Today in Crypto: DOJ Charges Iranian in Murder Plot Paid With Crypto; EU Official: NFTs to be Regulated Under MiCA

Bitcoin, fraud, legal, New York

An Iranian national and member of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has been charged with an alleged murder-for-hire plot in which cryptocurrency was involved for payment, a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release said.

Shahram Poursafi, aka Mehdi Rezayi, 45, was charged with trying to arrange the murder of former National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Poursafi reportedly contacted a source to try and facilitate payment for the job by opening a cryptocurrency account, saying that the other person would “likely have to carry out the murder” before being paid.

Meanwhile, NFTs that are part of a collection will have to apply new crypto rules from the European Union’s Markets in Crypto Act (MiCA), a Coindesk report said.

There had been claims that the tokens would be excluded from the MiCA law.

The current draft likely exempts NFTs unless they constitute another kind of crypto asset.

But in practice that might not be much of relief, as EU legislators have a narrow view of what an NFT is. So if a token is part of a collection or a series, it won’t be considered an NFT and so it will have to apply by MiCA rules.

Issuers of NFT collections would have to publish details of the protocol for NFTs and wouldn’t be able to make “outlandish promises” about future value that could mislead people.

Elsewhere, Ansible Labs, which is building a payment platform for blockchain accounts, has raised $7 million in a seed funding round, Coindesk reported Wednesday (Aug. 10).

The company said the money will go toward hiring, liquidity and operating expenses as it plans to debut its first project.

Ansible Labs Co-Founder and CEO Daniel Mottice said the company sees off-ramp as a “missing piece” that could enhance mainstream Web3 adoption and usage. Mottice was a key player at Visa Crypto and Visa Direct Payouts before starting Ansible.

The round was led by Archetype, an early-stage crypto venture capital firm.

In other news, crypto trading platform Hotbit has suspended trading, withdrawals, deposits and funding functions for the foreseeable future, a company blog post said.

This comes because an ex-employee of the company, who left in April, was involved in a project that might have violated criminal laws.

Many Hotbit senior managers have been subpoenaed by law enforcement since the end of July, and law enforcement has frozen some of the company’s funds, which has made it so Hotbit can’t run normally.

The project was “against Hotbit’s internal principles and of which Hotbit was unknown,” according to the company.


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