News: Quadriga Ponzis, NY AG sues Bitfinex, no “institutional” investors, Petro on sale, and the football

Quadriga latest — I can’t tell you how shocked I am to hear that starry-eyed libertarian Bitcoin idealist Gerald Cotten — “a really, really genuine guy that was super smart,” apparently — was running Ponzi schemes since he was 15 years old. In cooperation with Michael Patryn, then still called Omar Dhanani. So many Bitcoin scammers turn out to be serial scammers.

I’m even more shocked to hear that the Bitcoin price spike on 2 April could have been manipulation, let alone manipulation linked to Bitfinex, of all the upright and trustworthy exchanges!

UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal and The Block posted, two hours after I posted this newsletter — the New York Attorney General is suing Bitfinex. Here’s the document (PDF). Also, there’s an $850 million hole in the Tether reserves — Bitfinex may have taken money from the reserves to “cover up $850 million that went missing,” “According to documents provided to OAG by Respondents, by 2018, Bitfinex had paced over one billion dollars of co-mingled customer and corporate funds with Crypto Capital.” Bitcoin’s price dropped $200 as I type this, 22:03 UTC 25 April.

The Coinbase crypto exchange discovers the “institutional investors” in crypto were imaginary after all — and pulls the plug on its Chicago project to put together “a matching engine built for Wall Street.”

New report from CryptoCompare — crypto exchange volumes went up 30% from February to March 2019! The report doesn’t mention that this is based on the exchange volume data that’s 95% fake. Whatever, it’s probably good news for Bitcoin.

FinCEN penalizes a peer-to-peer crypto exchanger, Eric Powers, for violations of Anti-Money Laundering laws. “Obligations under the BSA apply to money transmitters regardless of their size.” Here’s the consent order (PDF) — “Mr. Powers admits to the facts set forth below and that his conduct violated the BSA.”

You can now buy Venezuelan Petros! Either directly from the government, or at a single local exchange. It’s currently trading at around USD$30, well below its supposed peg.

It’s routine whenever crypto is stolen for advocates to blame the victims. It’s a little hard not to, though, when their Ethereum private key is literally the number 1.

Remember that BBC piece on CarlaurenCoin, the cryptocurrency for elderly care homes? Carlauren Group just tried to gag a blog, Bond Review, that’s critical of them, by copying its content — then asking Google to remove the originals as copyright violations. Here are the originals:

Confessions of a White Paper writer. “The last I looked our coin had joined the Triple Egg club, trading at something like $0.0009.”

Liverpool FC: “What is a Tron?”
Kraken crypto exchange: “I think we all got spammed with the same sales pitch. I get 100 of these a day.”
Liverpool: “Oh yeah, that was us, sorry. Not a partnership, though.”

In further sports coverage, I got an “additional reporting” credit ‘cos I sent Ben at Decrypt lots of painted nipples for his story about Calvin Ayre being a tit again — not one to view on the large monitor at work, it’s a shockingly racy piece for such an august financial publication.

You can tell it’s a crypto bear market by how hyperbolic the Coindesk headlines are: “You Can Now Shop With Bitcoin on Amazon Using Lightning” — wow!! The text is rather less exciting:  “Amazon itself never touches bitcoin” — and Moon, the company adding three middlemen to the process of getting dollars from you to Amazon,  admits that “there’s no direct merchant integration” and “declined to specify which traditional financial institutions are helping convert the bitcoin to fiat on the backend.” I wonder if all the traditional institutions in question actually know they’re involved.

Tim Cotten: “This article explores the reconstructed blockchain history of Russian hackers whose Bitcoin addresses were referenced indirectly in two separate indictments.”

There’s a blockchain conference in Toronto this week. I spoke to Kelly Cutrara at Global News Radio 640 Toronto yesterday, and tried to explain in a few minutes what a blockchain was.

My piece talking to Kelly about Quadriga in February is up now as well.



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