Crypto News Headlines (16-Feb-2023)

Authorities in Norway seized 60 million krone ($5.9 million) stolen from crypto game Axie Infinity in March last year.

The National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime, or Økokrim, said it is the biggest crypto seizure ever made by Norwegian police.

“This case shows that we have a great capacity to follow the money on the blockchain, even if the criminals use advanced methods,” First State Attorney Marianne Bender said in a statement.

Last March, hackers linked to North Korea stole over $600 million from Axie Infinity, laundering much of the proceeds through privacy mixer Tornado Cash, which was subsequently sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department.

The Kirovsky Court of Tomsk will soon try two men for their attack on another resident of the Siberian city who made a living by mining cryptocurrencies. They were able to extort from him coins worth more than 360 million rubles at the time (over $4.8 million), the Russian crypto news outlet reported.

The crime took place in October 2021. The perpetrators attacked the cryptocurrency miner when he was leaving his home. One of them threatened him with an object resembling a gun and brought him back inside his apartment.

Then, his accomplice came in and the two forced the victim to log into his account on a crypto exchange and transfer them 86 BTC from a wallet that contained 90 BTC. It’s unclear why they decided not to withdraw the full balance.

As the regulatory scrutiny of the crypto sector in the U.S. intensifies, Binance hopes to eventually settle existing probes into its business.

According to chief strategy officer Patrick Hillmann, the software engineers who helped the exchange to grow were mostly unfamiliar with laws and rules surrounding bribery, corruption, and money laundering.

This led to gaps in Binance’s compliance efforts, which the firm is now seeking to fill by “working with regulators to figure out what are the remediations we have to go through,” Hillmann said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

Elon Musk, who is still searching for a new Twitter CEO, jokingly introduced a dog as Twitter’s new CEO, sending the prices of Dogecoin, Shiba Inu and Floki soaring. At press time, all three meme coins saw significant price appreciation, with DOGE up 6.1%, Shiba Inu up 4.3%, and FLOKI up 39%.

“The new CEO of Twitter is amazing,” Musk wrote, sharing a picture of a Shiba Inu dog sitting behind a desk wearing a black sweater with the word CEO on it. On the desk is a contract from Twitter, where the position “Chief Executive Officer,” the name “Floki” and a signature in the form of a paw print can be seen.

The new CEO of Twitter is amazing

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 15, 2023

The world’s largest digital asset exchange, Binance, is preparing to face fines and penalties in order to settle outstanding regulatory and law-enforcement investigations in the United States.

According to a Feb. 15 WSJ report that cited the firm’s chief strategy officer, Patrick Hillmann, Binance has been working with regulators to remedy past compliance issues.

Hillmann stated that Binance is “working with regulators to figure out what are the remediations we have to go through now to make amends for that.”

He added that the outcome of ongoing investigations will likely be fines but could be more, stating “that is for regulators to decide.”

Traders betting on a market-wide decline were caught off guard as a broader market recovery in the past 24 hours saw $185 million in shorts, or bets against price rises, getting liquidated.

That contributed to over $200 million in overall liquidation losses. Liquidation refers to when an exchange forcefully closes a trader’s leveraged position due to a partial or total loss of the trader’s initial margin. It happens when a trader is unable to meet the margin requirements for a leveraged position (fails to have sufficient funds to keep the trade open).

Large liquidations can signal the local top or bottom of a steep price move – which may allow traders to position themselves accordingly.

Bitcoin-tracked futures saw over $85 million in liquidations alone, the highest among all cryptocurrencies. Ether futures logged $58 million in liquidations, while futures of aptos, solana and solana each saw losses between $3 million to $4 million.

Swiss crypto company Taurus SA has raised $65 million in a Series B funding round led by the banking giant Credit Suisse. Three other major financial institutions — Deutsche Bank, Pictet Group, Arab Bank Switzerland — and the real-estate group Investis have also taken part.

Taurus, a leading digital asset infrastructure provider for financial institutions in Europe, said it will continue to invest in the further development of its platform offering services related to cryptocurrencies, other digital assets and tokenized securities, including by hiring top engineering talent.

The Geneva-based company also revealed it intends to accelerate its technology sales expansion by opening new offices in Europe and the United Arab Emirates as well as North and South America and South-East Asia a little later. The goal is to get closer to its clients around the world.

Countering claims of “duress,” Mango Markets attacker Avraham Eisenberg’s legal team has opposed Mango Labs’ lawsuit to reclaim remaining funds.

Mango Labs is the development team behind the Solana-based trading platform Mango Markets.

In October last year, the so-called “applied game theorist” turned to the trading platform to execute a series of trades on one account that inflated the value of tokens in another. He then borrowed approximately $110 million in assorted cryptocurrencies, using the value established in the second account as collateral.

Bitcoin registered one of its most impressive daily price increases in a while by skyrocketing from $21,500 to a six-month high of almost $25,000.

The alternative coins have followed suit, marking notable gains. OKB, FTM, APT, and NEAR lead the way with double-digit increases.

Bitcoin Neared $25K

The past several days were relatively negative for bitcoin, which dropped from over $24,000 to $21,500 amid the ongoing regulatory scrutiny by the SEC and other US watchdogs. Then came the US CPI numbers, after which BTC dropped below $21,500.

After some enhanced volatility in the following hours, bitcoin found itself trading around $21,500 yesterday. At this point, though, the entire landscape changed.

Bankrupt crypto lender Celsius Network has chosen NovaWulf Digital Management as the sponsor for its proposed Chapter 11 restructuring plan, which will see the investment advisory firm take over the operations of a new company and most customers estimated to recover up to 70% of their funds.

Celsius presented the plan on Feb. 15 in a filing to the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The proposed plan has the support of the Celsius Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (UCC) — a body representing the interests of Celsius account holders.