Showing posts with label news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label news. Show all posts

[Updated] Controversy Over 'Government Supported' Ukraine Crypto-Charity that Raised MILLIONS....

Ukraine DAO

As Russia invaded Ukraine in February of last year, an organization called Ukraine DAO instantly surfaced as a charity ready to help those wanting to donate to Ukraine using crypto, promising 100% of donations would go to the cause.

UkraineDAO started off doing what they promised to do…

The organization’s first move was the auction of an NFT of the Ukrainian flag. Many in the crypto community shared this on social media, along with some high profile exposure from people like Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin and Nadia Tolokonnikova of Russian Anti-Putin band Pussy Riot.

The NFT raised a total of $6.8 million worth of ETH at the time - and on-chain records show this being transferred to non-profit Ukrainian Military Support organization ‘Come Back Alive’ which helps supply equipment and training for Ukrainian soldiers.

Their verifiable donations include:

- 1550.5 ETH to Come Back Alive.

- 387.63 ETH to Ukraine Government.

- 190.49 ETH to OutRight Action International

- 4.43 ETH to Psychology for Human Rights

This totals approximately 2130 ETH verifiably donated. But the wallet data shows a total of 2468 ETH received.

So there’s a remaining 338 ETH with a current value approximately $640,300. Some of this sits unspent, some is accounted for, and some is accounted for but the way it was used is where conflict begins to arise.

Things got real nasty, real fast...

The first issue came to light when Nadia Tolokonnikova of Russian Anti-Putin band Pussy Riot, who initially endorsed the project, quit after learning that the promise of “100% of funds” going to help those effected by the war untrue and project leader Alona Shevchenko had been taking a $5,000/month salary.

Alona responded showing how previously Nadia had given interviews where she was asked about when she ‘started the charity, Nadia told the interviewer the she "along with a number of friends’ felt they had to do something when they learned the invasion had begun.  Alona seems to think Nadia was positioning herself in interviews to be seen as the main person behind it.

[This portion of the article has been updated] There are 5 leaders who all need to sign off anytime a transaction is made from the official wallet (multi-sig). We initially reported that Nadia was not one of those five people, therefore it appeared she was not among the original founders.

That was incorrect -  she no longer is one of the five required signatures, which is why we did not see her there when we looked. But at the beginning, she was.

John Caldwell was another one of the five, he currently runs another charitable DAO he co-founded with Nadia called Unicorn DAO. John provided evidence of earlier transactions showing Nadia's signature on them, and explained that once UkraineDAO distributed the majority of the funds, both he and Nadia moved on, explaining "on that list of transactions, on #44 Pussyriot.eth was removed, then 45 I removed myself" trusting that the remaining funds would continue to be distributed appropriately.

It's the management of those remaining funds that have some people concerned...

You can still see the promise made on their official Twitter account that “100% proceeds go to support Ukrainians suffering for the war” - no room for confusion there .

While Alona is from Ukraine, she has been living in the UK for years before the war even started. When taking a look at her LinkedIn employment history, we see that she’s been employed in London-based companies since 2017 - clearly she does not qualify as one of the “Ukrainians suffering for the war” yet she took $5000 per month from the donated funds for things like rent and personal expenses.

Ukraine DAO also repeatedly stated they were “supported by the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine” making them “the first DAO to have been endorsed at the state level”. That claim would later be called ‘weird’ when after catching the attention of Ukrainian news outlet Kiev Post, who asked the Ukrainian government about these claims, they were told “The Ministry of Digital Transformation has not endorsed Ukraine DAO” .

However, I should mention that the Ukrainian government was not saying ‘we have no idea who you’re talking about’ - because there is some kind of relationship between the two organizations.

A profile on Alona Shevchenko which highlights her co-founding Ukraine DAO appears on an official Ukrainian government website. But when asked, Oleksandr Bornyakov, Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of the program downplayed its importance only as 1 of nearly 300 pages for volunteers for a program to educate the public on crypto.

Ukrainian News Outlets Claimed "around $700k" - We've Located Approximately $400K Of It...

At today's ETH value it's somewhere closer to $640,300 ‘unaccounted’ for funds, some of which more accurately should be called ‘unexplained’ funds. Because we know where some of that is, we just don’t know why it’s there.

There’s what was sent to individuals - Alona’s $5000 monthly payments to herself is somewhere around $70,000 total now. There was another $34,013 sent to another co-founder of the charity, Matthew Bundy; we can’t imagine why unless donors are now paying his rent too.

Then we don’t know who this was intended for, but another transaction for approximately $155,000 was sent to a wallet controlled by Sam Bankman-Fried’s former exchange FTX shortly before everyone lost access to their funds, as far as we can tell it was still there when that happened.

Lastly, $156,461 still sits in the official wallet of the charity.

The situation is much better thann $700,000 missing, but there's still a total around $200,000 gone from the charity's wallet but not listed as being spent anywhere - which is still too much to go unanswered for.

So, Now What?

Thankfully this isn’t a situation where donations are still flowing into the charity, so even if the worst outcome is true and a large amount of funds were misused, that number isn’t growing, at least from Ukraine DAO.

However, the same group appears to be on to the next cause - launching Iran DAO whose Twitter profile states their goal of “providing resources for Iran’s women-led revolution.”

It began with a Tweet from UkraineDAO stating they are “working to set up IranianDAO.”

In Closing…

It’s important to note that we could only label some Ukrainian funds ‘unaccounted’ for - which is very different than labeling them ‘stolen’. However, I’d like every dollar from their previous charity to be accounted for before even considering supporting a new one.

Or should the funds that ended up in Alona’s hands for personal expenses be considered ‘stolen’? This is a grey area legally. If 100% of the funds were to go to ‘Ukrainians suffering from the war’, she is Ukrainian, and while she only experiences the war via online news and TV from her home in England, perhaps she found the images emotionally distressful, technically making her a ‘Ukrainian suffering from the war’.

Unfortunately I’m struggling to come up with a scenario that ends with these payments to herself turning out to be completely ethical. 

I’m confident that no one donated thinking any of their money was going to a Ukrainian, who hasn't lived in Ukraine for years, is one of the people trusted with access to the donated funds, finding a way to put some in her own pocket - technically legal or not. 

While the Ukrainian government’s resources are focused elsewhere, there is a group of citizens along with journalists from the Kiev Post who continue to demand full accounting of every donated dollar, as well as question the legality of some of the DAO’s controversial decisions.

They vow that when the war is over they will be pressuring the government to review any potential exploitation by those using their crisis for personal profit. 

The story may be far from over, but this is where things stand now.

UkraineDAO was contacted (via Twitter DM)  and invited to share any additional information on the topics mentioned here. If they choose to, we will include it with our reporting.

Author: Ross Davis
Silicon Valley Newsroom
GCP Breaking Crypto News

Sam Bankman-Fried REALLY Could Get LIFE IN PRISON... Unless he 'Leaves Early' to Join McAfee and Epstein...

FTX Sam Bankman-Fried

There's only two ways this can turn out, both bad, but one massively worse than the other.

Prosecutors from New York have unsealed the indictment against him, charging Bankman-Fried with wire fraud, conspiracy, committing fraud against investors, lenders, and the United States, securities fraud, money laundering, and violation of campaign finance laws.

But things aren't as straightforward as it sounds - there's a real possibility some, maybe even most of these charges, get dropped.

It All Comes Down to This: Did Sam Misuse of Funds Include Those from FTX US - a Separate Company and Website from FTX International?

This could be the difference between life in prison, or 10 years with a chance to get out early with good behavior.

The US will only charge him with crimes he committed while in the US, or against US citizens.

For example, US law enforcement cannot pursue a case where investors from France were victims of fraud committed by a company in the Bahamas.  Actually, no country on earth prosecutes cases under those circumstances.

As covered in previous articles, if someone from the United States visited FTX International ( they would find themselves unable to get past the home page, they were blocked from joining, only able to view a message re-directing them to FTX's platform for US citizens (

The platforms did not share storage of funds with FTX International either, separate wallets for crypto, separate banks for fiat currency.

In other words, it would be extremely easy for Sam to exclude US funds from his alleged scheme, which would be the smartest thing someone in his position could do (besides leave everyone's funds alone).

So, are there any signs indicating FTX US funds were left untouched?

While Sam's word means very little and I'm not suggesting you put any trust into him, for some reason in every interview he's done following the FTX collapse, he made sure to tell the audience that the US site was not effected, everyone's funds are still there, and he believes 'it could open to let people withdraw today'.

If that is true, Sam committed no crime while in the US, and committed no crimes against US citizens, and suddenly this becomes a very different thing.

Sam Bankman Fried Arrest
Sam Bankman-Fried Being Taken Into Custody by Police in the Bahamas.

As predicted in previous articles, we see Sam being charged with additional crimes like wire fraud, this so they can still lock him up for something even if the charges directly related to him losing billions don't hold up in court.

Similar to how the FBI lacked evidence against Mafia leaders for murders they knew they had committed, so they started digging through their tax history and locked them up for tax violations.

Are There any Signs Sam Mismanaged Funds Belonging to Both FTX International and FTX US Users?

The acting CEO, John J. Ray, appointed to oversee the company's bankruptcy testified with Congress yesterday, Sam was scheduled to appear but that was canceled with his arrest. 

Ray stated they had "NOT found evidence (that Sam made unauthorized withdraws from US customer funds) of that yet"

This is a HUGE - It means if what Ray said is True, Prosecutors do Not Have Evidence for Several of the Charges Against Him! 

If Sam really did leave US funds alone, several charges get dropped before he ever sets foot in a courtroom.

However, a source on the 'inside' at FTX told me that the new CEO "thinks Sam was so reckless with funds from FTX International he's assuming Sam did the same at FTX US and just hid it better" adding that this was "just a personal opinion, but it's a fact that they're looking into where every dollar or token went, so if Sam did anything he shouldn't have they will find it'.

The new CEO and his team have been digging through the records for nearly a month, and their failure to find anything showing Sam's abuse of funds included the FTX US has me prepared for the possibility Sam told the here.

Remember, FTX US staff included former government regulators - would you hire former IRS tax auditors to work for your company if you were secretly committing tax fraud? Probably not.

It's starting to look like Sam followed the rules when it came to FTX US, all high-profile employees specifically worked for FTX US, and saw no red flags that would stop them from vouching for Sam as a legitimate business person.

Where they went wrong is assuming FTX International was operating similarly to FTX US - when in reality Sam saw FTX International as the place where the rules no longer applied.

Life in Prison?

Yes, really.  Many think life-sentences aren't given for financial crimes, and that's true for the average case of someone stealing thousands or even low-millions from a company they work for.

But when someone defrauds investors at a total cost in the billions, everyone involved is willing to punish  them as severely as legally allowed. Prosecutors seek the maximum sentence, and if guilty, the jury will agree. 

Looking at the other high-profile multi-billion dollar scandals, one thing that immediately stands out is how we refer to them by the company name, 'Enron scandal' or 'Worldcom scandal' for example. With the focus on the companies involved, the names of the actual people behind those scandals are generally forgotten. 

A multi-billion dollar loss with all the blame focused on 1 individual, the only other name that comes to mind is Bernie Madoff, the former head of the NASDAQ stock exchange, who lost billions of investors funds when his investment firm was exposed for not investing in anyone, it was actually the largest Ponzi scheme in history.

If Sam truly belongs in the same category as Madoff, he should expect a similar fate. Madoff received a sentence of 150 years in prison in 2009 - he died there last year.

If found guilty on all charges, Sam could be sentenced for a maximum of 115 years under current law.

An Unplanned, Early Exit?

Sam was politically connected, and many FTX members with empty accounts are wondering how their money is gone, but Sam had millions in 'profits' to donate to politicians.

Sam Bankman Fried and Bill Clinton
Sam and Bill Clinton shared the stage at a conference in the Bahamas.

Sam leveraged his political donations for meetings with lawmakers and other VIPS, he was becoming well-connected in Washington DC - many believe Sam may "know too much" and that worries powerful people.

Take this with a huge grain of salt since it is both a conspiracy theory and prediction - but the idea that Sam's former friends may now want him eliminated was on enough people's minds that both 'Sam Bankman-Fried' and 'Epstein' began trending on twitter with hundreds of tweets like:

"Does anyone else wonder if Bankman Fried will meet the same fate as Epstein? After all, how many will he expose if he testifies?"

'Let’s hope they don’t Epstein his a** before he really breaks into full choral singing. Just think what he knows."

"He either gets Epstein treatment or sentenced 2 weeks in a luxurious resort jail, no in between."

While this is one of the more extreme possibilities, one thing is clear - there's no 'good outcome' for him from here.

Author: Ross Davis
Silicon Valley Newsroom
GCP Breaking Crypto News

Mike Novogratz On The Bad News Behind This Week's Slump - And The Good News That Will Pull Us Out Of It...

Michael Novogratz, Galaxy Digital CEO discusses Bitcoin's recent price movement, the challenges major tech companies like Facebook and Telegram are facing from regulators, and the big developments on the horizon that should renew excitement to the market following this week's slump.
Video Courtesy of CSPAN