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Anthonia Isichei

Articles by Anthonia Isichei

Gemini Settles With New York DFS, Commits to Return $1.1 Billion to Earn Customers

4 days ago

Crypto exchange Gemini has agreed to return a minimum of $1.1 billion to customers of its defunct Gemini Earn Program as part of its settlement deal with New York regulators.
Gemini, led by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, is also facing legal issues from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the New York Attorney General’s office.
Gemini’s Settlement With the NYDFS
In a press release on Feb. 28, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) announced its settlement with Gemini, which included the repayment of at least $1.1 billion to Earn users, a $40 million contribution to Genesis Global Capital’s bankruptcy proceedings, and a fine of $37 million to the agency.
Gemini launched the Earn program in 2021, with Genesis, an arm of Digital Currency Group

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Kraken Moves to Dismiss SEC’s Lawsuit

10 days ago

Major cryptocurrency exchange Kraken is seeking to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), arguing that the Commission was overstepping the boundaries of its regulatory authority.
The SEC sued Kraken in November 2023, alleging that the crypto exchange co-mingled customer funds and listed assets deemed as securities on its platform.
Kraken Fights Back
Kraken filed a motion on Feb. 22, 2024, in the U.S. District Court Northern District of California, to dismiss the SEC’s complaint against it.
According to the filing, Kraken noted that the SEC’s intent to sue it came one day after the firm’s congressional testimony in May 2023, where it criticized the agency for its “regulation-by-enforcement approach.”
During the testimony, the firm said

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Montenegro Court Approves Do Kwon’s Extradition to the United States: Report

13 days ago

Nearly a year after his arrest in Montenegro, Terraform Labs co-founder and former CEO Do Kwon is reportedly set to be extradited to the United States to face criminal charges.
Both the United States and South Korea previously submitted extradition requests to Montenegro officials.
According to local news outlet Pobjeda, on Feb. 21, the Podgorica High Court in Montenegro decided that Do Kwon would be extradited to the United States, thereby ruling out an extradition request from South Korea.
The latest development comes after Kwon’s legal team recently won an appeal to overturn the decision of the High Court to favor the extradition requests from the United States and South Korea.
Following his arrest by Montenegro authorities in March 2023 while attempting to flee to

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Binance Is Not Responsible for the Steep Decline of the Nigerian Naira, Company Fights Back

13 days ago

In a recent press release addressing its Nigerian customers, major crypto exchange Binance distanced itself from the rumored currency speculation that is putting downward pressure on the already weak naira.
The development comes amid reports of the cryptocurrency exchange earlier placing a cap on USDT sales on its peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace.
Binance Reportedly Under Scrutiny in Nigeria
Binance traders in Nigeria on Tuesday, Feb. 20, complained that they were unable to buy or sell USDT on the crypto exchange platform, with reports stating that the firm placed a cap of 1802 NGN to $1 for traders who wanted to sell their USDT.
The price limit caused traders to seek other platforms that were selling above the quoted price on Binance.
The exchange’s restrictions were

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3AC’s Investment in Worldcoin Seems to Pay Off for Creditors

14 days ago

An early investment in Worldcoin by the defunct crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, otherwise known as 3AC, may prove profitable for creditors as the former’s token WLD recently reached a new all-time high (ATH), soaring nearly 200% in the last seven days.
3AC’s crypto portfolio currently holds 75 million WLD coins, making the company one of the largest investors in it.
Worldcoin Investment Appreciates Following WLD Price Surge
Three Arrows Capital was among the investors who participated in a funding round in 2021 by Tools For Humanity, the developer behind the iris-scanning project Worldcoin, co-founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman.
The funding round raised $25 million at a valuation of $1 billion at the time. Other participants included former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried,

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Bitcoiner Nayib Bukele Re-Elected as El Salvador’s President

29 days ago

Results released so far show that El Salvador’s incumbent President Nayib Bukele marked a landslide victory, indicating that he could be re-elected for a second term.
Bukele’s administration cracked down on gang violence in El Salvador and made history with the adoption of Bitcoin as a legal tender in the country.
Another Five Years for President Nayib Bukele
In an X post, Bukele declared himself the winner of the Presidential election, which was held on Feb. 4, 2024. According to the post, Bukele’s political party, Nuevas Ideas (New Ideas), won with over 85% of the votes “and a minimum of 58 of 60 deputies in the Assembly.”

De acuerdo a nuestros números, hemos ganado la elección presidencial con más del 85% de los votos y un mínimo de 58 de 60 diputados de la Asamblea.

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US DOJ Indicts Three Individuals Involved in $1.89 Billion Crypto Fraud Scheme

January 30, 2024

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has brought charges against three people for defrauding investors of nearly $2 billion.
According to the DOJ, the individuals promoted a fraudulent cryptocurrency investment program that promised investors high returns.
A $1.89 Billion Crypto Scam
In a press release on Jan. 29, 2024, the DOJ said that Sam Lee, an Australian living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and American citizens Rodney Burton and Brenda Chunga, perpetrated the $1.89 billion crypto fraud with an investment scheme called HyperFund.
While Lee is said to be the co-founder of HyperFund, Burton and Chunga were promoters of the project, which also had other names such as HyperCapital, HyperNation, HyperVerse, and HyperTech.
Between June 2020 and November 2022, Lee and

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Estonian Crypto Fraud Suspects to be Extradited to the US After Previous Court Annulment

January 27, 2024

Following a previous denial by an Estonian circuit court, the local government has, once again, approved the extradition of two of its citizens suspected of cryptocurrency fraud to the United States.
The suspects are accused of running a fake crypto service that defrauded unsuspecting victims of over $500 million.
According to local news outlet Postimees, Ivan Turogin and Sergei Potapenko will be extradited to the US, with Estonia’s Ministry of Justice stating that there was sufficient evidence to show that the extradition conditions of the suspects have been satisfied.
The latest development came shortly after the Tallinn Circuit Court blocked a previous extradition approval by the government. Part of the court’s ruling stated that the Estonian authorities failed to check

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Abra Settles With Texas Securities Authorities After Enforcement Action

January 24, 2024

Crypto investment platform Abra settled in principle with Texas securities regulators, part of which requires the company to allow its customers to withdraw their assets.
Abra was previously accused of deceiving customers and violating securities laws through the offering of its interest-bearing products.
Abra to Return Crypto Assets to Investors
The Texas State Securities Board (TSSB) announced the settlement with Abra – a company comprising four entities controlled by CEO William Barhydt – in a press release.
According to the settlement terms, Abra is expected to notify clients with balances of over $10 and give them seven days to enable them to withdraw their assets from the platform. Any remaining assets not claimed within the period will be converted to fiat and sent

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Nexo Slams $3 Billion Lawsuit Against Bulgaria, Citing Reputational and Financial Damages

January 24, 2024

Cryptocurrency lending platform Nexo is seeking damages worth $3 billion from the Bulgarian government after the latter dropped its criminal investigations against the company.
According to Nexo, the investigations allegedly cost the company a major soccer sponsorship deal and a stock market listing in the United States.
Nexo Sues Bulgaria for $3 Billion
Nexo and its subsidiaries filed an arbitration claim with the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) – a Washington-based arbitration institution that is part of the World Bank – according to an official press release by the company.
The crypto lender stated that Bulgaria’s investigation into the company, which it termed a “politically motivated attack,” caused reputational damage for the firm,

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Coingecko’s X Accounts Compromised to Announce Fake Token Airdrop

January 11, 2024

Hackers briefly took over the official X accounts of major crypto data aggregator Coingecko to promote a fake token launch and airdrop.
The Coingecko incident became the second X hack within 24 hours after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s account was also compromised. 
Coingecko announced the news of the hack in an X post on Jan. 10, warning users not to click or engage any suspicious links. The platform further said it would carry out investigations and secure its X accounts. 

Our Twitter accounts @CoinGecko and @GeckoTerminal have been compromised. We’re taking immediate steps to investigate the situation and secure our accounts.
Please DO NOT click on any links or engage with suspicious content. Your security is our top priority.
We’ll keep you…

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Major Taiwan-Based ACE Exchange Refutes Fraud Allegations

January 5, 2024

ACE Exchange, one of Taiwan’s largest crypto trading platforms, is reportedly under investigation for alleged fraudulent activities, with local authorities estimating the value of the fraud to be over $32 million.
However, the company clarified that its employees were not involved in the alleged fraud case.
ACE Exchange Founder Arrested for Fraud Allegations
According to local news outlet Liberty Times, Taiwanese police arrested the founder of ACE Exchange, David Pan, and 13 other suspects said to be employees of the firm for reportedly promoting worthless cryptocurrencies to investors for three years.
Pan, along with Lin Nan, who appear to be the masterminds, told investors through various social media that these tokens will be listed on popular local and foreign crypto

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SBF’s Conviction, SEC’s Legal Defeats Against Ripple, Binance’s New CEO: Major Crypto Events That Dominated 2023

January 1, 2024

What an eventful year it has been for the crypto industry!
With 2023 coming to an end, the cryptocurrency space has had its share of battles and victories, all of which continue to shape an industry that, though still growing, has managed to make a mark in the global financial sector.
This year, regulators came down hard on key players in the market, one of the biggest and most influential CEOs pleaded guilty to a criminal charge, and the hype around a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) intensified following applications from major financial institutions.
We now go further to explore some of the major events that made headlines in 2023.
Bank Collapses That Affected Crypto Companies
Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), Signature Bank, and Silvergate, which catered to crypto

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Canadian Crypto Trading Platform Suspends Withdrawals Following Security Breach

December 29, 2023

Catalyx, a crypto trading platform based in Canada, suffered a security breach that resulted in the loss of customer funds in its custody.
While the exact value of the loss is not mentioned, the platform has halted crypto and fiat withdrawals amid ongoing investigations.
Catalyx Suspends Trading and Withdrawals
CatalX CTS, the operator of Catalyx, announced the incident in a press release, stating that the breach likely involved an employee.
The company investigating the theft also employed the services of audit and consulting giant Deloitte to “provide certain forensic and investigative services.”
Following the loss, users will, in the meantime, not be able to trade or withdraw their assets from the Catalyx platform, as both features are temporarily suspended.


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Revolut to Suspend Crypto Services for UK Business Clients: Report

December 19, 2023

Financial technology company Revolut is reportedly planning to halt cryptocurrency purchases for its business clients in the United Kingdom.
As stated by Revolut, the suspension will enable the company to make necessary adjustments in response to the new rules on crypto promotion by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which will take effect in January 2024.
Revolut to Temporarily Stop Crypto Purchases
Revolut’s UK business customers will only be able to sell and hold crypto but not make purchases via Revolut Business, according to City A.M, which cited an email from the fintech company. According to the report, the service will be halted for business clients starting from Jan. 3, 2024.
An excerpt from the email reads thus:

‘These requirements aim to enhance the

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SEC Denies Coinbase’s Rulemaking Petition, But Some Agency Commissioners Disagree

December 16, 2023

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has responded to Coinbase’s petition, seeking a tailored regulatory framework for the crypto market, stating that the rulemaking petition is “unwarranted.”
However, two out of the five Commissioners disagreed with the decision, believing the agency should engage in robust public conversations that could result in rulemaking or guidance.
Gary Gensler: Existing Securities Laws Applied to Crypto
The SEC, in a letter to Coinbase’s chief legal officer Paul Grewal, on Dec. 15, 2023, said it opposed the petition’s claims that existing securities laws were “unworkable” for the crypto securities markets, stressing that “the requested regulatory action would significantly constrain the Commission’s choices regarding

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Nirvana Finance Hacker Pleads Guilty, Will Forfeit Over $12 Million in Stolen Funds

December 15, 2023

A former senior security engineer, Shakeeb Ahmed, pled guilty to the hacking incident on the decentralized finance yield protocol, Nirvana Finance, along with another unnamed decentralized exchange (DEX).
Ahmed will also forfeit over $12.3 million in stolen assets, with the United States Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York (SDNY) describing the case as the “first-ever conviction for the hack of a smart contract.”
Two DEX Attacks in One Month
In a press release on Dec. 14, 2023, Ahmed used his expertise in reverse engineering smart contracts and blockchain audits to hack two decentralized crypto exchanges in July 2022. According to the statement, he laundered the stolen assets from both platforms, using various means such as crypto mixers and overseas

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KuCoin to Exit New York and Pay $22 Million in Settlement Deal: Report

December 12, 2023

Major crypto exchange KuCoin has reportedly settled with New York authorities to stop offering its services in the local market, along with a payment of $22 million.
The settlement deal comes months after the New York Attorney General (NYAG) sued KuCoin for selling unregistered securities to users in the state.
KuCoin Leaves New York
According to a report by Reuters, the $22 million payment comprises $5.3 million to the state of New York and $16.7 million worth of crypto refunded to nearly 180,000 NY investors.
Commenting on the latest development, NYAG Letitia James said:

“Crypto companies should understand that they must play by the same rules as other financial institutions.”

KuCoin CEO Johnny Lyu also announced the settlement on X, stating that affected users should

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Accused Estonian Crypto Fraudsters Might Not Get Extradited to the US

December 3, 2023

A circuit court in Estonia overturned a previous ruling allowing the extradition of two Estonian citizens charged with cryptocurrency fraud and money laundering to the United States.
According to the court, the Estonian government did not consider certain circumstances before agreeing to extradite the individuals involved in the case.
New Court Ruling Cancels Extradition Approval
Ivan Turogin and Sergei Potapenko, who ran a virtual currency mining business called HashFlare, saw their appeals to prevent extradition to the United States approved. The Tallinn Circuit Court annulled the extradition because the government did not make investigations nor verify the condition of the US detention facility.
Turogin and Potapenko were arrested in Estonia in November 2022 for

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US Treasury Sanctions 3rd Crypto Mixer Used by the Lazarus Group

December 3, 2023

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury has placed sanctions on cryptocurrency mixing service Sinbad, alleging that the mixer served as a money laundering channel for the notorious North Korean hackers Lazarus Group.
According to the enforcement agency, Sinbad has been used to launder millions of dollars worth of stolen crypto assets from high-profile hacks.
Lazarus Group Preferred Sinbad to Launder Stolen Crypto Funds
In a press release on Nov. 29, 2023, OFAC claimed that Sinbad was a “preferred” mixer for North Korea’s Lazarus Group, sanctioned in September 2019, alleging that the crypto mixing service helped process the hacking group’s illicit proceeds from various cryptocurrency heists.
According to the government

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Hong Kong Investors Fall Victims to Alleged $15 Million Crypto Scam

December 2, 2023

Following the JPEX fiasco, it appears that another crypto trading platform called Hounax reportedly scammed some Hong Kong investors, causing them to lose over $15 million.
Meanwhile, some of the victims believe that the city-state regulator’s warning about the platform came after they already locked their money in Hounax.
Hounax Crypto Exchange Allegedly Disappears With Customer Funds
About 131 supposed investors between 19 and 78 years old fell victim to an alleged crypto scam by Hounax. According to a report by the South China Morning Post, the Hong Kong police received 88 complaints from the victims on Nov. 25, with the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) getting 15 on Nov. 27 concerning Hounax.
While the loss is said to be around HK$120 million ($15.4 million),

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Hong Kong Regulators Speed up Crypto Products Approval Following JPEX Fiasco

November 27, 2023

BC Technology Group, the parent company of Hong Kong’s publicly listed crypto exchange platform OSL, noted that Hong Kong regulators were swiftly approving cryptocurrency products after the scandal that rocked the digital asset exchange JPEX.
Another fintech provider stated that the participation of banks in the virtual assets sector in Hong Kong will facilitate mass adoption and development.
Crypto Approvals Improve After JPEX, Says OSL Executive
While Hong Kong authorities have increased regulatory scrutiny on the local industry after the JPEX saga, it appears they have also accelerated approvals of crypto-related products, according to Davin Wu, the chief financial officer at BC Technology Group.
The JPEX mess started with a warning from the Hong Kong Securities and

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North Korean Hackers Pose as South Korean Government Officials to Steal Crypto

November 26, 2023

South Korean law enforcement revealed that hackers from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), also known as North Korea, impersonated government agencies and journalists in South Korea to steal crypto.
The hackers were said to employ email phishing techniques to carry out the dubious act on unsuspecting victims.
DPRK Hackers Reportedly Focused on Stealing Crypto
The South Korean National Police Agency said that North Korean hackers seemed to target people’s crypto assets, stating that the rogue actors stole information from nearly 1,500 victims between March and October 2023, the majority of whom came from the private sector, while about 57 of them were either retired or incumbent government officials.
According to authorities, the attackers posed as officials

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3 Individuals Arrested for Alleged $10 Million Theft and Money Laundering Using Crypto

November 19, 2023

United States prosecutors arrested three people for allegedly stealing $10 million from financial institutions and laundering the stolen funds using cryptocurrency exchanges.
The individuals could each get up to over 80 years in prison if found guilty of the allegations.
Defrauding Banks and Channeling Proceeds to Crypto Exchanges
A press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced the arrest of Zhong Shi Gao, Naifeng Xu, and Feo Jiang by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), for their alleged involvement in an elaborate fraud scheme targeting banks and financial institutions in the United States.
Gao, Xu, and Jiang reportedly hired Chinese and Taiwanese foreign nationals temporarily living in the United States to open bank

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SEC Records Second-Highest Financial Remedies of Nearly $5 Billion in FY 2023

November 19, 2023

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in its latest report revealed that the number of enforcement actions filed in the fiscal year 2023 (FY2023) increased by three percent from the previous record in the financial year of 2022.
Some of the enforcement actions involved heavyweights in the crypto industry, with various accusations against cryptocurrency businesses and executives ranging from fraud to securities violations.
Nearly $1 Billion Distributed to Harmed Investors
The SEC’s enforcement actions in FY 2023 rose to 784 from 760 in the previous fiscal year, with the Commission obtaining $4,949 billion in financial remedies. A bulk of the amount – approximately $3.4 billion – comprised disgorgement and prejudgment interest, while civil penalties were worth

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South Korean Pension Fund Giant Invests $20 Million in Coinbase Shares in Q3 2023

November 16, 2023

South Korea’s National Pension Service (NPS), which is one of the largest pension funds in the world, bought approximately $20 million worth of Coinbase stock (COIN), an investment that has raked in an unrealized 40% profit for the fund.
The move marked the first time NPS would include a crypto-based company in its U.S. stock portfolio.
NPS Coinbase Shares Purchase in Profit
In a stock holdings report submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Nov. 16, 2023, NPS revealed that it bought 282,673 COIN shares in the third quarter of 2023, according to a report from local news outlet News1.
The shares were purchased at an average unit price of $70.5 per one, amounting to a valuation of $19.9 million or 26 billion won. With Coinbase’s shares closing at

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SEC Alleges Former CEOs of Tech Startup Fraudulently Raised $70 Million From Investors

November 10, 2023

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has accused two former CEOs of collapsed California-based tech company Bitwise Industries, of alleged misrepresentation and fraud, which they used to raise funds from unsuspecting investors.
The defunct company is not associated with the major crypto asset manager, Bitwise, even though both entities bear identical names.
Former Bitwise Industries Founders Charged With Fraud
In a press release published on Nov. 9, 2023, the alleged fraudulent scheme by Bitwise Industries co-founders and co-CEOs Jake Soberal and Irma Olguin became exposed in May 2023 after the company failed to pay its employees and furloughed all its workers – around 900 of them – who were later dismissed. The startup’s board of directors also fired the CEOs.

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SEBA Bank’s Hong Subsidiary Receives Crypto Regulatory License From SFC

November 8, 2023

Switzerland-based crypto-focused financial institution SEBA Bank has secured a regulatory license from Hong Kong regulators through its local wholly-owned subsidiary, enabling the entity to offer regulated cryptocurrency services to institutional investors in the city-state.
The full license comes three months after SEBA received in-principle approval from the Hong Kong regulators and nearly a year after the Swiss crypto bank first established an office in the region.
SEBA Fully Licensed to Operate in Hong Kong
SEBA Hong Kong, a subsidiary of SEBA Bank, received a license from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) as part of the bank’s global expansion plans, according to an announcement on Nov. 8, 2023.
The new license allows SEBA Hong Kong to deal with

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The CEO of Avalanche-based Web3 Social Platform Stars Arena Steps Down

October 31, 2023

Stars Arena said that the platform’s CEO Chill Pill, resigned from their position, a move that comes nearly a month after the decentralized social finance (SocialFi) application suffered a major smart contract exploit.
Meanwhile, the protocol’s total value locked (TVL) currently stands at a little above $300,000, a significant decrease from a TVL of nearly $3 million before the hacking incident.
Unknown Stars Arena CEO Leaves Position
Stars Arena announced the news of its CEO stepping down on X, adding that the team was working on rebuilding the trust of community members. Chill Pill also tweeted the news of his resignation, with neither Stars Arena nor Chill Pill giving reasons for the development.

As of today, Chill Pill has stepped down from his role as CEO.
We will

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Zodia Custody Enters Hong Kong Market: Report

October 30, 2023

Crypto custody solution Zodia Custody, partly owned by the UK multinational banking institution Standard Chartered, is expanding its services to Hong Hong Kong as part of its latest push into the Asian market.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong continues to serve as a major attraction for crypto companies looking to set up businesses in a cryptocurrency-friendly environment.
Zodia Custody Taps Into Hong Kong Market Amid Institutional Demand
According to CNBC, Zodia Custody’s entry into Hong Kong is the platform’s latest expansion effort following previous forays into other Asia-Pacific (APAC) regions such as Japan and Singapore. The London-based company also offers its services to clients in Australia.
As stated by Zodia Custody CEO Julian Sawyer, the institutional demand for crypto in

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