Anna KeyFri, Feb 11, 2022 6:41 PM
Weekly Digest: Bitfinex Hackers Arrested & Manchester United £20m Deal With Tezos
Every week we make a digest about the most significant news in crypto with bloggers and crypto community members, but this week we decided to find out what companies’ representatives and media think about all things crypto.
Please enjoy and don’t forget to add your favorites to your CoinJoy Feed!
Bitfinex’s LEO token was up 61% and reached a new all-time high of $8.04 amid news of Ilya Lichenstein, 34, and his wife Heather Morgan, 31, being arrested for allegedly laundering cryptocurrency in 2016 as a result of the Bitfinex hack. The US Department of Justice seized 94,636 BTC (about $3.6 billion) from the online wallets of two alleged crypto launderers. LEO (UNUS SED LEO) token was issued to solve the problem of a market crash and a liquidity drop in 2019. Bitfinex conducted an initial exchange offering using LEO tokens, resulting in a sharp rise in BTC prices on Bitfinex. The LEO/USD prices were trading at $7.16 (+44.99%) after reaching a new ATH.
The New York auction house Sotheby will be putting up 104 CryptoPunks NFTs for sale on February 23rd. It is estimated that these NFTs are ranging from $20m to $30m in value. The upcoming auction will be dedicated entirely to CryptoPunks, making it the first CryptoPunks-only auction in history. Launched in 2017 by Larva Labs, CryptoPunks is currently trading at a minimum price of $210,374 per token. The auction house will allow payments in ETH, BTC, and fiat currencies. All tokens will be combined into a single lot. In September 2021, Sotheby sold a set from the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection for $24.4m. In October 2021, the auction house launched their own NFT trading platform, Sotheby’s Metaverse, later commenting that 2021 was the most profitable year in the company’s 277-year history.
The US Department of Justice seized around $3.6 billion worth of BTC stolen during the 2016 attack on the global cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex. Two US citizens were arrested. The US authorities were able to seize a record 94,636 BTC out of around 119.800 BTC. According to CNBC, the stolen digital assets are worth $4.5 billion in value. Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife Heather Morgan were charged with allegedly laundering funds. If they are convicted, they could spend up to 20 years in prison, including 5 more years for deceiving the US authorities. However, the court allowed the couple to leave prison on bail. Earlier, Bitfinex asked for help in catching the launderers. On February 1st, stolen BTC tokens were moved to a different address. Chainalysis estimates that hackers stole $14 billion worth of crypto in 2021.
According to Chinese media, Alibaba Corporation has launched a series of NFTs dedicated to the 2022 Winter Olympics. NFTs, designed in the traditional Chinese style, represent various sports. A total of four badges will include 8888 copies each. Future owners must be members of the Alibaba loyalty program. NFTs will not be used as currency or for commercial purposes. Notably, China prefers to refer to NFTs as ‘digital collectibles’. NFTs are built on blockchains. However, the very principle of decentralization is prohibited in China. On the other hand, the PRC authorities are aware of the potential of NFTs. Therefore, the NFT infrastructure will be launched on the government-backed blockchain service, using a customized version of the blockchain regulated by a designed group of people. The Chinese NFT market will not be associated with cryptocurrencies. Settlements will be carried out in Chinese yuan.
A couple from Phoenix, USA, tied the knot in the Metaverse. The wedding took place on February 5 on the Decentraland platform in the virtual estate of the Rose Law Group. Due to some technical flaws of the Decentraland platform, not all guests were able to see the bride wearing a white wedding dress. For some she appeared dressed in a jacket with a hood, others did not see the bridge at all. Nevertheless, all legal formalities were observed. Rose Law Group executive notes that “a new legal paradigm has been developed, and it has made this marriage valid.” However, there are still concerns among the public and law professionals. Marriages carried out in the Metaverse or through a video game are not yet recognized as valid in the US. According to the law requirements, a virtual marriage ceremony must be maintained in the conference mode. The law does not mention if the Metaverse avatars can be used instead. However, in the real world, Ryan and Candice Hurley, the ‘bride and groom’, have been married for 14 years and are unlikely to face legal difficulties.
Great Britain’s largest football club Manchester United has partnered with New York-based blockchain platform Tezos, according to Calcio e Finanza. Tezos is a decentralized cryptocurrency and blockchain platform making computerized transactions more efficient by removing costly middlemen in the process. The logo of the company will be added to the uniform of the team players. Under the contract, Manchester United will receive more than £20 million yearly (almost €24 million). Manchester United is not the first football club to partner with a crypto-related company. In September 2021, the Crypto.com platform sponsored the French football club Paris Saint-Germain. In late January 2022, Spartak, a Moscow-based football club, announced its partnership with the Socios blockchain platform and the launch of its own fan token.
On February 3rd, it was announced that the Wormhole cross-chain protocol was hacked. Wormhole provides tools to move assets and information across major blockchains. By using Wormhole, users are able to lock an asset on one blockchain to get it reflected on another. During the hacker attack, Wormhole smart contracts did not perform full validation of the input data, which allowed transactions to be initiated using incorrect variables. Hackers were able to release wrapped Ether (wETH) on the Solana blockchain and later withdrew 120,000 wETH from the pool. Most issued tokens were exchanged for ETH on the main Ethereum network via a bridge. Security analysts confirmed that the vulnerability is related to the verification of input data by the cross-chain bridge protocol. Attackers were contacted by the Wormhole team and asked to return the stolen funds, reveal the details of the hack and demonstrate the bug for a reward of $10 million. As a result of the attack, ETH and SOL prices dropped by 5% and 10% respectively.