This Week in Crypto: Bizarre BitBoy Arrest, Ripple US Offensive, and ETH’s Gloomy Outlook
HIT Network dominated the attention of crypto news watchers this week after its former influencer, Ben Armstrong, was arrested for loitering. Armstrong tried to solicit funds from his supporters to contest his dismissal from the HIT Network shortly before the network lost another influencer, Frankie Candles, earlier today.
On Friday last week, the crypto community severely criticized Armstrong for asking for legal aid donations denominated in Ripple’s XRP token. In his Wednesday Congress speech, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler asserted the SEC’s oversight over crypto while neglecting to mention a judge’s ruling that Ripple’s XRP sales to retail investors did not fall under US securities law.
Ben Armstrong Arrested for Loitering
On Tuesday, crypto influencer and former face of the BitBoy brand, Ben Armstrong, spent eight hours in jail for loitering. He broadcast his tussle with a police officer on a YouTube livestream before his arrest.
The video was circulated online and picked up by crypto news account @tier10k and crypto sleuth ZachXBT before being taken down. Scam investigator Coffeezilla called the influencer’s behavior “unhinged.”
Former BitBoy Asks for Donations After Firing
Armstrong’s arrest continued a wave of controversy that started with his being axed as the face of the BitBoy brand. Last Friday, Armstrong asked his supporters for XRP donations he could use in his legal battle against BitBoy owner HIT Network.
The crypto community saw BitBoy’s request as opportunistic after seeing over $80 billion worth of XRP in a wallet allegedly owned by Armstrong. Armstrong cried foul, insisting he lost all of his XRP through his CFO’s decision to invest in Celsius.
One community member pointed out the irony of BitBoy losing funds by investing in Celsius after promoting the company.
Read more: Getting Started With XRP Wallets
HIT Loses Another Crypto Influencer After Armstrong
Shortly after HIT Network fired Armstrong, it lost another influencer, Frankie Candles. Candles affirmed that he parted ways with the BitBoy brand owner on a social media post earlier Friday.
In light of the network’s tensions with Armstrong, Candles emphasized his departure was amicable.
“I have always been taken care of, and I want to make that crystal clear! But people outgrow deals and I knew when that point came that I would be able to renegotiate with no problem.”
Despite his legal woes with HIT Network, BitBoy said he was happy for Candles and hoped to resume his position at the network. HIT Network fired Armstrong over allegations of substance abuse and financial misconduct.
SEC Chair Omits Ripple Loss in Hearing
The axing of BitBoy also preceded a hearing last Wednesday, in which SEC Chair Gary Gensler affirmed his oversight of the crypto market to Congress. As the self-proclaimed cop on the beat, Gensler reaffirmed that most crypto tokens were securities that fall under laws passed by Congress in the 1930s and 1940s.
He said that the failures of FTX, Three Arrows Capital, and Celsius affirmed the crypto industry’s “wide-ranging noncompliance” with these laws. Absent from the chair’s testimony was Ripple’s victory over the SEC’s claim that certain sales of XRP were unregistered securities offerings.
Crypto – Socially Speaking
Ripple Boosts Offensive With New US Policy Chief
Despite Ripple’s partial victory, the digital asset company wants to strengthen compliance for its US business. On Wednesday, it announced the appointment of a former White House official in a senior compliance position.
The new appointment, Lauren Belive, believes that Ripple stands at the forefront of innovation in cross-border payments. As head of US public policy and government, Belive will communicate Ripple’s strategy with senior government.
“With regulatory landscapes evolving, it’s paramount that we advocate for policies that not only support the crypto industry but also the countless individuals and businesses that could benefit from these advancements,” she said.
The SEC’s appeal against Ripple’s recent victory will likely occur in Q2 2024.
Analysts Predict Imminent ETH Downside
In the meantime, several analysts pointed out several downsides for Ethereum (ETH) after a co-founder transferred Ethereum to crypto exchanges. Vitalik Buterin moved 400 ETH ($632,000) to Coinbase on Monday.
Speculation abounded that Buterin transferred the Ethereum in anticipation of a major selloff. Predictions from several analysts suggest a short-term downside for ETH as buying pressure from whales falls.
Negative funding rates for ETH derivatives have sparked additional pessimism that the price could fall in the next few weeks.
“Consistent negative funding rates can potentially trigger a cascade of short liquidations, which in turn could lead to a sudden price rebound,” said one analyst.
Google Adds BigQuery Support For 10 Blockchains
Rounding up the major headlines this week was Google’s decision to allow BigQuery access to data on Polygon, Optimism, Polkadot, and seven other blockchains. The move allows companies to access network data directly from the blockchain instead of off-chain providers.
In a public announcement, Google’s head of Web3, James Tromans, affirmed the company’s commitment to blockchain.
“We’re doing this because blockchain foundations, Web3 analytics firms, partners, developers, and customers tell us they want a more comprehensive view across the crypto landscape and to be able to query more chains,” Tromans said.
Google previously made data from the Bitcoin blockchain available through BigQuery.
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