This Week on Crypto Twitter: War, the FTX Trial, and a New Tether Chief
Illustration by Mitchell Preffer for Decrypt
News of war and persistent inflation brought crypto prices down this week as some investors dumped their riskier assets to hedge themselves against political and economic uncertainty.
Last Saturday, the Palestinian militant group Hamas—widely recognized as a terrorist organation—infiltrated the Israeli border and began taking hostages and attacking military and civilian targets. Israel responded with heavy air strikes across Gaza—the locus of Hamas’s control. The human cost already numbers in the thousands.
DeFi enthusiast Yogi warned Binance that Hamas was using its network to collect donations.
Hamas uses @binance to collect money donations. This is an example of a transaction of 50K$ from a Hamas-owned address to a Binance wallet on Tron:https://t.co/QdY6efD7iw@cz_binance please block all accounts related to Hamas and help save innocent lives.
— Yogi (@Yogi_Brn) October 9, 2023
Crypto newsletter writer @Cryptadamus also flagged the exchanges believed to host accounts linked to Hamas.
Hamas’s official list of preferred cryptocurrency exchanges:
1. #Poloniex (Justin Sun)
2. #Huobi (Justin Sun)
4. #Bitfinex (Tether)
6. #CexIO pic.twitter.com/2dZkZyVO7j
— ⚯ M Cryptadamus ⚯ | @firstname.lastname@example.org (@Cryptadamist) October 10, 2023
The co-founder of crypto alerts platform ChartAlerts, who tweets under the handle @devchart, spotted someone or a group trying to capitalize on the tragedy.
We deserve to go to 0 😭 pic.twitter.com/1ZUWLz8zeL
— Devchart 👨🏻💻 (@devchart) October 9, 2023
In other news that day, analytics by Messari revealed a marked growth in transactions on Ethereum L2s.
L2 transactions accounted for 61% of all Ethereum transactions in Q3.
The growth came largely from Base’s explosive launch and the virality of @friendtech. Over a brief period near the end of the quarter, Base alone was doing more transactions than Ethereum Mainnet.
— Messari (@MessariCrypto) October 9, 2023
Meanwhile, all price gains made by XRP following favorable court rulings in the SEC’s ongoing lawsuit against the coin’s progenitor Ripple have been wiped out, tweeted crypto enthusiast Bill Morgan.
XRP has now almost entirely lost the the gains from the recent Torres decision on the SEC’s motion for an interlocutory appeal as it previously almost entirely lost the gains from the summary judgment decision in July pic.twitter.com/Zloa3bcPMD
— bill morgan (@Belisarius2020) October 9, 2023
Coinbase’s director Conor Grogan pointed out that nearly half of all Tether (USDT) in circulation was minted by Alameda Research, the trading firm that was ostensibly a “sister company” to FTX but in reality was directly controlled by the bankrupt exchange’s disgraced former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried.
Onchain data shows that Alameda was responsible for minting $39.55B of USDT, a number that is 47% of Tether’s circulating supply today
A previous report by Protoss estimated the number at around $36.7B; I was able to update these figures with additional wallets I found pic.twitter.com/fYBvGAYlFd
— Conor (@jconorgrogan) October 9, 2023
Bored Bitcoin analysts entertained themselves early in the week by attempting to peg the price of Bitcoin to hype over the comeback of the McRib—a much-loved limited-run pork burger that is periodically and temporarily reintroduced by McDonald’s every so often.
Here’s a lookback at how Bitcoin has reacted to news that McDonald’s McRib is back on the menu.
They just announced it again last week.
And you’re bearish? pic.twitter.com/iUgsXrOO6G
— Zack Voell (@zackvoell) October 9, 2023
Spotted! A Dogecoin reference in a line of code on a Tesla webpage. No doubt CEO Elon Musk, a long-time DOGE supporter and HODLer, is behind it somehow.
BREAKING: $DOGE in the source code of cybertruck check out page.
I verified myself.@elonmusk verify yourself please.
— MartyParty (@martypartymusic) October 9, 2023
Ever wondered what people’s reasons are for getting into crypto? Economist John Paul Koning shared the results of a Fed survey asking people that same question.
The Fed recently asked a sample of 382 American crypto owners why they own crypto.
Answers are in the screenshot below 👇
The top reasons: price appreciation and curiosity about the tech. Almost no one mentions remittances, payments, or distrust of banks/government. pic.twitter.com/tzXXI93loj
— John Paul Koning (@jp_koning) October 10, 2023
On Tuesday, a court cross-examined FTX co-founder Gary Wang in the trial against Sam Bankman-Fried for fraud and mishandling customer funds. Journalist Matthew Russell Lee shared some of the juicy soundbites from the New York Southern District court.
Everdell: How much was being withdrawn per hour on Nov 6?
Gary Wang: About $100 million an hour.
Everdell: Sam asked you to calculate what was needed, including the Korean friend account?
Wang: We were down $8 billion.
— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) October 10, 2023
Bitcoin researcher @Namcios spotted an activist using blockchain to protest the detention of whistleblower Julian Assange.
It looks like over 200 Afghan War Logs have now been forever inscribed into bitcoin.
It seems to be an open and free mint, so anyone can inscribe to protest against the imprisonment of Julian #Assange https://t.co/WRl8Af4wjO https://t.co/brRI3zll1K
— Namcios (@namcios) October 11, 2023
Speaking of whistleblowers, one former Alameda Research employee flagged the shockingly lax security he observed during his time there.
An Alameda trader got phished while trying to complete a DeFi transaction by accidentally clicking a fake link that had been promoted to the top of Google Search results
Postmortem: Implemented extra checks on our internal wallet software
— Adi (e/acc) (@aditya_baradwaj) October 11, 2023
On Wednesday, Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas pored over Ark Invest’s refiled application to the SEC for a Bitcoin spot exchange-traded fund (ETF). He posted his observations in a small thread.
There’s 5 extra pages in new S-1 but the new stuff is sprinkled throughout like the two above egs. So what does this mean? It means ARK got the SEC’s comments and has dealt with them all, and now put ball back in SEC’s court. IMO good sign, solid progress.
— Eric Balchunas (@EricBalchunas) October 11, 2023
On Friday, Tether CTO Paolo Ardoino announced that he is taking over as the chief executive, effective this December.
Tether Appoints Paolo Ardoino (@paoloardoino ) as CEO
— Tether (@Tether_to) October 13, 2023
When crypto enthusiast Zack Voell words it like this, one begins to suspect that there’s a magic money tree powering crypto exchange Nexo.
Nexo? up to 16% APR on USDT
— Zack Voell (@zackvoell) October 13, 2023
Finally, reports surfaced on Thursday that collapsed crypto lender Genesis had again halted withdrawals. Genesis had begun to collapse around the same time last year due to its significant exposure to FTX. A few tweeters saw the hilarity in another Genesis withdrawal freeze.
Havent they been insolvent for like 2 years
— Imp «Император» (@Imperator_0x) October 12, 2023
— Jordi Alexander (@gametheorizing) October 12, 2023
That same day, a new legal filing by Genesis proposed that FTX and affiliates can claim $175 million if they withdraw several other debt claims against the lender that may total over a billion. The settlement order was approved by the court the previous week.