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Daily Crypto News

  1. Maple Finance’s $54M of Sour Debt Shows Risks of Crypto Lending Without Collateral — The blockchain-based lending protocol Maple Finance started in May 2021 with a bold concept: Build a decentralized credit marketplace for cryptocurrencies, where lenders and borrowers could come together. Unlike many other decentralized finance (DeFi) lending platforms that have cropped up in recent years in the nascent digital-asset industry, Maple’s model would not require extra cryptocurrencies to be deposited as collateral that could be seized or quickly liquidated in the event of a default. Instead, underwriters of various lending “pools” would make the decision on whether to grant loans — essentially evaluating the borrower’s ability to pay based on their creditworthiness alone.
  2. Terra cryptocurrency fugitive Do Kwon flew to Serbia last month, South Korean prosecutor says — Interpol fugitive Kwon Do-hyung, who is wanted for questioning in the US$40 billion collapse of his cryptocurrency project, flew to the Republic of Serbia last month, South Korean prosecutors told Forkast, confirming local media reports. Prosecutor Choi Sung-kook of the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office said it hadn’t been confirmed if the former head of the Singapore-based cryptocurrency company Terraform Labs Pte. is still in Serbia. South Korea’s Ministry of Justice is requesting investigative assistance from the Serbian government, Choi said, confirming a report by the local Yonhap news agency. Kwon, a South Korean national usually known as Do Kwon, had his passport nullified last month as part of efforts to locate and extradite him to South Korea, where he faces multiple charges, including fraud and violation of the Capital Markets Act. Interpol has issued a “red notice” on Kwon, which asks law enforcements worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest an individual. He is believed to have left his home in Singapore in September, traveled to Dubai and then left for Serbia.
  3. Bitcoin, Ether down as markets brace for November inflation data — Bitcoin and Ether fell slightly in Monday morning trading in Asia, along with all other non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies in the top 10, excluding Litecoin. Investors await November’s consumer price index, a key inflation indicator to be released Tuesday, while bracing for another interest rate hike on Wednesday.
  4. Cathie Wood says FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried disliked Bitcoin because he ‘couldn’t control it’ — Ark Invest CEO Cathie Wood made waves last month by maintaining her bullish stance on Bitcoin. Despite the cryptocurrency having sunk more than 60% in the year to below $17,000 at the time, she confidently predicted it would hit $1 million by 2030, reiterating a call that her firm made in April. This weekend, she signaled her continued confidence in Bitcoin and shared data to back it up, while also criticizing Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and ex-CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX. FTX abruptly collapsed last month, shaking confidence in a sector that was already reeling from a “crypto winter.” On Saturday, Wood tweeted, “The Bitcoin blockchain didn’t skip a beat during the crisis caused by opaque centralized players. No wonder Sam Bankman Fried didn’t like Bitcoin: it’s transparent and decentralized. He couldn’t control it.” Wood also shared a link to a Bitcoin report from her firm, which stated: “Despite market volatility associated with FTX’s demise, the supply held by long-term holders — or the supply last moved 155 days ago or more — closed flat for the month of November. We believe this datapoint indicates holders’ long-term focus and high conviction, despite recent events. Today, long-term-holder supply is 72% of bitcoin’s total circulating supply.”
  5. Sam Bankman-Fried ‘Willing to Testify,’ Crypto’s New Bottom Signal, Stablecoin Wars Rage On — FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried continued to hold the industry’s attention hostage after a public back-and-forth between Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) and yet more sparring with Binance’s CEO. The Twitter chat with Maxine Waters, who is also chair of the House Financial Services Committee, actually kicked off last week, with the California politician inviting SBF to testify before the committee and even complimenting his “candid” discussion around the collapse of FTX. It wasn’t until this week, though, that her tone changed. “It is imperative that you attend our hearing on the 13th,” wrote Waters. The hearing, first announced days after FTX’s bankruptcy filing in November, is expected to unpack a bit more about how one of the industry’s largest crypto exchanges collapsed, leaving millions of investors without access to their money. It is imperative that you attend our hearing on the 13th, and we are willing to schedule continued hearings if there is more information to be shared later. (3/3)
  6. U.S. Senator Says He Sees ‘No Reason Why’ Crypto Exists — In a Sunday appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Montana farmer and teacher turned U.S. Senator Jon Tester told host Chuck Todd that cryptocurrency has “not been able to pass the smell test for me.” The Democratic senator, who serves on the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, was invited on the program to discuss the defection of former Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. “You used some colorful language to describe crypto,” Todd asked as the segment drew to a close. “Should the government be regulating it or banning it?” “One or the other,” Tester replied. Crypto Regulation Is Not So Complex, Crypto Skeptics Say “I have not been able to find anybody who’s been able to explain to me what’s there other than synthetics — which means nothing,” he continued. “The problem is… if we regulated it, it may give it the ability of people to think it’s real.” “I’m not a regulator and I’m not a financial person that does regulation,” Tester disclaimed, but concluded his thoughts on crypto by saying, “I see no reason why this stuff should exist. I really don’t.”
  7. Chelsea reportedly loses $25 million crypto sponsorship deal as FTX’s collapse hammers other platforms — Crypto lender Amber will end its $25 million sponsorship of Chelsea soccer club, Bloomberg reported Friday. The move is part of a cost-cutting push at Amber, as FTX’s collapse sends crypto companies reeling. FTX’s bankruptcy could jeopardize its own deals with the Miami Heat and the Mercedes F1 team. Signs of stress in the crypto sector continue to emerge, as lender Amber Group will terminate its sponsorship agreement with English soccer giants Chelsea, according to a Bloomberg report. Amber, which was valued at $3 billion in a February fundraising round, will end the deal as part of cost-cutting measures, the Bloomberg report said, citing people familiar with the matter. Its plans include laying off around 300 of the Singapore-based group’s 700 members of staff. In March, Amber agreed to pay 20 million pounds ($25 million) for its flagship crypto exchange WhaleFin to become Chelsea’s official sleeve sponsor.
  8. Bitcoin’s Lightning Network Could Be Getting a Privacy Upgrade — The Lightning Network, Bitcoin’s layer 2 scaling platform, has a privacy problem. Receiving payments, requesting refunds, and opening and closing payment channels (connections between Lightning nodes) — all raise privacy concerns for users of the payment network. Those concerns have inspired protocol-based solutions like “Basis of Lightning Technology 12” (BOLT 12), a proposed system that not only enhances privacy but also introduces many other useful features. (BOLTs are Lightning draft proposals similar to Bitcoin improvement proposals or BIP.) Independent systems have also sprung up — notably, lnproxy, an invoice privacy tool (invoices are simply payment requests), and LNURL, a suite of tools for enabling communication between various Lightning applications and services over the web. So what’s a privacy-focused Bitcoiner to do, rely on the fledgling BOLT 12 specification or turn to one of these independent tools? “The best thing about BOLT 12 and the technologies it relies on is that you won’t need anything else,” Rusty Russell told CoinDesk. Russell is the lead developer of Core Lightning (CLN) at Bitcoin infrastructure firm, Blockstream. “Lightning nodes will give everyone the privacy they should have by default.”
  9. Binance’s CEO tried to warn Sam Bankman-Fried: ‘The more damage you do now, the more jail time.’ — As crypto exchange FTX collapsed, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao got alarmed that its then-boss Sam Bankman-Fried was making moves that could topple the entire industry and tried to stop him, the New York Times has reported. Zhao urged Bankman-Fried to hold off from making trades that the Binance boss believed would intensify the crypto crisis sparked by FTX’s implosion, the Friday report said, citing a text messages obtained by the NYT. “Stop now, don’t cause more damage,” Zhao wrote in a group chat with Bankman-Fried and other crypto executives. “The more damage you do now, the more jail time.” In the text messages, Zhao accused FTX’s sister trading arm Alameda Research of trying to drive the price of stablecoin Tether below the $1 level it’s meant to be pegged at. Analysts have repeatedly warned that if Tether collapses, that would cause a wider crypto crash. The Binance boss pointed to a $250,000 trade by Alameda that he believed was orchestrated by Bankman-Fried to depeg Tether. But the FTX founder denied the claims, calling them “absurd,” the NYT reported. “My honest advice: stop doing everything,” Zhao told him in response. “Put on a suit, and go back to DC, and start to answer questions.” Representatives for Zhao and Bankman-Fried did not respond immediately to Insider’s requests for comment.

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