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  • 🔥 Binance's CZ pleads guilty and resigns

🔥 Binance's CZ pleads guilty and resigns

No better time than the present to make the move to self custody!

GM, frens! Ambire here with our weekly newsletter. Today we’ll be discussing CZ and him stepping down as CEO of Binance, Argentinians electing a new pro-crypto President, SBF release denied by the court, Native Account Abstraction and BlackRock reaching out to US SEC to discuss the BTC EFT approval.

Let’s get down to it:

Binance's CZ pleads guilty and resigns

Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, the world's largest centralized crypto exchange, has stepped down from his position and pleaded guilty to violating U.S. anti-money laundering requirements.

This came as part of a deal that will allow Binance to continue operating while also paying a total of $4.3 billion in fines. Richard Teng, head of regional markets at Binance, has been named as the company's new CEO following Zhao's departure.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, Binance and its (former?) CEO deliberately avoided complying with US laws in order to attract and maintain US users. The government's filing stated that from 2017 to 2022, Binance and Zhao engaged in a calculated effort to profit from the US market without implementing required controls.

Court documents revealed that CZ was well aware of the presence of US users on Binance.com, and even discussed strategies to keep market makers on the platform while avoiding any troubles with US regulatory agencies. He also admitted that without allowing US customers, Binance would not have grown to the size it is today.

Zhao appeared in a U.S. court this Tuesday, where he entered his plea and agreed to pay a fine of $50 million.

He was released on a $175 million bond, with additional collateral from family members and guarantors. He faces fines of $500,000 and possible time in prison, as well as having to forfeit any profits made from the alleged non-compliance. His sentencing has been delayed by 6 months and includes a waiver of his right to appeal.

Under the terms of the agreement, Zhao has been barred from holding an executive role at Binance for at least the next three years. This outcome mirrors a similar case involving Bitmex, another big crypto exchange based in Seychelles, in which the former CEO was also charged with violating anti-money-laundering laws and had to step down.

The U.S. government's crackdown on Binance is as a warning to other crypto exchanges - the war on crypto was never truly over. For example, on Monday, Kraken, another big player in the world of crypto exchanges, found itself facing a lawsuit from the SEC, which accused the company of operating as an illegal securities exchange without first registering with the country's regulatory agency.

Safe to say we’ll see more exchanges hit by the US government before it really ends.

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Argentina elects crypto proponent as next President

Crypto has never been a significant topic in politics worldwide, but economies that have suffered from high inflation rates are starting to turn to crypto as a potential solution. It's fascinating how the landscape is changing.

On Sunday, Argentina's presidential run-off election resulted in a victory for Libertarian candidate Javier Milei – who has promised to implement bold economic reforms that include embracing crypto and abandoning Argentina's hyperinflated currency. At just 53 years old, Milei's victory marks a significant shift in Argentina's political landscape and brings hope for rebuilding the country's struggling economy.

Milei is not new to the economic scene, having previously served as Chief Economist at Corporación América International and being listed on the World Economic Forum. His background and experience have drawn comparisons to El Salvador's pro-Bitcoin president Nayib Bukele, who made headlines earlier by making Bitcoin a legal tender in the country. The victory of two prominent crypto proponents in Latin America raises hopes for increased acceptance and adoption of cryptocurrency around the world.

Grayscale Research also noted Milei's victory as a positive step towards mainstream adoption of crypto, as more governments and economies turn towards digital currencies in the face of economic challenges.

It will be interesting to see how Milei's policies and stance on BTC / crypto will shape Argentina's economic future and potentially set an example for other nations to follow suit. Don't leave us hanging now, Milei – the whole world is watching.

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Lock him up and throw away the key - SBF's release request denied by court

Sam Bankman-Fried's request for release has been denied by a US Court of Appeals, leaving the FTX founder to face the consequences of his actions.

The court stated that they have thoroughly reviewed Bankman-Fried's arguments and found them to be lacking in persuasiveness. It was also noted that Bankman-Fried had attempted to tamper with two witnesses prior to his trial, which significantly impacted the court's decision to deny his request for release.

As a result, Bankman-Fried will remain in detention until his sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for March 28th of next year. This comes after he was found guilty by a jury earlier this month on seven counts of defrauding customers, lenders, and investors of FTX.

If you can't do the time, don't do the crime. Plenty in the crypto space are voicing their opinions on the court's decision, with most applauding the decision to deny Bankman-Fried's release request. Many are also expressing their belief that this ruling will serve as a warning to others in the industry, highlighting the importance of honesty and transparency.

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The new hot thing: Native Account Abstraction

The latest effort to make Web3 more accessible and welcoming was announced in RIP-7560 just last week, and we’re all excited! But what is RIP-7560, and what is Native Account Abstraction? Fret no more and find out in Ambire’s latest blog post:

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BlackRock and SEC discuss BTC ETF approval

Looks like BlackRock, the world's largest investment firm and a major player in the asset management industry, isn't giving up on crypto! They've been in talks with representatives of the U.S. SEC about their application for a Bitcoin spot ETF.

According to reports, during this meeting, BlackRock disclosed its plans to utilize an "in-kind" process for its proposed Bitcoin ETF instead of a cash-based one. This means that authorized participants will directly buy and sell Bitcoin, rather than using cash as a medium of exchange.

Several analysts have stated that this approach would be the most optimal for both BlackRock and its investors. It would significantly reduce potential risks, such as price slippage and tax consequences associated with cash transactions.

However, some experts have pointed out that the SEC has been leaning towards an "in-cash" process for the first batch of Bitcoin ETFs. This is to ensure that unregistered brokers are not involved in the trading process, as there have been concerns about potential fraudulent activities in the crypto market.

Despite this, BlackRock remains determined to pursue its plans for a Bitcoin ETF and continue discussions with the SEC. With BlackRock's immense influence and resources, its entry into the crypto market could potentially pave the way for more traditional financial institutions to follow suit.

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The fun page

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Other worthy reads:

Post on ETF narratives by tedtalksmacro:

Stablecoin domination is still on the rise:

MakerDAO report by Jake Pahor:

That's all for now, frens.

We'll see you next week. And remember, the market conditions are temporary, but our commitment to building a better DeFi is here to stay. Thanks for joining us, and we look forward to seeing you back next week. Cheers!

Yours, The 🔥 Team

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