Welcome back to Chain Reaction.
It’s still a pretty busy time in the wild, wild world of crypto. But it felt somewhat more tame than the whirlwind the industry has experienced in the past few weeks, and for that, I thank the crypto gods (for now.)
If you’re keeping up with the news cycle, then you know FTX’s former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has gone on quite a bit of a media campaign.
He’s done a number of interviews with organizations, ranging from Good Morning America to The Block, in the past week, and even jumped on a handful of less formal Twitter spaces (with thousands of listeners) for impromptu conversations. While he has rambled his thoughts and circumnavigated questions, he’s caught the attention of regulators — who want to hear from him now, too.
In a back-and-forth tweet exchange, the Chairwoman of the House of Financial Services Committee Maxine Waters invited SBF to join their hearing on December 13, to which, SBF basically replied “not right now.”
That didn’t bode well with the chairwoman and she came back swinging and said, “Based on your role as CEO and your media interviews over the past few weeks, it’s clear to us that the information you have thus far is sufficient for testimony.” In a separate tweet, Waters also said a subpoena is “definitely on the table.”
With a couple days until the hearing, we’ll see if SBF saddles up and testifies, by choice or by order. But the former seems unlikely.
Meanwhile, an excel spreadsheet showed Alameda’s private equity portfolio with some FTX positions included. It was a doozy of a document, which had our team wondering how they had time to do anything other than invest given the massive number of deals recorded across a handful of sectors. More deets below.
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this week in web3
Here are some of the biggest crypto stories TechCrunch has covered this week.
FTX and Alameda’s massive investments will take a long time to unwind from crypto industry (TC+)
FTX and its sister company (or parent company, depending on how you look at it) Alameda had their hands in a bunch of different startups. The depth of its roster wasn’t very transparent until now. A spreadsheet with Alameda’s private equity portfolio and some FTX positions includes just shy of 500 investments across 10 holding companies for a total of $5.276 billion. This spreadsheet, dated from early November, raises a number of concerns surrounding the extent to which FTX and Alameda — and their affiliated companies — invested in the crypto industry.
Thoughts on the demise of Circle’s SPAC deal (TC+)
Circle Internet Financial (Circle), the company behind the popular USDC stablecoin, called off its merger with a blank check company, ending its SPAC-led run toward going public. Circle’s SPAC deal made news when announced last year and earlier this year when it was repriced. Last we heard, Circle had renegotiated its SPAC transaction, boosting its enterprise value from $4.5 billion to $9 billion. So what happened between then and now to get us from a new, higher deal price to a termination?
Seoul court rejects warrants for former Terraform Labs employees and investors over Luna collapse
A Seoul court rejected a request from prosecutors for warrants to detain eight people related to Terraform Labs, including the co-founder of Terraform Labs, Daniel Shin, early investors and former engineers. The court dismissed the warrants, saying the eight people need to have rights to defend their cases against accusations. Shin is being charged with taking illegal profits worth about $105 million by selling Luna tokens when it was near its all-time high without disclosing this move to investors, prior to the collapse of the TerraUSD and Luna earlier this year.
Mastercard director sees FTX collapse as chance for the crypto market to reset
Even though one of the largest crypto exchanges, FTX, collapsed and filed for bankruptcy, some market participants aren’t worried about whether the meltdown will alter institutional interest in crypto. “I feel like once you get the momentum for an institution up and running, it’s hard to get them to turn their head and pivot,” Grace Berkery, director of startup engagement at Mastercard, said at an event on Wednesday. “So if they’re going to enter, they’re going to stay in the space.”
Ledger’s latest crypto wallet taps iPod designer in bid to boost accessibility
Ledger, a security-focused firm that sells crypto hardware wallets, has partnered with the designer behind the iPod, Tony Fadell, in hopes of creating an easier, more accessible way for users to secure their crypto assets. The new credit card-sized crypto wallet can manage NFT collections as well as over 500 coins and digital assets.
the latest pod
As a friendly reminder, Chain Reaction’s first season ended last week and we’ll be bringing new content back in the New Year.
ICYMI: Last week, in Chain Reaction’s Tuesday episode, Alchemy’s CEO Nikil Viswanathan had a lot to say about how the industry and developer’s focus on infrastructure has shifted, what will drive the next wave of consumer interest and which blockchains he’s seeing the most developer activity on.
Subscribe to Chain Reaction on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite pod platform to keep up with the latest episodes, and please leave us a review if you like what you hear!
follow the money
- Tea, an open source package manager for developers, raises $8.9 million in seed funding
- NFT-focused startup Metagood raises $5 million toward “social good” impact
- Uniswap-based protocol Panoptic raises $4.5 million for decentralized perpetual options
- Crypto accounting-focused Bitwave raises $15 million in a Series A round led by Hack VC and Blockchain Capital
- Perennial, a DeFi protocol for derivative trading, raises $12 million in a seed round co-led by Polychain Capital and Variant
This list was compiled with information from Messari as well as TechCrunch’s own reporting.