Curtains for a major crypto player

What happened to Paxful?

Welcome back. Reading this on a Mac? Here’s something fun for your Tuesday: Turns out Apple has embedded the Bitcoin whitepaper in every macOS version since 2018. No one knows why, and Apple is keeping quiet.

Today: The end of a Bitcoin OG, rumors about CZ, and some serious DOGE action. Let’s dive in.


It's Curtains for Paxful

We all know how tough this crypto winter has been on the startups that were full of hope just a year ago. But when an OG peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange like Paxful closes shop, it hits hard.

What happened: Paxful CEO Ray Youssef announced last Tuesday that the company is suspending its marketplace and said he’s “not sure if it will come back.” 

  • Paxful was one of the largest P2P exchanges for Bitcoin, with a major footprint in Asia and Africa. 

  • It allowed users to trade BTC directly with one another without the need for a centralized intermediary like Binance or Coinbase.

FYI: Youssef advised customers to withdraw all their funds held on Paxful, which are “all accounted for.” The Paxful Wallet will remain active for users to do so. 

Why is this happening? Youssef said that he can’t share the full story quite yet, but he cited two main reasons for Paxful shutting down:

  1. Paxful co-founder Arthur Schaback sued Youssef back in January, and Youssef claims that Schaback’s litigation team “drove away all of [Paxful’s] senior-level staff who just couldn’t deal with this guy anymore.”

  2. Regulatory challenges took their toll on Paxful, “especially in the peer-to-peer market and most heavily in the U.S.,” according to Youssef. But blocking U.S. customers wasn’t an option, Youssef said, due to a lack of staff to pull it off.

Big picture: Paxful is the second major P2P marketplace to close this year after LocalBitcoins shut down in February. Some potential reasons why? Centralized competitors like Binance and Coinbase are 1) often easier for traders to navigate and 2) offer better liquidity. But P2P exchanges also face increased regulatory scrutiny—after all, privacy all too often attracts bad actors.

Rumors Make the (Crypto) World Go Round

Now that the manhunt for Do Kwon is over, is Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) crypto’s next international fugitive? Rumor spread on Twitter last Monday that Interpol allegedly issued a red notice for CZ—an appeal to law enforcement worldwide to arrest him.

The catalyst? Prominent crypto influencer Cobie posted “Interpol red notice for CZ” in a tweet encrypted using the SHA-256 hash function (the same cryptography that secures Bitcoin). According to Cobie, he heard a rumor and encrypted the tweet to reveal later when the news turned out to be true—proving he knew about CZ’s red notice in advance.

Reactions: Binance execs fervently denied the rumors, but crypto markets were still spooked. Cobie’s tweet triggered a significant drop in the price of Binance’s BNB token. Maybe your economics professor had a point with the whole “all markets are irrational” thing?

For now, CZ’s legal situation is unclear. While there’s no concrete evidence that Interpol issued this red notice, the CFTC did just sue Binance and its CEO for “willfully evading U.S. law.”

Who Let the DOGE Out?

Over in memecoin land: Dogecoin spiked some 36% after Elon Musk mysteriously replaced Twitter’s classic blue bird with the token’s iconic Shiba Inu logo last Monday.

Price action: DOGE surged past the $0.10 threshold following the news, up from around $0.077 right before the swap. Dogecoin’s price last exceeded 10 cents in December 2022.

A bullish sign? Chief Twit didn’t give any explanations for the logo change, but some see the move as a sign that Twitter could soon integrate a permanent Dogecoin payments system. Others believe it’s classic Elon price manipulation…

FYI: Doge’s stint as Twitter mascot was short—the blue bird was back up Thursday.

In other news:

  • OpenSea launched OpenSea Pro in its latest effort to court professional NFT traders from zero-fee competitor platforms. 

  • Decentralized exchange dYdx announced it will wind down its services for Canadian users.

  • Ralph Lauren is dabbling with crypto payments for retail stores. 

  • Thailand’s opposition leader promised an economic stimulus package via a crypto airdrop.

  • SushiSwap fell victim to a $3.3 million DeFi exploit.

Crypto Job Board

And that's what you need on your radar today in crypto. What’s the real reason Apple snuck in the Bitcoin whitepaper into macOS? Shoot me a reply with your theory. Catch you back here next Tuesday!