Best of the Worst: Top 5 Crypto Villains of 2023
Remembering the Disney stories of our childhood, we know good ultimately overcomes evil. And, as daunting as it may seem, it's crucial to 'know thy enemy' to be prepared for the battle!
SEC Chairman Gary Gensler. Source: voi.id
Traditional investors often view the SEC's approach to cryptocurrencies as a barometer of the market's trustworthiness. As such, negative remarks from the SEC can hinder the broader adoption of blockchain. Gensler's comments have sometimes painted a bleak picture:
This is a field rife with fraud, scams, bankruptcies, and money laundering,Gary Gensler remarked at a conference.
Gensler's most notable action was the legal confrontation with Brad Garlinghouse and Ripple Labs, culminating in Ripple's victory and a 97% surge in XRP value. The SEC also brought cases against Coinbase, Binance, and Kraken.
Despite this, Gensler brought a glimmer of hope to crypto enthusiasts in November 2023. He suggested the possibility of a reboot for the defunct FTX exchange under new leadership, which led to a 50% rise in the value of FTT.
Discover more about Gary Gensler in our dedicated article.
U.S. Senator for Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren. Source: slate.com
Warren has accused Bitcoin of contributing to terrorism, the spread of nuclear weapons, and global warming. She's consistently expressed her opposition to cryptocurrencies, labeling them the preferred tools of international drug traffickers.
Crypto mining firms are polluting communities, they’re straining power grids, and they’re driving up utility costs in communities from Texas to New York,Warren has argued.
However, the bill hasn't found much favor among politicians, with some outright deeming it a failure. This perception is reinforced by Warren's legislative track record: only one of her 330 proposed bills has been enacted over her 11-year Senate career.
The Lazarus Group
North Korean hackers, the Lazarus Group. Source: rhyno.io
In 2022, the group was responsible for high-profile attacks on the Horizon Bridge and Ronin Bridge, resulting in losses of $100 million and $540 million, respectively. The Lazarus Group had not been officially linked to any cybercrime until June of the previous year, at which point they were implicated in several notable incidents:
- June 3: Hacking of Atomic Wallet, resulting in $100 million in damages.
- July 22: Accessing CoinsPaid's hot wallets via social engineering, leading to losses of $37.3 million.
- July 22: Attack on the centralized crypto payment provider Alphapo, incurring $60 million in damages.
- September 4: Hacking of the online crypto casino Stake.com, with $41 million in losses.
- September 12: Assault on the CoinEx crypto exchange, leading to $54 million in damages.
It remains uncertain whether the Lazarus Group is involved in other major hacks of 2023, such as those affecting Curve Finance, KyberSwap, and Multichain. However, the timing of these incidents suggests a high probability of their involvement.
Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. Source: newyorker.com
Alongside Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of Alameda Research, SBF misappropriated over $8 billion. The fallout from FTX's bankruptcy led to a 25% drop in the overall cryptocurrency market cap, possibly causing irreparable damage to the relationship between blockchain and traditional investors.
In November 2023, a jury found SBF guilty on all charges. He is now in a federal prison in New York, awaiting a final sentence due in March 2024.
Warren Buffett is one of the world's largest investors with a net worth of over $100 billion. Source: outlookindia.com
Buffett's latest skeptical comments about cryptocurrencies were made during an interview with CNBC's Squawk Box, conducted on April 12 when BTC hit $30,000 for the first time in 2023.