Bitcoin falls back below $10,000, losing a fifth of its ...
U.S. Seizes Bitcoin Said to Be Used to Finance Terrorist ...
The New Era in Cyber-Enabled Terrorist Financing Center ...
The last 10 year of economic growth are bullshit
I will be discussing this article here. I think one of the paragraph's in it, sums up what has been going on since 2008 and why we never actually recovered.
In effect, the nation has become dependent on its central bankers and their limited agenda (expand the wealth and power of the financial sector). The elected government and the real-world production of goods and services both have taken a back seat to conjured "wealth."
The economy of any nation can be divided up into 3 main sectors. Finance Sector, Industry and Manufacturing, Spending of the Average Population. The US, which affects the entire world due to the dolarization of the planet, has been investing all of its resources into the financial sector, which benefits only people who already have ton's of money and/or people who are willing to take huge risks to speculate on "fake" growth. The "economic growth" that our stocks and etc show, is all a fucking bubble. Unless you pulled out all your investments before 2008, you lost it all when the economy hit a "reset". Sure, you may say that its because of the housing bubble, but that caused the collapse of literally everything else. Now we live in an endless maze of bubbles that have been growing artificially through things like quantitative easing, printing more money, and again...printing more money. Credit cards are being thrown at people who can't afford them. Car loans, house loans, loans for everything are so accessible in the US, its insane. Student loans especially are the biggest fucking bubble ever created (because first of all most of that money is going towards degrees that will never be productive to society). The thing is, those people who have money, who have power, have been MILKING profits from speculative trading and the pretty much artificial finance sector. Literally anything that isn't a sell-able trade-able physical product is literally BULLSHIT, and it shows. The US has printed HALF of its yearly GDP in just 2 months (March and April). By the end of the year it will print its entire GDP in cash or digital zeros tacked on to a 1. They just go into a computer and punch in some freaking numbers. How fair is that to the rest of the world, or even, its citizens! The 1,200$ stimulus check? You just got purchased into eternal slavery with that. That 1,200$ that is now worth 30% LESS than it did in 2019, BOUGHT YOU. Accepting these artificially created help from the government is contributing even more to the soon to be hyper inflation, except its going to be even worse than Germany in the 20's. Why? Because not only will we hyper inflate our currency, we are going to collapse the economy as we know it, making the entire finance sector worthless, causing exponential worthlessness of everything.
Just as the rewards of central-bank bubbles have not been evenly distributed, the pain created by the collapse of the bubbles won't be evenly distributed, either.
As the banks, wealthy, government, fed, etc swim in unlimited money to just BUY OUT (bail out) the economy and OWN everything, we are given 1,200$ that will be next to worthless. The rich are buying out every physical asset the can TODAY, while we are still living our life hoping things go back to normal, which it won't. There really is no solution. If you buy gold, the government will simply confiscate it like in the great depression. You buy stocks? They will all hit 0 eventually. Cash? They will tell you to turn it in because they are already working on a Digital dollar to compete with china's digital currency. Bitcoin? They will declare it illegal because of some reason like it helps terrorists and launders money made by criminal organizations. Good luck guys. If this is new info to you...this is the real red pill. You won't be having any time for women or sex.
I've heard that founder of MakerDAO is not strictly against KYC. I have a message to whole community and specifically to a founder of MakerDAO Rune Christensen. I will explain using concrete examples why having KYC in MakerDAO is a grave mistake and it will lead to MakerDAO fork. Many people in the first world never actually understand why financial privacy and financial inclusion is important. Even people (in the first world) who seemingly supportive of such ideas are not able to provide any concrete examples of why it's actually important. Unfortunately, I was born in a "wrong" country (Uzbekistan) and I experienced first hand what financial exclusion actually means. I know first hand that annoying feeling when you read polite, boilerplate rejection letter from financial institution based in first world. So I had to become practical libertarian. I'm going to give you concrete examples of financial discrimination against me. Then I'm going to explain fundamental reasons why it happens. And finally, I'm going to explain my vision for DAI. Back in 2005, I lived in Uzbekistan. I had an idea to invest in US stocks. I was very naive and I didn't know anything about investing, compliance, bank transfers, KYC etc. All I knew is nice long term charts of US stocks and what P/E means. I didn't contact any US brokerage but I checked information about account opening and how to transfer money there. I approached local bank in Uzbekistan and asked how to transfer money to Bank of New York. Banker's face was like - WOW, WTF?!?! They asked me to go to private room to talk with senior manager. Senior manager of local bank in Uzbekistan asked me why I wanted to transfer money to US. They told me that it's absolutely impossible to transfer money to US/EU and pretty much anywhere. I approached nearly every local bank in the town and they told me the same. In 2012, I already lived in Moscow and acquired Russian citizenship. I got back to my old idea - investing in US stocks. I called to many US brokerages and all of them politely rejected me. Usually when I called I asked them if I can open an account with them. They told me to hold on line. After long pause, I was able to speak with "senior" support who politely explain me that Russia in their list of restricted countries and they can't open an account for me. Finally, I was able to open an account with OptionsXpress. Next challenge was to convince local Russian bank to transfer money to US. Back then in 2012, I was able to get permission to do so. So you might say - is this happy end? Fast forwarding US brokerage story to 2017, OptionsXpress was acquired by Charles Schwab. I was notified that my OptionsXpress account will be migrated to Charles Schwab platform. In 2017, I already lived in the Netherlands (but still having Russian citizenship). I wasn't happy with my stupid job in the Netherlands. I called Charles Schwab and asked if I quit my job in the Netherlands and have to return to Russia, what will happen with my account. Schwab told me that they will restrict my account, so I can't do anything except closing my account. So even if I was long term customer of OptionsXpress, Charles Schwab is not fully okay with me. Going back to 2013, I still lived in Russia. I had another idea. What if I quit my job and build some SAAS platform (or whatever) and sell my stuff to US customers. So I need some website which accept US credit cards. I contacted my Russian bank (who previously allowed me to transfer money to OptionsXpress) about steps to make in order to accept US credit cards in Russia. I've been told explicitly in email that they won't allow me to accept US credit cards under any circumstances. Back then I still believed in "the free west". So I thought - no problem, I will just open bank account abroad and do all operations from my foreign account. I planned vacation in Hong Kong. And Hong Kong is freest economy in the world. Looks like it's right place to open bank account. I contacted HSBC Hong Kong via email. Their general support assured me that I can open bank account with them if I'm foreigner. I flew to Hong Kong for vacation and visited HSBC branch. Of course, they rejected me. But they recommended me to visit last floor in their HQ building, they told me that another HSBC branch specializes on opening bank accounts for foreigners. I went there and they said minimum amount to open bank account is 10 mil HKD (1.27 mil USD). Later I learned that it's called private banking. When I relocated to the Netherlands, I asked ABN Amro staff - what's happen with my bank account if I quit/lose my job in the Netherlands and have to return back to Russia. I've been told that I can't have my dutch bank account if I go back to Russia even if I already used their bank for 2+ years. I still had idea that I would like to quit my job and do something for myself. The problem is that I'm Russian citizen and I don't have any residency which is independent from my employment. So if I quit my job in the Netherlands, I have to return back to Russia. I wanted to see how I would get payments from US/EU customers. I found Stripe Atlas, it's so exciting, they help you to incorporate in US, and even help with banking, all process of receiving credit card payments is very smooth. But as usual in my case, there is a catch - Russia in their list of restricted countries. Speaking of centralized compliance-friendly (e.g. KYC) crypto exchanges. This year I live and work in Hong Kong. Earlier this year, I thought it would be nice to have an account at local crypto exchange in Hong Kong so I can quickly transfer money from my bank account in Hong Kong to crypto exchange using FPS (local payment system for fast bank transfers). What could go wrong? After all Hong Kong is freest economy in the world, right? I submitted KYC documents to crypto exchange called Weever including copy of my Hong Kong ID as they requested. They very quickly responded that they need copy of my passport as well. I submitted copy of my Russian passport. This time they got silent. After a few days, they sent me email saying that Russia is on the US Office of Foreign Assets Control sanction list, so they just require me to fill a form about source of the funds. I told them that the source of my funds is salary, my Hong Kong bank can confirm that along with my employment contract. They got very silent after I sent them a filled form. After a week of silence I asked them - when my account get approved? They said that their compliance office will review my application soon. And they got very silent again. I waited for two or three weeks. Then I asked them again. And I immediately got email with title - Rejection for Weever Account Opening. And text of email was:
We are sorry to inform you that Weever may not be able to accept your account opening application at this stage.
Exactly the same situation I had with one crypto exchange in Europe back in 2017. Luckily I have accounts at other crypto exchanges including Gemini, one of most compliance obsessed exchange in the world. Although I don't keep my money there because I can't trust them, who knows what might come into head of their compliance officer one sunny day. By the way, I'm living and working outside of Russia for quite a few years. The situation with crypto exchanges is much worse for those who still living in Russia. I give you a few other examples of financial discrimination is not related to troubles with my Russian citizenship. Back in 2018, I still lived in the Netherlands. I logged in into my brokerage account just to buy US ETFs as I always do - SPY and QQQ. I placed my order and it failed to fill. I thought it's just a technical problem with my brokerage account. After a few failed attempts to send buy orders for SPY and QQQ, I contacted their support. What they told me was shocking and completely unexpected. They said I'm not permitted to buy US ETFs anymore as EU resident because EU passed a law to protect retail investors. So as a EU resident I'm allowed to be exposed to more risk by buying individual US stocks but I'm not allowed to reduce my risk by buying SPY because ... EU wants to protect me. I felt final result of new law. By the way, on paper their law looks fine. And the final example. It's a known fact that US public market become less attractive in recent decades. Due to heavy regulatory burden companies prefer to go public very late. So if successful unicorn startup grows from its inception/genesis to late adoption, company's valuation would be 3-5 orders of orders of magnitude. For example, if valuation of successful company at inception is 1 Mil USD, then at its very latest stage it's valuation would be 10 Bil USD. So we have 10'000 times of growth. In the best case scenario, company would go public at 1 Bil USD 5-10 years before reaching its peak 10 Bil USD. So investors in private equity could enjoy 1000 fold growth and just leave for public only last 10 fold growth stretched in time. In the worst case scenario, company would go public at 10 Bil USD, i.e. at its historical peak. But there are well known platforms to buy shares of private companies, one of such platforms is Forge Global. You can buy shares of almost all blue chip startups. You can even invest in SpaceX! But as always, there is a catch - US government wants to protect not just US citizens but all people in the world (sounds ridiculous, right?). US law requires you to have 1 Mil USD net worth or 200'000 USD annual income if you want to buy shares of non-public company. So if you are high-net worth individual you can be called "accredited investor". Funny thing is that the law intends to protect US citizens but even if you are not US citizen and never even lived in US, this law is still applies to you in practice. So if you are "poor loser", platforms like Forge Global will reject you. So high-net worth individuals have access and opportunity to Bitcoin-style multi-magnitude growth every 5-10 years. Contrary to private equity markets, US public markets is low risk/low return type of market. If you have small amount of capital, it's just glorified way to protect yourself from inflation plus some little return on top. It's not bad, US public market is a still great way to store your wealth. But I'm deeply convinced that for small capital you must seek fundamentally different type of market - high risk/high return. It's just historical luck that Bitcoin/Ethereum/etc were available for general public from day one. But in reality, viral/exponential growth is happening quite often. It's just you don't have access to such type of markets due to regulatory reasons. I intentionally described these examples of financial discrimination in full details as I experienced them because I do feel that vast majority of people in the first world honestly think that current financial system works just fine and only criminals and terrorists are banned. In reality that's not true at all. 99.999% of innocent people are completely cut off from modern financial system in the name of fighting against money laundering. Here is a big picture why it's happening. There are rich countries (so called western world) and poor countries (so called third world). Financial wall is carefully built by two sides. Authoritarian leaders of poor countries almost always want full control over their population, they don't like market economy, and since market forces don't value their crappy legal system (because it works only for close friends of authoritarian leader) they must implement strict capital control. Otherwise, all capital will run away from their country because nobody really respects their crappy legal system. It only has value under heavy gun of government. Only friends of authoritarian leader can move their money out of country but not you. Leaders of rich countries want to protect their economy from "dirty money" coming from third world. Since citizens of poor countries never vote for leaders of rich countries nobody really cares if rich country just ban everyone from poor country. It's the most lazy way to fight against money laundering - simply ban everyone from certain country. Actually if you look deeper you will see that rich countries very rarely directly ban ordinary people from third world. Usually, there is no such law which doesn't allow me to open bank account somewhere in Europe as non-EU resident. What's really happens is that US/EU government implement very harsh penalties for financial institutions if anything ever goes wrong. So what's actually happens is that financial institutions (banks, brokerages etc) do de-risking. This is the most important word you must know about traditional financial system! So if you have wrong passport, financial institution (for example) bank from rich country just doesn't want to take any risks dealing with you even if you are willing to provide full documentation about your finances. It's well known fact that banks in Hong Kong, Europe, US like to unexpectedly shutdown accounts of thousands innocent businesses due to de-risking. So it's actually de-risking is the real reason why I was rejected so many times by financial institutions in the first world!!! It's de-risking actually responsible for banning 99.999% of innocent people. So governments of rich democratic countries formally have clean hands because they are not banning ordinary people from third world directly. All dirty job is done by financial institutions but governments are well aware of that, it's just more convenient way to discriminate. And nobody actually cares! Ordinary citizens in rich countries are never exposed to such problems and they really don't care about people in third world, after all they are not citizens of US/EU/UK/CH/CA/HK/SG/JP/AU/NZ. And now are you ready for the most hilarious part? If you are big corrupt bureaucrat from Russia you are actually welcome by the first world financial institutions! All Russian's junta keep their stolen money all across Europe and even in US. You might wonder how this is possible if the western financial system is so aggressive in de-risking. Here is a simple equation which financial institution should solve when they decide whether to open an account for you or not: Y - R = net profit Where: Y - how much profit they can make with you; R - how much regulatory risk they take while working with you; That's it! It's very simple equation. So if you are really big junta member from Russia you are actually welcome according to this equation. Banks have special name for serving (ultra) high-net worth individuals, it's called private banking. It's has nothing to do with the fact that bank is private. It's just fancy name for banking for rich. So what's usually happen in real world. Some Estonian or Danish bank got caught with large scale money laundering from Russia. European leaders are ashamed in front of their voters. They implement new super harsh law against money laundering to keep their voters happy. Voters are ordinary people, they don't care about details of new regulations. So banks get scared and abruptly shutdown ALL accounts of Russian customers. And European voters are happy. Modern money laundering laws are like shooting mouse in your house using bazooka! It's very efficient to kill mouse, right? Now imagine world without financial borders. It's hard to do so because we are all get so used to current status quo of traditional financial system. But with additional effort you can start asking questions - if Internet economy is so global and it doesn't really matter where HQ of startup is located, why they are all concentrated in just a few tiny places like Silicon Valley and ... well, that's mostly it if you count the biggest unicorns! Another question would be - why so many talented russian, indian, chinese programmers just go to the same places like San Francisco, London and make super rich companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple to get even richer? If all you need is laptop and access to internet, why you don't see any trade happening between first and third world? Well actually there is a trade between first and third world but it's not exactly what I want to see. Usually third world countries sell their natural resources through giant corporations to the first world. So it's possible to get access to the first world market from third world but this access usually granted only to big and established companies (and usually it means not innovative). Unicorns are created through massive parallel experiment. Every week bunch of new startups are created in Silicon Valley. Thousands and thousands startups are created in Silicon Valley with almost instant access to global market. Just by law of large numbers you have a very few of them who later become unicorns and dominate the world. But if you have wrong passport and you are located in "wrong" country where every attempt to access global market is very costly, then you most likely not to start innovative startup in the first place. In the best case scenario, you just create either local business or just local copy-paste startup (copied from the west) oriented on (relatively small) domestic market. Obviously in such setup it's predictable that places like Silicon Valley will have giant advantage and as a result all unicorns get concentrated in just a few tiny places. In the world without financial barriers there will be much smaller gap between rich and poor countries. With low barrier of entry, it won't be a game when winner takes all. Whole architecture of decentralized cryptocurrencies is intended to remove middle man and make transactions permissionless. Governments are inherently opposite to that, they are centralized and permissioned. Therefore, decentralized cryptocurrencies are fundamentally incompatible with traditional financial system which is full of middle mans and regulations (i.e. permissions). Real value of crypto are coming from third world, not the first world. People are buying crypto in rich countries just want to invest. Their financial system and their fiat money are more or less already working for them. So there is no immediate urgency to get rid of fiat money in the first world. So the first world citizens buying crypto on centralized KYCd exchanges are essentially making side bet on the success of crypto in third world. Real and natural environment of cryptocurrencies is actually dark OTC market in places like Venezuela and China. But cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have a big limitation to wide adoption in third world - high volatility. So the real target audience is oppressed (both by their own government and by first world governments) ordinary citizens of third world countries yet they are least who can afford to take burden of high volatility. Right now, Tether is a big thing for dark markets across the world (by the way, dark market doesn't automatically imply bad!). But Tether soon or later be smashed by US/EU regulators. The only real and working permissionless stable cryptocurrency (avoiding hyped word - stablecoin) is DAI. DAI is the currency for post-Tether world to lead dark OTC market around the world and subvert fiat currencies of oppressive third world governments. Once DAI become de-facto widespread currency in shadow economy in all of third world, then it will be accepted (after many huge push backs from governments) as a new reality. I'm talking about 10-20+ years time horizon. But if MakerDAO chooses the route of being compliance friendly then DAI will lose its real target audience (i.e. third world). I can not imagine US/EU calmly tolerate someone buying US stocks and using as a collateral to issue another security (i.e. DAI) which is going to be traded somewhere in Venezuela! You can not be compliance friendly and serve people in Venezuela. Facebook's Libra was stupidest thing I've seen. It's extremely stupid to ask permission from the first world regulators to serve third world and create borderless economy. Another stupid thing is to please third world governments as well. For example, Libra (if ever run) will not serve Indian, Chinese, Venezuelan people. Who is then going to use stupid Libra? Hipsters in Silicon Valley? Why? US dollars are good enough already.
A new Nano trade exchange was launched a couple of days ago - Here's why anyone who remembers Bitgrail should be be very afraid
This is mostly a duplicate of my summarised responses to that exchange's original announcement threads here and in/nanotrade**.** The owners of that new exchange are welcome to downvote this new posting of mine, but everyone else can make their own decision about whether to upvote this for posterity's benefit, so that my post gets found in months to come (given that Reddit's search engine is really bad at searching comments.) Here's what's dodgy about this exchange, and why anyone who remembers BitGrail should be very afraid: I emphasise that I'm not saying this is a scam. But I am saying it looks like what a scam website would look like andappearsto be operating illegally under UK law: * The domain NanoTrade.co.uk was registered only two days (one working day) before the site went live - meaning it only could have been tested very briefly, (Edit: and could not have been secured against accidentally being taken by another person, which implies incredible lack of planning) * The domain was registered by NameCheap, with an obscured registrant * The site was not pre-announced on /Nano Currency nor /NanoTrade * The site was announced first on /nanotrade (6k subscribers), but only announced here on /nanocurrency (44k subscribers) three days later, demonstrating a lack of knowledge of Nano relative subscribers * The announcer Paradise2GE claimed Google and Facebook Ads existed prelaunch - but no one of you here saw them because you would have excitedly told us if you had * No such advertising for the site was noted by me, yet I would have been a key target for it * Since the domain was not registered, such advertising could not have included, say, a [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) mail form, which is incompetent in itself * Nano Associates Limited was registered with Companies House on 2018-02-28 (as company number 11229688) - to a London mail-forwarding company's central London address (a postcode with 11,000 companies registered at the same address) * Its sole Director 'Orlando Carugo' has no Google history of being associated with Nano, Cryptocurrency, or finance at all * Orlando Carugo's profession is listed as 'Sales Director' * The Google and LinkedIn history of an UK-based 'Orlando Carugo' (a sales professional) can be found, with no reference to cryptocurrency but with references to being willing to work for stock options or commission * The announcement on /NanoTrade was made by Paradise2GE - an account with a few questions on Bitcoin two years ago, a single comment one year ago, then absolutely nothing until this weekend. * We know nothing of the overall reputation of the company owners * The company uses a payment processor https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/VirWoX which has a daily limit on PayPal withdrawals of 2500EUR. The NanoTrade website however states that up to 90,000 Nano can be sold per PayPal transaction. It seems impossible to reconcile this for me. If 90,000 Nano is sold to PayPal, when would the seller get their money? * If the answer is that such payments cannot be made, when were the company planning to tell the sellers? * On being asked on /Nanotrade, Paradise2GE has avoided answering this question in their dissembling answers * The company is not registered by the FCA * The company is not registered by HMRC as a money service * It is a legal requirement for UK based companies to register as money services. * It is not a get-out to just deal in USD and not GDP, yet Patadise2GE has attempted to use that get-out in their answers * Paradise2GE has dissembled when answering questions as to why Nano Associates is not registered with FCA or HMRC * Paradise2GE claimed 1000 trades on their first day... for an unannounced site...purely from a posting that had around 40 up votes at the time. It's a lie. Not even Nanex gets that many trades on a good day. * Given a supposed 1000 trades in a day, 1440 minutes in a day, and 25% of Nano staked on Binance, we should expect to see >5Nano transactions coming out of the Binance hot wallet at least every 10 minutes or so. I don't see those * The site works poorly on Android, showing a lack of technical skill in its developers * The announcement of the exchange on /nanocurrency was by SMcArthurs - a one year old account, with very few postings, and no history in the /nanocurrency or /nanotrade subs * Someone downvoted my reasonable questions on /nanotrade. I can think of only one person who would want to do that, if malicious * Someone downvoted someone thanking me for my questions on /nanotrade. I can think of only one person who would want to do that, if malicious * User astricali has posted at 2018-12-03 05:00GMT that they made a successful sale of 999.99 Nano. I performed a text extraction of the posted image address, which they were apparently instructed to send to, but I notice that although that address indeed Received a 999.99 amount from the Binance Representative at 2018-12-04 02:17:01 (Timezone unknown), the address has never actuallyPocketed 999.99 Nano - the payment is still Pending.This is odd, since once might expect an efficient provider to pocket the Nano they receive asap, to sell it on the markets * The address has however received a range of 8 payments ranging from 1.99 Nano to 1,847.99 Nano. That surprises me, because I would expect a payment provider to use a unique address for each received payment. * The address has only ever sent a payment once, to KuCoin, on an unknown date before 2018-07-25 * Paradise2GE and SMcArthurs have been extremely quiet in response to these complaints levelled against their site * Edit: Why would they be selling Nano at 1.00 USD at the moment when Nano is on Binance at 0.94? * Edit: Seeing 403 Forbidden error 2018-12-05 23:38GMT * Edit: Don't even get me started on the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations Regulations 2017 * Edit: It's 12 days later - 18-Dec-2018. The 999 Nano still hasn't been pocketed at address. In 12 days neither promoter has denied that's it's their account. They are therefore probably incompetent even if non-malicious. * Also noticed something I should have picked up before: That address is Represented by Nanowallet.io - which means it's probably an account created on Nanowallet.io. Any 'real' exchange would need, at the very minimum, to run it's own node so that it can be online 24/7 - and if so would most likely Represent itself. Specifically choosing Nanowallet.io as their Representative after installing a full node would be an odd decision, given that they could help decentralize. 'm at way over 22 red flags here. I hope I save someone.
Daily analysis of cryptocurrencies 20190911(Market index 38 — Fear state)
https://preview.redd.it/25xag2ahp5m31.png?width=1080&format=png&auto=webp&s=af83a570993c5886035df96652253610b0368fb6 The Japan Financial Services Agency held the second round of the Encrypted Assets Roundtable, calling Libra the “alarm clock” According to the official website of the Japan Financial Services Agency on September 9, the Japanese Financial Agency revealed today that the agency had held the second round table on encrypted assets in Tokyo on September 6. The meeting brought together relevant financial regulators and international organizations to discuss and exchange experiences on the latest developments in cryptographic assets, including stable currency. The conference consisted of four main topics, namely: 1. The latest technological developments and challenges of cryptographic assets; 2. Supervision of crypto-equity trading platforms; 3. Investor protection and market integrity; 4. Participation of multiple stakeholders global cooperation. It is reported that the meeting is an invitation system and is not open to the public. At the meeting, the Japanese Finance Agency’s international deputy, Iwami, made an opening speech, saying: “Libra is like a ‘sounding alarm clock’ to all of us. The alarm bell has been ringing, which requires regulators and central bank officials to expand. Eyes, face up to the problem to face sooner or later. Many other clocks may be waiting for the next time.” US Deputy Treasury Secretary: Libra will accept US anti-money laundering review On the 11th, Sigal Mandelker, deputy secretary of the US Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, warned on Tuesday that Libra, the proposed cryptocurrency of Facebook (FB.O), must comply with US anti-money laundering standards in order to survive, even if its headquarters is in Switzerland. Mandelker said: “What we have pointed out to them many times is that they must deploy appropriate anti-money laundering and sanctions programs to combat terrorist financing. I think they are still at a very early stage of thinking about how to meet these requirements.” Indian parliamentarian: cryptocurrency is more complicated than the Internet in the early stages of development Indian Congressman Rajeev Chandrasekhar said in an interview that cryptocurrency is much more complicated in the early stages of its development than the Internet. The growth and innovation momentum of encryption technology is almost like a perfect storm. Speaking of India’s position on managing encryption for the public, he cautioned that the Supreme Court has ruled that privacy is a fundamental right for all Indians. In addition, he added, there is currently no legislative and legal framework for innovation to allow people to collect data from consumers and to allow consumers to agree. He deliberately confused encryption and privacy because it currently does not have a policy framework.
Encrypted project calendar（September 12, 2019）
BNB/Binance Coin:Coin Security will stop providing services to US users on Binance.com on September 12thBCN/Bytecoin:Bytecoin (BCN) will release Copper v3.6.0 on September 12tHBT/Hubii Network:Hubii Network (HBT) hubii’s “Blockchain in Practice” campaign with Microsoft will be held on September 12th at the Microsoft office in Oslo.ETC/Ethereum Classic:ETC or will perform Atlantis hard fork on September 12th
Encrypted project calendar（September 13, 2019）
VET/Vechain:VeChain (VET) VeChain CEO Sunny Lu will deliver a speech at the Public Blockchain Symposium on September 13th.WABI/Tael:The Tael (WABI) project team will release the new Tael website on September 13.
Encrypted project calendar（September 14, 2019）
BTC/Bitcoin:The European Union will launch its name, Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2), which will take effect on September 14. The new law includes banks implementing “strong customer certification”. In addition, according to previous news, PSD2 can obtain some of the functions of the banking industry, providing new payment solutions for encryption products.BNB/Binance Coin:Binance Coin (BNB) Coin’s overseas team will hold its first community gathering in Jakarta, Indonesia on September 14.OKB/OKB:OKB (OKB) OKEx Africa will hold a party in Accra, Ghana, on September 14th, and the first African blockchain project supported by OKEx will be released.
Encrypted project calendar（September 15, 2019）
TRX/TRON:Wave field TRON launches side chain plan Sun Network network three-phase releaseWAN/Wanchain:Wanchain (WAN) will hold a 3Q community conference call in mid-SeptemberAE/Aeternity:Aeternity (AE) æternity is expected to carry out the Lima hard fork upgrade on September 15th, and the third Ethernet AE token migration hard fork will take effect.NANO/Nano:Nano (NANO) NANO founder Colin LeMahieu will attend an informal community gathering in Austin, Texas on September 15th.
Encrypted project calendar（September 16, 2019）
LINK/ChainLink:Chainlink (LINK) Oracle will host the Oracle Code One conference from September 16th to September 19th, at which it will announce the launch of 50 startups with Chainlink.MANA/Decentraland:The Decentraland (MANA) community will host the SDK hackathon on September 16.WABI/Tael:Tael (WABI) “Tael Insider” campaign will be held on the new project website on September 16.
Encrypted project calendar（September 17, 2019）
ZEN/Horizen:The official team of Horizen (ZEN) will hold a community gathering in Strasbourg, France on September 17th.
Encrypted project calendar（September 18, 2019）
OKB/OKB:OKB (OKB) On September 18th, OKEx will hold an institutional meeting in London to share the regulatory environment issues facing encryption organizations.
Encrypted project calendar（September 19, 2019）
NRG/Energi:Energi (NRG) Energi will launch a trading competition on the KuCoin platform on September 9th. By September 19th, 800 NRG will be presented to the top 470 participants.ADA/Cardano:The Cardano (ADA) project official will host the Wyoming hackathon from September 19th to 22nd.KIN/Kin:The Kin (KIN) project team will host a community gathering in Toronto on September 19.BTC/Bitcoin:The 2019 Open Core Summit will be held in San Francisco from September 19th to 20th.
Encrypted project calendar（September 20, 2019）
NULS / NULS: The NULS 2.0 Beta hackathon will be held from September 20th to September 21st, 2019.AE/Aeternity:Aeternity (AE) will hold “Cosmos One” conference in Prague, Czech Republic on September 20th
Encrypted project calendar（September 21, 2019）
BTC/Bitcoin:The 6th FINWISE Global Summit Macau will be held from September 21st to 22nd. Distributed Financial Technology (DeFi) is the main topic of this conference.OKB/OKB:OKB (OKB) OKEx The Africa Cryptour series of talks in Kenya will take place on September 21 in Nairobi.
Encrypted project calendar（September 23, 2019）
BTC/Bitcoin:Bakkt, the digital asset platform led by ICE, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange and the world’s second largest trading group, will launch a bitcoin physical delivery futures contract on September 23.EOS/EOS:EOS main network is expected to upgrade version 1.8 on September 23
Encrypted project calendar（September 24, 2019）
ENG/Enigma:Enigma (ENG) ENG main network token snapshot will end on September 24, the original start time is August 26.
Encrypted project calendar（September 26, 2019）
ADA/Cardano:The Cardano (ADA) Cardano community will host a party in Washington, DC on September 26.
You may think I'm exaggerating, but those who have met Atomic wallet before are understanding and smiling. Let me tell you my story from the beginning. When I first met blockchain technology, I was dazzled by what extraordinary technology could do. I was very impressed with revolutionary innovations such as P2P, distributed ledger technology, artificial intelligence algorithms, smart contracts, Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data. I believe that digital money is our future, like everyone else affected by blockchain technology. I also wanted to buy crypto-money and be a crypto-money investor. Then don't ask — a real disappointment. As a user of crypto living in Turkey, it is almost impossible to buy crypto-money from one of the well-known Turkish sites with your debit card. It was also a nightmare to buy, and trade any digital currency with your traditional lira. 📷 https://preview.redd.it/4kynmkyozkx21.jpg?width=276&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=44182dbae6c05c81ab86f9ab1b496b7d258be2f0 There were many blockchains such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, EOS, and Stellar. Many projects were launched every day. Almost every project opened its wallet. It was hard to go to the stock markets to trade with these coins and tokens, to make crypto-money that I wanted to save, to keep tens of public and private keys of the wallets. It was supposed to be a computer programmer, not a computer user. This is my complaint about the difficulty of handling and the complexity of the process. Besides, many stock markets don't give you your private key. You deliver all your personal information and the private key of your wallet to the stock exchange authorities. Hacking events or the negligence of the stock market workers can cause you to suffer a lot of damage at a time. Central stock markets are spooky. Finally, the commissions they receive during the transaction will cause you to get 20% more expensive each coin. I'm sure those of you who haven't studied computer technology like me have understood me. I can write a book enough to tell me what happened to a coin I want to invest in. But it's not what I want to say to you. I want to talk about Atomic wallet, the one I just met today, who saved me from these troubles. Today I want to write a few words for the atomic wallet I encountered while researching to buy bitcoin. I'il tell you about the bitcoin purchase experience I've been through. 📷 https://preview.redd.it/huplw4ru0lx21.png?width=640&format=png&auto=webp&s=11e8888a69effb3295b778bd843d213640e6986a
I'm not making investment recommendations for this project. However, I would recommend that you use our atomic friend. Atomic on the Binance DeX stock market. Whether Atomic Wallet's the iOS or Android app for your phone, or the desktop app, you can always experience the atomic wallet. You will understand that you have encountered one of the most robust projects. Written By: N.ipek Celik naz14: 0x3b19a4a034fd3687ba803a18f677927893dfeff 1.Note: As soon as you start trading in your wallet, there's an online help box that offers help from the bottom right corner of your screen, which is very comforting. 2.Note: I am adding links to guide you to download the wallet below and purchase the most preferred coins. I wish you all plenty of earnings.
Implications of the new EU money laundering directive for Monero
I just read this article on the German news platform Heise about a new EU money laundering directive. Inevitably the fundamental capability of (truly) private crypto currencies to elude such surveillance aspirations came to my mind – in concrete terms Monero of course. This kind of trampling on privacy rights is one main reason why I got interested in Monero in the first place after all. I ran the article through DeepL's awesome translation service and you can find the resulting English translation below. My questions regarding the article include:
What do you think are possible/plausible implications for Monero? Will this new money laundering directive actually help Monero (and potentially similar minded projects like ZCash etc.) gain momentum and grow in popularity?
How does this new directive technically affect the Monero project and the act of transacting Moneroj?
New EU money laundering directive: "Privacy is practically eliminated".
According to legal experts, the revised EU anti-money laundering regulations mean that payment transactions will in future be "almost completely monitored". Transaction data could be retained for decades. Lawyers strongly criticise the compromise for a directive against money laundering and terrorist financing, on which the EU bodies agreed shortly before Christmas. In the future, payment transactions will thus be "almost completely monitored", complains the lawyer Carolin Kaiser to heise online. Financial institutions would have to store documents for all transactions "five to ten years after the end of the business relationship" on stock. Since a bank account, for example, is often kept for several decades, there is a very long retention period that cannot be foreseen in individual cases.
Valid for banks, tax advisors and even crypto exchanges
For the expert, who is conducting research on European technology law at the University of Groningen, this results in "amazing parallels" to the long-fought-for directive on data retention, which the European Court of Justice (ECJ) overturned in 2014. In principle, both instruments affect every European citizen. The money laundering directive is not only applicable to banks, but also to brokers, tax consultants, notaries and casinos. The latest reform will also add exchanges on which cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, ethereum and ripple will be traded. The first approach of the standards is that the obligated institutions should ideally identify all of their customers. The same wide storage requirements apply to this data as to the more problematic transaction documents. Kaiser warns: "This not only applies to our purchases, but may also include payments to healthcare providers, church taxes and donations to religious institutions, automatic direct debits from membership fees or subscriptions to a party, a trade union or an Internet site aimed at people with specific sexual preferences.".
Obligation to pass on data
In addition, according to the lawyer, financial institutions would have to make the stored transactions available on call to a central collection and analysis centre in the form of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). They would be obliged to comply with relevant requests for information without judicial order and to report suspects. This unit would then be able to evaluate the information received in a largely uncontrolled manner: supervisory measures and other procedural safeguards, "as we know them for example for the police, are almost completely absent. Kaiser complains that the scope of the directive is too vague. For example, it states that "all offences with a maximum penalty of more than one year are considered predicate offences for money laundering". It is therefore even about offences such as slander. Here too, there are parallels to the directive on data retention. All in all, all the data might be helpful to prosecutors, but it is not absolutely necessary for their work. The rules laid down are therefore unlikely to be compatible with ECJ case-law.
"Mass monitoring" of bank customers
"Through the measures of the money laundering directive, privacy is practically eliminated when it comes to the services of obligors, "the expert sums up. If all of a person's financial transactions were determined and tracked, it would be possible to draw very precise conclusions about his or her private life. Furthermore, databases originally created under the money laundering directive would already be used for other purposes. In April's International Data Privacy Law, Kaiser and her Dutch colleague Jonida Milaj sketched such an upcoming "mass surveillance" of bank customers. The researcher is also concerned about the goal of EU legislators to abolish the "anonymity" of virtual currencies and the associated "potential for abuse for criminal purposes". The establishment of the networked registers required for this purpose makes the situation more confusing for those affected, she fears. They may also find it difficult to assert their rights in view of the large number of possible accesses to the information. There were no obligations on the part of the authorities to inform about this. In view of the shortcomings highlighted above, Kaiser is inexplicable why the data protection commissioners of the member states have not been more strongly involved in the past hot months of negotiations between the governments and the EU Parliament. She believes that they should have concentrated on other things with their limited resources. The authority of the Federal Data Protection Commissioner Andrea Voßhoff (CDU) had little to learn about this topic. The responsible department told heise online that the inclusion of Bitcoin transactions in the money laundering obligations is a logical further development of the law.
Criticism of the supporters
In February, European Data Protection Supervisor Giovanni Buttarelli and his Vice-President Wojciech Wiewiorowski had accused the EU Commission of not having done their homework with the original draft reform. They asked the Brussels governmental institution not to have guaranteed "that any processing of personal data will serve a legitimate, defined and well-defined purpose". Nor did they see the proportionality of the proposed measures granted. Green EU politicians Ska Keller and Jan Philipp Albrecht, on the other hand, recently described the "new European system for combating money laundering and corruption" as an exemplary example of "that data collection can be right when there are suspicious facts or concrete threats". On the basis of fixed criteria, risk persons would be identified here if, for example, an account were to be opened. "All other citizens will be spared such measures." Kaiser cannot understand why: "The money laundering directive does not provide for any exceptions." Risk persons would at best be subject to "extra strong controls".
In case you missed it: Major Crypto and Blockchain News from the week ending 12/14/2018
Developments in Financial Services
A cryptocurrency exchange-traded product (ETP) that trades on Switzerland’s Six Exchange saw record trading volumes on Thursday and Friday last week, suggesting that institutional investors may be buying the dip in cryptocurrencies. Four major cryptocurrencies underlie the HODL ETP, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). While HODL ETP’s one-month average daily trading is 20,000 shares, on Thursday, December 6th, and Friday, December 7th, 53,233 shares and 62.986 shares were traded, respectively.
A report published last week by global anti-money laundering policymaker, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), indicates that cryptocurrency exchanges in the United Kingdom pose a, “low risk,” for money laundering and terrorist financing activities. The report, however, does highlight that such activities on UK cryptocurrency exchanges are an, “emerging risk,” although there is not yet enough evidence to suggest that these activities are occurring through cryptocurrency exchanges. In its report, the FATF urged UK regulators to, “Continue to develop an understanding of emerging risks (such as virtual currencies) and intelligence gaps, and take appropriate action.”
Andreas Utermann, CEO and CIO of Allianz Global Investors, called on global financial regulators to ban cryptocurrencies while speaking at a panel discussion in London. According to a report by Reuters, Utermann said, “You should outlaw it,” while participating in a panel alongside Andrew Bailey, the head of Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority. Bailey responded by saying that Utermann’s comments were, “quite strong,” before adding that cryptocurrencies have, “no intrinsic value.”
Basis, a major US-based stablecoin project, is shutting down its operations and returning most of its funds to investors, according to a report by crypto news outlet The Block. The report by The Block cited, “multiple people with direct knowledge of the situation,” in claiming that the algorithmic stablecoin project, which generated UDS$133mm of funding through private investments in April, will return funds to investors. According to the Co-Founder and CEO of competing stablecoin project Nevin Freeman, Basis’ shutdown is due to regulatory concerns around one of its token types. Freeman explained, highlighting that algorithmic stablecoins implement a “secondary token”, known as a “bond token”, to help maintain the primary token’s peg. In many cases, regulators like the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) consider these secondary tokens to be securities.
Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume, announced that it has added Circle’s US dollar-pegged stablecoin, USD Coin (USDC), to its combined Stablecoin Market. Circle, a company backed by Goldman Sachs, first released its stablecoin in September of this year. Binance’s combined Stablecoin Market features other notable stablecoins, like Tether (USDT), that trade against cryptocurrencies as interchangeable base pairs.
Coinone, a South Korea-based cryptocurrency exchange, has officially launched Cross, a cross-border payments application that leverages Ripple’s xCurrent product to increase efficiencies. The application, released by Coinone’s payments subsidiary, Coinone Transfer, targets unbanked or underbanked South Koreans by enabling the transfer of funds to Thailand or the Philippines at a low cost.
Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange heralded by the Winklevoss twins, released an official company blog post this weekend announcing that the firm will support Bitcoin Cash (BCH) custody and trading. The exchange will support only the Bitcoin Cash ABC network at this time, adding that they, “are continuing to evaluate Bitcoin SV over the coming weeks or months, and we may or may not choose to support withdrawals and/or trading of Bitcoin SV in the future.” Additionally, the company detailed that its listing of BCH is pending regulatory approval by the New York State Department of Financial Services.
Gemini, the cryptocurrency trading platform founded by the Winklevoss twins, announced the launch of a mobile crypto trading application in an official blog post today. Accompanying the launch of the crypto trading app is a new investment vehicle, dubbed, “The Cryptoverse,” that is comprised of a basket of cryptocurrencies weighted by market capitalization. While speaking to Bloomberg today, Cameron Winklevoss said that, “A lot of our decisions have perhaps given off a perception that we’re more institutional-based. The reality of the situation is that we have a diverse customer base. And the retail story is just beginning.” The Winklevoss twins went on to detail of a goal to expand reach to Asian markets by 2019’s end.
Good Money, a US neo-banking platform, has closed its Series A investment round that generated USD$30mm led by cryptocurrency-focused merchant bank Galaxy Digital and the founder of EOS (EOS) Block.one. Good Money aims to provide a variety of banking service and certain financial instruments to US account holders while exploring innovative changes to traditional banking practices. “Modern banking is a primary driver of so many issues we as a society face – from economic inequality, institutional racism, environmental destruction to political corruption,” said Good Money founder Gunnar Lovelace. Specifically, Good Money eliminates ATM fees while offering each bank user equity in the company.
Kraken, a notable cryptocurrency exchange, is seeking to raise funding with a USD$4bn valuation for the company and a USD$100,000 investment minimum, according to CoinDesk. In an email to investors, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell wrote, “There is presently a limited time opportunity available to a very small select number of clients to purchase shares.” The email goes on to detail that the exchange will close its offer on December 16th.
OKEx, the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume, will begin listing Bitcoin Cash ABC under the original Bitcoin Cash ticker (BCH), as per an official announcement Tuesday. Additionally, OKEx will change the Bitcoin Cash SV ticker from BCHSV to BSV. The announcement by OKEx comes after other notable cryptocurrency exchanges have made the same switch, including Coinbase and Gemini.
PayPal, an online payments portal, has launched its own internal private blockchain platform that will allow staff to trade and exchange tokens while generating ideas and participating in programs to foster innovation, as per a report by news outlet Cheddar. The private blockchain network, which was built by 25 PayPal employees in just 6 months, will allow employees to earn more for enrolling in learning and development programs. The PayPal tokens are not tradeable, or worth anything for that matter, outside PayPal’s blockchain.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a big four consulting firm, is partnering with Bitfury Group, a large blockchain software and mining firm, to develop a blockchain accelerator specific to Russian businesses. As per an official press release by PwC, the partnership will leverage Exonum, Bitfury’s open source framework to build blockchain applications, for educational courses and seminars. The partnership aims to meet the, “current needs,” of PwC’s enterprise clients in Russia.
Revolut, a digital banking alternative with an in-application cryptocurrency exchange, announced that it has been awarded a European banking license. Seeking to become the, “Amazon of banking,” the license will allow Revolut to offer traditional banking services alongside its current cryptocurrency offerings to European customers. Nikolay Storonsky, Founder and CEO of Revolut, said in regards to the newly acquired license that, “With the banking license now secured, commission-free stock trading progressing well, and five new international markets at final stages of launch, we are living up to our reputation as the ‘Amazon of Banking’. Our vision is simple: one ap with tens of millions of users, where you can manage every aspect of your financial life with the best value and technology.”
Shinhan Bank, the second-largest commercial bank in South Korea, is launching a new project to implement blockchain technology in its internal processes with a goal of eliminating human error. According to a report by news outlet The Korea Times, Shinhan also recently completed a training program for its staff to increase their knowledge of blockchain technology across various applications. After Shinhan implemented blockchain technology for interest rate swap transactions on November 30th, South Korea’s second-largest bank is now aiming to apply the technology in its record-keeping process to enhance overall efficiencies.
SolarisBank, Germany’s second-largest and Europe’s ninth-largest stock exchange, is partnering with Stuttgart Exchange Group, a German fintech company, to jointly develop a cryptocurrency exchange. As per a report by Cointelegraph Germany, the joint cryptocurrency exchange venture, “is scheduled to launch in the first half of 2019.” This news comes after SolarisBank announced plans to launch a zero-fee cryptocurrency trading application this past May.
The Canadian city of Calgary is becoming the first city in Canada to launch a digital version of its local currency, according to a report by the Global News. Dubbed as the Calgary Digital Dollar, the digital currency will be exclusive to Calgary and operate alongside the country’s Canadian Dollar. Calgary-based businesses will now be required by law to accept at least 10% of a payment in digital currency, although they are allowed to accept up to 100%.
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) is launching a pilot of its Global Payment Initiative (GPI) to combat growing blockchain and fintech solutions, according to an official announcement last week. Currently, the SWIFT Network is used by global financial institutions to conduct global financial payments and cross-border transfers of fiat currency. Although the project is still in its early stages, the GPI pilot hopes to, “build the foundation of a new integrated and interactive service that will significantly improve efficiencies in the payments process and which will ultimately be made available to all 10,000 banks across the SWIFT network.”
The United Arab Emirates’(UAE) central bank is partnering with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) to develop a cryptocurrency to facilitate cross border transactions between the two countries, according to a report by news outlet GulfNews. In a meeting pertaining to global banking standards and regulation in the Arab region, Mubarak Rashed Al Mansouri, the governor of the UAE’s central bank, said, “This is probably the first time ever that witnesses the cooperation of monetary authorities from different countries on this topic and we hope that this achievement will foster similar collaboration in our region.” The prospective digital currency will be used by both central banks and financial institutions in the countries.
TokenSoft, a security token offering (STO) startup, has acquired a 20% stake in regulated broker-dealer Marpine Securities LLC in order to launch its own regulated broker-dealer. After acquiring the 20% stake, TokenSoft will launch its new regulated broker-dealer entity, called TokenSoft Global Markets, that will be registered through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The new regulated broker-dealer entity will allow TokenSoft to advise token issuers through every step of the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) process. Additionally, TokenSoft will now be able to legally operate in services related to insurance and management.
Tom Lee, co-founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors and a notable cryptocurrency pundit, believes that the current fair value of Bitcoin (BTC) is between USD$13,800 and USD$14,800, according to a note published on Thursday. Lee arrived at this valuation by taking into account the number of active wallet addresses, usage per account, and other supply and demand metrics. Additionally, Lee forecasted that the fair value of BTC will reach USD$150,000/coin once BTC wallets account for 7% of Visa’s 4.5bn account holders.
UAE Exchange, an exchange based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is partnering with Ripple to launch a blockchain-based cross-border remittances platform by 1Q2019, as per a Reuters report on Thursday. The report details further that Finablr, a payments and foreign exchange company that owns UAE Exchange, observes a high level of remittance inflows from expatriate workers in the Middle East region. “We expect to go live with Rippel by Q1, 2019 with two other Asian banks,” said Finablr CEO Promoth Manghat, adding, “This is for remittances to start with, from across the globe into Asia.”
De Nederlandsche Bank, the Netherlands’ central bank, will soon require domestic cryptocurrency providers to obtain a license from the regulator to operate, as per a report by Dutch news outlet DeTelegraaf. The Netherlands' central bank is taking these measures in the hope that it will, “prevent such cryptocurrencies from being used to launder money obtained through crime or to fund terrorism.” In order to receive a license, cryptocurrency firms must maintain Know-Your-Customer procedures and report any suspicious activity to the Dutch central bank.
Eddie Hughes, a conservative member of the United Kingdom’s Parliament, suggested that Bitcoin (BTC) should be accepted as legal tender for tax and utility payments, according to news outlet Express.co.uk. The article discusses that Hughes, who is a self-described, “crypto enthusiast with amateur knowledge,” recently met with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which accepts cryptocurrency donations. This news comes after the US state of Ohio announced that it would begin accepting BTC as legal tender for tax payments.
Following a case in Canadian courts that resulted in a ruling ordering mistakenly sent crypto funds to be returned to their owner, a blog post from the University of Oxford Faculty of Law is noting that there could be repercussions with the case potentially setting a precedent for lost or stolen cryptocurrency claims. The Canadian court case’s ruling will require defendant Brian Wall to return USD$370,482 worth of Ethereum (ETH) tokens to the plaintiff, Copytrack. The blog post from the University of Oxford Faculty of Law reads, ‘This precedent may have major repercussions for the enforcement of claims regarding lost or stolen cryptocurrencies,” adding that the ruling allows the plaintiff to recover tokens, “in whatsoever hands those Ether Tokens may currently be held.”
Japan’s government is considering plans to ease cryptocurrency taxes in an effort to revitalize the domestic cryptocurrency and blockchain industry. This week, Japanese Congressman Takeshi Fujimaki proposed four significant changes to taxation requirements pertaining to digital assets, which include: a reduction on the cryptocurrency gains tax from 55% to 20%; elimination of taxes on crypto-to-crypto payments; elimination of taxes on miniscule cryptocurrency payments; and an adjustment that would allow cryptocurrency investors to carry forward losses across quarters and years, effectively until cryptocurrencies are ‘cashed’ out.
Jay Clayton, Chairman for the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (US SEC), said during a speech that Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), “can be effective,” for fundraising, but that, “securities laws must be followed.” Clayton went on in his speech to comment on the US SEC’s work regarding distributed ledger technology (DLT), digital assets, and ICOs, saying that it is an, “area where the Commission and staff have spent a significant amount of time,” and, “that this trend will continue in 2019.”
Jay Clayton, the Chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), expressed his optimism for distributed ledger technology’s potential impact on traditional financial markets in a testimony before the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs yesterday. According to a transcript published on the SEC’s website, Clayton said, “I am optimistic that developments in distributed ledger technology can help facilitate capital formation, providing promising investment opportunities for both institutional and Main Street Investors.” Additionally, Clayton highlighted that the SEC is, “Focusing a significant amount of attention and resources on digital assets and initial coin offerings (ICOs).”
Maxim Akimov, the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, announced that no significant changes will be made to the draft of a bill concerning cryptocurrency regulation in the country, as per news outlet Finmarket. The bill was already approved by Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, in May 2018, although the bill has generated substantial discussion since. Since approval of the bill, all cryptocurrency and token-related terminology have been removed and replaced with the term “digital rights”. At the beginning of December, Pavel Krasheninnikov, Chairman of Russia’s State Duma, said that the bill needed to be, “significantly,” changed.
Pan Gongsheng, a deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, highlighted that Security Token Offerings (STOs) in China are illegal while speaking at a summit in Beijing. As per a report by news outlet the South China Morning Post, Gongsheng told the summit that, “illegal financing activities through STOs and ICOs were still rampant in the mainland despite a nationwide clean-up of the cryptocurrency market last year.” In citing reasoning for the continued ban on STOs, Gongsheng explained that, “Virtual money has become an accomplice to all kinds of illegal and criminal activities.”
Pantera Capital, a blockchain and cryptocurrency-focused investment firm and hedge fund, is warning investors that as much as a quarter of their ICO project could potentially be violating US securities laws, according to a Bloomberg report. In a newsletter to clients, Pantera Capital warned, “While we believe the vast majority of the projects in our portfolio should not be affected, approximately 25% of our fund’s capital is invested in other projects with liquid tokens that sold to US investors without using Regulation D or Regulation S”
Russia has no intention of implementing Venezuela’s state-backed digital currency, the Petro, into commercial operations, according to a report by news outlet RIA Novosti. While speaking to reporters this week, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak said, “Representatives from our tax service and central bank... got acquainted with the cryptocurrency Venezuela is introducing,” adding, “But no more than that. As for payments, they’re not happening yet.”
South Korea’s representative body, the National Assembly, held its first official meeting with seven of the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges on Monday. The purpose of the meeting was to debate cryptocurrency regulation between stakeholders of South Korea’s cryptocurrency industry. Cryptocurrency exchanges Bithumb, CobitCoin, Coinone, Upbit, Gopax, Coinplug, and Hanbitco were among the attendees of the debate, which reportedly focused on Anti-Money Laundering (AML) customer protections and Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures.
The United Kingdom’s Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental financial security body, is calling on the country’s government to increase monitoring of cryptocurrency markets. According to an official report last week, the UK must overhaul its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and combat terrorist financing (CFT) efforts in order to prevent illicit activities with cryptocurrencies. “Virtual currency exchange providers are not yet covered by AML/CFT requirements,” the report details, adding, “this is an emerging risk and there is not yet evidence to suggest that broad scale ML/TF is occurring in the UK through this relatively small sector.”
The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is interested in learning more about the Ethereum (ETH) network, its technology, and the markets build around it. On Tuesday, the CFTC published a Request for Input (RFI) that requests the public’s feedback on different questions concerning Ethereum. The RFI explains that its goal is to inform the CFTC about Ethereum and similar emerging technology, saying, “The input from this request will advance the CFTC’s mission of ensuring the integrity of the derivatives market as well as monitoring and reducing the systematic risk by enhancing legal certainty in the markets. The RFI seeks to understand the similarities and distinctions between certain virtual currencies, including here ether and bitcoin, as well as ether-specific opportunities, challenges, and risks.”
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (US SEC) is ordering that cryptocurrency asset manager CoinAlpha Advisors LLC pay a USD$50,000 fine, alleging that the firm conducted an unregistered securities sale. After forming in October 2017, CoinAlpha raised more than USD$600,000 from investors to invest in digital assets. In an official release, the US SEC said that CoinAlpha did not file a Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities, meaning that the firm breached securities laws by soliciting securities investors. Additionally, the firm allegedly did not adhere to proper know-your-customer procedures to verify that investors were accredited.
Venezuela is reportedly beginning to convert its citizens’ monthly pension payments into Petros, Venezuela’s controversial state and oil-backed cryptocurrency, according to a report by local economics blog the Caracas Chronicles. The conversion of Venezuelan pensioners’ payments into Petros came after the country already sent pensioners their monthly payment in the form of a check for Venezuelan Bolivars -- normally, upon receiving their check, pensioners would deposit their funds into a bank account where they could then withdraw fiat from local branches. The Venezuelan government, however, converted pensioners’ fiat payments into the Petro upon their deposit into a bank. In the first few weeks of the Petro’s existence, its value has risen from 9,000 to more than 15,000.
Warren Davidson, an Ohio Congressman and notable advocate of blockchain and digital assets, is floating blockchain technology as a solution to fund US President Donald Trump’s prospective US-Mexico border wall. While interviewing with NPR, Congressman Davidson suggested, “the American people, or whomever should choose to donate,” could pay for the border wall, adding, “you could do it with sort of like a crowdfunding site or you could do a blockchain and you could have WallCoins.”
“The long-term value of Bitcoin (BTC) is more likely to be USD$100 than USD$100,000,” says Kenneth Rogoff, a former Chief Economist for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the current Harvard University Professor of Economics and Public Policy. While writing an article for major UK news outlet The Guardian, Rogoff highlighted that, because BTC’s use is limited to transactions, it makes the digital asset more vulnerable to a bubble-like collapse. Rogoff also cited that BTC’s energy-intensive verification processes is, “vastly less efficient,” than systems that leverage, “a trusted central authority like a central bank.”
A new report by PeckShield, a blockchain security company that monitors various cryptocurrency ecosystems, details that decentralized applications (DApps) on the EOS (EOS) blockchain have lost as much as USD$1mm in hacks since July 2018. The report details further that DApps on the EOS network have sustained 27 breaches since July, which are responsible for the up to 400,000 EOS that have been compromised from hacks. Guo Yonggang, a blockchain security expert cited in a report on the matter by crypto media firm Blockchain Truth, believes that the hacks can be attributed to security problems with the DApps themselves, rather than with the EOS network.
A new study published by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance on Wednesday finds that the number of unique ID-verified cryptocurrency users nearly doubled in in the first 3 quarters of 2018. The study details that total ID-verified users increased to 35mm in the first three quarters of 2018 from 18mm at the end of 2017, representing an increase of 94%. As per an analysis of the study by Bloomberg, the growth of crypto’s userbase despite the market decline, “could signal that an eventual recovery could be coming.”
Amid the continued cryptocurrency sell-off, only two cryptocurrency mining machines remain profitable, according to real-time data from ASICMinerValue.com. ASICMInerValue.com, which calculates the profitability of Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) miners, indicates that only indicates that only the Ebank Ebit E11++ and ASICminer 8 Nano 44Th mining models are profitable for mining cryptocurrencies based on the SHA-256 hash function -- notable cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) use this has function.
Bitmain, a large Chinese cryptocurrency mining firm, announced that it is closing its development center in Israel, citing current cryptocurrency market conditions. In closing Bitmaintech Israel, the crypto mining giant was forced to fire all 23 employees. Among the employees let go is Gadi Glikberg, head of Bitmain’s Israeli branch and Vice President of International Sales, who said on the recent market turmoil, “The crypto market has undergone a shake-up in the past few months, which has forced Bitmain to examine its various activities around the globe and to refocus its business in accordance with the current situation.”
Busan, a major South Korean city, will be the beneficiary of the South Korean government’s plan to spend 4bn Korean won (USD$3.5mm) to establish a blockchain-enabled virtual power plant (VPP). As per a report by South Korean news outlet Yonhap News Agency, the project will be angled as a national competition in 2019, hosted by South Korea’s largest electric utility, Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO). The VPP will integrate the idle capacities of multiple energy resources through a cloud-based distributed ledger in order to optimize power generation and decrease costs.
Church’s Chicken, a large international fast food franchise, is partnering with Dash Venezuela to accept cryptocurrencies in its Venezuelan locations. According to an official press release, 13 Church’s Chicken establishments will begin accepting Dash (DASH) as payment following, “extensive and rigorous days of training,” staff to understand cryptocurrencies. With the addition of Church’s Chicken, more than 2,200 establishments in Venezuela accept DASH as payment.
Crypto.com, a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency payments platform, announced the appointment of former PayPal executive Tyson Hackwood to serve as the firm’s Vice President and Head of Global Merchant Acquisition in an official press release today. Crypto.com aims to increase cryptocurrency adoption by both merchants and consumers through their point-of-sale (PoS) transaction terminals. Crypto.com CEO Kris Marszalek believes that Hackwood will be integral in furthering this goal, saying, “As we develop the Crypto.com Chain to fulfill the current industry need to pay and be paid in crypto, Tyson will play an important role in expanding the number and quality of merchants that are part of our network.”
Hyperledger, a notable blockchain consortium, is continuing its robust expansion after announcing the addition of 16 new members at the Hyperledger Global Forum in Basel, Switzerland. Among the notables to join the consortium are, Alibaba Cloud, Citigroup’s Citi Ventures arm, and Deutsche Telekom. The latest addition of 16 members brings the total membership of Hyperledger to more than 260 different companies. In a public statement, Hyperledger Executive Director Brian Behlendorf said that, “The growing Hyperledger community reflects the increasing importance of open source efforts to build enterprise blockchain technologies across industries and markets. The latest members showcase the widening interest in and impact of DLT and Hyperledger."
Jeremy Henrickson, the former Chief Product Officer at Coinbase, has departed the US-based cryptocurrency exchange after serving since July 2016. “Jeremy’s contributions to Coinbase over the past two years were invaluable,” said a Coinbase spokesperson, adding that, “he helped to build our scrappy startup team into a high-functioning product and engineering organization -- overseeing a 5x+ growth of the team.” Henrickson’s departure comes after long-term Coinbase executives Adam White and Hunter Merghart left the US-based cryptocurrency exchange in recent months.
LinkedIn’s, “2018 U.S. Emerging Jobs,” report released on Thursday ranks the role of blockchain developer as the fastest growing job in the United States. The report by LinkedIn indicates that blockchain developer jobs have increased 33-fold in the past 12 months alone. San Francisco, New York City, and Atlanta are among the cities with the highest demand for blockchain developer jobs.
Orbs, a unique hybrid blockchain platform, raised more than USD$15mm in cryptocurrencies to fund its development of a public blockchain, according to a company blog post. South Korean application provider Kakao lead the fundraising efforts with a representative telling CoinDesk that the company, “always seeks to invest and support innovative startups, and Orbs is a good example.” In total, Orbs raised 139,000 Ether (ETH) and 892 Bitcoin (BTC), amounting to roughly USD$15.4mm. Orbs aims to build a public blockchain with this funding that is, “universal,” and, “scalable,” for decentralized applications (DApps) with the, “liquidity of a base layer.”
Samsung has reportedly filed patent applications for three different blockchain-related trademark requests that all pertain directly to smartphones, according to news outlet Galaxy Club. Specifically, the patents named “Blockchain KeyStore”, “Blockchain Key Box”, and “Blockchain Core” all pertain to cryptocurrency custody capabilities on smartphones. This news comes amid the release of HTC’s Exodus 1 and Sirin Labs’ FINNEY, both of which are being marketed as blockchain smartphones with cryptocurrency custody capabilities.
The United Nations set up a digital group research blockchain. Ma Yun Gates is co-chairman.
The United Nations established a digital group research blockchain, and Ma Yun Gates served as co-chair of the group The UN News Center announced on July 12 that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres established the "United Nations Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation" and clearly proposed to put blockchain technology on the agenda of the group. It is reported that the group will bring together 20 celebrities from all walks of life to strengthen cooperation in the digital field by governments, the private sector, civil society, international organizations, technology and academia, and other relevant stakeholders. According to the news, the Secretary-General has announced the appointment of Melinda Gates (Mr. Bill Gates, Chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Fund Opportunity) and Ma Yun as co-chairman of the group. The United Nations has been exploring the application of blockchain technology in humanitarian applications. In April of this year, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) began using blockchain technology to assist Syrian refugees, benefiting 10,000 people. In addition, the United Nations has implemented a digital identity system based on blockchain technology to combat global trafficking in children. Gates keeps a distance from Bitcoin, but Microsoft has a long-term layout of the blockchain. During Reddit Ask Me Anything in February this year, Bill Gates sneered at the cryptocurrency. Gates attacked the anonymity of virtual currency because they hindered the identification of anti-money laundering, anti-terrorist financing, and anti-tax evasion. In an interview with CNBC's Squawk Box, he said, "If there is a simple method, he will short the bitcoin." But on the other hand, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been supporting blockchain projects, especially in Africa. In 2015, the foundation donated $100,000 to the Kenya Bitcoin merchant payment platform Bitsoko. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been driving the development of virtual currency in Africa because they can provide low-cost trading services for the poor. In addition, Microsoft's layout in the blockchain field is also deep. In 2015, Microsoft launched the "Azure Blockchain as a Service (BaaS)" program. The program introduces blockchain technology to the Azure cloud computing platform to serve financial industry customers using Azure cloud services, allowing users to tailor their blockchain services to their business and innovation needs. In 2016, Microsoft further relied on Azure cloud services to launch the “Open, Modular Blockchain Component” program, using Microsoft's own architecture to create a blockchain enterprise ecosystem, and open a series of blockchain agreements to address early cross-spans. The problem of industry blockchain users is integrated in terms of platform openness, user identity, key management, privacy security, operations management and interactivity. In May of this year, Microsoft released the Azure blockchain work platform at the Global Developers Conference, which has been used by hundreds of companies. In June of this year, Microsoft acquired GitHub, a world-renowned software hosting platform, with a $7.5 billion Microsoft stock. GitHub is an important gathering place for blockchain projects, with more than 80,000 blockchain projects. In addition, Microsoft has expanded its strategic partnership with R3 to integrate R3's distributed ledger platform, Corda and R3Net, with Azure. Microsoft has also strengthened cooperation with super-books, the United Nations, and Cornell University's blockchain research groups to conduct blockchain research. Ali is also actively trying blockchain business, Ant Financial is a pioneer In July 2016, Ant Financial Services joined the blockchain technology in Alipay's love donation platform; in October 2016, Ali Financial Cloud and Yicheng Interactive jointly launched “Yunyou Mall”; in the same month, with Microsoft, Xiao ant, Fa Da, etc. Co-developing “Law Chain”; cooperating with PricewaterhouseCoopers in March 2017 to build a traceable cross-border food supply chain; investing in Symbiont in May 2017; and in August 2017, Ali Health and Jiangsu Changzhou will cooperate The joint + blockchain pilot project; in October 2017, Ant Financial CTO first disclosed the "BASIC" strategy, B is the blockchain; in November 2017, Tmall International announced the upgrade of the global origin traceability plan; the same month, Ali built the digital Xiong'an blockchain implementation platform; in January 2018, the ant blockchain was launched, and Xiong'an built a blockchain rental application platform; in February 2018, the rookie and Tmall International enabled blockchain technology tracking Logistics full link information on imported goods; in June 2018, AlipayHK launched the world's first blockchain-based e-wallet cross-border remittance service. Among them, the most important thing to ignore is the breakthrough of Ant Financial in the cross-border remittance service of e-wallet based on blockchain. As early as 2016, Ma Yun proposed eWTP to make Ali's business worldwide, which requires worldwide data flow, capital flow, and material flow. Aliyun is responsible for data flow, rookie logistics is responsible for material flow, and cross-border flow of funds is the task of Ant Financial. In fact, Ant Financial's use of blockchain technology for cross-border remittances is a part of Alipay's globalization. In the form of acquisition or investment or cooperation, Ant Financial has covered Alipay's globalization strategy to more than 70 countries and regions. For example, in the eight countries of Southeast Asia, support local Alipay wallets: Touch’n Go in Malaysia, Emtek in Indonesia, GCash in the Philippines, Paytm in India, Easypaisa in Pakistan, BKash in Bangladesh, AscendMone in Thailand, and Hellopay in Singapore. There are also Kakao Pay in Korea and Telenor in Norway. In addition, Alipay's international partners include Worldpay in the UK, Concardis and Wirecard in Germany, Ingenico in France, Recruit in Japan, ICB and KICC in Korea, Supay in Australia, Magic Compass and IE money in New Zealand, Webmoney and Qiwi in Russia, and Boleto in Brazil. All in all, Alipay's globalization strategy has begun to take shape. From AlipayHK's launch of the world's first blockchain-based e-wallet cross-border remittance service, the use of blockchain technology to support cross-border remittances may be around the world. Each country's “local Alipay” node builds a blockchain solution for cross-border remittance services. Invited to serve as co-chair of the UN High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation, Ma said that in the DT era, data and technology are more widely available, which is an opportunity for all young people, small businesses and women. He is happy to join and promote global cross-disciplinary cooperation to create a digital future for universal young people. https://preview.redd.it/z3h92sq26aa11.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=929cd1312ab7be0c61bc4f2cb217f2dba6012a7b
[Monday, February 4 2019] undersea robot just delivered 100,000 baby corals to the Great Barrier Reef; Microsoft preparing to bring Xbox Live to iOS, Android, and Nintendo Switch; Netflix to Acquire Zac Efron Ted Bundy Movie ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’
mvea New research provides evidence that religious and spiritual beliefs lower the risk of depression because they’re associated with changes in white matter microstructure, the communication pathways of the brain, based on brain imaging of family members at high risk for depression. Comments || Link
speckz The 'Right to Repair' Movement Is Gaining Ground and Could Hit Manufacturers Hard - The EU and at least 18 U.S. states are considering proposals that address the impact of planned obsolescence by making household goods sturdier and easier to mend. Comments || Link
BRIStoneman In the 1930s, Germany supported a terrorist campaign designed to topple the fascist government of Austria, to the extent that it nearly came to war with Italy and Austria. Why were the Nazis so violently opposed to what should have been an ideologically compatible regime? Comments
The_Best_Nerd TIL that the NFL made a commitee to falsify information to cover up brain damage in their players Comments || Link
throwaway732912 TIL that 1972 democratic vice presidential candidate Thomas Eagleton was forced to drop out of the race after he was humiliated by the "revelation" that he had been treated for chronic depression. Comments || Link
zepphiu TIL that a Carl's Jr. in Santa Rosa, California, untouched by surrounding wildfires, caught fire when staff made 165 hamburgers for first responders. Comments || Link
OneSimplyDoes [Title Post] Netflix to Acquire Zac Efron Ted Bundy Movie ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’ Comments || Link
BunyipPouch Idris Elba to Star in Supernatural-Thriller 'Deeper' - Will play a deep-sea diver exploring a newly discovered trench, soon finding himself confronted by a sinister and dangerous force. Comments || Link
OIOIOIOIOIOIOIO Any love for baby coral? These are being transplanted en masse via a sea-robot to repair the Great Barrier Reef. They grow slow, 0.5-1 inch per year on average. It can take 10,000 years to grow into a reef. Comments || Link
Everyday we’ll feature a selected small subreddit and its top content. It's a fun way to include and celebrate smaller subreddits.
Authored by Valentin Schmid via The Epoch Times, While the price of bitcoin drops, miners get more creative... and some flourish. The bitcoin price is crashing; naysayers and doomsayers are having a field day. The demise of the dominant cryptocurrency is finally happening — or is it? Bitcoin has been buried hundreds of times, most notably during the brutal 90 percent decline from 2013 to 2015. And yet it has always made a comeback. Where the skeptics are correct: The second bitcoin bubble burst in December of last year and the price is down roughly 80 percent from its high of $20,000. Nobody knows whether and when it will see these lofty heights again. As a result, millions of speculators have been burned, and big institutions haven’t showed up to bridge the gap. This also happened on a smaller scale in 2013 after a similar 100x run-up, and it was necessary.
Time to Catch Up
What most speculators and even some serious proponents of the independent and decentralized monetary system don’t understand: Bitcoin needs these pauses to make improvements in its infrastructure. Exchanges, which could not handle the trading volumes at the height of the frenzy and did not return customer service inquiries, can take a breather and upgrade their systems and hire capable people. The technology itself needs to make progress and this needs time. Projects like the lightning network, a system which delivers instant bitcoin payments at very little cost and at virtually unlimited scale is now only available to expert programmers. A higher valuation is only justified if these improvements reach the mass market. And since we live in a world where everything financial is tightly regulated, for better or worse, this area also needs to catch up, since regulators are chronically behind the curve of technological progress. And of course, there is bitcoin mining. The vital infrastructure behind securing the bitcoin network and processing its transactions has been concentrated in too few hands and in too few places, most notably China, which still hosts about 70 percent of the mining capacity.
The Case For Mining
Critics have always complained that bitcoin mining consumes “too much” electricity, right now about as much as the Czech Republic. In energy terms this is around 65 terawatt hours or 230,000,000 gigajoules, costing $3.3 billion dollars according to estimates by Digiconomist. For the non-physicists among us, this is around as much as consumed by six million energy-guzzling U.S. households per year. All those estimates are imprecise because the aggregate cannot know how much energy each of the different bitcoin miners consumes and how much that electricity costs. But they are a reasonable rough estimate. So it’s worth exploring why mining is necessary to begin with and whether the electricity consumption is justified. Anything and everything humans do consumes resources. The question then is always: Is it worth it? And: Who decides? This question then leads to the next question: Is it worth having and using money? Most people would argue yes, because using money instead of barter in fact makes economic transactions faster and cheaper and thus saves resources, natural and human. _Merchants exchange goods with the inhabitants of Tidore, Indonesia, circa 1550. Barter was supplanted by using money because it is more efficient. (Archive/Getty Images)_If we are generously inclined, we will grant bitcoin the status of a type of money or at least currency as it meets the general requirements of being recognizable, divisible, portable, durable, is accepted in exchange for other goods and services, and in this case it is even limited in supply. So having any type of money has a price, whether it’s gold, dollar bills, or numbers on the screen of your online banking system. In the case of bitcoin, it’s the electricity and the capital for the computing equipment, as well as the human resources to run these operations. If we think having money in general is a good idea and some people value the decentralized and independent nature of bitcoin then it would be worth paying for verifying transactions on the bitcoin network as well as keeping the network secure and sound: Up until the point where the resources consumed would outweigh the efficiency benefits. Just like most people don’t think it’s a bad idea to use credit cards and banks, which consume electricity too. However, bitcoin is a newcomer and this is why it’s being scrutinized even more so than the old established players.
Different Money, Different Costs
How many people know how much electricity, human lives, and other resources gold mining consumes or has consumed in the course of history? What about the banking system? Branches, servers, air-conditioning, staff? What about printing dollar notes and driving them around in armored trucks? What about the social effects of monetary mismanagement of bank and government money like inflation as well as credit deflations? Gold gets a pass here. Most people haven’t asked that question, which is why it’s worth pointing out the only comprehensive study done on the topic in 2014. In “An Order of Magnitude” the engineer Hass McCook analyzes the different money systems and reaches mind-boggling conclusions. The study is a bit dated and of course the aggregations are also very rough estimates, but the ball park numbers are reasonable and the methodology sound. In fact, according to the study, bitcoin is the most economic of all the different forms of money. Gold mining in 2014 used 475 million GJ, compared to bitcoin’s 230 million in 2018. The banking system in 2014 used 2.3 billion gigajoules. Over 100 people per year die trying to mine gold. But mining costs more than electricity. It consumes around 300,000 liters of water per kilogram of gold mined as well as 150 kilogram (330 pounds) of cyanide and 1500 tons of waste and rubble. The international banking system has been used in all kinds of fraudulent activity throughout history: terrorist financing, money laundering, and every other criminal activity under the sun at a cost of trillions of dollars and at an order of magnitude higher than the same transactions done with cryptocurrency and bitcoin. And of course, while gold has a relatively stable value over time, our bank and government issued money lost about 90 percent of its purchasing power over the last century, because it can be created out of thin air. This leads to inflation and a waste of physical and human resources because it distorts the process of capital allocation. _The dollar has lost more than 90 percent of its value since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. (Source: St. Louis Fed)_This is on top of the hundreds of thousands of bank branches, millions of ATMs and employees which all consume electricity and other resources, 10 times as much electricity alone as the bitcoin network. According to monetary philosopher Saifedean Ammous, author of “The Bitcoin Standard,” the social benefit of hard money, i.e. money that can’t be printed by government decree, cannot even be fathomed; conversely, the true costs of easy money—created by government fiat and bank credit—are difficult to calculate. According to Ammous, bitcoin is the hardest money around, even harder than gold because its total supply is capped, whereas the gold supply keeps increasing at about 1-2 percent every year. “Look at the era of the classical gold standard, from 1871, the end of the Franco–Prussian War, until the beginning of World War I. There’s a reason why this is known as the Golden Era, the Gilded Age, and La Belle Epoque. It was a time of unrivaled human flourishing all over the world. Economic growth was everywhere. Technology was being spread all over the world. Peace and prosperity were increasing everywhere around the world. Technological innovations were advancing. “I think this is no coincidence. What the gold standard allowed people to do is to have a store of value that would maintain its value in the future. And that gave people a low time preference, that gave people the incentive to think of the long term, and that made people want to invest in things that would pay off over the long term … bitcoin is far closer to gold. It is a digital equivalent of gold,” he said in an interview with The Epoch Times. Of course, contrary to the gold standard that Ammous talks about, bitcoin doesn’t have a track record of being sound money in practice. In theory it meets all the criteria, but in the real world it hasn’t been adopted widely and has been so volatile as to be unusable as a reliable store of value or as the underlying currency of a productive lending market. The proponents argue that over time, these problems will be solved the same way gold spread itself throughout the monetary sphere replacing copper and seashells, but even Ammous concedes the process may take decades and the outcome is far from certain. Gold is the safe bet for sound money, bitcoin has potential. There is another measure where bitcoin loses out, according to a recent study by researchers from the Oak Ridge Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is the amount of energy expended per dollar for different monetary instruments. One dollar worth of bitcoin costs 17 megajoules to mine versus five for gold and seven for platinum. But the study omits the use of cyanide, water, and other physical resources in mining physical metals. In general, the comparisons in dollar terms go against bitcoin because it is worth relatively less, only $73 billion in total at the time of writing. An issue that could be easily fixed at a higher price, but a higher price is only justified if the infrastructure improves, adoption increases, volatility declines, and the network proves its resilience to attacks over time. In the meantime, market participants still value the fact they can own a currency independent of the government, completely digital, easily fungible, and limited in supply, and relatively decentralized. And the market as a whole is willing to pay a premium for these factors reflected in the higher per dollar prices for mining bitcoin.
The Creativity of Bitcoin Mining
But where bitcoin mining lacks in scale, it makes up for it in creativity. In theory—and in practice—bitcoin mining can be done anywhere where there is cheap electricity. So bitcoin mining operations can be conducted not where people are (banking) or where government is (fiat cash) or where gold is (gold mining)—it can be done everywhere where there is cheap electricity Some miners are flocking to the heat of the Texan desert where gas is virtually available for free, thanks to another oil revolution. Other miners go to places where there is cheap wind, water, or other renewable energy. This is because they don’t have to build bank branches, printing presses, and government buildings, or need to put up excavators and conveyor belts to dig gold out of the ground. All they need is internet access and a home for the computers that look like a shipping container, each one of which has around 200 specialized bitcoin mining computers in them. “The good thing about bitcoin mining is that it doesn’t matter where on earth a transaction happens, we can verify it in our data center here. The miners are part of the decentralized philosophy of bitcoin, it’s completely independent of your location as well,” said Moritz Jäger, chief technology officer at bitcoin Mining company Northern Bitcoin AG.
But so far, this decentralization hasn’t worked out as well as it sounds in theory. Because Chinese local governments had access to subsidized electricity, it was profitable for officials to cut deals with bitcoin mining companies and supply them with cheap electricity in exchange for jobs and cutbacks. Sometimes the prices were as low as 2 dollar cents to 4 dollar cents per kilowatt hour. This is why the majority of bitcoin mining is still concentrated in China (around 70 percent) where it was the most profitable, but only because the Chinese central planners subsidized the price of electricity. This set up led to the by and large unwanted result that the biggest miner of bitcoin, a company called Bitmain, is also the biggest manufacturer of specialized computing equipment for bitcoin mining. The company reported revenues of $2.8 billion for the first half of 2018. Tourists walk on the dunes near a power plant in Xiangshawan Desert in Ordos of Inner Mongolia, in this file photo. bitcoin miners have enjoyed favorable electricity rates in places like Ordos for a long time. (Feng Li/Getty Images)Centralized mining is a problem because whenever there is one player or a conglomerate of players who control more than 50 percent of the network computing power, they could theoretically crash the network by spending the same bitcoin twice, the so called “double spending problem.“ They don’t have an incentive to do so because it would probably ruin the bitcoin price and their business, but it’s better not to have to rely on one group of people controlling an entire money system. After all, we have that exact same system with central banking and bitcoin was set up as a decentralized alternative. So far, no player or conglomerate ever reached that 51 percent threshold, at least not since bitcoin’s very early days, but many market participants always thought Bitmain’s corner of the market is a bit too close for comfort. This favorable environment for Chinese bitcoin mining has been changing with a crack down on local government electricity largess as well as a crackdown on cryptocurrency. Bitcoin itself and mining bitcoin remain legal in China but cryptocurrency exchanges have been banned since late 2017. But more needs to be done for bitcoin to become independent of the caprice of a centralized oppressive regime and local government bureaucrats.
Northern Bitcoin Case Study
Enter Northern Bitcoin AG. The company isn’t the only one which is exploring mining opportunities with renewable energies in locations other than China. But it is special because of the extraordinary set up it has for its operations, the fact that it is listed on the stock exchange in Germany, and the opportunities for scaling it discovered. The operations of Northern Bitcoin combine the beauties of bitcoin and capitalism in one. Like Texas has a lot of oil and free gas and it makes sense to use the gas rather than burn it, Norway has a lot of water, especially water moving down the mountains due to rainfall and melting snow. And it makes sense to use the power of the movement of the water, channel it through pipes into generators to create very cheap and almost unlimited electricity. Norway generates north of 95 percent of its total electricity from hydropower. A waterfall next to a hydropowerplant near Sandane, Norway, Oct. 25, 2018. (Valentin Schmid/The Epoch Times)Capitalism does not distinguish between renewable and fossil. It uses what is the most expedient. In this case, it is clearly water in Norway, and gas in Texas. As a side note on the beauties of real capital and the fact that capital and the environment need not be enemies, the water in one of the hydropowerplants close to the Northern Bitcoin facility is piped through a generator made in 1920 by J.M. Voith AG, a company from Heidenheim Germany. The company was established in 1867 and is still around today. The generator was produced in 1920 and is still producing electricity today.
In the remote regions of Northern Norway, there aren’t that many people or industry who would use the electricity. And rather than transport it over hundreds of miles to the industrial centers of Europe, the industries of the future are moving to Norway to the source of the cheap electricity. Of course, it is not just bitcoin mining, but other data and computing heavy operations like server farms for cloud computing that can be neatly packaged into one of those containers and shipped up north. “The containers are beautiful. They are produced in the middle of Germany where the hardware is enabled and tested. Then we put it on a truck and send it up here. When the truck arrives on the outside we lift it on the container vehicle. Two hours after the container arrives, it’s in the container rack. And 40 hours later we enable the cooling, network, power, other systems, and it’s online,” said Mats Andersson, a spokesman for the Lefdal Mine data center in Måløy, Norway, where Northern Bitcoin has its operations. Plug and play. A Northern Bitcoin data container inside the Lefdal Mine data center, in Måløy, Norway. (Northern Bitcoin)If the cheap electricity wasn’t enough—around 5 cents per kilowatt hour compared to 17 cents in Germany—Norway also provides the perfect storage for these data containers, which are normally racked up in open air parks above the ground. Also here, the resource allocation is beautiful. Instead of occupying otherwise useful and beautiful parcels of land and nature, the Northern Bitcoin containers and others are stored in the old Lefdal olivine mine. Olivine is a mineral used for steel production and looks green. Very fitting. Hence also the name of the data center: Lefdal Mine. “We take the green mineral out and we take the green IT in,” said Andersson.
Using the old mine as storage for the data center makes the whole process even more resource efficient. Why? So far, we’ve only been talking about bitcoin mining using a lot of energy. But what for? Before you have actually seen the process in action—and it is similar for other computing operations—you cannot imagine how bizarre it is. Most of the electricity is used to prevent the computers from overheating. So it’s not even the processors themselves; it’s the fans which cool the computer that use the most juice. This is where the mine helps, because it’s rather cool 160 meters (525 feet) below sea level; certainly cooler than in the Texas desert. But it gets even better. On top of the air blow-cooling the computer, the Lefdal data center uses a fresh water system to pump through the containers in pipes. The fans can then circulate air over the cool pipes which transfer the heat to the water. One can feel the difference when touching the different pipes. The fresh water closed circle loop then completes the “green” or resource efficiency cycle by transferring its heat to ice cold water from the nearby Fjord. The water is sucked in through a pipe from the Fjord, the heat gets transferred without the water being mixed, and the water flows back to the Fjord, without any impact on the environment. To top it all off, the mine has natural physical security far better than open air data centers and is even protected from an electromagnetic pulse blast because it’s underground.
_The Nordfjord near Måløy, Norway. The Lefdal data center takes the cold water from the fjord and uses it to cool the computer inside the mine. (Valentin Schmid/The Epoch Times)_Company Dynamics
Given this superlative set up, Northern Bitcoin wants to ramp up production as fast as possible at the Lefdal mine and other similar places in Norway, which have more mountains where data centers can be housed. At the moment, Northern Bitcoin has 15 containers with 210 mining machines each. The 15 containers produce around 5 bitcoin per day at a total cost of around $2,500 dollars at the end of November 2018 and after the difficulty of solving the math problems went down by ~17 percent. Most of it is for electricity; the rest is for leasing the containers, renting the mine space, buying and writing off the mining computers, personnel, overhead, etc. Even at the current relatively depressed prices of around $4000, that’s a profit of $1500 per bitcoin or $7,500 per day. But the goal is to ramp it up to 280 containers until 2019, producing 100 bitcoin per day. Again, the company is in the sweet spot to do this. As opposed to the beginning of the year when one could not procure a mining computer from Bitmain even if one’s life depended on it, the current bear market has made them cheap and relatively available both new and second had from miners who had to cease operations because they can’t produce at low bitcoin prices. Northern Bitcoin containers inside the Lefdal Mine data center in Måløy, Norway. (Northern Bitcoin)What about the data shipping containers? They are manufactured by a company called Rittal who is the world market leader. So it helps that the owner of Rittal also owns 30 percent of the Lefdal mine, providing preferential access to the containers. Northern Bitcoin said it has enough capital available for the intermediate goal of ramping up to 50 containers until the end of year but may tap the capital markets again for the next step. The company can also take advantage of the lower German corporate tax rate because revenue is only recorded when the bitcoin are sold in Germany, not when they are mined in Norway. Of course, every small-cap stock—especially bitcoin companies—have their peculiarities and very high risks. As an example, Northern Bitcoin’s financial statements, although public, aren’t audited. The equipment in the Lefdal mine in Norway is real and the operations are controlled by the Lefdal personnel, but one has to rely on exclusive information from the company for financials and cost figures, so buyer beware.
Northern Bitcoin wants to have 280 containers, representing around 5 percent of the network’s computing power. But the Lefdal mine alone has a capacity to power and cool 1,500 containers in a 200 megawatt facility, once it is fully built out. “Here you have all the space, power, and cooling that you need. … Here you can grow,” said Lefdal’s Andersson. A mine shaft in the Lefdal Mine data center in Måløy, Norway. The whole mine will have a capacity for 1500 containers once fully built out. (Valentin Schmid/The Epoch Times)The Norwegian government was behind an initiative to bring computing power to Norway and make it one of the prime destinations for data centers at the beginning of this decade. To that effect, the local governments own part of the utility companies which operate the power plants and own part of the Lefdal Mine and other locations. But even without notable subsidies (i.e. cash payments to companies), market players were able to figure it out, for everybody’s benefit. The utilities win because they can sell their cheap electricity close to home. The computing companies like IBM and Northern Bitcoin win because they can get cheap electricity, storage, and security. Data center operators like Lefdal win because they can charge rent for otherwise unused and unneeded space. However, in a recent about face, the central government in Oslo has decided to remove cryptocurrency miners from the list of companies which pay a preferential tax rate on electricity consumption. Normally, energy intensive companies, including data centers, pay a preferential tax on electricity consumed of 0.48 øre ($0.00056 ). According to a report by Norwegian media Aftenposten, this tax will rise to 16.58 øre ($0.019) in 2019 for cryptocurrency miners exclusively. The argument by left wing politician Lars Haltbrekken who sponsored the initiative: “Norway cannot continue to provide huge tax incentives for the most dirty form of cryptocurrency output […] [bitcoin] requires a lot of energy and generates large greenhouse gas emissions globally.” Since Norway generates its electricity using hydro, precisely the opposite is true: No greenhouse gas emissions, or any emissions for that matter would be produced, if all cryptomining was done in Norway. As opposed to China, where mining is done with coal and with emissions. But not only in Norway is the share of renewable and emission free energy high. According to research by Coinshares, Bitcoin’s consumes about 77.6 percent of its energy in the form of renewables globally. However self-defeating the arguments against bitcoin mining in Norway, the political initiative is moving forward. What it means for Northern Bitcoin is not clear, as they house their containers in Lefdal’s mixed data center, which also has other clients, like IBM. “It’s not really decided yet; there are still big efforts from IT sectors and parties who are trying to change it. If the decision is taken it might apply for pure crypto sites rather than mixed data centers, like ours,” said Lefdal’s Andersson. Even in the worst-case scenario, it would mean an increase from ~5 cents to ~6.9 cents per kilowatt hour, or 30 percent more paid on the electricity by Northern Bitcoin, which at ~$3250 would still rank it among the most competitive producers in the world. Coinshares estimates the average production price at $6,800 per Bitcoin at $0,05 per kilowatt hour of electricity and an 18-months depreciation schedule, but concedes that a profitable miner could “[depreciate] mining gear over 24-30 months, or [pay] less for mining gear than our estimates.” Jäger says Northern Bitcoin depreciates the equipment over three years and has obtained very favorable prices from Bitmain, making its production much more competitive than the average despite the same cost of electricity. In addition, the natural cooling in the mine also reduces electricity costs overall.
Cheap Producer Advantage
At the moment, however, the tax could be the least of any miners worry, as the bitcoin price is in free-fall. But what happens when the price crashes further? Suffice it to say that there was bitcoin mining when the dollar price was less than 1 cent and there will be bitcoin mining at lower prices thanks to the design of the network. Mao Shixing, the founder of mining pool F2pool estimated 600,000 miners have shut down since the November crash in price, according to a report by Coindesk. As it should be in a competitive system, the most energy intensive and obsolete machines are shut down first. As with every other commodity, when the price drops, some miners will leave the market, leaving space for cheaper competitors to capture a bigger share. But with bitcoin this is a bit simpler than with copper or gold for example. When a big copper player goes bankrupt, its competitors have to ramp up production and increase cost to increase their market share. With bitcoin, if 3,000 computers get taken off the total mining pool, they won’t be able to mine the approximately 5 bitcoin any longer. However, because the difficulty of solving the computationally intensive cryptographic tasks of bitcoin decreases automatically when there are fewer computers engaged in the task, the other players just have to leave their machines running at the same rate for the same cost and they will split the 5 bitcoin among them. “The moment the price goes down, our production price will go down as well,” said Jäger, a process that already happened from November to December when the difficulty decreased twice in November and the beginning of December. This naturally favors players like Northern Bitcoin, which are producing at the lower end of the cost spectrum. They will be the ones who shut down last. And this is a good thing. The more companies like Northern Bitcoin, and countries like Norway—even with the extra tax—the more decentralized the bitcoin system. The more computers there are in different hands mining bitcoin, the more secure the system becomes, because it will be ever more difficult for one player to reach the 50 percent threshold to crash the system.It is this decentralized philosophy which has kept the bitcoin system running for 10 years. Whether at $1 or $20,000.
Statement on regulatory framework for virtual asset portfolios managers, fund distributors and trading platform operators
The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) notes with concern the growing investor interest in gaining exposure to virtual assets via funds and unlicensed trading platform operators in Hong Kong. The SFC has identified significant risks associated with investing in virtual assets and these are set out below. In order to address these risks, the SFC is issuing guidance on the regulatory standards expected of virtual asset portfolio managers and fund distributors. The SFC is also exploring a conceptual framework for the potential regulation of virtual asset trading platform operators. Background Technology is transforming the landscape of the financial industry. Distributed ledger technology offers an anonymous way to digitally record ownership of virtual assets and facilitates peer-to-peer trading. A virtual asset is a digital representation of value, which is also known as "cryptocurrency", "crypto-asset" or "digital token". The polymorphous and evolving features of virtual assets mean that they may be, or claim to be, a means of payment, may confer a right to present or future earnings or enable a token holder to access a product or service, or a combination of any of these functions. Public interest in virtual assets has grown exponentially around the world since the creation of the most widely-known digital token, Bitcoin, in 2008. At its peak in early January 2018, the market capitalisation of Bitcoin and other digital tokens was estimated at more than US$800 billion1. Over 2,000 different digital tokens are currently traded around the world with an estimated total market capitalisation of over US$200 billion. Although the aggregated market capitalisation of digital tokens has fallen substantially from its peak, trading volumes remain substantial. There is also a growing demand for funds which invest in virtual assets. While virtual assets have not posed a material risk to financial stability2, there is a broad consensus among securities regulators that they pose significant investor protection risks. The regulatory response to these risks varies in different jurisdictions, depending on the regulatory remit, the scale of the activities and their impact on investor interests and whether virtual assets are deemed financial products suitable for regulation. Under existing regulatory remits in Hong Kong, markets for virtual assets may not be subject to the oversight of the SFC if the virtual assets involved fall outside the legal definition of "securities" or "futures contracts" (or equivalent financial instruments). Therefore, investors who trade in virtual assets through unregulated trading platforms or invest in virtual asset portfolios which are managed by unregulated portfolio managers do not enjoy the protections afforded under the Securities and Futures Ordinance (SFO), such as requirements which ensure safe custody of assets and fair and open markets. If platform operators and portfolio managers are not regulated, their fitness and properness, including their financial soundness and competence, have not been assessed, and their operations are not subject to any supervision. Risks associated with investing in virtual assets Virtual assets pose significant risks to investors. Some of these risks are inherent in the nature and characteristics of the virtual assets themselves and others stem from the operations of platforms or portfolio managers. Valuation, volatility and liquidity Virtual assets are generally not backed by physical assets or guaranteed by the government. They have no intrinsic value. There are currently no generally accepted valuation principles governing certain types of virtual assets. Prices on the secondary market are driven by supply and demand and are short-term and volatile by nature. The volatility faced by investors may be further magnified where liquidity pools for virtual assets are small and fragmented. Accounting and auditing Among the accounting profession, there are no agreed standards and practices for how an auditor can perform assurance procedures to obtain sufficient audit evidence for the existence and ownership of virtual assets, and ascertain the reasonableness of the valuations. Cybersecurity and safe custody of assets Trading platform operators and portfolio managers may store clients' assets in hot wallets (ie, online environments which provide an interface with the internet). These can be prone to hacking. Cyber-attacks resulting in the hacking of virtual asset trading platforms and thefts of virtual assets are common. Victims may have difficulty recovering losses from hackers or trading platforms, which can run to hundreds of millions of US dollars. Virtual asset funds face a unique challenge due to the limited availability of qualified custodian solutions. Available solutions may not be totally effective. Market integrity Unlike regulated stock exchanges, the market for virtual assets is nascent and does not operate under a set of recognised and transparent rules. Outages are not uncommon, as are market manipulative and abusive activities, and these all result in investor losses. Risk of money laundering and terrorist financing Virtual assets are generally transacted or held on an anonymous basis. In particular, platforms which allow conversions between fiat currencies and virtual assets are inherently susceptible to higher risks of money laundering and terrorist financing. Where criminal activities are involved, investors may not be able to get back their investments as a result of law enforcement action. Conflicts of interest Virtual asset trading platform operators may act as agents for clients as well as principals. Virtual asset trading platforms may facilitate the initial distribution of virtual assets (eg, initial coin offerings), facilitate secondary market trading, or both, as in a traditional exchange, alternative trading system or securities broker. If these operators are not under the purview of any regulator, it would be difficult to detect, monitor and manage conflicts of interest. Fraud Virtual assets may be used as a means to defraud investors. Virtual asset trading platform operators or portfolio managers may not have conducted sufficient product due diligence before allowing a virtual asset to be traded on their platforms or investing in a virtual asset for their portfolios. As a result, investors may become victims of fraud and lose their investments. Existing regulatory regime The SFC has issued a number of circulars clarifying its regulatory stance on virtual assets3. Where virtual assets fall under the definition of "securities" or "futures contracts", these products and related activities may fall within the SFC's ambit. The SFC also reminded intermediaries in a circular dated 1 June 20184 about the notification requirements under the Securities and Futures (Licensing and Registration)(Information) Rules if they intend to provide trading and asset management services involving crypto-assets. The SFC has undertaken a series of actions against those who may have breached its rules and regulations when carrying out activities related to virtual assets. These include providing regulatory guidance, issuing warning and compliance letters and taking regulatory action5. However, many virtual assets do not amount to "securities" or "futures contracts". Moreover, managing funds solely investing in virtual assets which do not constitute "securities" or "futures contracts" does not amount to a "regulated activity" as specified under the SFO. Similarly, the operators of platforms which only provide trading services for virtual assets not falling within the definition of "securities" do not fall within the jurisdiction of the SFC. Notwithstanding the above, if firms are engaged in the distribution of funds which invest in virtual assets, irrespective of whether these assets constitute "securities" or "futures contracts", these firms are required to be licensed by or registered with the SFC. I. Regulatory approach for virtual asset portfolio managers and fund distributors In the application of the SFC's regulatory powers, many investors in virtual assets are left unprotected by the conventional approach where financial products are classified as "securities" or "futures contracts". The SFC has decided to adopt a way forward which will bring a significant portion of virtual asset portfolio management activities into its regulatory net. The overarching principles and regulatory standards of the regulatory framework are summarised below. (a) Virtual asset portfolio managers (i) Scope of supervision The following types of virtual asset portfolio managers will be subject to the SFC's supervision: Firms managing funds which solely invest in virtual assets that do not constitute "securities" or "futures contracts" and distribute the same in Hong Kong These firms will typically require a licence for Type 1 regulated activity (dealing in securities) because they distribute these funds in Hong Kong. The management of these funds will also be subject to the SFC's oversight through the imposition of licensing conditions; and Firms which are licensed or are to be licensed for Type 9 regulated activity (asset management) for managing portfolios in "securities", "futures contracts" or both To the extent that these firms also manage portfolios which invest solely or partially (subject to a de minimis requirement6) in virtual assets that do not constitute "securities" or "futures contracts", such management will also be subject to the SFC's oversight through the imposition of licensing conditions. (ii) Regulatory standards In order to afford better protection to investors, the SFC considers that all licensed portfolio managers intending to invest in virtual assets should observe essentially the same regulatory requirements7 even if the portfolios (or portions of portfolios) under their management invest solely or partially in virtual assets, irrespective of whether these virtual assets amount to "securities" or "futures contracts"8. For this purpose, the SFC has developed a set of standard terms and conditions (Terms and Conditions) which captures the essence of the Existing Requirements, adapted as needed to better address the risks associated with virtual assets. For example, only professional investors as defined under the SFO should be allowed to invest in any virtual asset portfolios (subject to the de minimis requirement). These Terms and Conditions are principles-based and should generally be appropriate to be imposed on virtual asset portfolio managers as licensing conditions, subject to minor variations and elaborations depending on the business model of the individual virtual asset portfolio manager. Some of the key terms and conditions are set out in Appendix 1, "Regulatory standards for licensed corporations managing virtual asset portfolios". (iii) Licensing process Licence applicants and licensed corporations are required to inform the SFC if they are presently managing or planning to manage one or more portfolios that invest in virtual assets9. Upon being so informed, the SFC will first seek to understand the firm's business activities. If the firm appears to be capable of meeting the expected regulatory standards, the proposed Terms and Conditions will be provided to the firm (where applicable) and the SFC will discuss them with the firm and vary them in light of its particular business model so as to ensure that they are reasonable and appropriate. If a licence applicant does not agree to comply with the proposed Terms and Conditions, its licensing application will be rejected. Similarly, if an existing licensed corporation with a VA portfolio does not agree to comply with the proposed Terms and Conditions, it will be required to unwind that portfolio within a reasonable period of time. After the licence applicant or licensed corporation has agreed with the proposed Terms and Conditions, they will be imposed as licensing conditions. Failure to comply with any licensing condition is likely to be considered as misconduct under the SFO. This will reflect adversely on its fitness and properness and may result in the SFC taking regulatory action. (b) Virtual asset fund distributors Firms which distribute funds that invest (solely or partially) in virtual assets in Hong Kong will require a licence or registration for Type 1 regulated activity (dealing in securities). As such, these firms are required to comply with the Existing Requirements, including the suitability obligations, when distributing these funds. Given the significant risks posed to investors, further guidance on the expected standards and practices when distributing virtual asset funds is provided in the "Circular to intermediaries on the distribution of virtual asset funds" issued by the SFC on 1 November 2018. Under this arrangement, if a virtual asset fund available in Hong Kong is not already managed by those firms mentioned under section I(a)(i), these funds will still be distributed by firms mentioned under section I(b), all of which are subject to the SFC's oversight. As such, the management or distribution of these funds would be regulated in one way or another by the SFC. II. Exploring regulation of platform operators Separately, the SFC is also setting out a conceptual framework for the potential regulation of virtual asset trading platforms in this statement, with a view to exploring (and forming a view after the exploratory stage) whether virtual asset trading platforms are suitable for regulation. If the SFC is minded to license any virtual asset trading platforms, it is proposed that the standards of conduct regulation for virtual asset trading platform operators should be comparable to those applicable to existing licensed providers of automated trading services. The SFC considers that the regulatory approach under the conceptual framework (if implemented) could provide a path for compliance for those platform operators capable and willing to adhere to a high level of standards and practices, and set licensed operators apart from those which do not seek a licence. Some of the world's largest virtual asset trading platforms have been seen operating in Hong Kong but they fall outside the regulatory remit of the SFC10 and any other regulators. Owing to the serious investor protection issues identified and having regard to international developments, the SFC considers it necessary to explore in earnest whether and if so, how it could regulate virtual asset trading platforms under its existing powers. To conduct a meaningful study of the framework, the SFC will work with interested virtual asset trading platform operators that have demonstrated a commitment to adhering to the high expected standards by placing them in the SFC Regulatory Sandbox11. In the initial exploratory stage, the SFC would not grant a licence to platform operators. Instead, it would discuss its expected regulatory standards with platform operators and observe the live operations of the virtual asset trading platforms in light of these standards. It will also consider the effectiveness of the proposed regulatory requirements in addressing risks and providing adequate investor protection. The SFC will critically consider whether the virtual asset trading platforms are, in fact, appropriate to be regulated by the SFC in light of the performance of these trading platforms in the Sandbox. Factors to be considered include the adequacy and effectiveness of the proposed conceptual framework; ability to comply with the terms and conditions; investors' interests; as well as local market and international regulatory developments. It may be a possibility that due to the inherent characteristics of the underlying technology or business models of platform operators, the SFC will conclude that risks involved cannot be properly dealt with under the standards it would expect, and that investor protection still cannot be ensured. In that case, the SFC may decide that platform operators should not be regulated by the SFC. For instance, the SFC is not certain at this stage whether platform operators would satisfy the expected anti-money laundering standards, given that anonymity is the core feature of blockchain, which is the underlying technology for virtual assets. The SFC also has to take into account the rapid evolution of the whole virtual asset industry as well as development in the international regulatory community, including the work being done in International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). The exploratory stage is crucial for the SFC to understand the actual operations of platform operators to determine whether these platforms are suitable for regulation. If the SFC makes a positive determination at the end of this stage, it would then consider granting a licence to a qualified platform operator. In order not to confuse the public about the regulatory status of platform operators, the identity of the Sandbox applicants in this stage and the discussions will be kept confidential. If the SFC grants a licence to a qualified platform operator, it will impose appropriate licensing conditions and the operator will proceed to the next stage of the Sandbox. This would typically mean more frequent reporting, monitoring and reviews so that through close supervision by the SFC, operators could put in place robust internal controls and address any of the SFC's concerns arising from the conduct of their business. The SFC may also further consider or refine its regulatory and supervisory approach through intensive dialogue with operators when they are operating in the Sandbox. After a minimum 12-month period, the virtual asset trading platform operator may apply to the SFC for removal12 or variation of some licensing conditions and exit the Sandbox. Licensing conditions (and terms and conditions) imposed in this stage would be made public in the usual way. Details of the conceptual framework are set out in Appendix 2, "Conceptual framework for the potential regulation of virtual asset trading platform operators". The SFC will keep the development of activities related to virtual assets in view and may issue further guidance where appropriate. Market participants are welcome to contact the Fintech Contact Point at [email protected] if they have any questions. Intermediaries Division Securities and Futures Commission 1 Website of CoinMarketCap: https://coinmarketcap.com/charts/. 2 Report entitled "Crypto-asset markets - potential channels for future financial stability implications" published by the Financial Stability Board on 10 October 2018: http://www.fsb.org/wp-content/uploads/P101018.pdf. 3 These include the Statement on initial coin offerings dated 5 September 2017, Circular to Licensed Corporations and Registered Institutions on Bitcoin futures contracts and cryptocurrency-related investment products dated 11 December 2017, and the press release, "SFC warns of cryptocurrency risks", dated 9 February 2018. 4 Please refer to the Circular to intermediaries on compliance with notification requirements dated 1 June 2018 for details. 5 For details, please refer to the press release, "SFC's regulatory action halts ICO to Hong Kong public", dated 19 March 2018. 6 That is, only virtual asset portfolio managers which intend to invest 10% or more of the gross asset value (GAV) of the portfolios under its management in virtual assets will be subject to the SFC's oversight in this way. 7 This refers to existing legal and regulatory requirements set out under the subsidiary legislation, the Code of Conduct for Persons Licensed by or Registered with the Securities and Futures Commission, the Fund Manager Code of Conduct and guidelines, circulars and frequently asked questions issued by the SFC from time to time (collectively referred to as "Existing Requirements"). 8 This is on the premise that virtual assets, as an asset class, have similar features and risk characteristics, whether or not they amount to "securities" or "futures contracts". 9 For the avoidance of doubt, this notification requirement applies even if (i) the licence applicant or licensed corporation manages or plans to manage virtual asset portfolios with an intention to invest less than 10% of the GAV of the portfolio in virtual assets; or (ii) the virtual assets involved have features of "securities" or "futures contracts" as defined under the SFO. 10 Platforms which offer trading of virtual assets that are not "securities" or "futures contracts" are not subject to the purview of the SFC. 11 Please refer to the press release, "Launch of the SFC Regulatory Sandbox", dated 29 September 2017 for details. 12 For example, the licensing condition on ongoing reporting obligations. 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