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Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King Gerry Cotten

In the ever-evolving world of cryptocurrency, where fortunes can be made and lost in the blink of an eye, one name stands out – Gerry Cotten. A cryptocurrency multimillionaire, Cotten’s life was shrouded in mystery, and his sudden death in 2018 left investors in disbelief. What followed was a gripping tale of intrigue, suspicion, and a quest for justice that led a group of investors to become amateur sleuths in their pursuit of the missing $250 million they believe Cotten had stolen from them. This article delves into the fascinating story of Gerry Cotten, the suspicious circumstances surrounding his demise, and the relentless pursuit of truth by his disillusioned investors.

The Rise of Gerry Cotten

Gerry Cotten entered the cryptocurrency scene in its early days, riding the wave of the Bitcoin boom. He founded QuadrigaCX, a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange, in 2013. Cotten’s exchange quickly gained popularity as it provided a platform for traders to buy and sell various cryptocurrencies. With his boyish charm and charismatic persona, Cotten soon became a trusted figure in the crypto community, earning the nickname “Crypto King.”

The Enigmatic Disappearance

In December 2018, tragedy struck. Gerry Cotten, aged just 30, died suddenly while on a trip to India, reportedly due to complications from Crohn’s disease. His death was met with shock, but what followed was even more astonishing. It was revealed that Cotten was the sole holder of the exchange’s private keys, which controlled access to the cryptocurrency wallets containing millions of dollars worth of digital assets. This single revelation sent shockwaves throughout the cryptocurrency world.

The Missing Millions

Investors in QuadrigaCX were soon faced with a grim reality – their funds were effectively locked away, as Cotten had not left any instructions or access codes for his cryptocurrency holdings. The missing $250 million was a colossal blow, and suspicions began to mount. Investors, many of whom had entrusted their life savings to the exchange, refused to believe that Cotten’s death was a mere accident. They started asking tough questions and seeking answers.

Unravelling the Mystery

As investors dug deeper into the circumstances surrounding Cotten’s death, they uncovered a web of deception and irregularities. Theories began to emerge that Cotten might have faked his own death to abscond with the missing funds. Investigations by authorities, as well as independent experts, revealed a troubling lack of transparency and financial mismanagement within QuadrigaCX. Key documents and financial records were either missing or suspiciously altered, adding fuel to the growing fire of suspicion.

The Sleuths Turned Investors

Frustrated by the lack of progress in official investigations, a group of investors banded together, determined to unravel the truth themselves. Their amateur sleuthing took them down a rabbit hole of cryptocurrency transactions, offshore accounts, and legal battles. They began to piece together a narrative that suggested Cotten had orchestrated an elaborate exit plan, leaving the investors in the lurch.

Legal Battles and Hope for Recovery

The legal battle that ensued was intense, with investors seeking to recover their lost funds and hold those responsible accountable. As the investigation continued, some assets were seized, and a portion of the missing funds was eventually recovered. However, the majority of the money remains unaccounted for, leaving investors in a state of uncertainty.

Conclusion

The story of Gerry Cotten and the hunt for the missing $250 million serves as a cautionary tale for the cryptocurrency industry. It highlights the need for robust regulations and transparency in an otherwise unregulated and volatile space. The saga of QuadrigaCX continues to captivate audiences worldwide, reminding us that in the world of cryptocurrency, trust is a precious commodity, and one must always be vigilant and prepared to question the status quo. Trust no one, for the crypto kingdom is a realm where fortunes can disappear as quickly as they are made, and the quest for truth can lead to unexpected revelations.

Big3: A Revolution in 3-on-3 Basketball

In the world of professional basketball, innovation often leads to exciting new developments, and the Big3 league is a perfect testament to this phenomenon. Founded by the iconic hip-hop musician and actor Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz, Big3 has taken the concept of 3-on-3 basketball to a whole new level. With 12 teams featuring a mix of former NBA players and international talents, Big3 has redefined the game’s dynamics, introducing rule deviations that have piqued the interest of fans worldwide. In this article, we will explore the inception, unique features, and the future of Big3, as well as its influence on the basketball world.

The Birth of Big3

The Big3 league was officially launched in January 2017, but its roots go back to the shared passion of Ice Cube and Jeff Kwatinetz for both basketball and entertainment. Recognising the excitement and energy that 3-on-3 basketball can bring to the sport, they embarked on a journey to create a league that could capture the essence of street basketball while featuring professional athletes.

The league’s formation was a ground-breaking moment, as it blended the worlds of sports and entertainment seamlessly. Ice Cube’s status as a cultural icon brought immediate recognition and buzz to Big3, while Jeff Kwatinetz’s experience in the entertainment industry added a unique flair to the league’s presentation.

Big3: The Teams and Roster

Big3 currently boasts 12 teams, each with its own distinct identity, featuring a mix of former NBA stars and international talents. These teams create a compelling blend of experience and fresh talent, adding depth and diversity to the league. Some of the most legendary names in basketball have graced the Big3 court, making it a must-watch for fans of the sport.

One of the league’s most appealing aspects is its open-door policy, allowing players from all backgrounds to participate. This inclusivity has paved the way for international players to showcase their skills on a global stage. As a result, Big3 games have become a melting pot of basketball talent, featuring players from various countries, each bringing their unique style to the court.

Rule Deviations: A Unique Basketball Experience

One of the most intriguing aspects of Big3 is the rule deviations from traditional 3-on-3 basketball as administered by FIBA. These deviations have added an extra layer of excitement and unpredictability to the games, making Big3 a distinct and thrilling basketball variant.

Some of the notable rule changes in Big3 include a 4-point shot, where players can attempt to score from well beyond the three-point arc. This innovation has created highlight-reel moments and turned the tide of many games in dramatic fashion. Additionally, the introduction of a 14-second shot clock keeps the pace fast and furious, ensuring non-stop action for fans.

Another unique aspect is the use of a four-point circle, which encourages long-range shooting and high-scoring games. This rule deviation has made Big3 a haven for sharpshooters and fans of high-scoring basketball.

The Birth of Fireball3

In January 2020, Big3 made a ground-breaking announcement that sent shockwaves through the basketball world. The league revealed that its rule set would form the core of a new basketball variant called “Fireball3” (stylised FIREBALL3). This bold move showcased Big3’s commitment to innovation and its desire to expand its influence beyond traditional basketball.

Fireball3 incorporates the thrilling rule changes that have become synonymous with Big3, promising a fast-paced, high-scoring, and entertaining brand of basketball. This development has garnered significant attention and interest from both fans and the basketball community at large.

Big3’s Influence on the Basketball World

Since its inception, Big3 has left an indelible mark on the basketball world. It has reimagined the possibilities of 3-on-3 basketball, attracting not only fans but also inspiring players and leagues worldwide to explore new dimensions of the game.

The league’s success has prompted discussions about the potential inclusion of 3-on-3 basketball in the Olympics, further solidifying its influence on the global stage. Big3 has provided a blueprint for how basketball can evolve and adapt to captivate modern audiences while staying true to its roots.

Conclusion

Big3, founded by Ice Cube and Jeff Kwatinetz, has emerged as a revolutionary force in the world of basketball. With its unique blend of entertainment and sports, a diverse roster of former NBA players and international talents, and rule deviations that have reshaped the game, Big3 has captured the imagination of fans worldwide.

Moreover, the league’s forward-thinking approach has given rise to Fireball3, a new basketball variant set to take the sport to new heights. As Big3 continues to evolve and inspire, it remains a shining example of how innovation can breathe new life into even the most cherished traditions, ensuring that the world of basketball is always fresh, exciting, and full of surprises. Big3 is not just a league; it’s a revolution in 3-on-3 basketball.

Top 10 Largest Law Firms in the World: Pioneers of Legal Excellence

In today’s globalised world, law is a critical service that intersects with various facets of life, including business, finance, taxation, litigation, corporate affairs, intellectual property, and more. As the demand for legal expertise continues to rise, law firms are growing in size, influence, and revenue. This article explores the top 10 largest law firms in the world based on their annual revenues in the fiscal year 2020, as compiled by The International Lawyer’s Global 200 ranking.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP: Leading the Pack

With an astounding annual revenue of $4.83 billion in 2020, Kirkland & Ellis LLP secured the top spot on our list. This U.S.-based powerhouse is known for its specialised services in corporate law, taxation, litigation, intellectual property, and restructuring. Boasting approximately 2,000 lawyers, Kirkland & Ellis serves a niche set of corporate clients, including industry giants like Boeing, Delta Airlines, General Motors, and Dow Chemical. Founded in 1909 in Chicago, the firm has a rich history of providing top-notch legal services.

Latham & Watkins LLP: A Global Force

Headquartered in Los Angeles and with offices in 14 additional countries, Latham & Watkins is a global legal force to be reckoned with. In 2020, the firm reported annual revenues of $4.33 billion, securing its place as the second-largest law firm in the world. Latham & Watkins offers a wide range of services, spanning activism, entertainment, media, real estate, and white-collar defense. With more than 3,000 lawyers on board, they are well-equipped to tackle complex legal challenges.

DLA Piper: A Global Network

DLA Piper, headquartered in London and Chicago, emerged as the third-largest law firm globally, with annual revenues reaching $3.13 billion in 2020. This legal giant has a presence in over 40 countries and employs nearly 4,000 lawyers across various practice areas, including education, government contracting, insurance, and technology. DLA Piper is known for its international reach and played a notable role in representing Paul Ceglia in a high-profile lawsuit against Mark Zuckerberg.

Dentons: The Result of Strategic Mergers

Dentons, a product of numerous mergers in recent years, secured the fourth spot on our list with an annual revenue of $2.9 billion. Boasting more than 11,000 lawyers in over 80 countries, Dentons is a global legal powerhouse. While Dentons lacks a centralised headquarters, it has a significant presence in China, with numerous lawyers and offices. The firm’s strategic approach to growth through mergers has enabled it to become a major player in the legal industry.

Baker McKenzie: A Strong Global Presence

Founded in 1949 and headquartered in Chicago, Baker McKenzie is the fifth-largest law firm in the world, reporting revenues of $2.9 billion in 2020. With over 13,000 employees across 46 countries, Baker McKenzie provides legal services across a broad spectrum of practice areas. The firm’s commitment to a global presence has made it a go-to choice for multinational corporations seeking legal expertise.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP: A New York Icon

Founded in 1948 and headquartered in New York, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, commonly known as Skadden, ranks sixth on our list with annual revenues of $2.66 billion. The firm boasts 20 offices worldwide, comprising more than 1,500 lawyers specialising in over 50 practice areas. Skadden’s clientele includes businesses, financial institutions, and government agencies from around the globe, reflecting its international reach and influence.

Sidley Austin: A Legacy of Excellence

Founded in 1866 and headquartered in Chicago, Sidley Austin, commonly known as Sidley, is the seventh-largest law firm in the world. In 2020, the firm reported revenues of $2.46 billion and employed over 1,800 lawyers across 20 offices worldwide. Sidley focuses on corporate finance, employment law, regulatory and government affairs, and tax law, providing comprehensive legal services to a diverse clientele.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius: A Philadelphia Powerhouse

With its headquarters in Philadelphia and 30 offices worldwide, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius ranks eighth on our list, reporting $2.45 billion in revenue in 2020. Founded in 1873, the firm has a rich history and employs 2,200 lawyers. Its broad spectrum of legal services attracts clients from various sectors, making it a key player in the legal industry.

White & Case: A Global Perspective

Founded in 1901 and headquartered in Tampa, White & Case stands as the ninth-largest law firm globally, with reported revenues of $2.39 billion in 2020. The firm employs more than 2,200 lawyers across 47 additional locations worldwide. White & Case’s international outlook positions it as a vital resource for clients seeking legal expertise on a global scale.

Clifford Chance: The International Perspective

Founded in 1987 through a merger, Clifford Chance is headquartered in London and has offices in 23 other countries. With approximately 2,500 lawyers, the firm reported revenues of $2.3 billion in 2020. Clifford Chance specialises in sectors such as banking, healthcare, private equity, and transport and logistics. Its international presence makes it a valuable resource for clients navigating complex legal challenges on a global scale.

Conclusion

The world’s largest law firms are essential pillars of the legal industry, providing specialised expertise across various practice areas and serving clients on a global scale. These firms, driven by their commitment to excellence and strategic growth, continue to shape the landscape of legal services, making them invaluable assets for clients worldwide. As they navigate the intricate and ever-evolving legal landscape, these top law firms remain steadfast in their pursuit of justice and the resolution of complex legal matters.

Understanding Real Estate Tax Deductions: A Comprehensive Guide

Owning a property has a number of pros, but it also comes with significant costs. One of the biggest expenses is real estate tax, also called property tax. But did you know that you could be paying less overall tax just for owning your own property? Read on to learn more about real estate/property tax deductions and how to save on your overall tax on your next filing.

Back to Basics: What is Real Estate/Property Tax?

Real estate tax is a form of tax that every property owner is liable for. This tax is payable to the state and is used to fund public services such as the police, emergency services, schools, and more. The good news is that there are ways to decrease the amount of tax you pay each year. If you aren’t super tax savvy, or you don’t have the time to do the research yourself, consider contacting cost segregation specialists who can help you determine where you can save on your annual tax payments.

How Is Real Estate Tax Calculated?

In simple terms, your real estate tax is calculated by looking at the value of the land and the property built on it as well as what state it is in. When calculating your real estate tax, you will need to multiply your estimated property value (which you can get from a tax assessor) by the tax rate for your state. For example, if you owned a $300,000 property in New Jersey, which has the highest tax rate at around 2.49%, you would be required to pay around $7,200 in tax. However, if your property was located in Hawaii, which has the lowest tax rate at 0.28%, you would only be paying $840 annually.

What Is a Real Estate Tax Deduction?

While real estate taxes are paid to the state where the property is located, these taxes can be deducted from a property owner’s federal income tax. There is a limit, however. Thanks to the passing of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the real estate tax deduction is capped at $10,000. To get around this, taxpayers can instead apply for a tax credit. A tax expert can help you determine which one would be more valuable to your specific case. In addition to real estate tax deductions, property owners can also claim deductions on taxes paid during the closing sale or purchase of property during that tax year.

Do All Properties Qualify for Tax Deductions?

In order to qualify for a real estate deduction, a property must either be the primary residence of the taxpayer, a vacation home, or an investment property. However, because real estate tax and property tax are the same thing according to the IRS, deductions may also apply to land, boats, recreational vehicles, and even cars. You cannot claim a deduction on taxes for a property you do not own, or on any transfer taxes associated with buying a home. You also cannot claim deductions on any services fees for sewage, waste collection, and water and homeowners’ association fees.

How Can I Claim My Property Tax Deduction?

Any property owner can claim their deduction by completing a Schedule A form that is then submitted with their 1040 income tax form. While this requires a little more time spent on your taxes, it is generally worth the time it takes to complete.

Real estate tax deductions are just one of the tools taxpayers can use to reduce their overall annual tax figure. With a bit of research and knowledge, you too can reduce your overall tax spend and make the most of your investment.

Unique Ventures: The Resilient Journey of Ohio Valley Wrestling

In the heart of Louisville, Kentucky, a unique and storied institution has played a pivotal role in shaping the careers of countless professional wrestlers. Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) stands as a testament to the dreams, struggles, and triumphs of aspiring wrestlers who have passed through its doors. Once a hallowed ground for aspiring grapplers, OVW has evolved under the stewardship of Al Snow, Matt Jones, and Louisville’s mayor, Craig Greenberg. In this article, we’ll embark on a journey through the fascinating history and the current renaissance of OVW, showcasing its unique position in the world of professional wrestling.

The Glory Days of OVW

OVW’s roots can be traced back to 1993 when it was founded by Nightmare Danny Davis. The promotion grew steadily and became a major player in the wrestling world, particularly as a developmental territory for WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). During the early 2000s, OVW was a fertile breeding ground for future WWE Superstars, including John Cena, Batista, Randy Orton, and Brock Lesnar, among others.

The training facility and weekly TV show in Louisville, Kentucky, provided a springboard for young talents, offering them an opportunity to hone their skills, develop their personas, and prepare for the big leagues of professional wrestling. OVW became synonymous with excellence, producing a steady stream of talent that would go on to become household names in the wrestling industry.

Changing Tides

However, as with any great endeavour, change is inevitable. In 2008, WWE severed its official ties with OVW, signalling a new era for the promotion. The loss of WWE’s developmental support was a significant blow, but it also marked the beginning of OVW’s transformation into a fully independent entity.

OVW’s leadership, led by Al Snow and Matt Jones, was determined to keep the flame burning. They embraced the challenge of reinventing OVW as a self-sustaining promotion. This transformation was no small feat, as it required attracting new talent, securing sponsorships, and building a dedicated fanbase.

A New Vision for OVW

Under the visionary leadership of Al Snow, Matt Jones, and the support of Louisville’s mayor, Craig Greenberg, OVW has undergone a remarkable resurgence. They recognised the need to adapt to the ever-changing wrestling landscape and charted a new course for OVW. Here are some key elements of their vision:

Diversification of Talent: OVW shifted its focus from solely being a WWE developmental territory to a platform that welcomes talents from all backgrounds and experiences. This approach has led to a more diverse and dynamic roster, showcasing a wider range of wrestling styles and characters.

Community Engagement: OVW became deeply involved in the local Louisville community, hosting events, charity drives, and school programs. This not only bolstered its image but also fostered a strong bond between the promotion and its hometown.

Global Reach: OVW recognised the importance of international exposure. Through strategic partnerships and online streaming, OVW expanded its reach to wrestling fans around the world, introducing its unique brand of wrestling to new audiences.

Innovation in Storytelling: OVW tapped into the creative talents of its roster to craft compelling storylines and characters. This innovation has resulted in engaging and entertaining content that resonates with fans.

The Present and Future of OVW

Today, Ohio Valley Wrestling is a thriving and resilient promotion. It has proven that it can not only survive but thrive without relying on a major wrestling organisation’s support. With a mix of experienced veterans and rising stars, OVW continues to deliver high-quality wrestling entertainment to its dedicated fanbase.

The leadership of Al Snow, Matt Jones, and the involvement of Louisville’s mayor, Craig Greenberg, have been instrumental in OVW’s revival. Their combined efforts have helped OVW regain its status as a prominent player in the world of professional wrestling.

Conclusion

The story of Ohio Valley Wrestling is one of resilience, adaptation, and the pursuit of excellence. From its humble beginnings as a WWE developmental territory to its current status as an independent promotion with a global reach, OVW has shown that it can weather the storms of change and emerge stronger.

The unique journey of OVW, guided by the passion of its leaders and the support of its fans, serves as an inspiring example of what can be achieved in the world of professional wrestling. As OVW continues to evolve and innovate, its legacy as a crucial stepping stone for future wrestling stars remains intact, making it a truly unique venture in the world of sports and entertainment.

Buying a Property Through a Limited Company: Pros and Cons in 2023

In the ever-evolving landscape of property investment, 2023 has witnessed a surge in the number of investors turning to limited companies as a means to acquire real estate assets. The allure of tax advantages, potential cost savings, and enhanced financial flexibility has made this avenue increasingly attractive. However, as with any financial decision, there are pros and cons to consider. In this article, we will delve into the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing property through a limited company in 2023.

Benefits of Buying Property Through a Limited Company:

1. Tax Savings Through Corporation Tax

Arguably the most compelling reason for investors to opt for limited companies is the favourable tax treatment of income. Unlike individual investors who are subject to income tax rates ranging from 20% to 45%, profits retained within a company are subject to Corporation Tax, which currently stands at a flat rate of 25% as of April 2023. This represents a significant reduction in tax liability for investors in higher income tax brackets, potentially translating into substantial savings.

2. Enhanced Mortgage Tax Relief

Property investors are well aware of the financial burden imposed by buy-to-let mortgages. With monthly interest payments and additional taxes, rental profits can dwindle rapidly. A pivotal change in April 2020 limited individual landlords to claiming tax relief on only 20% of their monthly mortgage interest payments, considerably affecting their bottom line. In contrast, limited companies can categorise mortgage interest as a legitimate business expense, enabling them to enjoy full tax relief, thereby safeguarding their rental property income.

3. Mitigating Inheritance Tax

For investors with the long-term goal of passing down property assets to family members, limited companies offer unique avenues to mitigate inheritance tax. Holding property within a corporate structure allows for the utilisation of trust structures, shares, and other strategic methods that individual landlords lack access to. When considering a limited company for property investment with inheritance planning in mind, it is advisable to consult with a specialist advisor to navigate the process effectively.

4. Effortless Reinvestment After Tax Savings

Investors contemplating the acquisition of multiple rental properties often seek opportunities to reinvest their income. Unlike individual landlords who are required to pay income tax on all profits, limited companies operate differently. Profits, post-corporation tax, can be retained within the company and subsequently reinvested. This facilitates the avoidance of additional tax payments, enabling investors to grow their property portfolio more efficiently. Moreover, the tax savings realised can provide private landlords with additional capital to invest in new properties.

Potential Drawbacks of Buying Through a Limited Company:

While there are numerous advantages to acquiring property via a limited company, it’s essential to acknowledge potential drawbacks:

1. Administrative Overhead

Operating a limited company involves additional administrative responsibilities, such as annual filings, record-keeping, and adherence to corporate governance regulations. Investors should consider the associated time and cost commitments.

2. Mortgage Availability

Limited companies may face stricter criteria when applying for buy-to-let mortgages compared to individual investors. Interest rates and fees associated with these mortgages may also differ, potentially affecting the overall cost of property acquisition.

3. Restrictions on Personal Use

Property held within a limited company is considered a business asset, limiting its use for personal purposes. Investors looking to reside in or utilise the property themselves may encounter challenges.

4. Exit Strategy Considerations

Exiting a limited company ownership structure can be complex and may involve additional costs and taxes. Investors should carefully plan their exit strategy from the outset.

In conclusion, purchasing property through a limited company in 2023 presents several compelling advantages, including potential tax savings, enhanced mortgage relief, inheritance tax mitigation, and the ability to reinvest profits efficiently. However, investors must weigh these benefits against the administrative responsibilities, mortgage availability, restrictions on personal use, and exit strategy considerations associated with this approach. It is crucial to conduct thorough research and seek professional advice to determine whether this investment strategy aligns with your financial goals and circumstances.