Crypto News Headlines (05-Jan-2023)

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused alleged fraudster Neil Chandran and several others for orchestrating a scheme to get cash from tens of thousands of investors globally on the false promise that they were securing a lucrative deal to sell blockchain technology.

Chandran, who has already been held since last year on federal fraud charges stemming from the same case, owns several companies and scammed investors for more than $45 million through intermediaries who claimed to be sharing information about a pending deal for the technology, which was known to investors as “CoinDeal,” the federal regulator said Wednesday.

The SEC also accused Garry Davidson, Michael Glaspie, Amy Mossel and Linda Knott of working with Chandran in violating U.S. securities laws.

The Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued a joint statement on crypto risks to banking organizations Tuesday.

They explained that events in the past year showed “significant volatility and the exposure of vulnerabilities in the crypto-asset sector.” The regulators named many risks, including fraud and scams, legal uncertainties, inaccurate or misleading representations by crypto companies, significant volatility in crypto markets, run risks, and contagion risks. “It is important that risks related to the crypto-asset sector that cannot be mitigated or controlled do not migrate to the banking system,” the joint statement emphasizes.

The winter holiday season might have just rolled to a close, but Bitcoin supporters had another curious tradition to carry out. Tuesday they celebrated a unique, annual, grassroots holiday known as “Proof of Keys,” started in 2019 by Bitcoin entrepreneur Trace Meyer.

In an experience that roughly mirrors a bank run, the community uses this day to encourage fellow Bitcoiners to pull their Bitcoin off of exchanges and other third-party services so that they can gain full ownership of their assets. The date was specifically chosen since it’s the date of Bitcoin’s “genesis block,” the first Bitcoin block ever mined, back in 2009.

The philosophy of the day is simple: Many people leave their Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) on exchanges. But by doing so, they’re not taking full control of their funds. Instead, they’re trusting the exchange.

Crypto banking firm Juno has advised its customers to self-custody their digital assets or sell them for cash as it works to migrate client funds to a new custodian, according to a tweet Wednesday morning.

The decision comes as Juno’s current custodian, Wyre, prepares to wind down its operations in the coming weeks, says Juno CEO and co-founder Varun Deshpande.

“We are switching custodians because we expect potential issues with Wyre given they might be scaling back or winding down,” Deshpande told CoinDesk.

Juno’s team has already begun working with a new custodian, which it has not yet identified. The migration of clients’ funds from Wyre to the new custodian will be complete in the coming weeks, according to Deshpande.

The United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA) is taking measures to increase its focus on cryptocurrency crimes and combat criminals.

NCA’s cyber-focused command, the National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU), is launching a dedicated cryptocurrency unit to investigate U.K. cyber incidents involving the use of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin BTC tickers down $16,814.

Called “NCCU Crypto Cell,” the crypto-focused unit will initially contain five officers dedicated to “proactive cryptocurrency remit.”

“This is a really exciting opportunity which involves working in a team at the forefront of protecting the U.K. from cyber crime,” NCA infrastructure investigations director Chris Lewis-Evans told Cointelegraph. He added:

“Cryptocurrency and virtual assets are widely viewed as specialist areas of knowledge, and this role is key to supporting NCA investigations in which these are used to enable serious criminality.”

The world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance’s market share of bitcoin (BTC) trading volume rose to 92% by the end of 2022, according to Arcane Research.

The exchange’s market share was just 45% at the start of last year, but the elimination of trading fees in June, not to mention the collapse of rival FTX in November, served to push users to Binance.

“No matter how you look at it in terms of trading activity, Binance is the crypto market,” Arcane wrote. “After lifting trading fees for its BTC spot pairs this summer, Binance completely overtook all market share in the spot market.”

A U.S. bankruptcy court has made a key ruling in the conflict that Celsius, a former cryptocurrency lending firm, and its customers, maintain over the ownership of deposits. Judge Martin Glenn, of a New York-based bankruptcy court, ruled in favor of the company, stating that it has the right over these funds, allowing it to harness the assets in any way, including lending, selling, and pledging these assets for investment purposes.

The company had filed a motion to get approval for selling $23 million from its stablecoin stash on Sept. 15, and this ruling frees the path for the company to complete this operation. The decision states that Celsius’ terms of service, an agreement that all users must approve before being serviced by the company, was “unambiguous” in establishing the ownership of these funds deposited in favor of the firm.

U.S. Regulators are starting 2023 off with a new round of cases targeting cryptocurrency scams. Six individuals and two companies tied to an investment scheme called CoinDeal were charged on Wednesday by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

“We allege the defendants falsely claimed access to valuable blockchain technology and that the imminent sale of the technology would generate investment returns of more than 500,000 times for investors,” said Daniel Gregus, Director of the SEC’s Chicago Regional Office.

The SEC has charged Neil Chandran, Garry Davidson, Michael Glaspie, Amy Mossel, and Linda Knott for their role in CoinDeal, a scheme the agency says raised more than $45 million from sales of what it calls unregistered securities to thousands of investors worldwide. The agency also filed charges against AEO Publishing Inc, Banner Co-Op, Inc, and BannersGo, LLC.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against password management service LastPass following a data breach from Aug. 2022.

The class action was filed with the United States district court of Massachusetts on Jan. 3 by an unnamed plaintiff known only as “John Doe” and on behalf of others similarly situated.

It alleges that the data breach of LastPass has resulted in the theft of around $53,000 worth of Bitcoin BTC tickers down $16,814.

The plaintiff claimed he began accruing BTC in July 2022 and updated his master password to more than 12 characters using a password generator, as recommended by the LastPass “best practices.”

This was done to enable the storage of private keys in the seemingly secure LastPass customer vault.

Following the rising speculation about the blockchain, the official Twitter account of Shiba Inu’s Shibarium network on January 4 made a post clearing the false speculation. This comes amid the current anticipation of the network beta launch.

Particularly, the speculation being cleared is the one surrounding tokens in the network or tokens that are required to utilize the network’s benefit. This is the first series of tweets from the Shibarium blockchain official Twitter account.

Debunking False Rumors Surrounding The Shibarium Network

The speculations on whether SHIB will be the blockchain native token have been another side of the false rumors going around. In the series of tweets uploaded yesterday, Shibarium clarified that the project’s token, BONE, will be the only token that would be used for gas fees and other blockchain activities. The team added, “No other tokens will be necessary to operate within the protocol.”