FTX pushes for settlement, Stake suffers massive hack, regulatory efforts thrive

FTX pushes for settlement, Stake suffers massive hack, regulatory efforts thrive

This week, FTX initiated creditor settlement initiatives, as regulatory efforts commanded significant attention. Meanwhile, Stake fell victim to a multi-million-dollar exploit.

FTX moving to settle creditor debt

As part of a calculated aim to tackle its sizable debt exceeding $8 billion, FTX started streamlining its digital asset portfolio this week.

Their approach entails reconnecting crypto assets to their corresponding blockchain networks, alongside a scheme to relocate their Solana (SOL) and other assets to BitGo. 

This shift comes on the heels of the court’s selection of BitGo as the court-appointed custodian, which was prompted by FTX’s declaration of bankruptcy in November 2022.

Reports surfaced this week suggesting that FTX is embarking on a mission to recover substantial sums previously distributed to celebrity endorsers. Among these luminaries are tennis sensation Naomi Osaka and NBA star Shaquille O’Neal.

FTX’s financial advisors are currently exploring avenues to reclaim the substantial sums that were allocated for endorsement deals with these prominent sports figures.

Meanwhile, during this week’s proceedings, Sam Bankman-Fried’s legal team contended that their client’s capacity to reach vital legal documents through laptops faces significant limitations.

They pointed out the alleged inadequate conditions prevailing at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC), asserting that these conditions are impeding Bankman-Fried’s ability to adequately prepare for his impending trial scheduled for October.

Regulatory drama

In what appears to be a weekly tradition, the regulatory scene in the U.S. witnessed another round of drama this week. 

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reached a resolution with Linus Financial, a company based in Nashville, regarding the non-registration of their Linus Interest Accounts, a crypto lending product.

The regulatory agency acknowledged Linus Financial’s cooperation and prompt corrective measures, leading them to decide against imposing penalties.

Linus Financial introduced these accounts in March 2020, but the SEC identified them as unregistered securities. In response, the firm voluntarily discontinued offering these accounts in March 2022 and refunded all investor funds.

This week, the SEC unveiled the reason behind its intention to contest the recent court ruling that favored Ripple and XRP. The agency cited the presence of “knotty legal problems.”

The SEC insists on challenging the court’s verdict, which established that XRP qualified as a security when marketed to institutional investors but not when sold to retail investors.

GOP Congressman aims to clip SEC’s wings 

On Sept. 8, Republican Congressman Tom Emmer took to X (formerly Twitter) to disclose his plan to introduce an amendment aimed at curbing the U.S. SEC’s access to its crypto regulatory budget.

Emmer expressed worries regarding what he views as an overreach of authority by SEC Chair Gary Gensler and seeks to impose restrictions on the allocation of funds for the enforcement of digital asset regulations.

CFTC targets DeFi protocols

The U.S. CFTC also grabbed attention this week when it initiated proceedings against three decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols due to their non-registration of derivative trading products.

Opyn, ZeroEx, and Deridex, the implicated companies, were individually instructed to settle fines amounting to $250,000, $200,000, and $100,000, respectively.

The charges leveled by the CFTC stem from breaches of customer regulations, Bank Secrecy Act stipulations, and the illicit provision of leveraged crypto-focused retail commodity transactions.

Taiwan to restrict offshore exchanges

Besides the drama witnessed in the U.S., regulatory affairs remained prevalent across the globe. News emerged on Sept. 7 revealing that Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission is poised to impose constraints on unregistered offshore exchanges conducting business within its territory.

The regulatory body has developed ten guidelines for local cryptocurrency oversight concerning virtual asset service providers. 

The agency will formally unveil these guidelines by the end of September. It will encompass criteria for listing and delisting, the segregation of platform and customer assets, and the execution of anti-money laundering (AML) protocols.

The need for unified global regulation

This week, the heads of G20 countries gave their approval to the Financial Stability Board’s (FSB) proposals for overseeing the cryptocurrency sector.

This noteworthy development transpired at the New Delhi Leaders’ Summit on Sep. 9, where G20 countries reaffirmed their dedication to overseeing the ever-changing digital finance arena.

The support from such a prominent global forum highlights the growing recognition of the need for coordinated and effective crypto regulation on an international scale.

Meanwhile, Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s Finance Minister, called upon nations this week to work together on worldwide cryptocurrency regulation during her speech at this year’s Global Fintech Fest.

Sitharaman underscored the necessity for a harmonized regulatory structure to handle global cryptocurrency matters. Her appeal further underscores the increasing awareness of the requirement for concerted global endeavors in crypto regulation.

Stake targeted in recent hack

Amid the escalating calls for ample regulatory efforts, this week witnessed its fair share of hacks and scams. On Sep. 4, Beosin, a prominent on-chain monitoring system, detected suspicious activity on the crypto-based betting platform Stake.

Beosin disclosed that the cumulative sum implicated in this breach reaches $41.35 million. The initial alert regarding this incident came from Cyvers Alerts, which flagged several dubious transactions to the tune of $16 million linked to Stake. 

As the investigation unfolded, speculations emerged among some experts that the transactions might be linked to a potential security breach within Stake’s wallet infrastructure.

Subsequent reports confirmed that, of the stolen funds, a whopping $7.8 million in Polygon (MATIC) was lost. A few days later, on-chain data revealed that the hacker had moved $1.5 million worth of MATIC to Avalanche.

The FBI ascribed the exploit to North Korean hackers, with up to $41 million estimated to have been stolen. On Sep. 8, Ed Craven, Stake’s co-founder, reassured users that the hack did not involve the compromise of users’ private data. 

Whale loses $24 million in phishing attack

Stake was not the only victim of a security attack this week. Blockchain surveillance platform Peck Shield disclosed on Sep. 7 that an unidentified crypto whale fell victim to a phishing attack, losing up to $24.24 million in crypto assets.

According to Peck Shield’s disclosure, these funds included 4,851 Rocket Pool ETH (rETH) valued at $8.5 million as well as 9,579 Lido staked ETH (stETH) worth a whopping $15.6 million. Data suggests that the attack occurred over two transactions.

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