Kraken: $360K settlement + 1100 layoffs

The US “cryptocurrency exchange” Kraken settled charges from the OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) alleging that they had violated sanctions against Iran.

  • Settlement Agreement between the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s OFAC and Payward, Inc. (“Kraken”)
Kraken logo

Kraken lays off 1,100 employees in 30% cut, blaming “macroeconomic and geopolitical factors” resulting in less trading and fewer clients.

Rome is burning…

BPIfrance invests in cryptos in Cameroon

The goal of Bpifrance is to favour the growth of the French economy by helping entrepreneurs thrive.
We are also the French agency for innovation, delivering massive programs to innovative entrepreneurs.

Remember the latest blog post from IMF?

It includes a map of Africa, showing where crypto assets are allowed or banned:

BPIfrance vs crypto clampdown in Africa

This map shows that Cameroon explicitly bans cryptos, with a few others.

Today, we learn that “Ejara, a Cameroonian fintech offering an investment app that allows users to buy crypto and save through decentralized wallets, has raised $8 million in Series A investment.” Read more here.

But it gets worse…

Remember: a few weeks ago the French government said it would support the NFT industry with public funds.

Today, besides the “usual” investors in crypto rounds, there’s a very interesting name in the mix:

“London-based venture capital firm Anthemis co-led the growth round alongside crypto-focused fund Dragonfly Capital. Anthemis is a follow-on investor in Ejara, having also led the fintech’s $2 million seed round announced last October.”
 
“Participating VC firms in this new financing include other follow-on investors Mercy Corps Ventures, Coinshares Ventures and Lateral Capital–and new investors such as Circle Ventures, Moonstake, Emurgo, Hashkey Group and BPI France (sic).”

To be clear: BPIfrance, a public French bank (directly connected to the French government), is investing in a crypto app in Cameroon, where cryptos are supposedly forbidden, when the whole crypto world is crashing… Is that crypto-capitalism or crypto-colonialism?

If people remember what “Francafrique” is, there are so many questions to ask here…

But I suppose that all the African Freedom Activists will see nothing here, and will rejoice about this investment in such a context…

Another domino falls: BlockFi

Today, BlockFi filed voluntary cases under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

Read on BusinessWire or CNBC.

BlockFi owes 50 creditors unsecured claims including:
– $275M to FTX
– $30M to the SEC (from a previous settlement)

SEC vs Ponzi schemes

When a bankrupt lending ponzi owes money to a bankrupt ponzi crypto exchange…

part of unsecured claims by BlockFi

IMF: time to regulate cryptos in Africa

In a blog post, the IMF states it is time to regulate cryptos in Africa: “Africa’s Growing Crypto Market Needs Better Regulations”

“The risks from crypto assets are evident—it’s time to regulate.”

regulate cryptos in Africa
About 20% of sub-Saharan African countries have banned crypto assets.

Read more

See also: FTX in Africa