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And happy holidays!
’Tis the season to be jolly and check your crypto portfolio before buying a few more holiday gifts for your family and friends. It’s also ’tis season for more FTX charges and SBF’s extradition…
More has unfolded in the FTX collapse as its co-founder and former CTO Gary Wang and the former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison have pleaded guilty to charges in regards to their roles in the crypto exchange’s demise, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said Wednesday. Both Wang and Ellison are cooperating with the investigation, Williams added.
And in similar news, nine days after being arrested in the Bahamas on a handful of criminal charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is heading back to the United States to face them.
Bankman-Fried got his own plane back to the U.S. and is expected to be arraigned in the Federal District Court in Manhattan. Where he’ll be held in the states is to be determined, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be as lavish as his $40 million place in the Bahamas — but hey, who’s he to complain?
Meanwhile, things are getting shaken up in the NFT world as Yuga Labs, creator of blue-chip NFT project Bored Ape Yacht Club, named Activision Blizzard COO Daniel Alegre as its new CEO. The current CEO, Nicole Muniz, will stay on as a strategic advisor.
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Here are some of the biggest crypto stories TechCrunch has covered this week.
Binance.US to buy Voyager Digital’s assets for $1 billion
It’s been a long year for Voyager Digital. After filing for bankruptcy, the crypto lender thought it would be able to return some funds to its customers by selling its assets to FTX. As you know, things haven’t been going well at FTX either. That’s why Binance.US is stepping in today and offering to buy Voyager Digital’s assets for $1.022 billion.
Magic Eden exec sees NFT gaming like the ‘early days of mobile gaming’ (TC+)
Blockchain games have grown exponentially over the past year as a new and innovative alternative to the traditional gaming world. While the two areas have been widely separated, some market players see an integrated future. In the past, big gaming companies became hyperfocused on the mobile gaming space and began acquiring smaller games to compete, Chris Akhavan, chief gaming officer at NFT marketplace Magic Eden, said to TechCrunch. “We think that the same journey is going to happen in web3,” Akhavan added.
India central bank chief warns crypto will cause the next financial crisis if permitted to grow
The Indian central bank’s governor said on Wednesday that it’s not at war with crypto, but warned that private cryptocurrencies will cause the next financial crisis unless its usage is prohibited. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das told a room packed with banking executives and lawmakers that crypto has a huge inherent risk to the macroeconomic stability of the nation. “After the development of the last one year, including the latest episode surrounding FTX, I don’t think we need to say anything more. Time has proven that crypto is worth what it’s worth today.”
Starbucks’ NFT program may drive more digital collectible integrations with big brands (TC+)
As the world continues to become more digital, the demands and needs of consumers are changing — and NFTs might be a big part of the future for brands looking to shake up their rewards programs, Adam Brotman, co-CEO and co-founder of Forum3, said to TechCrunch. “We’re hearing from a lot of other brands, whether they have a loyalty program or not, that what all big brands are contending with right now is that the consumer is changing,” Brotman, who is also the former chief digital officer of Starbucks, said. “It’s not just Gen Z or millennials, but the consumer in general has become more hyperdigitalized and more appreciative of digital goods.”
Audit firm Mazars ceases proof-of-reserves work for Binance and others
Global audit firm Mazars has deleted the website that hosted proofs-of-reserves work for cryptocurrency exchanges. The company told Bloomberg that it is suspending its work with crypto companies on proofs-of-reserves reports going forward. Clients of the audit firm include Crypto.com and Kucoin. But the most prominent client was Binance.
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This list was compiled with information from Messari as well as TechCrunch’s own reporting.
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