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1  Bitcoin / Press / [2018/07/10]Why The US/China Trade Wars Could Be Great For Bitcoin Prices on: July 14, 2018, 07:50:46 PM
Why The US/China Trade Wars Could Be Great For Bitcoin Prices

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Opinion – It has long been known that the financial world is highly interconnected with politics. Decisions made between countries can often have a large ripple effect on the prices of stocks, commodities or other assets.

Cryptocurrencies are no exception, and as the upcoming trade war between US and China begins to take hold, many wonder whether Bitcoin prices could be affected by stricter tariffs imposed on Chinese imported goods to the US, particularly as we consider the correlation between fiat currency values and crypto prices, in addition to China’s massive influence over Bitcoins mining operations.
2  Local / Pilipinas / [Infographics] Smart Contracts Explained on: July 11, 2018, 12:07:04 AM

On blockchains like Ethereum, smart contracts are a piece of code running on top of the blockchain protocols that where the rules of a transaction are embedded into the code and automatically enforced once all parties to the smart contract meet the pre-defined rules. Smart contracts can radically reduce transaction costs of reaching an agreement, formalization, and enforcement of relationships between people, institutions and the assets they own, by standardizing transaction rules. The transaction rulesets (agreement) of the smart contract define the conditions – rights and obligations – to which parties to a smart contract consent. They are often predefined, and agreement is reached by simple opt-in actions. They are formalized in digital form, in machine-readable code (formalization). These rights and obligations established in the smart contract can now be automatically executed by a computer or a network of computers as soon as the parties have come to an agreement and met the conditions of the agreement (enforcement). This auto enforceable code of the blockchain layer, as well as the smart contract layer, radically reduces transaction costs, replacing traditional middle men with machine consensus.

3  Bitcoin / Press / [2018/07/08]German Bank Offers Special Accounts to Cryptocurrency Firms on: July 10, 2018, 04:22:57 PM
German Bank Plans to Provide Special Bank Accounts for Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Companies

By: Jamie Redman

Over the past few years as cryptocurrencies have gained in popularity a few companies like exchanges and brokerage services that deal with digital currencies have had issues with their banking providers. Banks and other financial management services have ceased their partnerships with cryptocurrency firms and have closed business accounts making it very difficult for blockchain companies to establish reliable banking partners. Now the German financial tech company, Solarisbank, plans to offer a service called the ‘Blockchain Factory.’ Companies who deal with cryptocurrencies will now have a solid banking colleague who understands the technology.

“The Blockchain Factory will be used by Solarisbank to offer banking services to companies whose business is directly or indirectly based on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology — One example of these services is the ‘Blockchain Company Account’ for the banking business of blockchain companies,” Solarisbank explains.  

Furthermore, services for global cryptocurrency marketplaces will be made available to make it easier to buy and sell fiat currencies; such as the Solarisbank ‘Automated Trust Account’, an automated escrow account for cryptocurrency marketplaces.
4  Bitcoin / Press / [2018/07/10]Japan: Kumamoto Electric Company and OZ Mining Corporation on: July 10, 2018, 04:19:15 PM
Kumamoto Electric Company and OZ Mining Corporation to Start Mining in Southern Japan

By: Nathalie Stucky

Kumamoto Electric Power Company to Offer Cheap Rates
Kumamoto City in the Kumamoto Prefecture are located on the Kyushu island in southern Japan. Kumamoto Electric Power Company is also set on spreading crypto mining factories throughout Japan, according to a statement, making use of the cheapest electricity price in the country, limited to KEPCO (Kansai Electric Power Company) and TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company). “Since the liberalization of the electric power market took place in early 2016, there are more and more electric power companies offering lower electric fees. In the Kyushu [Southern] region, I believe Kumamoto Electric Company offers one of the cheapest rates,” a salesperson at Kumamoto Electric Company told

Japanese Ex-Financiers Started Mining Business in Northern Rural Industrial Zone
A cryptocurrency related startup company run by a group of Japanese men formerly working in the banking industry installed a crypto mining factory with 500 miners in the country side of Fukui, a Japanese coastal city located on the Chinese side of the sea, in the North. Alt Design, founded in September 2017 in Tokyo, offers various kinds of services such as crypto and ICO consultancy, but its founder and CEO Yuta Funayama decided around November of 2017 to start mining crypto in Japan. “We wanted to offer our clients and investors who are mainly Japanese a possibility to see the miners with their own eyes.”

Kumamoto Electric Company and OZ Mining Corporation to Start Mining in Southern Japan

Yuya Yamamoto, a spokesman of Alt Design, told in an interview: “Japanese people invest in miners abroad, but they expressed some worries saying that it’s harder to check what’s going on at the miner farms, especially if they are located outside of Japan. What we offer also, is the ‘Japanese quality’ service in which we believe the management of our miners is solid.” Alt Design has been mining litecoin and ethereum since mid-March 2018. “Our employees all have a background in IT. The miners operate 24/7 and our staff rotate daily to check if everything is running smoothly,” Yamamoto said, “we believe that our expertise is to tackle any incident quickly.” And the facility can resist natural disasters, he added. The equipment generates about 200 ETH and LTC altogether a month, he said.

Also, while searching for a place to install the plant, Alt Design found an area of Japan where the local government offers subsidies for IT companies such as paying them half of the rent if they install their business in unused local factories. The municipality of Fukui offers low business settling fees in support of new businesses, including IT companies. “We offer companies which want to settle in our city to pay up to half of their rent for three years,” Hiroyasu Yoshida, who represents the Fukui Municipality said. The electricity isn’t cheap everywhere in Japan, but the tariffs are lower in the Hokuriku region, including Fukui, which is to the north of Japan’s main island, facing China.

What do you think of Japanese startups starting mining operations in the north? Share your expectations in the comments section below.
5  Bitcoin / Press / [2018/07/10]Indian Crypto Exchanges Forge Ahead With Solutions to RBI Ban on: July 10, 2018, 04:13:03 PM
Indian Crypto Exchanges Forge Ahead With Solutions to RBI Ban

By: Kevin Helms

The crypto banking ban by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) went into effect at the end of last week. The central bank issued a circular three months ago, banning all financial institutions under its control from providing services to companies dealing in cryptocurrencies. The industry was hopeful that the Supreme Court would grant a stay on the ban on July 3 but the court did not and the RBI ban subsequently went into effect.

Wazirx announced on July 4, “We’ve discontinued INR deposits with immediate effect,” adding:

Our banking partner has abruptly stopped supporting our bank account. This is due to the recent RBI circular banning banks from providing support to cryptocurrency exchanges.

Indian Crypto Exchanges Forge Ahead With Solutions to RBI BanKoinex announced on July 7 that users can “submit INR withdrawal requests till 02.00 PM on July 9, 2018 (Monday) after which no further INR withdrawal requests will be accepted.”

Buyucoin announced last week that “Deposit and Withdrawal will be halted until further notice due to RBI circular by midnight 5th of July’18.”

Three of the first crypto exchanges to announce a suspension of fiat deposits and withdrawals were Zebpay, Pexo, and Coinome, as previously reported. Another major exchange, Unocoin, has yet to announce that it has stopped fiat support at press time.

What do you think of RBI’s ban and crypto exchanges’ solutions? Let us know in the comments section below.
6  Bitcoin / Press / [2018/07/10]US Financial Authority Encouraged to Disclose Crypto Involvement on: July 10, 2018, 04:06:52 PM
US Financial Authority Asks Brokerage Firms to Disclose Crypto Activities

By: Kevin Helms

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued a Regulatory Notice last week on digital assets.

A not-for-profit organization authorized by Congress, FINRA is not part of the U.S. government but is tasked with protecting America’s investors by making sure the broker-dealer industry operates fairly and honestly, its website describes.

With few exceptions, the Authority explains that in addition to registering with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC):

Every firm and broker that sells securities to the public in the United States must be licensed and registered by FINRA.

Individual registered representatives must also register with FINRA. According to its website, FINRA had 629,112 registered representatives and 3,712 member firms in April.

In the 4-page notice, the Authority emphasized that it “is monitoring developments in the digital asset marketplace and is undertaking efforts to ascertain the extent of FINRA member involvement related to digital assets,” adding:

FINRA is issuing this notice to encourage each firm to promptly notify FINRA if it, or its associated persons or affiliates, currently engages, or intends to engage, in any activities related to digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies and other virtual coins and tokens.

Furthermore, until July 31 next year, the Authority “encourages each firm to keep its Regulatory Coordinator abreast of changes in the event the firm, or its associated persons or affiliates, determines to engage in activities relating to digital assets not previously disclosed.”
7  Bitcoin / Press / [2018/07/10]London School of Economics Launches Course related to Cryptocurrency on: July 10, 2018, 03:56:14 PM
London School of Economics Launches “Cryptocurrency Investment and Disruption” Course

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By: Avi Mizrahi

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) has launched a new online certificate course titled “Cryptocurrency Investment and Disruption” headed by Dr Carsten Sørensen, Associate Professor of Information Systems and Innovation. LSE has thus joined the growing list of top notch institutions offering crypto classes such as Cambridge, NYU, Northwestern, Stanford, Wharton and Georgetown, as well as others.

The new LSE crypto educational option seems to be quite accessible as there are no prerequisites for the course and its cost is also not unreasonable at just £1,800. It starts on 14 August 2018, and will take six weeks to complete (excluding orientation) with an estimated commitment of about seven to ten hours per week. This course is also certified by the United Kingdom CPD Certification Service, if that is relevant for you.

Are you interested in attending an academic cryptocurrency course? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
8  Bitcoin / Press / [2018/07/07]Facebook’s Blockchain Division Has a New Director of Engineering on: July 08, 2018, 03:43:42 AM
Facebook’s Blockchain Division Has a New Director of Engineering


Social media giant Facebook has recently promoted senior engineer Evan Cheng to director of engineering for its recently-launched blockchain division.

Earlier in May, Facebook put together a team led by David Marcus, Coinbase board member and former president at PayPal, to explore blockchain technology and its potential use cases for the platform. The team consisted of less than a few dozen people and included senior executives from Instagram. The team was said to directly report to Mike Schroepfer, CTO of Facebook.

In an executive reshuffle, Facebook appointed Evan Cheng as the director of engineering and Kevin Weil, formerly VP of product at Instagram, as the VP of product at their blockchain division. According to his LinkedIn page, Cheng has been employed at Facebook since November 2015 and has been working at their programming languages and runtimes division. He also worked at Apple for over 10 years and is credited as one of the inventors of LLVM, a compiler that generates the low-level machine code for Apple devices. Cheng is also listed as an advisor to blockchain projects Zilliqa and ChainLink.

In a Facebook post earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg stated that he would take up a personal challenge to study cryptocurrencies this year. He remarked that centralization and centralized systems are a key problem today and that he would examine this technology to accelerate decentralization and “put more power in people’s hands.”

He said:

“There are important counter-trends to this –like encryption and cryptocurrency — that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands. But they come with the risk of being harder to control. I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services.”

As CCN reported, Facebook recently reversed its ban on cryptocurrency ads on their platform. The ban was initially placed to protect its users from fraud and theft. Facebook admitted that the ban was intentionally broad and they would revisit the policy while they “work to better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices.” Once the ban was lifted, Facebook announced that they would allow pre-approved applicants to advertise on their platform.

Although Facebook hasn’t announced any plans about how they would use blockchain technology on their platform, It is clear that they are pursuing this technology with interest. In the light of the data crises faced by Facebook, it is going to be interesting to see how they utilize this technology to improve their services.
9  Bitcoin / Press / [2018/07/07]Switzerland Granting Crypto Businesses Access to Banking Services on: July 07, 2018, 01:48:57 AM
Switzerland Considers Granting Crypto Businesses Access to Banking Services

By: Lubomir Tassev
Also read: Swiss Crypto Company Acquires License to Distribute Funds to Investors

Crypto companies based in Switzerland may receive access to regular banking services as early as this year. Political will and economic wisdom seem to be in place as some government officials and bankers are already working to resolve a serious issue. Swiss banks have been refusing accounts to firms from the growing crypto industry.

Banks Expected to Offer Services by the End of the Year

Switzerland Considers Granting Crypto Businesses Access to Banking ServicesIn terms of crypto development, Switzerland is now standing at a crossroad. With very few exceptions, most of its banks have been refusing banking services to a growing number of startups residing in the country’s Crypto Valley and this is beginning to suffocate growth in the fintech sector.

Luckily, far-sighted policy makers and seasoned financiers have already pulled their sleeves up and are working to break the deadlock. One of them is Heinz Tännler, the finance director of the canton of Zug, home of the Swiss Crypto Valley. Speaking to the Financial Times, Tännler said he expected Swiss politicians and regulators to remove the obstacles in the coming months, which would allow crypto companies based in the country to operate with banks just like any other business. He added:

We hope to clarify relationships by the end of the year at the latest. Time is pressing – other jurisdictions such as Malta and Singapore are very active and making a lot of effort to attract these companies. The lack of access to bank services is a significant competitive disadvantage.

According to Mr. Tännler, the country’s central bank, financial supervisor and federal government “are willing to help.” He also stressed that “We have to push certain national institutions to resolve this problem quickly and effectively, but that now seems to be going well.”

Traditional financial institutions are increasingly under pressure to offer crypto startups regular services like bank accounts. According to Swissinfo, the bottleneck has become acute since the ICO craze brought $1.46 billion to Switzerland last year. A recent report by the Crypto Valley Association revealed that token sales through May this year have attracted nearly double the funds raised in 2017.

Mounting Pressure to Break the Deadlock
Switzerland Considers Granting Crypto Businesses Access to Banking ServicesRepresentatives of the industry have warned that if crypto businesses are not provided with access to banking services they may start looking for better conditions elsewhere.

“Starving startups of bank accounts is akin to killing the goose that laid the golden egg,” said blockchain and cryptocurrency expert Guido Schmitz-Krummacher, former director of the Tezos foundation and advisor to projects like Cardano. He believes that the failure to provide a reliable environment for startups will harm the reputation of the Crypto Valley in Zug.

“I am already seeing projects choose Singapore, Malta and Gibraltar because they can’t get a bank account in Switzerland. They will be followed by projects already established in Switzerland unless the banks and politicians address this topic.” The lack of access to normal banking services is worrying, according to Alain Kunz, chief executive of Coinlab Capital, a startup offering blockchain asset management services. “You can do a lot with crypto but you can’t pay rents and salaries,” he told the FT.

Some Swiss politicians and bankers have already heard these worries. In January, economy minister Johann Schneider-Ammann shared a vision of Switzerland becoming a “Crypto Nation.” His colleague, finance minister Ueli Maurer went a step further by forming a working group with representatives of the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA), the financial regulator and the central bank in an attempt to find a solution. The SBA has also set up a taskforce and is planning to establish a set of standards for ICO startups in order to simplify the process of opening bank accounts.

“Both we as an association and the banks have an interest in business relations in this growth area. Banks see the potential that the blockchain technology offers for their industry and Switzerland as a financial and technology hub,” the SBA said in a written statement quoted by Swissinfo. Welcoming its actions, the Crypto Valley Association (CVA) said it anticipated “a progressive broadening of offerings by a number of Swiss banks.”[/b]

Switzerland Considers Granting Crypto Businesses Access to Banking ServicesVery few legacy institutions in Switzerland have so far declared readiness to offer services to the 200 Zug-based blockchain and crypto firms. Among them are Neuchâtel Cantonal Bank and Neue Helvetische Bank. They were joined recently by Hypothekarbank Lenzburg, which announced this month it was accepting cryptocurrency related businesses as account holders. In the meantime, some Swiss startups have opened bank accounts in neighboring Liechtenstein using the services of local banks such as Frick and Alpinum. Others have decided to enter the sector of traditional financial services through partnerships.

Do you expect Swiss banks to offer crypto companies unrestricted access to banking services? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.
10  Bitcoin / Press / [2018/07/07]Philippines Government Approves Two New Crypto Exchanges on: July 07, 2018, 01:38:14 AM
Philippines Government Approves Two New Crypto Exchanges

By: Kevin Helms
Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

The central bank of the Philippines has reportedly approved two new cryptocurrency exchanges, bringing the total number of accredited crypto exchanges in the country to five. Meanwhile, crypto transactions have been growing in the country.

Accrediting Two New Crypto Exchanges

The central bank of the Philippines, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), has reportedly accredited two new crypto exchanges, Business World reported a senior official saying Friday. Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier told reporters:

The regulator has approved applications filed by Virtual Currency Philippines Inc. and Etranss as platforms to convert pesos into virtual currencies (VC) like bitcoin and ethereum.

The country now has five approved crypto exchanges. The first exchange approved was Betur Inc, also known as, which was approved in September last year. One month later, Rebittance Inc. was approved. Then, in May this year, Bloom Solutions was approved as the third crypto exchange operator in the country, the Philstar detailed.

Crypto transactions have been on the rise in the Philippines. Last week, Fonacier revealed that, in the first quarter of this year, $24.16 million were converted from crypto into peso while $36.74 million were converted from peso into cryptocurrencies, the news outlet noted. Similarly, $24.79 million were converted from crypto into peso and $38.27 million from peso into crypto in the fourth quarter of last year.

Refining the Rules
Chuchi G. Fonacier.

The country’s Anti-Money Laundering Council also said it will start looking at crypto transactions “as part of its tighter watch against dirty money,” Business World conveyed.

The central bank has previously proposed that crypto exchanges must “secure separate licenses to operate as electronic money issuers.”It has been studying whether the exchanges “need to sign up as e-money issuers given that they maintain e-wallets for clients.” However, the publication reported Fonacier describing on Friday that “internal consultations showed that it may not be advisable, in a bid to keep the registration process simple for these new players.” She explained:

Now, we are refining the rules…If your business model has a portion making use of e-wallet, then there’s an additional requirement but not necessarily or automatically an e-money license.

Crypto exchanges signing up as e-money issuers must have a minimum capital of 100 million pesos (~US$1,872,291), the publication added, noting that “existing BSP rules also impose P100,000 as the aggregate load limit for e-money instruments per month.”

Last week, the government-owned Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) reportedly announced that it is drafting regulations for cryptocurrencies and planning to license 25 crypto companies.

What do you think of the Philippine government approving two new crypto exchanges? Let us know in the comments section below.
11  Bitcoin / Press / [2018/07/07]Europe’s Top Speed Trading Firm Flow Traders Join the Crypto-Economy on: July 07, 2018, 01:27:48 AM
Europe’s Top Speed Trading Firm Flow Traders Joins the Crypto-Economy

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By: Jamie Redman
Also read: Switzerland Considers Granting Crypto Businesses Access to Banking Services

This week one of Europe’s largest speed trading platforms and exchange-traded fund (ETFs) dealers, Flow Traders NV, announced the firm is entering the cryptocurrency space by offering bitcoin and ethereum exchange-traded notes (ETNs) to its clientele.

Speed Trading Platform Flow Traders Enters the Cryptocurrency Trading Ecosystem

The Amsterdam market maker, Flow Traders, provides liquidity to its customers by providing traders bid and offer prices for Exchange Traded Products (ETPs). Flow Traders was founded in 2004 and has become one of the top ETP exchanges in Europe, pulling in over €250 million in revenue per year. Now the trading platform has announced it’s entering the cryptocurrency space by providing customers ethereum and bitcoin ETNs. According to Flow Trader’s Co-Chief Executive Officer Dennis Dijkstra, the company’s trade volumes have “dramatically increased.”

“People underestimate crypto,” Dijkstra explains during an interview on July 6.

It’s big, and it is to be regulated very soon. The market participants are much more professional than people think. Institutional investors are interested — we know they are because we get requests.
12  Bitcoin / Press / [2018/07/05]Romania Drafts Bill to Regulate Electronic Money on: July 05, 2018, 08:37:06 PM
Posted: Muyao Shen

Editor's Note: Following the publication of this article, new information indicates that the bill in Romania is focused on electronic monies, not cryptocurrencies specifically. The article below has been amended accordingly.


Romania has drafted an emergency ordinance for electronic forms of money, a local news outlet reported Thursday.

The draft, which was released by the Romanian Ministry of Finance, states that groups hoping to launch e-monies must have their tax and legal records verified. Following that, each member of the issuing organization is required to be approved by the Romanian National Bank (BNR), according to Business Review.

If approved, the draft would make BNR the sole authority over such products in the country.

BNR claims it would grant authorization to firms when it finds the applicants have "a formal framework for the management of the carefully designed electronic money issuance activity."

This framework must include a structure with "well-defined, transparent and coherent responsibility lines," efficient risk-management processes and "adequate internal control mechanisms" for issuing such forms of money, officials have reportedly outlined.

The draft ordinance also defines electronic money. It explains that the government sees it as "monetary value stored electronically, including magnetic, representing a claim on the issuer issued on receipt of funds for the purpose of performing payment transactions and which is accepted by a person other than the issuer of electronic money."

Once in effect, the authorization will only last for a 12-month period. If the approved issuers don't issue the money before the deadline, they will lose the authorization.
13  Bitcoin / Press / [2018/07/05]IBM Wants to Track 'Collaborative Coding' Milestones on a Blockchain on: July 05, 2018, 08:26:29 PM
IBM Wants to Track 'Collaborative Coding' Milestones on a Blockchain


A new patent application from IBM outlines a way for developers to catalog coding updates and milestones on a blockchain.

The application – entitled "Blockchain For Program Code Credit and Programmer Contribution in a Collective" – was published on July 5 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It envisions utilizing the technology to create "a secure and robust approach to track and to append information related to collaborative coding for the purpose of credit, reward, and dispute resolution, and for other purposes."

Put more simply, the idea is to use a distributed network to track the accomplishments of coders as they work together on a project. As the application suggests, such tracking can be used to properly credit design elements to specific programmers.

As IBM argues in the application, programmers normally need to collaborate to produce a software product, but an effective approach measuring a programmer's contribution is lacking. The principle underlying the proposed patent is a chain that chronicles the code transactions and parameters on blockchain blocks.

As IBM goes on to explain:

"Code transactions and parameters associated with a stakeholder are compiled into a chain of programmer transaction blockchain blocks. The chain can be considered a chronicle of a piece of software, …and the code "status" path through its recent history or complete history can be tracked, along with its various programmers, though the lifetime and versions of the code, various history parameters, etc."

"Once the new block has been calculated, it can be appended to the stakeholder's application software history blockchain, as described above. The block may be updated in response to many triggers, such as, when a programmer selects a button on a graphical user interface (GUI) on a computer display showing a code editor to add code, when a unit test has been completed, when a code integration is completed, when an assigned work item is closed, and so forth," the company goes on to note..

IBM itself is no stranger to intellectual property bids tied to blockchain technology, as the USPTO routinely publishes filings submitted by IBM.

For example, one application filed in April shows that the tech juggernaut is seeking to patent a method for ensuring that a network of connected devices can securely execute blockchain-based smart contracts.
14  Bitcoin / Press / [2018/07/05]BIS Chief to Crypto Coders: 'Stop Trying to Create Money' on: July 05, 2018, 08:24:51 PM
BIS Chief to Crypto Coders: 'Stop Trying to Create Money'


The head of the Bank of International Settlements has predicted a bad ending for cryptocurrencies, calling for an end to their production in a recent interview.

In an interview with a Basel-based media outlet on June 30, Agustín Carstens took aim at cryptocurrencies and reiterated his belief that they represent "a bubble, a Ponzi scheme and an environmental disaster," according to a transcript published by the BIS on Wednesday.

Asked whether he agrees that cryptocurrency has had a positive impact by making young people think about money, Carstens asserted that cryptocurrencies don't have the core features to be a currency. As such, the BIS head contended that the activities associated with cryptocurrency represents an effort to create money out of nothing.

"Young people should use their many talents and skills for innovation, not reinventing money. It's a fallacy to think money can be created from nothing," Carstens said, adding:

"Glance back into the past and you will see that creating gold or money from nothing has been a regular obsession. It never worked. ... So my message to young people would be: Stop trying to create money!"

After being appointed as the general manager in December 2017 to lead the BIS, an international institution known for its role as a kind of bank for central banks, Carstens has not shied away from making strong comments on cryptocurrency.

As previously reported by CoinDesk, the BIS chief issued sharply critical statements about cryptocurrency in February of this year.

Agustín Carstens image via Banco de México/Flickr

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.
15  Bitcoin / Press / [2018/07/05]5 Countries Establish Group to Fight Cryptocurrency Tax Crime on: July 05, 2018, 08:10:44 PM
5 Countries Establish Group to Fight Cryptocurrency Tax Crime


Tax enforcement agencies from the United States, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have formed J5, an international organization aimed at combating »transnational tax crime«, with cryptocurrency being singled out as an area of focus. Apparently, the formation of J5 was a response to a call to action from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The press release states:

»We are convinced that offshore structures and financial instruments, where used to commit tax crime and money laundering, are detrimental to the economic, fiscal, and social interests of our countries.«

Since cryptocurrency allows for value to be moved across the world quickly and anonymously (depending on the type of cryptocurrency used and precautions taken by the sender and receiver), it’s no wonder that government agencies are seeing it as a substantial threat. While some regulation and improved enforcement could help the cryptocurrency space mature, the growth and innovation in the sector could be stifled if regulators and tax enforcement agencies go for extreme measures. For now, the specifics of the scope of J5’s activity are still unclear.

Don Fort, the head of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation division, told Forbes that the lack of cooperation between different governments allows criminals to exploit vulnerabilities:

"The J5 aims to break down those walls, build upon individual best practices, and become an operational group that is forward-thinking and can pressurize the global criminal community in ways we could not achieve on our own."

In February, the IRS deployed 10 agents to investigate tax crimes connected with cryptocurrency. The IRS says cryptocurrency can play a role similar to foreign bank accounts when it comes to facilitating tax evasion.
16  Bitcoin / Press / [2018/07/03]Japan’s Internet Giant GMO Launches New Upgraded 7nm Bitcoin Miner on: July 03, 2018, 12:46:57 PM
Read More Here:
Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Japanese internet giant GMO has launched a new, upgraded model of its bitcoin miner equipped with 7nm ASIC mining chips. The previous model was sold out. The new model can achieve a higher hash rate and has a “hash power optimization function.” It is for sale at the same price as the previous model.

While the B2 model has a hash power of 24TH/s, the B3 model has a maximum hash power of 33TH/s, “which is much better than our existing products,” the company described, elaborating:

"The major characteristics of GMO miner B3 are that it has the maximum hash power of 33 TH/s as well as can adjust the hash power optimally up to 33TH/s depending on the mining environment and global hash rate."
17  Bitcoin / Press / [2018/07/02]Cryptojacking Rises as Ransomware Declines on: July 02, 2018, 01:37:50 PM
Also Read: Police Forces Seize Over €4.5M in Crypto From Darknet LSD Market

Two of the leading international cyber security firms, one from Russia and one from the USA, have both published their finds at the end of June showing an increase in the malware threats market share of cryptojacking at the expense of ransomware.

New Crypto Crime Top Dog
Cryptojacking Rises as Ransomware Declines, Cyber Security Researchers FindKaspersky Lab, the Moscow, Russia-headquartered cyber security firm, has determined that cryptojacking has taken the place of ransomware as top cyber bad dog in 2018. Their data shows that the number of users attacked by ransomware is in serious decline, the figure dropped by nearly half, from 1,152,299 in 2016–2017 to 751,606 in 2017–2018. Over the same two-year period, cryptojacking incidents rose in total number, from 1.9 million to 2.7 million, as well as in share of all cyber threats detected, from 3% to 4%.

“Crafty cryptominers have moved up to take ransomware’s place, invading users’ and businesses’ computers and devices and taking advantage of their power to put cryptocurrency in the pockets of thieves. Whereas ransomware enters with a flourish and freaks out its victims, cryptominers strive to remain hidden — the longer they toil, the greater the perpetrators’ profit — and as a result, victims may not notice them for a time,” Kaspersky Lab researchers explained.

Cryptojacking Is Simpler, More Straightforward, Less Risky
Cryptojacking Rises as Ransomware Declines, Cyber Security Researchers FindMcAfee Labs, the Santa Clara, California-headquartered cyber security firm, also determined that ransomware has been dethroned by cryptojacking. It found that cryptojacking malware grew a whopping 629% to more than 2.9 million known samples in Q1 2018 from about 400,000 samples in Q4 2017. At the same time, new ransomware samples saw a significant decrease in Q1 2018, falling 32%.

“Compared with well-established cybercrime activities such as data theft and ransomware, cryptojacking is simpler, more straightforward, and less risky. All criminals must do is infect millions of systems and start monetizing the attack by mining for cryptocurrencies on victims’ systems. There are no middlemen, there are no fraud schemes, and there are no victims who need to be prompted to pay and who, potentially, may back up their systems in advance and refuse to pay,” McAfee Labs researchers explained.

What are the possible implications for cryptos from this development? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
18  Bitcoin / Press / [2018/07/02]Report Reveals First Crypto Phishing Trends in Japanese Language on: July 02, 2018, 01:30:04 PM
Also Read: How Michael Richo Stole Bitcoins via Imposter Exchange Sites and Dark Web Phishing Schemes

Reports have confirmed that Japan has been targeted by cybercriminals using phishing, or illegal acquisition of personal information, to steal cryptocurrencies by sending fake emails to crypto exchange users. Fake emails sent in Japanese language reportedly rose to at least 1,500 by last autumn.

Six FSA Approved Exchanges Taking Inadequate Countermeasures Against Phishing

Back in May, Bitflyer was warning its customers that fake emails used by cybercriminals were redirecting their victims to phishing websites that looked like authentic Bitflyer pages, which requested customers to enter their IDs and passwords. These were then collected by the criminals. Bitflyer received a serious business improvement order by the FSA on June 22.
Fake emails in Japanese language sent to steal private information were confirmed last November

A report published by the University of Tsukuba and Nomura Asset Management, an investment management company, criticized six government approved crypto exchanges saying they were operating without any solid countermeasures against online fraud and phishing schemes.

The Japanese Anti-phishing Council and the information security company Trend Micro reported that it was in November of last year that fake emails sent in the Japanese language targeting cryptocurrencies were confirmed for the first time. The two entities confirmed more than 1,500 fake emails sent in Japanese, targeting cryptocurrency exchanges. “And this is just the tip of the iceberg,” they said.
Government Collaboration is Planned

Japan Credit Information Service’s (JCIS) spokeswoman Teruko Suzuki told that JCIS has collaborated several times with the Japanese government regarding investigations on cryptocurrency related matters, but JCIS hasn’t got any official contract with government entities yet. “We are hoping to collaborate with the Japanese government entities such as the FSA, the National Police Agency, The Tokyo Metropolitan Police, or even the tax office in the future.”

In January this year, about 580 billion JPY worth of the virtual currency NEM vanished from Coincheck, a major domestic crypto exchange. In this case, fraudulent emails were sent in English to several employees of the company. It was later revealed that they were infected with viruses after opening those emails. After this major Japanese crypto heist, the FSA has been strictly inspecting Japanese crypto exchanges and reported a series of deficiencies in the internal management system, one after another.

Do you think enough is being done by officials to crack down on cryptocurrency phishing? Let us know in the comments section below.
19  Bitcoin / Press / [2018/07/2]Another US Bitcoin Trader Faces Prison for Illegal Money Transmission on: July 02, 2018, 01:23:12 PM
Also read: Bitcoin Cash Innovation Continues with the First On-Chain Atomic Bet

This week in Southern California a Los Angeles woman who called herself the ‘Bitcoin Maven’ will be sentenced this Monday after pleading guilty for illegal money transmission. According to law enforcement, the woman made close to $300,000 USD annually by selling BTC on the peer-to-peer exchange Localbitcoins. 

LA Woman Called the ‘Bitcoin Maven’ Convicted for Selling Bitcoins Without a License

U.S. law enforcement has arrested and convicted another Localbitcoins seller who reportedly made $300K per year selling digital assets. The 50-year-old Theresa Tetley used the alias ‘Bitcoin Maven’ and sold bitcoins without registering with the financial authorities. Prosecutors say Tetley’s operations “fueled a black-market financial system in the Central District of California that purposely and deliberately existed outside of the regulated bank industry.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office claims that Tetley processed around $6-9.5 million USD worth of bitcoins throughout her tenure. Operating as the ‘Bitcoin Maven’ Tetley sold BTC between 2014 and 2017 using the online trading platform. Tetley has pleaded guilty and her defense is asking for 1 year in prison for her wrong doings but prosecutors have asked the U.S. District Judge Manuel Real to sentence Tetley to 30 months in federal prison.

US Law Enforcement Continues to Arrest Localbitcoins Sellers for Selling Large Quantities of Digital Assets Without Permission

Tetley is one of many instances where US Localbitcoins traders have been taken into custody for illegal money transmission. In Missouri, a trader named Jason R. Klein pleaded guilty for trading BTC for fiat without registering with the financial authorities. Thomas Constanzo, (aka ‘Morpheus’) was arrested by Homeland Security in Arizona for the same crime. An Ohio man named Daniel Mercede was arrested in May of last year for selling large quantities of BTC overseas. Further, Richard Petix from New York was another trader who was found guilty for selling BTC and charged with “illegal money transmitting business” and “making false statements.”

Then this past February there was another instance where the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) team and Homeland Security arrested Morgan Rockcoons (aka ‘Morgan Rockwell’) in Las Vegas Nevada for a BTC transaction from November 2016. That month Rockcoons was charged with unlicensed money transmitting business and money laundering.

In Theresa Tetley’s (aka ‘Bitcoin Maven’) case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is asking for a forfeiture of 40 BTC confiscated during her arrest, and 25 gold bars.

What do you think about the LA woman charged with illegal money transmission for selling BTC on the platform Localbitcoins?
Let us know what you think about this subject in the comment section below.

20  Bitcoin / Press / [2018/07/02] Philippines’ Economic Zone Creating Crypto Regulations on: July 02, 2018, 01:05:23 PM
Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

The authority of the Filipino government-owned economic zone is drafting regulations for cryptocurrencies and planning to limit the number of licenses it issues to 25. Other rules include the requirement for each crypto exchange to invest at least US$1 million within 2 years. The authority has reportedly received about 60 applications from crypto companies so far.

Drafting Crypto Regulations

Philippines’ Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) is “crafting rules to safeguard cryptocurrency investors,” according to the Philippine News Agency, the government’s newswire service.

Philippines' Economic Zone Creating Crypto Regulations, Licensing 25 Exchanges CEZA is the government-owned and controlled corporation tasked to manage the development of the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport. “CEZA is eyeing to become a hub for financial technology (fintech) investments,” the news service wrote.

According to CEO and Administrator Raul Lambino, CEZA “is in the process of crafting regulations that will protect those investing in cryptocurrency.” He said in a statement this week that the authority “will remain stringent in checking the probity and integrity of companies eyeing to launch their initial coin offering (ICO) in the country. These companies shall be registered with CEZA.”

Preventing Scams

Lambino emphasized that the regulations will not allow Ponzi schemes. He explained that, for any companies with an ICO, “we will have to find [out] if their ICO is asset-backed,” citing “there are many scammers.” He noted that some ICOs “may be able to convince 50 unsuspecting investors and promise them the sun and the moon,” adding:

There are many operating scammers who set up an exchange with very little capital and they are victimizing investors…We do not want the Philippines to be a haven for scammers even if these scams are happening abroad. That’s why through our probity and integrity check we can determine if their transactions are just designed to entice unsuspecting people to invest in bitcoin or whatever crypto coin that is a fraud.

What do you think of CEZA drafting crypto regulations and licensing 25 exchanges? Let us know in the comments section below.
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