential fraud that involves SBF siphoning funds offshore just days before FTX filed for bankruptcy (i.e. something he is entirely personally culpable for as opposed to something done in the name of the company). According to news reports, the investigation aims to examine SBF’s involvement in improperly transferring FTX funds to the Bahamas as the defunct crypto exchange filed for bankruptcy in November. Sources further revealed that DOJ officials met with FTX’s court-appointed overseers to discuss the scope of the information they need for further investigation. DOJ also plans to investigate whether SBF unlawfully transferred FTX funds to Alameda Research. Given SBF’s strong connections to United States politics the fraudster has not yet been charged with any crimes, though I suspect that will soon change. He continues to participate in Twitter discussions from undisclosed locations. Just recently he accused Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao of lying and backing out last minute from a deal that could save FTX.


CZ AND SBF CONTINUE PUBLIC WAR OF WORDS OVER FAILED FTX/BINANCE DEAL

Meanwhile the above mentioned public spat taking place mostly on twitter seems to be becoming its own mini soap opera all by itself. Now, ordinarily I wouldn’t give any attention to such childishness, it’s just that when you consider the sheer size of the amounts of money involved coupled with the number of victims, you really do have to sit up and take notice.

Both parties have revealed new details about the failed agreement between the exchanges during FTX’s liquidity crisis in November. In a Twitter thread, CZ wuite blatantly called out Bankman-Fried as a “fraudster,” saying Binance exited its position in FTX in July 2021 after becoming “increasingly uncomfortable with Alameda/SBF.” According to the Binance CEO, SBF was “unhinged” at the exchange pulling out — a claim that prompted an online response from the former FTX CEO that criticized CZ for his public admonition of FTX, adding details about the negotiations between the exchanges amid FTX’s reported financial difficulties in November prior to the firm filing for bankruptcy. SBF said at the time that FTX had reached what was called a “strategic transaction” with CZ, but Binance later pulled out after reviewing the exchange’s balance sheets. The former FTX CEO claimed that Binance threatened to walk at the last minute without an additional $75 million, accusing CZ of lying about his role in the deal.

The toing and froing continues on respective Twitter pages, I myself have no interest in quoting or promoting either side in an overgrown school yard shoving match, but it’s easy to find if you feel so inclined. It’s much more important to pay attention to what comes of the investigations led by various government bodies how ever long that may take. In fact lawmakers with the United States House Finance Services Committee previously called on Bankman-Fried to speak at a hearing exploring the collapse of FTX. Though SBF initially said he planned to wait to testify until he had time to basically have a think about the whole thing and weigh up his options, the committee leadership threatened a subpoena, prompting him to say on Twitter he would be “willing to testify” on December 13. Though Bankman-Fried has seemingly been attempting to delay appearances with officials regarding the events leading to FTX’s downfall, he has not been shy about interviews with various media outlets. Since FTX Group’s bankruptcy filing in November, SBF has repeatedly publicly apologized for his role in the exchange’s collapse. Funny then that it took a threat from the US government to get him to speak to someone who may actually do something about the situation and help the victims other than giving free airtime and I suspect a generous appearance fee to him and his inflated ego.


GOLDMAN SACHS OUT TO BUY CRYPTO FIRMS AFTER FTX COLLAPSE

Cause for cautious optimism? I don’t know yet, hopefully so, but I would rather continue this week’s MNO CryptoNews Digest with a more positive story than most of what’s been dominating the headlines for this last month.

There’s an old piece of contrarian investment wisdom that says it’s best to buy when there is blood in the streets, otherwise phrased sometimes as you should never let a crisis go to waste. If it were that easy, crypto investors would be euphoric at all the buy opportunities right now. If you’re rattled by the bear market, which has been especially brutal even by crypto standards, don’t think you’re alone. Cryptocurrency is still an unproven asset class that operates in the shadow of regulators. Of course, no one would blame you for not buying an asset that’s down over 70% this year. With those caveats in mind, there is still a certain school of investors who believe that now is the best time to invest in BitCoin, digital assets, and crypto infrastructure companies — even after the monumental collapse of FTX. Although nothing is confirmed yet, United States investment giant Goldman Sachs is also signaling that crypto is evenly priced after the year-long bear market.

Goldman Sachs’ embrace of crypto appears to be growing, even during the bear market, as the U.S. investment firm looks poised to acquire distressed firms in the wake of FTX’s collapse. In a statement given by Goldman executive Mathew McDermott said crypto companies are “priced more sensibly” today than they were over a year ago and that calls to regulate the industry will ultimately be a positive catalyst for adoption. Although FTX has become the “poster child” for crypto, and not in a good way, the underlying technology behind the industry “continues to perform,” McDermott said which is the basic logic behind the interest of Goldman Sachs.


COSTLY MISTAKES IN EL SALVADOR’S BITCOIN ROLLOUT

It has been more than a year since El Salvador became the first country in the world to introduce the Bitcoin as legal tender. After initial teething troubles, it looked as if the initiative taken by the country’s President might be a success. In the meantime, however, the tide seems to have turned, which is not only due to the slump in the BitCoin price, but rather due to information coming to light about the country’s BTC program.

The launch of the El Salvador government commissioned Chivo wallet, which serves as a central hub for BTC payments, was anything but smooth. The wallet’s developer, Athena Bitcoin Global, had to hire an outside firm tasked with eliminating existing bugs. An American software company called ROI Developers/Accruvia took on this task. According to them, Athena Bitcoin Global failed to pay an invoice of over $80,000, which led to a lawsuit.

The goal set by the country’s President of 50,000 Chivo signups on launch day was in danger of failing. ROI stated in court that the implemented verification service crashed during the first 150 sign-ups. However the verification was unavoidable because each new user received a $30 Bitcoin starter credit from the government. In order not to jeopardize the presidential campaign, the operator reportedly decided to disable the KYC process. It then apparently no longer required to check whether the registered users actually existed. According to ROI, fictitious profiles were created with user photos of potted plants, which was enough to get the $30 gift. The resulting damage is likely to be in the millions of dollars.

Some of the Chivo users also discovered that the wallet was ideal for getting into day trading. The BTC rate was updated only once a minute, according to ROI, which opened up the possibility of profitable arbitrage trades. All one had to do was compare the rate on the Chivo wallet with the current rate from the data provider. This way, one knew where the wallet’s Bitcoin rate would be in a minute and whether it was better to buy, or sell. There is also said to be a verifiable case in which a user traded his wallet up from $2,000 to $400,000. The money earned in this way had to be serviced directly from the state budget.


NIGERIA LIMITS ACCESS TO CASH IN BID TO INCREASE CRYPTO USAGE

Finally for this week’s MNO Crypto News Digest, it seems that the government of Nigeria, has drastically reduced the amount of cash individuals and businesses can withdraw as it attempts to push its “cash-less Nigeria” policy and increase the use of the eNaira — Nigeria’s central bank digital currency (CBDC). The Central Bank of Nigeria issued the directive to financial businesses last week, noting that individuals and businesses would now be limited to withdrawing $45 per day and $225 per week from ATMs. Individuals and businesses will also be limited to withdrawing $225 and $1,125, respectively, at banks per week, with individuals hit with a 5% fee and businesses with a 10% fee for amounts above those limits. The maximum cash withdrawal via point-of-sale terminals is also capped at $45 per day. According to the central bank there the intention of this move is for customers to be encouraged to use alternative channels (online banking, mobile banking apps, USSD, cards/POS, eNaira, etc.) to conduct their banking transactions.

That’s about all I have for what was certainly a most eventful week and I hope to inform you of what’s going to happen over the next few days in next Monday’s Weekly Crypto News Digest on MNO. Stay tuned for more, guys!


GET PAID REPORT FOR 12/12/2022

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Thanks as always to all of you for reading and your kind support and wish you the best of luck and happiness for the week to come. Until next time, stay informed with MNO – For Money Lovers!

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