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SBF hit with new charges, Coinbase announces new blockchain, Binance closes accounts

SBF hit with new charges, Coinbase announces new blockchain, Binance closes accounts
Cathie Wood, left, has upped her bet on Coinbase while the former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, right, faces new charges.

SBF hit with new charges

FTX founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was hit with new charges in a Thursday indictment. The once-exalted crypto king was slammed with new allegations of bank fraud and a modified charge for violating campaign-finance laws. Prosecutors alleged that Bankman-Fried oversaw large donations to politicians in both major US political parties.

The new charges were stacked up alongside previous charges of wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit both wire and commodities fraud. The new indictment also called for the forfeiture of assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars, many of which have already been seized under proceeds of law. Bankman-Fried is currently on a $250 million bail. He has previously pleaded not guilty to all criminal charges.

Coinbase announces layer 2 blockchain ‘Base’

Following a cryptic tweet on Wednesday, crypto exchange Coinbase announced it will build a layer 2 blockchain on the Ethereum network. The new chain, called Base, will serve as a staging ground for Coinbase’s expansion into the world of DeFi. Coinbase said Base represented a partnership with layer 2 veteran Optimism, and will create new ways for users to interact with the wider crypto ecosystem.

A layer 2 protocol is built on top of another blockchain, and uses its own in-built technology to handle the bulk of processing power. This grants the layer 2 access to the wider network, while helping to scale layer 1, the Ethereum network in this case.

Binance ‘incorrectly classed’ 500 Australian retail accounts in error

Binance has closed 500 user accounts to comply with Australian regulations, the exchange tweeted on Thursday. The error relates to futures and derivatives trading products, normally offered only to wholesale traders due to Australian regulations. Binance said 500 users were “incorrectly classed” as wholesale traders.

“As per Australian regulation, we were required to inform these users and close any of their own derivative positions with immediate effect,” Binance said, adding that affected users would be compensated for any losses incurred due to the mishap.

Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest grabs more Coinbase stock in $13 million purchase

Cathie Wood has upped the ante on her Coinbase bet, as her firm Ark Invest scooped up $13 million worth of Coinbase (COIN) shares. The deal eclipses Ark’s $9.2 million COIN order earlier in February. She has held Coinbase stock since October of 2021. This most recent purchase comes after Coinbase beat market expectations for its quarterly earnings on Tuesday, though the company is facing regulatory pressure amid the SEC’s ongoing crypto crackdown. Ark Invest is up 30% on the year.

Dapper Labs announces new layoffs amid landmark NFT lawsuit

Dapper Labs, the NFT builder at the centre of a precedent-setting US court case, has announced it will lay off 20% of its full-time staff. It is the second such round of layoffs since November, when 22% of employees were let go from the company. On Wednesday, a judge ruled that a court case alleging Dapper Labs’ Top Shot Moments NFTs are unregistered securities may proceed to trial. If the court rules that Dapper Labs’ NFTs are securities, it could not only open up the company to face civil and criminal penalties, but it could also mean the wider NFT industry could be slammed with similar lawsuits.

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IMF joins BIS in lamenting crypto failures

Tommaso Mancini-Griffoli, a division chief for the International Monetary Fund, lamented crypto as being “more of a disappointment than a revolution” in a co-authored blog on Wednesday. This followed Bank of International Statements general manager Agustin Carstens launching on a tirade against stablecoins in a speech, expressing “serious doubts” in the legitimacy of stablecoins as money.

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