The Protocol

In this week's abbreviated issue of The Protocol, we're chronicling the apparent doxing of 'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli as the driver behind the recently-but-no-longer mooning $DJT token, plus the SEC's apparent retreat on probing the Ethereum developer Consensys.

AccessTimeIconJun 19, 2024 at 5:56 p.m. UTC

Happy Juneteenth to our readers in the U.S.! CoinDesk staff is off for the federal holiday but we have compiled an abbreviated issue of The Protocol with the latest news headlines on blockchain tech, along with our top picks from the past week's Protocol Village column.


  • Martin Shkreli and $DJT. Is there a connection to Donald Trump?
  • Consensys says SEC terminates Ethereum 2.0 securities probe.
  • Protocol Village highlights: Mysten Labs, Sui, Ronin, Sky Mavis, Axie Infinity, Polygon, Polkadot, Arcana, Minima, McLaren.
  • CARV's $34M node sale.

This article is featured in the latest issue of The Protocol, our weekly newsletter exploring the tech behind crypto, one block at a time. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every Wednesday. Also please check out our weekly The Protocol podcast.

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DJT DOX! Martin “Pharma Bro” Shkreli said on Tuesday that he was behind the controversial DJT token in an X space tuned in by thousands of people, days after denying any involvement, as colorfully reported by CoinDesk's Shaurya Malwa. The flavor-of-the-week token caused certain crypto enthusiasts to extensively wonder who was behind it after it went viral on Monday for its supposed links to Donald Trump and his son Barron. Blockchain sleuths found that DJT’s Telegram channel appeared to share the same admins as a token supported by Shkreli. Shkreli denied any involvement at the time, while DJT continued to rally. On-chain intelligence firm Arkham posted a $150,000 bounty that would pay out the amount to whoever unveiled the creator of the DJT token. This drew out ZachXBT, one of the most widely followed crypto sleuths on X, to submit his findings to Arkham. According to ZachXBT, that's when Shkreli "panic" DM'd him. The DJT token was down 58% in the past 24 hours – apparently due to some panic selling. As of press time there was a donnybrook raging on X over whether Shkreli now owes $100 million on a bet on whether the token was connected in some way to Trump.

GRAY HAT? The crypto exchange Kraken said Wednesday in a tweet thread and blog post that it has contacted law enforcement after "security researchers" allegedly exploited a bug to withdraw nearly $3 million from artificially inflated account balances, and then refused to return the sums in accordance with the company's Bug Bounty program. "This is not white-hat hacking, it is extortion!" Kraken Chief Security Officer Nick Percoco wrote on X.

IN THE CLEAR: The price of ether (ETH) rose after Consensys disclosed receiving letters from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) notifying that the regulator had ended its investigation into the technology incubator company and was not going to recommend an enforcement action against it. The SEC told Consensys, whose products include the MetaMask wallet, it was not bringing any enforcement actions in a pair of letters sent to its law firms on Tuesday. In a blog post, Consensys said the SEC was "closing its investigation into Ethereum 2.0."

TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE. The exploit of UwU Lend on Monday put in motion a series of events that led to Thursday’s multimillion liquidations on DeFi lending giant Curve, representatives for its founder Michael Egorov told CoinDesk over Telegram.

JUST NOT IN THE U.S…. Coinbase, the big crypto exchange, launched support for "pre-launch markets" on Coinbase International Exchange and Coinbase Advanced – for users in eligible jurisdictions of the U.S., UK and Canada. "Once the underlying token is launched on relevant spot exchanges, these contracts seamlessly transition into standard perpetual futures contracts," according to a blog post. On Tuesday, Coinbase International Exchange tweeted that the pre-launch market was "now in full trading mode" for contracts on EigenLayer's new EIGEN token, which has been airdropped but not unlocked for trading. According to at least one estimate posted on X, the trading implies a fully diluted market capitalization for the EIGEN token at $12.2 billion.

Tether, the company behind the $110 billion stablecoin (USDT), debuted Monday a new token minting platform called Alloy on the Ethereum network that lets users create tokens collateralized by Tether's tokenized gold (XAUT).

Protocol Village

Top picks of the past week from our Protocol Village column, highlighting key blockchain tech upgrades and news.

Race car

Screenshot from the demonstration video on Minima's McLaren GT4 data tracker. (Minima/X)

1. Mysten Labs, the primary developer behind the Sui blockchain, unveiled a developer preview of "Walrus," a new decentralized data-storage and data-availability (DA) platform. According the project documentation, Walrus provides two key benefits: cost-effective blob storage as well as high availability and robustness. "Data recovery is still possible even if two-thirds of the storage nodes crash or come under adversarial control. Further, availability may be certified efficiently without downloading the full blob," the documentation reads.

2. Ronin, a gaming-focused blockchain developed by Sky Mavis, creator of the Axie Infinity play-to-earn game, announced the upcoming launch of a new zkEVM, which is an Ethereum-compatible zero-knowledge rollup network. It will be built with a Sky Mavis-modified version of the open-sourced Polygon Chain Development Kit (CDK), according to a press release: "By building a dedicated ZK blockchain, the Ronin network will be able to serve infinitely more users, supporting the rapid growth of its thriving game studio partners and further enhancing the permissionless environment to onboard more gaming experiences. Additional plans include enshrining a Polygon ZK prover directly into Ronin to provide a turnkey solution for game studios to easily build their own zkEVM blockchains on Ronin without needing to establish their own security and consensus."

3. Polkadot's decentralized governance approved the Join-Accumulate Machine (JAM) protocol as the network's future architecture, according to the team: "JAM, a minimalist blockchain concept, will support secure rollup domain-specific chains and offer synchronous composability across services. To encourage development, Web3 Foundation launched the JAM Implementer’s Prize, a 10 million DOT fund (~$64.7M USD), for creating diverse JAM implementations. This initiative aims to enhance scalability and flexibility in blockchain applications, integrating elements from Polkadot and Ethereum for a versatile, secure environment." The JAM "gray paper" by Polkadot founder Gavin Wood is here.

4. Arcana Network, which is building a modular layer-1 blockchain aiming to help developers improve the Web3 user experience, announced the launch of its "Chain Abstraction protocol," according to the team: "The new protocol will help streamline the management of crypto assets across multiple blockchains, enabling users to effortlessly execute transactions on any chain by removing the complexities of bridging, promising a seamless and highly user-friendly multichain experience. The Chain Abstraction protocol will significantly impact blockchain technology's evolution and mainstream acceptance."

5. Minima, describing itself as the only blockchain lightweight enough to run entirely on mobile and device chips, says it's working with Influx Technology to integrate a data tracker into a McLaren GT4 – a capability that could improve racing performance as well as prevent cheating. According to a press release: "Data points on over 20 parameters including vehicle ignition timing, braking, oil pressure, engine temperature, steering angle and rotation, as well as gear switching, are collected by the ‘DePIN Data Logger’ in real time."

Money Center


Renzo Founding Contributor Lucas Kozinski

Renzo Founding Contributor Lucas Kozinski (Renzo)

  • Liquid restaking protocol Renzo shared Tuesday that it has raised $17 million in a funding round, according to a press release shared exclusively with CoinDesk. The fresh capital, which took place over two rounds, was led by Galaxy Ventures in the first round and by Brevan Howard Digital Nova Fund in the second. Funds will be used towards expanding the project's restaking services, including adding support for ERC-20 tokens.
  • CARV, a modular data layer for gaming and AI, has raised at least $34 million in community-backed sales since its verifier node offering went public on June 5, according to the team: "With 38,000 nodes distributed, the ongoing sale offers vital platform and protocol decentralization."
  • Sonic, a gaming-focused layer-2 blockchain atop Solana, has raised $12 million in a fundraising. The Series A round was led by Bitkraft and joined by investors including Galaxy Interactive and Big Brain Holdings, according to a press release.
  • Bondex, a Web3 professional network, announced it has raised over $10 million in investment rounds. According to the team: "These rounds were led by prominent venture capital firms such as Animoca Brands and MorningStar Ventures Morningstar, Dext Force Ventures, CoinList and more."

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Edited by Bradley Keoun.


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Bradley Keoun

Bradley Keoun is the managing editor of CoinDesk's Tech & Protocols team. He owns less than $1,000 each of several cryptocurrencies.