This year has seen the rise of cryptocurrency’s most heinous criminals. The cryptocurrency’s ‘villains’ have done all in their power to tarnish the crypto industry’s reputation.
These crypto villains are bad news for blockchain‘s growth, whether in court, on social media, or even from a secret North Korean bunker.
Who are the masterminds behind the most devious schemes in the crypto realm? Which nefarious characters have outsmarted the smart contracts, leaving a trail of digital mayhem in their wake?
Villain syndrome – Crypto industry’s worst nightmare but as people
Some people, including regulators and traditional financial institutions, continue to gamble against cryptocurrency. While few mention potential hazards such as market volatility and security flaws, others outrightly won’t let the industry thrive.
A “Crypto Villain” is not your typical antagonist. Today’s rogue villain is often yesterday’s heroic champion. Crypto heads like Sam Bankman-Fried and Do Kwon were once heralded as visionaries driving crypto forward, but we all know how that went down.
Individuals, groups, or even authoritative figures who misuse the decentralized dream for personal advantage are examples of crypto villains. Their acts and behavior wreak havoc on the crypto sector, suffocating growth and innovation in this fledgling market.
1. Gary Gensler
Gary Gensler, the SEC Chair, is the ideal Villain for the digital asset community. For years, Gensler’s SEC has filed lawsuit after lawsuit against crypto projects, guiding a regulatory agency that is both opaque and litigious.
This year, Gensler and his regulatory enforces in D.C. have attempted to bring down the industry at every opportunity. Gary led the long-running legal struggle with Brad Garlinghouse and Ripple Labs, ruling with an iron fist of regulatory force.
However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Gensler’s crypto battle has affected far more than just XRP. This year, Gary has wasted little time pursuing lawsuits against Coinbase and Binance and launching a scathing attack on Kraken’s crypto-staking entity.
Gary doesn’t think of himself as a bad industry influencer. He has defended his actions as ethical. Despite this, several high-ranking officials have called for Gensler’s dismissal, asserting his failure to safeguard investors from two of the greatest crypto disasters in history, FTX and Terra Luna.
2. Sam Bankman-Fried
You are correct in assuming that Sam Bankman-Fried is the greatest villain of 2022. However, given the ongoing FTX scandal and the unaccounted-for billions of dollars, SBF’s transgressions continue to be included in the pantheon of evil for 2023.
In collaboration with Caroline Ellison, Bankman-Fried misappropriated customer deposits totaling more than $8 billion USD in order to finance his ostentatious lifestyle and perilously high-risk trading strategy. SBF’s actions, which he pretended to represent altruism and relatability, shook the crypto community and set the industry back years.
Presently, Sam Bankman-Fried sits in the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn, where he is awaiting trial on an expanding array of allegations that include violations of campaign finance regulations, money laundering, and securities fraud. The verdict comes in March 2024.
3. Elizabeth Warren
Bitcoin is responsible for terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and global warming, according to US Senator Elizabeth Warren. The point is that Senator Warren is one of the most outspoken detractors of crypto and isn’t afraid to let facts get in the way of her arguments.
Her most recent attack on the sector is the “Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act,” which she seeks to push through Congress. But, as everyone who knows Warren knows, her track record on passing legislation is not outstanding.
4. The Lazarus Group
Established in the dark depths of North Korea, the Lazarus Group has long inflicted havoc on the crypto industry as an elite cybercrime hacking organization.
The Lazarus Group has been implicated in several of the most significant crypto hacks of 2023. It is estimated that the North Korean hackers made nearly $240 million in 104 days’ worth of revenue by attacking well-known platforms such as Atomic Wallet, Coinspaid, Alphapo, and Stake.com.
Their velocity, thankfully, appears to be decelerating. Since 2022, when the notorious group stole $1.65 billion USD, the total quantity of funds stolen by North Korean hackers has decreased by over 80%, according to a report by Chainalysis.
5. Do Kwon
Do Kwon is comparable to Sam Bankman-Fried in demeanour. Although the majority of his malevolent deeds occurred in 2022, the enduring consequences have persisted well into the present year and beyond.
Do Kwon’s innovative stablecoin protocol UST, which was founded alongside the Terra blockchain and LUNA cryptocurrency, was precipitated into an unsustainable downward trajectory that crippled the crypto industry.
During the entire year of 2022, Do Kwon managed to elude arrest despite being sought after for interrogation in the United States, South Korea, and Singapore.
Ultimately, the elusive crypto magnate was apprehended and incarcerated in Montenegro on suspicion of possessing counterfeit passports. Presently, he is incarcerated in a penal facility in Montenegro renowned for its harsh environment.
As reported, Do Kwon is doing everything in his power to prevent extradition to the United States and South Korea for trial.