Daily Crypto News Digest

Tokonomo Daily Crypto News Digest – May 9th

Bittrex, a cryptocurrency exchange based in the United States, has submitted a bankruptcy filing in the state of Delaware

On Monday, Bittrex, a crypto exchange in the United States, filed for bankruptcy in Delaware, months after announcing its plans to wind down its operations in the country and weeks after being sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

According to court filings, Bittrex has estimated liabilities and assets ranging between $500 million to $1 billion and more than 100,000 creditors.

The exchange has faced a difficult 2023, with 80 layoffs in February and the announcement in March to cease all operations in the U.S by the end of April, though Bittrex Global remains unaffected.
Despite intentions to fight the SEC charges in court, Bittrex’s bankruptcy may make this more difficult.

Bittrex is the latest crypto entity to file for bankruptcy, following FTX and other lenders like Celsius, Voyager, and BlockFi.

Customers will receive a “100 percent like-kind cryptocurrency distribution” under the liquidation plan, allowing them to withdraw their crypto from the Bittrex platform.
Co-founder and CEO Richie Lai tweeted that the bankruptcy filing was the “cleanest way to bury the baby,” but customer funds remain intact.

Bittrex cited the lack of regulatory clarity in the U.S. as creating a negative economic impact on the digital asset industry, resulting in overlapping regulatory burdens and soaring regulatory costs.

A former product manager at Coinbase has been handed a two-year prison term for engaging in insider trading

A former employee of Coinbase has been sentenced to two years in prison after admitting to insider trading charges.

Ishan Wahi, who was a product manager at the cryptocurrency exchange, was arrested in July 2022 and charged with insider trading and wire fraud.
He provided insider information about upcoming crypto listings to his brother and another individual, who authorities say made over $1 million from trades based on Wahi’s information between June 2021 and April 2022.

Wahi’s case marks the second crypto-related insider trading case brought by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
In the first case, which involved the former head of product at non-fungible token (NFT) platform OpenSea, Nate Chastain was convicted of money laundering and wire fraud for using insider knowledge of NFT listings to make profitable trades.
Wahi’s brother, Nikhil Wahi, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in September 2022 and was sentenced to 10 months in prison in January.

Ishan Wahi initially pleaded not guilty but later admitted to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in February.
His sentence of two years is longer than his lawyers had hoped for.
In April, they requested a sentence of no more than 10 months in prison, similar to his brother’s sentence.
However, the two-year sentence is significantly less than the maximum sentence of 60 years that Wahi faced.

The crypto-focused media platform, Blockworks, has secured $12 million in funding, valuing the company at $135 million

Blockworks, a media outlet focused on cryptocurrencies, has secured $12 million in funding from private equity firm 10T Holdings, Framework Ventures, and Santiago Santos.

The funding round valued Blockworks at $135 million post-investment.

The funds will be utilized to expand Blockworks Research, the company’s investment platform that provides real-time news, data analytics, research, governance, and other features.

Despite challenges faced by crypto-focused publications due to the recent bear market and industry scandals, Blockworks Research has attracted both financial institutions and crypto-native investors who rely on the platform for decision-making.
With this investment, Blockworks aims to strengthen and expand its offering to provide better information to the industry.

The NFT project Pudgy Penguins has secured $9 million in funding

1kx has led the $9 million seed funding round for Pudgy Penguins, a non-fungible token (NFT) collection. Investors in the funding round included Big Brain Holdings, Kronos Research, LayerZero Labs’ founders, Old Fashion Research, and CRIT Ventures.

The company plans to use the funds to expand its intellectual property and team.

The project had removed its founders over a year ago for allegedly misusing treasury funds and not meeting community goals.
In 2022, entrepreneur Luca Schnetzler (Netz) bought the rights for $2.5 million and expanded the brand through licensing deals and social media campaigns, driving the NFTs to reach their highest floor price in December.

Pudgy Penguins now includes live events, new monetization opportunities for token holders, and merchandise such as books and toys.

The head of investor relations at Pudgy Penguins, Vi Powils, expressed excitement about the milestone and acknowledged the support of the company’s strategic partners and talented team.
The funding round’s success demonstrates that Pudgy Penguins is a Web3 brand accessible to everyday consumers worldwide.

OKX, a crypto exchange, has given Alameda Research $57 million

On Tuesday, the OKX crypto exchange sent millions of dollars worth of tokens to crypto wallets associated with Alameda Research, the trading unit linked to the bankrupt FTX crypto exchange.

According to Arkham Intelligence’s on-chain analytics tool, Alameda received over $57 million worth of USDT tether and $300,000 worth of MASK tokens from OKX.

The wallets receiving these tokens are entirely controlled by the FTX Bankruptcy Estate, established after the downfall of FTX and Alameda last year to assist the creditors of both firms.

The NFT marketplace of Binance has now included the capability to support NFTs that are based on Bitcoin

On Tuesday, Binance NFT, the non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace of the leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance, announced its plan to introduce support for Ordinals or Bitcoin NFTs by the end of May, although the exact date was not disclosed.

Binance NFT marketplace already allows the trading of NFTs based on Ethereum, Polygon, and Binance’s native BNB Chain, and by enabling the purchase of Ordinals on the Bitcoin network, the marketplace aims to expand its offerings.

This would allow collectors to buy and sell inscriptions or NFTs created on the Bitcoin network, which would expand the reach of the nascent Ordinals ecosystem.
To facilitate the onboarding of users to Bitcoin NFTs, Binance will enable traders to purchase Bitcoin-based NFTs with their Binance accounts, making the process simpler for buyers.

Unlike collectors interested in Yuga Labs’ TwelveFold Ordinals, who had to set up a taproot-compatible Bitcoin wallet to purchase Ordinals, Binance seeks to simplify and secure the process for new buyers to enter the growing market.

According to Binance Head of Product Mayur Kamat, Bitcoin is “the broadest choice” for NFT collectors and a burgeoning market that the exchange aims to tap into.

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