Cryptocurrency news - live: Genesis to file for bankruptcy amid ‘major’ US crypto move

Cryptocurrency firm Genesis Global Capital is planning to file for bankruptcy as early as this week, Bloomberg reported today.

The bankruptcy filing has been expected since the November fall of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange.

Meanwhile, the US Justice Department has announced that Anatoly Legkodymov, the Russian operator of the China-based crypto exchange Bitzlato, has been arrested. Bitzlato was a crypto exchange that allegedly worked with the darknet blackmarket Hydra Market, which dealt in illicit trade and served as a safe haven for ransomware attackers, according to the DOJ.

The US Justice Department issued a vague statement on Wednesday that it would “announce a major, international cryptocurrency enforcement action”, and noted that the US Treasury Department would also be making its own statement.

The announcement comes at a time when former FTX crypto exchange CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is facing charges of wire fraud, securities fraud, and conspiracy. The DOJ stressed that criminals using the crypto space for scams and other criminal activity should be aware the agency will use “every tool” to crack down on their activities.

Mr Bankman-Fried’s company – long considered one of the biggest crypto exchanges alongside Binance – declared bankruptcy after allegedly using, and losing, customers’ funds as investment capital.

Key Points

  • Justice Department arrests head of China-based crypto exchange operating on dark web

  • Bitcoin prices dive ahead of DOJ announcement

  • What is Hydra Market?

  • FBI says it will ‘relentlessly’ pursue crypto criminals

  • Genesis Global Capital to file for bankruptcy this week, sources say

  • Influencer Logan Paul lays out roadmap for addressing Crypto Zoo scandal

Financial leaders at Davos World Economic Forum bash crypto, insist traditional institutions are safe

04:59 , Graig Graziosi

Several financial leaders speaking at the Davos World Economic Forum made clear they did not trust cryptocurrencies, and insisted to attendees that traditional investment and banking institutions were still safe to use.

Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam of Singapore said that crypto assets were “slightly crazy,” eliciting a laugh from the audience, according to Iris Market IQ.

UBS Chairman Colm Kelleher said that regulators had faltered in their ability to police “non-bank” entities, which includes cryptocurrencies.

“Regulators have — with respect — taken their eyes off the ball in terms of the non-banking sector,” Mr Kelleher said, according to Reuters.

European Central Bank Governing Council member Francois Villeroy de Galhau agreed, saying “we should rush to some urgent non-bank regulation starting with cryptos.”

DOJ says Bitzlato head was aware Hydra transactions were illicit, customers were ‘known to be crooks’

04:00 , Graig Graziosi

The Department of Justice claimed that Bitzlato’s founder, Anatoly Legkodymov, was aware of the illicit nature of Hydra Market transactions, and knew that its users were using false identities while making transactions.

“Bitzlato’s customers routinely used the company’s customer service portal to request support for transactions with Hydra, which Bitzlato often provided, and admitted in chats with Bitzlato personnel that they were trading under assumed identities,” the DOJ said. “Moreover, Legkodymov and Bitzlato’s other managers were aware that Bitzlato’s accounts were rife with illicit activity and that many of its users were registered under others’ identities.”

According to internal chat logs obtained by the DOJ, Mr Legkodymov wrote to a colleague that their customers were “known to be crooks.” Officials at Bitzlato reportedly warned the founder that its users were “addicts who buy drugs [at Hydra]” and “drug traffickers.”

ICYMI: Crypto market cap hit $1 trillion briefly before diving

03:00 , Graig Graziosi

Earlier today the crypto market cap touched $1 trillion for the first time since November, just before 2022’s mass sell-off and FTX collapse.

It’s unclear if the drop was the result of the DOJ’s announcement, or due to traders selling at the higher price, or both.

Despite the drop, Bitcoin has remained popular among investors, gaining 30 per cent this year.

What was ‘Hydra Market’ ?

02:00 , Graig Graziosi

What was ‘Hydra Market,’ the darknet black market that was one of Bitzlato’s largest customers?

According to the Department of Justice, Hydra Market is “an anonymous, illicit online marketplace for narcotics, stolen financial information, fraudulent identification documents, and money laundering services that was the largest and longest running darknet market in the world.”

“Hydra Market users exchanged more than $700 million in cryptocurrency with Bitzlato, either directly or through intermediaries, until Hydra Market was shuttered by U.S. and German law enforcement in April 2022,” the DOJ wrote. “Bitzlato also received more than $15 million in ransomware proceeds.”

ICYMI: Bitcoin price plummets amid major DOJ crypto announcement

01:00 , Graig Graziosi

The price of bitcoin has fallen by 5 per cent in the space of an hour after the US Department of Justice announced plans to introduce major international cryptocurrency enforcement action.

The world’s leading crypto dropped from $21,500 to around $20,500, reversing an upward trend that had seen its price rise by nearly a third since the start of the year.

Read more from The Independent’s Anthony Cuthbertson in his story below…

Bitcoin price plummets amid major DOJ crypto announcement

‘Dr Doom’ economist says ‘90 per cent of crypto is a scam’ at Davos

00:00 , Graig Graziosi

Dr Nouriel Roubini — who is sometimes called “Dr Doom” for his grim economic predictions — said that “literally 90 per cent of crypto is a scam” during the Davos World Economic Forum on Wednesday.

“FTX and SBF are not an exception — they’re a rule,” he said during a Yahoo Finance event.

He went on to predict a forthcoming bust.

“Literally 90% of crypto is a scam. A criminal activity,” he said. “A total real-bubble Ponzi scheme that is going bust.”

ICYMI: Crypto crime network shut down in ‘significant blow’ to fraudsters, DOJ announces

Wednesday 18 January 2023 23:00 , Graig Graziosi

The US Department of Justice has announced that it has dealt a “significant blow” to the crypto crime landscape after arresting a Russian national alleged to have founded a major criminal online platform.

Cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato processed more than $700 million dollars’ worth of illicit funds, according to the DOJ, advertising its services to users who were “known to be crooks”.

Alleged founder Anatoly Legkodymov was arrested in Miami on Tuesday. Read more from The Independent’s Anthony Cuthbertson in his story below…

Huge crypto crime network shut down in ‘significant blow’ to hackers, DOJ announces

Crypto exchange targeted by DOJ responding with ‘oops, sorry’ to customers on automated social media channel

Wednesday 18 January 2023 21:30 , Graig Graziosi

Chinese-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato — whose CEO Anatoly Legkodymov, was arrested by the DOJ in Miami on Tuesday — is responding to its customers through an automated message on Telegraph with the phrase “oops, sorry” along with a sad face emoji, according to NBC News.

The DOJ alleges the company frequently dealt with Hydra Market, an illicit digital marketplace and haven for ransomware attackers. The agency alleged that Mr Legkodymov was aware that his customers were involved in criminal activity and using aliases to hide their identities.

Influencer Logan Paul lays out roadmap for addressing Crypto Zoo scandal

Wednesday 18 January 2023 20:51 , Graig Graziosi

Influencer Logan Paul announced Tuesday that he had developed a three-step plan for correcting course on his Crypto Zoo NFT game, which fellow YouTuber Coffeezilla alleged was a “scam” in a trio of investigative videos examining the project and the investors who lost money on the seemingly abandoned project.

Paul — who initially threatened to sue Coffeezilla but has since walked that back — said he and Crypto Zoo co-founder Jeff Levin would burn their tokens to ensure they did not have a financial stake in the NFT game project.

He also said he would personally invest 1,000 ETH — approximately $1.5m at its current market price — to refund Zoo token holders the initial mint price of 150 ETH — just over $225,000 at current price — so long as they burn their tokens.

That refund would not repay the investors in Zoo token who sold during the more than a year when the Crypto Zoo project sat dormant.

His third step is to finish the game as it was originally advertised by Paul more than a year ago.

Indian finance leader tells Davos attendees idea that crypto will thrive while fiat falters is ‘nonsense’

Wednesday 18 January 2023 20:38 , Graig Graziosi

Former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan told attendees at the Davos World Economic Forum on Wednesday that the notion that cryptocurrencies would thrive while fiat money crashes is “nonsense.”

“The idea that somehow cryptos are going to maintain value, while the fiat currencies collapse. That’s nonsense,” he said.

He later told Reuters’ Global Markets Forum that “fiat currencies have won out in terms of which is more credible.”

Mr Rajan said that the collapse of the cryptomarket in late 2022 has made space to examine the “true value” of blockchain and smart contract technologies.

Crypto users lambast DOJ over Bitzlato announcement

Wednesday 18 January 2023 20:10 , Graig Graziosi

The crypto market took a dive early on Wednesday after the US Department of Justice announced “enforcement action” related to the cryptocurrency space.

While investors braced for the worst — as reflected in the market dive — the DOJ announced it had arrested the founder of Bitzlato, a Chinese crypto exchange run by a Russian national that dealth with an illicit darkweb market.

Many crypto enthusiasts had never heard of the exchange. Several mocked the DOJ in response.

Another user likened it to a small-town police department celebrating a minor drug bust.

Ripple CEO says he is optimistic that XRP lawsuit will conclude this year, calls SEC ‘embarassing’

Wednesday 18 January 2023 19:38 , Graig Graziosi

Brad Garlinghouse, the CEO of Ripple, which provides “crypto solutions for businesses,” told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that he was optimistic a lawsuit involving the XRP cryptocurrency will be settled this year.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission sued Ripple in 2020, claiming the company illegally sold the XRP cryptocurrency to investors in 2012 without first registering it as a security.

“We’re optimistic that this will certainly be resolved in 2023, and maybe [in] the first half,” Mr Garlinghouse said. “So we’ll see how it plays out from here. But I feel very good about where we are relative to the law and the facts.”

He also slammed the SEC, calling the regulatory agency “embarassing.”

“The SEC’s behavior in some of [the lawsuit] has been embarrassing as a U.S. citizen,” he said in a seperate interview with CNBC. “Just some of the things that have been happening, like you’ve got to be kidding.”

Genesis Global Capital to file for bankruptcy this week, sources say

Wednesday 18 January 2023 19:23 , Graig Graziosi

Crypto brokerage firm Genesis Global Capital may be preapring to file for bankruptcy, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Citing sources with knowledge of the situation, the outlet reports that the firm is in negotiations with creditors amid a liquidity crunch. Bloomberg previously reported that the company said it may have to file for bankruptcy if it can’t raise the funds to stay afloat.

Genesis suspended withdrawls from its platform in November, shortly after the start of crypto exchange FTX’s collapse.

Crypto companies scale back Davos visibility after year of losses, scandals

Wednesday 18 January 2023 19:10 , Graig Graziosi

In recent years, crypto companies have dominated the promenade at the Davos World Economic Forum, but this year they appear to have scaled back their visibility, CNBC reports.

With the exception of a lone, flash orange crypto-advertising sports car, crypto company advertisements were reportedly far less prominent this year.

An NFT shop that was selling digital tokens alongside images closed up this year after prices for the assets dropped significantly in 2022.

Cliff Sarkin, chief of strategic relations at Casper Labs, told the outlet that the remaining crypto businesses at Davos are “subtantive projects” and “the real deals.”

FBI says it will ‘relentlessly’ pursue crypto criminals

Wednesday 18 January 2023 18:48 , Graig Graziosi

FBI Assistant Deputy Director Brian Turner said the law enforcement agency would “relentlessly pursue” criminals acting in the crypto space following the arrest of Bitzlato crypto exchange founder Anatoly Legkodymov.

“The FBI will continue to pursue actors who attempt to mask their criminal activity behind keyboards and use means such as cryptocurrency to evade law enforcement,” he said, according to the DOJ. “We, along with our federal and international partners, will work relentlessly to disrupt and dismantle these types of criminal enterprises. Today’s arrest should serve as a reminder the FBI will impose risk and consequences upon those who engage in these activities.”

Mr Legkodymov, a Russian national living in China, was arrested in Miami on Wednesday.

Financial leaders at Davos World Economic Forum bash crypto, insist traditional institutions are safe

Wednesday 18 January 2023 18:25 , Graig Graziosi

Several financial leaders speaking at the Davos World Economic Forum made clear they did not trust cryptocurrencies, and insisted to attendees that traditional investment and banking institutions were still safe to use.

Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam of Singapore said that crypto assets were “slightly crazy,” eliciting a laugh from the audience, according to Iris Market IQ.

UBS Chairman Colm Kelleher said that regulators had faltered in their ability to police “non-bank” entities, which includes cryptocurrencies.

“Regulators have — with respect — taken their eyes off the ball in terms of the non-banking sector,” Mr Kelleher said, according to Reuters.

European Central Bank Governing Council member Francois Villeroy de Galhau agreed, saying “we should rush to some urgent non-bank regulation starting with cryptos.”

DOJ says Bitzlato head was aware Hydra transactions were illicit, customers were ‘known to be crooks’

Wednesday 18 January 2023 18:15 , Graig Graziosi

The Department of Justice claimed that Bitzlato’s founder, Anatoly Legkodymov, was aware of the illicit nature of Hydra Market transactions, and knew that its users were using false identities while making transactions.

“Bitzlato’s customers routinely used the company’s customer service portal to request support for transactions with Hydra, which Bitzlato often provided, and admitted in chats with Bitzlato personnel that they were trading under assumed identities,” the DOJ said. “Moreover, Legkodymov and Bitzlato’s other managers were aware that Bitzlato’s accounts were rife with illicit activity and that many of its users were registered under others’ identities.”

According to internal chat logs obtained by the DOJ, Mr Legkodymov wrote to a colleague that their customers were “known to be crooks.” Officials at Bitzlato reportedly warned the founder that its users were “addicts who buy drugs [at Hydra]” and “drug traffickers.”

Crypto market cap hit $1 trillion briefly before diving

Wednesday 18 January 2023 18:00 , Graig Graziosi

Earlier today the crypto market cap touched $1 trillion for the first time since November, just before 2022’s mass sell-off and FTX collapse.

It’s unclear if the drop was the result of the DOJ’s announcement, or due to traders selling at the higher price, or both.

Despite the drop, Bitcoin has remained popular among investors, gaining 30 per cent this year.

What was ‘Hydra Market’ ?

Wednesday 18 January 2023 17:53 , Graig Graziosi

What was ‘Hydra Market,’ the darknet black market that was one of Bitzlato’s largest customers?

According to the Department of Justice, Hydra Market is “an anonymous, illicit online marketplace for narcotics, stolen financial information, fraudulent identification documents, and money laundering services that was the largest and longest running darknet market in the world.”

“Hydra Market users exchanged more than $700 million in cryptocurrency with Bitzlato, either directly or through intermediaries, until Hydra Market was shuttered by U.S. and German law enforcement in April 2022,” the DOJ wrote. “Bitzlato also received more than $15 million in ransomware proceeds.”

Justice Department arrests head of China-based crypto exchange operating on dark web

Wednesday 18 January 2023 17:15 , Graig Graziosi

The US Justice Department announced on Wednesday that Anatoly Legkodymov, the Russian operator of the China-based crypto exchange Bitzlato, has been arrested.

“As alleged, Bitzlato sold itself to criminals as a no-questions-asked cryptocurrency exchange, and reaped hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of deposits as a result,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a DOJ release. “The defendant is now paying the price for the malign role that his company played in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.”

Bitcoin price plummets amid major DOJ crypto announcement

Wednesday 18 January 2023 16:59 , Graig Graziosi

The price of bitcoin has fallen by 5 per cent in the space of an hour after the US Department of Justice announced plans to introduce major international cryptocurrency enforcement action.

The world’s leading crypto dropped from $21,500 to around $20,500, reversing an upward trend that had seen its price rise by nearly a third since the start of the year.

Read more from The Independent’s Anthony Cuthbertson in his story below…

Bitcoin price plummets amid major DOJ crypto announcement

Crypto exchange Binance calls for flood of ‘salute’ emojis as DOJ announces crypto action

Wednesday 18 January 2023 16:55 , Graig Graziosi

Binance, the largest crypto exchange in the world, issued a strange tweet on Wednesday saying today “feels like a day to attempt a world record,” before asking followers to leave “salute” emojis in the comments.

The post was issued around the same time the DOJ announced that it planned to announce major crypto enforcement action during a press conference this afternoon.

‘Dr Doom’ economist says ‘90 per cent of crypto is a scam’ at Davos

Wednesday 18 January 2023 16:37 , Graig Graziosi

Dr Nouriel Roubini — who is sometimes called “Dr Doom” for his grim economic predictions — said that “literally 90 per cent of crypto is a scam” during the Davos World Economic Forum on Wednesday.

“FTX and SBF are not an exception — they’re a rule,” he said during a Yahoo Finance event.

He went on to predict a forthcoming bust.

“Literally 90% of crypto is a scam. A criminal activity,” he said. “A total real-bubble Ponzi scheme that is going bust.”

Welcome to the live blog

Wednesday 18 January 2023 16:20 , Graig Graziosi

Welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the Department of Justice and the Treasury Department as they announce “major international cryptocurrency enforcement action” later today.

Stay with The Independent for the latest updates.

Ripple CEO says he is optimistic that XRP lawsuit will conclude this year, calls SEC ‘embarassing’

Wednesday 18 January 2023 21:16 , Graig Graziosi

Brad Garlinghouse, the CEO of Ripple, which provides “crypto solutions for businesses,” told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that he was optimistic a lawsuit involving the XRP cryptocurrency will be settled this year.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission sued Ripple in 2020, claiming the company illegally sold the XRP cryptocurrency to investors in 2012 without first registering it as a security.

“We’re optimistic that this will certainly be resolved in 2023, and maybe [in] the first half,” Mr Garlinghouse said. “So we’ll see how it plays out from here. But I feel very good about where we are relative to the law and the facts.”

He also slammed the SEC, calling the regulatory agency “embarassing.”

“The SEC’s behavior in some of [the lawsuit] has been embarrassing as a U.S. citizen,” he said in a seperate interview with CNBC. “Just some of the things that have been happening, like you’ve got to be kidding.”

Crypto crime network shut down in ‘significant blow’ to fraudsters, DOJ announces

Wednesday 18 January 2023 17:27 , Graig Graziosi

The US Department of Justice has announced that it has dealt a “significant blow” to the crypto crime landscape after arresting a Russian national alleged to have founded a major criminal online platform.

Cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato processed more than $700 million dollars’ worth of illicit funds, according to the DOJ, advertising its services to users who were “known to be crooks”.

Alleged founder Anatoly Legkodymov was arrested in Miami on Tuesday.Read more from The Independent’s Anthony Cuthbertson in his story below…

Huge crypto crime network shut down in ‘significant blow’ to hackers, DOJ announces

Deputy Attorney General says DOJ will use ‘every tool’ to punish criminal abusers of crypto markets

Wednesday 18 January 2023 17:19 , Graig Graziosi

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said that the DOJ would use “every tool” it had to punish criminals operating within the crypto space.

“The DOJ will use every tool that we have to attack the criminal use of the dark net and cryptocurrency,” she said. “And we’re taking steps to address the crisis of confidence in the crypto markets where ciriminals and fraudsters work.”

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