News: Radio silence from QuadrigaCX, wash trading doesn’t pay, and KYC data turning up on the dark web

screen shot 2019-01-26 at 11.46.22 pmQuadrigaCX customers are still waiting to get their funds. The Canada-based crypto exchange has been eerily quiet since reporting on January 14 that its CEO Gerald Cotten died in India—a month earlier. 

Since then, the only sign of life has been a single tweet warning customers that another twitter account was fake.

Trouble began a year ago when the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce froze about $22 million in US dollars in an account opened by QuadrigaCX’s payment processor. The majority of the frozen funds were released in December, but customers still aren’t getting their money. In recent developments, one user on Reddit claims that he received $18,000. But several more of the exchange’s customers are complaining that their fiat withdrawals are being marked as completed with no money coming through.  

Customers are unable to move crypto out of the exchange either. Some report that requests are simply left pending.

According to a petition submitted to the Supreme Court of British Columbia on January 22, QuadrigaCX was to hold a shareholders meeting on January 25 to appoint a new director. When Cotten died on December 9, he left the company with no officers, and no way to carry out its business. Still, it is not clear if that is what is holding up funds or if something nefarious is going on. Two days after the shareholders meeting, the exchange still hasn’t posted an update.  

Crime, or in this case wash trading, doesn’t pay. Two executives at South Korean crypto exchange Komid are heading off to jail for faking volume, according to BlockinPress. Choi, the CEO, was sentenced to three years; Park, another executive, was sentenced to two years. Court documents say the faked volume led Choi and Park to earn $45 million.

Know-your-customer (KYC) data (ID cards, drivers licenses, and more) from several top exchanges, including Binance, Bittrex, Bitfinex, and Poloniex, appears to have surfaced on the dark web. Binance claims the data is not coming from its servers. Bitfinex also claims its databases have not been breached.

Since the markets crashed, crypto exchanges are looking for ways to boost their profits. To that end, Coinbase announced that is expanding its institutional trading services to Asia. The San Francisco-based exchange also now supports SWIFT wire transfers that will allow clients in Asia to fund their accounts from banks based outside the U.S.  

Immutability (aka “be your own bank”) has been a big selling point for blockchain. But it also makes mistakes especially painful. Korean crypto exchange Coinzest (not to be confused with Coinnest, a separate exchange) accidentally airdropped $5.3 million worth of bitcoin and other crypto to its customers. 

Polkadot, a project founded by former Ethereum CTO Gavin Wood, aims to solve the problem of blockchain interability. (If you’re not sure what that means, Wood tries to explain it here.) In October 2017, Polkadot raised $145 million worth of ETH in an ICO. Shortly after, $98 million of those funds became frozen due to a bug in Parity wallets, another Wood project. But that’s okay, because you can always get more funding.

In fact, earlier this month, Ethereum gave Parity Technologies, the umbrella company that Parity and Polkadot fall under, a $5 million grant. (Read this Reddit thread to get a sense of how the community felt about that.) Now Polkadot is reportedly looking to raise $60 million through another ICO, according to the Wall Street Journal. Polkadot still does not have a working product.

After one year of serving as CEO of decentralized media platform po.et, Jarrod Dicker has stepped down and returned to the Washington Post. Po.et allows journalists to create time-stamped titles for their work on a blockchain. The problem is, creating archives of our work is not a problem we journalist have. (I mean, there are lots of services that do that, and most of them are free.) Rather, it appears to be just another thinly veiled excuse for launching an ICO. Po.et raised $10 million in August 2017. 

Crypto lawyer Stephen Palley reports on the latest developments in the Tezos class action suit for The Block. In support of “yeah, this was a securities offering,” plaintiffs in the case cite emails from Tezos CEO Kathleen Breitman with securities-like wording. Oops! Tezos raised $232 million in an uncapped ICO in June 2017. The project has gotten criticism for raising above and beyond what most startups need to launch a business.

Galaxy Digital, the crypto merchant bank launched by former hedge fund manager Michael Novogratz, is reportedly raising $250 million for a credit fund aimed at helping needy crypto firms, according to Business Insider. If you are curious about how Novogratz got into crypto (hint: he was Ethereum co-founder and crypto billionaire Joe Lubin’s roommate at Princeton), read this New Yorker piece from April 2018. 

Bitcoiners don’t like to pay taxes. Some crypto folks are getting riled up about Senator Elizabeth Warren’s proposed wealth tax, calling it “theft.” Warren wants to levy a 2 percent tax on assets over $50 million and a 3 percent tax on assets over $1 billion.

Kyle Gibson, a crypto enthusiast and avid researchers who lives in Boston has pulled together a wealth of information on the Texas Department of Banking Memo 1037 and what it could mean for crypto, beyond stablecoins and their issuers. It is worth a read. 

 

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