Today in Crypto: OneCoin Founder Ruja Ignatova Added to FBI’s Most Wanted List; Report: FTX Nears Deal to Acquire BlockFi

Crypto, FTX, BlockFi, digital assets

The founder of OneCoin, Ruja Ignatova, is now on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list after she allegedly defrauded over $4 billion from investors, CoinDesk reported Thursday (June 30).

Ignatova had been the leader and public face of OneCoin, which began in Bulgaria in 2014. She told investors that the OneCoin crypto could be mined and had value, though this apparently was untrue — the coin didn’t exist on a blockchain and Ignatova and her team misled investors as to its value.

Ignatova has been on the run since 2017, when she disappeared from the public eye, the report noted. In 2019, a class action lawsuit was filed against Ignatova, OneCoin and numerous OneCoin executives.

Meanwhile, cryptocurrency exchange CoinFlex said it will not be resuming withdrawals on Thursday as it had planned.

The exchange will instead continue raising funds to help make up for the shortfall of $47 million triggered by a client’s default, according to a Bloomberg report. The effort will come with a new coin which will offer a 20% annual return, although CEO Mark Lamb has not said how much money has been raised.

In other news, CNBC reported Thursday that FTX is nearing a deal to acquire crypto lender BlockFi for pennies on the dollar, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The deal is likely to be signed by the end of the week, per the report. FTX will likely pay around $25 million, which comes out to 99% below BlockFi’s last private valuation — which came out to $4.8 billion, according to PitchBook data.

Both FTX and BlockFi refused to comment on the matter. Friday is also the end of the quarter, and this is a catalyst for getting a deal signed, sources said.

Finally, Celsius Network, the crypto lender which had halted withdrawals over two weeks ago, is now looking into ways to return to normal, including “strategic transactions as well as a restructuring of our liabilities.”

The company made its statement in a blog post, though it did not elaborate further. Celsius, which lets users lend out their coins, halted withdrawals on June 12 because of the volatile economy.

Several other crypto firms have also been dealing with instability, including Babel, BlockFi and hedge fund Three Arrows Capital.

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