Two identities, one man: the story of $800 million hedge fund fraudster Boaz Manor who led the alleged $31 million Blockchain Terminal ICO

Bitcoin $3,496                    Ethereum $91.69 
Crypto Mkt Cap $111B              BTC Dominance 55.00%  

“I went to Blockchain Terminal today and had a demo of the system. It’s really advanced and has many tools. It also has a total market depth tool across all exchanges. If you are a serious trader that trades for a fund or a large portfolio tweet me and we may send you a screen.” — Ran NeuNer, Host of the Crypto Trader show on CNBC Africa

The Big Block

BCT looked good on paper. 

It had an all-star team, a product that promised to give Bloomberg a run for its money – the aptly-named Blockchain Terminal, and funding to run a massive ICO campaign. The founder, a mysteriously well-capitalized investor, was zealously dedicated and he had gathered a community of investors that were champing at the bit to grab a piece of future riches.

It was the perfect product for the next generation of traders. Geeky enough for gearheads and familiar enough for Wall Streeters, the BCT was supposed to bridge the gap between enthusiasts on an exchange and hard-charging professionals. And it almost did.

In reality, many ex-employees said, BCT was a scam and that founding investor, a bearded Canadian with a quiet demeanor, was not who he claimed to be. In fact, they said, he was a known financial criminal. Those employees requested to speak anonymously, citing fear of reputation risk and physical danger.

Riding the initial coin offering wave, which took financial markets and media by storm at the end of 2017, this founder convinced large investors in Asia and Australia to pour millions into a token sale aimed at building out their terminal device. The firm shipped out dozens of the terminals to well-known crypto hedge funds. But the product itself, like the company, was a facade, according to former employees and investors.

Read More on The Block (13 Minutes)

Around The Block

Crypto Simplified: Explaining permissioned blockchains

IBM and other major players market blockchains as a panacea to cure all the issues in an enterprise’s value chain. Problems with your lettuce supply? Track it with a blockchain. Patients asking for their medical data? Send it to them through the blockchain. Need an international ID that is immutable? Blockchain again.

As enterprise blockchain players try desperately to frame blockchains as innovative technology equivalent to that of the Internet is anything actually happening? — More

Facebook Blockchain ramps up hiring, states “ultimate goal is to help billions of people”

Facebook’s investment in blockchain is gathering steam, The Block’s review of the social-media giant’s careers site has found. According to Facebook’s career site, the “ultimate goal is to help billions of people with things they don’t have access to now” via blockchain technology.

As of December 6, there were seven blockchain-related job listings. One listing read “Facebook is seeking an experienced Data Scientist to join the Blockchain Data Science team” while multiple software engineering roles are open on the Blockchain team, now with a capitalized “B” in multiple listings. — More

Research: 1.3 million Bitmain S9 miners switched off in past month, “almost all miners” were losing money — More

Indian government panel suggests that all cryptocurrencies should be illegal — More

One of Russia’s largest state-owned banks is developing crypto-banking services for institutional clients — More

Japanese politician proposes relaxing crypto laws to boost adoption — More

Bitmain’s development center in Israel is shutting down amid the bear market — More

Tether dominance drops to new 3-year low as other stablecoins gain traction — More

Euro-backed stablecoin issuer Stasis makes promise to become first independently audited stablecoin — More

$158M ICO considers a Messi pivot — More

The Block wants to understand who our readers are. Please take a few minutes to respond to our short survey. Your participation will give us a better understanding of our readers and what interests them! Please note that the survey results will be anonymized and aggregated. Please take the survey here.