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Arun Srivastav

Articles by Arun Srivastav

Man Charged With Stealing NFTs and Crypto by Spoofing OpenSea in 2021 

July 15, 2023

US prosecutors have charged Soufiance Oulahya, presently in legal custody in Morocco, with stealing cryptocurrencies and NFTs worth $450,000 from a victim in Manhattan by creating a fake OpenSea marketplace in 2021.  
A release from the United States Attorney’s Office Southern District of New York said the defendant illegally obtained the seed phrase of the victim by spoofing and used it to steal their collection of digital art. 
Details of the Case
Oulahya stole four NFTs from the victim’s OpenSea account. These were one each from Bored Ape Yacht Club, Meebit, Bored Ape Kennel Club, and Crypto Dad series. Besides, the defendant also stole cryptocurrencies from the Manhattan victim’s compromised wallet. The indictment said the victim had paid approximately $448,923 to

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As Race for Spot BTC ETF Hots Up, CEO Cathie Wood Says Ark Invest is First in the Queue

July 8, 2023

The first Bitcoin ETF application was filed way back in 2013 by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. However, the US regulators have not approved any such application to date. 
But now, they are seemingly under tremendous pressure, with some of the biggest players in traditional finance throwing their hats in the ring.
Race for BTC ETF Hots Up 
In the latest, the world’s largest fund manager – BlackRock – filed on June 15 for a spot Bitcoin investment trust fund through iShares, the company that manages its family of ETFs. In less than two weeks, several other companies, including rival asset management giant Fidelity, refiled for spot Bitcoin ETFs. The other prominent names include Invesco, WisdomTree, Valkyrie Investments, and VanEck. 
These companies have tried to address the

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OpenAI Withdraws ChatGPT’s ‘Browse With Bing’ Feature Amid Copyright and Privacy Concerns

July 6, 2023

OpenAI has disabled Browse With Bing, the internet surfing feature available to ChatGPT Plus users. 
In a tweet thread, OpenAI reasoned that the Browse feature can occasionally produce results in a manner that it doesn’t want it to.
Straying Into Protected Content  
“We’ve learned that ChatGPT’s “Browse” beta can occasionally display content in ways we don’t want, e.g. if a user specifically asks for a URL’s full text, it may inadvertently fulfill this request. We are disabling Browse while we fix this—want to do right by content owners,” the ChatGPT maker said in a tweet. 
News reports said the development follows revelations that the AI chatbot could circumvent paywall protections on websites and inadvertently produce results that are supposed to be available exclusively

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New Upgrade May Bring Workspaces, File Uploading, and Enhanced User Profile Features to ChatGPT  

June 19, 2023

ChatGPT has been all the rage since its launch in November 2022, and updates, particularly access to GPT-4 version for ChatGPT Plus paid subscribers, have kept it in the news throughout the period so far. 
The AI-powered Chatbot may soon have several additional features, including collaborative and connected workspaces. Additionally, users can upload files along with their questions. These upgrades will make the Chatbot provide more accurate and intelligent responses.
Upcoming Features
These details have come out on social media and some news platforms, attributing the information to leaked ChatGPT documents.    
Thanks to the additional feature, the AI platform can handle more complex questions as its comprehension of the problems would significantly increase with the

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Binance.US Resorts to Job Cuts as It Prepares for Long and Costly Litigation With SEC: Report

June 16, 2023

In a letter to employees, Binance said it foresees protracted and expensive litigation with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and asked Binance.US management to reduce the size of its workforce across the division.
The job-cut decision is likely to affect about 50 employees.
Job Cuts at Binance.US
A Bloomberg report noted that a number of employees at Binance’s US affiliate have been laid off. While a firm spokesperson confirmed the lay-offs, the exact number of employees affected by the decision was not mentioned.
However, a Reuters report outlined that about 50 staff members have been affected.
Early this month, Binance.US said it was being cut off from the banking and payments partners. On June 9, the crypto exchange serving only American customers

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6 Years in Prison for Arizona Entrepreneur for Offering Shadow Banking Services to Crypto Exchanges

June 10, 2023

A joint investigation by the FBI’s Money Laundering Squad and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations led to a 75-month prison sentence for 64-year-old Arizona entrepreneur Reginald Fowler. 
A former co-owner of the professional American football team Minnesota Vikings, Fowler has also been asked by the court to pay a forfeiture of $74.02 million and restitution of $5.31 million to the Association of American Football (AAF), a short-lived American football minor league. 
The prosecution was led by the United States Attorney’s Office’s Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit. 
Offering Shadow Banking Services
Damian Williams, US Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York (SDNY)) in a PR on June 5, said Fowler processed nearly $750 million

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Cryptocurrencies Can’t Be Allowed to Undermine Public Trust in Capital Market, Gensler Says

June 9, 2023

Following lawsuits against Binance and Coinbase, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler has made his intentions clear about the digital assets class. These are securities, nothing less, he asserted in a recent interaction.
They should be registered with the agency before being offered to investors or meet the requirements to seek exemptions, a CNBC report quoted him. He added that exchanges listing cryptocurrencies must also register themselves with the regulatory agency. 
Crypto Tokens are Investment Contracts
“Congress included a long list of 30-plus items in the definition of a security, including the term ‘investment contract’…. the vast majority of crypto tokens meet the investment contract test. … Thus, crypto security issuers need to

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Jack Dorsey Triggers Fresh Spat Between BTC Maximalists and ETH-Led Altcoin Tribe 

June 7, 2023

In the heat of SEC’s enforcement actions against Binance and Coinbase, a simple “Yes” by Jack Dorsey on Twitter elicited a flurry of comments.
It all started when a Twitter user asked Dorsey if he thinks Ether is a security, to which he answered in the affirmative.
Jack Dorsey’s Ether Rant
A known Bitcoin supporter, Dorsey has pointed out dissatisfaction with Ether in the past as well. In the latest episode, the former Twitter CEO tweeted a screenshot of a 2015 post by Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, where he termed altcoins “distractions” and argued that they should be focused on Bitcoin. 
Then he went to retweet a video of Jack Mallers, CEO of Bitcoin Lighting app Strike, which calls out Coinbase CEO for prioritizing altcoins over bitcoin and the Lightning Network.

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Coinbase to Launch Bitcoin and Ether Futures Contracts for Institutional Investors on June 5 

June 2, 2023

Popular crypto exchange Coinbase will launch Bitcoin and Ethereum futures contracts for institutional investors on June 5, the company said on its website. 
The company will launch these products through CFTC-regulated Coinbase Derivative Exchange, promising lower fees than other US-regulated derivatives exchanges. 
BTI and ETI for Institutional Investors  
Coinbase has partnered with leading FCMs (Futures Commission Merchants), brokers, and front-end providers to enable institutional clients seamless access to these contracts.
“The Coinbase Bitcoin (BTI) and Coinbase Ether (ETI) futures contracts will be accessible through leading third-party institutional futures commission merchants (FCMs) and brokers,” the statement said.
To help investors manage their portfolios

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Crypto Investment Fund HashKey in Talks to Raise $200M at $1B Valuation (Report)

May 19, 2023

As Hong Kong takes center stage in the regional crypto business, local firms are trying to expand their customer base.
One such firm, HashKey Group, is reportedly raising up to $200 million in funding to tap new opportunities.
HashKey Eyes $200 Million in Funding
Targeting a more significant share of the Asian crypto market, Hong Kong-based crypto financial service provider HashKey Group plans to expand its operations. The crypto investment fund is reportedly in early-stage talks with venture capitalists to raise $200 million at over $1 billion Valuation.
A Bloomberg report said the details of the deal being discussed are not available as the talks are being held privately.
HashKey Group is in the entire crypto ecosystem – Exchange, Brokerage, Venture Capital, Custody

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Terraform Labs Founder Do Kwon to Be Released on $440K Bail (Report)

May 12, 2023

Do Kwon, founder of Terraform Labs, which operated Terra stablecoin and Luna cryptocurrency, has pleaded not guilty to traveling to Montenegro on a forged passport.
In the Basic Court of Montenegro’s capital Podgorica, Kwon and Terraform’s chief financial officer Han Chang-Joon denied document forgery charges.
Shortly after, another local report informed that the Court approved the bail worth €400,000 that was proposed by Kwon. As such, he is set to be released ahead of the trial.
The prosecutors objected to the decision, arguing that Kwon and Chang-Joon had no interest in remaining in Montenegro until the court date.
Kwon Proposes €400K for Bail
Kwon and Han were arrested at the Podgorica airport on March 23, and the prosecutors filed the charges against them on April 2.

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Driven by Community not VCs, PEPE Fans’ Comeback on Coinbase’s ‘Ill-Conceived’ Take

May 11, 2023

Pepecoin (PEPE) made quite a significant upheaval in the sluggish crypto market. From less than $1 million at the launch, its market cap swelled close to $2 billion in just weeks. The frog-themed memecoin in the crypto universe dominated by dog-themed coins is bound to trigger funny memes.
And one such meme attempt by Coinbase doesn’t seem to have landed well, and the crypto exchange is at the receiving end of a “well-deserved” backlash from PEPE fans and holders.
PEPE as a Symbol of Hate   
Apparently, Coinbase, on May 10, sent its investors an email mentioning the frenzy around PEPE and calling it the memecoin of the moment. It said, “Over time, it [PEPE] has been co-opted as a hate symbol by alt-right groups, according to the Anti-Defamation League.”
Crypto influencer

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UK National Pleads Guilty to Stealing $8 Million in Crypto and Hacking Twitter Accounts

May 10, 2023

Joseph James O’Connor, a 23-year-old British citizen extradited from Spain to the United States on April 26, pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including hacking the social media platform Twitter in 2020.
O’Connor, who also uses the online name PlugwalkJoe, has been charged with stealing cryptocurrencies worth $794,000 from a Manhattan-based company through a SIM Swap attack. U.S. prosecutors said O’Connor would forfeit the funds and pay his victims restitution.
Besides, O’Connor has been indicted for hacking Twitter and Tik Tok accounts and promoting fraudulent schemes. He has pleaded guilty to all these charges, and he may face a maximum sentence of 77 years on all counts of charges.
Malicious Acts
“Joseph O’Connor, a/k/a “PlugwalkJoe,” used his sophisticated

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Indian Man Tried to Jump Off Bridge After Suffering Losses in Crypto: Report

April 9, 2023

A 23-year-old professional with a major tech company who lost nearly Rs. 30 lakh (approx. $37,500) in the cryptocurrency market tried to commit suicide by jumping off a river bridge in Kolkata, India.
A cab driver who noticed the young man on the Vidyasagar Setu (bridge) alerted the nearby police about his intentions.
Borrowed to Invest in Crypto
The police were able to prevent the techie from jumping off the famous bridge into the river, media reports said, without mentioning the youth’s name.  
On being questioned, the youth told the police that he had used money from loans, valuables, and even his mother’s pension to invest in cryptocurrencies and had suffered huge losses. In recent weeks, he was reportedly receiving threatening calls from people who had lent him. In

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India’s 1% TDS on Crypto Transfers Yields $19 Million in 9 Months

April 2, 2023

Indian tax authorities collected Rs 158 crore (approx. $19 million) in TDS on the transfer of virtual digital assets (VDA) till March 20, Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary told the Parliament on Tuesday. 
Given that the financial year ended on March 31, it can be taken as the final figure for the entire 2022-23 fiscal.
1% TDS at $125 Threshold 
The Indian government brought crypto transactions under a new tax regime through the budget for 2022-23. It provided for 1% TDS on VDA transfers exceeding Rs 10,000 (approx. $125) in a financial year. Besides, all gains on VDA transfers were subjected to a 30% income tax. 
The 1% TDS began to be deducted from July 1, 2023. In November, the minister informed the Indian Parliament that TDS collection on VDAs from July 1

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Mumbai Woman Loses $30K in Crypto Scam to Man She Met on Matrimonial Site: Report

March 26, 2023

A 60-year-old Indian woman lost nearly $30,000 in a crypto investment scam after she was approached on the matrimonial site where she had registered herself to look for a life partner.
The con man told her that he was a US-based engineer and can make her earn quick profits through bitcoin investments.  
Investment in Love Gone Wrong
According to media reports, the Mumbai woman, who is a retired executive from a private company, registered on a matrimonial website in early 2022. Soon, she was approached by a person on the site, and the two exchanged their phone numbers and started calling and chatting regularly.
In March 2022, the man told her about a cryptocurrency investment opportunity and how he, purportedly, was making huge passive incomes. He shared the phone number

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Crypto Twitter Betting on ‘Hyperinflation’ Catapulting BTC to $1 Million in 3 Months 

March 19, 2023

Balaji Srinivasan, a venture capitalist and former CTO of Coinbase, claimed that the US economy would enter a phase of hyperinflation in 90 days, catapulting BTC to $ 1 million. 
Balaji, whose crypto venture was acquired by Coinbase in 2019, also offered to pay $1 million in BTC to the best 1,000 tweets that alert about stealth financial crisis.  
Balaji Bets BTC to be at $1 Million 

Yes. Just moving money for the bet. We can do it via smart contract, but for simplicity old-fashioned escrow may work.
The escrow person would need one BTC address and one ETH address (for the USDC). The assets would sit on chain for 90 days.
If BTC < $1M in 90 days after…
— Balaji (@balajis) March 18, 2023

“… I am putting up the BitSignal. $1M in BTC to

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Consumer Confidence in Crypto Strong Despite Turbulent 2022: Paxos Survey  

March 11, 2023

After a series of high-profile collapses and the ensuing regulatory heat in their wake, if you thought the crypto saga had hit a roadblock, you can’t be held wrong. However, a new survey by Paxos, the New York-headquartered blockchain technology company, offers a new spin to the tale.
It says 75% of consumers are confident about the future of cryptocurrencies. 
Neither Daunted Nor Deterred
As many as 72% of the respondents of Paxos’ Cryptocurrency Adoption & Purchasing Behavior Survey asserted that they were not concerned with the volatility seen in the crypto market in 2022.
Consumers’ trust in intermediaries such as crypto exchanges, mobile payment apps, and banks for crypto holding remains high at 89%. It hints that the series of recent implosions may not have subdued

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G20 Meeting of Financial Chiefs Takes A Step Forward Towards Crypto Regulations 

March 5, 2023

The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) Meeting on February 24-25 in Bengaluru, India, concluded with a strong commitment to regulations for the cryptocurrency sector. 
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), Bank for International Settlements (BIS), and Financial Stability Board (FSB) have been tasked to come up with recommendations and a roadmap for regulating the cryptocurrency sector.  
G20 Meeting of Financial Chiefs  
“We look forward to the IMF-FSB Synthesis Paper, which will support a coordinated and comprehensive policy approach to crypto-assets, by considering macroeconomic and regulatory perspectives, including the full range of risks posed by crypto assets,” The G20 Chair’s Summary and Outcome Document said.
Besides the finance ministers and

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These 3 Crypto Assets Account for 85% of $70M Crypto Donations to Ukraine: Report

February 27, 2023

It was on February 24, 2022, that Russia launched the military offensive on Ukraine. On the completion of one year of the war, Chainalysis came up with a report tracking crypto donations to both Russia and Ukraine.
The report says Ukraine received nearly $70 million and pro-Russian groups $5.4 million in crypto donations since the war broke out last year. 
Crypto Donations to Ukraine  
The donations to Ukraine came mostly in ETH, BTC, USDT, and USDC, with their shares being $28.9 million, $22.8 million, $11.5 million, and $1.2 million, respectively.  
Around 80% of the crypto donations came in the initial few months of the war. A Chainalysis report dated March 28, 2022, revealed that nearly $56 million worth of crypto was received by Ukraine by that time. 

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WazirX Shuts Down NFT Marketplace Due to Low Traction

February 24, 2023

Indian crypto exchange WazirX has wound up its NFT marketplace operations with immediate effect. Currently, the WazirX NFT site displays a message to this effect. 
WazirX NFT Sunsetted
“The WazirX NFT marketplace has been sunsetted. You can still trade your NFTs on OpenSea,” the message reads. 
In a statement on its site, Wazir said despite creating a “safe and secure” marketplace, the business “did not gain much traction.”        
“NFTs are decentralized, and owners have complete control over their assets, which is why they have become so popular. Our users can rest assured that they can continue to hold their NFTs in their wallets, and these can be sold in other marketplaces such as OpenSea,” the statement clarified. 
A report by Inc42 said that WazirX NFTs has 52,253

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Hong Kong’s Crypto Trading Launch Makes Coinbase CEO Question the US Position    

February 18, 2023

Hong Kong’s position as an upcoming hub of crypto businesses is being increasingly noticed and discussed in the relevant circles.
In a tweet, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong referred to the city-state to stress that the United States may lose its position as the financial hub of the world for lacking crypto regulations.
Armstrong Calls for Regulations
“America risks losing it’s status as a financial hub long term, with no clear regs on crypto, and a hostile environment from regulators. Congress should act soon to pass clear legislation. Crypto is open to everyone in the world and others are leading. The EU, the UK, and now HK,” Armstrong said, retweeting a post saying Hong Kong will make it legal to sell, purchase, and trade crypto assets for all its citizens from June 1.

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Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest Buys $9.2M Worth of Coinbase’s COIN Amid Price Drops

February 14, 2023

Cathie Wood, Founder and CEO of Ark Invest, continues to be bullish on Coinbase, whose share price is down by nearly 85% from its all-time high of $348.98 on November 12, 2021.  
Making the third investment in two months and fourth since November, Ark Invest acquired $9.2 million worth of COIN shares on Friday, media reports asserted.  
A Bloomberg report from three months ago said Ark Invest made $56 million worth of Coinbase shares in November 2022 alone.
Ark Invest’s COIN Purchases  
In the latest round, the investment firm bought 162,325 COIN shares. In the previous two, on January 5 and January 12, the company accumulated Coinbase shares worth $5.8 million and $3.3 million, respectively. In December, it purchased $11.9 million worth of COIN. 
On January 5, the day Ark

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India’s Retail CBDC Pilot Onboards 50K Users, RBI to Continue with ‘Go Slow’ Approach

February 11, 2023

India’s retail CBDC pilot, launched on December 1, has onboarded 50,000 users and 5,000 merchants. In the two-month period, 0.77 million e-rupee transactions were carried out, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said.
Right now, digital rupee (e-rupee) transactions are available in a closed group of banks, cities, and merchants.
India CBDC Plan will Go Slow
“We want the process to happen, but we want the process to happen gradually and slowly. We are in no hurry to make something happen so quickly,” T Rabi Sankar, Deputy Governor of RBI, said at post-policy press conference early this week.
He added that the RBI has its targets in terms of users and merchants, and it will go slowly.
Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman officially announced in February 2022, during her

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WazirX’s Comeback on Denial of Wallet Services Threatens Binance with Legal Action

February 9, 2023

The opaque and intriguing ownership of the Indian crypto exchange WazirX continues to baffle investors and crypto honchos alike. Over the past two weeks, Binance and WazirX top executives once again came to blows over the issue.
In August 2022, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhoa and WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty publicly accused each other of lying about the latter’s ownership.
WazirX Threatens Binance With Legal Action
In the latest, WazirX described the allegations made by Binance’s February 3 statement, which gave its estranged Indian partner just a few hours to withdraw all its funds from its wallets and accounts, as “false and unsubstantiated.”
Responding to the deadline, WazirX tweeted later that day that it was “transferring assets to multi-sig wallets,” which it expected to

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Ripple CTO Describes XRP Buyback Theory as an ‘Awful’ Lot of ‘Scam’

February 6, 2023

Should the United States consider making XRP the reserve currency of the world and buy its entire holding from the market? 
Well, this speculative idea floated by Jimmy Vallee, Managing Director of Valhill Capital, in 2021 is once again doing rounds after he talked about it in a recent interview. 
But Ripple Lab’s CTO David Schwartz says he has not even looked at it closely. 
Sounds Like a Scam
The latest to rubbish Vallee’s speculative buyback theory is Ripple’s CTO, David Schwartz, who called it a scam in a tweet on Monday. 
“I haven’t looked at it very closely. But what I have seen looks an awful lot like a scam to me. If we’ve learned anything from 2012 and 2022 it’s that anyone promising high returns with low risk is almost certainly going to rob you,”

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Indian Minister Says Crypto Transactions Are Fine as Long as They Follow Laws 

January 22, 2023

In a significant development that indicates that the Indian government may not fully chime with the central bank’s overly hostile stance against cryptocurrencies, a junior minister explained that such activities are fine as long as they follow existing laws. 
This is in sharp contrast to the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) ban on crypto in 2018 and not fully opening up to the sector even when the Supreme Court scrapped the RBI order in 2022, calling it illegal.  
Crypto Is Fine 
“There is nothing today that outlaws crypto as long as you follow the legal process,” Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Information Technology and Electronics, told an event on Thursday.
These remarks assume significance as the Indian government will be presenting the annual budget for the

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El Salvador’s Alejandra Guajardo Walks Miss Universe Stage in Glowing Bitcoin Suit

January 15, 2023

The Miss Universe 2023 contest had various show-stopper moments during its National Costume Competition today. 
But for the cryptocurrency sector, it came when El Salvador’s Alejandra Guajardo sashayed the stage in a Bitcoin suit. 
Alejandra Guajardo. Source: RedditBTC on Miss Universe Stage 
The 27-year-old actress and model showcased the evolution of her country’s currency through a dress she wore at the Miss Universe contest. She came on stage in a golden bitcoin outfit, holding a scepter with a BTC logo.
In a striking resemblance to the BTC logo, her outfit had three prominent colors – gold, silver, and bronze. Guajardo sported a big coin model on the back, with her country’s name engraved on it.
Guajardo’s bitcoin outfit quickly became the talking point in the

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The PI Network Controversy: Here’s Everything You Need to Know

January 9, 2023

Smartphone-based blockchain mining project Pi Network has issued another clarification on the unauthorized listing of Pi coins, saying they are not available for trading yet.
Pi Network has been in existence since 2018 and launched its Pi coin for mining by its community members, called “Pioneers,” in March 2019. These assets can be traded once Pi Network upgrades to Open Mainnet.
Pi Network Disclaimer
Right now, the network is in the Enclosed Mainnet state, which makes its interaction with any third-party “technically impossible.”
The blockchain project issued a similar disclaimer on December 29, in which it said it was aware of reports that several unauthorized exchanges sought to list Pi or other products purported to be the native cryptocurrency.
“It is important to

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$3.8B of Cumulative Volume Moved Overseas Since Indian Crypto Taxes Kicked In

January 7, 2023

While Indian crypto exchanges lost a significant portion of their trading volume after new taxes for the sector came into force, the losses, so far, were referred to in percentage terms, with most estimates quoting them to be above 90%, compared to the previous year.
Now, a new study has quantified the value of cumulative trading that shifted from Indian to foreign crypto exchanges after the new taxes kicked in.
CryptoPotato reported earlier that Indian traders are flocking to foreign exchanges after the tax and regulatory environment in the country has become “unviable.”
$3.8 Billion Moved
Esya Centre, an Indian think tank on technology policy matters, in a report published on January 3, said that Rs. 32,000 crores ($3.85 billion) of cumulative trade volume shifted from

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