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AI Eye: Real uses for AI in crypto, Google’s GPT-4 rival, AI edge for bad employees

AI Eye has been out and about at Korean Blockchain Week and Token2049 in Singapore over the past fortnight, trying to find out how crypto project leaders plan to use AI.

Probably the most well-known is Maker founder Rune Christensen, who essentially plans to relaunch his decade-old project as a bunch of sub-DAOs employing AI governance.

“People misunderstand what we mean with AI governance, right? We’re not talking about AI running a DAO,” he says, adding the AI won’t be enforcing any rules. “The AI cannot do that because it’s unreliable.” Instead the project is working on using AI for coordination and communication — as an “Atlas” to the entire project, as they’re calling it.

“Having that sort of central repository of data just makes it actually realistic to have hundreds of thousands of people from different backgrounds and different levels of understanding  meaningfully collaborate and interact because they’ve got this shared language.”

Near founder Illia Polosukhin may be better known in AI circles as his project began life as an AI startup before pivoting to blockchain. Polosukhin was one of the authors of the seminal 2017 Transformer paper (“Attention Is All You Need”) that laid the groundwork for the explosion of generative AI like ChatGPT over the past year.

Illia Polosukhin
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Paxos’ $500K Bitcoin fee, FTX tokens sales set to begin and other news: Hodler’s Digest, Sept. 10-16

The Bitcoin miner who received 19.8 BTC in fees from blockchain infrastructure firm Paxos has returned the funds following Paxos’ claim that it made a mistake in paying over $500,000 in transfer fees. On Sept. 10, Paxos paid the six-figure fee to move $2,000, with the average network fee typically being around $2. The company later acknowledged the mistake, confirming the transfer came from its servers. Almost a day after Paxos’ claims, the Bitcoin miner who received the funds went on X (formerly Twitter) to express frustrations after agreeing to refund the amount to Paxos. The funds were returned on Sept. 15.

A bankruptcy court has approved the sale of FTX digital assets in weekly batches through an investment adviser and under preestablished guidelines. The sale does not include Bitcoin, Ether and “certain insider-affiliated tokens,” which can be sold through a separate decision by FTX after 10 days’ notice. FTX sales are not expected to have a heavy impact on markets. According to a recent shareholder update, the bankrupt exchange has $833 million worth of Bitcoin and Ether. A total of $3.4 billion is held in Digital Assets A — the top 10 assets the company holds — which include Solana, Bitcoin, Ether, Aptos and others.

Digital Currency Group has proposed a new agreement plan for the creditors of the now-bankrupt Genesis Global. The plan estimates unsecured creditors will receive “a 70–90% recovery with a meaningful portion of the recovery in digital currencies.” Additionally, the remuneration plan says the recovery of claims for Gemini Earn users would be projected at “approximately 95–110%” without any contribution from Gemini. According to the filing: “If Gemini were to agree to provide $100 million to Gemini Earn users under the Proposed Agreement, as it previously did, there would be little doubt Gemini Earn users would receive more than full recovery.”

Asset manager Franklin Templeton applied with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission to launch a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). According to the application, the fund would be structured as a trust. Coinbase would custody the BTC, and The Bank of New York Mellon would be the cash custodian and administrator. Franklin Templeton has $1.5 trillion in assets under management and joins a long list of asset managers waiting for regulatory approval. The SEC recently delayed decisions on spot ETF applications from WisdomTree, Valkyrie, Fidelity, VanEck, Bitwise and Invesco on Aug. 31.

The exodus of executives from crypto exchange Binance has reached the firm’s offshoot in the United States, as at least three top employees left Binance.US over the past few days. This week’s departures included the exchange’s CEO, Brian Shroder, alongside legal head Krishna Juvvadi and chief risk officer Sidney Majalya. The mass exit is believed to be tied to the ongoing U.S. investigation into Binance and Binance.US. The SEC sued Binance.US, Binance and CEO Changpeng Zhao in June for allegedly engaging in unregistered securities operations and other improprieties. On Aug. 28, the agency requested to file sealed documents in the case, fueling concerns about a criminal probe by the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Web3 Gamer: PUBG devs’ Web3 project, Animoca’s $20M raise, Shardbound review

Krafton, the company behind PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), is venturing into Web3 with Settlus, a Cosmos-based blockchain project specifically designed for the creator economy. Settlus aims to provide content creators with a payment platform that streamlines transparent settlement processes.

The South Korean gaming giant’s project was announced at the Korea Blockchain Week’s Circle Hacker House event, co-presented by Circle and AngelHack. Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire highlighted PUBG’s large user base of 30 million monthly active users.

Cosmos’ software development kit will serve as the framework, and network gas fees will be payable using stablecoins.

A metaverse project by the name of Migaloo is also in the works. The project will center around user-generated content, allowing creators to automatically create nonfungible tokens of their digital content and earn royalties from platform sales.

Krafton previously announced a collaboration with Solana Labs in March 2022 to “support the design and marketing of blockchain-based games and services,” but no Web3 products have been released since. Settlus’ testnet is scheduled to launch in early 2024.

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Are DAOs overhyped and unworkable? Lessons from the front lines

Ask 10 different people to define a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), and you’ll likely get 10 different definitions. But there is at least one thing most agree on: DAO governance is a mess. At best, it’s an experiment in the works.

According to DeepDAO, DAOs today handle a whopping $17.2 billion in value. Yet many DAOs managing millions of dollars have proven hopeless at heeding even the most basic of lessons in business management 101. One does not have to look too far in the annals of crypto history to recall major DAO catastrophes.

Recall Wonderland DAO, an Olympus fork that birthed arguably one of the most notorious scandals in DAO history. At its peak, Wonderland enjoyed a near $2 billion in total value locked, which came to a skidding halt in January 2022 when its treasury manager — who went by the pseudonym 0xSifu — turned out to be none other than Michael Patryn, co-founder of the failed crypto exchange QuadrigaCX and a convicted criminal for financial fraud.

Or consider a more recent exploit with the Solana-based trading protocol Mango Markets. In October, attackers exploited the DAO’s loosely governed parameters to acquire a disproportionate chunk of the DAO’s MNGO tokens. In an absurd turn of events, the attacker proceeded to propose on governance forums an offer to return half their heist in exchange for the DAO not to prosecute him, then voted “Yes” on it with the stolen tokens. The vote eventually failed, but Mango still ended up paying off $47 million to the attacker.

A governance proposal on Mango Markets. (Twitter)

Case studies of DAO failures are not exclusive to outrageous one-off spectacles like the ones above. Despite the Libertarian rhetoric of self-sovereignty and self-custody, dozens of DAOs that kept their monies on centralized exchanges also saw their treasuries implode during the carnage of 2022’s blow-ups like FTX.

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Bitcoin ETF optimist and Worldcoin skeptic Gracy Chen: Hall of Flame

Gracy Chen, managing director of global cryptocurrency exchange Bitget, advised her followers and friends not to scan their eyeballs in exchange for a few Worldcoin tokens.

“There’s a huge privacy concern,” she tells Magazine, adding that she isn’t optimistic about its price prospects given the anticipated influx of WLD tokens in the near future.

“There will be much more released in the upcoming year or two,” she explains.

Chen admits that her gig with Bitget is pretty cool, but it also means her American pals constantly bug her for favors.

“Since we stopped onboarding U.S. customers, I’ve had lots of friends who hold a U.S. passport ask if they can get a little back way to open an account.”

“I refuse a lot of requests like that. It is a red line that we just don’t cross,” Chen says. 

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6 Questions for Kei Oda: From Goldman Sachs to cryptocurrency

Kei Oda is the head of Japan and the Asia-Pacific region for Quantstamp, a Web3 security firm that audits smart contracts and develops blockchain security solutions.

Kei spent 16 years trading bonds at Goldman Sachs before stumbling into cryptocurrencies out of boredom. He tells Magazine he was induced by the ability to trade Bitcoin and other assets around the clock.

He has since fallen down the rabbit hole, even finding a job in the industry.

So, I was actually a bond trader for 16 years before joining crypto. 

You know, we used to talk about Bitcoin when I was still trading bonds. I didn’t really understand it or believe in it, to be honest, but when I left my job in 2016 and tried to get into the startup space, what dawned on me once I left was that, having been a trader, you do have a long-term focus, but you also are very, very short-term in terms of how you trade, what you do day to day, minute to minute, and what ended up happening was, I would get bored very easily.

Kei Oda speaking
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Binance’s exec exodus, Nasdaq to trade AI orders and SBF loses bail appeal: Hodler’s Digest, Sept. 3-9

A key talking point in the crypto community has been the ongoing exodus of executives from Binance amid growing regulatory troubles. Binance has seen the departure of 10 key executives from various departments in the first nine months of 2023. The latest to join the list is Helen Hai, executive vice president of Binance, who announced her resignation from her post on Sept. 6. On the same day, Gleb Kostarev, vice president of Eastern Europe, Turkey, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Australia and New Zealand at Binance, also announced his resignation, as did CIS general manager Vladimir Smerkis. Four top executives from Binance reportedly all left on the same day after Binance’s response to the United States Department of Justice investigation. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao has hosed down recent rumors against his firm, assuring its balance sheet and employee retention remain robust despite the recent market uncertainty.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission has approved Nasdaq’s request to operate its first AI-driven order type on Sept. 8. Called the dynamic midpoint extended life order (M-ELO), the new system expands on the M-ELO automated order type by making it “dynamic,” meaning it will use artificial intelligence to update and, essentially, recalibrate itself in real-time. The follow-on effect should be a significant acceleration of orders placed with the system. Nasdaq says the dynamic M-ELO demonstrated a “20.3% increase in fill rates and an 11.4% reduction in mark-outs” during its research and testing.

Former FTX CEO Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried lost an initial appeal to be released again on bail prior to his criminal trial. His lawyers had petitioned the court for temporary release, claiming the current measures to allow SBF to prepare for his trial were inadequate due to limited internet access. An appeals court denied the motion on Sept. 6, maintaining SBF’s detention at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. The former FTX CEO had his bail revoked on Aug. 11, following allegations of witness intimidation for leaking, to The New York Times, personal notes and diary entries from former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison. SBF has roughly four weeks to prepare for his Oct. 3 trial.

ARK Invest and 21Shares requested the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to approve the listing of shares of a spot Ether ETF on the Cboe BZX Exchange. The investment vehicle, called the ARK 21Shares Ethereum ETF, will have crypto exchange Coinbase act as a custodian and will measure the performance of Ether based on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange CF Ether-Dollar Reference Rate. The proposal from ARK Invest and 21Shares is one of many spot crypto ETFs that will be reviewed by the SEC in the coming months. The U.S. regulator has been delaying decisions on crypto investments products lately, especially concerning Bitcoin spot ETF proposals.

Grayscale has told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it has no legal reasoning left to block the conversion of its flagship Bitcoin fund to a spot exchange-traded fund (ETF). The company’s lawyers sent a letter to the SEC requesting the pair meet to discuss the next steps following the regulator’s court loss regarding the conversion of the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) on Aug. 29. Grayscale added that it believes the SEC should conclude there are “no grounds” for treating the GBTC differently from Bitcoin futures ETFs whose filings “the Commission has previously approved.” According to Grayscale, its fund conversion application has been pending for nearly three times longer than the length of time stipulated by the SEC’s rules.

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Big Questions: What’s with all the crypto deaths? 

Last month, Bulgarian plumbers were called to clear a blocked drain at an apartment block in the capital of Sofia.

The blockage turned out to be the decomposing remains of 41-year-old United States crypto mogul Christian Peev — suspected to have been battered to death with a dumbbell by a friend out of jealousy.

Weeks earlier, a group of children stumbled across the body of missing cryptocurrency millionaire Fernando Pérez Algaba in a river in the Buenos Aries province. Police say he was shot three times before being stuffed into a suitcase, pointing the finger at organized crime.

It’s only the two most recent cases in a 10-month-long stretch of crypto-related deaths — including a helicopter crash in France, a fatal stabbing in the U.S., and a suspected suicide in South Korea, to name a few.

So, what’s connecting all of these grizzly deaths around the world?

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Tencent’s AI leviathan, $83M scam busted, China’s influencer ban: Asia Express

Our weekly roundup of news from East Asia curates the industry’s most important developments.

South Korea’s Mirae Asset Security Token Working Group, with over $500 billion in assets under management (AUM), is collaborating with Ethereum layer-two scaling solution Polygon (MATIC) for security tokenization initiatives. 

According to a Sept. 7 press release, Mirae Asset Securities has signed a memorandum of understanding with Polygon Labs for “helping domestic and international tokenized securities networks.”

“Mirae’s foray into tokenization will undoubtedly help accelerate the mass adoption of web3 among other financial institutions,” commented Polygon Labs’ executive chairman Sandeep Nailwal.

Meanwhile, Ahn In-sung, head of the digital division at Mirae Asset Securities, wrote: “Through technical collaboration with Polygon Labs, Mirae Asset Securities aims to establish global leadership in the field of tokenized securities.”

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NFT Collector: Creative AI art, Tomorrowland sells tomorrow’s future 

Greg Oakford, co-founder of NFT Fest Australia, is your guide to the world of NFTs from a collector and fan’s perspective.

Seventeen years ago, Pindar Van Arman built a robot that, like him, painted with a brush on canvas.

He has built several robots since, with each iteration possessing a more sophisticated artificial intelligence that tried to paint “more like I painted.”

The term OG can be thrown around often undeservedly, but Van Arman is truly that when it comes to AI art.

He created his first crypto art project in 2015 — titled bitPaintr — and minted his first Ethereum nonfungible token (NFT) in 2018 titled “AI Imagined Portrait Painted by a Robot” on SuperRare. 

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NFT collapse and monster egos feature in new Murakami exhibition

Even if you aren’t personally familiar with famed Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami, you have surely seen his work.

The pop artist’s brightly colored signature characters have appeared on everything from limited edition Louis Vuitton bags to Supreme shirts to Vans skateboarding shoes.

Having collaborated with celebrities like Drake, Kanye West and Billie Eilish, and institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art and Gagosian, Murakami is, without a doubt, one of the biggest “conventional” artists to try their hand at making nonfungible tokens (NFTs). Despite this, his projects still haven’t blown up to the extent of other prominent contemporary artists like Beeple.

Louis Vuitton x Takashi Murakami 2000s pre-owned monogram panda jewelry case selling for an eye-popping $37,000 (Farfetch)

Many are convinced that is set to change, claiming Murakami’s flowers are well on their way to becoming as iconic as CryptoPunks and Bored Apes. After a hotly anticipated but ultimately disappointing NFT launch that coincided with the 2022 crypto collapse, the artist is finally having another go at the medium. A new exhibit at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum shows how Murakami creates original tokens from scratch.

While many take Murakami’s flowers at face value, there is more to them than meets the eye. Inspired by the postwar Japan in which he grew up, these deceptively jolly icons critique the perversion and violence that underscore the country’s otaku and kawaii subcultures.

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Crypto lawyer Irina Heaver on death threats, lawsuit predictions: Hall of Flame

“I live in Switzerland. I have guns at home. Anybody who shows up at my home with violent intentions risks being literally shot at,” Heaver warns altcoiners who send her death threats online.

Speaking to Magazine, Heaver explains that she blames memecoin founders for fueling the fiery users on Crypto Twitter.

“I mean, there’s so much responsibility on these community leaders and altcoin leaders. They’re egging on their followers to send threats and intimidate people,” Heaver declares.

As a prominent crypto lawyer in Dubai and Switzerland, Heaver has 41,200 followers — more than your average lawyer. Though not as famous as your Buterins and Heilperns, it’s still fairly impressive considering she has a care-free attitude toward it:

“If somehow they cancel me, I will continue posting on LinkedIn because I have a huge following on LinkedIn.”

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SEC delays BTC ETF decision, Grayscale triumphs SEC, and BitBoy gets the boot: Hodler’s Digest, Aug 27 – Sept 2

Crypto asset manager Grayscale Investments recently scored a big win in its battle against the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

In an ongoing effort to convert its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) into a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), the U.S. appeals court judge accepted Grayscale’s argument that the SEC’s rejection of its recent ETF application was unfair.

The SEC had alleged that the GBTC didn’t have enough safe practices and fraud protection in place.

Judge Neomi Rao gave the green light to Grayscale’s request for a second review. 

Previously, Rao said that the SEC did not “offer any explanation” as to why Grayscale was in the wrong. 

Ben Simpson
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Thailand’s national airdrop, Delio users screwed, Vietnam top crypto country: Asia Express

Our weekly roundup of news from East Asia curates the industry’s most important developments.

Thailand may soon have a national airdrop in the works where every citizen 16 years and older will receive 10,000 Baht ($285). 

According to local news reports on August 30, Thailand’s ruling Pheu Thai party will consult the Bank of Thailand in developing a “utility type 1” token necessary for the airdrop. The solution will be a know-your-customer (KYC), blockchain-based infrastructure that sources say will take at least six months to roll out. A 100 Baht fee will also be charged per user for the KYC process. In addition, the solution will require the approval of the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission. 

Real estate developer and crypto investor Srettha Thavisin was elected on August 22 as the incumbent prime minister of Thailand. During campaigning, Thavisin promised the exact 10,000 Baht per person basic income stimulus via “digital currency” if elected into power. In 2021, Thavisin’s firm, Sansiri, purchased a 15% stake in Thai asset tokenization provider X Spring for 1.6 billion Baht ($45.7 million). 

The Thailand Development and Research Institute said funding for the Thavisin Airdrop will come from tax collection in the 2024 fiscal year. The total budget estimate for the project is 560 billion Baht ($16 billion). 

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GTA owner joins Web3, Bitcoin casino, Sunflower Land review: Web3 Gamer

Fun fact: mobile gaming giant Zynga is owned by Take-Two Interactive, the same company that also owns Rockstar Games, which is behind ultra-popular video game series like Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption and NBA 2K.

Now Zynga is making its Web3 debut with a new franchise.

Best known for its FarmVille series, Zynga has created an offshoot studio called Zynga Web3 (or ZW3) and announced Sugartown. It’s a cross-media world that will be more like a Web3 gaming platform than a single title. The cute cartoonish animals featured in the teaser video give clues that there might be more than video games in the works.

It looks like a scene from a new Netflix series, so I won’t be surprised to see a cartoon featuring the Sugartown characters.

For now, though, the only thing that’s confirmed is that Sugartown will launch an NFT collection called Oras, and they will be required to participate in upcoming games within the universe. ZW3 said the franchise is working with different communities to allocate allowlists for the NFTs. 

Diablo III Auction House
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How to protect your crypto in a volatile market: Bitcoin OGs and experts weigh in

Crypto is a volatile place. Money can be as easily lost as made through the ups and downs of Bitcoin and the wider market, and there are massive decisions to make. Should you just hodl — invest and do nothing — or actively trade the market? How many coins should your portfolio hold? Self-custody or keep your funds on an exchange with pre-determined stop losses?

Basically, how do you protect your stack from the million and one things that can go wrong? We asked Bitcoin OGs and experts in the space for their advice and opinions.

When faced with the question of how best to protect your crypto, OG Brock Pierce is circumspect. The former presidential candidate and co-founder of Tether and points out that not everyone is in the same place.

“Early noobs looking to begin their journey might go to Coinbase and purchase their first $20 or $50 worth of crypto, and it’s not an investment in crypto, but an investment in yourself. However, the moment you have a material investment – and that is a different amount for everybody – then it’s important to understand the basics of hodling and investing in crypto,” he says.

“It’s always better to walk before you can run, to walk in baby steps and don’t let FOMO (fear of missing out) cloud your judgment. This is a marathon, a long game, so take you time and be informed.”

Itai Avneri
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6 Questions for Leila Ismailova

Leila Ismailova began her professional career at the age of 15 as a broadcasting star in Belarus, the Russian-neighboring Eastern European country that plays home to 9.3 million citizens. She continued in the role for 10 years, she says, before reaching what she felt was a “professional ceiling” and beginning a journey that led to Web3.

“I remember ​my audacity as a child, just sneaking into the buildings with ​newspapers and magazines — it was called the House of Press,” Ismailova recalls in an interview with Cointelegraph. “I would handwrite my stories and sneak into the building — because I didn’t have a pass — by making up stories that I was someone’s granddaughter, or by just going in when someone else entered. And I would find the doors that said ‘editor’ or ‘editor-in-chief,’ and I would just walk in and give them my articles. People smiled, and I’m sure they felt I was naive, but I felt they also had some respect for me doing this work.”

Her renegade news career led to television in a matter of years. She joined the country’s First National ​Channel at the age of 15, where she started on a show that covered news and culture for younger viewers.

“My first ​audition went horribly,” Ismailova says. “I turned purple. I was thinking really fast, but they still wanted me to come for the second round.”

Also read: How brands are using digital fashion in real life

Leila Ismailova with co-host Denis Kuryan in 2014.
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Sam Bankman-Fried’s life in jail, Tornado Cash’s turmoil, and a $3B BTC whale: Hodler’s Digest, Aug. 20-26

United States officials pressed charges against the co-founders of crypto mixer Tornado Cash on Aug. 23. Roman Storm and Roman Semenov were both charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit sanctions violations and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business. Storm was arrested and released on bail a few days later, while Semenov was added to the U.S. list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons. Combined, the charges carry a maximum sentence of 45 years in prison. The third Tornado Cash co-founder, Alexey Pertsev, was arrested in the Netherlands on money laundering charges in August 2022. The law enforcement actions are a continuation of a U.S. government crackdown on Tornado Cash that began last year due to its alleged role in laundering funds of the Lazarus Group, a North Korean-linked hacking collective. Tornado Cash has been implicated in several other hacks as well. All told, the mixer has laundered over $1 billion in ill-gotten gains, the U.S. Department of Justice alleges.

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried appears to be having a tough time behind bars, eating only bread with peanut butter to accommodate his vegan diet while exhausting his supply of prescription medication. In the same hearing where Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty to seven fraud-related charges, his lawyers pleaded for the former FTX CEO to receive better treatment inside Brooklyn’s notorious Metropolitan Detention Center. Also this week, Bankman-Fried was granted permission to meet with his legal team outside of jail with 48 hours’ notice. Every day, he will have roughly seven hours to prepare for his upcoming trial expected to begin in October.

The mysterious Bitcoin wallet that surged up the ranks to become the third-largest holder of Bitcoin in the world in just over three months, has been identified. Blockchain intelligence platform Arkham Intelligence labeled the wallet as Robinhood: Jump Trading Custody. According to data from crypto statistics platform BitInfoCharts, the wallet address first received Bitcoin on March 8. Over the course of the next three months and two weeks, the wallet had accrued a staggering 118,000 BTC — worth $3.08 billion at current prices. The current largest Bitcoin wallets in the world, according to BitInfoCharts, are reportedly owned by Binance and Bitfinex — as Bitcoin cold wallets.

The parent company of crypto custodian Prime Trust — currently involved in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings — has reported losing roughly $8 million in client and treasury funds through TerraUSD investments, presumably when the algorithmic stablecoin collapsed in May 2022. The company described the investment as well as a ramping up of spending in October and November 2022 — in the midst of FTX’s collapse — as contributing to its bankruptcy filing. Court documents show Prime Trust owed more than $85 million in fiat and $69.5 million in crypto to its clients. The collapse of the Terra ecosystem triggered a major market crash in 2022, affecting several firms including FTX, BlockFi, Celsius Network and Voyager Digital.

A Pepe holder bought 640 billion Pepe tokens for 320 Ether valued at $529,000 after the price of the frog-themed memecoin dropped by approximately 15% due to recent changes to a multisig wallet and concerns about potential developer manipulation. According to on-chain analytics platform Lookonchain, the whale purchased PEPE at an average price of $0.000001163. The value of the once-popular memecoin plunged after changes related to the amount of signatures required to sign transactions led to worries about a potential “rug pull,” which was later confirmed by one of the project’s co-founders.

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NFT Collector: Giant Swan’s gothic VR dreamscapes… royalty nightmare on OpenSea

From sitting in his car crying before work every morning to becoming a successful digital artist, the story of Australian-based VR painter and sculptor Giant Swan is one of persistence, timing and pushing boundaries. 

In a world where a digital artist can now monetize their work through NFTs as opposed to cheap likes and comments on Instagram, Giant Swan stands out from the pack, being the first artist to put a 3D object on-chain and for his truly unique and immersive pieces that have captured the attention of collectors all over the globe, including renowned whales such as j1mmy.eth, Moderats Art and Whale Shark

“For me, crying in the car before work was a lot to do with knowing that you should be somewhere else. I knew I didn’t fit with what I was doing. To be where you suddenly belong, I think, is what every artist is probably striving for in some way,” Giant Swan says. 

After minting his first NFT on Nov. 30, 2019, on Known Origin, Giant Swan caught the initial wave of interest in digital art. He credits the likes of David Moore from Known Origin for helping him take the plunge. 

You can get lost viewing Giant Swan’s art; the depth of his work often needs to be seen to be believed. OG Crypto artist Josie Bellini described it thus: 

Generations by Giant Swan
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Bitcoin miner gets life in prison, China offers bounties for crypto firms: Asia Express

Our weekly roundup of news from East Asia curates the industry’s most important developments.

Crypto exchange HashKey, the first licensed virtual asset provider in Hong Kong, will open its doors to residents for retail trading on August 28. 

According to local news reports, investors will only be allowed to invest up to 30% of their net worth into cryptocurrencies when using the platform. A risk control warning will be displayed if the limit is exceeded. However, Xiaoqi Weng, COO of HashKey, mentioned that the exchange “cannot validate users’ net worth,” and the limit is largely based on “self-verification” of assets. 

Weng also disclosed that the exchange will assess users’ investment background based on information submitted during know-your-customer verification. “[Investment] Beginners are limited in what they can purchase,” said Weng. 

At its debut, users can only trade Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) on HashKey Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission has not yet allowed margin trading of crypto products, nor crypto derivatives, among regulated exchanges, Weng noted. 

An recent tip-off lead to a 400 billion Yuan ($55 billion) crypto money laundering bust by Chinese police.
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