Crypto Shake-Up: CZ’s Sentence and Hong Kong’s ETF Launch

4 min readMay 3, 2024

This week in crypto: Binance’s CZ faces a surprising prison term while Hong Kong’s groundbreaking spot Bitcoin ETFs starts trading, a mixed week of regulatory actions and market advancements.

Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao Sentenced to Four Months in Prison

Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, the former CEO of Binance, has been sentenced to four months in prison by a federal judge for failing to implement an effective Anti-Money Laundering (AML) program at the cryptocurrency exchange. This sentence, delivered in the Western District of Washington by Judge Richard Jones, was significantly lighter than the three years recommended by prosecutors.

Zhao, who pleaded guilty in November, saw his defense push for probation only. During the sentencing, Judge Jones noted that there was no direct evidence linking Zhao to specific illegal activities at Binance, countering the harsher penalty sought by prosecutors.

Review of “Cold Wallet”: A Gritty Take on the Volatile World of Cryptocurrency

“Cold Wallet,” the latest film by writer-director Cutter Hodierne, dives into the tumultuous realm of cryptocurrency exchanges with a gripping narrative that resonates with the crypto community’s darker realities. The film unfolds around the collapse of a crypto exchange under suspicious circumstances, leaving token holders devastated and out of pocket.

Elon Musk Makes Surprise Visit to Beijing to Discuss Removal of Restrictions on his Tesla Cars in China

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, made an unexpected trip to Beijing to engage with Chinese Premier Li Qiang and other top officials. The discussions focused on potentially lifting the restrictions currently imposed on Tesla vehicles in various sensitive areas across China.

These measures, including bans on entering certain government-affiliated buildings and other key locations, stem from concerns over data security amidst rising tensions between the U.S. and China. This visit comes as Tesla faces increasing entry bans at meeting halls and exhibition centers nationwide, as highlighted in a recent Nikkei Asia report.

AI Priest Rebranded Following Controversy Over Unconventional Suggestions

This week, Catholic Answers, a San Diego-based publisher of church resources, faced backlash after launching an AI chatbot designed to mimic a Catholic priest, originally named “Father Justin.” The chatbot was intended to provide educational and entertainment value by answering questions about the Catholic faith. However, controversy arose over its unconventional suggestions, such as using Gatorade for baptisms, leading to its rebranding as simply “Justin.”

FKA Twigs Discusses AI Deepfake Technology in Congress

Musician FKA Twigs recently addressed the U.S. Senate Judicial Committee, providing insight into the dual-edged nature of AI technology in the arts. She revealed her development of a personalized AI deepfake capable of mimicking her personality and voice across multiple languages. Twigs emphasized this technology’s potential to expand her global fanbase and enhance her marketing efforts, allowing her more time to focus on her creative process.

Federal Reserve Holds Rates Steady Amid Inflation Concerns

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the U.S. Federal Reserve maintained the fed funds rate at 5.25–5.50% in its latest meeting, aligning with market expectations. Acknowledging a pause in the decline of inflation rates this year, the FOMC emphasized its commitment to achieving a “sustainable” inflation target of 2% before considering rate cuts.

MicroStrategy to Launch Bitcoin-based Decentralized ID Solution

MicroStrategy will launch a decentralized identity solution on the Bitcoin network using Ordinal-based inscriptions to manage information. It unveiled its open-source decentralized ID solution, MicroStrategy Orange, at the Bitcoin For Corporations conference.

Senator Lummis Criticizes DOJ’s Stance on Crypto Regulation

Senator Lummis, a noted advocate for the cryptocurrency sector, has voiced strong opposition against the DOJ’s aggressive regulatory approach towards non-custodial crypto software, labeling it as a money transmission service. She argues this perspective contradicts current Treasury guidelines and undermines the rule of law, emphasizing a lack of common sense in the approach.

Spot Bitcoin ETFs Officially Starts Trading in Hong Kong

Today marks a significant milestone in Hong Kong’s financial landscape as Spot Bitcoin Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) officially go live with the opening of its stock market. This follows months of anticipation after Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission approved three Spot Bitcoin ETF applications earlier this month, signaling a new era for the Bitcoin industry in the region.

Asset managers including China Asset Management, Harvest Global Investments, Bosera International, and HashKey have received regulatory approval to offer these ETFs




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