🔥 SBF's trial begins

What do we know about Sam Bankman-Fried's trial so far

GM, frens! Ambire here with our weekly newsletter. Today we’ll be discussing: Sam Bankman-Fried’s trial, Honda dealers now accepting memecoins, Satoshi twitter waking up after 5 years of inactivity, Ambire’s Web3 on Fire new podcast episode, Chinese firms caught laundering drug money with crypto and Zhu Su getting arrested in Singapore. Let’s get down to it:

SBF’s trial begins

The criminal trial of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, also known as SBF, began on October 4th in a New York court.

The jury, consisting of 12 members and six alternates, was selected after a day of questioning approximately 50 people by Judge Lewis Kaplan.

The prosecution, led by Assistant United States Attorney Thane Rehn, painted a picture of SBF using customer funds from FTX for his personal gain and manipulating lawmakers through campaign donations and testimony. Rehn claimed that Bankman-Fried repeatedly lied to users, employees, lawmakers, and the public about the financial state of FTX.

On the other hand, SBF's defense attorney Mark Cohen argued that Bankman-Fried acted in good faith amidst a rapidly growing crypto market. He also pushed back against the idea that SBF was a bad guy, stating that it is not a crime to try to get celebrities like Tom Brady to endorse FTX.

Cohen also pointed fingers at SBF's former girlfriend and former CEO of Alameda Research, Caroline Ellison, for failing to hedge investments despite Bankman-Fried's recommendation, and Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao for causing a run on FTX through his social media posts.

Amidst the contradictory accounts put forth by both parties, one aspect remains evident - the trial will shed light on the circumstances leading to the collapse of FTX and SBF's involvement in it. So take your popcorn and watch out for updates as the trial progresses.

Honda now accepts s**tcoins

Honda, a giant automobile manufacturer from Japan, has joined the crypto industry by accepting digital assets as payment options for their products. The company has partnered with FCF Pay, a blockchain payment system, to offer customers the option to use cryptocurrencies instead of fiat currencies when purchasing or leasing Honda's vehicles and power equipment.

The list of accepted assets includes some of the largest cryptocurrencies in terms of market capitalization, such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). However, what made the news more interesting is that this technically means Honda has also added some popular alt / meme coins to its list of supported assets. These include XRP from Ripple and Shiba Inu (SHIB), Pepe Coin (PEPE), Floki Inu (FLOKI), Bone ShibaSwap (BONE), Doge Killer (LEASH) and some others.

FCF Pay, Honda's partner in this venture, has also previously announced partnerships with other companies to enable payments with SHIB and XRP, like an energy company in Texas and the banking giant HSBC.

The rise of meme coins has been a significant trend in the crypto space, with Dogecoin (DOGE) being one of the first to gain widespread attention. Despite being initially created as a joke, it now boasts a market capitalization of over $8.6 billion.

“Satoshi’s” twitter wakes up after 5 years of inactivity

Satoshi Nakamoto twitter account, which some think belongs to the elusive creator of Bitcoin, has resurfaced with a tweet after 5 years of inactivity. The latest tweet from the account, which bears the handle '@satoshi', states that "Bitcoin was created for everyone" and mentions the upcoming halving event in 2024.

Bitcoin halving is a significant event that occurs approximately every four years, where the mining rewards for validating transactions are reduced by half. This event is crucial in controlling the inflation rate of Bitcoin and maintaining its scarcity.

The tweet also cryptically mentions that there are people who do not want others to know the truth and that "2024 is the year of the Dragon." Many speculate that this could have a deeper meaning related to Bitcoin or possibly hint at the true identity of Nakamoto.

The mystery surrounding Satoshi Nakamoto's true identity has been a topic of discussion and speculation in the cryptocurrency community since Bitcoin's inception in 2008. While some have claimed to be the real Nakamoto, no concrete evidence has been presented to prove their claims.

Christen Ager-Hanssen, former CEO of nChain, a blockchain research firm, has publicly stated that the account is now controlled by Craig Wright, a controversial figure who has claimed to be Nakamoto in the past. Ager-Hanssen also suggests that the previous owner of the account was an avid supporter of Wright.

However, the current controller of the '@satoshi' handle remains unverified and unknown, most likely it's not the real Nakamoto (if Satoshi is a real person and not a concept in the first place). Nonetheless, the tweet from this account has had some impact on the market. The value of Bitcoin SV (BSV). BSV is a crypto project that branched off from Bitcoin in 2018 and has been promoted by Craig Wright.

Web3 On Fire’s latest podcast episode: Improving UX in Web3 w/ 4337, dApps, and Community

Explore the challenges and solutions in Web3 user experience with Mayur Relekar of Arcana Network. This episode of Web3 on Fire delves into ERC-4337, dApps, and community-driven strategies for improving UX in the decentralized world:

Chinese firms use crypto to run drug networks

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) recently charged eight Chinese companies with illegal drug production and distribution, accusing them of using crypto to move money. This discovery has shed light on the growing trend of criminals utilizing crypto coins to facilitate their illicit activities.

The DOJ's investigation revealed that these companies were involved in producing and trafficking fentanyl, a highly potent synthetic opioid responsible for numerous overdose deaths in the US. The network relied on crypto payments, which allowed the businesses to conceal their identities and the movement of funds.

In addition to the criminal charges, the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also imposed sanctions on 16 Chinese nationals and identified more than a dozen crypto wallets associated with them. These wallets received millions of dollars in funds from hundreds of deposits, highlighting how big this drug operation really was.

The use of crypto in the illegal drug trade has raised concerns and sparked debates, with some calling for stricter regulations on digital payments.

In reality, it's a millenia-old debate, do we live in a sterilized world & ban all freedoms or do we allow for the potential of abuse but preserve financial freedom? The question remains, how do we balance the benefits of decentralized currencies with preventing criminal activities?

Many experts argue that crypto is not inherently bad or good, it's simply a tool that can be used for either purpose. Just like fiat currency can be used for legal transactions or illegal activities, crypto should not be demonized solely based on its use in criminal operations.

Zhu Su arrested in Singapore

According to Bloomberg's sources, Zhu Su, the founder of the notorious crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC), has been arrested in Singapore.

3AC was ordered to be liquidated by a court in the British Virgin Islands in late June 2022 and filed for bankruptcy in early July.

Teneo, the liquidator of Three Arrows Capital, confirmed that Su Zhu was arrested at the airport while trying to leave Singapore on September 25, 2023. This arrest came after a warrant and a 4-month prison sentence were issued by the court for Zhu Su's failure to cooperate with the investigation and his willful failure to comply with a court order forcing him to disclose information and documents related to 3AC.

In light of this arrest, Teneo liquidators will be able to make further requests and take action against Zhu Su to ensure full compliance with the court order. This news has also had a ripple effect on various crypto companies that had lent funds to 3AC but were unable to receive payments in return.

It remains to be seen how Zhu Su's arrest and subsequent actions will impact the market, but it's good to see such top-tier scammers get behind bars, even if just once in a while.

Other worthy reads

Some thoughts from Miles Deutscher:

Interesting analysis thread from davanai:

Narrative recap for 2023 so far. How many did you miss? 🤔 

The fun page

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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