Also today, Shark Tank star Kevin O'Leary has revealed he was paid $15 million to act as a spokesman for FTX — and he's lost it all after the exchange was tipped into bankruptcy.
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BREAKING: SBF willing to testify 🚨
Sam Bankman-Fried has said he is willing to testify to Congress about the collapse of FTX on Tuesday. The House Financial Services Committee had threatened to subpoena him if he declined. On Friday, he tweeted: "I still do not have access to much of my data — professional or personal. So there is a limit to what I will be able to say, and I won't be as helpful as I'd like." SBF added he will try to be helpful during the hearing — and shed light on why FTX US is solvent, opportunities to return value to users worldwide, and what led to the crash. Vowing to reflect on his own failings, he added: "I had thought of myself as a model CEO, who wouldn't become lazy or disconnected. Which made it that much more destructive when I did. I'm sorry."
Shark Tank star loses millions in FTX 💸
Shark Tank star Kevin O'Leary has revealed he was paid $15 million to act as a spokesman for FTX — and he's lost it all after the exchange was tipped into bankruptcy. Speaking to CNBC's Squawk Box, the millionaire admitted he had made a "bad investment" — and said he and other institutional investors "look like idiots" after falling victim to "groupthink." Breaking down the numbers, O'Leary revealed he had invested $9.7 million from this deal into cryptocurrencies that were held on the doomed exchange, adding: "It's all at zero. I don't know because my account got scraped a couple of weeks ago — all the data, all the coins, everything." To make matters worse, his $1 million equity stake in FTX has now fallen to zero, too.
Amber Group exits Chelsea sponsorship ⚽️
An embattled crypto trading platform is scrapping a $25 million sponsorship deal with Chelsea FC, according to Bloomberg. Amber Group is also slashing 300 jobs and shifting its focus from retail investors to large institutions — meaning its client base will dwindle from hundreds of thousands to just 100. Meanwhile, the Financial Times is reporting that Amber Group only managed to raise half of the $100 million it was seeking during a funding round. There have been concerns that Amber Group could be affected by FTX's collapse as it had funds locked up on the platform. But managing partner Annabelle Huang has insisted daily operations continue as normal. The company's co-founder Tiantian Kullander died suddenly aged 30 last month.
Staked ETH withdrawals could begin soon 💰
Stakers who have locked up their Ethereum might be able to withdraw their funds from March, it's been revealed. Almost 15.6 million ETH has been locked up in a deposit contract since it launched two years ago — and at the time of writing, it has a cash value of $20 billion. This deposit contract played a critical role in helping the Ethereum network successfully make the switch from a Proof-of-Work to a Proof-of-Stake blockchain earlier this year — an ambitious upgrade known as "The Merge." The activation of withdrawals could encourage new participants to get involved — giving the network's security a boost in the process. Ether was the strongest performer among the world's 10 biggest cryptocurrencies on Friday.
Did Coinbase just attack Tether?! 😱
Coinbase has launched a thinly veiled attack against Tether — and is urging users to switch to the "trusted and reputable" USD Coin instead. In a blog post, the exchange — which helped co-found USDC back in 2018 — said "stability and trust" are of utmost importance to customers during the bear market. And it suggested "the events of the past few weeks have put some stablecoins to the test." While not addressing rivals by name, this is likely a reference to USDT, which has lost its peg at times since FTX collapsed. Coinbase has announced it will waive fees for customers making the switch from USDT to USDC — stressing this stablecoin is "100% backed by cash and short-dated U.S. treasuries held in regulated financial institutions."
DAO cancels 100 ETH donation to ZachXBT 👀
A DAO's plans to donate 100 ETH to self-styled "on-chain sleuth" ZachXBT have been mysteriously canceled. A Nouns member had wanted to reward them for their efforts in uncovering a plethora of crypto scams — arguing that recent events mean this is a "public good" that's needed now more than ever. The proposal was passed in a vote, but a technical quirk meant that the transaction was stopped in its tracks. It's been suggested that this action may have been taken by someone who wanted to stop ZachXBT from performing further investigations. A new, identical proposal has been created to ensure the reward — worth $128,000 at current market rates — is sent. There's said to be "near certainty" this second vote will also pass.
Nomad Bridge unveils plans to relaunch 💸
Four months on from a devastating $190 million hack, Nomad Bridge has announced it's relaunching and offering a partial refund to affected users. Dozens of attackers had taken advantage of a code flaw allowing them to spoof transactions and falsely claim ownership of collateral. Smart contracts have been upgraded in an attempt to prevent a similar incident happening again. Know Your Customer checks have now been opened to verify those entitled to compensation. Once approved, they'll receive an NFT that reflects the type of cryptocurrency they're owed… and how much. Compensation will be offered on a pro-rata basis — meaning that, if Nomad recovers 25% of the funds that were taken, they'll be entitled to 25% of what they're owed.
MasterClass releases crypto course 🤓
It's a site best known for star-studded courses — with Gordon Ramsay teaching people how to cook, and Helen Mirren offering top tips on acting. But now, MasterClass has released a course focusing on cryptocurrencies and blockchains. Binance's CEO Changpeng Zhao and Coinbase COO Emilie Choi are among the instructors, with long-time crypto skeptic Professor Paul Krugman offering a healthy dose of cynicism. The course is almost four hours long — and covers everything from the history of Bitcoin to the rise of NFTs. There's also lively debate on the biggest challenges facing the industry, and whether stablecoins are safe. MasterClass CEO David Rogier said he hopes the course will help members decide how and if they want to invest.