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Cristian Lipciuc

Articles by Cristian Lipciuc

dYdX Bans ‘Highly Profitable Trading Strategies’ After Targeted Trades on Exchange

14 days ago

On the 17th of November, an unknown individual who may have been working as part of a team targeted the dYdX exchange and its YFI token.
Allegedly, the same actor had previously tried a similar strategy on the exchange’s SUSHI market merely 2 weeks prior.
Good Trades Or Malicious Intent?
These trades, which the platform’s staff have classified as an attack, were done using a series of transactions that ultimately caused open interest on the exchange to surge by over $66 million and resulted in $9 million of its insurance fund being burned in order to keep it afloat.
Thankfully, no user funds were affected by the trade.
“Last night about $9m from the dYdX v3 insurance fund were used to fill gaps on liquidations processed in the YFI market. The v3 insurance fund remains well

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US Authorities Seize $54 Million in Crypto From New Jersey Narcotics Ring

22 days ago

New Jersey’s U.S. Attorney’s Office has filed a civil forfeiture action against Christopher Castelluzzo and two other members of an unnamed drug trafficking group based in New Jersey.
According to the filing, the other two members of the group are Luke Atwell – a friend and business partner of Castelluzzo’s who is currently serving a similar sentence – and Brian Krewson, another friend of the two who reportedly manages their estate for the time being.
Attempts to Move Crypto For Tax Avoidance
The stash was allegedly discovered after Castelluzzo – who is currently serving two concurrent 20-year sentences – attempted to communicate with members of his outfit while in prison in order to move the funds to another country in a bid to avoid taxation.
According to FBI Agent James

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UPbit Receives Preliminary Greenlight From Singaporean Authorities

October 16, 2023

In spite of previous high-profile disappointments tied to the crypto industry, such as 3AC and the ill-fated investment into FTX, the Singaporean government has been approving quite a few crypto platforms during the past weeks.
The latest to get the preliminary nod is the South Korean giant – UPbit.
Spree Of Approvals
Ripple, Coinbase,  and smaller players such as Sygnum and GSR have all been awarded an MPI (Major Payment Institute) license by the Singaporean government earlier this month.
Although several more details still need to be hashed out before UPbit Singapore can begin operating at full capacity, the in-principle agreement (IPA) allows the crypto exchange to provide digital payment token services within the city-state. The full license should be granted at a

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3Commas Suffers Security Incident

October 10, 2023

3Commas, a popular crypto trading bot, provides smart trading solutions for investors worldwide.
Unfortunately, the popularity of the tool also makes it a big glowing target for bad actors, who are sometimes successful in their attempts at getting ahold of user data – or even the bot’s API data.
Fortunately, the most recent attack was far more limited in scope.
Unauthorized Trades Reported
Towards the end of the weekend, 3Commas began receiving reports from users who saw that unauthorized trades were being made on their accounts.

Notice of Incident. We’ve identified a security incident that has come to our attention concerning the security of 3Commas accounts. 📚Learn more and stay secure:Read our Blog Post:
— 3Commas

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September Marked Record Profits for Bitcoin Miners

October 7, 2023

September of 2023 was a great month for Bitcoin mining companies. While the crypto world has been focused on the high-profile court cases regarding SBF and Celsius’ Mashinsky, Bitcoin miners have steadily been improving their hash rates, promising a greater future supply of the first cryptocurrency.
News of record outputs from three Bitcoin mining firms coincides with reports of Kraken witnessing a 5-year ATH of BTC inflow and a 506.06M hash rate spike in mid-September, according to YCharts.
CleanSpark Celebrates Best Year on Record
CleanSpark mined 643 BTC in September, bringing its total BTC holdings to 2,240.
According to the firm’s CEO, these numbers have not only made the past few months their most profitable quarter on record – they’ve turned CleanSpark’s FY23 into

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Binance Returns to Belgium After Summer Hiatus

September 26, 2023

Earlier this summer, Binance was required to wind down operations in Belgium due to a warning from the FMSA, the country’s principal financial regulator.
Previous Dispute With Regulator
The FMSA’s warning was, according to the regulator, wholly unrelated to the legal dispute currently underway across the pond.
Instead, the watchdog expressed concern over Binance’s practice of offering exchange services and hosting wallets in non-EEA countries – which opens the door to money laundering and other illicit activities, according to the FMSA.
“Firms governed by the law of a country that is not a member of the European Economic Area are prohibited from offering or providing, within Belgium, by way of professional activity, […] exchange services between virtual currencies and

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SEC Announces Further Enforcement Actions Against Crypto Industry

September 20, 2023

David Hirsch, the head of the SEC’s Crypto Assets And Cyber Unit, recently promised further enforcement actions against crypto platforms deemed to be non-compliant with the agency’s demands.
The announcement was made at the SEC’s yearly Securities Enforcement Forum Central event, which took place at the Four Seasons hotel in Chicago this year and was streamed online for those who could not attend.
DeFi Is Not A Workaround, Says Hirsch
During the event, which hosted speakers from several of the SEC’s subdivisions, Hirsch stated that his team will continue bringing lawsuits against crypto platforms that do not meet its requirements in spite of the uncertain rate of success. He also took aim at DeFi platforms that, in reality, may not be as decentralized as they claim.

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DeFi Should Be Off-Limits For CFTC, Says Coinbase CEO

September 14, 2023

Coinbase, one of the world leaders in crypto services, is currently battling accusations of improper conduct in U.S. courts. The platform’s legal representatives have denied any wrongdoing, even going so far as to request the dismissal of the case.
In spite of the accusations, Coinbase – and the platform’s CEO, Brian Armstrong – are generally viewed as a positive force in the market by institutional investors and even policymakers. As previously reported by CryptoPotato, Armstrong met with House Representatives in order to discuss upcoming legislation regarding cryptocurrencies.
Coinbase is, however, a centralized platform and has made no claims of being decentralized. This is why Armstrong shared his thoughts on legal issues that may be faced by his decentralized peers.

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SBF and DoJ Clash Over Witnesses and Jury

September 12, 2023

With less than a month left before Sam Bankman-Fried’s court case is due to begin, DOJ officials have been rushing to put the final touches to their arguments.
Since the outcome will be decided by a jury, the DOJ has spent a while formulating questions for members of the jury to ensure that they are as free of bias as possible.
Prior Interactions With FTX, Startups, and Fraud Cases Are of Interest
According to the document containing the final list of questions for the jury, the most important one for jury members is whether they were – or still are – an investor with ties to the FTX empire. Naturally, an investor who lost funds due to SBF’s unfortunate handling of the exchange’s finances would likely be biased against SBF, which would hinder a fair trial.
Several other

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LayerZero Hits Back at FTX Following Lawsuit Over Previous Commercial Relationship

September 11, 2023

Over the past year, FTX has filed numerous lawsuits against previous business partners, attempting to claw back funds allegedly spent without justification or in subprime deals.
Often, these funds were indeed spent on a whim, whether at networking parties or, presumably, gaming. However, LayerZero’s CEO Bryan Pellegrino argued that this could not be farther from the truth in this case.
Multimillion-Dollar Lawsuit
In the lawsuit filed on the 8th of September, FTX’s new leadership argues that the deals the firm made with LayerZero shortly before its collapse were unfair to it since the exchange was already insolvent at the time.However, the deals in question were made before the company officially filed for bankruptcy on the 7th of November, 2022.
According to FTX’s lawyers,

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Linus Financial Settles With SEC Out of Court

September 9, 2023

Linus Financial, a Nashville-based crypto platform, has settled its dispute with the SEC out of court. Previously, the project offered pooled crypto investment opportunities to its users in exchange for fiat.
However, the firm voluntarily winded down its operations when a similar firm got into hot water with the securities regulator over a nearly identical product.
Unregistered Securities Offering
Many of the SEC’s recent lawsuits – the most high-profile one being the case against Ripple – focused on the sale of tokens that the agency believes should be classified as securities. However, in this case, the Commission referred to the interest-garnering accounts themselves as the point of friction.
According to a press release submitted by the U.S. regulator, Linus Interest

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USDC Launches on Base And Optimism

September 6, 2023

On the 29th of August, Jeremy Allaire – the CEO of Circle, the company that mints and holds governance over USDC – announced that the popular stablecoin would be coming to Base and Optimism within a week.
The launch was part of Circle’s plan to improve the utility of USDC by bringing the stablecoin to more blockchains in a native token, eliminating the need for bridged Ethereum tokens. The decision came shortly after the announcement of a new super chain agreement with Optimism, with Circle now assuming a more active role in the Optimism collective’s day-to-day dealings.
Native Support
The two new variants of the USDC stablecoin have gone live on both mainnets earlier this morning. Both variants were built on the OP stack, and their launch is a part of Circle’s Stable

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Alameda Bought Co-CEO Sam Trabucco a Yacht

September 5, 2023

As part of FTX’s bankruptcy court proceedings, the exchange’s new management has – to the best of their ability – produced a balance sheet containing all expenses filed on behalf of the FTX Group’s C-Suite.
Some of these expenses were already known to the public, such as the infamous purchase of Robinhood shares for SBF and Gary Wang.
However, some of the expenses listed in the 57-page document have never been revealed before.
Purchased Shortly Before His Departure
According to the court documents filed by FTX’s legal team, $2,513,000 was transferred to the American Yacht Group to the benefit of John Samuel Trabucco on the 11th of March, 2022.
A mere six months later, Sam Trabucco announced his departure from the company on X, where he also laid out his plans for the near

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Gala Games Founders Feud Over Millions of Dollars Worth of Misused Tokens

September 4, 2023

Gala Games, the Web3 gaming startup behind mobile RPG Champions Arena and other ventures, was founded in 2019 and has grown steadily.
Since then, a falling out has occurred between co-founders Wright Thurston and Eric Schiermeyer. Each controlled 50% of the company, and they are now fighting to remove the other from the board of directors.
Schiermeyer accuses Thurston of the theft of company assets, while Thurston alleges Schiermeyer “sold off and wasted” millions of dollars of firm assets and misappropriated others – a move many would simply call theft with extra steps.
Tokens for Ammo
In the lawsuit filed by Schiermeyer on behalf of Gala Games, Thurston is accused of using his investment firm True North United Investments to move approximately $130 million worth of GALA

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Circle’s USDC Stablecoin Coming to Coinbase’s Base Next Week

August 30, 2023

After two years of split governance, the cooperation between the two companies has culminated in a new agreement, with Coinbase even acquiring a minority stake in Circle.
Earlier this summer, Circle shared plans to upgrade USDC’s technical capabilities in order to pave the way for present and future projects – and the release of the next upgrade has just been announced.
Stable September
On the 29th of August, Jeremy Allaire – the CEO of Circle – announced that USDC would be made available on the Base network sometime next week.

Native $USDC on @BuildOnBase. Coming next week. #StableSeptember. Let’s go!
— Jeremy Allaire (@jerallaire) August 29, 2023

Although USDC could already be used on the Base network by using USDbC – a USDC token backed by

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Crypto Scammers Using Gold Verfication on X (Twitter) Are Out of Control, Says ZachXBT

August 28, 2023

According to cybersecurity researcher ZachXBT, the feature meant to prevent scammers from impersonating legitimate organizations merely created a new black market.
Previously, all verified accounts had blue checkmarks. Now, blue checkmarks indicate that the owner of the account has an X Premium subscription and meets the requirements to display the checkmarks.
Government officials, multilateral organizations, and individuals acting as government representatives now qualify for a grey checkmark, while business organizations can qualify for a gold checkmark and a square profile picture.
Trivial Bar to Entry
In order to maintain a gold checkmark, organizations must shell out $1,000 a month. This, in Musk’s opinion, provided a high enough bar to entry that most scammers would

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Balancer Drained for Almost $1M Days After Disclosing Vulnerability

August 28, 2023

On the 22nd of August, Balancer Labs – a non-custodial portfolio manager, liquidity provider, and price sensor – received reports of a massive vulnerability affecting several of its lending pools.
At the time, no attacks had been carried out – but that changed recently.
Community Alerted
As soon as the exploit was discovered, Balancer devs published a warning to its users, noting that certain pools had already been marked as safe and promising a post-mortem of the situation as soon as a patch was ready.
In order to ensure that their funds were safe, users were directed to a newly made portal that would allow them to check whether their holdings were at risk or not. However, the devs recommended that users temporarily withdraw their funds from all pools as an extra safety

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Stablecoin Pegged to the Colombian Peso Targets Multi-Billion Dollar Market

August 25, 2023

Although the lion’s share of the stablecoin market is occupied by USD-pegged assets – with a smaller subset of such pegged to the euro – companies all over the world have started launching stablecoins pegged to their native currencies in a bid to offer companies and consumers an alternative to traditional payment services.
One of these firms is Num Finance, a small Argentine fintech company, which just launched nCOP – a stablecoin built on the Polygon network and linked to the Colombian Peso.
The project was backed in part by a pre-seed round worth $1.5 million, led by investors such as Reserve, Ripio Ventures, and others.

We introduce nCOP, the leading stablecoin for Colombia, powered by @0xPolygon.
— Num Finance (@Num_Finance) August 24, 2023

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