Ishan Wahi is accused of divulging confidential information about future listings at Coinbase to his brother and an associate in a case that has attracted the SEC’s attention.
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Former Coinbase Global product manager Ishan Wahi pleaded not guilty to two counts of wire fraud conspiracy and two counts of wire fraud in a Manhattan federal court on Wednesday, Reuters reported. Wahi has been accused by United States law enforcement and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of insider trading while at Coinbase. He was arrested in May as he attempted to board a flight to India and was charged in July.
Specifically, Wahi has been accused of passing confidential information to his brother Nikhil and friend Sameer Ramani regarding cryptocurrencies Coinbase intended to list for trading. This allegedly allowed them to make a profit of at least $1.5 million between June 2021 and April 2022 by acquiring and trading the assets in advance of their Coinbase listings. It was possibly the first insider trading case involving cryptocurrency. Nikhil Wahi has also been arrested, but Ramani remained at large as of late July.
The SEC is pursuing a parallel civil case against Ishan Wahi based on its determination that nine of the 25 cryptocurrencies Wahi and his accomplice traded in — Powerledger (POWR), Kromatika (KROM), DFX Finance (DFX), Amp (AMP), Rally (RLY), Rari Governance Token (RGT), DerivaDAO (DDX), LCX, and XYO — were securities. The SEC’s move proved to be controversial, as it led to questions about the status of exchanges, funds, and investors who hold the assets.
The U.S. Department of Justice did not include securities fraud among its charges in the case, and Coinbase forcefully denied that it deals with securities in a blog post published after charges were filed against Wahi, with chief legal officer Paul Grewal writing:
“Instead of crafting tailored rules in an inclusive and transparent way, the SEC is relying on these types of one-off enforcement actions to try to bring all digital assets into its jurisdiction, even those assets that are not securities.”
Caroline Pham, commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, also joined in fray, calling the SEC case “a striking example of ‘regulation by enforcement.’”
The SEC is reportedly also looking at insider trading in crypto exchanges in an investigation unrelated to this case.
Bitcoin (BTC) Nearly Taps $25,000 Level For the First Time Since June
Bitcoin (BTC) is showing several bullish signs in the daily time frame but has yet to break out from a short-term corrective pattern.
Bitcoin has been moving upwards since reaching a long-term low of $17,622 on June 18. On July 19, it broke out from a long-term descending resistance line, which had been in place since the end of March.
On Aug. 11, BTC reached a local high of $24,918, which was the highest since June 12. However, it failed to sustain this increase and created a long upper wick in its daily candlestick (red icon).
If the upward movement continues, the closest resistance area would be found at $29,370. This target is the 0.382 Fib retracement resistance level.
An interesting reading comes from the daily RSI, which moved above 50 at the same time which the price broke out from the descending resistance line.
Since then, the RSI has created an ascending triangle (dashed), which is often considered a bullish pattern. The indicator is currently at 61, right at the resistance line of this pattern.
Therefore, a breakout above it would likely also cause the price to accelerate upwards.
Short-term BTC pattern
Despite the relative bullishness from the daily time frame, the six-hour chart shows that BTC has been trading inside an ascending parallel channel since the June 18 bottom. Such channels usually contain corrective patterns, meaning that an eventual breakdown from it would be expected.
Moreover, the price has created what resembles an even shorter-term double top (red icons), which is considered a bearish pattern made at the resistance line of the channel.
On Aug. 9 (green circle), the price rebounded from the midline of this channel and at a short-term ascending support line.
So, whether BTC breaks out from the channel or breaks down from the support line will likely determine the direction of the future trend.
Wave count analysis
The main wave count indicates that BTC is likely in wave three of a five-wave upward move (black). The sub-wave count is shown in yellow, and also suggests that the price is in wave three. So, this seems to be a 1-2/1-2 wave formation. If correct, it would mean that the upward move will accelerate in the near future.
In order for the count to remain correct, Bitcoin has to hold on above the slope of the original 1-2 (black).
The most likely long-term wave count is also bullish, aligning with the proposed short-term count.
For Be[in]Crypto’s previous Bitcoin (BTC) analysis, click here
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Binance recovers the majority of funds stolen from Curve Finance
Binance recovered and froze around $450,000 worth of the stolen assets, which is around 80 percent of the stolen funds.
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Crypto exchange Binance has recovered a big part of the funds from the recent hack that targeted the decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol Curve Finance.
In a tweet, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao announced that the exchange has frozen and recovered $450,000 of the stolen assets, which is more than 80 percent of the stolen funds. According to Zhao, the hacker tried to send the funds to the exchange in various ways but was detected by Binance. The exchange is currently working to return the funds to their rightful owners.
The Curve Finance team detected the hack on Tuesday and alerted their users to refrain from using their website. An hour after the warning, the team announced that it was able to find and resolve the issue. However, the attackers were still able to hijack around $537,000 worth of USD Coin (USDC) before the issue was resolved.
According to experts from the blockchain analytics firm Elliptic, a hacker compromised the domain name system (DNS) of Curve Finance, which ended with malicious transactions getting signed. The experts told Cointelegraph that the funds were then sent to various exchanges and crypto mixers in an attempt to hide the trail. In the end, the funds were sent to Binance and were caught by its team.
This is not the first time this week that the good actors in the crypto community have worked to return stolen funds. On Monday, whitehat hackers and researchers returned an estimated $32.6 million worth of USDC, Tether (USDT) and other altcoins to Nomad, following the recent $190 million exploit.
The Curve Finance exploit is only one of the many attacks that happened in 2022. According to analytics firm Chainalysis, $2 billion worth of funds were drained because of cross-chain bridge hacks. This is 69% of the overall stolen amount in the year.
Institutional staking won’t take off unless asset lock-up solved: Coinbase CFO
Coinbase’s new institutional-focused staking product won’t be a “near-term phenomenon” while liquid staking is still being worked out.
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Institutional staking of crypto assets, including the post-Merge Ethereum, could become a “phenomenon” in the future, but not while their assets still need to be “locked up.”
Speaking during a Q2 earnings call on Tuesday, chief financial officer Alesia Haas noted that she didn’t expect their new exclusive institutional staking service, rolled out in Q2, to be a “near-term phenomenon” until a “truly liquid staking option” is available:
“This is the first time we had the products available. Previously, the way that institutions could have access to staking is via Coinbase Cloud […] But offering it as the delegated staking service similar to what we have for retail customers.”
However, Haas said it was still “early days” for their new staking service, adding they’ll likely only see a “real material impact” when they have created a liquid staking option for post-Merge Ethereum, also known as Eth2.
Liquid staking is the process of locking up funds to earn staking rewards, while still having access to the funds.
Haas explained that many financial institutions “don’t want their assets held indefinitely:”
“So when you stake ETH2 you are locking in your assets into Ethereum until the Merge and then some period after. For some institutions, that liquidity lock-up is not palatable to them. And so, while they may be interested in staking, they want to have staking on a liquid asset.”
Haas reaffirmed this issue is “something we are looking to solve,” and added that once this liquid staking is available for financial institutions that can pool in funds at higher proportions, “we’ll see the real material impact of institutional revenue.”
Investors and institutions have been able to access Coinbase’s delegated staking service through Coinbase Prime, which was first launched in Sep. 2021. The platform also offers other integrated services, such as access to a custody wallet with enhanced security, real-time crypto market data and analytics, and other crypto-native features like decentralized governance.
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