Binance Executive Collapses During Nigeria Trial For Money Laundering

Here are some of the major developments in the world of crypto over the past few days.
some of the major developments in the world of crypto
some of the major developments in the world of crypto

Tigran Gambaryan, a Binance executive currently imprisoned in Nigeria, collapsed in a federal court in Abuja during his trial for alleged foreign exchange violations and money laundering offences brought by the Nigeria Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Gambaryan missed a court appearance on tax evasion charges but attended the money laundering trial on the same day.

During the money laundering court proceedings, the court registrar called the case. Gambaryan failed to respond and remained seated in the back row. Judge Emeka Nwite, noticing his absence, asked for clarification. Mordi explained that his client had been unwell and submitted a written application on his condition. Mordi emphasized that proceeding with the case under such circumstances would be untenable. Subsequently, the court set June 20 and 21 for cross-examination and the trial.

Gambaryan was transferred to the Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja in April 2024 after pleading not guilty to money laundering charges brought against him by the EFCC. Binance CEO Richard Teng recently released a statement indicating that Nigerian authorities had attempted to extort Binance representatives from a meeting in early 2024 into a secret settlement to be paid in cryptocurrency. On March 5, Binance announced that it would cease all Nigerian naira transactions, effectively exiting the market.

VanEck Launches New Ethereum ETF Ad Immediately After SEC Approval

VanEck launched a new ad centered around Ethereum, just 30 minutes after the SEC greenlit 19b-4 proposals for spot Ether ETFs. VanEck posted its advertisement spot to X on May 23, generally 30 minutes after the Securities and Trade Commission affirmed its 19b-4 filing for a spot Ether ETF near BlackRock, Devotion, Grayscale, Franklin Templeton, ARK 21Shares, Invesco World, and Bitwise.

The SEC still needs to greenlight each ETF’s S-1 filing to begin trading, which analysts say could take as long as a few months. Jito Foundation contributor Andrew Thurman, meanwhile, wrote that Ether ETFs advertises “to your bar buddy who took too many mushrooms and lived in a yurt for a year.”

In late September, VanEck published a similar series of ads for the Ethereum Strategy ETF (ticker symbol EFUT), an Ethereum futures ETF that was launched a few days later on 2 October. Currently, other asset managers who received 19b-4 approvals have not released ads, with only Grayscale and Bitwise acknowledging the approvals in X posts.

Hong Kong Considers Ether Staking for ETFs

The SFC reportedly held discussions with the country’s crypto ETF issuers about providing staking services via licensed platforms. Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) is reportedly considering including an Ether (ETH) staking option for the spot ETH exchange-traded fund (ETF) issuers. According to a report published in Bloomberg, Hong Kong approved a $67,142 Bitcoin BTC ETF earlier this year, more than three months after the US approved 10 spot ETFs.

Crypto staking as a service allows proof-of-reserve token holders to lock up their crypto tokens for a set period of time. In return for staking crypto, traders earn a percentage of staked tokens in return as a reward. Last year, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) considered staking services a security issue, forcing companies like Kraken to suspend their staking services in the US.

Coinbase is fighting the SEC's security stance on staking, announcing a rulemaking petition on March 20, stating that core staking does not involve a monetary investment and the opportunity cost of use is valuable because it is not an investment. He said it was not a security. Hong Kong is emerging as a growth hub for crypto service providers in 2024 due to several pro-crypto regulations. It was also the first country to approve spot ETFs before the US.

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