Judge allows release of identities of guarantors behind Sam Bankman-Fried’s bail
Judge Lewis Kaplan has granted a petition from several news outlets requesting the identities of two of Sam Bankman-Fried’s bail guarantors, signing on for $200,000 and $500,000.

A federal judge has allowed the identities of guarantors who signed on as sureties for former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s $250 million bond to be made public following a request from several news outlets.

Court documents released on Feb. 15 show that the two previously unidentified individuals are Andreas Paepcke, a senior research scientist at Stanford University, and Larry Kramer, a former dean of Stanford Law School. The two signed on as sureties for Bankman-Fried’s bail on Jan. 25 for $200,000 and $500,000, respectively.

Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried — SBF’s parents — were the other two parties who signed off on their son’s bond in December 2022 following his arraignment. The two were law professors at Stanford prior to their son’s arrest, with Bankman seemingly becoming more of a target in FTX’s bankruptcy case — company debtors issued subpoenas to him, his son, and other “insiders” on Feb. 14.

According to a Feb. 15 report from Business Insider, Kramer said he had been friends with Bankman and Fried since the 1990s, and his $500,000 contribution was based on that relationship. It’s unclear at the time of publication what connection Paepcke may have to Bankman-Fried or his parents.

Bankman-Fried’s bail conditions restricted him to home arrest at his parent’s California house, but he has been permitted to leave for court appearances and other allowances. Judge Lewis Kaplan has amended SBF’s bail conditions to include restrictions on accessing certain messaging apps, using virtual private networks, and contacting current and former FTX and Alameda Research employees.

Eight major news outlets petitioned Judge Kaplan in a Jan. 12 letter, requesting the court disclose the names of the two individuals “that provided Mr. Bankman-Fried with financial backing.” The judge initially granted the petition but stayed the release of the guarantors’ identities until Feb. 7 to allow time for SBF’s legal team to appeal.

Bankman-Fried’s lawyers argued against the release of Paepcke’s and Kramer’s identities — who were at the time unnamed — in a Jan. 3 letter, saying that Bankman and Fried had been the target of “intense media scrutiny, harassment, and threats.” The legal team announced their intent to appeal Kaplan’s decision, which delayed the release of the information until Feb. 14.

SBF’s criminal trial is scheduled to begin in October, while FTX’s bankruptcy case is ongoing. FTX co-founder Gary Wang and former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison have already pleaded guilty to certain charges and are reportedly cooperating with authorities

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European Union discusses using zero-knowledge proofs for digital IDs
EU citizens would be granted full control of their data, with an option to decide what information to share and with whom.

The European Union is famous for its ambivalent relationship with privacy — on the one hand, it was the first place in the world to apply strict data protection regulations. On the other, its central bank digital currency (CBDC) project lacks the anonymity standards of private cryptocurrencies.

Nevertheless, last week EU lawmakers made a vital step to embrace privacy in the space of citizens’ digital identities. On Feb. 9, the Industry, Research and Energy Committee included the standard of zero-knowledge proofs in its amendments to the European digital identity framework (eID). The latest update was voted in by 55 votes to 8 in the committee — the draft will now proceed to the trilogue phase of negotiations.

While the latest draft is still not available publicly, the press release specifies that EU citizens would be granted full control of their data, with the option to decide what information to share and with whom:

“The new eID would allow citizens to identify and authenticate themselves online (via a European digital identity wallet) without having to resort to commercial providers, as is the case today - a practice that raised trust, security and privacy concerns.”

As Jonas Fredriksen, the senior director for EU government affairs at Circle has noted on Twitter:

“The proposal would facilitate the emergence of new business models and opportunities in the digital economy, as companies develop innovative products and services that rely on zero-knowledge proofs and eID solutions.”

Zero-knowledge proofs have recently been at the center of researchers’ attention as a possible means to ensure regulatory compliance and privacy in digital currencies.

The joint paper by the San Francisco-based Mina Foundation, operator of the Mina Protocol; German Hauck Aufhäuser Lampe bank; and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust of the University of Luxembourg showed how exactly the zero proofs could be connected to Europe’s eIDAS electronic identity system.

However, not everyone is convinced by that solution. Writing for Cointelegraph, Balázs Némethi, the CEO of Veri Labs and a co-founder of kycDAO, claimed that when proofs alone are insufficient and personal information sharing between the participants of a transaction is essential, relying only on off-chain solutions is advised.

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El Salvador to open a ‘Bitcoin Embassy’ in the United States
El Salvador, the first country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, is setting up a new Bitcoin Embassy in Texas to promote BTC.

The world’s biggest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, is connecting more countries as the government of El Salvador is opening a “Bitcoin Embassy” in the United States.

El Salvador, a country that adopted Bitcoin as legal tender in 2021, is expanding its Bitcoin strategy in a new partnership with the government of Texas. The intergovernmental collaboration aims to set up a Bitcoin Embassy, or El Salvador’s representative office, in Texas to work on new joint projects to promote Bitcoin adoption.

Milena Mayorga, the Salvadoran Ambassador to the United States, announced the news in a statement on Twitter on Feb. 14.

“In my meeting with the assistant secretary of the government of Texas, Joe Esparza, we discussed the opening of the second Bitcoin Embassy and the expansion of commercial and economic exchange projects,” Mayorga said.

The latest Bitcoin initiative comes a few months after El Salvador opened the first Bitcoin Embassy in Switzerland’s southern city of Lugano in October 2022. As part of the efforts, the two pro-crypto jurisdictions started working to establish a physical governmental presence to promote cooperation in education and research institutions related to Bitcoin.

According to former Blockstream chief strategy officer Samson Mow, the phenomenon of the Bitcoin embassy is the next step in nation-states and cities adopting Bitcoin. He said that such initiatives imply cooperation between countries to develop new initiatives like establishing alliances between places that have adopted Bitcoin.

The news comes amid Texas lawmakers reportedly considering a new bill calling for a “a master plan for the expansion of the blockchain industry.” The legal initiative aims to turn Texas into the crypto capital of the country by introducing tax-free shopping with Bitcoin, among other proposals.

As previously reported, Texas has emerged as one of the crypto-friendly U.S. states, passing crypto-friendly laws aiming to better adapt commercial laws to blockchain innovation and digital asset regulations. Texas is also home to some of the largest Bitcoin miners in North America, with major mining companies like Riot Blockchain, Core Scientific and Genesis Digital Assets operating in the state.

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This Daily Dose was brought to you by Cointelegraph.

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