Also today, Bitcoin races towards $25,000 — as disgruntled crypto investors sue Mark Cuban.
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Bitcoin raced toward $25,000 on Thursday after new figures showed inflation in the U.S. is slowing down. The Consumer Price Index rose 8.5% year on year in July — and while this is still high, it's better than what analysts expected. This may mean that the Federal Reserve could be less aggressive when it comes to increasing interest rates in the months ahead. Investors are now waiting with bated breath to see whether BTC can break through $25,000 — a price that hasn't been seen for almost two months. Some analysts are cautious. Michaël van de Poppe said: "Nasdaq is back to May levels, while Bitcoin is still down 20% from there. Not the strongest bounce, still lots to gain and to earn."
A major milestone has just been achieved in Ethereum's quest to move to a proof-of-stake blockchain. Goerli, the third and final testnet, has successfully switched over to this consensus algorithm. It was important for developers to get right, and was the final dress rehearsal before next month's "merge." The transition to proof-of-stake, which has been presented as more scalable and environmentally friendly than proof-of-work, has been years in the making. Ether has rallied by 11% in 24 hours as news of the successful test emerged — hitting highs of $1,908.20 at one point. Goerli was named after a train station in Berlin, and the next stop for developers is confirming when the merge should happen.
Celsius Network is facing not one, but two objections from the Justice Department in relation to its bankruptcy. The first concerns plans to pay $409,000 in severance to just 19 employees — far more than what U.S. guidelines suggest. One person who's been at the company for just six weeks is set to get almost $21,000. Meanwhile, an objection has been raised over Celsius Network's request for permission to sell off Bitcoin. The DoJ says this shouldn't be allowed until the company is transparent about how many coins it owns, what they're worth, where they are and what the cash from a sale would be used for. All of this comes as hundreds of thousands of people remain locked out of their crypto savings.
A new class action lawsuit is accusing billionaire Mark Cuban and Voyager Digital CEO Stephen Ehrlich of "duping" millions of Americans into buying cryptocurrencies. The court filings allege 3.5 million people lost $5 billion as a result — and they should be responsible for paying them back. It's claimed "young and inexperienced investors" were primarily targeted through "youth-forward marketing." And the Shark Tank star is quoted as saying Voyager is "as close to risk free as you're going to get in the crypto universe." Voyager Digital is currently in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings, with customers frozen out of their crypto accounts. Lawyers representing the plaintiffs have likened the company to "a massive Ponzi scheme."
An Iranian man has been charged with attempting to pay for the assassination of a former U.S. national security advisor using crypto. Shahram Poursafi allegedly offered up to $1.3 million for "jobs" that included "eliminating" John Bolton, who was a senior official in Donald Trump's administration. Prosecutors believe that the 45-year-old wanted revenge after Iran's most powerful military commander, Qasem Soleimani, was killed in a U.S. airstrike. Bolton was not harmed as a result of the plot — and Poursafi remains at large in Iran. U.S. officials have warned this is not an isolated incident — and say attempted assassinations of government officials on American soil are "completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated."
In other developments, a man has admitted that he plotted to hire multiple hitmen on the dark web — paying them $60,000 in Bitcoin. Ronald Ilg wanted a doctor he used to work with to suffer a "significant beating" that would break both of his hands. The 55-year-old also requested for his estranged wife to be kidnapped and injected with heroin so she wouldn't divorce him. He relied on the username Scar215 to conceal his identity, and used the password Mufassa$$. Ilg was a doctor who treated newborn children — and he's facing up to eight years in jail after reaching a plea deal. U.S. Attorney Vanessa Waldref says more people could have ended up being harmed if these first two attacks were successful. He'll be sentenced in November.
Mailchimp has suspended the accounts of several crypto media outlets — including Messari and Decrypt. The company provides email marketing services and also allows newsletters to be sent to subscribers. Messari has reacted furiously to the ban, with its founder Ryan Selkis tweeting: "Thank you for de-platforming some of crypto's most reputable brands in the past 48 hours. You're proving our point. Mailchimp — and all speech censors — must be destroyed." Affected companies were given zero warning or explanation, and some are now unable to access subscriber lists. This has happened before — but confusingly, Mailchimp has said in the past that "cryptocurrency-related information isn't necessarily prohibited."