Today in Crypto: Poloniex to Pay $7.6M in Settlement with US Authority, Complaint Alleges Coinbase Violated Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act, 3AC-founders’ OPNX Reprimanded by Dubai Regulator
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- Poloniex Exchange reached a settlement with the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), said a press release. It agreed to pay $7.6m to settle its potential civil liability for apparent sanctions violations against Crimea, Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria. Between 2014 and 2019, Poloniex allowed customers from sanctioned jurisdictions to trade on the platform, seeing a combined value of $15.4m, despite allegedly knowing their location, the authority claimed.
- A complaint filed in a California District Court, USA, on May 1 claims that Coinbase violated Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), which requires the company to gain users' permission when collecting their biometric data. “Coinbase collects, stores, possesses, otherwise obtains, uses, and disseminates its users' biometric data to, amongst other things, further enhance Coinbase and its online “app-based” platform,“ and it “wrongfully profits from the facial and fingerprint scans it has collected or otherwise obtained from its users,” the complaint said. It argued that users would have no protection against identity theft should the company's biometric data database be hacked, and that the exchange should have permanently destroyed users' biometric data immediately following successful KYC checks.
- OPNX, a bankruptcy claims exchange set up by the founders of the collapsed hedge fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC), has been formally reprimanded by Dubai's crypto regulator, the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), for operating an unregulated exchange. According to an official notice, “VARA issued OPNX and its founders a Cease and Desist order for (i) Establishment of OPNX; and (ii) Marketing and Promotion of OPNX Exchange Services” in February, and in April, “to address historical and ongoing activity conducted on an unregulated basis, a written Reprimand was issued by VARA to OPNX; 4 founders (Mark Lamb, Sudhu Arumugam, Kyle Davies and Su Zhu); and CEO (Leslie Lamb).”
- Crypto lender Celsius Network is seeking to merge its UK and US entities amid allegations that the distinction between them was a “sham.” Celsius Network Limited had been warned to cease UK operations by the country's Financial Conduct Authority, and in 2021 the firm set up a Limited Liability Company in Delaware, USA, seeking to transfer assets through a series of financial transactions. “The migration resulted in intercompany chaos,” a Celsius filing said, adding that internal records are “sorely lacking,” making it challenging to disentangle each entity’s affairs. However, filings by a committee of Celsius’ creditors said that the reorganization was a “sham” and a “façade,” and that the billions of dollars transferred between the two entities were fraudulent.
- Darknet hackers are reportedly selling verified crypto accounts for as low as $30 per account. Per a report by data security provider Privacy Affairs titled “The Dark Web Price Index," the prices of some of the stolen accounts include: Wirex verified and hacked account $2,300; Kraken verified account $1,170; Binance $410, Crypto.com $300; Coinbase $250; and Bittrex verified US account $30.
- ARK Invest, the investment management firm founded by investor Cathie Wood, bought 168,869 shares of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase on May 1, worth around $8.5 million, Cointelegraph reported, citing an investor notification. The company bought 129,604 shares for its ARK Innovation exchange-traded fund (ETF), 23,456 for its ARK Next Generation Internet ETF, and 15,809 for its Fintech Innovation ETF.
- Canadian New Brunswick’s electric utility, NB Power, imposed a moratorium on providing new service to crypto mining operations last year, saying it was concerned about its ability to meet the increasing demands from the sector, the National Post reported, citing a report published on May 1. Details about the moratorium are contained in a cabinet order dated March 2022, which endorses the indefinite pause and directs Crown-owned NB Power to conduct a review of the industry and submit its findings by the end of 2022. The cabinet document confirmed that NB Power had received several “large-scale, short-notice” service requests from unnamed crypto mining companies, it said.
- ADIA Lab, the Abu Dhabi-based institute dedicated to basic and applied research in data and computational sciences, partnered with CrunchDAO, a research team of data scientists leveraging Web3 and machine learning, to launch the ADIA Lab Market Prediction competition with a total prize pool of $100,000, said the press release. Participants from across the globe will be able to submit their entries to the tournament from May 16. The competition will take place in two phases: in phase one, CrunchDAO will collect models from participants, and in phase two, from August to November, the models will be tested and winners will be chosen.