The Ukrainian government has confirmed that donors who have contributed crypto to fund its military struggle with the invading Russian army will be in line for an airdrop of tokens.
In the early hours of March 2, Kyiv wrote that its airdrop was “confirmed,” with a snapshot to be taken on March 3, and “reward(s) to follow.”
Some reacted with surprise after the Ukrainian government posted news of its airdrop plans, musing (with a pinch of salt, perhaps) that it looked like an initial coin offering (ICO) was afoot, although some claimed they were uncomfortable with the idea of “profiting from war.”
And while some well-known observers and industry insiders opined that the government is more likely to give out non-fungible tokens (NFTs) than fungible coins, others argued that the plan for the airdrop is not ready yet – but that the comments will end up deciding.
On Twitter, the Ukrainian government wrote:
“The people of Ukraine are grateful for the support and donations from the global crypto community as we protect our freedom.”
The government has opened the door to crypto in a bid to crowdfund its fight against the Russian invasion, using bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH), tether (USDT), and polkadot (DOT), claiming that “more cryptocurrencies will be added soon.” And the move was followed up by a USD 5.8m donation from the founder of the Polkadot network Gavin Wood.
In a blog post, Elliptic explained that “several other [crypto] donations of more than USD 1 million” had made donations both to the Ukrainian government “and NGOs providing support to the military” to the tune of USD 33.8m, through “close to 30,000 cryptoasset donations since the start of the Russian invasion.”
Per the data, which the site claimed was accurate as of March 1 at UTC 23:55, a CryptoPunk NFT worth some USD 200,000 had also been donated and was now in the Ukrainian government’s ethereum wallet.
Data from SlowMist, meanwhile, appeared to show that combined Ukrainian government and NGO donations in crypto were actually closer to the USD 51 million mark. A number of the NGOs and associated charities accept donations in other altcoins.
A further 0.2 million worth of DOT has also been contributed, per the data compilers, in addition to a single BTC donation worth USD 3m. This comes on top of a USD 10m donation from the crypto exchange Binance, as well as a donation from the FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.
But it is not just centralized crypto exchanges and their founders who are getting in on the act: one of the most popular decentralized exchanges in the crypto world, Uniswap (UNI), announced that it had created an interface that allows crypto users to convert all ERC-20 tokens to ETH and donate them to the Ukrainian government in a single transaction.
The exchange wrote that as the addresses thus far shared by the Ukrainian government are wallets on a centralized exchange “that appears to accept only USDT and ETH,” it had built its “interface so anyone who wants to donate but holds other ERC-20 tokens can do so with one click.”
Hayden Adams, the Uniswap founder, noted the significance of the move, writing:
“DeFi tools and incentives are currently being used by a sovereign nation to fund war efforts, during an ongoing invasion from a nuclear power.”
The conflict appears to have escalated, with Russian forces claiming on March 2 to have captured the Southern port city of Kherson. Airborne soldiers are also reported to have been deployed to Kharkiv, with a large convoy of military vehicles reportedly still posted outside the capital Kyiv.
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dYdX Founder Advises Crypto Industry to Abandon US Customers, Deeming Market Effort Unrewarding
The founder of the decentralized exchange, dYdX, asserts that individuals involved in cryptocurrency development should direct their efforts toward international markets beyond the United States for the upcoming five to ten years.
Antonio Juliano conveys to his audience of 49,400 on the social media platform X that the prevailing regulatory uncertainty within the United States does not merit the associated challenges or concessions.
Juliano contends that it would be more prudent for cryptocurrency developers to establish their products in alternative countries and subsequently re-enter the United States from a position of strength.
“Cryptocurrency developers would be well-advised to temporarily discontinue catering to the US market and instead seek re-entry in a span of 5-10 years. The complications and compromises involved do not warrant the endeavor. Moreover, a substantial portion of the market exists overseas. It is recommended to innovate in those regions, ascertain product-market fit, and then return with greater bargaining power…
The paramount objective shared among all stakeholders is to secure a significantly more potent product-market fit for cryptocurrency. The pursuit of a robust product-market fit does not necessitate flawless distribution. A multitude of substantial overseas markets present avenues for experimentation.”
Juliano articulates that advocating for more amiable cryptocurrency regulations demands time, although the process could be expedited if developers manage to introduce products that elicit consumer demand.
“However, this perspective does not undermine the importance of efforts to influence US cryptocurrency policy. On the contrary, such endeavors are absolutely vital. Given the protracted timeframe required (in anticipation of re-entry), and considering that much of the world takes cues from the United States, it becomes evident that our progress in shaping policies hinges upon achieving global-scale product usage.”
The dYdX founder proceeds to emphasize that, with time, American citizens will come to realize that cryptocurrency is inherently aligned with US values and principles.
“The tenets of cryptocurrency closely align with American values. What concept could be more quintessentially American and reflective of capitalist ideals than a financial system conceived for the people, driven by the people, and answerable to the people? This, indeed, constitutes the very essence of our endeavor.”
Bloomberg Analyst Mike McGlone Predicts Bitcoin Vulnerability in Economic Downturn
Bloomberg Intelligence’s senior macro strategist, Mike McGlone, is conveying a pessimistic outlook for Bitcoin (BTC) in the immediate future.
During a recent interview on Kitco News, McGlone underscored that Bitcoin is currently displaying bearish signals even amidst the ascent of other high-risk assets.
“In the event of a downturn, adhering to a rule prevalent in bear markets, resources across the board could witness a reduction in value, and Bitcoin will not be an exception.
A crucial observation is the necessity for Bitcoin to exhibit divergent strength at a certain juncture, akin to the behavior of treasury bonds and gold in a deflationary economic environment. Regrettably, this pattern has not materialized.
After attaining its peak towards the conclusion of Q1, reaching approximately $31,000, driven by optimism and the influence of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), Bitcoin subsequently retraced to $25,000 or approximately $26,000. Presently, it is manifesting divergent weakness in contrast to the concurrent upsurge in the stock market.”
According to McGlone’s analysis, the ongoing “economic reset” implies a continuation of Bitcoin’s recent downward trend, although he anticipates that the premier cryptocurrency will ultimately attain a six-figure valuation.
“While I believe that Bitcoin will eventually achieve a valuation of $100,000, the onset of a global economic reset, as I anticipate, characterized by a standard deflationary recession leading to a decline in the housing and stock markets, analogous to the conditions of 2008—though arguably exacerbated due to the ongoing removal of liquidity from the system—Bitcoin’s role as an influential precursor comes to the forefront.
This underscores my point that Bitcoin has recently been taking on the role of a harbinger of trends. Its value ascended briefly to around $31,000, only to subsequently trend downwards. From my perspective, it serves as a leading indicator for a majority of high-risk assets.”
As of the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading at $26,079.
Lead Developer Announces Imminent Public Reopening of Shibarium
Shiba Inu’s (SHIB) Latest Layer-2 Scaling Solution Nears Public Relaunch Following Recent Technical Challenges
Shytoshi Kusama, the enigmatic lead developer behind the SHIB project, has shared in a recent blog post that significant progress has been made in addressing the technical setbacks that temporarily halted the operation of Shibarium, SHIB’s new layer-2 scaling solution. The initial release of Shibarium encountered network issues that prompted its temporary closure. However, Kusama assured the community that diligent testing and parameter adjustments have led to notable improvements.
Kusama elaborated, stating, “After extensive testing and parameter refinements aimed at achieving a ‘ready’ status, Shibarium has undergone enhancements and optimization. While still undergoing testing, it is now successfully producing blocks.” Additionally, to prevent a recurrence of the past network overload, Kusama revealed the implementation of a new monitoring system and supplementary fail-safe measures. These include rate limiting at the RPC (remote procedure call) level and an automated server reset mechanism in the event of another surge in traffic.
With these advancements in place, the team is on the verge of reopening Shibarium to the public. As part of this progression, more network validators will be integrated into the ecosystem on August 23rd. Kusama emphasized the significance of this step, remarking, “Tomorrow, additional validators will become operational, expanding the options available for staking BONE. This will allow for a distribution of rewards earned through their roles within our community. As testing concludes, we will once again prepare for public utilization.”
Shibarium’s previous technical difficulties were attributed to an overwhelming influx of users and transactions during its initial launch. As of the current writing, SHIB is trading at $0.00000798, marking a 0.4% increase over the past 24 hours.
Sam Bankman-Fried, Co-Founder of FTX, Files for Temporary Release from Incarceration
FTX’s co-founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, is currently seeking a temporary release from incarceration. The purpose behind this endeavor is to engage in collaborative strategizing with his legal representatives within the confines of the federal courthouse situated in Manhattan.
In a formal letter dispatched to US District Judge Lewis Kaplan on a Friday, Bankman-Fried’s legal team expounded that their client’s capacity to effectively scrutinize the extensive legal documents pertaining to his case has been significantly curtailed during his time spent incarcerated at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn.
Christian Everdell, the attorney representing Bankman-Fried, divulged that the government recently disseminated a voluminous three-quarters of a million pages of Slack communications. These were originally due several months prior. Expressing the urgency of the situation, Everdell articulated, “Only last week did the government furnish an aggregate of approximately seven hundred and fifty thousand pages of Slack communications that were originally stipulated for release months ago. Given the current timeline, it is a futile endeavor for Mr. Bankman-Fried to endeavor to review these materials.”
He underlined the pivotal necessity for Bankman-Fried to collaborate meticulously with his legal team, emphasizing his dire need to avail himself of an internet-enabled laptop within the courthouse premises. Such a resource would undoubtedly expedite the process of comprehensive document review, an imperative undertaking in light of his impending fraud trial scheduled for the forthcoming October.
In riposte to Bankman-Fried’s plea for reprieve, the prosecuting body voiced apprehensions regarding his adherence to the prerequisites concerning his planned defense strategy. Notably, they underscored that Bankman-Fried is yet to furnish the complete gamut of essential information regarding the counsel upon which he predicated his actions.
The prosecutors proffered caution that unless Bankman-Fried promptly discloses the minutiae regarding the counsel he received and the provenance thereof, any attempt to interject such a defense during the trial should be summarily proscribed.
Although the prosecutors extended an offer to facilitate the transfer of documents onto hard drives for Bankman-Fried’s perusal within the MDC premises, a viable laptop-based solution was deemed unattainable. Initially, the notion of relocating Bankman-Fried to a more compact, upstate correctional facility where he could access an internet-enabled laptop was contemplated by the prosecutors. However, this proposal was met with resistance from prison officials.
Regarded for its starkly onerous conditions, the Metropolitan Detention Center has cultivated a notorious reputation among its inmate population.
Bankman-Fried’s Incarceration Stemming from Unsanctioned Internet Utilization
As documented, Judge Kaplan sanctioned the re-imprisonment of the beleaguered cryptocurrency luminary, citing alleged instances of witness tampering.
In that juncture, Judge Kaplan pronounced that a strong prima facie case existed indicating that the accused had endeavored to tamper with witnesses on no fewer than two separate occasions.
The decision was additionally influenced by Bankman-Fried’s unsanctioned use of the Internet while released on bail under the guardianship of his parents at their abode located in California.
Judge Kaplan discerned that Bankman-Fried had indulged in excessive communication with various individuals via electronic correspondence, even resorting to the utilization of a virtual private network.
Concurrently, the disgraced progenitor of FTX is simultaneously grappling with novel allegations brought forth by the Department of Justice (DOJ). These allegations encompass the misappropriation of customer deposits, including the purported embezzlement of said funds.
An indictment filed on the most recent Monday delineates that Bankman-Fried stands accused of diverting and embezzling customer deposits from the FTX platform. The illicitly obtained funds were purportedly channeled towards political campaign contributions, collectively amassing a substantial sum exceeding one hundred million dollars, in advance of the 2022 US midterm elections.
The indictment further posits that despite Bankman-Fried’s intimate knowledge of FTX’s fiscal insufficiencies, he continued to channel the purloined funds into personal investments, acquisitions, and political campaign contributions.
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Nearing Appeal in Ripple Lawsuit’s XRP Decision
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is taking significant steps towards pursuing an appeal in their recent legal battle against Ripple, indicating a potential shift in the course of the lawsuit.
James K. Filan, an experienced defense attorney specializing in crypto-related legal matters, has shed light on the latest developments. District Judge Analisa Torres has initiated a structured process for considering the SEC’s request to present an interlocutory appeal—a move that would allow the SEC to contest certain aspects of the ongoing case.
It’s important to note that this preliminary step does not guarantee the authorization of an interlocutory appeal; rather, it signifies that the SEC has been given the opportunity to formally request such an appeal.
Judge Torres has outlined the timeline for this process in her official order. The SEC is expected to file their motion for the appeal by August 18th. Subsequently, Ripple is given until September 1st to submit their opposition papers. If the SEC deems it necessary, they have until September 8th to file a reply.
The news of these developments had an immediate impact on the cryptocurrency market. Following the announcement of the judge’s order, the value of XRP experienced a sharp decline. The price, which had been trading at approximately $0.571, dropped to around $0.499 at the time of writing. This decrease of over 12% aligns with the broader trends observed across the cryptocurrency landscape.
The legal clash between the SEC and Ripple began when the regulatory agency filed a lawsuit against the San Francisco-based payments company in late 2020. The SEC alleged that Ripple had engaged in the sale of XRP without registering it as a security.
In a significant turn of events last month, Judge Torres issued a ruling that had mixed implications for both parties. She determined that Ripple’s automated programmatic sales of XRP, which occurred on the open market, could not be classified as securities offerings—a pivotal point of disagreement between the SEC and Ripple.
However, the judge did uphold a key aspect of the SEC’s argument. She agreed with the agency’s assertion that Ripple’s direct sales of XRP to institutional buyers indeed amounted to a securities offering, reinforcing the complexity of the case.
As the legal battle continues to unfold, the spotlight remains on the actions and responses of the SEC and Ripple, and how their ongoing dispute could shape the future regulatory landscape for cryptocurrencies and digital assets.