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Andrew Throuvalas



Articles by Andrew Throuvalas

Here’s Alameda’s Investment Portfolio: WSJ Report

20 hours ago

The Financial Times (FT) published a document on Tuesday exposing where Alameda’s venture investments went days before the FTX Group filed for bankruptcy. 
Its hundreds of investments included high-profile companies like SpaceX, and a variety of crypto tokens like Polygon (MATIC), and NEAR. 
The spreadsheet, dated early November, included Alameda’s private equity portfolio, alongside “some FTX bets mixed in.”
According to the document provided, Alameda had over $5.4 billion spread across almost 500 “illiquid investments,” split between 10 holding companies. 
Among these investments was a $1 billion+ position with Bitcoin miner Genesis Digital. Mining firms have been under massive distress over the past six months, with industry leaders like Core Scientific losing billions

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Strike Brings Lightning-Based Remittance Payments to Africa

22 hours ago

Bitcoin payments platform Strike has now expanded to Africa, enabling instant and low-cost remittances to the continent by leveraging its new “Send Globally” feature.
The tool, available to all American Strike users, will offer initial coverage to Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana. 
Bringing Bitcoin to Africa
As announced by Strike on Tuesday, the feature was launched in partnership with the African Bitcoin company Bitnob. Within the app, U.S.-based Strike users can immediately send money to an African recipient, where the funds will be converted into their relevant local currency and deposited into their bank, mobile money, or Bitnob account. 
Strike claims this feature will improve the ease of payments in Africa, where banking services are extremely limited and cross-border

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ConsenSys Clears the Air on MetaMask Privacy Policy After Community Backlash

1 day ago

Ethereum infrastructure provider ConsenSys has issued a follow-up statement to its privacy policy update that rattled the MetaMask community last month. 
The firm clarified that it does, in fact, collect users’ IP addresses and wallet information when they make a MetaMask transaction through Infura – but plans to reduce its retention of such data down to seven days. 
Privacy Concerns at ConsenSys
Per the company’s statement on Tuesday, November’s policy update did not reflect a change in business practices at ConsenSys but rather served to clarify its existing practices. The update revealed that the company’s key products, MetaMask and Infura, collected both users’ wallet and IP addresses, raising privacy concerns.
https://twitter.com/CyphrETH/status/1595722882440642561

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Nexo is Leaving the United States Due to Regulatory Difficulties

2 days ago

Burdened by regulatory pressures, crypto lending firm Nexo has given up on continuing to operate within the United States.
The company announced on Monday that it would begin phasing out its products and services from the country over the coming months. 
Regulatory Roadblock
According to Nexo, the firm has engaged in “good-faith dialogue” with the US state and federal regulators for the past 18 months. Despite this, Nexo no longer believes that such bodies can be negotiated with, citing their “inconsistent and changing positions” on legal matters. 
“The US refuses to provide a path forward for enabling blockchain businesses and we cannot give our customers confidence that regulators are focused on their best interests,” stated the firm.
Nexo has been hounded by both state

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Ten Years Later: Here’s What Vitalik Thinks Blockchain is Good For (and What it’s Not)

2 days ago

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin published a blog post on Monday reviewing the development of various blockchain use-cases over the past several years. 
With years of experimentation now behind the ecosystem, the developer has narrowed down a list of applications that he personally finds most worthy of attention in crypto.
Money: The Most Important App
Buterin began by highlighting what he sees as the most important – and first – application of blockchain: creating new forms of money. 
In particular, he noted that citizens of hyperinflationary countries, like Argentina, have much to gain from storing their wealth in crypto, and using the technology to facilitate interaction with the global financial system. 
While transaction costs and speeds were once impractical for

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Orthogonal Trading is “Effectively Insolvent,” According to Maple Finance

2 days ago

Blockchain-based capital marketplace Maple Finance has cut ties with digital asset hedge fund Orthogonal Trading on allegations that the latter misrepresented its financial statements. 
Maple said assets within the Orthogonal credit pool remain secure and is expected to close without issue in Q1 2023.
The Truth About Orthogonal
In a blog post on Monday, M11 Credit claimed that Orthogonal misrepresented its financial position to the lending firm over the past four weeks. Rather than notify Maple of its true financial position, Orthogonal attempted to recover its losses through more trading, only to lose significant capital. 
Only on December 3rd did the company reveal that it would be unable to satisfy its loan payments. This included liabilities of $31 million for four

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Alameda Covered a $1 Billion Loss for FTX in 2021 (Report)

5 days ago

FTX’s sister trading desk, Alameda Research, bailed out the exchange before it suffered a possible $1 billion trade loss in early 2021. 
This news comes amid claims from former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried that FTX and Alameda were independently operated firms. 
As reported by the Financial Times on Friday, people familiar with the matter said FTX suffered massive losses after a client’s leveraged trade on an obscure crypto token went south. Meanwhile, the “buffers” designed to shield the exchange from losses on a bad trade failed to protect FTX. 
A common risk-management procedure used by firms when lending money is to collect collateral from the borrower in advance. If the borrower’s collateral value falls to a certain level, the lender clears the loan and sells the

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Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital Will Acquire Celsius Owned Custody Platform GK8

5 days ago

Galaxy Digital has won the auction for GK8 – a crypto custody platform to be sold as part of bankruptcy proceedings for the insolvent crypto lender Celsius. 
Galaxy will utilize GK8’s custody solution as it develops GalaxyOne – its own institutional prime offering. 
 As announced by Galaxy on Friday, GK8 founders CEO Lior Lamesh and CTO Shahar Shamai will remain to lead Galaxy’s custodial tech business, while providing self-custody solutions for GalaxyOne as well. 

“With the backing of Galaxy, we aim to introduce new and exciting offerings to the industry that showcase a combination of Galaxy’s best-in-class services and GK8’s cryptography, security, and unparalleled R&D skills,” said Lamesh on the deal.

Company CEO Mike Novogratz said on Friday that GK8’s acquisition

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SBF Says FTX US Should be Solvent, Unsure Why Withdrawals Not Enabled

6 days ago

Sam Bankman-Fried is doubling down on his claim that FTX US should never have filed for bankruptcy. 
The former FTX boss believes the US entity is still entirely solvent and could re-open for withdrawals right away.
The FTX US Situation
In a tweet on Thursday, Bankman-Fried reiterated his comments at the New York Times Dealbrook Summit the day prior. During the interview, he claimed that FTX US is “fully solvent” and “fully funded”, and that its financial situation is isolated from the international exchange. 
“When I filed, I’m fairly sure FTX US was solvent, and that all US customers could be made whole,” he wrote. “To my knowledge, it still is today.”
The former billionaire added that he was “not sure” why withdrawals were ever turned off at the exchange and was

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CFTC Chair Changes His Mind About Ethereum Being a Commodity

6 days ago

Rostin Benham – chairman of the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) – has walked back previous claims that Ether (ETH) and other altcoins should fall under his agency’s jurisdiction. 
Speaking about the future regulation of crypto following FTX’s bankruptcy, he suggested that only Bitcoin should be viewed as a commodity.
Flipping Positions on Ether
As reported by Fortune magazine, the chairman aired his thoughts during an invite-only crypto event hosted by Princeton University on Wednesday. 
The timeslot, once allotted for ex-FTX chief Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), had instead been filled by a panel titled “The Demise of FTX and Other Crypto Entities: Lessons Learned.”
According to Benham, his agency had spent “tens of thousands” of hours speaking with FTX about

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Sam Bankman-Fried: “I Never Tried to Commit Fraud”

7 days ago

Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) spoke at length about FTX’s collapse and bankruptcy at the New York Times Dealbrook Summit on Wednesday.
The former billionaire defended himself from accusations of fraud, and claimed that FTX’s troubles stemmed from an accounting error.
Sam Bankman-Fried on Alameda’s Leverage
Bankman-Fried’s interviewer began by asking whether the ex-CEO whether FTX had truly collapsed to an accounting mistake (as claimed by SBF on Twitter) or whether he had committed a “massive fraud.”
“I didn’t ever try to commit fraud on anyone,” he said. “I was shocked by what happened this month.”
Sorkin read SBF a letter from a former FTX customer alleging that he had lost his $2 million in life savings within the now-defunct exchange. Like many, the customer

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Kraken Slashes 30% of Workforce Amid Bear Market Pressure

7 days ago

Kraken is the latest cryptocurrency exchange that’s been forced to downsize in the face of macroeconomic headwinds and a devastating crypto bear market. 
According to an announcement from the firm on Wednesday, leadership has been forced to slash 30% of its workforce, amounting to 1100 workers. 
The reduction in size takes Kraken’s headcount back to where it was 12 months ago. The firm said it was forced to grow fast over the past few years to keep up with client demand. 
However, 2022 has introduced “macroeconomic and geopolitical factors” that had a major effect on the exchange’s business, alongside financial markets across the board. This led to far lower trading volumes, and fewer new clients. 

“We responded by slowing hiring efforts and avoiding large marketing

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The World’s Largest Asset Manager Was Also Exposed to FTX

7 days ago

BlackRock – the largest asset manager in the world – lost millions of dollars inside FTX, according to CEO Larry Fink.
The BlackRock chief spoke at The New York Times Dealbrook Summit on Wednesday, confirming that his firm held $24 million within the insolvent exchange. The money was from a “fund of funds,” and not a core part of BlackRock’s business. 
Interviewer Andrew Sorkin asked Fink why BlackRock and other firms seemingly didn’t “mind the store,” performing due diligence before investing in it. 
Fink denied the allegation, but acknowledged that FTX may have engaged in “some misbehaviors of major consequences.” He also noted that Sequoia, a technology-focused VC firm, was left in the same boat.
“I am sure they did the due diligence,” said Fink. “Could they have been

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Bitcoin Rises Briefly as Fed Chair Promises More Rate Hikes

7 days ago

Jerome Powell – Chairman of the Federal Reserve – recently spoke about the future of macroeconomic policy and U.S. inflation at the Brooking Institution.
As is typical, Bitcoin’s price was affected by his comments, rising by 1% just as his speech began. 
As of 18:13 UDT on Wednesday, Bitcoin traded for $16,780.
The price then shot up to $16,850 at 18:30, when he began to speak. By 18:40, the leading crypto asset traded for $16,960.
Over the past 3 months, the Federal Reserve has raised its benchmark interest rate in intervals of 75 basis points at a time. The current rate, according to Federal Reserve data, is 3.83%. 
Before the speech, Powell was expected to reinforce his message supporting continued interest rate hikes, which would slow to 50 basis points starting in

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Sam Bankman Fried Still Thinks FTT Was “More Legit” Than Most Tokens

8 days ago

On Tuesday, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF)’s first long-form interview since FTX’s bankruptcy was published to YouTube by citizen journalist Tiffany Fong.
On November 16th, the former CEO offered his perspective on a number of claims made about him since the bankruptcy, and the state of FTX US clients. He also reflected on FTT, the exchange’s native token which he maintained holds more intrinsic value than most other cryptos.
What Caused FTX and FTT to Collapse
Wong began by questioning SBF regarding prior claims that the CEO altered the FTX’s financial records using a “backdoor” that allowed to execute commands without alerting others. This claim was repeated multiple times by Reuters in the days after FTX’s insolvency, adding that the backdoor was used to transfer customer

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BNB Chain NFT Support Added to OpenSea

8 days ago

OpenSea – the world’s largest NFT marketplace – is bringing NFTs based on BNB Chain to its platform. 
The network’s collectibles will soon be available for listing and sale on OpenSea’s standard core marketplace. 
OpenSea Meets BNB Chain
Per a press release shared with CryptoPotato, OpenSea’s Seaport protocol will launch BNB Chain starting in Q4 2022. Benefits to BNB NFT creators will include real-time payouts, creator payouts, collections management, and other things. 
“The integration will bring a large number of creators into the wider system, as well as empower the creators and NFT initiatives inside the BNB Chain ecosystem,” said BNB Chain Investment Director Gwendolyn Regina on the partnership. 
BNB Chain is currently the largest smart contract blockchain in the

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FTX Hacker Transfers $4.1 Million in Bitcoin to OKX

8 days ago

On-chain sleuth ZackXBT has tracked down some of the mixed Bitcoin funds stolen by the mysterious FTX hacker this month. 
The analyst found that $4.1 million worth of Bitcoin (255 BTC) has ended up on OKX, a cryptocurrency exchange. 
As explained on Twitter, the hacker initially deposited the stolen funds to CoinMixer – an anonymous Bitcoin mixing service designed to make on-chain Bitcoin transfers harder to track. 
The first CoinMixer deposit was made on November 20th after the attacker used Ren Bridge to move assets from Ethereum’s blockchain to Bitcoin’s. As of Tuesday, there is $7 million in ETH remaining on the address. 
After examining the deposits, ZackXBT said that the hacker had likely transferred those funds to OKX, after withdrawing from the mixer. 
“So far

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Serum (SRM) Backs Community Hard Fork Plans After FTX Collapse

8 days ago

Serum (SRM) – the Solana-based DEX protocol launched in part by FTX – is seeking a fresh restart after FTX’s fallout left the project’s security permanently compromised. 
The new project – called Openbook – will be community-led, and may or may possibly discard the SRM token entirely. 
Serum’s New Beginning
In a Twitter thread on Tuesday, Serum explained that the collapse of FTX and Alameda has left its program effectively “defunct.” 
“As upgrade authority is held by FTX, security is in jeopardy, leading to protocols like Jupiter and Raydium moving away from Serum,” the team wrote. Jupiter, a DEX aggregator on Solana, informed users on November 12th that SRM would be disabled as a liquidity source.In addition, Binance disabled a series of trading pairs last week which

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Aave Freezes Multiple Lending Markets Citing Volatility Concerns

9 days ago

The decentralized lending protocol AAVE has temporarily disabled its lending markets for multiple Ethereum-based tokens facing excess volatility and low liquidity.
The 17 frozen assets include various defi tokens that are competitors to AAVE, such as Compound (COMP) and Curve Finance (CRV).
On Sunday, Aave passed a near-unanimous governance vote to disable the markets, with only two votes against, and over 500,000 in favor. 
In total, Aave’s frozen market list included the following: YFI, CRV, ZRX, MANA, 1inch, BAT, sUSD, ENJ, GUSD, AMPL, RAI, USDP, LUSD, xSUSHI, DPI, renFIL, and MKR. 
Among those, 5 are dollar-pegged stablecoins, including sUSD, Pax Dollar (USDP), Liquidity USD (LUSD), Gemini Dollar (GUSD) and RAI.
The motion was proposed to mitigate risk “given that the

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Leaked Twitter Data for 5 Million Users Reshared Online for Free

9 days ago

Private Twitter data pertaining to 5 million users was reshared in a hacker forum last Thursday after first being leaked in July. 
Whereas July’s leak came with a price tag of $30,000, Thursday’s dump was provided for free. 
User Private Info Revealed
Pompompurin, the owner of the hacking forum HackerOne, confirmed to BleepingComputer over the weekend that his site was responsible for the initial data dump.
Back in December, a Twitter API bug was discovered as part of the forum’s bug bounty program, which let people retrieve specific Twitter IDs by submitting an associated phone number or email address. This allowed threat actors to build user records on millions of accounts using both public and private information. 
Enough data was collected by July for a threat actor to

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Andre Cronje on What’s it Like to be a Crypto Company

9 days ago

Andre Cronje – the so-called “Vice President of Memes” for the Fantom Foundation – provided an insider’s view into how the company has remained cash-flow positive across the past 4 years. 
The developer noted that the foundation would “likely not be operational today” without decentralized finance (DeFi), and suspects the same is true for other firms. 
Scaling Over One Cycle
As explained in a blog post from Cronje on Sunday, Fantom ended 2018 with a fairly unprofitable ETH trade. After raising $40,000,000 worth of the cryptocurrency in June, it sold those holding after a major price correction leading up to December. At this point, the firm had less than $5 million remaining. 
This forced the company to become extremely frugal over the following year, while periodically

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Binance Removes Trading Pairs for FTX-Linked Serum Token

12 days ago

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, will remove multiple trading pairs for the DEX protocol Serum (SRM), which is known to have deep ties to both FTX and Alameda Research. 
The token will no longer be tradeable for Bitcoin (BTC), Tether (USDT), or Binance’s native BNB token. 
What is Serum?
Binance revealed Serum’s trading restrictions, alongside a handful of other pair removals, in an announcement on Friday. Other restricted assets include the BTC hash rate-backed BTCST token, and the Gifto protocol’s GTO token. 
Binance will remove the 16 mentioned pairs starting Monday at 3:00 UTC. Other pairs related to the listed assets will remain available for trade.
“Users are strongly advised to update their trading strategies prior to the cessation of strategy trading

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MakerDAO Disposes of renBTC as Stablecoin Collateral

12 days ago

MakerDAO – the issuer of the decentralized stablecoin DAI – unanimously passed a proposal this week to remove renBTC as a form of reserve collateral. 
The Bitcoin-pegged token was deemed too risky to hold exposure to in light of its connections to the now-bankrupt trading desk Alameda Research. 
Alameda and Ren
As announced by MakerDAO over Twitter on Thursday, Maker’s governance voted to offboard the RENBTC-A Vault type in a governance poll that opened on Monday.
Nearly 75,000 votes were in favor of the motion, with 0 abstaining or objecting. 
“Considering the acquisition of the Ren project by Alameda Research and the recent bankruptcy of the latter, the Ren development team disabled the Ren network mints,” said Maker. Ren 1.0 network, it said, will shut down within 30

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Binance SAFU Insurance Fund is 44% Backed by its Own Token

13 days ago

Binance’s emergency insurance fund is largely comprised of a cryptocurrency tied to the company itself, according to on-chain data. 
The two addresses associated with the fund show that its BNB tokens account for 44% of its reserves. 
The Wrong Type of Insurance?
As shared by on-chain analyst Willy Woo on Twitter, the Secure Asset Fund for Users (SAFU) includes $367 million worth of BNB. The remainder is made up of Binance’s dollar-pegged stablecoin BUSD ($300 million) and Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market cap ($270 million). 
These balances are verifiable through public blockchain data, at Binance’s Bitcoin and BSC addresses respectively. The exchange soon plans to implement a proof of reserves system verifying its total exchange assets as well. 
Nevertheless,

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Solana Foundation Lost Over $180 Million in Crypto on FTX

13 days ago

The Solana Foundation has released a fact sheet detailing the exposure it holds to FTX following its bankruptcy
The organization held over $180 million worth of crypto asset exposure to the company as of November 6th, just before the exchange ceased processing withdrawals. 
FTT and SRM Holdings
According to the foundation’s report (last updated Monday), Solana held roughly $1 million in cash on FTX as of November 6th. The non-profit said these funds were “negligible” to its operations, accounting for less than 1% of its cash reserves. 
The organization lost far more in crypto assets, however. Though no Solana (SOL) was held on FTX, roughly 3.43 million FTX (FTT) tokens and 134.54 million Serum (SRM) tokens belonging to the foundation are now trapped on the exchange.
In

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ApeCoin Geo-Blocks North American Users From Staking

13 days ago

North American crypto users will be restricted from staking ApeCoin, the ERC-20 metaverse token issued by Yuga Labs, according to a company statement on Wednesday.
The ApeCoin DAO claimed the “current regulatory environment” left it with “no good alternative” but to selectively geo-block the service in numerous areas, including Canada and the United States.
Yuga Bends to Regulators
In its latest project update, ApeCoin offered details about the upcoming launch of ApeStake.io. The site goes live on September 5th, after which the associated smart contract will be funded within two days. Stakers may begin accruing rewards one week after launch on December 12th. 
However, as detailed at the bottom of the page, staking ApeCoin may prove far more difficult for some users than

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After FTX Blowup, Crypto Wallet SafePal Achieves Record Signups

14 days ago

The collapse of crypto exchange FTX appears to have sparked surging sales for self-custodial crypto wallets which give users direct ownership of their coins. 
SafePal, a Binance-backed crypto wallet brand, has experienced a 10x surge in traffic to its platform since November 11th, and its hardware wallet has made record sales within that time. 
SafePal surpassed over 7 million users over the past 6 months, with pronounced gains in November.
In a statement shared with CryptoPotato, SafePal CEO Veronica connected its increasing traffic to FTX’s bankruptcy. 
“The recent FTX situation has taught the industry an important lesson about decentralization and transparency,” she said. “As more people realize the importance of taking full control of their assets, SafePal will become

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Sam Bankman-Fried Conspired With SEC for “Special Treatment:” US Congressman

14 days ago

Tom Emmer – the U.S. congressional representative for Minnesota – recently spoke on the political meetings and failures surrounding Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), prior to his exchange’s collapse. 
The Republican suggested that Bankman-Fried tried currying “special treatment” from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) through meetings with the agency, and attempted to push legislation to the same effect. 
Bankman-Fried’s Political Relationships
In an interview with FOX on Tuesday, Emmer said FTX’s blowup was not a failure of crypto, but of “centralized finance,” “business ethics,” and government oversight procedures. The congressman said he had “major questions” about the SEC’s failure to prevent the disaster. 
“They were working, apparently, with Sam Bankman-Fried and

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Digital Currency Group Owes Genesis Trading Arm $575 Million by May

15 days ago

Digital Currency Group (DCG) CEO Barry Silbert recently shared a letter with investors illuminating the cryptocurrency conglomerate’s web of external and intercompany loans. 
Among them is a newly disclosed liability of $575 million to its lending subsidiary Genesis, due by May of 2023. 
What’s Going On With DCG?
As reported by the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Silbert’s letter sought to assure investors that the company was still secure amid the chaotic crypto bear market that’s claimed multiple industry giants already. 
“We have weathered previous crypto winters and while this one may feel more severe, collectively we will come out of it stronger,” Mr. Silbert wrote.
The CEO said the $575 million loan from Genesis went towards buying back stock from shareholders and

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Coinbase CEO Assures Fully Backed Bitcoin Reserves, CZ Deletes Doubtful Tweet

15 days ago

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong quelled concerns about the state of his company’s Bitcoin holdings on Tuesday, following doubtful suggestions from rival exchange owner Changpeng Zhao (CZ). 
Binance’s CEO has since deleted his tweet, promising to “work together to improve transparency in the industry.”
What Did CZ Say?
CZ’s now-removed post called attention to two separate claims about the exact number of Bitcoin held by Coinbase. 
The first was a statement from Coinbase Custody CEO Aaron Schnarch on Monday, stating that the company held 635,000 BTC on behalf of the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC). The second, by contrast, was a 4-months old headline about Coinbase’s exchange holding less than 600,000 BTC.
“Just stating news reports, not making any claims,” said CZ. “Glassnode

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