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US Man Sentenced to Prison for Embezzling $20M of ICO Investors’ Funds

A San Fransisco man has received a sobering judgment in a U.S. court for his involvement in a multi-million-dollar cryptocurrency scheme

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San Francisco-based Jerry Guo represented himself to clients as an ICO consultant, then embezzled funds now worth over $20 million.

Jan 27, 2021 at 9:16 a.m. UTC

US Man Sentenced to Prison for Embezzling $20M of ICO Investors’ Funds

A San Francisco man is heading to prison after a U.S. court sentenced him for conducting a multi-million-dollar cryptocurrency fraud, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release on Tuesday.

Jerry Ji Guo, 33, was handed a six-month sentence by U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman and ordered to pay nearly $4.4 million in restitution after he had pleaded guilty to initial coin offering (ICO) fraud.

During the height of the ICO craze in 2018, Guo represented himself to clients as an ICO consultant, offering to perform marketing and consultancy services on behalf of cryptocurrency startups.

Instead of performing his duties as promised, Guo embezzled clients’ cash and cryptocurrency. He was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury for the crime in November 2018.

The San Francisco man pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in August 2019. He had been charged on a further seven counts but the additional charges were dismissed. Guo was potentially on the hook for 20 years in prison if he was found guilty of all charges, the Daily Beast reported at the time.

In 2019, the U.S. government obtained a stipulated application for a preliminary order of forfeiture and also obtained warrants to seize Guo’s client’s funds. Per a final order of forfeiture, and with the assistance of Guo, the U.S. government is now in a position to restore stolen property to victims.

The current value of the stolen cash and cryptocurrency is estimated to be over $20 million, according to the DOJ.

“This case shows we can use criminal forfeiture to compensate fraud victims even when cryptocurrency is used in the fraud,” said U.S. Attorney David Anderson.

Guo has also been ordered by Judge Freeman to serve a three-year period of supervision by authorities upon his release from prison.

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/guo-prison-ico-fraud-4-4m

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Japan’s SBI Investing ‘Eight-Figure’ Sum in Swiss Crypto Bank Sygnum

Japanese financial services firm SBI Holdings is to lead an ongoing funding round for Swiss digital asset bank Sygnum.

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SBI’s digital assets subsidiary will lead a round that will have raised around $30 million for the Swiss firm over six months.

Feb 18, 2021 at 12:07 a.m. UTCUpdated Feb 18, 2021 at 1:24 a.m. UTC

Japan’s SBI Investing ‘Eight-Figure’ Sum in Swiss Crypto Bank Sygnum

SBI Holdings, a Japanese financial services firm, is to lead an ongoing strategic fundraising round for Swiss digital asset bank Sygnum.

Sygnum, which holds a Swiss banking license, said Tuesday it has secured an “eight-figure” U.S. dollar investment from SBI’s subsidiary, SBI Digital Asset Holdings, which will be used to help the firm grow its client base and expand into new markets across Europe and Asia.

The firm, which has bases in Switzerland and Singapore, said the fundraising effort will have brought in investment of around $30 million over the past six months, helping the firm grow its assets under administration, which stood at over $500 million as of January 2021.

Coming as the company prepares for a possible public offering, the capital raised will also go toward increasing Sygnum’s range of custody offerings, commercializing its tokenization platform and secondary market trading facility, as well as expanding its open banking API infrastructure.

“With this strong start to 2021, we look forward to working with our stakeholders to continue innovating new solutions, launching new products, and ultimately providing our clients the ability to participate in the fast-growing digital assets opportunity in a safe, convenient, and fully-regulated manner,” said Gerald Goh, the co-founder and CEO of Sygnum Singapore.

The two firms have had a business relationship since last October, when they launched a fund in Singapore focused on early-stage cryptocurrency investment opportunities.

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/japans-sbi-investing-eight-figure-sum-in-swiss-crypto-bank-sygnum

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Deutsche Bank Quietly Plans to Offer Crypto Custody, Prime Brokerage- CoinDesk

The bank’s game plan was hidden in plain sight in a widely overlooked report by the World Economic Forum.

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The bank’s game plan was hidden in plain sight in a widely overlooked report by the World Economic Forum.

Deutsche Bank headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany (Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

Feb 13, 2021 at 2:10 a.m. UTCUpdated Feb 13, 2021 at 2:18 a.m. UTC

Deutsche Bank Quietly Plans to Offer Crypto Custody, Prime Brokerage

Deutsche Bank has joined the growing ranks of large financial institutions exploring cryptocurrency custody, with aspirations to offer high-touch services to hedge funds that invest in the asset class.

The Deutsche Bank Digital Asset Custody prototype aims to develop “a fully integrated custody platform for institutional clients and their digital assets providing seamless connectivity to the broader cryptocurrency ecosystem,” according to a little-noticed report by the World Economic Forum, host of the annual gathering of muckety-mucks in Davos, Switzerland.

In a passage buried on page 23 of the December 2020 report, Germany’s largest bank says it plans to create a trading and token issuance platform, bridging digital assets with traditional banking services, and managing the array of digital assets and fiat holdings in one easy-to-use platform.

Big banks are now announcing plans to enter crypto custody on an almost daily basis, with Bank of New York Mellon, the world’s largest custodian bank, joining the party earlier this week.

U.S. banks were given some regulatory clarity thanks to last year’s interpretation letters from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. In Germany, firms are queuing up to get their hands on special crypto custody licenses from the country’s regulator, BaFIN.

Deutsche, the world’s 21st largest bank, said it aims to “ensure the safety and accessibility of assets for clients by offering an institutional-grade hot/cold storage solution with insurance-grade protection.” No specific cryptocurrencies or tokens are mentioned.

The digital asset custody platform would be launched in stages. It would eventually provide clients with the ability to buy and sell digital assets via a partnership with prime brokers (which act sort of like concierges for hedge funds), issuers and vetted exchanges.

The bank says it would also provide “value-added services such as taxation, valuation services and fund administration, lending, staking and voting, and provide an open-banking platform to allow onboarding of third-party providers.”

The service would be aimed at asset managers, wealth managers, family offices, corporates and digital funds, the bank said.

In terms of a business model, the bank would start out collecting custody fees, it said, later charging fees for tokenization and trading.

Deutsche said it has completed a proof of concept and is aiming for a minimum viable product in 2021, while exploring global client interest for a pilot initiative.

The bank’s press office could not be reached for comment Friday evening. A spokesperson had declined to comment on potential plans for a digital asset custody business when contacted last week by CoinDesk.

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/deutsche-bank-crypto-custody-prime-brokerage

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Elon Musk Bites Back at Freewallet After Dogecoin Tweet

The Tesla CEO said crypto users should avoid wallets that do not give them access to their private keys

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The Tesla CEO said crypto users should avoid wallets that do not give them access to their private keys

Feb 10, 2021 at 12:07 p.m. UTC

Elon Musk Bites Back at Freewallet After Dogecoin Tweet

Elon Musk has issued short shrift to Freewallet on Twitter after the cryptocurrency wallet provider attempted to use the Tesla CEO’s tweet celebrating dogecoin to promote its services.

  • Saying Freewallet’s app “sucks,” Musk stated Wednesday his belief that crypto users should avoid wallets that do not give them access to their private keys
  • Musk followed this up by tweeting an image of Chuck Norris saying the martial artist and actor “can withdraw bitcoins from Mt. Gox”, a take on the popular “Chuck Norris Facts” meme
  • Owing to security incidents such as the infamous hack of the Mt. Gox exchange, which relieved nearly 750,000 users of $450 million-worth of bitcoin, crypto experts recommend storing holdings in secure wallets away from third-party providers.
  • The sentiment has given rise to the popular expression, “Not your keys, not your coins.”
  • Freewallet had retweeted Musk’s tweet during a recent dogecoin price surge, attempting to promote its DOGE-buying services.
  • Musk has been fond of tweeting about bitcoin and dogecoin, often seen as friendly trolling of the crypto community. However, Tesla disclosed Monday that it had invested $1.5 billion in bitcoin, news that caused the cryptocurrency to rise to new highs above $48,000.

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/elon-musk-bites-back-at-freewallet-after-dogecoin-tweet

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