Apple Removes A Trading App Linked To Crypto Scams From The App Store

A screen shows bitcoin's price going up and down

A popular smartphone app used to conduct foreign exchange transactions known as MetaTrader (or MT4 or MT5, depending on the version), was quietly removed from Apple’s App Store last Friday. As of this writing, the app remains available on the Google Play store.

The app, which is made by a Cypriot-based company called MetaQuotes, has been used to perpetrate a new type of cryptocurrency scam, known as pig butchering, where a scammer builds a longer term relationship with their victim before convincing them to invest money over time. A key element of the scam is the use of manipulated cryptocurrency apps and websites, which purport to show the victim that they’re making money off their investment, when in fact the scammer has taken everything.

Apple’s ban of MetaTrader comes two weeks after Forbes profiled one California-based scam victim, who lost over $1 million last year. This victim, known as Cy, made all of his purported trades on the MetaTrader app, which showed him fictitious returns. At the time, Apple spokesperson Adam Dema said the company was investigating MetaTrade and was looking into additional action to protect App Store users if necessary.

MetaQuotes did not respond to Forbes’ request for comment. Daniel Delnero, an Atlanta-based attorney with Squire Patton Boggs, who informed Forbes late Sunday evening that his firm is now representing MetaQuotes, did not respond to Forbes’ request for comment by press time. The company had not previously responded at all to multiple emails sent to company email addresses. No phone numbers are listed on its Contacts page for any of the company’s multiple offices around the world.Neither Apple nor Google responded to requests for comment.

Existing installs of MetaTrader on iOS devices continue to function. However, there are some reports on Twitter of users claiming to sell iPhones with the app pre-installed for $15,000 in one case, or a “starting price” of 5,000 British pounds, or “$10k OBO,” an abbreviation for “or best offer.”As Forbes previously reported, MetaTrader, which offers licenses for its software, does enable legitimate trade by actual brokerages. It is an agnostic trading platform, one that is used by mainstream foreign exchange traders like Oanda.

But according to the Global Anti-Scam Organization (GASO), a scam victims’ advocacy group, MetaTrader also allows licensees to use a particular plug-in, known as Virtual Dealer, which can be used by scammers to “manipulate those market prices, and simulate account balances, profits or losses. Everything looks and feels real, but it’s all a fabrication,” according to a report from GASO.

MetaTrader has provided no explanation as to how unscrupulous actors can use the software to illustrate fake trades, nor what actions, if any, it has taken to mitigate this behavior. In July, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Sherrod Brown, wrote letters to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai about how the companies are evaluating and ultimately allowing the proliferation of fake crypto apps in their app stores.

News of the app’s removal was first reported by FX News Group and Finance Magnates on Saturday. In a WhatsApp text message sent late Sunday evening, Cy, the victim who has still been unable to recoup any of his losses, said he was pleased that Apple had removed the trading app. He had previously told Forbes that a large part of why he was convinced to download it was that it had positive reviews and could be found on Apple’s App Store.

“It’s about time,” he wrote. “How many other victims occured before our voices were heard! [It’s] the right thing to do. But [it] doesn’t make me feel any good as the damage has been done.” Jan Santiago, GASO’s deputy director, said the organization was “glad” for the app’s removal.

“If MetaTrader won’t do anything on the grave issues raised by users who trusted them, then the responsibility falls on platforms like Apple and Google Play store that list MetaTrader,” he wrote in an email.

UPDATE Sept. 28: This story has been updated to clarify how MetaTrader was used in relation to these scams.

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Source: Apple Removes A Trading App Linked To Crypto Scams From The App Store

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Perhaps one of the most notable mentions of crypto from Apple was in September 2019. when Apple Pay’s VP Jennifer Bailey said the company was “watching cryptocurrency” and strongly believes it has “interesting long-term potential.”In February 2020, Apple hired Jeff Bronikowski, Warner Music’s former head of technology innovation, who was working on a number of the blockchain efforts to create digital assets using a public blockchain called Flow .

Then on November of 2021, when asked by Andrew Ross Sorkin of New York Times if Apple would consider accepting cryptocurrency through Apple Pay, Tim Cook replied that crypto is “something that we’re looking at.” The statement is broad, but regardless, positive. In February of 2022, Apple unveiled its new Apple Pay feature that will enable millions of merchants across the U.S., to use their iPhones to seamlessly, instantly, and securely accept payments simply by tapping their iPhones. It’s called Tap To Pay and it can also be potentially used to transact crypto.

In late March of 2022, MetaMask, one of the most used crypto wallets, which has surpassed 30 million monthly active users as of January, has announced its support for Apple Pay so people can buy crypto directly from their wallets. Around the same time MetaMask announced their Apple Pay integration, this job posting below for a Senior Legal Counsel position with expertise and experience on blockchain, digital assets, and payment platforms is seen on Apple’s website. Notice the timing of the job posting and the highlighted key qualification.

This is a great sign that Apple is looking closely into integrating crypto features and functionalities like Ethereum wallets or crypto payments into Apple Pay & Wallet. It’s also worth mentioning that Apple acquired UK-based fintech startup, Credit Kudos bringing a range of payment functions in-house. Among many other things, cryptocurrency can entirely change how people buy products, save or invest money, and pay their bills. Combining these with Apple’s platform, they have the potential to help billions of users have a frictionless banking and payment experience.

Is the Cupertino giant next in line to support crypto? Rumors and hints point in that direction, but there’s a bigger picture. Apple is in a unique and powerful position to best support crypto today. Here’s why. Apple is a $2.7 trillion cap behemoth with more than 1 billion active iPhone users as of February of 2022. This means billions of people follow their software and hardware ecosystem and hundreds of thousands of people wait in excitement for their Keynote events and product releases. Though still in the early innings, there are strong signs that crypto and blockchain use cases are gaining prominence through mobile phones.

Specifically, Apple’s iPhone could be the key not only to onboard people into crypto, but to also help them understand the possibilities of transacting on a decentralized, permissionless, and transparent network. People will find it intriguing and enticing. The cool detail? People might not even need to know how crypto technology works behind the scenes. The Cupertino company has a reputation for abstracting complex technologies into simple and easy to use products.

This is one of the reasons why Apple has garnered a cult-like following over the decades in addition to their Oscar-worthy marketing and advertising efforts. This is the power of Apple. If there’s one ecosystem that will accelerate crypto’s adoption, it will be Apple’s. How? Through seamless integrations through their products, worldwide reach, and cult-like following.

Almost in every Keynote presentation, Apple CEO Tim Cook never fails to mention one important statement, “Apple believe that privacy is a fundamental human right” and they believe that users should have control of all of their data. What does this mean for crypto? Well, crypto is all about privacy, security, and transparency. In the crypto world, people have control all over their assets and there are no middlemen in between. Apple can promise trust in transactions, account protection, and ease of use by reducing cost and time for consumers when they need access to the financial banking system.

This means more market penetration while maintaining privacy, security, and transparency. In addition, Clifford Rossi, an executive-in-residence and professor in the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland’s Finance Department said that having a digital or crypto wallet and its own stable coin or a crypto pegged to the price of a fiat currency, could give Apple a competitive advantage over other retailers and will increase the competitive landscape of the personal banking and payment processing industry.

Another way Apple can help with crypto is the storing of private keys and seed phrases in iCloud tied with their multi-factor authentication. This will enhance the security of your sensitive crypto wallet information. Apple always does the right thing when it comes to the privacy and security of its users. The same goes for the crypto route. One popular use case of cryptocurrency is helping the ‘unbanked’ or people that are not served by financial institutions, gain to access to banking solutions which is common among developing nations.

According to several statistics, nearly 2 billion people globally still have no access to financial services. That’s like one-fourth of the world population. One day, people don’t have to go through a lengthy process just to apply for a bank account which requires a lot of documents to submit, which then can take weeks to get a result. Just imagine how hassle it will be if you’re in desperate need of money for emergency expenses. Cryptocurrency is giving people a chance to better their lives, increase their earnings, and stash savings for the future.

Apple dominates the world of tap and go payments and with more than $200 billion cash in hand, they could shake up the fintech world with an Apple Card expansion, checking accounts, international payments, and crypto wallets. Cryptocurrency is giving people in less fortunate situations instant access to money with a click of a button. There’s no need to wait for days, no expensive fees, and no need to go through a lengthy bank application process. The majority of the financially excluded individuals still live in developing nations, so for financial inclusion, cryptocurrency adoption is essential.

One quality that makes Apple great as a company is that they approach problems through design thinking. This is the same for today and for the 1980s when Steve Jobs was revolutionizing personal computing. Through the decades, Apple has built a unique reputation as an extremely design-driven company. For instance, they don’t refer to their users as “users”, but instead as “humans”. As highlighted in their human interface guidelines, which is a guideline adopted by people that work at Apple.

To that point, the current state of Web3 products has room for more design iterations due to a lackluster user experience design. This is due to the developers creating for other developers mindset and that the entire ecosystem is still in early-stage, which means there are a lot of changes. It’s also worth highlighting that Apple always turns something that seems boring and dull into something fashionable and sexy. They did that with the personal computer, iPod, iPhone, iPad, and now maybe crypto.

If and when Apple does crypto, they have the potential to set an industry standard for Web3 design by applying their own touch of Apple design. For this reason, they’re in an even stronger position to bring millions of people into crypto and even educate people about the entire Web3 ecosystem. Should we expect any crypto-related announcement from them anytime soon? As Tim Cook said, Apple thrives in its culture of secrecy, so less likely. However, we know one thing for sure, Apple never backs down on innovations that have the range to change people’s lives for the better..

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Housing Market Recession: Home Prices Fall As Rates Reach 6%—Here’s How Much Further They Could Drop

Existing home sales fell for the seventh straight month in August as rising interest rates continued to sideline potential home buyers, and prices are finally starting to fall from record highs as experts project that the next few months could help ease the housing sector’s long-standing affordability crisis.

Existing home sales ticked down 0.4% from July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.8 million in August, down from 6 million one year ago after declines across the U.S., according to data released Wednesday by the National Association of Realtors.

In a statement, NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun called the housing sector “most sensitive to” the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes and said the softness in home sales reflects this year’s escalating mortgage rates, which peaked at 6% last week and have driven up the cost of monthly payments on new mortgages by more than 55%, an average of hundreds of dollars each month.

Amid the falling demand, the median existing home price has tumbled from a record high of $413,800 in June to $389,500 in August, down for a second straight month to the lowest level since March after breaking a five-month streak of gains.

The 7.7% yearly uptick in August home prices was the slowest year-over-year increase since June 2020, and NAR projects the median existing home price could fall more than 5% to $380,000 by the end of this year.

Others are eyeing steeper losses: In a Wednesday note, Pantheon Macro chief economist Ian Shepherdson said he expects a “sustained decline” in the sector through next spring, with prices falling as much as 20% from their peak by the middle of next year and in time helping rent inflation, which climbed 7% year over year last month, come down next year.

“Sales lag mortgage applications, which continue to fall and point to further significant declines,” Shepherdson said, predicting sales are on course to drop by another 10% or so within the next two months and adding that “even that might not be the low,” depending on what happens to mortgage rates over the next few weeks.

“Inventory will remain tight in the coming months and even for the next couple of years,” Yun says. “Some homeowners are unwilling to trade up or trade down after locking in historically low mortgage rates in recent years, increasing the need for more new-home construction to boost supply.”

On Wednesday, real estate brokerage Redfin reported that the ten regions where housing is cooling the fastest are almost all either costly West Coast markets, or places that drew scores of relocating home buyers during the pandemic and became significantly less affordable. They include San Jose, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Denver.

“Housing, in short, is in recession, and everything connected to housing either is in recession now or soon will be, but the rest of the economy is not in recession because a regular housing downturn is not enough to crash the 90% of [gross domestic product] that is not housing,” says Shepherdson.

I’m a senior reporter at Forbes focusing on markets and finance. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I double-majored in business

Source: Housing Market Recession: Home Prices Fall As Rates Reach 6%—Here’s How Much Further They Could Drop

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Fall has arrived and if you think your home needs a little upgrading after the summer, you’re probably right. But while most people associate fall decor with pumpkin spice, the color brown, tacky statement pillows, or home fragrances that smell like food, a fall refresh doesn’t have to mean any of this. We’re not quite ready for the holidays, so there is plenty of time to focus on spaces such as bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms by adding fresh bedding, chic accessories and luxurious home fragrances. From new launches to old favorites, here’s everything your home needs right now.

Still working from home? Say farewell to ordinary office chairs. Why not upgrade your comfort and style at the same time with a chic office chair from Elizabeth Sutton Collection? After all, you need to sit somewhere. With several styles available and a choice of gold or silver casters, and a white or black frame, these add a true pop of fun to any workspace.

Trying to manifest more this fall? It’s easy when you’re burning a Jill & Ally The Elements Crystal Candle. The brand is owned by everyone’s favorite New York Housewife Jill Zarin. Choose from blue agate (water), red agate (fire), green fluorite (earth), or clear quartz (air). Whether you use this candle as part of a manifestation ritual or just as decor, it’s a great way to add color or change the vibe of a room instantly. When the candle is finished burning, keep the crystal.

With the passing of Queen Elizabeth, this cool yet stylish portrait is the perfect way to pay tribute to Her Majesty in a living room, bedroom, or even dining room. Available in two sizes, it has been selling like hot crumpets. If you’re the only queen in your home, Cheery Designs has a great selection of unique pieces that might be more suitable.

Got too much sand in your sheets this summer? Treat yourself to something new. Boll and Branch recently launched a super luxurious Reserve Sheet Set. Made from the longest staple 100 percent organic cotton available, it’s impossible to go wrong with these sheets. Get ready for the silk-like feel to help lull you to sleep.

Those with more modern tastes will appreciate The Citizenry’s Stone Washed Linen Sheet Set. Available in a variety of colors and styles, including White, Olive, and Gingham, these sheets are a great way to warm up a modern bedroom. Don’t forget a linen bathrobe to match.

Launching on September 21st, Weezie Shower Curtains are the ideal bathroom accessory in a traditional to contemporary style bathroom. They complement the brand’s signature monogrammed towels instantly elevating the space to new levels of sophistication. Choose from two sizes and blue or grey scalloped edges.

However, if it is your kitchen that needs a little something extra, the L’Avant Collective Marble Dish Soap Kitchen Counter Tray will automatically boost your sink space. Made from the finest white Banswara marble and featuring brass accent details, it’s a chic way to display all of your favorite L’Avant Collective products.

Jenni Kayne’s cookware collaboration with Staub couldn’t possibly be any more stylish if the designer tried. Made in France, the White Truffle hue is the epitome of magnifique. Choose from an Oval Gratin or a Round Cocotte dish in a choice of two sizes. Each one has an exclusive nickel steel knob. It’s the perfect marriage of understated and jaw-dropping.

This topaz tumbler from curated online marketplace Berner and Co is a sleek way to serve everything from sparkling water to cool cocktails at your Fall soiree (or just to make any meal feel a bit more festive). Take your tablescape to brand new heights with these fabulous drinking vessels.

Speaking of tablescapes, there’s no easier way to create one than with The Bouqs new fall flower collection. Whether you prefer white arrangements, something with crimsons and oranges, or perhaps plants instead of flowers, there is something for every aesthetic. Better yet, with a subscription, you can send a monthly arrangement to yourself or to someone else and change it up each month.

But if you want to buy an arrangement and have it last for up to a year, it’s impossible to go wrong with Venus Et Fleur. The new stone collection is a welcome upgrade from the brand’s signature packaging. While the marble vessels are undeniably luxe, the sandstone vases are a great complement to a minimalist room. Choose from a variety of roses and other arrangements.

Forget books of matches and disposable plastic lighters, Seth Rogen has figured out a way for matches to go upscale with the Houseplant Pebble Match Strike. It looks like two stones, but open up this modern objéct to find a stash of matches. Keep it on a bar cart, side table or to decorate a bookshelf.

But sometimes fires aren’t always welcome, which is why it’s important for every home to have a fire extinguisher within reach. Fortunately, Weston Table makes decorative and functional ones. Choose from a variety of styles from constellations to whale and dog designs. This also makes a smart housewarming gift. Ten percent of sales are donated to the National Parks Foundation.

Fable recently launched a gorgeous collection of dinnerware perfect for any fall table. Cool and modern, the green color is a simple way to add a rustic hue to your table, whether you’re having a dinner party or just want to make things look nicer every day.

But those with more traditional tastes will absolutely fawn over Dondolo’s tabletop collaboration with dress designer Sue Sartor. Choose from Peony White or Peony Pale Blue Dinner Plates and Salad Plates. Each item is handcrafted and unique. Don’t forget to add the matching placemats and napkins. What a dreamy way to bring a touch of the south to any table.

Neon Lace’s Drink Dresses serve the same purpose as wine charms without looking hideous. Available in linen or lace, these decorative accessories make everything from wine to coupe glasses look all dressed up for the party.

Why shouldn’t your fridge have a designer touch? These cute Kate Space food containers are the perfect way to store leftover food. The Floral Fields pattern has a lively vintage vibe with a bamboo top that reads “Anything is possible.” Far nicer to eat from on the go than a standard glass food container, it makes any leftover meal taste just a little bit better.

But if your pantry shelves or refrigerator are in desperate need of a makeover, Home+Sort’s line of organizers with mDesign will check every box. From airtight jars perfect for rice to lovely lattice baskets made for holding snacks or boxes of pasta, you will wonder how you ever lived without this indispensable product line.

If you like to display olive oil in the kitchen or on the table, why not choose a delicious one with a stylish bottle such as Branche Olive Oil? This farm-to-bottle extra virgin olive oil is made with olives from the south of Spain. With clean, modern packaging and a wood stopper, design is key here. No 1 has a bolder flavor and features a green bottle while No 2 has a milder flavor and has a white bottle.

Looking for an environmentally friendly way to clean up? Arbour Every Day Spray is the perfect way to do it. This fragrance-free spray works hard to clean up grease, grime, and everyday dirt quickly. Best of all, it is totally safe, non-toxic, and antimicrobial.

If you’re trying to cut down on plastic, live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, or simply dislike those cumbersome bottles of detergent or messy powders— you will love Ecos Plastic-Free Dishwasher Detergent Sheets. Just put a sheet in the soap compartment (you need to fold it a few times) and turn it on your desired setting. Your dishes will come out sparkling clean.

Traditional devotees will love the Coley Porter Side Table. It’s so versatile that it can work as a bedside table, a desk for smaller spaces, or even as a petite bar in a living room or dining room. Available through the brand’s quick ship program, it can be customized with a selection of fabrics and shipped in just ten days.

Why just grab some ice from the refrigerator when you can display it in a beautiful ice bucket from Katie Kime? The ultimate bar cart accessory, this bucket is available in lucite, gold and silver as well as more than 37 patterns and colors. Don’t forget to add a monogram. This also makes a very thoughtful gift, especially for someone who frequently entertains.

Make this lucite dish from ArtSugar the true star of your coffee table or nightstand. Perfect for jewelry, tiny candies or just to be decorative, it’s a great accessory for any surface that needs a touch of fun. ​​

Looking for some extra inspiration for your renovations this fall? Interior designer Anne Hepfer’s book Mood has all the inspiration you need. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but this book’s bold royal blue cover is showstopping. Just wait until you see all the beautiful projects featured inside the pages.

Want your home to smell like heaven all the time? Inspired by the scent of exotic white flowers, the Kai Reed Diffuser gets pretty close. With a modern square bottle and brown reeds, it’s a truly decorative accent that also makes a very thoughtful gift. Better yet, it’s free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and phosphates. Not into reed diffusers? Candles and room spray are also available in the brand’s signature as well as Rose scents.

But if you prefer to diffuse an essential oil, opt for the Aroma Om Stone Diffuser in stone. Clean and minimalist looking, it features a matte finish and ceramic cover. It mists for up to three hours and shuts off automatically. It can also light up and be used as a nightlight.

34 boulevard Saint Germain is the newest fragrance from famed perfumer Diptyque. The chic candle is packaged in an opaline glass vessel and features notes of black current leave, moss, and florals. It has a spicy woodsy scent that’s undeniably sophisticated. Make any room feel perfectly on brand this fall.

Pets are great, but the odors they create leave much to be desired, especially on carpets and upholstery. Fortunately, Zoop is amazing at getting rid of pet odors and stains. Best of all, it has a fresh scent (not a chemical scent) and each bottle lasts for months. Stock up before it gets sold out again.

Are your knives feeling a little dull? Upgrade this season with a set of highly functional knives that just happen to be sleekly designed. Material knives are made from Japanese stainless steel and high carbon. This set includes a bread knife, paring knife, and chef’s knife. The sage handles simply stun.

There’s nothing that feels like a fresh, new tea towel. Magic Linen Ruffle Trim Linen Tea Towels are just so pretty and classic. Whether you’re drying off plates every day or a platter post-dinner party, these tea towels are a must. Match any kitchen with twelve different colors and prints from neutrals to shades of blue and stripes.

Related contents:
Latest fed rate increase expected to further cool Phoenix real estate azfamily.com, Arizona

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8 Facts About ‘Wizard of Loneliness’ Nathan Fielder

Nathan Fielder doesn’t mind making you uncomfortable. That holds true whether you’re the subject of one of his cinéma vérité series, like Nathan for You, or if you’re the viewer. When dragging people into his irreverent world of long silences, awkward questions, and increasingly unhinged circumstances, Fielder is not just a comedian—he’s more of a comedian-slash-agitator.

In his new HBO series The Rehearsal, Fielder invites guests to practice some pivotal moments in their lives before things get real—and the line between comic provocation and psychological experimentation begins to blur. For more on the ineffable Fielder, including his apparel line and a little-seen web series, keep reading.

1. Nathan Fielder was in a high school improve group with Seth Rogen.

Fielder, who was born in Vancouver, told Vulture that his childhood was a mix of learning magic tricks, working at a magic shop in a mall, recording and reciting stand-up routines from the bookended segments on Seinfeld, and, later, joining the Point Grey Secondary School’s high school improv team. One of the members was future Emmy nominee Seth Rogen. (The two have known each other since first grade.)

Rogen recalled that Fielder’s idiosyncratic approach to comedy, which is exacting and somewhat inflexible, was evident early on. “It was not even on the table that he would act like he was burning in lava,” Rogen said. Their team took third place at a national improv competition, although Fielder was confused when he discovered the winning teams had practiced. “We didn’t understand how you could rehearse improv,” Fielder said.

2. He made a lot of YouTube videos—and you can still watch them.

After attending business school at the University of Victoria, Fielder briefly worked at a brokerage firm before deciding to try his hand at comedy full-time. He wound up producing a number of short films that he regularly uploaded to his YouTube channel, including one in which he holds up a thin slice of watermelon with no further context (above) as it flaps in the wind. Fielder told Rolling Stone that “people come up to me say that Thin Watermelon is the best thing I’ve ever done.”

3. His Dumb Starbucks project was thought to be the work of Banksy.

Fielder continued his comedy career by writing Canadian Idol and This Hour Has 22 Minutes. In 2013, Fielder debuted Nathan for You, a Comedy Central series co-created with Michael Koman in which Fielder offered help to struggling small business owners. Often, his increasingly complex and irrelevant plans—offering a poop-flavored frozen yogurt or forcing gas station customers to hike a mountain to receive a discount—did virtually nothing for the entrepreneurs featured.

But Fielder did have a smashing success in 2014 with Dumb Starbucks, a parody store that Fielder figured could capitalize on the Starbucks name without summoning a legal response. As soon as the storefront opened in Los Angeles, some believed it might be an elaborate prank by elusive street artist Banksy. After three days, Fielder outed himself as the operator. The Department of Health shut the store down that same day.

4. Nathan for You shot an incredible amount of footage to make its 22-minute episodes.

Nathan for You, which ran for a total of four seasons, took Fielder and his semi-witting subjects into increasingly elaborate spectacles. In one episode, Fielder learned how to wire-walk so someone else could get the credit. In another, he orchestrated a pig-saves-goat viral video that was the work of divers so a petting zoo could get publicity. All told, Fielder once estimated that about 90 hours of footage were required to make each 22-minute episode.

5. Fielder owns a successful outdoor apparel brand.

After reading about a clothing brand that had somehow delivered a tribute to a Holocaust denier, Fielder opted to open his own apparel company. He called it Summit Ice and vowed to donate 100 percent of the proceeds to the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre. It seemed to live at the intersection between earnestness, cultural critique, and comedy. “When I was younger, and until recently, I used to wear a jacket brand called Taiga, which is from a shop just down the street,” Fielder told Vice in 2017.

“I discovered recently that they published a tribute to a Holocaust denier in their winter catalogue, but I was wearing their jacket on my TV show. I felt like that was bad because I was giving them publicity. I didn’t know what jacket company to trust, so I thought it was easiest to start my own company.” Fielder admits the customer service, however, could be better. He has described it as “awful” because “there’s not a full-time person that does it. It kind of jumps around between different people to manage it.”

6. He helped launch the television career of a private investigator.

In 2013, Fielder enlisted private investigator Brian Wolfe to assist him in a typically obtuse plot where Wolfe was tasked with tracking Fielder down to see if the P.I. was worthy of a good Yelp review. In one of Nathan for You’s most memorable moments, Wolfe—confused by Fielder’s eccentricities—dubbed him the “wizard of loneliness” because he has “no friends.” He later referred to Fielder as a “goober.” Not long afterward, Wolfe was contacted by producers looking to develop a reality series based on his firm. Cry Wolfe aired on Investigation Discovery for three seasons between 2014 and 2016.

7. He once starred in a scripted and fictional web series titled David.

Much of Fielder’s output consists of a slightly distorted version of himself interacting with the real world. That changed in 2016, when Fielder appeared in the five-episode web series David. In it, Fielder plays a man who finds out he has just weeks to live thanks to a black stone growing inside of his heart. Jenny Slate co-stars. The dark comedy was originally on YouTube but doesn’t appear to be currently available on the service. You may be able to find it on Vimeo.

8. Nathan Fielder is very much like Nathan Fielder.

In a 2015 interview with The A.V. Club, Fielder offered what might be his most succinct explanation yet of how his onscreen persona intersects with his authentic self. (It came after he was compared to Andy Kaufman.) “The version of me on the show is much more, obviously, controlled and deliberate than the me in real life because I’m trying to bring things out of people and create situations that will be funny and interesting,” he said.

“But at the same time, I also try to put myself into situations that I don’t know how they’ll go—unpredictable scenarios—so I personally will get thrown off and have to figure out a way out of it. I like doing that with the show as well … But I think the situations and the uncomfortable moments in the show also, I feel like, are designed to bring out a side of the other person that I find very charming and endearing about them.”

Nathan for You co-creator Michael Koman agrees. “There’s only about a 10 percent difference between the Nathan on the show and real-life Nathan,” Koman told Rolling Stone in 2017. “The character is just an amplified version of him.”

By Jake Rossen

Source: 8 Surprising Facts About Nathan Fielder

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Crypto Winter Watch: All The Big Layoffs, Record Withdrawals And Bankruptcies Sparked By The $2 Trillion Crash

Fears of global recession and the worst inflation in more than 40 years have wreaked havoc on the nascent cryptocurrency market this year—unleashing a fierce crypto winter that’s forced once high-flying firms into bankruptcy and pushed investors into panic-selling mode. The turmoil has already claimed trillions of dollars in market value, billions of dollars in frozen funds and thousands of jobs, but current casualties may only mark the beginning of the storm.

“There will be others that come forward with trouble—I don’t think it ends here,” Marcus Sotiriou, an analyst at London digital asset brokerage GlobalBlock, tells Forbes, noting that close to a dozen firms—including Peter Thiel-backed Vauld—face an uncertain fate after locking customers out of their funds or initiating restructuring proceedings over the past month. “It’s going to be a sustained period of pain,” he says.

It’s anyone’s guess whether the current crypto bear market will ultimately rival the years-long crypto winters of 2014 and 2018—the latter wiping 80% from bitcoin’s price while crushing hundreds of then buzzy new tokens. Sotiriou posits this downturn could last up to 12 months unless persistent inflation soon cools down, allowing the Federal Reserve to ease up on aggressive interest rate hikes that make risky assets less attractive to investors. Analysts aren’t so sure that will happen.

“This is necessary for any financial market to mature and evolve,” argues Matteo Dante Perruccio, a partner at crypto investment firm Wave Financial who envisions that cryptocurrency prices will take at least six months—and up to two years—before recovering, similar to cycles past. “But this time, there’s a difference,” he adds, pointing to a wave of institutional money—from the likes of Tesla, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and more—that fueled widespread adoption during the pandemic:

“When we inevitably come back into an appreciating market, it’s going to be more sustained and healthier, with less speculation and more tried and true investment philosophy.”As crypto investors wait for brighter days ahead, Forbes is tracking all the carnage from the latest crypto winter, including layoffs, price plunges and record selling—as well as the lifelines and acquisitions that may help cushion the blow. Here’s the damage, so far:

Trillions In Value Erased

Low interest rates and government stimulus measures fueled skyrocketing cryptocurrency prices during the pandemic, but the Federal Reserve’s decision to curb rising inflation by hiking interest rates has since battered investor sentiment—ushering in some of the crypto market’s biggest losses in history. After amassing a record value above $3 trillion in November 2021, the cryptocurrency market posted its worst first half ever and has plummeted to about $950 billion, a nearly 60% drop this year, according to CoinGecko.

Piling on to bearish sentiment, Terra’s luna token, a once top cryptocurrency worth more than $40 billion, lost virtually all its value within a week in May after sister token TerraUSD, a stablecoin meant to hold a price of $1, broke its dollar peg as markets collapsed. Meanwhile, top cryptocurrencies bitcoin, ether and BNB have plunged 70%, 75% and 65% from record highs, respectively. It’s taken the market years to recover from similar declines: When growing regulation sparked a fierce crypto winter beginning in 2017, it took more than 1,000 days for the world’s largest cryptocurrency to nab a new high.

Thousands Laid Off

Faced with steep market declines, cryptocurrency companies have laid off more than 2,000 workers in less than five weeks. By far the biggest blow, popular brokerage Coinbase laid off 1,180 employees, or about 18% of its workforce, on June 14—weeks after the firm’s billionaire CEO, Brian Armstrong, warned investors that a potential recession could lead to a prolonged bear market for cryptocurrencies. In a note announcing the layoffs, Armstrong said he was planning “for the worst” and acknowledged the firm “grew too quickly” during the pandemic bull market.

“It was surprising, and it was hard,” one former employee posted on LinkedIn. Others described the cuts as “abrupt” and “sudden.” Also in June, Gemini, the exchange founded by the billionaire Winklevii twins, said it would cut about 10% of its 1,000 employees, and exchanges Crypto.com and BlockFi said they would terminate 5% and 20% of their workforces, affecting some 260 and 170 employees, respectively. Since then, lending platform Celsius reportedly laid off 150 workers, and Austrian trading platform Bitpanda cut 270 jobs, calling the move “necessary . . . to navigate the storm and get out of it financially healthy.”

Record Selling

Investors piled out of cryptocurrency investment funds at a record pace as bitcoin plunged to an 18-month low last month. Outflows totaled $423 million in the week of June 17, virtually erasing all inflows this year and eclipsing the prior record of $198 million from January, according to crypto asset management firm CoinShares. The turbulence pushed the assets under management of crypto investment products to a record-low $21.6 billion last month, down 37% from May, as “looming liquidation threats” fueled “panic” among investors after Luna’s crash, CryptoCompare analysts wrote in a report.

Meanwhile, Bank of America reports the number of its customers using cryptocurrency tumbled more than 50% to fewer than 500,000 since the market’s highs in November. Even bullish crypto firms have had to reckon with the changing market. On Tuesday, top miner Core Scientific revealed it sold a majority of its bitcoin pile at an average cost of $23,000 last month, raising more than $167 million. In a statement, CEO Mike Levitt attributed the sales to “tremendous stress” driven by weak markets, higher interest rates and “historic inflation.”

Canada-based Bitfarms, which made headlines in January by joining Tesla and former billionaire Michael Saylor’s MicroStrategy in buying bitcoin for its balance sheet, also offloaded a large sum, dumping 3,000 bitcoins, or nearly half its pile, for $62 milion late last month. “It’s typical behavior for bitcoin miners to sell during the final stages of a bear market,” explains Sotiriou, noting some firms may need to shore up funds to cover expenses or stay solvent as high inflation tacks on to operating costs.

Billions In Frozen Cash

Citing “extreme market conditions,” crypto lender Celsius became the first major platform to pause withdrawals and transfers between customer accounts on June 13. Within days, others followed suit: Babel Finance, CoinFLEX and Voyager all froze withdrawals. None have re-enabled access, thus making billions of dollars in funds inaccessible to their investors.

“They’re in a really sticky situation because they’ve been irresponsible with clients’ funds, somehow lost out and are now unable to pay back their clients—and there’s no guarantee they’ll pay the money back,” explains Sotiriou. In its most recent quarterly filing, publicly traded Coinbase warned of the risk, disclosing customers would be treated as “unsecured creditors,” or lenders without collateral to fall back on, in the event the company goes bankrupt.

Bankruptcies And Liquidations

A handful of crypto firms are simply collapsing. On June 27, Voyager issued a notice of default to beleaguered Singapore-based crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC) for failing to make payments on $675 million in bitcoin and stablecoin loans. 3AC at one point managed some $3 billion, but Singapore financial regulators condemned the firm late last month, saying it provided false information and only had the authority to manage up to $250 million.

On top of that, 3AC’s troubles were exacerbated by the sell-off’s impact on its risky investments, which reportedly included overleveraged bets on the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust and about $200 million in now-worthless Luna. On Friday, a British Virgin Islands court reportedly ordered 3AC to liquidate its assets, deeming the firm insolvent; it filed for bankruptcy the same day.

With 3AC’s fate sealed, Voyager itself filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday—a mere five days after it suspended trading. “While I strongly believe in this future, the prolonged volatility and contagion in the crypto markets require us to take deliberate and decisive action now,” Voyager CEO Stephen Ehrlich said in a statement. In a court filing, the firm disclosed that it had more than 100,000 creditors and up to $10 billion in assets. Vauld and Celsius have also announced they’re exploring restructuring options.

Lifelines And War Chests

Some crypto companies are hoping to be rescued before being forced to shut their doors by turning to more stable counterparts. On Friday, FTX, the exchange founded by billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, entered into an agreement to buy embattled BlockFi for as much as $240 million. “You know, we’re willing to do a somewhat bad deal here, if that’s what it takes to sort of stabilize things and protect customers,” he told Forbes last month after providing BlockFi and Voyager with $750 million in credit lines between FTX and his quantitative trading firm Alameda.

More recently, he has said FTX has a “few billion” more to help struggling companies. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs is reportedly looking to raise $2 billion to help buy up distressed assets from Celsius, and other legacy institutions are also showing interest. “I have this knee-jerk reaction that if you believe that the fundamentals of a long-term case are really strong, when everybody else is dipping, that’s the time to double down,”

Fidelity CEO Abby Johnson, who this year shepherded the firm’s industry-first decision to allow bitcoin in 401(k) plans, said last month when asked about what could be her third crypto winter. “That’s usually the right move.” “It’s incredibly encouraging,” says Dante Perrucio. “Big institutions looking for distressed crypto assets means they believe that the industry is going to come back—and come back strong—despite this very complicated period we’re all in.”

I’m a senior reporter at Forbes focusing on markets and finance. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I double-majored in business journalism …

Source: Crypto Winter Watch: All The Big Layoffs, Record Withdrawals And Bankruptcies Sparked By The $2 Trillion Crash

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Bankman-Fried Warns: Some Crypto Exchanges Already “Secretly Insolvent”

fter throwing lifelines to troubled digital currency platforms BlockFi and Voyager Digital, Sam Bankman-Fried, the 30-year-old billionaire founder of FTX, warns that some crypto exchanges will soon fail. The question on everybody’s mind in the crypto world is whether we’ve reached the market bottom. Nearly $2 trillion in crypto market value has evaporated since November.

Two bellwether digital assets Luna, a $40 billion crypto asset associated with TerraUSD, a $16 billion stablecoin designed to maintain parity with the U.S. dollar, have collapsed. Earlier this month bitcoin traded for below $20,000, its lowest level since December 2020. But the fallout is far from complete. Earlier this month, Singapore-based Three Arrows Capital (3AC), a highly levered crypto trading firm with $200 million of exposure to Luna revealed that it was nearly insolvent.

Three Arrows’ had borrowed large sums from numerous crypto firms including New Jersey’s Voyager Digital and New York-based BlockFi. In order to survive Three Arrows default, the two digital asset exchanges turned to billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of FTX and the richest person in crypto, worth some $20.5 billion. Between FTX and his quantitative trading firm Alameda, he provided the companies with $750 million in credit lines.

There is no guarantee that Bankman-Fried will recoup his investment. “You know, we’re willing to do a somewhat bad deal here, if that’s what it takes to sort of stabilize things and protect customers,” he says. We’re willing to do a somewhat bad deal here, if that’s what it takes to sort of stabilize things.”

Bankman-Fried’s cash infusions are far from altruistic. He has emerged as a smart vulture capitalist in the beleaguered crypto market, knowing full well that his own fortune depends on its healthy rebound and growth. Bankman-Fried has also bought into crypto brokerage Robinhood, where FTX has already accumulated a 7.6% stake, and is rumored to be considering an acquisition.

Bankman-Fried denies any active merger talks with Robinhood but tells Forbes that more crypto exchange failures are coming. “There are some third-tier exchanges that are already secretly insolvent,” says Bankman-Fried. Fried’s FTX, along with Coinbase, Kraken and Binance, are giants among digital asset exchanges. They have millions of customer accounts and functionally they operate similarly to online stock brokerages. But outside of these whales, there are more than 600 crypto exchanges around the world operating in a largely unregulated frontier.

Never heard of AAX, Billance and Hotbit? You aren’t alone, but like Coinbase they trade bitcoin, ether and dogecoin and offer generous margin loans–as much 20 times their initial capital— to their clients. Lacking any meaningful regulatory oversight many crypto exchanges have been vulnerable to scammers and hacks.

Japanese exchange Coincheck was hacked for $530 million in crypto in 2018, Singaporean exchange KuCoin lost $275 million in 2020, and then in December 2021 Cayman Island-based Bitmart was breached for $200 million. Back in 2016, Bitifinex was hacked to the tune of nearly 120,000 bitcoin worth $2.5 billion now.

But, despite the generous bailouts, not even Bankman-Fried is able, or willing, to throw good money after bad in perpetuity. “There are companies that are basically too far gone and it’s not practical to backstop them for reasons like a substantial hole in the balance sheet, regulatory issues, or that there is not much of a business left to be saved,” says Bankman-Fried, who declined to name any specific crypto exchanges.

As Forbes reported in its analysis of the world’s best 60 crypto exchanges, the digital asset exchange business generally lacks standards to certify a new entity before or after they start soliciting client funds. The SEC doesn’t regulate the exchanges and the Commodities Futures and Trading Commission has oversight of only a handful of crypto derivatives markets. In the United States there is no member organization like FINRA to self- regulate crypto exchanges.

Bankman-Fried is worried about continued failures because during the euphoria of rising crypto prices, exchanges kept upping the ante to attract customers with generous yields for deposits. BlockFi or Voyager were promising yield payments to customers, upwards of 12% per year that had to be paid for either by charging at least that much more interest to borrowers or more likely, by putting that money to work in decentralized finance DeFi applications.

That worked fine when crypto was going nowhere but up. It looks disastrous now. “There are companies that are basically too far gone and it’s not practical to backstop them.”

Like J.P. Morgan during the stock market panic and crash of 1907, Bankman-Fried is taking advantage of the crypto chaos to expand his empire. He recently closed the acquisition of Liquid, a troubled Japanese exchange. BlockFi and Voyager Digital are in his grip and despite his denials, Robinhood may be next. According to sources familiar with his loans to Voyager, Alameda is likely to lose at least $70 million of the credit it has already extended. In 2021, publicly-traded Voyager’s Digital had a market value of more than $3 billion.

Today it shares trade for pennies and its market cap of $62 million points to an imminent bankruptcy filing. Despite the carnage, Bankman-Fried tells Forbes that FTX remains profitable and has been for the past 10 quarters. FTX’s biggest rival Coinbase lost $432 million in the first quarter of 2022 and its stock is down almost 90% from its all-time high.

Bankman-Fried also has his eye on crypto miners, many of whom leveraged their balance sheet at breakneck pace to quickly scale and take advantage of this 21st century digital gold rush. The stocks of publicly-trading crypto miners including Marathon Digital Holdings and Riot Blockchain are down more than 60% year to date.

One bellwether crypto asset Bankman-Fried is not worried about is Tether, world’s largest dollar-pegged stablecoin with a market cap exceeding $70 billion. Many industry watchers have deemed it a ticking time bomb with questionable collateral whose failure would almost certainly be an existential threat to the entire cryptocurrency market. Tested during the Luna collapse Tether briefly lost its $1 peg and fell to a price 95 cents. However, it successfully processed over $10 billion worth of withdrawals and has since recovered.

Says Bankman-Fried, “I think that the really bearish views on Tether are wrong…I don’t think there is any evidence to support them.”

Steven Ehrlich

I am director of research for digital assets at Forbes. I was recently at Kraken, a cryptocurrency exchange based in the United States.

Source: Bankman-Fried Warns: Some Crypto Exchanges Already “Secretly Insolvent”

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