Home » Business » The CoinGeek Pulse Episode 94: Voyager files bankruptcy, DoJ goes after ‘crypto’ frauds, Meta shuts down Novi
Yet another company is feeling the bite of the “crypto winter.” Lender Voyager Digital has announced that it filed for bankruptcy as the sector struggles to cope with a crash in prices.
Voyager filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on July 5, allowing the company to prepare turnaround plans without shutting down as all civil litigation matters are put on hold. The company froze withdrawals at the beginning of the month, echoing the situation of other lenders. The loan company Celsius also froze withdrawals in June and hired consultants to advise on a possible bankruptcy filing.
Meanwhile, the United States Department of Justice is bringing down the hammer on digital currency fraud and has announced criminal charges against six people in four separate cases.
Vietnamese national Le Anh Tuan, the creator of the “Baller Ape” NFT collection, faces charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit international money laundering. Tuan and his team could face up to 40 years in prison after allegedly stealing approximately $2.6 million from investors.
The Brazilian nationals Emerson Pires and Flavio Goncalves and Joshua David Nicholas of Florida are accused of operating a $100 million digital currency-based Ponzi scheme. Among the charges against them are conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and conspiracy to commit international money laundering. The two Brazilians could face up to 45 years in prison, while Nicholas could face 25 years.
The third case is a $21 million fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO). It allegedly involved Michael Alan Stollery from California, the CEO and founder of Titanium Blockchain Infrastructure Services, a purported digital assets investment platform. Stollery could face up to 20 years in jail over alleged securities fraud.
Meanwhile, David Saffron faces a potential 115 years of imprisonment over charges of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit commodities fraud, and obstruction of justice. Saffron owned the digital currency commodities investment platform Circle Society. He allegedly lured investors with the promise of a high return on investment and fraudulently raised about $12 million.
In the metaverse, it looks like Meta (NASDAQ: META) is calling it quits, for now, in its bid to create its own digital currency.
The tech giant says it’s ending the pilot of its Novi wallet, which will shut down on September 1. Before then, Meta is asking users to withdraw their funds—either by transferring them to their bank accounts or withdrawing them as cash.
Novi has faced intense scrutiny since its launch in October 2021. U.S. lawmakers have even called on Meta to shut down the project, explaining that the company cannot be trusted to manage digital currency.
Despite the shutdown of Novi, Meta continues to test products in the digital assets market—among them is the rollout of NFT support on Instagram and Facebook.
In otherl news, countries worldwide are taking more steps to get their bearings in the so-called “Wild West” of the digital currency world.
European Union officials are laying down the foundation for regulations within the industry. They have secured a landmark agreement in Brussels after hours of negotiations by the European Commission, EU lawmakers, and member states.
Among the provisions of the new Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) law are requirements for ample reserves of stablecoins. It also includes possible transaction limits for coins that become too large.
NFTs are excluded from the proposals for now. However, the European Commission will determine within 18 months whether NFTs will require their own set of rules.
In China, top tech companies in the country are taking NFT regulations into their own hands.
The firms have published a so-called “self-discipline initiative” that aims to curb financial risks in the digital collection industry.
Among the conditions listed is that the sale of “digital collectibles” must require real-name authentication. “Digital collectible” is the term used in China to refer to NFTs.
The 14-article document is not legally binding. Its signatories include Tencent Holdings, Baidu, JD.com, and Ant Group.
And finally, Russia may soon no longer need the financial messaging network SWIFT. The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) says it’s planning to replace SWIFT with the digital ruble.
Speaking in an interview, the first deputy chairman of the CBR said they realized they needed to move very quickly in terms of digital technology and innovation development. This would also solve the issue of disconnecting from SWIFT.
Since declaring war on Ukraine, Russia has been the target of many international sanctions. Among them was the country’s restriction from using SWIFT.
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