23-Year-Old ‘Crypto King’ Has Luxury Cars Seized After $35 Million of Investor Money Vanishes

Five luxury cars, including two BMWs, two McLarens, and a Lamborghini, have been seized from 23-year-old Aiden Pleterski, the self-described “crypto king” of Canada, during bankruptcy proceedings according to a new report from the CBC. But those cars are only worth a fraction of the $35 million that Pleterski allegedly took from investors who thought he’d make them rich in the cryptocurrency market, and it’s not clear whether they’ll ever see their money again. Gizmodo reports: Pleterski and his company AP Private Equity Limited are facing at least two civil lawsuits after 140 people have come forward to say they invested a combined $35 million with Pleterski. Those people believed they were investing in cryptocurrency, and Pleterski’s online presence — including photos of the 23-year-old on private jets and next to luxury cars– helped create the image that he knew what he was doing.

Pleterski’s YouTube channel and Instagram account have been deleted but it appears he purchased articles on websites like Forbes.mc (the top level domain for Monaco) and the far-right news outlet Daily Caller to get his name associated with success in crypto investment. The Daily Caller article from December 2021 includes a photo of Pleterski looking at his phone in what appears to be a private jet. Notably, December 2021 was a time when cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum were trading near all-time highs. The headline reads, “Aiden Pleterski: Meet the Young Canadian Investor Who Is Taking the World of Crypto By Storm.”

The question remains whether Pleterski actually invested any of the money in crypto to begin with, and speaks to just how strange the crypto market has been over the past year. For all anyone knows, Pleterski may have actually invested the money and lost it like so many others since the peak of November 2021. Bitcoin is down 56% since its price a year ago, while ethereum is down 57%. Pleterski insists he invested the money but that he’s just bad with record-keeping. But some investors suspect Pleterski didn’t even bother investing the money, instead pocketing it for himself, according to people who spoke with the CBC. Investors are trying to get their money back through the bankruptcy court and two civil lawsuits, but criminal charges haven’t been pursued, even though some have reported their incidents to Toronto police, according to the CBC.

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GPU Mining No Longer Profitable After Ethereum Merge

Just one day after the Ethereum Merge, where the cryptocoin successfully switched from Proof of Work (PoW) to Proof of Stake (PoS), profitability of GPU mining has completely collapsed. Tom’s Hardware reports: That means the best graphics cards should finally be back where they belonged, in your gaming PC, just as god intended. That’s a quick drop, considering yesterday there were still a few cryptocurrencies that were technically profitable. Looking at WhatToMine, and using the standard $0.10 per kWh, the best-case results are with the GeForce RTX 3090 and Radeon RX 6800 and 6800 XT. Those are technically showing slightly positive results, to the tune of around $0.06 per day after power costs. However, that doesn’t factor in the cost of the PC power, or the wear and tear on your graphics card.

Even at a slightly positive net result, it would still take over 20 years to break even on the cost of an RX 6800. We say that tongue-in-cheek, because if there’s one thing we know for certain, it’s that no one can predict what the cryptocurrency market will look like even one year out, never mind 20 years in the future. It’s a volatile market, and there are definitely lots of groups and individuals hoping to figure out a way to Make GPU Mining Profitable Again (MGMPA hats inbound…)

Of the 21 current generation graphics cards from the AMD RX 6000-series and the Nvidia RTX 30-series, only five are theoretically profitable right now, and those are all just barely in the black. This is using data from NiceHash and WhatToMine, so perhaps there are ways to tune other GPUs to get into the net positive, but the bottom line is that no one should be using GPUs for mining right now, and certainly not buying more GPUs for mining purposes. [You can see a full list of the current profitability of the current generation graphics cards here.]

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Are More Than Half of All Bitcoin Trades Fake?

Bitcoin represents 40% of the $1 trillion outstanding crypto assets, according to Forbes’ director of data and analytics. “An estimated 46 million adult Americans already own it according to New York Digital Investment Group…”

“But can you trust what your crypto exchange or e-brokerage reports about trading in the most important digital currency?”
One of the most common criticisms of bitcoin is pervasive wash trading (a form of fake volume) and poor surveillance across exchanges. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission defines wash trading as “entering into, or purporting to enter into, transactions to give the appearance that purchases and sales have been made, without incurring market risk or changing the trader’s market position.” The reason why some traders engage in wash trading is to inflate the trading volume of an asset to give the appearance of rising popularity. In some cases trading bots execute these wash trades in tokens, increasing volume, while at the same time insiders reinforce the activity with bullish remarks, driving up the price in what is effectively a pump and dump scheme. Wash trading also benefits exchanges because it allows them to appear to have more volume than they actually do, potentially encouraging more legitimate trading.

There is no universally accepted method of calculating bitcoin daily volume, even among the industry’s most reputable research firms. For instance, as of this writing, CoinMarketCap puts the latest 24-hour trading of bitcoin at $32 billion, CoinGecko at $27 billion, Nomics at $57 billion and Messari at $5 billion….

As part of Forbes research into the crypto ecosystem using 2021 data, we ranked the 60 best exchanges in March. More recently we conducted a deeper-dive into the bitcoin trading markets…. Our study evaluated 157 crypto exchanges across the world. Here are our main findings:

– More than half of all reported trading volume is likely to be fake or non-economic. Forbes estimates the global daily bitcoin volume for the industry was $128 billion on June 14. That is 51% less than the $262 billion one would get by taking the sum of self-reported volume from multiple sources….

– The biggest problem areas regarding fake volume are firms that tout big volume but operate with little or no regulatory oversight that would make their figures more credible, notably Binance, MEXC Global and Bybit. Altogether, the lesser regulated exchanges in our study account for approximately $89 billion of the true volume (they claim $217 billion).

Forbes adds that their report “builds on top of the important work done by other digital asset researchers such as Bitwise, which estimated in a March 2019 white paper that 95% of CoinMarketCap’s bitcoin trading volume was fake and/or non-economic.”

Their article includes some other interesting findings, including an observation that Tether “continues to be a dominant player in the crypto trading economy, especially when it comes to trades against bitcoin. Its current market capitalization is $68 billion, despite questions about its reserves.”

Thanks to Slashdot reader rrconan for sharing the article…

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As US Crypto Mining Surges, Lawmakers Demand Disclosure of Emissions and Energy Data

The world has changed since China banned cryptomining, the Guardian reports. And now “more than a third of the global computing power dedicated to mining bitcoin comes from the US, Senator Elizabeth Warren and five other Democrats reported in a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency…”
But the Guardian also notes there’s two problems with this:
– The largest US cryptomining companies have the capacity to use as much electricity as nearly every home in Houston, Texas; energy use that is contributing to rising utility bills, according to an investigation by Democratic lawmakers…

– “The results of our investigation … are disturbing … revealing that cryptominers are large energy users that account for a significant — and rapidly growing — amount of carbon emissions,” the letter states.

“It is imperative that your agencies work together to address the lack of information about cryptomining’s energy use and environmental impacts.” The congressional Democrats have asked the EPA and the Department of Energy to require cryptominers to disclose emissions and energy use, noting that regulators know little about the full environmental impact of the industry….

The power demands of the industry are also coming at a cost to consumers, the letter states, citing a study that found cryptomining operations in upstate New York led to a rise in electric bills by roughly $165m for small businesses and $79m for individuals.
The main operator of Texas’s grid admitted this week to the Verge that by 2026 crypto mining is set to increase demand on the state’s power grid by a whopping 27 gigawatts — or nearly a third of the grid’s current maximum capacity.

And an associate professor at Rochester Institute of Technology with a background in electricity system policy warns the site that “The more crypto mining that comes into the state, the higher the residents should expect the electricity prices to become.”

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