Raccoon Network is a metaverse project. Freedom Protocol invested in the project in late June, and announced they would be working together. Freedom Protocol is a defi project that advertises an 183,394.2% APY "compounded by scientific calculations".
The Sho Restaurant said they planned to allow members of the public as well as NFT holders, and even the holders would still have to pay for their food. NFT holders were also promised access to the exclusive Sho Club, and things like "Access to all future Sho Club lounges" (no such lounges appeared to be in planning). Those who paid $15,000 or $300,000 for the top two tiers of NFTs were told they would receive access to perks including a "Monthly curated omakase members dinner (food & beverage not included).
None of this ever came to pass, though, because the project fell silent and then was confirmed to have been abandoned in September 2023 — around the time it was supposed to open.
The FBI stated they had identified 244 victims, and estimated the total loss associated with these fraudulent apps to be around $42.7 million.
- "Cyber Criminals Create Fraudulent Cryptocurrency Investment Applications to Defraud US Investors", Federal Bureau of Investigation
Only four days prior, on July 14, Bexplus had published a press release offering "rewards worth up to $5,000 to new users who sign up and make their first deposit". The project also promised its users up to 21% interest on bitcoin kept with the exchange. Bexplus had also promised a 100% match on deposits to the platform, up to 10 BTC (currently priced at $235,550).
- "Notice on Indefinite Suspension of Bexplus Project", Bexplus
- "Bexplus Exchange Announces $5,000 Giveaway for New Users", press release
- "Corretora brasileira de criptomoedas fecha e dá 24 horas para clientes sacarem fundos", Livecoins (in Portuguese)
The move came only a month after BlockFi laid off 20% of their employees, or around 170 people. The company appears to be struggling to stay afloat, soliciting $400 million in loans from Sam Bankman-Fried's FTX crypto exchange and signing a deal with FTX that gives the exchange the opportunity to acquire them.
The week prior, an internal operating plan document was shared to the anonymous employee platform Blind, which outlined a plan that would reduce company headcount to around 800 — a 15% reduction. The plan was taken down shortly after. Gemini co-founder Cameron Winklevoss wrote in a Slack message that the leak was "super lame", and wrote that "friendly reminder that Karma is the blockchain of the universe — an immutable ledger that keeps track of positive and negative behavior."
The fund is down 30% YTD. According to Scaramucci, the suspension was to avoid "damag[ing] investors that want to stay in the funds" if many investors decide to exit in a less than "orderly" fashion.
The fine was imposed on April 25, 2022, and Binance filed an appeal in June. This is not Binance's first time playing fast and loose with regulatory bodies — in February, Binance halted activities in Israel due to being unlicensed. In December 2021, the Ontario Securities Commission released a statement to say that Binance wasn't registered in the province, but Binance continued to operate there anyway for several more months.
Then, on July 17, the exchange released a new announcement: "Due to cooperation with the police investigation, the platform has suspended related services... Please wait for the police announcement." They also wrote in the post, "AEX reserves the right of final interpretation of this announcement", and below the signature wrote, "The closer you look, the further you see."