The New York Attorney General’s office has been going after Tether and Bitfinex since April and today, the 29th of July, was the date for the next case hearing. With the opinion of the community going both ways, the Supreme Court Judge Joel Cohen decided to extend the preliminary injunction as he was not ready with his decision.
90 Days Extension
The defense claimed again that New York-based customers are no longer allowed and claimed that such a customer was identified and removed last week. A new date will be set since the court’s consideration is being extended for another 90 days even though the presenting Judge Cohen said previously that he hoped the case will be resolved today.
Because of this decision, Tether cannot lend any more funds to BitFinex as of now, but both will continue operating business as usual.
The $850 Million Case
BitFinex and Tether have a parent company called iFinex and the New York Attorney General’s office opened a case against the company in April for covering $850 million worth of USDT.
BitFinex responded quickly by claiming that the order was “written in bad faith”. The parent company argued that NYAG does not have jurisdiction over the case since they are not serving New York customers any longer.
New evidence came to light shortly after as CryptoPotato reported. It suggested that the “largest stakeholders” of both Tether and BitFinex resided and worked in New York in the period between 2014 and 2018. New York customers could redeem USDT until November 2017, the two companies have opened 2 banks in 2017 and 2018 and they have loaned USDT to New York trading firm.
Bitfinex’s ‘Sister Exchange’, Ethfinex, Rebrands Independently as DeversiFi
The crypto exchange space is set for another major rebrand following the move by Ethfinex Trustless that evolved to DeversiFi as of August 13, 2019. This will see the former sister to Bitfinex position itself as the sole high-speed decentralized coin exchange with high liquidity for crypto traders. Furthermore, traders using the new DeversiFi platform can be able to carry out trades whilst their digital currencies remain held in private wallets.
Ethfinex began its operations in Q3 of 2018 when it pioneered as a P2P platform for ERC20 based tokens. The decision to rebrand its outlook is pivotal in making the exchange competitive as it shifts to focus on settling for institutions as opposed to its previous retail clientele. Before its rebrand, Ethfinex had acquired a customer base of close to 10,000 with its footprint mainly in Europe.
According to Will Harbone, DeversiFi CEO, the change in strategy is not only a rebrand but a move to scale opportunities for growth. The CEO while speaking to The Block mentioned that among the selling points were lower fees and products regulated as per the current laws. However, the rebrand seemed to have coincided with the pressure on Bitfinex’s $850 million alleged fraud currently under investigation by New York’s AG office.
DeversiFi is set to set itself apart and compete with large exchanges by reducing execution time, narrower spreads and liquidity within its ecosystem. The Ethfinex user interface will also be altered to reflect its new brand in addition to the software features.
Nectar (NEC), the ERC20 token created for Ethfinex’s ecosystem is also undergoing an overhaul to make it well compatible with DiversiFi’s design. This is in line with the growth in needs, both regulatory and technological since it was launched back in 2017.
Harbone noted that next on the roadmap for DeversiFi would be acquiring approval within the European zone while mobilizing for development funds. The biggest challenge so far appears to be establishing DeversiFi as a sole brand given it heavily relied on Bitfinex during its early growth stages.
BitMEX Operator HDR Global Provides Bitcoin Core Contributor Michael Ford A $60,000 Grant
BitMex owner and operator has awarded $60,000 grant to a Bitcoin Core developer Michael Ford, aka “fanquake” on Github.
In an official company’s blog produced on July 12, BitMex owner as well as HDR Global Trading announced they were happy to provide the grant to Ford. The company also noted that Ford has been an integral Bitcoin contributor dating back to 2012 has just recently been included in the latest official maintainer of the Bitcoin Core software project.
This signifies that the developer’s key has been included to the “trusted keys list” file within GitHub which allows him to have the capacity to merge in alterations in the Bitcoin Core codebase.
HDR Global Trading said that the grant was a way of providing material support to those that work on a voluntary basis to enhance the development of the cryptocurrency.
The CTO of HDR Global Trading and co-founder of BitMEX, Sam Reed, said that the work of coders is difficult, demanding, and often thankless and his company believes that it is the responsibility of companies to support the projects from which they benefit and from which their business model are based. He said:
“HDR Global Trading Limited, like all other companies in the cryptocurrency space, relies heavily on the (mostly-volunteer) work of coders dedicated to the mission and ideals of Bitcoin.”
According to the post, the grant is non exclusive and Ford will be required to work on Bitcoin core as a core software maintainer. Reed said he expected Ford to further enhance the network’s robustness, scalability and anonymity.
The post indicates that the grant was provided on a “no-strings-attached” modality saying that Ford will not be required to contribute anything to BitMex.
BitMex notes that it is through the crucial work done by numerous developers like Ford that various firms like BitMex and others can claim their success:
“Without the millions of free man-hours from dedicated OSS developers powering everything from our operating systems, to our web servers, to our ops tools and Bitcoin itself, the BitMEX trading platform could not have been built.”
HDR Global Trading said it was happy to be the first company to appreciate the work done by Michael Ford by supporting him financially.
In the recent past, HDR Global Trading has offered unconditional donation to MIT Digital Currency program that specializes on research into the creation of a crypto ecosystem in the world. The firm noted at the time that it was focused on helping the contributions by Bitcoin Core developers Wladimir van der Laan and Cory Fields.
Late last month, BitMex which is the largest Bitcoin derivatives provider, posted record volumes in its operations as Bitcoin’s price roared past $13, 000. The platform recorded $1 billion of open interest in the market, as well as more than $16 billion across the BitMex’s full product range.
Should other crypto-based firms give back to developers? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.
NYAG: Bitfinex, Tether Served New York Residents Longer Than They Claim
The New York Attorney General’s Office (NYAG) has submitted new evidence in its aim to prove that crypto exchange Bitfinex and Tether had served New York customers longer than they claimed.
As part of the NYAG’s ongoing investigation into Bitfinex and Tether, the NYAG filed a Memorandum of Law in Opposition, an affirmation, as well as a total of 28 pieces of exhibits on July 8, with the New York Supreme Court.
The NYAG said in the new documents:
“Even a cursory examination of the facts gathered to date in the OAG’ s investigation shows that Respondents have extensive and consistent contacts to New York concerning the matters under investigation.”
The filings come with various exhibits to showcase Bitfinex’s and Tether’s interactions with New York residents over a period that was longer than the two previously claimed.
CoinDesk reported in May that Bitfinex and Tether argued with the judge in the New York Supreme Court that the case should be dismissed since they “have nothing to do with New York investors” and “the businesses do not allow New Yorkers on their platforms and do not advertise or otherwise do business here.”
However, the NYAG indicated that based on the series of evidence gathered and provided to the court, Bitfnex had customers log in to its platform as recently as Dec. 18, 2018.
Further, Exhibit (S) – H also showed the correspondence between Bitfnex and the billionaire hedge fund manager Michael Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital to onboard the latter as Bitfinex’s customer in October 2018.
In addition, the NYAG provided exhibits to show that Bitfinex held accounts with two New York banks – Signature Bank and Noble Bank – and at least “one other New York-based financial institution during the relevant time period, which they used to transfer money to and from clients of the Bitfinex and Tether platforms.”
The NYAG added:
“Respondents have repeatedly engaged New York firms to assist them in their business objectives, including to make statements to the markets about the operation of the Bitfinex trading platform and the cash backing of tethers; and as recently as 2019, Respondents opened a trading account with at least one New York-based virtual currency firm.”
The NYAG first filed a complaint against Bitfinex and Tether in April 2019, alleging that Bitfinex had covered up the loss of more than $850 million by borrowing from Tether’s reserves.