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Last Week [in] Crypto: Crypto Winter Blows out Bitcoin Speculators, British Army’s Twitter Hacked, US Employees Barred From Owning Crypto

Be[in]Crypto has trawled through the news stories over the last week to bring you up to speed on the most important happenings in the ecosystem. The stories range from Ethereum’s sinking volumes, a massive Chinese data breach, Central African Republic’s new crypto hub, Shiba Inu’s incoming stablecoin, and the Celsius quagmire.

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No end in sight for cold crypto winter 

The plunging of asset prices shows no signs of a reversal as the markets wallow under the weight of the bearish sentiments. A report by Glassnode indicates that low prices have seen bitcoin “tourists” and “speculative entities” exit their positions, while only long-term HODLers remain. 

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BTC was not the only crypto asset to suffer setbacks, as on-chain data shows Ethereum had its own woes. ETH transaction volumes for the second quarter of 2022 stood at $1.68 trillion, a 49% decrease from 2021.

Assets are not the only areas affected by the winter, as crypto exchanges have had their own piece of the humble pie. Last week, Vauld became the latest exchange to suspend withdrawals, trading, and deposits, citing “volatile market conditions.” The exchange’s statement hinted that there remains the possibility of total restructuring, and has applied to the courts for a moratorium against lawsuits.

As the markets quake, Sam Bankman-Fried reiterated his desire to save struggling companies by extending lines of credit. The FTX CEO revealed that he still has a “few billions” after helping BlockFi and Voyager through his quantitative trading firm, Alameda Research.

Hackers continue their spree

The crypto industry recorded reports of hacker activity over the last week. The Twitter and YouTube accounts of the British Army were hacked, with the perpetrators using the accounts to promote fake NFT projects. The accounts were recovered within 24 hours, with a full-scale investigation underway to arrest the culprits.

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Changpeng Zhao, Binance CEO, raised alarm over the massive data leak of one billion Chinese residents with the information going on sale on the dark web. The hacker has put the price for the information at 10 BTC, and it could have implications for Binance as bad actors can get their hands on sensitive, private information.

A wave of romance scams is sweeping across the U.S. with nearly $200 million lost to fraudsters in the first six months of the year. The report noted that the average victim lost $10,000 to scams involving fake crypto investments, with millennials being the most targeted demographic.

In a positive light, Brazilian police busted a criminal organization using crypto to launder the proceeds from illicit gold mining operations, while researchers at the University of Chicago have created an algorithm to predict crypto fraud up to one week in advance.

The state of crypto legislation around the globe

Last week was iconic for crypto regulations, as legislative houses globally passed a series of groundbreaking bills. The European Union had a provisional agreement that required full details of all crypto transactions to be collected, which sparked diverse opinions. For Brian Armstrong, the new bill is seen as a welcome development that could “serve as a model for other countries to follow.”

Regulation

In the U.S., the government has prohibited employees involved in regulations related to the crypto industry from holding cryptocurrencies. The new rule was the brainchild of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) with the only exception being that employees can hold $50,000 in mutual funds in companies working in the crypto space.

The government of the Central African Republic (CAR) launched a crypto hub over the last week. The hub, Sango Project, comes packed with an e-residency program, and a citizenship program as the country’s president argues that “digital gold” will serve as the engine of the nation’s civilization.

Stablecoins and lawsuits

Shiba Inu disclosed that the ecosystem is nearing the launch of its native stablecoin named SHI. Shytoshi Kusama, the head developer, stated that the stablecoin forms part of the attempts to give the stablecoin real-world utility aside from the tag of meme coin.

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Aave, a leading crypto project, followed in Shiba Inu’s footsteps to announce the launch of GHO, a U.S. dollar-pegged stablecoin to make access to DeFi features easier. To prevent a repeat of TerraUSD’s (UST) de-pegging, GHO will be overcollateralized and backed by multiple crypto assets.

While rival blockchains unveiled a series of developments, Solana was hit by a class-action lawsuit with the allegation that major players in the Solana ecosystem were illegally profiting from SOL. The claims filed by aggrieved persons argue that SOL was sold without any registration statements, which amounts to a violation of existing securities law.

Celsius saga far from over

Troubled crypto platform Celsius has repaid $142 million worth of loans to MakerDAO and an additional $67 million to Aave and Compound as it tries to find its footing after suspending withdrawals for customers. FTX and Nexo have been rumored to offer a lending hand to the struggling firm, but it seems the company is swimming alone to shore.

Celsius lending


Despite the brave attempts of the company, it has been plagued with reports of fraud and illegalities. Last week, an ex-employee of the company initiated a lawsuit against the firm, accusing it of market manipulation, accounting failures, and branding it “a classic Ponzi scheme.”

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