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Today in Crypto: US SEC Seeking Details on FTX Investors’ Due Diligence, NY Attorney General Sues Celsius Co-founder, European Central Bank Executive Claims Crypto is Gambling

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Get your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptoasset and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.

Legal news

  • The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is seeking details about FTX investors’ due diligence, Reuters reported, citing two sources familiar with the inquiry. The regulator is asking financial firms what diligence policies and procedures they have in place, if any, and whether they followed them when choosing to invest in FTX, the sources said.
  • Bankrupt crypto lender Celsius Network co-founder Alex Mashinsky was sued in the US by New York Attorney General Letitia James, alleging that Mashinsky defrauded investors out of billions of dollars of digital currency, the Wall Street Journal reported. The lawsuit alleges that the former chief executive made false statements to investors about the soundness of Celsius’s financial condition, and then concealed its dire situation after losing hundreds of millions of dollars in risky investments. Mashinsky falsely claimed that Celsius was safer than a bank and only lent assets to credible entities, said the lawsuit.

Regulation news

  • The European Central Bank (ECB) executive Fabio Panetta said the bank should regulate cryptoassets under online gambling laws. “As a form of investment, unbacked cryptos lack any intrinsic value, too. They are speculative assets. Investors buy them with the sole objective of selling them on at a higher price. In fact, they are a gamble disguised as an investment asset,” Panetta wrote.

Exchange news

  • The timeline for the failed Mt. Gox exchange financial details registrations and repayments has been pushed back by two months. The deadline for the Selection and Registration was January 10 this year, “but having obtained the permission of the court, the Rehabilitation Trustee has changed the deadline to March 10, 2023,” said the statement. Also, it changed the Base Repayment Deadline, Early Lump-Sum Repayment Deadline, and Intermediate Repayment Deadline from July 31 to September 30, 2023, following the change of the deadline for the Selection and Registration, it said.
  • Huobi plans to lay off about 20% of its staff, Reuters reported, citing Justin Sun, Tron founder and a member of Huobi’s global advisory board. Sun was quoted as saying that the “structural adjustment” has not started and is expected to be completed by the first quarter.
  • Digital Currency Group (DCG), the crypto company that owns the troubled crypto broker Genesis and digital asset manager Grayscale, has shuttered HQ Digital, its wealth management division, The Information reported, citing a memo. HQ is yet another collateral damage of the FTX implosion, and it ceased operations on January 2, according to the memo.

Payments news

  • Payments and rewards platform Ionia announced that it joined Visa’s Fintech Fast Track Program, which allows it to accelerate the process of integrating with Visa and to more easily leverage and access Visa’s network and capabilities, said the press release. Through Ionia’s embedded payments technology, cardholders can instantly spend rewards for all or any part of a transaction and can also spend digital currencies, including cryptocurrency, it added.