Ex-Coinbase manager charged by U.S.

Ex-Coinbase manager has been charged by U.S. in first crypto insider trading case. U.S. prosecutors in Manhattan said on Thursday, along with two others, the former product manager at Coinbase Global has been charged with wire fraud in the first insider trading case involving cryptocurrency.

The product manager at the cryptocurrency exchange, Ishan Wahi and his brother Nikhil Wahi were arrested on Thursday in Seattle. They are expected to appear in federal court there later in the day. The third defendant, Sameer Ramani along with the other two, also face related U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission civil charges. Ramani is however at large.


The reason


Ishan Wahi, aged 32, has been charged of sharing confidential information about forthcoming announcements of new cryptocurrency assets that Coinbase would allow users to trade through its exchange, as prosecutors said.

Nikhil Wahi, aged 26, and Ramani, 33, have been charged with allegedly using ethereum blockchain wallets to acquire the assets, and to have traded at least 14 times from June 2021 and April 2022 before Coinbase’s announcements, generating at least $1.5 million of gains that are illicit, as according to prosecutors.

Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, said in a statement,”Fraud is fraud is fraud, whether it occurs on the blockchain or on Wall Street.” Prosecutors also said a one-way plane ticket was bought by Ishan Wahi to India after he was summoned by a Coinbase security director to the company’s Seattle office for a meeting. The enforcement of law barred him from boarding the May 16 flight, prosecutors said.


Response of lawyers


Andrew St. Laurent, a lawyer for Ishan Wahi, declined to comment while Nikhil Wahi’s lawyer did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A lawyer for Ramani could not immediately be identified, as reported by Reuters.

Philip Martin, Coinbase’s chief security officer, wrote on Twitter, “We are committed to doing our part to ensure that all market participants have access to the same information,”.

BlockFi and Crypto.com are laying off employees

A platform for trading and lending cryptocurrency, BlockFi  laying off employees. The companies are laying off 20 percent of its 850 employees — around 170 to 200 people. According to CEO Zac Prince’s Twitter thread this is the result of a “dramatic shift in macroeconomic conditions” and BlockFi’s attempt to become profitable.


Market’s condition and Laying Off Employees


BlockFi is not the only company laying off employees. Crypto.com is going to lay off around 260 workers or around 5 percent of its workforce, according to a Twitter thread from its CEO, Kris Marszalek. Added to that Celsius, a lending platform, has halted withdrawals because of extreme market conditions. Moreover Binance, a large crypto exchange, paused Bitcoin withdrawals for about three hours saying that some technical issue had taken place. In past few coins like Terra are going to zero. Coinbase also started to slow down their  hiring in May and cancelled over 300 job offers the next month. Just like that month; several other companies, like Gemini, Mercado Bitcoin, and Bitso terminated 10 percent of their workers in past few months.


The reason


The reason behind laying off employees is that the crypto market is struggling as the value of Bitcoin and Ethereum is going down. But according to BlockFi the layoffs come after a period of explosive growth. Earlier at the time when covid 19 pandemic caused lockdown, the space for crypto currency has exploded,  prices for major coins started to increase. But in 2022 the interest rates have gone up, so the growth has stopped and the market is going in a reverse direction. As a result trillions of dollars in value have been wiped out from the crypto market. Finally the companies, including BlockFi and  Crypto.com, the bearers of the market are facing a big trouble. It’s also noticeable that the stock prices of the market is in a dropping stage.


The alarming thing is that because of this bad condition of the crypto market the tech and finance-related companies like Klarna, Netflix, Tesla, Cameo, and Better.com are also thinking about layoffs. Moreover Meta are slowing down their hiring.

What is the Latest Blockchain-based Fighting Game by a Seattle Startup?

In a piece of recent news, Silicon Valley heavyweight Andreessen Horowitz is putting more cash behind Irreverent Labs. The investment firm led a $40 million round for the Seattle startup building a blockchain-based fighting game that pits chicken-esque fighters against each other.


Blockchain-based Fighting Game


Andreessen led a $5 million seed round just seven months ago. “We are raising now because [Andreessen] saw no reason to wait based on our overall traction,” Irreverent Labs

2 CEO Rahul Sood told GeekWire. MechaFightClub is an online blockchain-based fighting game that is a“cruelty-free” fighting game.

The blockchain-based fighting game combines emerging technologies including artificial intelligence and NFTs. Players can trade, sell, and use fighters known as “mechabots” that are each unique and live on the Solana blockchain. The game uses a play-to-earn ecosystem with its blockchain currency called nuggets. Players can use nuggets to make in-game purchases or withdraw them for use on the wider Solana blockchain.

Gamers will soon realize that having ownership of the characters within the game and building a relationship with that character over time is actually a really good thing,” Sood previously said.


Garnering Notable Investors


Sood previously co-founded esports betting startup Unikrn, which was acquired last year, and led Microsoft’s venture capital arm. Co-founder David Raskino helped lead the VC fund with Sood and most recently oversaw a new security team at Microsoft. The blockchain-based fighting game is set to launch later this year. The company already has more than 35,000 registered users. “Our Discord is thriving and we have spent $0 on marketing. It’s all organic growth,” Sood said. He said revenue is expected in July.

The 17-person company added some notable investors, including Solana Ventures, the VC arm of Solana Labs; Michael Ovitz, founder of Creative Artists Agency (CAA); Sonam Kapoor, a Bollywood star; and Infinity Ventures Crypto. Existing backers also invested, including Mantis VC, Keen Crypto, Unlock Venture Partners, and Advancit Capital. “For all its lighthearted fun, Irreverent Labs is a deep technology company building advanced tech on top of a futuristic mecha-cockfighting game,” Arianna Simpson, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, said in a statement.


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