SEC Proposes $5 Million Settlement in Kik’s $100 Million ICO for KIN

Kik Interactive, the embattled Canadian messaging startup, seems to have finally reached a settlement deal with the SEC regarding its illegal ICO back in 2017. Since the summer of 2019, the two parties in court have gone back and forth, with the latest ruling by a New York judge, favoring the SEC.

With barely three weeks since the ruling, the SEC has now proposed that Kik should settle with a fine of $5 million with the market watchdog. Kik’s ICO had raised a total of $100 million, intended for a crypto network dubbed ‘KIN.’ This was, however, cut short by the SEC, which sought to pursue Kik on account of issuing an illegal security.

According to the SEC’s court document, the two parties have agreed on a proposed judgment and are now seeking the court’s approval. Other than the $5 million in penalties, Kik will be required to give a 45-day notice if they want to launch another Kin token sale. The document states,

“The proposed Final Judgment, if approved by the Court, would permanently enjoin Kik from committing future violations of Section 5, according to Section 20(b) of the Securities Act of 1933, 15 U.S.C. § 77t(b); impose a conduct-based injunction, as outlined in the proposed Final Judgment, under Section 21(d)(5) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. § 78u(d)(5); and require Kik to pay a penalty of $5 million, under Section 20(d) of the Securities Act, 15 U.S.C. § 77t(d). The proposed Final Judgment would conclude this action.”

Unlike Telegram, which had a similar encounter with the SEC, Kik has not been obliged to return its investors’ funds. This means that the project’s tokenization dreams could be realized despite the SEC’s 16-month long legal battle. Notably, Kik has previously argued that its Kin token was sold based on its underlying utility instead of a speculative nature suggested by the SEC.

If the court approved the proposed judgment, Kik would only settle for $5 million; this amount is equivalent to what they collected during their fundraising initiative dubbed ‘Defend Crypto’ Campaign. Other ‘illegal’ ICOs like EOS and Telegram have had it a bit rougher, with each settling at $24 million and $18 million, respectively.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

BTC-e Exchange Operator’s Trail for Bitcoin Fraud Begins in Paris

The four-day trial of Alexander Vinnik, 41, alleged to have used ransomware in a $157 million (135 million euros) bitcoin fraud that involved 200 victims, began in Paris on Monday.

The Russian man who is wanted both in the US and Russia faces up to ten years in prison over charges of extortion, money laundering, and criminal association.

He was one of the creators of malware called “Locky” delivered through email, and if downloaded, it encrypts the recipient’s data, and then the affected party is asked to pay a ransom in BTC to free it, as per french prosecutors.

During the period of 2016 and 2018, several companies, local councils, and legal offices were targeted in France, and twenty of the victims paid the ransom through BTC-e.

A technical consultant at the digital currency exchange, Vinnik said he had no knowledge of the illegal activity and denied any wrongdoing.

The US also wants to prosecute him on the grounds of laundering billions of dollars through BTC-e.

Vinnik was arrested in the summer of 2017 in Greece, while on vacation with his family, at US authorities’ request. After two years of tug-of-war, Greek authorities ruled that he would be extradited first to France, then to the United States, and then finally to Russia, where he faces lesser charges.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Comes to the Rescue of Nigerian Protesters as Account Gets Suspended

It’s been more than a week now that people across Nigeria have been protesting against police brutality and demand reform and accountability.

The younger generations are using social media to document the event in real life to amplify their cause and counter false narratives.

The youth-led rallies in several parts of the countries target the federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Authorities have announced that SARS will be disbanded, but the promise is not enough to quell the anger.

Nigerians continue to protest and fight for accountability, calling for an end to police violence and a complete overhaul of the system.

As part of the protests, various organizations have been asking for support. One such activist, the Feminist Coalition Group, which has managed large funds, reported having its accounts suspended.

“For demanding an end to police brutality, we are now under attack! Our bank account has been deactivated, and so has the Flutterwave donation link. Our members lives are also being threatened!” it was written on twitter earlier this week.

Amidst this attack, Bitcoin came to the rescue as the official twitter account of Nigerian feminists fighting against the injustice of SARS through peaceful protests, fundraising, and social media organization shared the option to donate with BTC.

The platform accepts BTC through BTC Pay Server, a self-hosted cryptocurrency payment processor, which is a “free, secure, and censorship-resistant platform.”

Already, over 180 transactions have been made to their addresses and raised about $10,800 (0.94749255 BTC) at the current BTC price.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, a Bitcoin proponent, also mentioned the protest in several tweets and asked people to donate via BTC to support the protest.

“Donate via Bitcoin to help EndSARS,” tweeted Dorsey.

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Author: AnTy

JPMorgan: Corporate Demand for Bitcoin Is A Strong Vote of Confidence for its Future

The tables have turned.

As Bitcoin gets special attention from the publicly traded companies, the banking giant’s views are also changing about the leading digital asset.

According to JPMorgan, Jack Dorsey’s Payment company Square investing $50 million investment in Bitcoin is a “strong vote of confidence for the future of bitcoin.”

What started with MicroStrategy, the first publicly-traded company to put $475 million worth of Bitcoin in its Treasury, has gained strength with Square’s 1% bitcoin allocation. Yesterday, $10 billion asset manager Stone Ridge also announced that it had made BTC its primary treasury reserve asset.

According to the bank’s strategists, including Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, this signals that Square sees a “lot of potential” for the cryptocurrency as an asset.

Not only it expects Square to make more BTC purchases in the future, but it also expects other payments companies to follow in its footsteps or risk being left out of a growing segment.

Square already has a deeper connection with Bitcoin; it allows people to buy the digital asset and even actively participates in its development through a special division of Square Crypto. Not to mention, its CEO is a vocal Bitcoin proponent who sees BTC becoming a currency of the internet.

JPMorgan also noted that millennials have been using Cash App to buy BTC; this demand, along with the purchases made by companies like MicroStrategy, indicates the demand for Bitcoin surpassed its supply at a greater level in Q3 than in Q2.

Amidst this source of corporate demand, Bitcoin’s price is trading around $11,400, down from above $11,700 it reached yesterday.

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While BTC has made a good head start this month, JPMorgan only sees a “modest headwind” for Bitcoin in the short term based on its intrinsic value. Although a drop in September eliminated much of the “froth,” it remains 13% higher than the intrinsic value estimate.

Futures show that “there still appears to be an overhang of net long positions.” Meanwhile, options contracts volume is rising, which strategists said is likely that retail traffic is driving this surge.

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Author: AnTy

DeFi Benefiting from Renewed Risk Appetite, YFI Enjoying a 30% Turnaround

There have been rumors floating on the Crypto Twitter that the creator of the DeFi darling YFI, Andre Cronje, has “permanently left the lead of development and possibly the project after reports he fell in depression.”

Some even say, “the YFI Team is trying to mitigate the situation with a cover-up.”

However, CL, who works on the design at Yearn.Finance refuted these rumors with a simple “he did not quit.”

Cronje hasn’t been active on his Twitter either; his last tweet was on Sept. 29, right after the Eminence.Finance debacle which rug pulled $16 million.

This isn’t the first time the market is talking about Cronje’s exit from the project. In early August, in an interview, he talked about quitting but after a clear mind reaffirmed the crypto community that he isn’t going anywhere any time soon, at least, “until there is nothing left to build.”

“This space won’t get rid of me,” he added.

Before that, back at the end of February, the “toxic community” of DeFi had pushed him to make a similar decision, but he said he learned his lesson.

A Turnaround

Unlike the last time when his quitting crashed the YFI price by 22%, the positive momentum in the market has YFI jumping following the correction, of course.

In mid-September, YFI hit its all-time high at above $44,000, surpassing 1 BTC the previous month and hitting BTC’s ATH before bitcoin.

But before Sept. was over, YFI crashed more than 54%, as the DeFi frenzy started to cool off. The pullback after a wild rally has been expected. But the DeFi correction didn’t stop there.

And yesterday, it went down as low as under $12,300, another about 40% drop and took all the DeFi down with it.

“Volume indicates that may have been the YFI bottom, and the DeFi bottom by extension,” said trader and economist Alex Kruger.

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The trader also added for further confidence in this DeFi bottom; we need stocks not to go on full risk-off mode and “Cronje to behave like a grown-up – Bet he’ll come out of his cave within weeks, release a new product, make YFI pop 30-50% in days, and have his sycophants like his boots.”

And today, we have finally started uptrending that YFI surging above $15,000. With a jump in price, other metrics are growing too.

YFI, however, is not the only one propelled by Bitcoin’s positive move yesterday, small-cap, DeFi related assets are the ones benefiting from the renewed risk appetite.

YFII is leading with 65% gains along with with the likes of bxrz (28%), UMA (27%), AKRO (25%), RUNE (23%), SUSHI (21%), UNI (20%), CRV (17%), and LEND (13%).

“Despite the re-pricing of various tokens that dominate DeFi ecosystem, the actual amount locked remained relatively sticky and largely unchanged,” said Denis Vinokourov of Bequant. “Pointing to profit taking, as opposed to capital flight related flow,” he added.

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Author: AnTy

Malaysia Shariah Advisory Council Sees ‘Great Potential’ in Crypto; Unclear Laws Held Back Adoption

A Shariah Advisory Council chairman in Malaysia believes cryptocurrencies have great potential. The comments were made by Dr. Modh Daud Bakar, the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) Shariah Advisory Council chairman. However, he also highlighted the challenges in adopting these digital assets, given the lack of understanding about the technology among the masses.

The chairman’s comments come just three months after a monumental judgment allowing transactions and trade of digital assets under the Islamic law.

Mr. Bakar made these bullish comments about cryptocurrencies during SCxSC Fintech Conference 2020 in Kuala Lumpur on Oct. 6. At the conference, Mr. Bakar also noted that only 2% of Malaysians know about the nascent technology. He said that since digital assets were not considered a legal tender under Islamic laws, it was seen as a commodity, quite similar to gold and silver. Bakar explained during the conference,

“It is a medium of exchange, and we cannot stop people [from using] commodities as a medium of exchange. It is as good as buying an e-ticket or commodities in the market.”

“The acceptance of digital assets] can open up so many interesting areas in Malaysia, in which crypto can be deemed as investment assets where people can buy and hold for trading. The potential of this currency is as great as it comes with a growing digital economy of the world.”

How does Shariah Law see Digital Assets?

There has been a great debate on whether digit assets are acceptable under the Islamic laws with differences of opinion based on regions. However, in 2018 an advisor to the Indonesian FinTech firm declared Bitcoin as permissible under sharia law. In July this year, Malaysia’s council declared digital assets trading as permissible.

With a population of over 60% of Muslims, Malaysia has benefited the most from this decision. It helps further the adoption of digital assets and offers more exposure to the new population to nascent technology like Bitcoin. Bakar concluded,

“This has opened opportunities to take advantage of cryptos as a commodity or investment in a company.”

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Author: James W

Kucoin’s Hackers Identified With ‘Substantial Proof’ in $280M Theft, Law Enforcement Involved

Kucoin announced through its CEO Johnny Lyu that they have found the hackers who compromised close to $280 million of the exchange’s funds in last week’s hack.

Lyu tweeted this update over the weekend as crypto markets struggled in the red zone following the Kucoin hack, BitMEX indictments, and the news of President Trump contracting COVID 19.

The hack update noted that authorities and law enforcement, in particular, are now involved in the matter,

This update comes as a reprieve to Kucoin stakeholders, although the Singapore based exchange had assured the crypto community that funds were SAFU. While its funds in cold storage remained untouched, the hackers had managed to siphon around $280 million from hot wallets and are in the process of dumping the hack proceeds for value realization.

However, this seems not to be going so well for the group, which has only sold $13 million worth of the stolen funds. These were sold through decentralized exchanges, including Uniswap, Kyber Network, Tokenlon, and DEX.AG. As for the rest, Lyu now says that an additional $64 million has been frozen in collaboration with other CeFi providers, bringing the total to $204 million.

Besides the updates, Lyu also signaled that Kucoin is gradually returning to full functionality and supported deposits and withdrawals of 31 tokens as of October 3. In an earlier follow-up Livestream on September 30, the Kucoin CEO had acknowledged the hack as part of growing bigger,

“As a crypto team just turned three years old, although we never slack off on security-related issues, we couldn’t dodge the cruelest coming-of-age ceremony that every predecessor used to embrace.”

While this hack may have hit hard, one thing that emerged is the collaborative effort by crypto projects to curtail the movement of ‘compromised’ funds. Some projects like Velo Labs have gone to re-deploying their smart contracts to freeze the funds. Nonetheless, this has also sparked controversy on the whole aspect of decentralized ecosystems.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Salt Lending to Begin the Process of Refunds to Investors in Early 2021

“Anyone who bought SALT from us directly before and including 12/31/2019 will have an opportunity to submit a written claim at a later date to recover the consideration paid plus interest,” tweeted SALT Lending.

This has been in response to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ordering Salt Blockchain, the owner of the lending platform that offers dollar-denominated loans collateralized by cryptos that it has to refund the raised amount to investors.

As per the SEC’s decision, the token is deemed a security because Salt told investors they could expect to make a return on their investment. Investors will have three months after the filing of a registering statement to submit their claims to Salt, which the company is obligated to pay back with any agreed interest.

“We’re in the early stages of registering the token with the SEC,” said Salt adding that the claim form is expected to be available “in the early part of 2021.”

The refunds for tokens purchased will be provided directly from the company, as per the SEC Order, and if one no longer holds the tokens, they will be asked to provide the evidence of loss or damages.

The company raised $47 million in its initial coin offering (ICO) starting in 2017 through 2019.

Interestingly, the news of Salt reaching a “settlement” with the SEC, which means the company doesn’t have to agree or deny the agency’s findings, worked in its token’s favor. In the past 24 hours, the SALT price has spiked nearly 150%.

At the time of writing, SALT has been trading at $0.131 with a 24 hour ‘real’ volume of $106,183

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Author: AnTy

Ethereum 2.0 Developers to Launch Zinken Testnet After Spadina ‘Dress Rehearsal’ Fails

After five years of waiting for Ethereum 2.0, developers may have to wait longer for its launch after a failed launch of the Spadina Network. The ETH 2.0 developers plan a third testnet, Zinken, which is expected to solve bugs and fix problems found in the previous two testnets – Spadina and Medalla.

ETH 2.0 is expected to introduce sharding protocols to increase Ethereum’s scalability and reduce blockchain gas costs. The main upgrade on ETH 2.0, however, is the proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism that is expected to replace the energy-intensive proof-of-work (PoW) currently available.

ETH 2.0 Phase 0, or the Beacon Chain, is expected to launch later in the year with the full implementation of the upgrade set to take over two years. According to original plans, Spadina was set to be one of the final testnets, or a “dress rehearsal, before the launch of Phase 0, but bugs and finality problems were discovered.”

One ETH 2.0 developer, Danny Ryan, wrote on Twitter that despite ETH 2.0 clients becoming more robust, the high latency times for finality raised several issues on the Spadina network, including “cli options, testnet config, bootnodes, and genesis calculation bugs.” Ryan further wrote,

“Even though we expect moderately low participation on a short-lived non-incentivized testnet, small errors in the client release process greatly exacerbated this problem, resulting in ~1/3 participation in the first few epochs.”

To respond to the issues stated above, the developers will run the Zinken testnet as a “dress rehearsal.”

The bugs, however, are not critical, Prysmatic Labs developer, Raul Jordan, stated. Comparing the failures in Spadina to Medalla’s earlier failures, Jordan believes the failures will be a “learning experience” for ETH 2.0 developers.

Also Read: Ethereum Miner Fees Beats August Record with a 47% Increase in September

Ryan confirmed the Zinken testnet dress rehearsal would be launched in the coming two weeks.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Former Employees Call Justin Sun A “Clout-Chasing, Evil Genius,” He Says ‘The Best is Yet to Come’

“I have devoted myself to being a responsible, global citizen throughout my entire life, spending significant portions of my personal and professional life to activities promoting universal values of respect, liberty & equality,” tweeted Tron founder Justin Sun in his response to an article on The Verge that paints him in a really bad light.

The publication interviewed several former and current employees of Tron, one of whom called him “an evil genius.”

Covering Tron, whose whitepaper was “cribbed off” of Ethereum’s and follows the business strategy of “get the pump on the coin,” the article lays down how the free Tron Network’s most successful part is gambling apps in which people lost their “life savings.”

In response, Tron’s San Francisco office also received letters from the Better Business Bureau in “piles.”

And as we all know it, it’s not the technology that’s the cornerstone of Sun’s business but marketing.

“He thrived on just doing anything for attention and clout,” said a former employee about Sun bidding for Warren Buffett’s lunch that he won for $4.57 million. “Clout-chasing, as the kids call it.”

Sun’s first success was an app called Peiwo, which bordered on ‘aural pornography’ and got booted from the Apple and Android app stores and shut down by the Chinese authorities for content that “disrupts socialist values.”

Sun reportedly hit his employees too. The violence led Lucasz Juraszek, a software engineer, to file an IC3 complaint with the cybercrime division at the FBI, for which he never received a response.

“There is no merit to the false claims,” said Sun in his tweet today, adding, “the dispute is currently pending in arbitration. We believe the decision will speak for itself.”

“I take great pride in working with its global team of talented contributors and developers to build one of the greatest decentralized blockchain protocols,” said Sun.

His other product BT Live had been reportedly looking to be “a porn app so it can get around the Chinese censorship laws and Great Firewall.” And for that, Sun wanted to exploit the BitTorrent protocol, which he acquired last year because the peer-to-peer sharing platform is hard to track down and shut down.

“There’s no bottom to how low he’s willing to go to achieve his goals,” a former employee said. “He doesn’t care about anybody. He doesn’t care about anything.”

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Author: AnTy