-Telegram’s appeal against a temporary injunction preventing it from distributing tokens to its investors has been shut down by a New York judge. -Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen has recovered from coronavirus. -Crypto exchange Binance has acquired coin price metrics site CoinMarketCap, in a deal reportedly worth $400 million.
Once again, you join This Week in Crypto in quarantine, but that’s not going to stop us scouring the headlines for the biggest news of the week. In the last seven days: Binance bought CoinMarketCap; a crypto-friendly pizza restaurant struggled under lockdown; a New York judge denied Telegram from distributing tokens to non-US investors; and a Ripple co-founder recovered from coronavirus. Read on to find out more!
Telegram rejected by NY Judge
Telegram, the creator of the eponymous 300 million-strong messenger app, was this week denied the ability to distribute tokens raised in a $1.7 billion ICO for its upcoming blockchain network to non-US investors, even though fewer than 30% of its investors were from the US.
Telegram has been fighting a legal battle with the SEC since October 2019. The SEC alleges that Telegram’s token sale constitutes an unregistered securities sale. Telegram says that its tokens weren’t securities when the investors plonked down $1.7 billion.
Late last month, the SEC secured from a New York court a temporary injunction against Telegram that prevented it from distributing tokens to its investors, and thus from launching the network. Telegram appealed this latest injunction, but has agreed to all the other injunctions since October.
Telegram asked the court if that injunction extended to non US investors. The SEC is an American regulatory body, and Telegram argued that it couldn’t prevent distribution to non-US investors.
Telegram also promised the court that it would prevent US investors from accessing TON tokens, and blocking US addresses from using the TON wallet.
But Judge P. Kevin Castel, of the New York Southern District Court, rejected Telegram’s request because its measures against US addresses would be impossible to implement.
“TON Blockchain was designed and is intended to grant anonymity to those who purchase or sell Grams,” wrote Castel in an opinion and order letter.
“Telegram does not show how withholding the TON Wallet from self-reported U.S. users, who are otherwise anonymous and could simply disclaim having a U.S.-based address, would be efficacious or enforceable,” he wrote.
“Therefore, any restriction as to whom a foreign Initial Purchaser could resell Grams would be of doubtful real-world enforceability,” he concluded.
Telegram is getting used to rejection: Castel also appeared to side with the SEC when issuing his preliminary injunction. He wrote that the SEC “has shown a substantial likelihood of success in proving that Telegram’s present plan to distribute Grams is an offering of securities.”
Ripple co-founder recovers from coronavirus
A former CEO of Ripple, the company responsible for XRP, this week recovered from coronavirus, the global pandemic that has infected over one million people. Chris Larsen, 60, urged his 39,000 Twitter followers to "consider donating your blood to help with antibody transplants."
People who’ve recovered from coronavirus produce antibodies that provide immunity against the virus. This blood could be transplanted to compatible recipients, which could help high-risk patients overcome the virus faster.
Over 55,000 people have died from coronavirus; it is the worst pandemics since the 2009 swine flu pandemic. The US is now the worst affected country.
Bitcoin pizza restaurant revenue drops by 90%.
A Swedish Bitcoin pizza restaurant is facing bankruptcy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Crypto-friendly pizza place Ariana, located in Kungsholmen in the Swedish capital of Stockholm is one of just a handful of restaurants in the country that accept cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) as a payment option.
Many restaurants and businesses in Sweden are operating as usual; the country’s response to the coronavirus is far more relaxed than its European neighbors. Even so, fewer people are sitting down to eat as many Swedes now avoid non-essential travel and instead work from home.
"At lunchtime, we usually have between 40 and 70 guests, but now we are down to 10 to a maximum of 15 guests”, restaurant owner Sekander Islamzai told Trijo News.
Islamzai hopes that online sales through food delivery apps, as well as donations, will keep the business going through to Bitcoin Pizza Day, when the restaurant plans to release a special menu for the crypto community.
Bitcoin Pizza Day, which takes place annually on May 22, commemorates the time when customer Laszlo Hanyecz paid 10,000 Bitcoin for two Papa Johns pizzas. The deal, which took place in 2010, would be worth around $63,830,000 at today’s prices.
Binance buys CoinMarketCap
“According to data metrics site CoinMarketCap”—I must write that five times a day. Now, the popular site, which lists price information about the most popular cryptocurrencies, has been acquired by Binance in a deal reportedly worth $400 million. It is visited by 37 million users each month, according to data metrics site SimilarWeb.
The acquisition raises questions about the neutrality of the data source. Jonathan Leong, co-founder & CEO of BTSE exchange, told Decrypt, "If Binance controls the most well known third party tool used by users around the world, this is clearly a strong conflict of interest."
Other commentators also expressed concern. "Personally, I am always sceptical of any deal that can in any way affect the 'neutrality' of any reporting system where one party (even potentially) has an interest in that system as here, especially as I'm not even entirely clear what they stand to gain precisely," Jason Deane, analyst at Quantum Economics, told Decrypt.
Still, CoinMarketCap has been shrouded in secrecy since its launch in 2013. Brandon Chez, its owner, made his first public appearance last year, after eluding the Wall Street Journal’s attempts to track him.