Today in Crypto: Multichain Halts Operations Due to Lack of Funds and CEO's Arrest, Indonesia to Launch National Crypto Exchange This Month, US SEC Acknowledges Bitwise's Spot BTC ETF Application
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- Cross-chain project Multichain announced that it ceased operations due to a lack of operational funds. It confirmed that CEO Zhaojun was detained by Chinese police who took his computers, phones, hardware wallets, and mnemonic phrases. Even though the project is protected by multi-party computation, the servers that run this were controlled by Zhaojun's personal cloud server account. Hence, everybody responsible for signing transactions saw their access revoked. "All operational funds and investments from investors have been under Zhaojun's control. This also means that all the team's funds and access to the servers are with Zhaojun and the police," said the team. Zhaojun's sister transferred certain funds into accounts she controls and was taken into custody on Thursday.
- A Hong Kong postsecondary student was among six people arrested in a clampdown on a cross-border syndicate that used crypto to launder more than HK$100 million (US$12.7 million) in crime proceeds, the South China Morning Post reported. According to police, the student was suspected of helping the group launder funds by using digital wallets to trade crypto, thus concealing the origins and flow of crime proceeds, ultimately transferring the coins to wallets overseas to evade detection, they added. The other suspects include the alleged ringleader, a watch shop employee, and two accused of using bank cards to buy re-saleable goods.
- Indonesia’s Commodity Futures Trading Supervisory Agency (aka Bappebti), plans to launch the much-anticipated national crypto exchange this month, local news agency Tempo reported. Bappebti head Didid Noordiatmoko said that once the exchange is launched, all crypto transactions can be completed through it only. "Yesterday we agreed on the stock exchange rules. So the know-your-customer (KYC) process and all kinds have been regulated there," he said, adding that the agency already conducted system integration tests between traders, exchanges, clearing, and depository.
- The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) officially acknowledged digital asset manager Bitwise's spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) application, first filed in October 2021, then amended and refiled in June 2023. The SEC issued the "Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change to List and Trade Shares of the Bitwise Bitcoin ETP Trust under NYSE Arca Rule 8.201-E (Commodity-Based Trust Shares)." It said that "notice is hereby given that, on June 28, 2023, NYSE Arca [filed with the SEC] the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been prepared by the self-regulatory organization. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons."
- Self-custodial Lightning wallet, Mutiny Wallet, announced that its beta version is now available to everyone. It operates on the web and aims to help users control their funds without relying on Apple or Google app store downloads, said the team. Among other things, it leveraged the Lightning Development Kit project from Jack Dorsey's Block. "In the future, we will add the ability to use your same wallet across multiple devices simultaneously but please stay on a single device for now, bad things will happen otherwise," it said.
- Auction house Christie’s and luxury fashion brand Gucci are teaming up to release a digital art non-fungible token (NFT) collection. The collaborative auction, dubbed "Future Frequencies: Explorations in Generative Art and Fashion," will be open for bidding from July 18 until July 25. It will offer 21 NFTs from talents in the digital art space, focused on generative systems and artificial intelligence, WWD reported, including Claire Silver, Emi Kusano, Emily Xie, William Mapan, Zach Lieberman, Botto, Helena Sarin, and DRAUP, among others.
- New York City (USA) Mayor Eric Adams will amend his financial disclosure form to reflect that he owns cryptocurrencies, the Daily News reported, citing Adam's spokesman. The news outlet claimed that the form doesn’t include information on the bitcoin (BTC) and ethereum (ETH) the mayor claimed he invested in. He answered "no" to a question asking if he "at the close of 2022" held stake in "any security (such as stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, or cryptocurrencies) with a market value of $1,000 or more," despite "the fact that he said upon taking office that he would convert his first three paychecks," worth some $30,000 before taxes and deductions, into BTC and ETH. As recently as November 2022, Adams said he still held that cash in these cryptos, said the report.
- Crypto exchange Binance announced the appointment of Eleanor Hughes, a legal professional with 15 years of experience, as its General Counsel. According to the press release, Hughes will lead the company's legal affairs alongside a team of 85 lawyers. She joined the legal team in November 2021 and was promoted to be the Head of Legal for APAC and MENA for Binance. "She will also be working closely with the global compliance team to support Binance's commitment to responsibly growing the industry in close collaboration with regulators and policymakers globally," the exchange said.