This week, Coinbase’s legal dispute with regulators unfolds as the crackdown on hacks and scams intensifies. Meanwhile, Worldcoin is under scrutiny and FTX announces reorganization plans.
Coinbase vs. US SEC
Coinbase Global (COIN) continues to garner significant attention for its ongoing lawsuit with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong claimed that the SEC mandated the cessation of all cryptocurrency trading, except for Bitcoin, on the exchange, a Financial Times report revealed.
Per Armstrong, the SEC’s request came before their lawsuit against the exchange for non-compliance with U.S. registration requirements.
Armstrong mentioned that the SEC classified all assets, except Bitcoin, as securities without providing a comprehensive explanation, which resulted in a contentious outcome.
Shortly after the report surfaced, Coinbase clarified that the SEC did not request the delisting of any particular assets prior to the litigation.
Moreover, the SEC confirmed that they do not require companies to delist crypto assets, but they may express their perspectives on conduct during investigations.
Meanwhile, on Aug. 4, Coinbase petitioned a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the SEC in June, claiming that their operations do not involve securities trading, thereby questioning the SEC’s jurisdiction and rendering the accusations irrelevant.
Coinbase chief legal officer Paul Grewal expressed disapproval of the SEC for disregarding their previous interpretations of securities laws and violating due process.
Coinbase forges on
Amid the ongoing legal dispute, Coinbase remained committed to pursuing growth opportunities. The company revealed on Aug. 3 that the mainnet of its layer-2 protocol Base is set to be accessible to all users by Aug. 9.
Initially launched for developers on July 13, users had already been able to bridge assets to the Base network through unofficial routes, resulting in the trading of new meme coins like the recently-rugged BALD.
On Aug. 3, Coinbase published its second-quarter (Q2) report, revealing a net revenue of $663 million, slightly lower than the corresponding period last year. The company disclosed an adjusted EBITDA of $194 million and a net loss of $97 million, showing improvement compared to the previous quarter’s net loss of $1.1 billion.
During Q2, the transaction revenue amounted to $327 million, and the total trading volume decreased to $92 billion, both figures exhibiting a decline from the first quarter’s numbers. Despite the SEC lawsuit, these values surpassed industry analysts’ expectations.
Armstrong also confirmed Coinbase’s commitment to remaining in the U.S. market, dismissing any contemplation of relocation.
Addressing prior apprehensions about ambiguous crypto regulations, Armstrong underscored the importance of the U.S. market for the exchange and affirmed their unwavering dedication to adhering to U.S. regulatory requirements while striving to enhance the clarity of the crypto regulatory environment.
SEC intensifies crackdown on crypto scams
Developments surrounding crypto-focused hacks and scams emerged this week after distressing reports emerged about a Minnesota man who became a victim of a LinkedIn crypto scam and lost $9 million.
The scam, which entailed deceptive assurances of riches and affection, led the victim to deposit funds into crypto wallets controlled by scammers. Authorities are now investigating multiple cryptocurrency fraud cases in response to this alarming trend.
On Aug. 3, the SEC filed charges against DEBT Box, a company based in Utah, and its executives, claiming they orchestrated a crypto scheme that defrauded investors of $49 million.
The suspects, including the Anderson brothers, Jason and Jacob, alongside 15 others, purportedly amassed significant funds from U.S. investors through the marketing and sale of unregistered securities known as “node licenses.”
These licenses were represented as vehicles to generate crypto asset tokens via mining activities, with assurances of their appreciating worth. However, the SEC alleges that the funds were misappropriated for personal luxury expenses instead.
Curve Finance recovers $12.7m
Following a devastating exploit last week, Curve Finance received a consolidation on Aug. 4. The individual responsible for the exploit voluntarily returned some of the stolen assets to the protocol.
About $12.7 million worth of Alchemix Ethereum (alETH) and Ethereum (ETH) were sent back to the Alchemix Finance platform following Curve’s request for the funds to be returned. The hacker had sought confirmation of the address before initiating the return.
In response to the escalating incidents of crypto scams, Canada is actively taking measures to address the issue. The Lethbridge Police Service (LPS) will employ the Chainalysis Reactor technology to assist scam victims in recovering their funds.
This program enables law enforcement to track crypto transactions and identify numerous addresses, whether involved in illegal or legal services. A certified blockchain analysis investigator from the Economic Crimes Unit will handle the process.
Demystifying the BALD collapse
The crypto community continues to dissect the BALD token collapse.
In the wake of the purported rug pull, Wintermute chief of research Igor Igamberdiev shed light on the Aug. 1 crash, suggesting a possible connection between the creators of the meme coin and a former subsidiary of FTX exchange, Alameda Research.
By Aug. 3, Twitter user Mike McDonald expressed suspicions about a previous associate potentially orchestrating the recent rug pull of the BALD meme coin.
McDonald suggests a connection between an address he received payment from in 2021 after winning a $50,000 bet and the alleged BALD meme coin deployer, who reportedly withdrew 1,034 Ethereum amid a 40,000% surge in the coin’s value.
The identity of the @milkyway16eth account, responsible for Mike’s payment, remains unknown due to its current private status. Some speculations within the crypto community point to former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried as a potential person behind BALD, but these claims are unconfirmed.
Kenya bans Worldcoin as concerns mount
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman’s Worldcoin project faced additional setbacks this week as privacy concerns mounted.
On Aug. 2, Kenya’s Ministry of Interior and National Administration announced the suspension of all Worldcoin operations within the country, citing ongoing investigations on the legality of Worldcoin’s biometrics data collection.
The government raised apprehensions regarding the organization’s registration of citizens through iris data collection and stressed that the suspension will continue until pertinent public agencies confirm the elimination of any risks to the public welfare.
Worldcoin builds amid concerns
Despite mounting concerns, the Worldcoin project persevered this week. On Aug. 2, Worldcoin unveiled its ambitious vision to globalize its iris-scanning and identity-verification technology, catering to businesses and governments on an international scale.
The groundbreaking “orb” device has engaged 2.2 million participants, despite industry players expressing reservations about potential biometric data misuse. Now, the project aims to expand its reach to encompass businesses and governments.
Worldcoin further revealed its intent to revolutionize the production of iris-scanning orbs by open-sourcing their design. Co-founder Alex Blania proposed a model akin to Bitcoin mining, aimed at fostering decentralization and providing incentives for the process.
While the potential advantages of earning WLD are evident, Worldcoin encounters skepticism concerning the security of biometric data, with experts highlighting concerns about counterfeit devices. Nevertheless, the company is prepared to scale up production without constraints.
FTX announces reorganization plans
This week, the bankrupt crypto behemoth FTX faced renewed attention due to emerging revelations. Along with its Unsecured Creditors Committee, FTX disclosed a reorganization strategy to introduce FTX 2.0.
Spearheading the project is the exchange’s new CEO, John Ray III, with all requisite documents already filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Delaware. However, debtors disregarded the committee’s plan.
Bankman-Fried in fresh trouble
Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s $250 million bond could be at risk as he battles allegations of intimidating a former colleague.
Bankman-Fried faces potential jail time, with prosecutors claiming that he attempted to influence the jury by leaking excerpts from former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison’s diary to the New York Times.
Bankman-Fried’s defense argued that his interactions with the reporter were not meant to intimidate Ellison, but rather to provide fair criticism with additional sources. They emphasized the importance of First Amendment rights.
Following these events, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) demanded Bankman-Fried be detained, alleging his involvement in witness tampering and the disclosure of private writings that had a detrimental impact on Ellison’s reputation.
Despite arguments regarding free speech, the DoJ remained firm on denying his bail request and advocated for keeping him detained until the trial.