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  • FTX lawyers, creditors slam SBF’s petition to get legal fees reimbursed
    by Luke Huigsloot on March 30, 2023 at 1:28 am

    The creditor’s committee and FTX lawyers have raised several arguments in objecting to Bankman Fried’s request. A hearing date is set for April 12. Sam Bankman Fried’s new petition to have his legal expenses reimbursed has been met with fierce objection from lawyers representing the crypto exchange and its creditors committee.As per previous reporting by Cointelegraph, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers had filed a motion on March 15 seeking to have his court costs covered by directors and officers (D&O) insurance policies, which if approved by the judge would see him placed at the top of the payout queue.Defense costs are covered in most policies (after a deductible) but insurers have provisions for selection of counsel so even if approved the insurer is unlikely to approve the high priced lawyers SBF has (or needs).— Mr. Purple (@MrPurple_DJ) March 16, 2023 In March 29 objection filing, FTX’s lawyers objected to Bankman-Fried’s attempt to prioritize his own legal fees at the expense of other potential claimants, stating:“It would be unfair, inequitable, and contrary to the interests of justice to allow Mr. Bankman-Fried to drain the D&O Policies for his sole benefit”FTX’s lawyers argue that if the court rules in favor of Bankman-Fried then the insurance payout should apply to other directors and officers who have a claim to the funds.The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors also filed an objection on the same day, noting that D&O insurance policies only apply “where they make honest decisions in the ordinary course of the business,” which it argues “is not the case” regarding Bankman-Fried’s request.The committee argued that the court should thus decline the request, labeling Bankman-Fried the “alleged perpetrator of one of the largest criminal frauds in the last decade.” This sentiment has been echoed by some from the crypto community prior to Sam Bankman Fried’s request.Directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance is a type of insurance coverage that protects individuals from personal losses if they are sued as a result of serving as a director or an officer for a firm. Such policies can also be used by the firm to cover legal fees and costs incurred as a result of a lawsuit against a former officer or director. The creditors committee however argued that Bankman-Fried had failed to justify his claim to the $10 million in available coverage which should instead go towards covering FTX’s losses.Related: SBF banned from using online messengers under new bail agreementAccording to reports, the former FTX CEO is currently paying his legal fees with $10 million he had previously gifted to his father Joseph Bankman, after Bankman-Fried loaned the funds from Alameda Research.Bankman-Fried was charged with 12 criminal counts on Feb. 22, which included numerous fraud charges, and was rounded up to a baker’s dozen on Feb. 28 following allegations that he used $40 million in an attempt to bribe a Chinese official.Web3 Gamer: Shrapnel wows at GDC, Undead Blocks hot take, Second Trip

  • Web3 Gamer: Shrapnel wows at GDC, Undead Blocks hot take, Second Trip
    by Callan Quinn on March 29, 2023 at 10:40 pm

    First-person shooter Shrapnel blows gamers away at GDC, Otherside’s Second Trip vs Fortnite, Callan gets killed by zombies over and over. Shrapnel: The game at GDC everyones talking aboutAs the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco came to a close last week, there was one game that stood out from the rest. Shrapnel, a highly anticipated first-person shooter in the Web3 space, was the talk of the conference thanks to its stunning graphics and immersive gameplay. Select invitees got a first look at Shrapnel at GDC. (Shrapnel/Twitter)Select visitors were treated to a hands-on experience with the pre-alpha version of the game. Set in the year 2044, Shrapnel takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. Players must navigate the sacrifice zone, where they collect NFT gear and a compound named Sigma. They can win by reaching an extraction point where they can escape with their loot. If they die, they lose their loot. Shrapnel founder Mark Long says that for his team, its all about the gameplay first. He added that while the demo took place behind closed doors this time, more people would be able to play Shrapnel next month.Anyone at ConsenSys will be able to play it on the show floor, he says, referring to the conference in Austin, Texas, in late April.I played @playSHRAPNEL at GDC and had a blast! I wanted to thank Mark Long for taking time out of his busy schedule to get an interview Find out what Mark is excited about for Shrapnel in 2023— Payton | Wolves DAO (@paytkaleiwahea) March 27, 2023EVE Online, MapleStory to get Web3 treatmentWhile Shrapnel was hogging the limelight, EVE Online creators CCP Games announced they raised $40 million in a round led by a16z to develop a new AAA title set in the EVE universe.EVE Online is a space-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). Launched in 2003, its game includes over 7,000 solar systems and two decades of player-created history. Players can choose their own paths and professions in the game, focusing on battles, mining, exploration and industry, as they interact with its complex in-game economy and hierarchy. Its not a game for the faint-hearted: some describe playing the game as having a second job. In addition, the increasing cost of playing EVE Online has long been a point of contention between players and CCP Games. The complex MMO takes place across thousands of solar systems. (Steam)As with every time a Web2 game studio expresses an interest in Web3 think Neopets metaverse, for instance the worry among players is that its little more than a cynical cash grab. The details of what the blockchain EVE game will look like are still under wraps but the company has made clear its not going to impact EVEs global server, known as Tranquility. Last year, the company came out and said that they had no plans to add blockchain technology to Tranquility.While we remain intrigued by the technology, for us, NFT stands for Not for Tranquility, company CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson said at the time. Related: What are Web3 games, and how do they work?The website for this project, which suggests the name is Project Awakening, states the game is separate from current and previously disclosed projects, including EVE Online.Its not the only traditional gaming brand thats recently announced its jumping on the Web3 bandwagon. Gaming company Nexon is bringing its popular game, MapleStory, to the blockchain. MapleStory is a 2D MMO. (Steam)Claiming over 260 million players, the game allows players to explore deserts, tundras, underwater kingdoms, lost civilizations and more. The South Korean firm follows other players in the region, such as Square Enix and Bandai Namco, that have previously dabbled in Web3. Related: Justin Sun vs. SEC, Do Kwon arrested, 180M player game taps Polygon: Asia ExpressBazooka Tango wants to revive indie card game ShardboundIndie game Shardbound is also getting a Web3 revival, from gaming studio Bazooka Tango. A tactics card game, Shardbound initially launched through Kickstarter. But it never made a full release, and interest faded.Thats when Bazooka Tango came in and decided to give it a new lease of life, according to the companys co-founder, Stephan Sherman. The developers at SpiritWalk had been very close friends of ours and we had always been a fan of the product, Sherman tells Cointelegraph. Once we had the opportunity, we talked to them about picking up where it left off and bringing it the final mile, so it had a chance to reach a worldwide audience. The Shardbound beta will be open to the public around mid-year 2023 and available on mobile in 2024.Shardbound concept art. (Shardbound/Twitter)Othersides Second Trip to Fortnite Yuga Labs Otherside returned for its Second Trip on March 25. The event saw over 7,200 concurrent players on the platform, with Improbable, the company behind the tech, once again showcasing its impressive capabilities.Unlike the First Trip in the summer of last year, the newest iteration had a bit more gameplay beyond avatars running around doing backflips. Participants in the Second Trip teamed up to collect blobs. The winning team, Team Glacia, earned virtual winged helmets.Thousands of players joined the Second Trip on Saturday. (OtherGuild/Twitter)On Crypto Twitter, it wasnt long before the Fortnite comparisons started rolling in, both positive and negative. The company garnered praise for how much it has managed to achieve in such a short space of time this time last year, Otherside was but a rumor, officially launching at the end of April but others quickly fired back that the comparisons were inaccurate and unhelpful. If you like the otherside youre going to lose your mind when you discover Fortnite.— Grant Flannery (@grantpat) March 25, 2023Its not yet clear what Yuga Labs has planned for gameplay. But then again, there are only so many ways one can collect virtual objects before it all starts to feel the same. Game Fund Partner Jonah Blake tweeted:The otherside is not competing with Fortnite creative. They are 2 different things. They both compete for attention, and attention will be whatever is on a Deed or a Fortnite island. The creators will drive that attention. Brands will post on all of them.Following the Second Trip, Yuga Labs announced several new updates. First, it looks like the company will be teaming up with Gucci for something related to the Otherside.Its also rolled out Legends of the Mara, which Yuga Labs said is a collection-based 2D strategy game that picks up where the events of Second Trip leave off.With it, were going to learn more about Kodas, including their origins and their primal relationship with Otherside, encounter some new apprentices in the form of the Mara, and learn more about the story of Otherside throughout LOTM, Otherside tweeted.Related: Otherside Metaverse demo kicks off with 4,500 participants: highlights Read also Features 4 out of 10 NFT sales are fake: Learn to spot the signs of wash trading Art Week Coldie And Citadel 6.15: The Creator, The Collector, The Curator Magic Eden gaming hubNFT marketplace Magic Eden began pivoting to gaming last year, and this month it finally rolled out its gaming hub. The idea, according to its gaming CEO Chris Arkhavan, is to turn the platform into a hub for Web3 gaming where users can find new games, buy NFTs and view leaderboards. Its not hosting games on its platform but has plans for more community-focused integrations in the future.Magic Eden is pivoting to gaming.Hot Take Undead BlocksSo, Bitcoin up today?Its not the first thing you expect to hear as you walk nervously around the neighborhood of Sanborn, New York, waiting for the zombies to inevitably descend on you, but it helps release a bit of the tension. Your character shouting to the moon as the hordes descend is as good a war cry as any, I suppose. Undead Blocks is described as a kill to earn game.The beta of Wagyu Games and Kevurus kill-to-earn game Undead Blocks launched last month on ImmutableX. Wagyu Games executive director Grant Haseley is a former Goldman Sachs analyst who set out with the aim of making an easy-to-learn and addictive game that is playable with friends. Easy for everyone except me. I have the hand-eye coordination of a drunk three-year-old and am much more at ease pottering around Stardew Valley planting potatoes than trying to survive the apocalypse. Being able to control the unwieldy pistol improves slightly when I turn down the mouse sensitivity by about 90%. At least, I stop dying after killing just one zombie.Playing some @UndeadBlocks last night and managed to hit a 10k ZBUX from my #zbox! So much fun playing this game and I love how the team is proving the concept of how important it is to own your assets in game! #undeadblocks #p2e #NFT— unfaz3d.eth (@Unfaz3d_) March 8, 2023That said, I can still appreciate that it looks cool. And Ive heard positive reviews from people who have used a game controller you can use the ones for your Xbox or Playstation as opposed to a Mac.Overall, the look and general playability of blockchain games are so much better than they were a year ago, and Undead Blocks is no exception. It has crisp graphics, a cool soundtrack in the intro and cringe-in-a-mildly-amusing-way musings from the avatar about crypto. Read also Features Australias world-leading crypto laws are at the crossroads: The inside story Features Bitcoin gets physical: Art or digital heresy? Whats Coming UpAmazon NFT and Gaming platform In January, it was revealed that Amazon was building an NFT and gaming platform. The e-commerce giant has remained tight-lipped about the plans but unconfirmed reports suggest something could be launched on April 24. Imposters This Among Us-esque social deduction game will launch a beta for verified holders on March 31. It was delayed from the original date of March 24 due to issues with migrating the game to Unreal Engine 5.1. CGC Online The Crypto Gamers Conference is back for another year from April 17-18. Tickets for the virtual event are available free online and the deadline for speaker applications closes April 10. Eternal Dragons Blockchain game Eternal Dragons will hold its first official PvP tournament from March 31 to April 2. Theres a prize pool of over $15,000 USDC up for grabs. The Glimmering Blockchain-based Dungeons and Dragons game The Glimmering will launch its play platform on March 30. NFT holders will be able to sign up to play games virtually. Immutable Passport Immutable is set to roll out its gaming passport in April. The noncustodial wallet and authentication solution aims to streamline user onboarding to its games.Got tips, questions or comments? Please direct all vitriol, abuse and declarations of love to me on Twitter @quinnishvili. Subscribe The most engaging reads in blockchain. Delivered once a week. Email addressSUBSCRIBE

  • FDIC plans to return $4B in Signature crypto deposits ‘by early next week’ — Martin Gruenberg
    by Turner Wright on March 29, 2023 at 9:00 pm

    The Treasury Department’s Under Secretary for Domestic Finance Nellie Liang said at the same hearing she didn’t believe crypto “played a direct role” in the failure of the banks. Martin Gruenberg, chair of the United States Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, has said the agency plans to return roughly $4 billion in deposits connected to Signature Bank’s digital asset banking business by early April.In a March 29 hearing of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee exploring federal regulators’ responses to recent bank failures, Gruenberg said the deposits that were not included in the bid from a New York Community Bancorp subsidiary for Signature would be returned “by early next week.” There are $4 billion in deposits tied to digital assets, and reports had indicated that the FDIC would close all crypto-related accounts not part of the NYCB deal by April 5 if depositors didn’t move their funds.FDIC chair Martin Gruenberg speaking at a March 29 hearing of the U.S. House Financial Services CommitteeAccording to Gruenberg, Signature’s payments platform Signet — which, along with the digital asset deposits, was not included in the NYCB bid — was “in the process now of being marketed” to potential buyers. The FDIC, along with New York financial regulators, closed the crypto-friendly bank on March 12, citing risks to the U.S. economy after Silicon Valley Bank and Silvergate Bank had failed.Nellie Liang, under secretary for domestic finance at the U.S. Treasury Department, said she didn’t believe crypto “played a direct role” in the failure of either Signature or Silicon Valley Bank:“I know that Signature had activities involved in digital assets, but I don’t believe that is the main [cause].”The March 29 hearing marked the second time that Liang, Gruenberg, and Fed Vice Chairman for Supervision Michael Barr addressed lawmakers following the collapse of three major banks in the United States. The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on March 28, in which Gruenberg said Silvergate Bank had not adequately managed risks that led to its failure. Related: US exploring ways to guarantee the country’s 18T of bank deposits: ReportThough some lawmakers and regulators have seemingly pointed to the banks’ ties to digital asset companies, many have criticized the association as being without merit. Former House of Representatives member and Signature board member Barney Frank has said officials that wanted to send a “very strong anti-crypto message,” claiming that the bank had no issues with solvency at the time of its closure.Magazine: Unstablecoins: Depegging, bank runs and other risks loom

  • Anti-TikTok RESTRICT Act could be turned against crypto and much else, think tank warns
    by Derek Andersen on March 29, 2023 at 8:45 pm

    Experts are speculating on ways the bipartisan bill could be misused if passed into law, and finding potential threats to technologies that people love.  A bipartisan bill introduced earlier this month in the United States Senate could be applied in broad and unexpected ways if it becomes law, including to threaten crypto, the think tank Coin Center has warned. The RESTRICT bill, known formally as the ‘‘Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology Act,’’ and informally as the TikTok ban, has been introduced amid suspicions that the Chinese-owned TikTok app gathers user data on behalf of the Chinese government. The act would give the Commerce Department new powers that would “comprehensively address the ongoing threat posed by technology from foreign adversaries” by allowing it to “review, prevent, and mitigate information communications and technology transactions that pose undue risk to our national security.”Under Title 15 of the Code of Federal Regulations, the foreign adversaries of the United States are China (including Hong Kong), Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia and the Maduro regime in Venezuela.Related: Blockchain messaging is going to replace Telegram and DiscordAccording to Coin Center, the bill is conceptually similar to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act that authorizes the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to block Americans from transacting with sanctioned parties. Coin Center pointed to OFAC’s sanctioning of Tornado Cash immutable smart contracts as a misuse of that law to ban a class of technology, expressing its concern that:“The RESTRICT Act creates blanket authority, with few checks, to ban just about anything linked to a ‘foreign adversary.’”Not only that, the RESTRICT Act would be easier to apply and harder to challenge. “Its potential implications for the cryptocurrency space cannot be ignored,” Coin Center said.If you think the TikTok ban isn’t important, you’ve been missing the big picture – the Restrict Act (Bill S.686) will change the internet at the US currently knows it. It’s not just about TikTok –— Freckles (@FrecklesNFrce) March 27, 2023 The bill foresees penalties of imprisonment for 20 years and fines of $250,000. Legal experts say the act is vaguely worded and could be used to restrict a range of technologies, including virtual private networks, or VPNs. The lead author of the bill, Democrat Mark Warner, said:“We need a comprehensive, risk-based approach that proactively tackles sources of potentially dangerous technology before they gain a foothold in America.”Kirsten Gillibrand, coauthor with Cynthia Lummis of the Responsible Financial Innovation Act, is among the sponsors of the bill. Magazine: US enforcement agencies are turning up the heat on crypto-related crime

  • Optimism reigned at Paris Blockchain Week
    by Sophia Schteiner on March 29, 2023 at 8:35 pm

    Careful optimism was the theme at this year’s Paris Blockchain Week. Builders will build and the crypto community will keep going. Expectations for Paris Blockchain Week were relatively low considering the downbeat market conditions. However, Paris can always surprise you. Indeed, conference halls at the event were not nearly as empty or depressing as Consensus after the big crypto meltdown of 2018. People were present, and conversations were fruitful. (And yes, the croissants were, as always, delicious.)In 2022, the conference was held symbolically in Palais Brongniart, a building known for hosting the historical Paris Stock Exchange until 1987. This time, organizers managed to outsoar themselves and held the event right under Louvre in the elegant “Carrousel du Louvre” conference halls.Paris Blockchain Week 2023. Here’s beginning— DavidSHLee (@davidshlee11) March 21, 2023 Evening side events took place all around central Paris, overlapping and pushing some attendees to have three or even four dinners each night. Star speakers did not make any overly positive market predictions, but the conference vibe was definitely optimistic.Is Paris the next best bet for crypto?With regulators tightening their grip on crypto companies in the United States, Europe might be the next bet for crypto. While Paris is already home to prominent companies in the space — such as Ledger and The Sandbox — rumors are spreading that some big players will move their offices here or become more active in Paris.We were honored to host @jerallaire, Co-Founder and CEO of @circle, at Paris Blockchain Week. He shared his insights on the urgent need for the US government and regulators to catch up with other countries in setting clear rules for stablecoins. Allaire highlighted the…— Paris Blockchain Week (@ParisBlockWeek) March 29, 2023 Binance held its blockchain event in Paris last year. Circle just announced that it is seeking regulatory approvals in France and wants to establish a headquarters in Paris. Who knows? Coinbase could be next. Obviously, regulation will be a major factor in the future success of any European stablecoin or crypto service.Need for crypto consortiumAnother subject that flowed through many keynotes and discussions was the lack of industry collaboration. While it’s obvious to everyone now that crypto’s narrative is falling short, the question is: How can major industry players unite to stabilize the industry long-term and ensure its growth?Related: EU MiCA crypto regulation is a ‘balancing act’: Paris Blockchain Week 2023Some experts called for the industry to self-regulate as malicious players hurt everyone in the sector. Others stressed out a much-needed dialogue with regulators. If rules come from dusty offices without consultation with crypto industry players, the threat remains that those laws will become too complex, expensive or impossible to implement. Most experts agree and advocate for an industry-wide consortium. While initial industry collaborations to build discussions with the regulators have already started in the U.S. this year (with questionable results), much more effort is required.Interoperability challengeExperts across multiple panels raised interoperability concerns. Privately operated and centralized bridges have shown a vulnerability to hackers, and the lack of connectivity between networks hurts user experiences significantly and slows adoption. Had an amazing time at the Paris Blockchain Week! From the Talent Fair to the Summit, we explored the latest in blockchain tech and met with fellow professionals. Share your feedback! What did you enjoy most? Did you make valuable connections? #PBW2023 #AfterPBW— Paris Blockchain Week (@ParisBlockWeek) March 28, 2023 Mobile carriers faced the same issues in their early days, but different smartphones and networks nonetheless manage to communicate flawlessly with each other today. Crypto users should similarly be able to switch in a safe and simple manner between applications and blockchains. From a technical standpoint, cross-application calls remain challenging even within a single blockchain, not to mention the same operation between two applications on different networks.❤️ Success favors those who enjoy what they do. It was so fun and rewarding to chat with the brilliant, gregarious and delightful gigachads @yana_vc, @SamGab_G and Dominic Briggs at #ParisBlockchainWeek. Looking forward to my next panel on March 23 at the Louvre.— Igneus Terrenus (@IgneusTerrenus) March 22, 2023 Existing solutions to traditional bridging (wrapping assets) are so-called “message passing” protocols that don’t move assets but enable calls between blockchains instead. Others are blockchain operating systems that use “state proofs” and reference them on other chains.Related: PBW 2023 explores the current state of the blockchain spaceIf this technical debate feels a bit overwhelming, the key takeaway is that many bright minds are seeking core technical solutions for interoperability. However, nailing it down in a decentralized way might take them a few more years. This year’s Paris Blockchain Week presented curated content, carefully balanced between commercial talks, panels on deep tech and narrow topics, and entertaining keynotes — imagine Tim Draper singing a Bitcoin song on stage. (Yes, that happened.) Careful optimism prevailed; builders build and keep going!Sophia Schteiner is the founder of Schteiner PR, which focuses on luxury brands in art, French craftsmanship, design and interiors. She previously worked for an international communications agency with a focus on blockchain startups. She holds a degree in journalism and began her career as an art critic covering the film industry and urban architecture.This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.