The world of crypto, as always, is filled with events, and we’ve prepared our top picks of the week for you, because let’s face it, your Friday night just wouldn’t be complete without them, right? Among the recent happenings stirring up the crypto sphere, we have Adrien Treccani departure, marking the end of an era as the longtime CEO of Metaco.

Crypto firms have geared up against unfriendly US Senate candidates, launching an all-out anti-ad campaign. Starknet is showering its users with gifts worth $1.3 million, while authorities in South Korea are dealing with YouTubers suspected of having ties with a scam project. Stay tuned for all this and more in today’s news roundup – don’t switch!

Related: Million-Dollar NFT Loans, Bukele’s Bitcoin Boost, Hong Kong Ultimatum & Buterin’s Social Network Rave

CEO of the Blockchain Company Metaco Steps Down after 8 Years of Reign

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Source: Metaco

Adrien Treccani, the CEO of Metaco, a blockchain storage company owned by Ripple Labs, has left the company after over eight years. As reported by Reuters, Treccani has stepped down from his position as CEO of Metaco, the company he established in Switzerland in 2015.. At the time of publication, Treccani’s LinkedIn page indicated that he departed from the firm in 2023.

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Source: LinkedIn

We greatly value the strong and industry-leading custodial business that Adrien and his team have built, as well as his leadership in integrating the custodial team and solutions with Ripple following the acquisition last year.

Representative from Ripple, as quoted by Cointelegraph

In May 2023, Ripple completed the acquisition of Metaco for $250 million, intending to broaden its offerings in storing, issuing, and settling tokenized assets.

Ripple`s troubles

In December 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit against Ripple, alleging the offering of unregistered securities. Many in the crypto space closely eyed this case, wondering about its potential impact on the country’s regulation and policy regarding digital assets.

Fast forward to July 2023, a federal judge handed down a simplified decision favoring Ripple, ruling that the XRP token is deemed a security only when sold to institutional investors. Now, the case is expected to go its way to a jury trial sometime in 2024. 

Crypto Companies Enter the Battle Against US Senate Candidate Katie Porter

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Source: Reuters

On Monday, Fairshake began spending millions on a negative ad blitz aimed at Katie Porter, the Democratic congresswoman from Orange County currently in a four-way race for an open US Senate seat in California. A representative from Fairshake confirmed that as of yesterday, the PAC had shelled out $2.9 million on ads against Porter.

According to a recent report from the Federal Election Commission, the political action committee (PAC) Fairshake is mostly funded by crypto giants Coinbase, Andreessen Horowitz, and Ripple Labs.

Despite these companies and their leaders pledging to donate tens of millions each, substantial contributions to Fairshake have also rolled in from some crypto firms and their founders: ARK Invest, Solana Labs, Bitwise, Jump Crypto, Multicoin Capital, Paradigm, and the Winklevoss brothers, just to name a few. 

Why did Porter make them angry?

Sure, Congresswoman Porter isn’t exactly the crypto industry’s arch-nemesis in Washington, and she rarely draws the ire reserved for more outspoken crypto critics like Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown.

Yet Porter has often allied herself with Warren on a range of issues, given that Warren was her professor at Harvard Law and backed her Senate bid over a year ago.

Moreover, Porter’s main Senate rival and fellow Democrat, Congressman Adam Schiff from Los Angeles, has outright called for a cryptocurrency regulatory framework on his campaign website – to, as he puts it, support and advance the Web3 and blockchain industry in California. Porter’s campaign site, on the other hand, doesn’t even mention cryptocurrency.

Starknet Fund to Reward 1.3 Million Wallets with Its Token STRK

The Starknet Fund has rolled out its token distribution plan, wherein nearly 1.3 million wallets are in line for rewards, including early adopters of ecosystem dApps, network participants, and others. The fund’s reserve department will unveil the official distribution scheme for STRK and allow users to check if they qualify for distribution.

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Source: Wired

Starknet is an Ethereum Layer-2 network leveraging ZK-Rollup solution to scale decentralized applications. According to the announcement, the token aims to decentralize and govern the network.

What’s the deal with Starknet token (STRK) distribution?

On February 20th, distribution will open up for approximately 1.297 million wallets to claim their slice of the STRK token pie. They’ve got four months – until June 20th – to file their claims. The grand giveaway entails over 700 million STRK tokens – or 7% of the total supply of 10 billion tokens.

STRK token was created to make scaling with STARKs a more decentralized affair. Its tokenomics design helps the community steer Starknet, and the Provisions are a potent tool to achieve just that.

Diego Oliva, CEO of Starknet Foundation
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Besides the early adopters of Starknet and StarkEx, the token is up for Ethereum contributors, including Protocol Guild members, EIP authors, solo contributors, and even open-source devs beyond the realms of Web3.

In total, there are over 500,000 Starknet wallets and more than 600,000 StarkEx wallets actively participating. Additionally, according to eligibility data from The Block, the mix includes 137,000 open-source developers and 19,000 ETH stakers.

South Korean Stars Deny Involvement in Crypto Project Scam

The National Police Agency is currently conducting an investigation into Winnerz, a blockchain platform centered around sports, amidst allegations of fraudulent activities. Meanwhile, investors are pointing fingers at several South Korean celebs for their alleged roles in a crypto scheme, as users struggle to get their funds out.

According to a recent report, Winnerz is accused of bringing in celebs to boost trust and project legitimacy, and attract more investors. However, Winnerz mostly relied on YouTube personalities to pitch the project to a wider audience. Yet, nearly all accused celebs are categorically denying any involvement with the project. 

Meanwhile, Kim Won-hoon and Cho Jin-se, hosts of the Shortbox YouTube channel with 2.85 million subscribers, publicly distanced themselves from the project.

We want to make it clear that there have been no business or financial discussions or deals with Choi Seung-jung and other relevant parties mentioned regarding the disputes surrounding Winnerz.

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South Korean YouTuber Oh Byeong-min. Source: Korea Herald

Also, popular Korean comedian Na Sun-uk has been accused of involvement in a crypto project. This happened after he was allegedly spotted at Winnerz’ Christmas party at the end of the year.

On his YouTube channel, Na stated that he denies any connection to the Winnerz project. “Both encounters were just short lunches. I have no affiliation with Winnerz and want to clarify that I’ve never dabbled in coin investments.”

South Korea cracking down hard on crypto scams within its borders

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Source: Bitcoinist

Recently, in the South Korea, a CEO of a cryptocurrency exchange was sentenced to several years behind bars for crypto fraud. On February 7th, Jinwook Shin, CEO of the Bitsonic cryptocurrency exchange, was sentenced to seven years for market manipulation in the crypto world. The charges revolved around inflating the exchange’s operational profits, which led users to cough up over $10 billion, roughly equivalent to about $7.5 million. 

From CEO departures to legal battles and token distributions, the crypto realm remains as dynamic as ever. Whether Korean YouTubers are guilty or not guilty, only time and, of course, fair Korean justice will tell.

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But there is no smoke without fire, right? So, as we wrap up our exploration of this week’s top news, let’s remember that in the world of crypto, there’s always more to the story than meets the eye.

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