SBF to enter plea deal, Mango’s exploiter arrested, and Celsius news: Hodler’s Digest, Dec. 25-31

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Top Stories This Week

Bankman-Fried may enter plea in NY federal court next week before Judge Lewis Kaplan

Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is scheduled to appear in court on the afternoon of Jan. 3 to enter a plea on two counts of wire fraud and six counts of conspiracy against him in relation to the collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange. After being released on a $250 million bail bond, Bankman-Fried reportedly met with Michael Lewis, author of The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, a bestseller that was turned into a movie, spurring speculation that a film about the disgraced exchange’s saga is on the way.

SBF borrowed $546M from Alameda to fund Robinhood share purchase

In another headline related to Sam Bankman-Fried, an affidavit by the founder of FTX revealed that he previously borrowed over $546 million from Alameda Research to fund a purchase of Robinhood shares. Later, those same shares were used by Bankman-Fried as collateral for a $600 million loan taken by Alameda from digital asset lender BlockFi. The shares are currently frozen and are worth around $450 million. BlockFi filed a lawsuit seeking to receive the collateral shares in November.

Argo Blockchain sells top mining facility to Galaxy Digital for $65M

In a bid to survive the ongoing bear market, cryptocurrency mining firm Argo Blockchain sold its Texas flagship mining facility, Helios, for $65 million. The new owner is Mike Novogratz’s crypto investment firm Galaxy Digital, which will also provide Argo with a new $35 million equipment finance loan to help the company reduce its debt. The deal will allow Argo’s mining operations to continue while reducing total debt, improving liquidity and improving operating structure..

Mango Markets exploiter arrested on fraud charges — Maybe it was illegal

Avraham Eisenberg, the hacker who drained $110 million from decentralized exchange Mango Markets, was arrested in Puerto Rico. Eisenberg called the exploit a “highly profitable trading strategy” and noted that he considered all his actions to be “legal open market actions.” It appears, however, that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a different interpretation of the facts. According to the FBI complaint, Eisenberg’s actions constitute both fraud and market manipulation.

Celsius wants to extend the deadline for claims as lawyer fees mount

Celsius Network is planning to file a motion to extend the deadline for users to submit claims by another month, extending the time limit to early February. Creditors of Celsius, however, do not seem to support the move, as fees for bankers, lawyers, and advisers have already reached $53 million in the bankruptcy case.

Winners and Losers

At the end of the week, Bitcoin (BTC) is at $16,554, Ether (ETH) at $1,196 and XRP at $0.34. The total market cap is at $794.23 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are BitDAO (BIT) at 17.58%, OKB (OKB) at 12.68% and Internet Computer (ICP) at 11.46%.

The top three altcoin losers of the week are Chain (XCN) at -32.93%, Solana (SOL) AT -16.57%, and Axie Infinity (AXS) at -15.45%.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“I want Bitcoin to go down a lot further so I can buy some more.”

Mark Cuban, billionaire entrepreneur

“We expect that 2023 could be the year of decentralization and accelerated development of decentralized apps.”

Nikita Zuborev, chief analyst at BestChange

“British financial institutions and banks […] continue to want to participate in the digitalization of commerce, which starts with digital assets, monies and commodities.”

Mitch Mechigian, partner at Blockchain Coinvestors

“Customer class members should not have to stand in line along with secured or general unsecured creditors in these bankruptcy proceedings just to share in the diminished estate assets of the FTX Group and Alameda.”

Creditors of FTX Group and Alameda Research

“Fraudsters love volatility and current events. Anytime they can try to surf the contours of something very disruptive in the marketplace, they have a great deal of success.”

Clayton LiaBraaten, senior executive adviser at Truecaller

“Listening to these companies talk about Web3 initiatives, it’s clear they see digital engagement with customers and fans as a new aspect of the retail experience.”

Steven Goulden, senior research analyst at Cumberland

Prediction of the Week 

Bitcoin ‘not undervalued yet,’ says research as BTC price drifts nearer to $16K

Bitcoin’s price has been hovering around $17,000 for the majority of December, according to Cointelegraph’s BTC price index.  

Based on the analysis of MAC_D, a pseudonymous contributor to the on-chain platform CryptoQuant, Bitcoin is “not undervalued yet,” as an indicator tracking transactions in profit and loss has yet to repeat its traditional bear market bottom sequence. 

“Therefore, the BTC is likely to fall further, and spot hedging and down trend trading are required,” noted MAC_D.

FUD of the Week 

Midas Investments closes down amid $63M DeFi portfolio deficit

While the FTX contagion continues, custodial investment platform Midas Investments has announced that it will cease operations due to a $63.3 million deficit in its decentralized finance portfolio. Midas has experienced some difficulties following the collapses of Terra, Celsius and FTX, which led to users withdrawing 60% of their funds over the course of six months.

Kraken quits Japan for the second time, blaming a ‘weak crypto market’

Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has shut down its operations in Japan for the second time, blaming a “weak crypto market.” A blog post by the exchange announced the decision on Dec. 28. After closing in 2018, Kraken reopened its Tokyo headquarters during the bull market of 2020, offering spot trading on five major assets with plans to expand. Kraken’s clients in Japan will have until Jan. 31 to withdraw their funds from the exchange.

3Commas API leak victims demand refunds and apology for ‘gaslighting’

After months denying any hack or breach on its platform, 3Commas and its CEO Yuriy Sorokin finally admitted to a sizable API leak, recognizing that a database shared by a hacker was legitimate. Now, victims of the leak are demanding refunds and an apology from the crypto trading platform for being gaslighted. 3Commas has engaged in a back-and-forth with victims in recent months, denying leaks and claiming customers were phished.

Best Cointelegraph Features

‘Make sure Ethereum wins’ — Steve Newcomb reveals zkSync’s prime directive

Silicon Valley veteran Steve Newcomb is on a mission to scale Ethereum to 10 million transactions per second with zk-Rollups. History suggests you shouldn’t bet against him.

Mati Greenspan’s boss bribed him with 1 BTC to join Twitter: Hall of Flame

Quantum Economics founder Mati Greenspan signed up for Twitter and got into Bitcoin on the same day back in 2012.

Making the case that Bitcoin is not freedom: Pacific Bitcoin Panel

Is Bitcoin really bringing freedom to the world? Experts discussed the complexities of using Bitcoin as a tool for emancipation at a panel at Pacific Bitcoin.


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Cointelegraph Magazine writers and reporters contributed to this article.

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