Also today, Coinbase is taking a stand against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Terraform Labs co-founder Do Kwon has been arrested in Montenegro, according to reports. A Twitter account in the name of Filip Adzic — the country's interior minister — said that police have detained a man suspected of being one of the world's most-wanted fugitives. The statement added that he was apprehended at a local airport, where he had falsified documents. However, official confirmation of his identity is yet to take place. Adzic's tweet has been retweeted by the country's prime minister. Kwon is currently facing investigations in the U.S. and his native South Korea following the collapse of LUNA and UST last May, which wiped tens of billions of dollars from the market.
The Federal Reserve has increased its base interest rate by 0.25 percentage points — taking it to the highest level since 2007. Chairman Jerome Powell revealed the U.S. central bank had considered pausing the hikes because of the banking crisis. Bitcoin suffered a sharp pullback and fell to $27,000 as markets digested the news. On Thursday, the Bank of England followed suit with its own 0.25 percentage point rise — the 11th time in a row that rates have gone up. That came after inflation figures for February — 10.4% — were much, much higher than expected. This was driven by surging food prices, with low fat milk now 42% more expensive than it was a year ago. Olive oil now costs 41% more, with sugar up 38%.
Tron founder Justin Sun — and eight celebrities — are now facing charges from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The charges related to the unregistered offer and sale of Tron and BitTorrent, amid allegations that secondary markets for TRX were manipulated through "extensive wash trading." Several stars have also been accused of illegally touting TRX or BTT without disclosing that they were being compensated to do so. Lindsay Lohan, Jake Paul, Ne-Yo and Akon are among the A-listers named — and in total, they have agreed to pay $400,000 in penalties to settle the charges without admitting or denying the findings. Lohan has agreed that she won't promote crypto projects on social media for three years.
Coinbase has received a Wells notice from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission — indicating that enforcement action could follow. Brian Armstrong expressed frustration on Twitter — and said his platform is "right on the law and confident in the facts." The CEO claims the regulator hasn't been fair or reasonable, and a punchy blog post on its website has the headline: "We asked the SEC for reasonable crypto rules for Americans. We got legal threats instead." Chief legal officer Paul Grewal says the SEC has refused to identify which assets on Coinbase are securities — and said the company has spent millions of dollars on proposing potential ways that crypto firms can register with the regulator, but received no feedback.
Arbitrum had a shaky start to its airdrop on Thursday, with the foundation's website temporarily crashing because of an influx of traffic. The Layer 2 blockchain unveiled plans to release ARB tokens last week as part of a push to become more decentralized. CoinMarketCap data shows ARB was trading at about $1.27 at 3pm London time on Thursday, with volatility to be expected as prices settle down. The token has already become the 37th largest in CMC's rankings, with a market cap of about $1.6 billion. Data from Nansen suggests that 1.16 billion tokens have been airdropped — and of those, 27% have already been claimed. A total of 615,000 addresses were in line for a windfall.
Cryptocurrency adoption has fallen sharply in the U.K., according to new research. A study by Finder.com suggests 5% of British adults — about 2.7 million people — currently own digital assets. But that's a dramatic decline from the 9% who said they were investors during the height of the bull market. Millennials were most likely to own crypto, as opposed to just 2% of baby boomers. Finder's cryptocurrency editor, James Edwards, warned that gaining exposure to digital assets does come with risks. He said: "The last few years have demonstrated just how volatile the industry is, so you should never invest money you can’t afford to lose. Even if you're using an exchange to buy and sell your crypto, it's a good idea to store your digital assets on a hard wallet to which you alone hold the private keys."