Tech is reshaping the world — and not always for the better. Whether it’s the rules for Apple’s App Store or Facebook’s plan for fighting misinformation, tech platform policies can have enormous ripple effects on the rest of society. They’re so powerful that, increasingly, companies aren’t setting them alone but sharing the fight with government regulators, civil society groups, and internal standards bodies like Meta’s Oversight Board. The result is an ongoing political struggle over harassment, free speech, copyright, and dozens of other issues, all mediated through some of the largest and most chaotic electronic spaces the world has ever seen.
Pete Buttigieg still believes in smart cities
The US Department of Transportation is making a big bet on smart city technology with the release of $94.8 million in federal funding. But in an interview, Secretary Buttigieg warned that not every project ‘is going to prove out.’
The White House might be running out of time to bring back net neutrality
A bruising, failed 16-month FCC nomination has left President Joe Biden with little time to staff up the agency before 2024.
Privacy advocates balked at the initial rollout in 2011, causing Google to halt image collection, which will now be refreshed for the first time starting June 22nd. The German government is involved this time to ensure sufficient use of the blur brush.
A federal grand jury has indicted Donald Trump in connection with his mishandling of more than 100 classified documents that were discovered last year at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, making the twice-impeached former commander-in-chief the first former president to face federal criminal charges.
Trump also posted about the indictment on his Truth Social account.
Trump was indicted by a New York grand jury in March.
We all probably know by now that online advertisers track us to some degree of detail. But a new report from The Markup dives deeply into the world of ad targeting, which includes categories so detailed that they can identify specific illnesses, psychological profiles, political beliefs, and even location data.
Fired Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson has posted a ten-minute first episode (going from an hour to half the length of the longest TikTok doesn’t really feel like an episode, but whatever) of his show on Twitter. Now that it’s up, Axios reports Fox sent a letter notifying Carlson he’s in breach of his contract —signed in 2019 and amended in 2021 — that guaranteed the network his exclusive services for the next few years.
So what’s next, more negotiations or a lawsuit?
Welcome to hell, Elon
You break it, you buy it.
The Bloomberg columnist, beloved by Verge staffers, has filed a banger, folks. He begins with a little victory lap and gets funnier from there:
“A decent rule of thumb,” I wrote in March, “is that all cryptocurrency exchanges are doing crimes, and if you’re lucky your exchange is doing only process crimes.”
Should the Screen Actors Guid’s upcoming talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers not result in a new labor contract that both sides agree on, the entertainment labor union will be in a position to strike now that an majority of SAG-AFTRA’s members voted to authorize the move.
As Variety notes, SAG-AFTRA’s vote to strike comes as the WGA’s ongoing strike enters its sixth week.
Disclosure: The Verge’s editorial staff is also unionized with the Writers Guild of America, East.
And I gotta say, the CFTC has the spicier quotes! Still, this was an enlightening read, in that the corporate shenanigans alleged here are yikes yikes yikes. Yikes!
BNB appears to be down about 10 percent on the news, as of this writing.
SOL, ADA, MATIC, FIL,ATOM, SAND, MANA, ALGO, AXS, and COTI
Yikesarooney. Binance is not the only exchange that lists many of these. Guess that’s a warning shot?
I was not entirely surprised to see BNB as an unregistered security — lots of reasons why! — but BUSD is theoretically at least a stablecoin. And yet:
From September 2019 through February 2023, Binance offered and sold BUSD to U.S. investors as part of a profit-earning scheme within the Binance ecosystem, touting returns for investors from simply buying BUSD or deploying it in Binance profit-generating programs.
Since its inception, BUSD has been offered and sold as an investment contract and, therefore, as a security.
Sigma Chain also engaged in wash trading on or around the time when BAM Trading made at least 65 new crypto assets, including crypto asset securities, available for trading on the Binance.US Platform. Between January 1, 2022 and June 23, 2022 alone, Sigma Chain accounts engaged in wash trading in 48 of 51 newly listed crypto assets.
Much of this wash trading occurred through numerous accounts affiliated with Sigma Chain, anentity owned and controlled by Zhao and operated by Binance employees at Zhao’s direction.
. On June 23, 2020, for example, in discussing a drop in trading volume from market makers on the Binance.US Platform, BAM CEO A asked the BAM Trading’s Sales Director to “pull [Sigma Chain’s] data to hold them accountable too . . . they should be consistent too – we can ask for more volume but they’ve been up to 50% for us before.”
Wash trading between Sigma Chain’s accounts occurred from the launch of the Binance.US Platform in 2019 through at least June 23, 2022. This wash trading activity corrupted the Binance.US Platform’s reported trading volume in a strategic pattern that coincided with at least three critical periods for crypto asset investors and the Equity Investors: (1) the Binance.US Platform’s launch in September 2019; (2) BAM Trading’s making available certain new crypto asset securities for trading on the Binance.US Platform; and (3) the months leading up to BAM Trading’s seed funding round starting in September 2021.
Whoa is right:
On January 6, 2021, the Sales Director messaged BAM CEO A and other BAM Trading employees “fyi these are ALL sigma chain,” and then listed 20 account numbers. Another BAM Trading employee responded, “whoa.”
From May 2020 to February 2022, Alameda Research, the trading firm associated with FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, was often the OTC Desk’s only counterparty vis-à-vis BAM Trading customers.
So after the first CEO tried to get some independence, Changpeng Zhao replaced her with CEO B.
BAM CEO B tried to implement plans to migrate those functions and control ofthe crypto assets from Binance to BAM Trading and into the United States, but Zhao quickly overruled him, causing BAM CEO B to resign approximately three months into his tenure.
So while the BAM CEO was trying to get some independence from Binance, a “news article” (probably this one!) dropped with details of Project Tai Chi.
As BAM CEO A explained to the Binance CFO shortly after the article was released, BAM Trading employees “lost a lot of trust with the article” and “the entire team feels like they’ve been duped into being a puppet.”
For example, by 2021, at least $145 million was transferred from BAM Trading to a Sigma Chain account, and another $45 million of funds were transferred from BAM Trading’s Trust Company B account to the Sigma Chain account. From this account,Sigma Chain spent $11 million to purchase a yacht.
So Sigma Chain was a market maker on Binance.US because it was Binance’s “own,” the complaint claims Zhao said. Merit Peak was also a market maker controlled by Zhao. “Sigma Chain’s and Merit Peak’s activity on the Binance.US Platform, and their undisclosed relationship with Zhao and Binance, have involved and continue to present conflicts between Zhao’s financial interests and those of Binance.US Platform’s customers,” the complaint says.
Also, one of the CEOs of BAM Trading didn’t like it:
“To the extent that these two liquidity providers were significant sources of liquidity, meaning that our customers couldn’t, you know, clear orders without the presence of those makers on our platform, I thought that was a real problem. It suggested that the company was, in fact, heavily dependent on CZ, not just as a control person but also as an economic counterparty and that is problematic, so I thought we needed to look into deplatforming them.”
“BAM Trading did not even implement a formal policy concerning its crypto assets custody and operations until May 15, 2023.” Today is June 5, 2023. For the record. FYI.
This is from the third letter an audit firm sent BAM Trading about its various deficiencies. I am sorry I am losing it how on earth did this go on so long.
In addition to controlling BAM Trading bank accounts that held customer funds,at least through December 2022, Binance was the designated custodian for crypto assets deposited, held, traded, and/or accrued on the Binance.US Platform, as expressly recognized in the SLAs. Internal communications indicate that BAM Trading and Binance understood that “.com is the custodian .us uses” and “CZ control[s] the wallet.”
Guys I do not love the banking system but I definitely love it better than whatever the fuck this is.
ohhhh my goddddd
Similarly, in December 2020, Binance transferred $17 million from BAM Trading’s bank accounts to Merit Peak. After learning of the transfer, BAM CEO A asked Binance employees about the transaction and eventually learned that the transfer related to Merit Peak’s trading on the Binance.US Platform. BAM CEO A responded, “thanks – helpful. Just had to get explanation anytime someone breaking our limits with massive withdraw[als] I have to ask – where you get that kind of money? And where is it going? . . . haha [I’m] on a wild goose chase to make sure we have knowledge of where $17M is moving around.”
Hahahahaha and people still have money on Binance ohhhhh my godddddd
Binance’s finance team could make transfers without BAM Trading’s knowledge, the complaint claims. At one point, the BAM CEO had to go ask what was up:
For example, in June 2020, when Trust Company B alerted BAM CEO A that BAM Trading’s internal transfers had increased from approximately $10 million per day to $1.5 billion per day, BAM CEO A had no knowledge of such transfers, was unable to verify them because she lacked appropriate account access, and, as a result, had to ask Binance (a purportedly separate and 43 distinct company) about the transfer of billions of dollars in BAM Trading’s own account.
That’s right, there are two of them testifying under oath to the SEC:
As BAM CEO A testified, there was “significant opacity” with respect to the Binance.US Platform’s trading data, and she “did not get answers from CZ on why or how or what we would need to do to be able to bring the data over” to the United States. She “wanted custody of the data and ability to interact with the raw data in real-time, as to my directions, not waiting on someone else’s approvals,” but she never received it.
Nor did the situation change when BAM CEO A’s successor (“BAM CEO B”) assumed the role in May 2021. BAM CEO B testified to SEC staff that the “level of ... connection” between Binance and BAM Trading was a “problem” and that he had concluded that BAM Trading “need[ed] to migrate the technology to full [BAM Trading] control.”
The point here is that Zhao directly controlled Binance US, including hiring the first CEO of BAM Trading. This CEO, unnamed in the documents, took direct orders from Zhao and called Binance the “mothership.”
Zhao gave final signoff on various decisions relating to the Binance.US Platform’s trading services, including customer account opening processes, development of the front-end access, and creating a reserve to cover ACH deposits.