As policymakers and regulators, including U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, voice concern over the illegal use of cryptocurrencies, a Reuters investigation claims to have unveiled a money laundering scheme on Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.
According to Reuters, Binance processed transactions totalling at least $2.35 billion stemming from hacks, investment frauds and illegal drug sales, calculated from an examination of court records, statements by law enforcement and blockchain data, compiled for the news agency by two blockchain analysis firms.
The trade demonstrates how criminals have turned to the technology to launder dirty money and, details aside, it is activities like this that are leading to government policy and regulation with blockchain technologies such as cryptocurrency and NFTs, or non-fungible tokens.
Despite the dicey nature of money-laundering, and blockchain’s role in it, the future of blockchain technology looks as bright as ever with more and more companies and individuals adopting it daily.
Over the last couple of years, Tesla invested $1.5B into Bitcoin, PayPal rolled out the ability for people to both buy and make transactions with cryptocurrencies, Visa and Mastercard have joined the party, with Visa now allowing transactions with stablecoins on the Ethereum blockchain, and Mastercard right behind them.
And earlier this year, yours truly – AutoConversion began accepting payments in cryptocurrency, and we are looking to introduce NFTs into the picture later this year.
So what about your business? Have you started accepting cryptocurrency from customers? Are you incorporating NFTs into your business in any way? If so, we want to hear about it. And if not, we want to know why. What is keeping you? Do you need some advice from NFT experts?
Join us this week during B2B Hour here on AutoConversion where once a month we host a live stream for interviews, discussions, and debates on important subjects that impact your business such as media, advertising, and technology.
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Aired June 2022
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B2B Hour on AutoConversion is a live monthly webcast we conduct here on AutoConversion for business owners, leaders, and entrepreneurs. The purpose of the webcast is to give people a regular meeting place to learn, network, and grow their businesses, their professions, and personal lives.
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In the News …
Former OpenSea employee arrested, charged with NFT insider trading
U.S. prosecutors in Manhattan charged a former product manager at OpenSea, the largest online marketplace for non-fungible tokens, with insider trading, the first such case involving digital assets. Nathaniel Chastain was accused of secretly buying 45 NFTs on 11 separate occasions based on confidential information that the tokens, or others by the same creator, would soon be featured on OpenSea’s home page. Prosecutors said Chastain chose which NFTs to feature, and sold his NFTs shortly after they were featured, typically for two to five times what he paid. In one instance, Chastain allegedly more than quadrupled his money by purchasing the NFT “Spectrum of a Ramenfication Theory” on Sept. 14, 2021, and selling it early the next morning.
Crypto-backed mortgages let HODLers become homeowners
As the NFT market cools down, the housing market continues to boil. The next step for crypto believers could be real estate. This is about real real estate, not just plots of land in the metaverse. New lending companies are looking for customers who want to pledge their digital currency toward a mortgage. Over a billion dollars of funding has already been poured into startups offering crypto-backed mortgages, including Ledn, which claims to offer “the world’s first bitcoin mortgage”; Figure Technologies, which offers 30 year fixed-rate mortgages using both bitcoin and ether; and Milo, which claims to be “the first US crypto mortgage” provider. Though the industry is growing, it’s not for the average crypto HODLer.
Andreessen Horowitz raises $4.5 billion for record-breaking crypto fund
Andreessen Horowitz on Wednesday regained its crypto crown, raising the largest-ever venture capital fund dedicated to web3 startups and projects. Prices, of course, are down. Both Bitcoin and Ethereum are down around 50% over the past six months, while Coinbase shares are off nearly 80% over that same time period. Arianna Simpson, a general partner with a16z Crypto, talked past that discrepancy during a conversation with me about the new fund, emphasizing long-term opportunity over short-term price fluctuations.
Hackers Breached Some GM Accounts, Accessing Personal Data
Hackers compromised some online accounts of General Motors Co. customers in April, potentially accessing addresses, phone numbers and other personal information, according to a data breach notice filed with California regulators. It was unclear how many accounts were affected, although the California Attorney General’s Office reported that nearly 5,000 breach letters were sent to state residents. Social Security numbers and driver’s license details weren’t compromised, the company said.
Silver Lake Leads $150M Round in NFT Platform Genies
Genies, a non-fungible token platform, raised $150 million in its recent funding round led by private equity firm Silver Lake to further its Web 3 ambitions. The U.S.-based company’s latest funding round values it at $1 billion. This investment will help support it as it provides tools to create and sell characters online. In May last year, Genies raised a $65 million round led by Mary Meeker’s Bond Capital with participation from Dapper Labs, Polychain, Coinbase Ventures, Hashkey and others. In December, the company partnered with the Universal Music Group, enabling Universal’s musicians to create digital versions of themselves.