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The SBF trial update👩🏻⚖️
How's SBF being treated so far? From console to cinema, Cyberpunk's trading pixels for popcorn. OpenAI's AI chips, Snapchat's "My AI" warning and EPIK's viral yearbook photo feature. Redfall falls...
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It was a week of intense drama, where glitz, glamour, and billions in crypto collided with the unyielding hand of justice.
Sam Bankman-Fried, the former FTX CEO, found himself in the spotlight, not for a magazine cover or a luxury real estate deal but in a courtroom facing allegations of massive financial mismanagement.
From being the face of luxury real estate and political influence to being accused of building an empire on deceit, Bankman-Fried's transition has been tumultuous.
Assistant US Attorney Thane Rehn didn't mince words during the opening statements, claiming that Bankman-Fried "lied to the world".
A stark contrast from his attorney, Mark Cohen's portrayal of him as an entrepreneur who merely made mistakes amidst rapid growth.
The Trial's Beginning: The first week of Sam Bankman-Fried's trial has been challenging for him. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is alleging that he was part of a scheme to defraud customers and investors through FTX and Alameda Research.
Public Perception: There are multiple factors that have negatively affected the public's view of Bankman-Fried. These include allegations from FTX's current leadership, a seemingly ill-timed "apology tour," and comparisons to the infamous Enron scandal.
The Family's Vigil: Throughout the trial, two unwavering figures, his parents Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, held their ground. While Joseph occasionally offered a reassuring smile, Barbara's intense gaze seldom left her son.
Witnesses Speak Out
The week witnessed testimonies from various quarters, painting a mixed picture of the former CEO:
Marc Julliard: A cocoa trader turned victim, Julliard’s account was that of an individual who entrusted his savings to FTX and found himself left high and dry.
Adam Yedidia: An old MIT buddy and an insider in Bankman-Fried's empire, Yedidia's testimony hinted at a deep-seated financial mess between FTX and Alameda. His conversations with Bankman-Fried painted a picture of uncertainty and potential doom.
Matthew Huang: Representing venture capital firm Paradigm, Huang's loss of a staggering $278 million brought to light the lack of transparency and alleged deceptions by Bankman-Fried.
Gary Wang: Perhaps the most revealing testimony came from Wang, a former ally turned key witness. His intricate knowledge of FTX and Alameda's operations underlined special privileges, commingling of funds, and financial mismanagement.
Assets & Financials
US prosecutors are seeking to seize two luxury jets linked to Bankman-Fried.
Venture firm Paradigm has marked down its $278 million investment in FTX to zero.
There are revelations about changes Bankman-Fried made to the lock-up period of SRM tokens in 2021 due to concerns about his employees becoming too wealthy.
Alameda Research reportedly suffered significant losses, including losing over $500,000 daily during a specific month.
The Defense's Take
Bankman-Fried’s defense attempted to counter the claims, arguing that certain privileges extended to Alameda were not unique and were essential due to its role as a primary market maker on FTX.
Jury & Trial Dynamics: The jury, which includes diverse professions, seems unengaged at times, with reports of at least one juror falling asleep. The US prosecutors portrayed Bankman-Fried's operations as deceitful.
In contrast, the defense is arguing that a business mistake, even a significant one, is not necessarily a crime.
External Commentary: The trial and related events have led to several external opinions, including Kevin O'Leary's remark that the era of "crypto cowboys" is ending as the industry moves towards regulation.
Michael Lewis' biography, "Going Infinite," provides insight into Bankman-Fried's business operations and decisions, some of which have been mentioned in the trial.
Looking Forward: The trial promises more twists and turns as it heads into its second week. Wang's testimony is slated to continue, and Caroline Ellison's anticipated appearance is sure to offer more revelations.
TTD Numbers 🔢
CD Projekt Red's critically acclaimed video game 'Cyberpunk 2077' is gearing up for a live-action adaptation in Hollywood, courtesy of production company Anonymous Content.
Who's Behind This? CD Projekt Red, the genius minds behind fan-favourites like 'Cyberpunk 2077' and 'The Witcher', is joining forces with Hollywood's Anonymous Content to give fans a live-action rendition of the game's dystopian universe.
What's the Format? While specifics are still under wraps, the involvement of Garret Kemble, Head of Television at Anonymous Content, hints at a potential TV series. But a movie hasn't been ruled out either, given that the studio only mentions a "project."
Who's Onboard? Apart from Kemble, Ryan Schwartz (Director of Development), David Levine (Chief Creative Officer), and Bard Dorros are helming the project.
The quest for a screenwriter to pen the new tale is on, with the management and production firm Gotham Group's Charlie Scully joining the ranks. Production is happening under AC Studios.
Cyberpunk 2077's Journey: Remember the bumpy start in December 2020? Seems like ancient history now, with 25 million copies sold and glowing reviews on Steam. Not to forget the new "Phantom Liberty" expansion featuring Idris Elba, selling 3 million units in less than a fortnight.
Anonymous Content's Cred: If you loved "Mr. Robot", "True Detective", or "Westworld", then you're already a fan of their work. David Levine also had a hand in producing the early seasons of "Game of Thrones" and the cult-favourite "True Blood".
Déjà Vu? CD Projekt Red isn't a newbie in Hollywood adaptations. Remember the Netflix hit adaptation of 'The Witcher' with Henry Cavill leading the charge? Three seasons and counting.
TTD Gaming 🎮
NNWT is Here 🎉
Mythical Games releases mobile racing game "Nitro Nation World Tour" (NNWT) for iOS and Android.
Free-to-play mobile drag racing.
Licensed car NFTs from brands like McLaren, Aston Martin, and Jaguar.
Real-time racing against other players.
Campaign mode available.
Car fine-tuning and garage upgrading.
Collaboration: Published with support from CM Games, the original Nitro Nation game's creators (2014 release).
Car Options: Range of car models including Volkswagen, Subaru, RUF, Lotus, Pagani, Saleen, and KTM.
Promotion by deadmau5
Electronic musician Joel "Deadmau5" Zimmerman promotes NNWT.
Uses NNWT visuals in his upcoming tour in Tokyo.
Known supercar enthusiast; had previous Ferrari legal issues.
Has an in-game Deadmau5 themed car.
Players can compete in a Deadmau5 racing event to win the exclusive car.
Collaborated previously with Mythical Games for Blankos Block Party.
Shared enthusiasm for technology and video games in a statement.
Game's NFT Integration
On Mythical's Mythos blockchain.
Players can purchase NFTs of their "Workshop", upgradeable with four rarity levels.
Workshop NFTs provide car stat boosts compared to the free version.
The app is free and had over 100,000 downloads on Google’s Play Store during its soft launch.
Bethesda's game "Redfall" is experiencing a sharp decrease in players since its May release due to negative reviews.
Comparison with Starfield
Starfield had over one million concurrent players last month.
Redfall, on the other hand, has experienced dismal numbers.
Dropped to below 100 concurrent players in June, two months post-release.
Reached as low as four concurrent players on a Sunday and only six on a Friday.
Peak concurrent players were just above 6,000.
Game has a “Mostly Negative” rating on Steam with around 2,300 reviews.
Issues and Criticisms
Microsoft's Xbox head Phil Spencer admitted the game's flawed launch disappointed many.
Reports of understaffing, employee exits, and a vague game vision for Redfall.
The game had performance issues, with Xbox players waiting for a patch to enable 60 fps.
Players report numerous bugs, glitches, and server issues remaining unaddressed even five months after release.
Some gamers sought Steam refunds after trying the game.
Negative sentiments include feeling like beta testers and criticisms of the $70 price.
Few positive reviews suggest buying the game only when discounted.
Players challenge Redfall's standing as a AAA title from a major publisher.
Criticisms target the game's AI, controls, graphics, and world-building.
OpenAI To Manufacture AI Chips
OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, is considering manufacturing its own AI chips due to a global shortage of hardware.
It has evaluated a potential acquisition to support its chip-making ambitions but has not made a decision yet.
OpenAI is also exploring options such as working closely with its current chip supplier, Nvidia, and diversifying chip suppliers.
The company's CEO, Sam Altman, previously expressed frustration over chip shortages delaying their progress.
If OpenAI proceeds with in-house chip production, it will join companies like Google and Amazon.
The demand for specialised AI chips has surged since the launch of ChatGPT.
"My AI" Gets a Warning
Snapchat has been warned by the UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) over its AI chatbot, "My AI," for failing to properly assess privacy risks.
The ICO's preliminary notice stated that the risks to millions of My AI users, including children aged 13-17, were not adequately identified before its launch.
If a final enforcement notice is issued, Snap may be forced to stop data processing for My AI and would be unable to offer the service to UK users without an adequate risk assessment.
Snapchat is currently reviewing the ICO's notice and is committed to protecting user privacy.
EPIK Takes the App Store by Storm
EPIK, an AI photo-editing app, has become the number one app on the App Store due to its viral yearbook photo feature.
The app, developed by South Korea-based Snow Corporation, allows users to generate nostalgic 90s-inspired yearbook photos of themselves.
Influencers from around the world have been sharing their AI-generated photos on social media, leading to its popularity.
EPIK has gained 92.3 million lifetime installs since its launch in August 2021, with India being its largest market.
However, the app is currently experiencing delays due to high demand. Users can pay for the AI output and faster delivery options.
TTD Hack 🦹🏻
On October 6th, users of the Web3 platform Galxe faced a digital blackout of sorts. The company's website mysteriously went offline, leaving a vast community in the dark about their digital assets. The first signal of distress?
Not long after, Galxe admitted to a security breach concerning its Domain Name System (DNS).
Their caution to users? Stay away from the domain, at least until they could ensure its safety.
But what exactly transpired during this brief blackout?
A cybersecurity expert specialising in Web3 platforms revealed that Galxe's DNS records were tampered with, redirecting users to a phishing site ready to drain unsuspecting users' wallets.
ZachXBT, pointed out that funds were siphoning away from Galxe.
The culprits? A wallet linked with the attack, which, even after Galxe's comeback, continued to grow in funds, amassing around $160,000 by 17:15 UTC.
ZachXBT believes this wasn't a standalone incident. He suggests a connection between this attack and a previous one on the Balancer protocol on September 19th.
Alarmingly, that was Balancer's *second* attack within a month. That breach caused a loss of $238,000 and was dubbed a "social engineering attack" on its DNS server by none other than the elusive crypto wallet drainer, Angel Drainer. Some sources, like blockchain security firm SlowMist, even hinted at Russian associations.
Web3 projects took a major financial hit in this year's third quarter. Compared to Q3 2022, attacks have spiked from 30% to a whopping 76%. Losses this quarter were close to a staggering $686 million. The most significant chunk of this came from the Mixin hack in late September.
TTD Surfer 🏄
Activist investors in the decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) FloorDAO have successfully campaigned for a $2.5 million bounty.
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has released a second consultation paper on Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) mandates.
Elon Musk tested video game streaming on X, formerly known as Twitter, as the platform continues its push to become an "everything app."
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