US Regulator Sues Three Companies For Cryptocurrency Fraud

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US Regulator Sues Three Companies For Cryptocurrency Fraud

Regulation

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission has filed charges against three separate companies for engaging in fraudulent schemes involving cryptocurrencies. The cases include fraud and misappropriation of bitcoin and litecoin.

Also read: South Korean Officials Caught Trading On Insider Knowledge of Crypto Regulations

CFTC Sues Crypto Operators

US Regulator Sues Three Companies For Cryptocurrency FraudThe U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed civil enforcement actions in a New York District Court on Thursday against three separate cryptocurrency operators for allegedly defrauding customers and breaking commodity trading rules. The agency proceeded to post details of two of the cases on its website on Friday.

The first case concerns Colorado resident Dillon Michael Dean and his UK-registered company, the Entrepreneurs Headquarters Ltd. They solicited $1.1 million worth of bitcoin from over 600 members of the public from April 2017 to the present, promising to convert them into fiat currency and invest in a pooled investment vehicle such as binary options. Dean claims to have “strong skills” in options trading and customers were promised high rates of return, the CFTC detailed.

US Regulator Sues Three Companies For Cryptocurrency FraudHowever, the derivatives watchdog alleges that the defendants did not trade on behalf of their customers but misappropriated over $1 million in customers’ funds. Dean also launched another similar trading venture called Real Trade Profits.

Citing that the defendants failed to register with the Commission as a Commodity Pool Operator (CPO) and Associated Person of a CPO, the agency stated:

The CFTC Complaint charges the defendants with engaging in a fraudulent scheme to solicit bitcoin from members of the public, misrepresenting that customers’ funds would be pooled and invested in products including binary options, making Ponzi-style payments to commodity pool participants from other participants’ funds, [and] misappropriating pool participants’ funds.

Bitcoin and Litecoin Related Fraud

US Regulator Sues Three Companies For Cryptocurrency FraudThe second case concerns Patrick K. Mcdonnell and his company Cabbage Tech. Corp., doing business as Coin Drop Markets (CDM).

The CFTC is “charging them with fraud and misappropriation in connection with purchases and trading of bitcoin and litecoin.” Citing that neither Mcdonnell nor his company has ever been registered with the agency in any capacity, the regulator added:

The CFTC Complaint alleges that from approximately January 2017 to the present, Mcdonnell and CDM engaged in a deceptive and fraudulent virtual currency scheme to induce customers to send money and virtual currencies to CDM, purportedly in exchange for real-time virtual currency trading advice and for virtual currency purchasing and trading on behalf of the customers under Mcdonnell’s direction.

The Commission found that “the supposedly expert, real-time virtual currency advice was never provided,” adding that customers never saw the funds they sent to Mcdonnell or CDM again. Furthermore, the agency stated that the defendants “removed the website and social media materials from the Internet and ceased communicating with CDM Customers, who lost most if not all of their invested funds due to [the] defendants’ fraud and misappropriation.”

The third case, however, “remained under seal,” Reuters described. At the time of this writing, the CFTC has not released the details of the third case.

What do you think of the CFTC suing these companies for crypto-related fraud? Let us know in the comments section below.


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PR: Bitmora Exchange – a New Exchange Is Fixing the Fee System

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Bitmora Exchange

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

On average, the typical stock purchase costs between $10 and $20, while the cost to exchange a cryptocurrency costs anywhere from 0.15%-0.25% of the amount being traded. You are probably thinking “Fantastic” if you’re playing with $500. But what if your trades start growing larger as you become more successful? Or if they are already something substantial, like $5,000?

Whether you trade through Poloniex, Bittrex or any other current exchange, the fees involved severely prohibit the profitability of crypto trading. Most exchanges use something called a “maker and taker” system. The maker creates volume. This important market function comes with the built-in incentive of lower fees. On the other end, the taker is simply the trader who benefits from this function by executing orders on prices offered by the maker. The cost of utilizing these functions is a higher fee. Traditional fee systems have set makers at 0.15%, with takers ranging between 0.20%-0.25%. If you’re starting out small with a couple thousand dollars and keep trades to a minimum, you will be largely unaffected. Meanwhile, active investors and traders with substantial amounts of coins will be faced with fees that prevent them from meeting their required rates of return! For a day trader executing a single $3,000 transaction, this 0.2% fee equals out to $6! If you take it a step further and include the exchange fee required to get back to their original position, they could expect to pay nearly $12 per trade. Every day these outrageous fees turn thousands of investors and traders away from the trading opportunity of a lifetime.

With all of this coming to light, a new cryptocurrency exchange has risen to challenge the status quo, bringing both a professional and mature fee system to this sector. Bitmora has popped up in the news these past few months and has been a trending topic on social media. It is becoming clear that people really love the idea they’ve brought in: a revolutionary fee system that doesn’t bind the user to any set fee system, but instead allows them to choose what works best for them. Upon registering on the exchange, the user will be given a choice between a traditional and a fixed fee system and will be given the ability to change this at any time. Both large and small volume traders alike will be able to trade calmly and effectively without the worry of their profits being eaten away by outrageous fees.

The first fee system includes your traditional maker fee at 0.14% and a taker at 0.24%. Nothing to get too excited about, but perfect for you small volume traders out there. The real action comes into play with their fixed base fee system, which is a near carbon copy of what you see in the stock market. The fixed base fee system features a standard maker fee of 0.01% and taker of 0.03% with a flat $7 added on top. Any trader with $5,000 will feel the benefit of keeping more of their money in their pockets. Any trader with $8,000 will be needing a bigger wallet as they’ll be saving nearly half their profit in fees. The fee system being created by Bitmora is a game changer and might spell the end of exchanges charging such predatory fees.

Bitmora is creating a cryptocurrency exchange to please all ends of the spectrum. By creating this revolutionary system, they have displayed a willingness to accommodate any trader or investor. The Bitmora Exchange is not released yet. It is still in development, and its funding stage is coming to an end soon. If you’re interested in investing and helping to fund the Bitmora Exchange, go here https://bitmora.com/register.php to sign up and learn more. It’s completely free to sign up, and you’ll be able to create suggestions and vote on other user suggestions through their portal.

Contact Email Address
colton@bitmora.com
Supporting Link
bitmora.com

This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

Korean Lawmaker Shows Evidence Government Embargo Led to Market Manipulation

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Korean Lawmaker Shows Evidence Government Embargo Led to Market Manipulation

Regulation

A South Korean lawmaker has shown how the government’s announcement policy enabled market manipulation last week following the news of possible cryptocurrency trading shutdown. According to his evidence, reporters and officials had 40 minutes to buy the dip as the price of bitcoin in Korean won reversed and rallied.

Also read: South Korean Officials Caught Trading On Insider Knowledge of Crypto Regulations

Embargo Enables Market Manipulation

Representative Ha Tae-keung of the South Korean Bareun Party held a press conference at the National Assembly on Friday to assail the current practice of regulatory announcements. “The government intervened in the virtual currency market and led the manipulation of the market,” he was quoted by Asia Economy. Korea Joongang Daily elaborated:

An opposition lawmaker Friday blasted the government for putting an embargo on an announcement about bitcoin regulations Monday – giving reporters and officials 40 minutes to snap up cryptocurrencies.

Ha explained that “the government informed reporters at 9 a.m. last Monday of its impending announcement with an embargo attached, which was lifted at 9:40 a.m.”

Korean Lawmaker Shows Evidence Government Embargo Led to Market Manipulation
Ha Tae-keung’s presentation.

Prior to the announcement, traders learned that the regulators could ban cryptocurrency trading. However, Chung Ki-joon, head of the Prime Minister’s Economic Policy Coordination, prepared to announced that “the government’s changed [its] position on digital currency regulations at 9:40 a.m. on Monday, saying the government would not shut down cryptocurrency trading,” the news outlet conveyed. “Anyone who knew the government would ease its stance on digital currencies could anticipate a rally and buy before it took off.”

The lawmaker was quoted saying:

After the government sent text messages informing reporters of the impending announcement [which was not disclosed to the public], the market began to rally. When the press began reporting the announcement at 9:40 a.m., it already had reached a high price point.

Buying the Dip

“I analyzed the government embargo press release by time zone and confirmed that the market profit margin has changed considerably for 40 minutes before the embargo is lifted,” Ha was quoted by Etoday.

South Korean Lawmaker Shows How Government Policy Led to Market Manipulation
Ha’s chart.

According to the chart he prepared, bitcoin was trading at 19.07 million won (~USD$17,864) at 9 a.m. Korea time last Monday morning. At 9:40 a.m., shortly before the embargo ended, the price of bitcoin had climbed to 19.46 million won. By 10 a.m., the price had already reached its peak at almost 20 million won.

“It is common sense that public officials should be kept from information that would affect people’s assets until an official announcement,” Korea Joongang Daily quoted Ha. “The government announcement, which will cause huge fluctuations in the virtual currency market, should be announced in full swing,” he was further quoted by Etoday, adding that:

Because of this embargo operation, the people suffered tremendous damage to [their] property.

What do you think of Ha’s argument that the government’s policy led to the manipulation of bitcoin’s price? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Ha Tae-keung.


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Not Content with Scamming $1.5 Billion, Bitconnect Wants Another $500 Million for Its ICO

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Not Content with Scamming $1.5 Billion, Bitconnect Wants Another $500 Million for Its ICO

Altcoins

The fall of Bitconnect was as certain as night follows day. A pyramid scheme wrapped inside a Ponzi with a side order of WTF, Bitconnect was as crazy as it was calamitous. The only miracle was that the racket lasted so long. When the ringleaders shut up shop on Wednesday, causing the token to plummet from $290 to $8, that ought to have been the end of the matter. Remarkably though, BCC continues to be actively traded, and has even recovered some of its value. The reason for the mini revival? Bitconnect is launching an ICO.

Also read: Autopsy of the Bitconnect Implosion: Ponzi, Centralization, Governance

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

It was no secret, prior to its collapse, that Bitconnect was running an ICO. Its Bitconnect X website has been accepting contributions since January 10. When Bitconnect closed its doors a week later, after its original website had been offline for days, it was assumed that Bitconnect X would follow suit. After all, no one would be gullible enough to get fooled twice, surely. Apparently so. Not only is the Bitconnect ICO going ahead as planned, but investors are actively throwing money at it.

Not Content with Scamming $1.5 Billion, Bitconnect Wants Another $500 Million for Its ICO

When Bitconnect announced that it was closing its lending platform on Wednesday, $1.5 billion worth of value was wiped off its market cap in less than two hours. Those losses weren’t borne by the company though – it was ordinary investors who were left out of pocket. Bitconnect’s execs were doing just fine, sitting on the stash of bitcoin they’d pocketed from investors in the months prior. But then, as Twitter traders eagerly watched to see the first altcoin drop to zero in real time, something strange happened. BCC stopped falling and started to climb.

The Ponzi Scheme That Just Won’t Die

On January 17, BCC was the worst performing cryptocurrency on Coinmarketcap. Incredibly, 24 hours later, it was the best performing coin on the site, up 410% in 24 hours to reach $43 a token. This revival will have been of little consolation to investors, who were still heavily in the red. Nevertheless, it showed that against all reason, people were still buying the coin. In the past 24 hours, $18 million of BCC has been traded and a coin that was written off as being utterly worthless is now changing hands for $28.

Not Content with Stealing $1.5 Billion, Bitconnect Wants Another $500 Million for Its ICO
On Thursday, BCC rose from $8 to a high of $43.

The reason for this is BCC can be used to purchase BCCX, the new Bitconnect token that’s being launched via an ICO. Each BCCX is priced at $50. To reiterate then: Bitconnect duped thousands of investors, selling them BCC coins at up to $290 apiece. It then crashed the market, and is now encouraging the same investors to exchange their BCC for BCCX at a ratio of 2:1 in an event that ought to be dubbed The Halvening.

Lambs to the Slaughter

By late 2017, it was apparent to Bitconnect that the Ponzi scheme they had constructed was on the verge of toppling. Not content with riding off into the sunset with their ill-gotten gains, they decided to have another bite of the cherry. The Bitconnectx.co domain was registered on the penultimate day of 2017, and the crowdsale commenced less than two weeks later. The company is seeking to sell 11.76 million BCCX, which will earn it $588 million. It will also retain another $145 million in coins, bringing its total assets to $733 million.

Not Content with Stealing $1.5 Billion, Bitconnect Wants Another $500 Million for Its ICOThe new-look Bitconnect X platform, for the record, “allows you to earn interest for helping maintain security on the network by holding BCCX in a Qt Desktop wallet that is attached to the network and allowing transactions to flow through it”. Which sounds suspiciously like Bitconnect mk I.

One of the first tasks on the Bitconnect X roadmap is to attain a listing on Coinmarketcap, which shouldn’t be a problem, as the site had no qualms about heavily promoting the previous scam. After that it will spend the summer performing vague tasks such as “adding more security layers in Exchange platform”, presumably while Bitconnect execs put as much distance between themselves and their creditors as possible.

Not Content with Stealing $1.5 Billion, Bitconnect Wants Another $500 Million for Its ICO

Bitconnect Keeps Playing While the Titanic Sinks

In the days after the collapse of Bitconnect, the company’s social media account continued glibly tweeting bitcoin news, as if nothing had happened. Each new story it posted was met with hundreds of thunderous replies, until the account finally broke its silence to audaciously issue the following claim:

Not Content with Stealing $1.5 Billion, Bitconnect Wants Another $500 Million for Its ICO

Before cryptocurrency was invented, gullible individuals were defrauded via Nigerian bank scams. After the mark had lost almost everything, and the princes’ fortune they’d been promised had failed to materialize, the scammer would go in for one last trick. They’d “come clean” with the victim and confess that they too had been duped. For a small fee, they could get the mark’s money back, and set everything right.

Not Content with Stealing $1.5 Billion, Bitconnect Wants Another $500 Million for Its ICOAmazingly, many victims, out of desperation, would take them up on this offer. The majority of Bitconnect X’s investors will be the same souls who lost thousands in Bitconnect. Despite all the warning signs, they’re willing to go for broke and pray that this time they can get out before the pyramid collapses. In the words of Winston Churchill, never was so much owed by so many to so few.

How long do you think Bitconnect X will last? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Russia Ready for Migrant Bitcoin Miners Influx

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Russia Ready for Migrant Bitcoin Miners Influx

Economy & Regulation

Despite some indecisiveness about cryptocurrencies on the part of centralized power, Russia has been quietly preparing for a wave of migrant crypto miners from East and West. It’s been said that the country has got what it takes to invite them. A third of the Soviet era power producing capacity is idling, after energy hungry industries were closed and scrapped in the 90’s. Experts, home and abroad, members of the local crypto community, all agree – Russia is ready to welcome bitcoin miners from China and Europe. That’s if Moscow says “yes”… or at least doesn’t say “no”.      

 Also read: Mining Operations Offered to India After Mixed Signals from Beijing

Russians Mean Business

“Hello, Invite Chinese miners to Russia!! Excess electricity capacity – 20 MW… 3 rubles/kWh (0.05USD; 0.32RMB)”. This is just one of many ads you can find in bitcoin forums these days. With electric installation to plug in the rigs – ready, internet cables stretched in a 5,000 m2 air-cooled building – check, fire alarm and CCTV cameras – installed, and 24/7 tech support – available, Russians mean business. The country is ready and even bragging about what it can offer to miners chased beyond the Great Wall, but not only, “Do you cooperate with European colleagues?” a question reads when you scroll down. “I’ll send the contract…”, the answer follows shortly after.

Dozens of applications to mine bitcoin in Russia have been received already from companies and individuals from China and the EU, as news.Bitcoin.com reported. The Russian Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Association has invited colleagues from China and Slovakia to help increase Russia’s appeal to relocating miners. Spanning 11 time zones, filthy rich with natural resources and cheap energy, the largest country has a lot to offer. It has been estimated that the mining industry can pour trillions of rubles into federal and regional budgets. And Russian experts say authorities must think about creating the right conditions to accommodate the market.

Russia Ready for Migrant Miners Influx

Intercepting Long Wave Radio Chatter

Government, business and crypto community have long recognized certain developments to the East and West of Russia. Signals from Beijing, Brussels, and Washington have been heard and are certainly being analyzed and interpreted. Not willing to sacrifice an inch of its “Sovereign Democracy” territory, Moscow, when it comes to cryptocurrencies, has been tempted to gain some ground, vacated by rivals and competitors.

Russia Ready for Migrant Miners InfluxRecent moves by major players in the “multipolar” world, as Russia likes view it, have cleared the arena for some bullish play by the Bear waking up after winter hibernation. In preparation for the G20 summit in March, Paris and Berlin are working on joint Franco-German proposals to regulate cryptocurrencies; The US Treasury Secretary seeks help from the Group of 20 to prevent “digital anonymous Swiss bank accounts”; Headed by the People’s bank of China, a working group has prescribed measures to restrict mining operations in those Chinese regions that offer the best conditions – cheap electricity and cool climate. Well, Russia has both the climate and the power, electrical and political, to invite expelled crypto businesses and miners.

Russia Ready for Migrant Miners InfluxPreparing its regulatory framework, expected by the summer, Russian authorities have sought advice from abroad. Miners from 15 countries have been asked to explain to Russian legislators how cryptocurrencies are mined and share knowledge about different approaches to regulation. The Russian Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Association has invited experts from China and Slovakia to help with proposals to increase Russia’s appeal to mining investors. They have joined a special committee representing the sector, RCBA’s president Yuriy Pripachkin told RIA Novosti. Intentions to attract miners from Europe, have been discussed in the past.

“I don’t see any problem if the Chinese start relocating their mining farms to Russia”, Sergei Repetyuk, Economics Director at the Institute of Economics and Natural Monopolies, said, quoted by the agency. He also pointed out:

Even in peak times, up to 40% of Russia’s power generating capacity remains unutilized.

Repetyuk’s assertion was supported by Evgeniy Itsakov, associate professor at the Faculty of Economic and Social sciences: “There is a surplus of cheap electric energy in Russia, as the generating capacity has been designed to match the needs of the heavy Soviet industry”, he explained. Cryptocurrency mining is already a separate sector and will exist until something more effective, but just as reliable and anonymous, is invented, Itsakov added. Authorities must think about creating conditions for fair play on the market, he insisted.

Soviet Era Gear to Power Today’s Disruptive Technology

Crypto Mining needs a lot of energy. The proof of work for bitcoin has consumed more than 40 TWh of electricity in 2017, according to data released by Digiconomist and quoted by RIA Novosti. Processing Ethereum transactions spent more than 10 TWh by December. Up to 80% of the world’s mining capacity currently resides on Chinese territory. Potential energy shortages in provinces where the largest mining facilities are located, have reportedly worried Beijing. Authorities in two autonomous regions – Inner Mongolia and the Xinjiang-Uygur, and two provinces – Sichuan and Yunnan – have received recommendations from the capital to restrict electricity supplies to the miners.

Russia Ready for Migrant Miners Influx

Build to supply the inefficient heavy industry of the Soviet Union, Russia’s energy producing facilities are now far from being stressed to their limits. Even in peak hours, Russian homes and businesses consume about 60% of what Russian coal, hydro and nuclear power stations can produce. Their aggregate capacity is estimated at 236 GW, far more than what the country currently needs. RCBA’s experts have already calculated that some 1.7 trillion rubles ($30 billion) may enter the Russian economy, if the idling facilities produce 100 GW of electricity to power crypto mining projects. Chinese miners should be excited by the fact that a lot of this surplus is concentrated in Russia’s Far East. President Putin’s representative there, Yuriy Trutnev, has already proposed using the excess power to mine cryptocurrencies. Reserves in the Russian one third of Europe and the Ural Federal District have also been reported.

Russia Ready for Migrant Miners Influx

There are indications that a “Migration Period” has already started in Asia. Cool climate and cheap energy will be important factors for relocating miners. Russia and other countries in Eastern Europe, along with Canada and Iceland, have received media attention as mining destinations. Some of those countries are already competing to attract Chinese miners. Regions, like Québec, have announced readiness to welcome mining immigrants, promising low electricity rates and positive attitude.

Russia could be joining the race if intentions, like those of Moscow regional authorities, win support from the federal government. A muted, but intense debate in Moscow has exposed some institutional fault lines. The Ministry of Finance supports legalizing crypto derivatives trade but is lukewarm towards the crypto-ruble idea. The Central Bank has been pushing for a national digital currency, but is reluctant to allow trading of coin-based financial instruments on traditional exchanges. And the Kremlin is unlikely to reveal its true intentions before the presidential elections in March take place. Russia, though, may like the idea of hosting crypto mining because it does not necessarily imply adoption of cryptocurrencies. It just looks like a safe way to say “yes” to bitcoin and the rest, without actually uttering anything.

Do you think that Russia will welcome Chinese miners and offer them incentives to invest? Tell us in the comments section below.  

Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Digiconomist.


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Tether Printing Press In High Gear, Issuing $400 Million in Four Days

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Tether Printing Press In High Gear, Issuing $400 Million in Four Days

Markets and Prices

Bitcoin has had a rocky week to say the least. At its lowest point, the cryptocurrency dipped to $9,200 before a rising green candle sent it scurrying back into the safety of five figures. That candle was sparked by the release of $100m worth of tethers – surrogate US dollars – and was followed by another $100m issued for the next three days in a row. Tethers are propping up the bitcoin market right now, but what happens when the music stops? Should regulators wade in or Tether shut up shop, the loss of fresh capital could be cataclysmic.

Also read: While Tether Critics Grow More Vocal, Belief in the 1:1 Tightrope Remains

Tether – Savior or Sinner?

The bitcoin community have decidedly mixed feelings on Tether. On the one hand, this ersatz fiat currency is instrumental in shoring up prices. But if that supply line were to be cut off, the crypto markets would be starved of new money. While Bitfinex, which controls Tether, is in charge of issuing these dollar-pegged tokens, other exchanges are also reliant on them including Kraken and Bittrex. What happens to Tether affects everyone.

Bitfinex Tether Printing Machine In High Gear, Issuing $400 Million in Four DaysThe amount of new bitcoins created each day is worth approximately $18 million. Miners need to sell most of these coins to cover their utility costs. This means that $18 million of new money needs to enter the markets daily just to maintain current prices. Given that $400 million of tethers has been issued over the past four days, and yet the price of BTC has remained sluggish, this is alarming. If it wasn’t for tether’s torrent of newly created cash, this week’s dip would have cut deeper still.

Don’t Stop Believing

In the short-term, the issuance of tethers serves as a form of quantitative easing that keeps the markets ticking over, even amidst negative news and regulatory uncertainty. As one commenter pointed out, “Tethers aren’t really ‘backed’ by USD fiat, but rather by confidence in Bitfinex itself. Similarly the USD isn’t ‘backed’ by hard assets, but rather confidence in the US economy. What happens to USD if the Fed shuts off the insane volume of their printing press?”

Bitfinex Tether Printing Machine In High Gear, Issuing $400 Million in Four Days

So long as we collectively believe that tethers are real, they are real, or at least as real as any other global currency that’s magiced out of thin air, which has generally been the case ever since the gold standard was dropped. But what are markets if not manifestations of human psychology; global sentiment etched into every line, chart, and candle? No one, at this stage, realistically believes that Tether is receiving $100 million a day in customer deposits via its diminutive Polish bank and then converting these into USDT. That just ain’t happening.

Beware the Changeling

Bitfinex Unties the Tethers, Issuing $400 Million in Four Days
Der Wechselbalg (The Changeling) by Henry Fuseli, 1781

In folklore, a changeling was a child that fairies were reputed to leave in cradles after snatching the human baby. It looked like the cradle’s original inhabitant on first glance, only to prove to be anything but. If the fairies performed the old switcheroo, unexplained diseases, disorders, and failed crops were sure to follow. Tether is valued like a real dollar and works like a real dollar – at least until the time comes to cash out. In the past month alone, over $1 billion of tethers have been issued. If Tether doesn’t hold a corresponding amount in its bank, the whole house of cards could come tumbling down, destroyed by a changeling swaddled in the mantle of the US dollar.

Do you think the volume of tethers entering the market is cause for concern? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Wikipedia.


Need to know the price of bitcoin? Check this chart.

Letter from SEC Reveals Outlook Not Good for US-based Bitcoin ETFs

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Letter from SEC Reveals Outlook Not Good for US-based Bitcoin ETFs

Featured

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a letter to two Washington DC firms seeking guidance on bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETF) applications, of which a dozen are pending. In it, the regulator openly worries about cryptocurrency volatility and whether future potential listings have done enough to protect investors. The letter is widely believed to be a major blow in the quest for Wall Street’s mainstreaming of bitcoin.

Also read: Ditch University and High Transaction Fees!

Bitcoin ETF Major Setback

In a Staff Letter: Engaging on Fund Innovation and Cryptocurrency-related Holdings of 18 January, signed by newly appointed Director Dalia Blass from the Division of Investment Management, the SEC wrote to the Investment Company Institute and Asset Management Group Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) about the prospects of bitcoin ETFs.

The outlook is not good, especially if the letter’s import carries weight within the agency.

The letter is clearly written for an audience beyond its two addresses (how many letters have footnotes?). It begins with SEC history and mission statements, outlining its jurisdiction. It also offers up saccharine lines before dealing a deadly sentence. The SEC “stands ready to engage in dialogue with sponsors regarding the potential development of these funds.” And then the phrasing heard around the world: “We believe, however, that there are a number of significant investor protection issues that need to be examined before sponsors begin offering these funds to retail investors.”

Letter from SEC Reveals Outlook Not Good for US-based Bitcoin ETFs

The agency does “appreciate that proponents of cryptocurrencies and related products have identified a range of potential benefits.” However, “concerns regarding transparency of information, trading, valuation and other matters related to the nature of the underlying assets” seem to be dominating the SEC’s current position. Revealingly, the letter admits “the innovative nature of cryptocurrencies and related products, as well as their expected use and utility in our financial markets, means that they are, in many ways, unlike the types of investments that registered funds currently hold in substantial amounts.”

The climate surrounding bitcoin ETFs has gone from frustration to excitement in recent months with the entrance of heavy mainstream exchanges such as Cboe and CME trading futures contracts (and even the appointment, ironically, of Ms. Blass, who was seen as a pro-ETF attorney). It was believed if things went smoothly at these venerable institutions, bitcoin ETFs were a sure thing. Something like a dozen proposals for listings on the New York Stock Exchange Arca have been filed, and not one is approved.

The letter continues, “we have, at this time, significant outstanding questions concerning how funds holding substantial amounts of cryptocurrencies and related products would satisfy the requirements of the 1940 Act and its rules.” The rather lengthy missive goes on to ask a laundry list of questions, to “facilitate the start of our dialogue,” and it’s not entirely made understood the agency is really waiting for a response.

Bitcoin ETF Major Delt Blow as US Regulator Issues Devastating Dear John Letter
Dalia Blass

Questions Demanding Answer

Given their volatility, “Would funds have the information necessary to adequately value cryptocurrencies or cryptocurrency-related products[?]” the agency asks. “How would funds develop and implement policies and procedures to value, and in many cases ‘fair value,’ cryptocurrency-related products?”

They even get into nitty-gritty crypto inside baseball: How “would they address when the blockchain for a cryptocurrency diverges into different paths (i.e., a ‘fork’), which could result in different cryptocurrencies with potentially different prices?” And the questions deepen and go on like this for a few pages.

They ask intriguingly, “What policies would a fund implement to identify, and determine eligibility and acceptability for, newly created cryptocurrencies offered by promoters (e.g., an ‘air drop’)? How might a fund account for those holdings if the fund chooses to claim such cryptocurrencies?”

Bitcoin ETF Delt Major Blow as US Regulator Issues Devastating Dear John LetterIssues of liquidity, custody, arbitrage, manipulation and “other risks,” and more, seem designed to place the ball squarely in the financial community’s court and away from press criticism the agency is dragging its feet or is in some way stifling innovation.

“Until the questions identified above can be addressed satisfactorily, we do not believe that it is appropriate for fund sponsors to initiate registration of funds that intend to invest substantially in cryptocurrency and related products, and we have asked sponsors that have registration statements filed for such products to withdraw them,” the letter concludes, suggesting contact persons for future reference.

What do you think about the prospects of a bitcoin ETF? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Pixabay, SEC.


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PR: Essentia.one Launch Set to Revolutionize the Way We Access the Web with Decentralization

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Essentia Launch Set to Revolutionize the Way We Access Decentralization

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

Essentia.one launch set to revolutionize the way we access decentralization.

That’s right, this new product will change the way we access, manage and operate the new web. It was designed to simplify the complexity that was turning people away from decentralized technologies.

Starting as an underground project a long time ago, Essentia founders Matteo Gianpietro Zago, Mirco Mongiardino, Vladimir Holubovych shared the same vision. As early Bitcoin adopters, they knew about the strengths of decentralization but realized its weakness in usability. Now, after years of extensive research and development, a polished and perfected Essentia is ready for its launch.

What sets Essentia.one ahead of the league is its ability to provide a single access point to the entire decentralized web. How? Through the seed. Every Essentia user creates a unique seed which grants access to the whole Essentia framework.

The framework allows safe storage and access to a complete collection of DApps, wallets, assets data and identities, all in one place. It also fronts itself with a super easy to nativage user interface.

But it really is more than that, it has a bucket load of useful applications for businesses and individuals. Here’s a closer look at some of its key features:

Logins:
Essentia.one removes the pain of remembering and re-entering passwords every single day. The seed grants instant access to all personal and business logins for both decentralized and centralized accounts.

Identities:
This is a big one, Essentia provides the ability to store identities with custom profile settings making it possible to control the amount of personal information shared with third parties. Users can choose between anonymous, pseudo-anonymous or KYC compliance for specific use-cases.

Multiple wallets and multi-currency:
In one place? Yup, no need to bounce between multiple wallets. Essentia has integrated with the big cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, ERC20 Tokens, IOTA, Litecoin, and Ripple. The framework provides the ability to also monitor assets in cold storage.

Storage:
Essentia has integrated powerful decentralized storage systems to the framework. The big names such as Swarm, Ipfs, Storj, provide access to the new backbone of digital storage where data is encrypted, persistent and censorship-resistant.

Exchanges:
The partnership and integration with Ether Delta and Flyp.Me has empowered decentralized prosperity. Access to multi-chain minimizes downtime and secures assets across safe, decentralized networks.

Any platform. Any device.
Your entire digital life is accessible at your fingertips with Essentia, it’s made easy on any platform, be it via a browser, desktop app, mobile app, or command line interface

Integration
Native integration has been confirmed with Ethereum, Bitcoin, IOTA, Status.im, EtherDelta, IPFS, Swarm, Storj, Flyp.me and Aragon. With many more partnerships to be announced within the coming weeks.

It appears Essentia is set to become a big name in the crypto industry. With unparalleled expertise in blockchain development, the team has made it possible for everyone to harness the power of decentralization.

Token sale details will be announced very soon at Essentia.one

Connect or Contribute
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Essentia_one
Telegram: https://t.me/essentia_one/
Website: https://essentia.one/ Whitepaper:https://essentia.one/whitepaper.pdf

Contact Email Address
matteo@essentia.one
Supporting Link
www.essentia.one

This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

Bitcoin for Beginners: Which Hardware Wallet to Use

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Bitcoin for Beginners: Which Hardware Wallet to Use

Security

Hardware wallets are all the rage. Part of the “cryptocurrency starter kit”, these ultra-secure devices for storing cryptocurrency have become hugely popular as interest in bitcoin has boomed. With a number of different models to choose from, beginners may be wondering which one is best – and indeed whether they need a hardware wallet at all.

Also read: Bitcoin Hardware Wallet Maker Ledger Raises $75 Million from VC Investors

Real Hodlers Use Hardware Wallets

Bitcoin for Beginners: Which Hardware Wallet to UseTrezor and Ledger, two of the best known wallet manufacturers, have grown to become the industry’s go-to cold storage solutions. Both companies, who make a range of devices, have successfully met the demand for offline storage that is secure and user-friendly. No cryptocurrency wallet is 100% secure against all known attack vectors including acts of god, but Trezors and their ilk come pretty close, provided they’re bought directly from the company or an approved reseller.  Spending $100 or more to secure several thousand dollars’ worth of crypto – which has the potential to appreciate into many thousand more – seems like a pretty good investment.

But for anyone who balks at the cost of purchasing a hardware wallet, it’s possible to achieve the same result on a budget. There’s nothing to prevent you from installing a wallet onto a thumb drive, or better still a pair of them to ensure redundancy, and encrypting them. Similarly, an old iPhone with Bread wallet or the Bitcoin.com wallet installed makes for a durable cold storage device. Note down your recovery seed and then keep the device offline, save for when you need to access the wallet.

For anyone determined to use a dedicated device, however, these are the main options:

Trezor

Trezor dubs itself “the original and most secure hardware wallet” and it’s highly regarded by hodlers. Available in black or white for around $109 a pop, the device will allow you to store all your ERC20 tokens together with almost two dozen coins including BTC, BCH, LTC, DASH, and ZEC. Water-resistant and sturdy, the Trezor features a small display for confirming transaction details, 2FA, password manager, and a bunch of other features.

Bitcoin for Beginners: Which Hardware Wallet to Use

Ledger Nano S

Small and lightweight, the Nano S by Ledger will hold bitcoin, ethereum, and several other altcoins. Like the Trezor, the Nano S is highly rated by the crypto community, and this week Ledger celebrated selling its one millionth Nano S. The device uses a small OLED display and side buttons that are pushed to confirm transactions. If you want to get your hands on one you’ll need to be patient though – the next units aren’t scheduled to ship until late March.

The company also makes the Ledger Blue, an enterprise-grade hardware device, which has a larger screen, added security features and a $330 price tag. Like its sibling, the Nano S, the Ledger Blue is currently out of stock, with no confirmed shipping date.

Bitcoin for Beginners: Which Hardware Wallet to Use

Keep Key

Although not as trendy as Ledgers or Trezors, the Keep Key wallet is another capable contender. It allows for storage of bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum, litecoin, doge, and dash, with more coins due to be added. There’s also the ability to exchange between cryptocurrencies directly from the device using Shapeshift. It retails for $129, and is available for pre-order only, with no confirmed shipping date.

Bitcoin for Beginners: Which Hardware Wallet to Use

Bitlox

Bitlox looks a bit different from the rest of the wallets featured here. Rather than connect to your laptop via USB, it uses Bluetooth only. The wafer thin device, which resembles a smart card, can store bitcoin and retails for around $100. Support for altcoins is coming soon.

Digital Bitbox

A hardware wallet that’s as minimal as it gets, Digital Bitbox eschews a screen altogether in favor of compactness. It uses a micro SD card, is Tor and Tails compatible, and has optional 2FA. The Swiss-made device crams an impressive amount of security features into a very small space. Just don’t lose it.

Bitcoin for Beginners: Which Hardware Wallet to UseOf all the hardware devices on this list, Trezor and the Nano S have been extensively tested at scale by millions of users, which certainly inspires confidence. That’s not to say they’re any more secure than devices from other manufacturers though. The most important thing is that you get as much of your cryptocurrency as possible out of centralized exchanges and onto a device that you control the keys to. Only once you’ve achieved that can you truly claim to have gained your financial freedom.

What’s your favorite hardware wallet and why? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Trezor, Ledger, Digital Bitbox and Keep Key.


Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

Cryptoruble Delayed – Russian Central Bank Worried It Could Bypass Regulations

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Cryptoruble Delayed - Russian Central Bank Worried It Could Bypass Regulations

Featured

Russia’s national cryptocurrency, the cryptoruble, is unlikely to be created in the foreseeable future, according to the Bank of Russia. The central bank believes that it could be used to bypass regulations. Meanwhile, the finance ministry wants to use the cryptoruble for cross-border payments.

Also read: South Korean Officials Caught Trading On Insider Knowledge of Crypto Regulations

Cryptoruble Could Bypass Regulations

The first deputy governor of the Bank of Russia, Sergey Shvetsov, said at the Gaidar Forum this week that “The appearance of a cryptoruble in the foreseeable future is unlikely,” Tass reported. He elaborated:

I’m of the opinion that as long as the demand for cryptocurrencies is linked to a large extent with the bypass of regulations, it is clear that the regulator cannot afford to issue a cryptoruble, which will allow to bypass regulations.

Cryptoruble Delayed - Russian Central Bank Worried It Could Bypass RegulationsThe bank’s first deputy chairman, Olga Skorobogatova, shared the sentiment, stating previously that she did not see the need for a cryptoruble.

However, she said that the central bank is considering introducing a supranational digital currency within the BRICS or the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEC).

Cryptoruble for Cross-Border Payments

Meanwhile, Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev told reporters at the forum that his ministry “supports the idea of using a cryptoruble in cross-border settlements,” Tass also reported. He detailed:

The issue on which to focus now is the use of electronic money, a cryptoruble, in cross-border settlements. Settlements with our leading trading partners, at least the countries of the former USSR, could be made not in a foreign currency but in electronic rubles.

Cryptoruble Delayed - Russian Central Bank Worried It Could Bypass RegulationsHowever, Moiseev may not be referring to a cryptocurrency, as he previously expressed, “To be honest, I do not even understand what a cryptoruble is…I understand what an electronic ruble is.”

Early this month, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin commissioned work to create a cryptoruble as a tool to circumvent international sanctions. He first ordered the creation of this new currency in October of last year.

Cryptoruble Delayed to Mid-2019

In an interview with Hi-Tech Mail, the Russian Association of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency (RACIB) estimated that the cryptoruble will not appear in Russia until at least the middle of next year. “If the proposal on the cryptoruble will be put forward in July as part of the president’s instruction, the normative documents will be drafted and introduced in the fall,” the director of the association explained, adding that:

They should be agreed at the end of the year, and the launch of the currency will take place in the middle of 2019.

When do you think Russia will finally issue a cryptoruble? Do you think it will be a cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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