Column: Shame, suicide attempts, ‘financial death’ — the devastating toll of a crypto firm’s failure (Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Times: Column: Shame, suicide attempts, ‘financial death’ — the devastating toll of a crypto firm’s failure. “To hundreds of Celsius’ 1.7 million customers, the value of the $11.7 billion in assets they deposited with the firm might as well be zero. ‘[Alex] Mashinsky always talked very confidently about how strong Celsius was and how much better than banks,’ recalls Harold M. Lott, 35, a Nashville-area nurse who had as much as $14,000 in cryptocurrency assets deposited at Celsius at the peak of the crypto market. ‘He never gave any indication that there was a problem,’ Lott says. ‘But suddenly, out of the blue, they just stopped all transfers.’”

Mother Jones: A Crypto Giant Froze Their Accounts. Now Customers Are Begging a Judge for Their Money Back.

Mother Jones: A Crypto Giant Froze Their Accounts. Now Customers Are Begging a Judge for Their Money Back.. “According to a presentation filed in court, Celsius now hopes to offer its customers a choice: accept a cash payment worth just a fraction of their investments, or opt to ‘remain “long” crypto’—that is, continue to hold their digital currency on Celsius’ books in the hopes of eventually being able to recover their money.”

Rensselaer: Consumers Are Likely To Be Susceptible to Slick Graphic Design of Trading Platforms

Rensselaer: Consumers Are Likely To Be Susceptible to Slick Graphic Design of Trading Platforms. “Research conducted by Gaurav Jain, a behavioral economist and assistant professor at Rensselaer, and John Chen, an undergraduate student studying biology in Rensselaer’s accelerated B.S./M.D. program, explored how certain graphic designs on decentralized finance (defi) apps can target an investor’s inexperience to elicit decisions that are quick and uninformed, using an investor’s intuition rather than information.”

Bleeping Computer: Huge network of 11,000 fake investment sites targets Europe

Bleeping Computer: Huge network of 11,000 fake investment sites targets Europe. “Researchers have uncovered a gigantic network of more than 11,000 domains used to promote numerous fake investment schemes to users in Europe. The platforms show fabricated evidence of enrichment and falsified celebrity endorsements to create an image of legitimacy and lure in a larger number of victims.”

MetaMask Co-Founders: ‘We Can’t Stop People From Making Ponzis on Blockchains’ (Vice)

Vice: MetaMask Co-Founders: ‘We Can’t Stop People From Making Ponzis on Blockchains’. “With tens of millions of users, the digital wallet system has become the main access point to Ethereum, the blockchain that has given rise to stablecoins like Tether, play-to-earn games like Axie Infinity, metaverses like Decentraland, and NFT projects like the Bored Ape Yacht Club. But after a precipitous crypto crash that has affected projects and people alike, the co-founders of MetaMask are now warning that the crypto ecosystem they helped create is currently an unsafe casino prone to Ponzi-like operations and exploitation.”

Motherboard: Discord Is the World’s Most Important Financial Messenger, and a Hotbed for Scammers

Motherboard: Discord Is the World’s Most Important Financial Messenger, and a Hotbed for Scammers. “While traditional financial communications take place over protocols like the highly secure (and expensive) Bloomberg Terminal or SWIFT, which catapulted into the public consciousness when Russia was banned from it, the most important messaging service in the world of crypto is Discord, which is a powerful chat app but was not designed from the ground up with security in mind. Discord chats are not encrypted, public chat histories can be available to anyone who joins a channel, impersonation scams are common, and the security issue [Josh] Fraser found remains a problem.”

New York Times: They Did Their Own ‘Research.’ Now What?

New York Times: They Did Their Own ‘Research.’ Now What?. “‘DYOR’ is shorthand for “do your own research,” a phrase that, on its face, amounts to excellent if obvious advice — a reminder to stay informed and vigilant against groupthink. But in the context of a broad collapse of trust in institutions and the experts who speak for them, it has come to mean something more specific. A common refrain in battles about Covid-19 and vaccination, politics and conspiracy theories, parenting, drugs, food, stock trading and media, it signals not just a rejection of authority but often trust in another kind.”

NBC News: Celebrity-endorsed NFTs leave some investors ‘financially crippled’

NBC News: Celebrity-endorsed NFTs leave some investors ‘financially crippled’. “It’s a pattern that crypto critics, watchdogs and even some influencers point to as an ongoing problem: digital investments riding a wave of NFT enthusiasm and backed by high-profile endorsements that quickly lose value. In some cases, in the crypto world, it’s what’s known as a ‘rug pull.’ But more broadly, ad transparency experts warn, public figures are promoting NFTs often without having done due diligence or warning their fans about the serious financial risks.”

UN Environment Programme: UNEP Launches New Sustainable Land Use Finance Impact Directory

UN Environment Programme: UNEP Launches New Sustainable Land Use Finance Impact Directory. “The Land Use Finance Impact Hub and its Positive Impact Indicators Directory – launched today by UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Climate Finance Unit and the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) – has been developed with and for impact funds and sustainably focused financial institutions, and aims to support the rollout of effective industry frameworks to track the environmental and social impacts of land-use investments.”

TechCrunch: Block confirms Cash App breach after former employee accessed US customer data

TechCrunch: Block confirms Cash App breach after former employee accessed US customer data. “The information in the reports included users’ full names and brokerage account numbers, and for some customers the accessed data also included brokerage portfolio value, brokerage portfolio holdings, and stock trading activity for one trading day. The San Francisco-based company declined to say how many Cash App customers were impacted by the breach but said it’s contacting approximately 8.2 million current and former customers about the incident.”

New York Times: How Civil War History Explains Memestocks

New York Times: How Civil War History Explains Memestocks. “Over the past century and a half, finance in the United States has been characterized by an ebb and flow of who feels Wall Street is for them, who feels (or is) excluded. Understanding how we got where we are now is one way to demystify the Reddit-based investing revolution, which is powered by a conspiracy theory along with a deep resentment of the way real power and wealth seem so out of reach for most people these days.”

Financial Planning: A Quaker immigration divestment list and the growing scope of ESG data

Financial Planning: A Quaker immigration divestment list and the growing scope of ESG data. ESG stands for “Environmental, Social, and Governance,” I believe. “As more clients seek politically infused portfolios and products of all bents, a Quaker organization launched a new database tracking the immigration impact of publicly-traded firms. The American Friends Service Committee revealed the findings earlier this month of its research on which companies the organization accuses of ‘profiting from border militarization and the surveillance and criminalization of immigrants.’”

The Verge: Donald Trump’s new social media SPAC, explained

The Verge: Donald Trump’s new social media SPAC, explained. “Trump announced Wednesday night that he has a new company called Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) and that he would be merging this new company with a SPAC called Digital World Acquisition Company (DWAC). If completed, the deal would turn Trump’s new media company into one that’s publicly traded on the Nasdaq. And it would give TMTG enough money to get a new Twitter clone off the ground called ‘Truth.’ The surprise deal is already turning DWAC into a meme stock, and it raises a fair number of questions.” I promise I will not let this particular topic take over the newsletter, but I will always have time for thorough, cogent explanations of financial/investment issues.