Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried landed in the United States on Dec. 21. And, at least till the end of his court cases, he will live with his parents in Palo Alto, California. A bail was granted to SBF on the conditions of a $250 million bond, home detention, location monitoring and the surrender of his passport. His parents secured his bail with the equity in their house. Some Twitter users found this development either amusing or suspicious.
One of the key witnesses in the ongoing FTX investigation, former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison, would have to pay a thousand times less. Apart from SBF, she would only be prosecuted for criminal tax violations under the plea agreement and could be released immediately on $250,000 bail. In exchange for her collaboration, Ellison will be spared of all major charges, which could have seen her sentenced to up to 110 years in prison.
A former top exec has already acknowledged the financial ties between FTX and Alameda and a former’s access to a “borrowing facility” through FTX from 2019 to 2022. The arrangement with FTX permitted Alameda access to an unlimited line of credit without being required to post collateral, having to pay interest on negative balances and being subject to margin calls or FTX.com’s liquidation protocols. Ellison’s statement included allegations that Bankman-Fried and other FTX executives had borrowed funds from Alameda and used FTX funds to repay “loans worth several billion dollars.”
US delays crypto tax reporting rules
A key set of crypto tax reporting rules is being delayed until further notice under a decision made by the United States Treasury Department. The rules were supposed to be effective in the 2023 tax filing year in accordance with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed in November 2021. However, more than 12 months have passed since the infrastructure bill became law, but the IRS has still not published a definition of what a “crypto broker” is or created standard forms for these firms to use in making the reports.
OpenSea blocks Cuban artists
Nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace OpenSea has been banning artists and collectors from Cuba, citing United States sanctions as the key reason behind its action. OpenSea marketplace has mentioned in its terms of service that it explicitly prohibits sanctioned individuals and individuals in sanctioned jurisdictions. The NFT marketplace’s adhesion to United States sanctions was widely known and included countries such as Venezuela, Iran and Syria. However, the recent blocking of Cuban artists adds the country to that list as well.
Brazilian president signs crypto bill into law
Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil set to leave office on Dec. 31, has signed a bill aimed at legalizing the use of crypto as a payment method within the country. According to the text of the bill, Brazil’s residents will not be able to use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin as legal tender in the country, as is the case in El Salvador. However, the newly passed law includes many digital currencies under the definition of legal payment methods in Brazil. It also establishes a licensing regime for virtual asset service providers and sets penalties for fraud using digital assets.