Category Archives: Ethereum

Coinbase (COIN) Becomes the Official Crypto Platform of the NBA

Coinbase Global, Inc. (Coinbase) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced a multi-year partnership that makes Coinbase the exclusive cryptocurrency platform partner of the NBA, Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), NBA G League, NBA 2K League and USA Basketball.

The deal, which marks the first cryptocurrency platform partnership for each league, will consist of unique content, innovations, activations and experiences from Coinbase to educate fans on the increasing advancements happening across the cryptoeconomy. Beginning with tonight’s tip-off of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary season, Coinbase will have a brand presence featured during nationally televised games. The company will also become the presenting partner of the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup and the USA Basketball men’s and women’s national team exhibition tours, as well as a partner of NBA G League Ignite.

CFTC Orders Tether and Bitfinex to Pay Fines Totaling $42.5 Million

Tether to Pay $41 million Over Claims that Tether Stablecoin was Fully Backed by US Dollars

Bitfitnex to Pay $1.5 Million for Illegal Transactions While Operating Bitfinex Cryptocurrency Trading Platform and Violation of Prior CFTC Order

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today issued an order simultaneously filing and settling charges against Tether Holdings Limited, Tether Limited, Tether Operations Limited, and Tether International Limited (d/b/a Tether) for making untrue or misleading statements and omissions of material fact in connection with the U.S. dollar tether token (USDT) stablecoin. The order requires Tether to pay a civil monetary penalty of $41 million and to cease and desist from any further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations, as charged. 

The CFTC today also issued a separate order simultaneously filing and settling charges against iFinex Inc., BFXNA Inc., and BFXWW Inc. (d/b/a Bitfinex) in connection with their operation of the Bitfinex cryptocurrency trading platform. The order finds Bitfinex engaged in illegal, off-exchange retail commodity transactions in digital assets with U.S persons on the Bitfinex trading platform and operated as a futures commission merchant (FCM) without registering as required. It further finds that, through this same conduct, BFXNA Inc. violated Part VII. A. of the CFTC’s June 2, 2016 order. [See CFTC Press Release No. 7380-16]  

The order requires Bitfinex to pay a $1.5 million civil monetary penalty. It also prohibits Bitfinex from further violations of the CEA, as charged, and requires Bitfinex to implement and maintain additional systems reasonably designed to prevent unlawful retail commodity transactions.

“This case highlights the expectation of honesty and transparency in the rapidly growing and developing digital assets marketplace,” said Acting Chairman Rostin Behnam. “The CFTC will continue to take decisive action to bring to light untrue or misleading statements that impact CFTC jurisdictional markets.” 

“As demonstrated by today’s actions against Tether and Bitfinex, the CFTC is committed to carrying out its statutory charge to promote market integrity and protect U.S. customers,” said Acting Director of Enforcement Vincent McGonagle. “The CFTC will use its strong anti-fraud enforcement authority over commodities, including digital assets, when necessary. The CFTC will also act to ensure that certain margined, leveraged or financed digital asset trading offered to retail U.S. customers must occur on properly registered and regulated exchanges.  Moreover, as the Bitfinex order reflects, the CFTC will take decisive action against those who choose to violate CFTC orders.” 

Tether Case Background

The order finds that since its launch in 2014, Tether has represented that the tether token is a stablecoin with its value pegged to fiat currency and 100% backed by corresponding fiat assets, including U.S. dollars and euros. However, the order finds that from at least June 1, 2016 to February 25, 2019, Tether misrepresented to customers and the market that Tether maintained sufficient U.S. dollar reserves to back every USDT in circulation with the “equivalent amount of corresponding fiat currency” held by Tether and “safely deposited” in Tether’s bank accounts. In fact Tether reserves were not “fully-backed” the majority of the time. The order further finds that Tether failed to disclose that it included unsecured receivables and non-fiat assets in its reserves, and that Tether falsely represented that it would undergo routine, professional audits to demonstrate that it maintained “100% reserves at all times” even though Tether reserves were not audited.

As found in the order, Tether held sufficient fiat reserves in its accounts to back USDT tether tokens in circulation for only 27.6% of the days in a 26-month sample time period from 2016 through 2018. The order also finds that, instead of holding all USDT token reserves in U.S. dollars as represented, Tether relied upon unregulated entities and certain third-parties to hold funds comprising the reserves; comingled reserve funds with Bitfinex’s operational and customer funds; and held reserves in non-fiat financial products. The order further finds that Tether and Bitfinex’s combined assets included funds held by third-parties, including at least 29 arrangements that were not documented through any agreement or contract, and that Tether transferred Tether reserve funds to Bitfinex, including when Bitfinex needed help responding to a “liquidity crisis.”

In addition, the order finds that Tether failed to complete routine, professional audits during the relevant time period. According to the order, Tether retained an accounting firm to perform a review of Tether reserves on a date Tether selected in advance, and Bitfinex transferred over $382 million to Tether’s bank account in advance of that review. The order recognizes that Tether has not completed an audit of the Tether reserves. 

Bitfinex Case Background

The Bitfinex order finds that from at least March 1, 2016 through at least December 31, 2018, Bitfinex offered, entered into, executed, and confirmed the execution of illegal, off-exchange financed retail commodity transactions with U.S. persons that were not eligible contract participants (ECPs) under the CEA. 

The Bitfinex order further finds that Bitfinex operated as an FCM without CFTC registration by accepting orders for, acting as a counterparty to, and accepting funds or property, including bitcoin and USDt tokens, in connection with those same retail commodity transactions. According to the order, the substantial majority of margin trading was financed through Bitfinex’s peer-to-peer funding program through which Bitfinex customers who held fiat or cryptocurrency in their Bitfinex account would “lend” those funds to other Bitfinex customers who would then use those funds to buy, sell, and trade on the Bitfinex platform. The order also finds that, during the relevant period, Bitfinex force-liquidated certain customer positions and acted as the counterparty to certain transactions.  In so doing, Bitfinex violated the terms of the 2016 order, which had directed Bitfinex to cease and desist from offering, entering into, executing, or confirming the execution of illegal, off-exchange financed retail commodity transactions, and from accepting orders and receiving funds in connection with retail commodity transactions.

In connection with this order, Bitfinex must comply with certain undertakings by December 31, 2021, including implementing, as necessary, and maintaining systems and procedures reasonably designed to prevent non-ECP U.S. persons from engaging in retail commodity transactions.

The CFTC thanks and acknowledges the assistance of the Securities Commission of The Bahamas, British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission, Ontario Securities Commission, Superintendencia del Mercado de Valores de Panama, Comissão do Mercado de Valores Mobiliários (the Portuguese Securities Market Commission), and the Seychelles Financial Services Authority.

The Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Candy Haan, Bryan Hsueh, Cristina Covarrubias, Benjamin Jackman, Ray Lavko, Elizabeth N. Pendleton, Scott R. Williamson, and Robert T. Howell, as well as former enforcement staff members Michael Frisch, Jeffrey Gomberg, Brigitte C. Weyls, and Susan Gradman. 

The CFTC also strongly urges the public to verify a company’s registration with the Commission before committing funds. If unregistered, a customer should be wary of providing funds to that entity. A company’s registration status can be found using NFA BASIC.

CFTC Imposes A $1.25 Million Penalty against Kraken for Offering Illegal Off-Exchange Digital Asset Trading and Failing to Register as Required

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission issued an order filing and settling charges against respondent Payward Ventures, Inc. d/b/a Kraken (Kraken) for illegally offering margined retail commodity transactions in digital assets, including Bitcoin, and failing to register as a futures commission merchant (FCM). Kraken, founded in 2011, is one of the largest digital asset exchanges in the U.S.

The order requires Kraken to pay a $1.25 million civil monetary penalty and to cease and desist from further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA), as charged.

“This action is part of the CFTC’s broader effort to protect U.S. customers,” said Acting Director of Enforcement Vincent McGonagle. “Margined, leveraged or financed digital asset trading offered to retail U.S. customers must occur on properly registered and regulated exchanges in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.”

Case Background

The CFTC’s order finds that from approximately June 2020 to July 2021, Kraken offered margined retail commodity transactions in digital assets to U.S. customers who were not eligible contract participants. According to the order, Kraken served as the sole margin provider and maintained physical and/or constructive custody of all assets purchased using margin for the duration of a customer’s open margined position. 

Where a customer purchased an asset using margin, Kraken supplied the digital asset or national currency to pay the seller for the asset. Kraken required customers to exit their positions and repay the assets received to trade on margin within 28 days. Customers could not transfer assets away from Kraken until satisfying their repayment obligation. If repayment was not made within 28 days, Kraken could unilaterally force the margin position to be liquidated. Kraken could also initiate a forced liquidation if the value of the collateral dipped below a certain threshold percentage of the total outstanding margin. As a result, actual delivery of the purchased assets failed to occur.

These transactions were unlawful because they were required to take place on a designated contract market and did not. Additionally, by soliciting and accepting orders for and entering into retail commodity transactions with customers, and accepting money or property (or extending credit in lieu thereof) to margin these transactions, Kraken illegally operated as an unregistered FCM.

The Division of Enforcement staff responsible for this action are Daniel Jordan, Rishi Gupta, Erica Bodin, and Rick Glaser. Philip W. Raimondi of the Legal Division, Richard Mo of the Division of Data, Rachel K. Reicher of the Division of Market Oversight, and former staff member of the Division of Market Oversight, Thomas Leahy assisted in this matter.

Now get your paycheck deposited into Coinbase

By Prakash Hariramani, Sr Director, Product, Coinbase

Over the next few weeks, we’re rolling out the ability for customers in the US to deposit their paycheck into Coinbase to more easily make regular crypto trades, spend on Coinbase Card, earn crypto rewards¹, and more. Get paid in crypto² or in US dollars and deposit as much³ or as little of your paycheck as you want. The future of payroll is coming.

Get easy and zero-fee access to crypto

There are many reasons why customers make frequent transfers into Coinbase: to make short or long-term investments, to earn interest on yield-generating assets, and to fund everyday purchases with Coinbase Card. However, customers tell us that making frequent transfers is time-consuming and inconvenient.

Now, you’ll save time on the extra steps it takes to move money so you can immediately earn interest on your income or earn crypto rewards with your Coinbase Card. Plus, you’ll pay zero transaction fees on direct deposit funds⁴ so you have instant and free access to the cryptoeconomy.

Maintain full control

Stay in control of your money by depositing as little or as much of your paycheck as you want. Get paid in any of the 100+ crypto available on Coinbase or in US Dollars. Choose to get paid in crypto so you can make recurring buys or earn interest on your income (by getting paid in USDC, DAI, or other interest-yielding assets), or choose to get paid in US Dollars to be ready for any trade or to spend with your Coinbase Card.

Set up just once

You can set up direct deposit in just a few steps without leaving the Coinbase app. Tap direct deposit in the settings, follow the instructions, and find your current payroll company or employer, and we’ll automatically update your paycheck allocation. If you’d prefer to set up direct deposit manually, we’ll provide instructions on what to share with your HR department or employer payroll website. You can modify your direct deposit preferences at any time within your Settings.

Enter the future of payroll

As you begin to do more with your crypto from staking to spending to sending, we’re also making it easier for businesses to pay their employees in crypto. We’ve partnered with a number of companies, including Fortress Investment Group, M31 Capital, Nansen, and SuperRare Labs, to allow employees throughout the creator economy and financial services to enter the future of payroll.

Stay tuned for announcements in the coming months as we make it easier for more businesses to pay employees in crypto.

¹Crypto rewards is an optional offer.

²If you choose to be paid in crypto, Coinbase will automatically convert your paycheck from US dollars to crypto with no transaction fees.

³Limits apply, see terms.

No Coinbase transaction fees but a spread applies when we buy, sell, or trade cryptocurrencies. Other standard fees may apply, and will be shared during Coinbase Card sign-up.

The Coinbase Card is issued by MetaBank®, N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. The Coinbase Card is powered by Marqeta.

The9 Limited, Polygon, and Protocol Labs Announced Ecosystem Collaboration on NFTSTAR and GameFi Play-to-earn Projects

The9 Limited (Nasdaq: NCTY) (“The9”), an established internet company, Polygon, an Ethereum scaling platform, and Protocol Labs, Inc. (“Protocol Labs”), a major contributor of open-source projects including InterPlanetary File System, or IPFS, and Filecoin, today announced that they are forming an ecosystem collaboration on The9’s Non-Fungible Token (NFT) platform NFTSTAR and GameFi Play-to-Earn projects.

The9 announced NFTSTAR as one of its core businesses in August 2021. NFTSTAR is a NFT trading and community platform that provides users with purchase, trade, and interactive activities. The platform will feature NFT collections created by global stars’ licensed IPs. Users can purchase and own stars’ limited NFT collections. Each NFT collectible has a unique record on the blockchain, and the users will obtain the ownership of the unique NFT collectibles through purchase on the platform, or through trading on NFTSTAR’s marketplace. NFTSTAR will accept general payment methods, such as credit cards, to make it easy for mainstream consumers to participate. NFTSTAR (www.nftstar.com) is expected to be officially launched in the fourth quarter of this year.

The three parties have formed an ecosystem collaboration on NFTSTAR and GameFi Projects including but not limited to the following areas:

  1. The9’s NFTSTAR platform and the GameFi projects developed by The9 will consider Polygon as the first priority of public blockchain to support the technical operation and maintenance.
  2. NFT collectibles on NFTSTAR platform will be stored on IPFS and Filecoin network through leveraging the decentralized systems to enhance NFT products’ security.
  3. The three parties will initiate discussions to form a GameFi fund, which will seek promising GameFi projects to invest in and provide financial and technical support to them. The three parties will also collaborate to identify new partners for the fund and continue to explore potential investment opportunities globally.

Seeking to contribute resources and experience to stimulate the development of NFT and GameFi businesses, The9 welcomes relevant project teams or organizations to join this alliance, for a better growth of the NFT and GameFi ecosystem.

About The9 Limited

The9 Limited (The9) is an Internet company listed on Nasdaq in 2004. The9 aims to become a global diversified high-tech Internet company.

About Polygon

Polygon is the leading platform for Ethereum scaling and infrastructure development. Its growing suite of products offers developers easy access to all major scaling and infrastructure solutions: L2 solutions (ZK Rollups and Optimistic Rollups), sidechains, hybrid solutions, stand-alone and enterprise chains, data availability solutions, and more. Polygon’s scaling solutions have seen widespread adoption with 500+ applications hosted, ~600M total transactions processed, ~60M unique user addresses, and $5B+ in assets secured.

If you’re an Ethereum Developer, you’re already a Polygon developer! Leverage Polygon’s fast and secure txns for your Dapp, get started here.

About Protocol Labs

Protocol Labs is an open-source research, development, and deployment laboratory. Our projects include IPFS, Filecoin, libp2p, and many more. We aim to make human existence orders of magnitude better through technology.

We are a fully distributed company. Our team of more than 100 members works remotely and in the open to improve the internet — humanity’s most important technology — as we explore new advances in computing and related fields.

Cryptocurrencies Slump as China’s Central Bank says all cryptocurrency-related transactions are illegal

Cryptocurrencies are under severe selling pressure after China’s Central Bank says all cryptocurrency transactions are illegal.

According to an announcement in its website the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) says that all cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, ethereum and tether, are not fiat currencies and cannot be circulated on the market. China Central Bank also says that overseas Cryptocurrency exchanges must not provide services to mainland investors

On the news Bitcoin is down 4.61% at 42573, Ethereum is down 7.92% at 2890, litecoin is giving up 8.08% at 150.67 while Ripple is 7.66% lower at 0.9240.

The History of Chinese Cryptocurrencies bans

On December 6, 2013, China banned bitcoin and the price of BTC lost almost half of its value from $1200 to $800.

On June 20, 2021, China banned almost 90% of the miners.

Ethereum Breaks Below 2750

Ethereum price is under severe selling pressure after the markets close. ETHUSD is now down 8.5% at 2748 hitting the daily low and the lowest level since August 6.

In Wall Street, the major indices ended at the daily low with Dow Jones and S&P 500 turning red after spending the entire trading session in positive territory. Investors fear that the liquidity crisis at Chinese real estate developers Sinic and Evergrande would lead to global contagion.

The sell-off in cryptocurrencies accelerates after the stock markets close. Bitcoin as of writing is 5.72% lower at 40511, Litecoin is 4.60% lower at 149.81 and Ripple is 4.93% lower at 0.8741. Cardano is 4.61% lower at 1.982.

J.P. Morgan analysts claimed that Ethereum (ETHUSD) is trading well above its fair value, based on Ethereum’s network activity and rising concerns about competition with other DeFi platforms. Strategist Panigirtzoglou, said that ETH fair value is around $1,500.

Ethereum price breached yesterday below the 50 day moving average while today is approaching the 100-day moving average at 3717. A break below that support could attract more sellers targeting the next support at the 200-day moving average around 2588.

EY announces integration with Polygon protocol and framework on Ethereum scaling solutions

The EY organization today announced it is using the Polygon protocol and framework to deploy EY blockchain solutions on the public Ethereum blockchain ecosystem.

As more enterprises adopt blockchain technology, transaction volumes and costs on the main public Ethereum blockchain have risen. Adopting Polygon’s commit chain solutions allows the EY organization to offer enterprise users increased transaction volumes with predictable costs and settlement times and the option to move transactions onto the public Ethereum mainnet.

EY has connected the Polygon public, permissionless commit chain into EY flagship blockchain services including EY OpsChain and EY Blockchain Analyzer. EY clients can connect their business operations into Polygon networks with just a simple configuration change on blockchain.ey.com. The main Polygon systems network and the main Polygon test and development network are now both directly accessible from blockchain.ey.com.

In addition to integrating the main Polygon commit chain into blockchain.ey.com, the EY organization is working with Polygon to create permissioned, private industry chains leveraging new models for handling transaction verification to increase efficiency and reduce transaction costs known as an optimistic rollup1. These industry chains would offer enterprises the comfort and security of a closed system but retain the close alignment with the public Ethereum mainnet that would make a future transition to public networks faster and lower risk.

Paul Brody, EY Global Blockchain Leader, says:

“Working with Polygon provides EY teams with a powerful set of tools to scale transactions for clients and offers a faster roadmap to integration on the public Ethereum mainnet. We discovered our shared priorities around open system and networks and the Ethereum ecosystem would make collaboration in this area much easier.”

Sandeep Nailwal, Co-founder, Polygon, says:

“The EY commitment to the public Ethereum ecosystem and to open standards was a big driver in evolving shared approaches. No other organization has made the same scale of commitment to the ecosystem and to open systems, or brings the depth of technology that the EY organization has in this space.”

Both the EY organization and Polygon are working on common roadmaps that will help prioritize enterprise-friendly features into the ecosystem with a particular focus on privacy technologies that enable sophisticated use cases and support regulatory compliance.

Stephen Curry Becomes Global Ambassador and Shareholder of Leading Cryptocurrency Exchange FTX

West Realm Shires Services Inc. and FTX Trading Limited, the companies behind FTX.US and FTX.COM respectively, today announced a long-term partnership with three-time NBA champion, two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, philanthropist and entrepreneur, Stephen Curry. In connection with being an FTX global ambassador, Curry will receive an equity stake in FTX Trading Limited and Curry’s foundation, Eat.Learn.Play., will partner with FTX on charitable initiatives.

“I’m excited to partner with a company that demystifies the crypto space and eliminates the intimidation factor for first-time users,” said Curry.  “FTX is likeminded when it comes to giving back to the community in meaningful ways and I can’t wait to see what we can achieve together.”

Curry, who has spent his entire 12-season professional career with the Golden State Warriors, is the latest high-profile athlete to partner with FTX in 2021, joining NFL stars Tom Brady and Trevor Lawrence. Curry’s equity stake in FTX Trading Limited further advances the company’s position as the fastest growing and most trusted place to buy, sell and trade Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, NFTs and other digital assets. He will be taking on the role of global ambassador to expand the reach of the FTX brand and tout the viability of cryptocurrency to new audiences around the world through several upcoming initiatives.

The partnership with FTX marks the 33-year-old’s first investment in the cryptocurrency space as the burgeoning entrepreneur continues to diversify his growing portfolio.

Additionally, FTX has committed to providing an annual charitable contribution to Stephen and Ayesha Curry’s foundation, Eat.Learn.Play. The foundation seeks to unlock the full potential of every child, anchored around the three core values vital to a successful childhood: nutrition, education and active living. Likeminded with FTX, Eat.Learn.Play. and its founders are committed to ensuring an equal road to a brighter future for all kids, with a specific focus on fighting to end childhood hunger, ensuring students have access to a quality education and providing safe places for all children to play and be active. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Eat.Learn.Play. and its community partners have served over 17 million nutritious meals to Oakland kids and families affected.   

Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX, said, “After meeting and speaking with Stephen, it was clear that he is a seamless fit for FTX. His tireless commitment to charity alongside a ferocious work ethic to become the greatest in any arena he steps foot in, whether it is basketball, investing or business, perfectly align with FTX’s core values. I look forward to working together with Stephen to create a positive impact for those who need it most in the world.”

About FTX.US

FTX.US is a US-regulated cryptocurrency exchange, built from the ground up. Its mission is for FTX.US to grow the digital currency ecosystem, offer US and international traders a platform that inspires their loyalty, and to become the market leading US regulated cryptocurrency exchange by volume within the next two years.

To learn more about FTX.US, please visit: https://ftx.us/

About FTX.COM

FTX.COM is a cryptocurrency exchange built by traders, for traders. It offers innovative products, including industry-leading derivatives, options and volatility products, tokenized stocks, prediction markets, leveraged tokens and an OTC desk. FTX.COM strives to be an intuitive yet powerful platform for all kinds of users, and to be the most innovative exchange in the industry.  FTX.COM has grown quickly since its founding, becoming one of the most respected cryptocurrency exchanges in the world in less than 2 years.

Consumer warning on Binance Markets Limited and the Binance Group

Binance Markets Limited is not permitted to undertake any regulated activity in the UK. This firm is part of a wider Group (Binance Group).

Due to the imposition of requirements by the FCA, Binance Markets Limited is not currently permitted to undertake any regulated activities without the prior written consent of the FCA.

No other entity in the Binance Group holds any form of UK authorisation, registration or licence to conduct regulated activity in the UK.

The Binance Group appear to be offering UK customers a range of products and services via a website, Binance.com.

Investing in cryptoassets generally

Be wary of adverts online and on social media promising high returns on investments in cryptoasset or cryptoasset-related products.

Most firms advertising and selling investments in cryptoassets are not authorised by the FCA. This means that if you invest in certain cryptoassets you will not have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme if things go wrong.

While we don’t regulate cryptoassets like Bitcoin or Ether, we do regulate certain cryptoasset derivatives (such as futures contracts, contracts for difference and options), as well as those cryptoassets we would consider ‘securities’ – find out more information. A firm must be authorised by us to advertise or sell these products in the UK – check our Register to make sure the firm is authorised. You can also check our Warning List of firms to avoid.

You should do further research on the product you are considering and the firm you are considering investing with. Check with Companies House to see if the firm is registered as a UK company and for directors’ names. To see if others have posted any concerns, search online for the firm’s name, directors’ names and the product you are considering.

Always be wary if you are contacted out of the blue, pressured to invest quickly or promised returns that sound too good to be true.