In a lengthy report obtained by Investors King, one of the world’s leading business media platforms Reuters had accused Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange platform of sharing client data, including names and addresses with the Russian government.
According to the report, a particular Russian agency known as Rosfinmonitoring or Rosfin was looking to track bitcoin donated to the now-jailed Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny. Therefore, approached Binance, who at the time was seeking license/approval to operate in Russia, for the details of donors to the Navalny network, the now proscribed network by the Russian government.
Explaining the reason for the move, Rosfinmonitor claimed the donations were used to finance those seeking to expose corruption inside Vladimir Putin’s government.
Quoting text messages reportedly shared by one of Binance’s officials with a business associate, Reuters said Gleb Kostarev, the head of Binance Eastern Europe and Russia, agreed to the request to share client data. He, however, claimed he didn’t have “much of a choice”.
In response to Reuters, Binance declared the report false and denied ever sharing user data, including Alexei Navalny with Russian FSB-controlled agencies and Russian regulators.
The leading cryptocurrency platform said “Prior to the war, Binance’s engagement in Russia was no different from that of any other international organization – from banks to burger restaurants.
“Like every other blockchain company with users in Russia, prior to the War with Ukraine, Binance was advocating for Russia to develop an effective crypto regulatory framework – an effort we are undertaking in every market we operate in.
“As soon as the war started, we stopped working in Russia. Instead, we implemented sanction requirements. Today, as far as we know, Binance is the ONLY crypto exchange in the world to implement the latest package of sanctions imposed by the European Union aim at Russian account holders.”
Binance further stated that it had donated over $10 million to Ukraine’s humanitarian unit since the war started, a gesture commanded by Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation himself.
However, Binance said as a law-abiding organisation it has a process that allows any government or law enforcement agency to request user data from the company via legal means. Suggesting it is possible Russia had requested the data prior to the war, like the U.S and other governments.
“On the specific matter of not sharing data – today, any government or law enforcement agency in the world can request user data from Binance as long as it is accompanied by the proper legal authority. In fact, we have developed a landing page specifically for this purpose which has been in place for over one year which is used by leading law enforcement agencies from around the world. Russia is no different. Fulfilling disclosure obligations to the authorities in each jurisdiction is a large part of becoming a regulated business and Binance fulfills its legal obligations.”
It should be recalled that earlier in the year, many Nigerians accused Binance of blocking their accounts without any reason. In response, Binance had claimed those accounts were ordered closed by the FBI. Meaning, the leading cryptocurrency platform is not decentralised but a very centralised organisation that works in tandem with conventional policies.
Gate.io Joins Oasis Pro Inc’s $27 Million Series A Financing Round
Gate Ventures, the venture capital arm of Gate.io, focused on investments in decentralized infrastructure, ecosystems, and applications that will reshape the world in the digital age, is participating in Oasis Pro Inc’s $27 Million Series A financing round along with UDHC, Blizzard, the Avalanche Fund, Mirae Asset Venture Investment, and others.
This financing will be used to fuel Oasis Pro Inc’s continued growth by building out the senior management team, expanding global business development, scaling the technology platform globally through new revenue streams, and adding complementary blockchain technologies.
Oasis Pro’s subsidiary, Oasis Pro Markets, which is a U.S. regulated multi-asset Alternative Trading System (“ATS”) for digital assets and a full-service investment bank, will also benefit as this funding will accelerate Oasis Pro Market’s Digital Asset Security ATS platform, global expansion and full-service investment banking advisory practice.
Founded by seasoned Wall Street and blockchain veterans, Oasis Pro Inc. will continue to grow as a leading fintech and blockchain company with a mission to bridge the world of traditional finance, blockchain and DeFi. Oasis Pro will leverage and bring DeFi to the mainstream to pursue their vision of a world where DeFi is not competing against TradFi, but rather DeFi acts as a complementary extension of TradFi.
Oasis Pro Markets’ ATS, OATSPRO, enables issuers and subscribers to buy, sell, and offer a range of alternative assets in the secondary market in a convenient and secure manner. Oasis Pro Markets’ proprietary technology provides a sleek, user-friendly experience for issuers and investors.
OATSPRO offers efficient KYC/AML onboarding of digital securities for issuers, allows for streamlined onboarding of investors, and provides a liquidity platform for private and public OTC market digital securities.
Kevin Yang, Investment Director of Gate Ventures, said: “Through the investment in Oasis Pro, Gate Ventures will continue to explore DeFi opportunities integrated with compliance to tackle the increasing regulatory uncertainty. Given the increasing number of crypto-native DeFi applications expanding to the TradFi markets, we have foreseen the necessity of compliance and the co-existence of permissionless DeFi and compliant DeFi in the near future. And a trusted relationship between Oasis Pro and Gate Ventures is certainly a vital step toward a compliant environment for open finance.”
Fintech CEO: Bank of Israel Grapples With Privacy Concerns in CBDC Debate
While Israel’s central bank is still non-committal on a digital shekel, a new report suggests that they have a significant amount of public support, both in order to support innovation in the fintech sector and reducing cash. It was first considered by the Bank of Israel in 2017, but it re-engaged in additional research late last year. Then, early this year, the country’s central bank noted that it was not likely to erode the banking system.
“It is positive to see the central bank in Israel identifying all the advantages associated with digital assets. Just from a competition point-of-view, it can be seen as a step in the right direction — forcing the payments sector to be more competitive is a major win, in and of itself. On the other hand, major questions still exist on the privacy front. It is important to take time and really determine how a central bank can preserve financial privacy,” said Richard Gardner, CEO of Modulus, a US-based developer of ultra-high-performance trading and surveillance technology that powers global equities, derivatives, and digital asset exchanges.
“The Bank of Israel has still not made a final decision on whether it will issue a digital shekel… But all of the responses to the public consultation indicate support for continued research regarding the various implications on the payments market, financial and monetary stability, legal and technological issues, and more,” the central bank said in a report.
“The report noted that there was a split among supporters of a CBDC, with some preferring anonymity and others wanting rules which crack down on potential participation in the black market. It is just common sense that, if you allow the government full authority to track the financial transactions of the citizenry, there is a large subsection of the population which will not willingly transition and utilize it,” said Gardner.
Modulus is known throughout the financial technology segment as a leader in the development of ultra-high frequency trading systems and blockchain technologies. Modulus has provided its exchange solution to some of the industry’s most profitable digital asset exchanges, including a well-known multi-billion-dollar cryptocurrency exchange. Over the past twenty years, the company has built technology for the world’s most notable institutions, with a client list which includes NASA, NASDAQ, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Barclays, Siemens, Shell, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago.
People take their privacy seriously, especially since we’ve seen what centralized control of our money supply can do when in the wrong hands — whether that’s Big Tech or the government — just look at what happened to those participating in the Canadian trucker convoy,” noted Gardner.
“The Bank is committed to openness and transparency in its continued research regarding the digital shekel, and expects to continue fruitful dialogue with all interested parties at all stages of research and development in the digital shekel project,” the central bank said.
Inexperience Ruined Luna Project as Creator Injected Over $2.3 Billion into Losing Position
Following about 99% plunge in the value of Terra Luna Coin and the global outcry for the Luna Foundation Guard (LFG) to use its supposed reserve to acquire and burn its now over 6.5 trillion Luna coins, the LFG has come out to state it does not have the said reserve anymore.
According to a statement released by LFG on Monday, the foundation reserve used to comprise of 80,394 $BTC, 39,914 $BNB, 26,281,671 $USDT, 23,555,590 $USDC, 1,973,554 $AVAX, 697,344 $UST and 1,691,261 $LUNA. However, on May 8, 2022, when TerraUSD (“UST”), the main product (stablecoin) of the Terra network, started declining below its US$1 peg, LFG said it began injecting its over 80,000 Bitcoin into the market in order to halt the now record-decline.
This, it said was done by sending its reserved BTC and other digital assets to counterparties to allow them place trades in large size and on short notice for the Foundation.
Breaking down how the reserve was exhausted, the Foundation said it directly sold 26,281,671 $USDT and 23,555,590 $USDC for an aggregate of 50,200,071 $UST. While 52,189 $BTC was transferred to a counterparty for trade, out of which 5,313 $BTC was returned for an aggregate 1,515,689,462 $UST.
This continues on May 10 and 12 until the Foundation had depleted its reserve to 313 $BTC, 39,914 $BNB, 1,973,554 $AVAX, 1,847,079,725 $UST, 222,713,007 $LUNA (out of which 221,021,746 is presently staked with validators).
LFG Inexperience and Eventual Failure
In financial markets, one of the first principles aspiring traders are taught is never to add to a losing position. It simply means no matter the situation, traders should not average down a losing long position or average up a losing short position, like in the case of LFG.
Luna with a combined reserve of about $3.5 billion was trying to plug a broad-based losing short position valued at about $18.68 billion for UST and $40 billion for Luna coin by continuously averaging up despite limited risk at the time.
Here is the Logic
If LFG had kept its reserve, it would have been able to purchase and burn at a cheaper rate compared to when it first injected over 52,000 BTC on May 8 when UST was just $0.9953 and Luna coin was $65 per coin. In fact, it appears as if it was the huge fund transferred to counterparties on May 8 that triggered UST concerns among investors aware of the transaction, and subsequently, the eventual disaster that follows going by the chart below. Luna coin-backed UST plunged on May 10, again likely instigated by those in the know of the LFG situation.
Sending huge amounts of BTC and other digital assets to counterparties in an unregulated cryptocurrency space allows for aggressive insider dealings by those LFG trusted. People familiar with the situation likely told cryptocurrency whales and other investors about the Foundation’s struggle to stay afloat, hence the continuous selloff that eventually depleted the Foundation’s remaining reserve.
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