Mooners & Shakers: ‘Where did that $400 million come from?’ is not what you want to hear from a CEO
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Good morning Coinheads!
Rob “I’m Away AGAIN” Badman is away again, so I’m filling in with a quick-fire Mooners & Shakers this morning, because we’d simply hate for you to have to endure an entire Friday morning without a quick wrap-up of what’s been happening while you were being low-key assaulted in your sleep by The Sandman overnight.
In general terms, it had been a pretty good 24 hours for most of the major coins, right up until the moment we looked at how things were going this morning – aaand it all seems to have fallen off a cliff.
At 9:30am Sydney time, BTC and ETH had added 1.55% and 1.04% respectively, while Binance Coin and XRP dipped 0.78% and 1.62% apiece over the previous 24 hours.
It’s 11am Proper Time now. The overall market cap is now down 1.9% since this time yesterday, BTC is down 2.4%, ETH is down 1.5%, BNB is down 3.2% and in general, people’s spirits are down about 1.6%.
Those of you who had their money on FLOCKI this morning, congratulations – it’s up nearly 50% since this time yesterday, and 86.6% for the week.
The possible reason behind BNB’s dip is lurking in the headlines this morning. It’s not super-duper ugly or anything, but it’s definitely firmly wedged in the ‘not ideal’ category of the news cycle. Let’s start there.
Probs the biggest of the morning’s headlines belongs to a report from Reuters, where reporters have been looking into the movement of quite a sizeable chunk of funds between Binance-related entities and accounts that are supposed to be kept a lot further than arm’s length away from each other.
According to the report, banking records and company messages show that Binance had “secret access to a bank account belonging to its purportedly independent US partner and transferred large sums of money from the account to a trading firm managed by Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao”.
“The money transfers suggest that the global Binance exchange, which is not licensed to operate in the United States, controlled the finances of Binance.US, despite maintaining that the American entity is entirely independent and operates as its ‘US partner’,” Reuters says.
While there’s no 100% clear evidence of any malfeasance or wrongdoing or a crime or whatever, in the wake of the FTX blow-up (and Binance’s CEO CZ’s role in how that debacle played out in public), it is not a great look.
“Over the first three months of 2021, more than $400 million flowed from the Binance.US account at California-based Silvergate Bank to this trading firm, Merit Peak Ltd,” Reuters says, adding that the account was registered under the name of BAM Trading, the US exchange’s operating company.
Alarmingly, then-CEO of Binance.US Catherine Coley wrote to a Binance finance executive in late 2020, to ask “Where are those funds coming from?”, calling them “unexpected” and saying “no one mentioned them.”
Reuters, by the looks of things, has written to just about anyone it could think of to ask for more information, and has been met (so far) with a deafening outbreak of “New phone… who dis?”
Possibly because everyone at Binance is a little busy getting weirdly excited about the presence of a sponsorship decal on the side of this year’s Alpine F1 team race car, which you will 100% definitely be able to see while it’s whizzing past at more than 300km/h.
— Binance (@binance) February 16, 2023
And from Decrypt comes news that somehow manages to be startling and completely unsurprising all at the same time, after early adopters of Starbucks’ NFT-driven rewards program Odyssey have been spotted flipping their freebie NFTs for thousands of dollars a throw.
According to Decrypt, there have been 360 total sales on Nifty Gateway’s official secondary marketplace, with over $143,000 in total volume traded – not an enormous volume, to be sure – but it’s the current floor price that is the attention-grabber here.
“The current floor price on a ‘Holiday Cheer Edition 1 Stamp‘ Polygon NFT is just over $2,000 as of this writing. This one NFT drop alone also makes up 80% of all of Starbucks’ total NFT volume traded on the marketplace thus far,” the report says.
5,000 editions of the Holiday Cheer Edition 1 stamp were released, given away free to Starbucks Odyssey members who “completed enough challenges to meet the requirement”.
Those challenges may or may not have included this such as “not being violently ill after drinking Starbucks coffee”, and “helping your local Starbucks manager usher all of the homeless people out of the bathrooms before the mid-morning rush arrived”.
I jest of course – the ‘challenges’ are basically “spend money with us, earn points, redeem points for future rewards” which really makes this particular exercise cheerfully pointless – essentially a cardboard “every 10th coffee is free” punchcard with a lot of extra steps.
But someone, somewhere’s making money off it, so it must all be fine, right?
With the overall crypto market cap at US$1.13 trillion, down 1.9% since this time yesterday, here’s the current state of play among top 10 tokens – according to CoinGecko.
(Stats accurate at time of publishing, based on CoinGecko.com data.)