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Millions for Crypto Start-Ups, No Real Names Necessary

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The ability to operate anonymously is a central tenet of crypto technology. All cryptocurrency transactions are recorded on decentralized ledger systems called blockchains, which let users transact namelessly, without registering a bank account or interac

Credit: Ariel Davis

For months, cryptocurrency enthusiasts poured hundreds of millions of dollars into a project called Wonderland, which claimed to provide a system of exchange for the murky world of decentralized finance.

To take part in the project, the investors — who called themselves Frog Nation — entrusted their money to Wonderland's treasury manager, a crypto developer whom they knew only by the profile name of 0xSifu.

In late January, 0xSifu was revealed to be an alias for Michael Patryn, who had served 18 months in federal prison for fraud. The price of the Wonderland token, $TIME, crashed overnight as Frog Nation's panicked denizens debated shutting down the project.

"I was like, 'Oh, man, this is going to get ugly,'" said Brad Nickel, a Wonderland investor in Florida who runs the crypto podcast "Mission: DeFi." "Immediately, that was a total loss of confidence."

From The New York Times
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