Also today, top financial firms are being urged to row back on plans to offer Bitcoin to their customers.
A-listers including Tom Brady are facing an investigation in Texas after endorsing FTX in adverts. Officials claim the Super Bowl star's glowing endorsements may have violated securities laws. Brady and his ex-wife, the model Gisele Bundchen, had high-profile deals to attract customers to the doomed exchange — and had taken an equity stake in the business. In one unusual spot, Brady was seen using a flamethrower on a block of ice. A class action lawsuit has been filed against the couple in Miami, alongside other celebrities who promoted FTX. They include Shaquille O'Neal, Larry David, and Naomi Osaka. It's not the first time that celebrities have found themselves in hot water for crypto endorsements.
Federal prosecutors in New York were already investigating FTX before the major exchange blew up. According to Bloomberg, Sam Bankman-Fried's company was facing allegations that it had violated the Bank Secrecy Act. Officials were examining whether FTX had violated anti-money laundering measures — all while knowingly serving American customers. In May, BitMEX co-founder Arthur Hayes was sentenced to six months house arrest and two years probation for that type of violation. "While building a cryptocurrency platform that profited him millions of dollars, Arthur Hayes willfully defied U.S. law that requires businesses to do their part to help in preventing crime and corruption," prosecutors had said at the time.
If British users of FTX were expecting sympathy, they shouldn't turn to the Bank of England. In a speech on Monday, Deputy Governor Sir Jon Cunliffe said the public were warned about the dangers of crypto investments. Back in September, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority had said FTX may have been providing financial services without authorization, meaning customers were unlikely to get their money back if things went wrong. During a speech, Sir Jon once again called for crypto firms to be treated like any other financial institution. He believes this would protect the public, ensure that the crypto sector couldn't drag down traditional markets, and boost innovation. "People do not fly in unsafe airplanes," Sir Jon added.
In a surprise announcement, it's been revealed that Bob Iger is returning to Disney as CEO. This could be a significant development for the metaverse. Iger has long been bullish on the potential of virtual worlds — and back in March, he invested and joined the board of Genies, an LA-based Web3 company. All of this has fueled speculation that Genies could end up being folded into Disney — and Iger may decide to make the metaverse a crucial part of his strategy in the coming years. Disney has dipped its toe into the metaverse in a number of ways, such as adding a high-level attorney focused on blockchain and NFT technology. Iger's predecessor, Bob Chapek, didn't seem to be as keen on the metaverse's potential.
Fidelity is being urged to row back on plans that would allow everyday Americans to allocate part of their retirement savings to Bitcoin. Democratic senators have described the proposals as "ill-advised" — and have warned that the world's biggest cryptocurrency is volatile, illiquid and speculative. In their letter, the politicians also suggested that Fidelity itself knows this, given how Bitcoin can only represent 20% of a saver's portfolio. "Fidelity is acknowledging it is well aware of the dangers associated with investing in Bitcoin and digital assets, yet is deciding to move ahead anyway," Senators Dick Durbin, Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote.