The Ledger: SBF makes first court appearance as sector braces itself for continued turbulence

Sam Bankman-Fried faces 100-year sentence, SEC keeps Binance on a tight leash and ECB calls for crypto to regulated as gambling.

Welcome back! If this week’s news is anything to go by, 2023 is set to be as era defining for the crypto sector as 2022 was.

We returned to witness beleaguered former FTX boss Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) plead not guilty in the US to criminal charges related to the collapse of his crypto exchange last year.

SBF is accused of illegally using FTX customer deposits to shore up his hedge fund, Alameda Research, as well as using the funds to buy real estate and make massive political contributions. A trial date has been set for 2 October, although litigation related to FTX is likely to crop up throughout the year.

Meanwhile, Coinbase users who sued the firm in October 2022 for unauthorized crypto transfers are reported to have stalled the investigation in connection with a dispute over whether Coinbase should waive its right to arbitration.

Gemini co-founder Cameron Winklevoss used Twitter this week to rail against Digital Currency Group (DCG) CEO Barry Silbert who he accused of “bad faith tactics”. Winklevoss urged Silbert to “publicly commit” to repay more than $900m worth of customer assets by January 8, which he claims DCG has locked up.

As disputes run rife across the crypto sector following last year’s rapid decline in the market, regulators are increasingly keen to take control. Yesterday, European Central Bank executive board member Fabio Panetta called for cryptocurrencies to be regulated by principles similar to those recommended for online gambling.

While, in the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission has filed an objection to Binance US’ intended $1bn acquisition of assets belonging to defunct crypto lender Voyager Digital. The watchdog said there was not enough information to support Binance’s claim it could pull off an acquisition of that “magnitude”.

Elsewhere this week, Nufinetes has announced a set of new features for its wallet app, BetConstruct has been granted approval from the Malta Gaming Authority to enable player deposits in cryptocurrencies and will stream the English FA Cup third round after agreeing sponsorship deals with Cardiff City, Gillingham and Sheffield Wednesday.

Looking for your next crypto casino? Check out: Bitcasino, or FortuneJack.

Written by Hannah

Hannah is editor of and has almost 15 years experience in journalism, including reporting on law, TV, gambling, crypto and alternative finance. She is particularly interested in the future of money, the transition of gambling from 'vice' industry to mainstream entertainment and the application of blockchain technology to wider society.

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