Friday, September 1st. As the week comes to an end we can focus on the highlights of the crypto industry over the past few days.
SEC grants a sealed motion against Binance
As part of the SEC’s proceeding versus Binance, the regulator filed a sealed motion featuring 35 exhibits, a statement from the agency’s trial counsel, and a proposed order.
The Commission was reluctant to disclose publicly the data given to the court.
According to CoinDesk, observers saw this as evidence of “bad news” for the renowned crypto exchange.
John Reed Stark, a former SEC attorney, emphasized that filing court documents under seal of secrecy is a “rare move.” He admitted that he could not recollect any stamped petitions being filed in his 20 years in the agency’s enforcement department.
“After all, it’s in the public interest to know and understand the SEC’s use of U.S. tax dollars and the U.S. SEC wants its messages heard loud and clear to deter future securities violations,” the expert pointed out.
Stark offered two explanations for taking such actions: either the regulator is trying to avoid interfering with a criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department or is concerned about not jeopardizing a witness or a company.
As you may remember, on June 5, the SEC sued Binance and its CEO Changpeng Zhao. A total of 13 charges were filed by the office, including selling unregistered securities.
As a response, the company released a statement saying it was prepared to “vigorously defend itself.”
Robinhood’s crypto wallet adds Bitcoin and Dogecoin
Robinhood, an online brokerage, has now expanded the number of supported non-custodial Web3 wallet networks to BTC and DOGE.
What drives the initiative is the company’s customers’ desire to hold more assets in a greater number of blockchains.
Previously, users were able to receive, send, and transfer funds in ETH and operate via Layer-2 networks – Arbitrum, Optimism, and Polygon.
Concurrently, Robinhood introduced the ability for select users to swap the second most capitalized crypto for over 200 assets.
You can choose Ethereum or any desired token in the wallet to cover the fees.
All the other customers will be able to experience the new functionality “in the coming weeks”.
As per the platform officials, the wallet is currently used by hundreds of thousands of users in 140 countries around the world.
“With Robinhood Wallet we stripped away many of the complexities of DeFi and the broader Web3 ecosystem, And reduced some of the challenges and barriers to entry for everyday people,” Johann Kerbrat, CEO of Robinhood Crypto, said.
At the company, they reminded that since the launch of the solution in March 2023, developers have incorporated a Web3 browser and a fiat gateway.
Only an iOS version of the platform available for now. As for Android devices, it will be released “later this year”.
Today, on Aug. 31, Arkham Intelligence experts traced Robinhood as having the fifth largest number of Ethereum addresses. The platform holds 1,493 mln ETH (~$2.54b), 20 trln SHIB ($163m), 14.23 mln LINK ($14.23m), and 1 mln AVAX ($10.4m).
OpenSea allegedly blocks user operating with Tornado Cash
OpenSea, an NFT-marketplace, has kicked off blocking users for engaging with the Tornado Cash crypto mixer, Colin Wu reports.
According to Wu, he hadn’t used the marketplace for a few months but found his account suspended on Aug. 20. OpenSea support attributed the decision to the OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) sanctions violation.
The journalist investigated X (formerly Twitter) for similar issues among other users and discovered that the activity suspension on the platform could be due to the use of Tornado Cash.
Wu pointed out as well that the investigations are still ongoing, which means the restrictions are due to OpenSea’s “proactive and strict control policies.”
Back in August 2022, OFAC listed the Tornado Cash website on its sanctions list, through which, according to the agency, criminals laundered more than $7 billion worth of crypto. More than $455m of the amount is associated with the activities of North Korean hacking group dubbed Lazarus.
On August 12 of the same year, Dutch authorities seized developer Alexey Pertsev for alleged involvement in money laundering and concealment of illicit financial flows. He in turn denied all accusations.
Later in April 2023, the court amended the measure of restraint for Pertsev to house arrest.
As of this August, the US Department of Justice charged two co-founders of Tornado Cash – Roman Storm and Roman Semenov – with money laundering and sanctions violations.
Storm was taken into custody by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He was soon released on bail.
Crypto funds saw the six-month high outflow
The August 19-25 outflow of funds from crypto investment products between August 19 and August 25 marked the biggest since March 2023, totaling $168m, CoinShares reports.
“This negative sentiment we believe is due to the increasing acceptance that a spot-based ETF for Bitcoin in the US is likely to take longer than many expect, with recent delays being announced by the SEC.,” the analytics platform noted.
Trading volume stood at $1.3b which is 16% below the yearly average.
A total of $149m was withdrawn from BTC funds compared to $42m in the prior reporting period.
Out of structures allowing to open short positions the alpha cryptocurrency, customers netted $4 million, compared to $2.2 million a week earlier.
As for altcoins, a rather funny situation took place. Ethereum funds witnessed outflows of $16.8m as opposed to $9m during the previous week. Moreover, investors cut their investments in BNB-based products ($0.2m).
The wave of inflows into XRP continued for the 18th consecutive week, amounting $0.5m. Both Litecoin and Cardano-based products raised $0.4m and $0.2m, respectively.