Also today, Alex Mashinsky could be forced to repay $10 million that he withdrew from Celsius before the crypto lender collapsed.
Big news to kick off with: Kim Kardashian has been charged with unlawfully touting a crypto security — and has reached a settlement with the SEC. The reality star will pay $1.26 million in penalties, and is banned from promoting cryptocurrencies on social media for three years. All of this relates to Ethereum Max, an altcoin that Kardashian had endorsed on Instagram. The SEC claims she failed to disclose that she was paid $250,000 for this promotion. Kardashian's lawyer says she is "pleased to have resolved this matter." A statement added: "The agreement she reached with the SEC allows her to do that so that she can move forward with her many different business pursuits."
It's the start of a brand-new month — but according to some crypto analysts, Bitcoiners shouldn't be feeling too confident. Il Capo of Crypto says BTC's current yearly chart looks eerily similar to 2018. Four years ago, Bitcoin fell sharply from $20,000 — but had managed to stay above $6,000. When traders thought the bottom was in, it then fell by another 50%. Fast forward to now, and BTC has fallen sharply from $69,000 — but has managed to stay above $17,000 so far. Warning what could lie ahead, il Capo of Crypto tweeted: "New lows are likely this year." In other developments, the British pound rallied on Monday after the government performed a humiliating U-turn on controversial proposals in its mini-budget.
Alex Mashinsky withdrew $10 million from Celsius Network — weeks before the crypto lender suddenly froze customer accounts, according to the Financial Times. The founder of the bankrupt crypto lender — who stepped down as CEO last week following pressure from creditors — is facing questions over whether he knew Celsius was in trouble at the time of that transaction. His spokesman told the newspaper that the funds were used to pay taxes, and he still had $44 million locked up in the platform. It's claimed that Mashinsky could be forced to return this money. Under American laws, payments by a company in the 90 days ahead of a bankruptcy can be "clawed back" to benefit creditors.
Celsius proposals to open withdrawals for certain customers have attracted staunch resistance from the U.S. Department of Justice. It wants to distribute an estimated $225 million to 63,000 users who had "custody program and withhold accounts." But U.S. trustee William Harrington has argued this move is premature as it's still unclear how much crypto is held by the bankrupt company. He went on to warn that allowing these withdrawals now "could inadvertently impact or limit distributions to other creditors in this case." A hearing regarding motions from both parties on whether the withdrawals should go ahead is scheduled to take place on Thursday. An examiner has been appointed to scrutinize Celsius Network's finances.
El Salvador's president has defended his decision to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender. He claims "the world's most powerful elites" are pushing for him to perform a U-turn — and lambasted the media for publishing "nonsense." Addressing critics directly, Nayib Bukele encouraged them to visit El Salvador, writing: "My message to you is this: stop drinking the elites' Kool-Aid and take a look at the facts." Bukele went on to predict that other countries will follow in El Salvador's footsteps if his policy succeeds ― and that he refuses to fail because this means other nations won't adopt Bitcoin. He finished by asking: "They know this very well and that’s why they are fighting us so hard. Will you play their game? Or will you become aware of the real game?"
It's been a weekend to forget for Coinbase and Solana. The exchange has apologized after American users were unable to make deposits or withdrawals from their bank accounts for several hours. It took about three hours for Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers to get back online. Meanwhile, Solana has suffered its fourth major outage so far this year. A misconfigured node was blamed for the downtime, which meant the network was unable to process transactions as normal. This is yet another blow to the credibility of a network that has been described as an "Ethereum killer." Last month, Solana co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko admitted that such outages have been the blockchain's "curse."
Web3 could be a key issue for voters in swing states during the midterm elections next month, according to Haun Ventures. Likely voters in four key states — Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania — were polled for this research. One especially attention-grabbing statistic is this: 18% of all voters in these swing states currently hold crypto of some kind, and 5% own non-fungible tokens. "To put that number in perspective, there are now far more people in each of these swing states that hold digital assets than a union membership," the authors said. Overall, 55% said they would be less likely to vote for candidates who are against rules and regulations that foster the development of Web3.
During the first-ever Miami Grand Prix in May, it wasn't just a fake marina that captured the attention of viewers at home. Seemingly on every turn, and on every billboard around the track, Crypto.com's logo was emblazoned for all to see. The Singapore Grand Prix, held over the weekend, was a much more muted affair. Crypto.com wasn't allowed to advertise around the track, or launch campaigns near the venue. Instead, any sight of its logo was limited to the sport's cars and the uniforms worn by drivers. Marketing experts say this isn't a bear market issue, and that it's actually pretty normal. Some territories clamp down on alcohol and tobacco promotions — and that's why you see Marlboro branding in some races and not others.