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To His Own Surprise, Crypto Volume Pumper’s Business Is Still Thriving

Eleven months ago, Alexey Andryunin was sure his business was not long for this world. 

A 22-year-old math student from Moscow, Andryunin built a business inflating trade volumes in little-known crypto tokens issued during the 2017 initial coin offering (ICO) craze. In a head-turning interview CoinDesk published last July, Andryunin candidly described the underworld of micro-cap tokens and exchanges surviving on artificial volumes ginned up by paid “market makers” (a traditional finance term used loosely in this context.)

At the time, Andryunin thought his business was heading to a decline: ICOs were moribund, the token market was shrinking and a new wave of regulatory attention was about to scour the shadier corners of the crypto space. 

Related: BitMEX Owner HDR Appoints Former Bank of China Exec to Board

He now says he was mistaken. Business is growing again as token promoters pay him to pump their projects so they’ll be accepted on crypto exchanges. It doesn’t hurt that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rise in investors looking for the next crypto opportunity.

“We were about to switch to big data analysis, but we didn’t have a moment to start there [because] the crypto market suddenly turned around to us,” he told CoinDesk recently. 

In addition to inflating volumes, his firm is providing all kinds of services to token projects. It will code apps when the founders of the projects have nothing but an idea, Andryunin said – for a price.

Flashback: For $15K, He’ll Fake Your Exchange Volume

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An inside look at the agents and managers competing to sign TikTok’s biggest stars

Charli D'Amelio.
Charli D’Amelio.

Thomas Petrou/UTA

  • TikTok is still a relative newcomer to the social-media world, but it’s quickly grown into one of the most popular video apps among creators.

  • As its stars have built massive followings, talent managers and agents from both upstart companies and legacy Hollywood talent firms are racing to sign the next generation of digital stars.

  • Business Insider looked into how different talent firms are approaching the app, and built an exclusive interactive database with 95 of the top managers and agents nabbing these creators. 

  • Subscribe to Business Insider’s influencer newsletter: Influencer Dashboard.

As TikTok stars build large and loyal followings on the short-form video app, a slew of talent managers and agents from both upstart companies and legacy Hollywood talent firms are racing to sign them as clients.

The opportunity is clear for industry insiders. 

TikTok trends are spilling over onto Instagram, YouTube, and TV shows like Saturday Night Live. Its stars are appearing in Super Bowl ads and late-night talk shows. And songs that become popular on TikTok are topping Billboard and Spotify charts

Agents and managers who already have built-in connections across the entertainment industry can sometimes turn a TikTok comedian, dancer, or singer into a mainstream star in just a few months. 

“I think it’s super exciting to have a new platform that is another pipeline for us to discover talent,” Joe Izzi, a digital agent at the Hollywood talent agency WME, previously told Business Insider. “Regardless of the

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Doorstep lender Non-Standard Finance denies it is on brink of collapse

John Van Kuffeler CEO of Non-Standard Finance
John Van Kuffeler CEO of Non-Standard Finance

The boss of Non-Standard Finance denied the doorstep lender was “on the brink” after it revealed the Covid crisis had sparked material uncertainty about whether it can continue as a going concern. 

NSF could be forced to ask shareholders for fresh investment as the pandemic recession imperils its access to funding. 

The company, which lends money at high interest rates to more than 100,000 consumers with poor credit ratings, temporarily halted lending during lockdown and only managed to start handing out money again last month. 

John van Kuffeler, chief executive of NSF, said his company had suffered a difficult and disappointing 18 months but insisted an economic downturn was an opportunity to win more business as consumers struggle to access cash. 

He said: “We are not on the brink. We are a highly experienced team who know exactly what to do and which levers to pull.”

Shares tumbled 28.6pc to 8.2p in afternoon trading, valuing the firm at just £26m. 

It comes a year after NSF’s audacious attempt to take over Provident Financial, its much larger rival, which Mr van Kuffeler once ran. 

The hostile bid, which failed after a bitter war of words between the two sides, cost NSF nearly £13m in fees for bankers and advisers, it reported on Thursday. 

NSF increased revenues by £23m to £181m last year but the gains were wiped out by a £66m writedown of goodwill, which widened pre-tax losses to £76m compared to

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California high-speed rail board delays key finance plan after lawmakers push back

An artist's rendering of a proposed California high-speed rail station is shown. <span class="copyright">(California High-Speed Rail Authority)</span>
An artist’s rendering of a proposed California high-speed rail station is shown. (California High-Speed Rail Authority)

Following a stunning rebuke by the State Assembly, the board of California’s high-speed rail authority this week put off approving a crucial 2020 business plan, a sign it has agreed to reassess the project’s current blueprint.

The authority’s board had planned to routinely approve the business plan at a meeting scheduled for Thursday and submit it to the Legislature as it has done every two years over the last decade.

The plan formally laid out a $20.4 billion blueprint to build a partial operating system in the San Joaquin Valley under a massive 30-year contract that would be issued this year.

But earlier this month, the Assembly approved a resolution that called on the rail authority to delay that contract and reassess the entire strategy of putting all of the remaining bullet train funds into the single stretch of high speed rail between Bakersfield and Merced.

The resolution attracted 67 of the 79 sitting members of the Assembly as cosponsors, including a majority of the Democrats who have never previously opposed any aspect of the rail authority’s development of the $80 billion system.

Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) set the process in motion last year, when he proposed shifting about $5 billion of the bullet train funds from the Central Valley to segments in the Bay Area and Southern California, including the Burbank to Anaheim corridor that the bullet train would eventually use.

Metrolink outlined

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