Changpeng Zhao Tried To Pledge Binance US Stake As Collateral For Travel To UAE, SEC Delays Decision on BlackRock’s Spot Ethereum ETF To March

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

Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao attempted to use his multibillion-dollar stake in Binance.US as a collateral to secure permission for temporary travel to the United Arab Emirates, according to recently unsealed court documents.

The filing, dated January 24, 2024, disclosed a letter from Zhao’s lawyers to Judge Richard Jones, outlining the pledge of his $4.5 billion equity in Binance.US for a trip to the UAE, where he intended to visit a friend or family member undergoing surgery. However, Judge Jones denied the request during a closed-door hearing on December 29, 2023, with federal prosecutors withholding consent.

Changpeng Zhao, who pleaded guilty to money laundering on November 21, 2023, is currently on a $175 million bond in the US and faces a potential 18-month prison sentence. Court records indicate that Judge Jones had initially prohibited Zhao’s travel to the UAE as part of his bond conditions due to concerns about his substantial wealth abroad, suggesting a risk of fleeing. Zhao is mandated to remain in the US until his sentencing on February 23, 2024, and his current location also remains undisclosed.

SEC Delays Decision on BlackRock’s Spot Ethereum ETF To March

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has deferred its decision on BlackRock’s proposed spot Ethereum (ETH) exchange-traded fund (ETF), extending the review period just a day before the scheduled January 25, 2024 deadline.

The SEC’s assistant secretary, Sherry Haywood, attributed the delay to the necessity for additional time to assess the proposed rule change. This marks the first of potential delays that the SEC can enact within a 240-day period. The initial deadline arrives approximately 45 days after Nasdaq submitted an application for an iShares Ethereum Trust on behalf of BlackRock on December 11, 2023.

Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas anticipates that the final decision for all pending spot Ethereum ETFs, including BlackRock’s, may be reached in May 2024. The SEC has until August 7, 2024 to make the ultimate decision on BlackRock’s spot Ethereum ETF.

Other contenders, such as VanEck, Ark 21Shares, Grayscale Investments, Invesco Galaxy, and Fidelity Investments, have varying final decision deadlines ranging from May 23 to August 3.

Earlier this month, Balchunas estimated a 70 per cent likelihood of a spot Ethereum ETF approval by May 2024, while SEC Commissioner Hester “Crypto Mom” Peirce expressed confidence that court intervention would not be necessary for SEC approval. However, some industry experts, like Morgan Creek Capital CEO Mark Yusko, remain sceptical, predicting a less than 50 per cent chance of approval and citing a perceived hostility from the SEC toward the cryptocurrency industry, according to Cointelegraph.

Blackberry Alerts Mexican Crypto Exchanges To Cyber Threat

Cellphone maker Blackberry has issued warnings to high networth Mexican cryptocurrency exchanges and banks about a financially-motivated cyber threat.

The research and intelligence division of Blackberry identified an attack targeting these entities with an attempt to steal sensitive user information using the AllaKore RAT open-source remote access tool. This threat aims to infiltrate company computers and databases by disguising itself behind official naming schemes and links. The modified AllaKore RAT payload allows threat actors to send stolen banking credentials and unique authentication information to a command-and-control server for financial fraud.

According to Blackberry, the attack pattern indicates a focus on large companies in Mexico with gross revenues exceeding $100 million, with most attacks originating from Mexico Starlink IP addresses. Blackberry has said that the threat actor is based in Latin America, given the use of Spanish-language instructions in the modified RAT payload.

Blackberry further said that the threat extends to large Mexican corporations in various industries, including retail, agriculture, public sector, manufacturing, transportation, commercial services, and capital goods.

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