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Weekly Report: Flamingo Casino Club shuts down, Talos becomes a unicorn, HIVE Blockchain consolidates its shares, and more

Flamingo Casino Club, which offered users fraudulent NFTs, has been asked by five US states to cease operations
Crypto trading firm Talos became a unicorn at $1.25 billion after raising $105 million, it said Tuesday
Bitcoin miner HIVE Blockchain to enact share consolidation, aiming to enhance institutional visibility
IOSCO predicts the crypto sector could get a regulator within the next year
Chile to ponder further before issuing a digital peso, central bank says

Virtual casino parading metaverse-linked NFTs asked to cease operations in five states

The states of New Jersey, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Alabama and Texas have alleged that the Flamingo Casino Club is running a scam by offering NFTs linked to a metaverse casino. In effect, regulators in the respective states issued emergency orders on Wednesday requiring that the platform ceases offering the fraudulent, in-violation NFTs.

Flamingo Casino is said to be fraudulently soliciting NFTs” via social media, using influencers to promote sales for the platform. The platform seemingly tabled an elaborate scam, offering potential NFT holders poker tournaments, virtual concerts and tennis courts as some of the holder benefits. The virtual platform enticed investors with the promise of plans to build a virtual entertainment facility and casino in the Sandbox metaverse. 

Regulators also determined that Flamingo Casino Club was established in Russia in March 2022. The platform also has no ‘tangible’ physical address, and its listed phone number is out of service, thereby ideally masking its location.

To gain legitimacy at face value, the virtual casino faked a partnership with the long-running real-life casino – Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. The casino club is also at fault for deception and fraud” for pushing the narrative about ties to MarketWatch and Yahoo, both of which have since been found to be untrue.

KuCoin, Chainalysis and Talos complete raises 

Crypto trading firm Talos announced on May 10 that it raised $105 million in a Series B funding round that launched the platform into unicorn status with a $1.25 billion valuation. Notable figures who were part of the investment parties include BNY Mellon, Wells Fargo Strategic Capital, and Voyager Digital in a round led by General Atlantic.

In addition to the new figures, initial investors of the company, including Andreessen Horowitz, Fidelity Investments and PayPal Ventures, also extended their partnership via participation in this round. Talos said it would employ the accrued funds to continue its Europe and APAC expansion strategy.

Johnny Lyu’s KuCoin crypto exchange revealed on the same day that raised it $150 million in a pre-Series B round led by Jump Capital’s crypto division Jump Crypto. Other investors, including Matrix Partners, Circle Ventures, and IDG Capital, also had a hand in pushing the exchange’s valuation to $10 billion.

On Thursday, blockchain analytics platform Chainalysis said it reached an $8.6 billion valuation after raising $170 million. Singaporean capital market firm GIC led the Series F, with the participation of Accel, Dragoneer, Blackstone, and BNY Mellon. Chainalysis aims at an improved global reach and enhanced product innovation.

Bitcoin miner HIVE Blockchain announces 5:1 share consolidation 

Last Tuesday, crypto mining firm HIVE Blockchain announced a plan to enhance the platform’s desirability to institutional investors. The crypto-miner said that it intends to complete a consolidation of its common shares to become effective May 20.

The consolidation would see HIVE’s common shares issued and outstanding shrink from the current 411,209,923 to a new 82,241,984 shares. The Canada-based Bitcoin miner expects that this move would add shareholder value.” CEO of the platform, Frank Holmes, said that at the moment, it’s challenging for shareholders to compete HIVE with industry peers due to an overflow of shares outstanding.

Holmes explained that HIVE is suffering from the effects of low share price even though market capitalisation and fundamentals such as debt to equity ratios beat those posted by industry peers. He added that HIVE boats impressive fundamentals compared to tech stocks, and the higher share price off consolidation would only make the miner even more enticing.

 He noted that institutional visibility is a significant benefit to be achieved with the coming change. HIVE stocks are expected to grow beyond the $5 price per, below which most institutional investors do not partake.

Crypto could get global regulator in the next year, says Hong Kong SFC CEO

The crypto regulatory scene is anticipated to change in the future with the evolution of crypto and blockchain technology. Chair of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and CEO of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, Ashley Adler, has suggested that a joint crypto regulatory body could come within the next year. 

Adler was speaking at a virtual conference organised by the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF). He observed that the rise of crypto is now a major area of focus alongside climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. He further noted that with the increasing relation with traditional finance, digital assets have come into the spotlight.

The Hong KONG SFC executive explained that the crypto sector is lush with perils such as cyber security, operational resilience, and a lack of transparency,” which necessitates a globally coordinated effort to regulate.

The IOSCO chair said that his proposed solution for the current uncertainty would see the creation of something of nature to climate finance set-ups such as one under the G20 group of giant economies. 

Chile delays CBDC plans, planning to undertake a deeper analysis

Chile said last September that it would this year decide on a strategy to roll out a central bank digital currency (CBDC), a digital peso. However, as per a newly-released report, the Central Bank of Chile has abstained from launching the government-controlled digital token, pegging the decision on the need to perform more analysis to concretely establish benefits and risks.

The Wednesday report explained that currently, there isn’t adequate information to substantiate a final decision. The bank plans to conduct a series of informative sessions, including seminars and presentations. 

The central bank acknowledged that even with that, a CBDC could work to enhance a competitive, innovative and integrated payment system” with suitable and resilient protection of user information. It added that the issuance of a CBDC could help remedy the potential troubles of the large scale use of virtual assets payments with the growth of crypto.

Bank governor Rosanna Costa said that for Chile to adopt a CBDC, it must be operational for online & offline payments and facilitate traceable transactions. Speaking at an event hosted by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), Costa noted that the tech to facilitate this isn’t as efficient yet.

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