As Korean Crypto Exchanges Step Up AML Compliance, Banks Are Failing

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As Korean Crypto Exchanges Step Up AML Compliance, Banks Are Failing

Regulation

As the South Korean government steps up its anti-money laundering (AML) oversight, major crypto exchanges in the country are voluntarily complying while banks are reportedly failing to meet the guidelines for compliance. South Korea has also been discussing ways to boost crypto-related AML measures with the U.S.

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

Government Concerned About Bank’s AML Compliance

As Korean Crypto Exchanges Step Up AML Compliance, Banks Are FailingSouth Korea’s AML directives currently do not apply to cryptocurrency exchanges directly. The government has made banks responsible for monitoring and reporting any crypto-related money laundering activities.

In an effort to comply with the country’s AML directives, most major South Korean banks have been adding compliance officers.

NH Nonghyup Bank, for example, “recently created an independent unit exclusively to handle compliance-related issues,” the Korea Times reported on Friday, adding that the bank increased the number of its employees working in that unit from 16 to 23. Nonetheless, the Joongang Daily noted on Saturday:

Despite the effort, Korea’s financial watchdog, the Financial Supervisory Service [FSS], warned that the bank has not sufficiently improved its internal control system.

Collaborating with the US

South Korea has also been collaborating with the U.S. to boost AML measures relating to cryptocurrencies. The Korea Times described:

U.S. Treasury Secretary Sigal Mandelker has discussed with FSC Vice Chairman Kim Yong-beom how to boost anti-money-laundering measures especially related to crypto-assets in addition to international cooperation measures.

As Korean Crypto Exchanges Step Up AML Compliance, Banks Are FailingHowever, the U.S. has found Korean banks’ AML measures to be inadequate. South Korea’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSC), said Friday that the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) “has notified the financial regulator of its plan to investigate Korean banks [with operations in New York] that are suspected of failing to meet compliance guidelines.”

As Korean Crypto Exchanges Step Up AML Compliance, Banks Are FailingThe U.S. regulator has already fined Nonghyup Bank $11 million “for inadequate control and a compliance system against money laundering,” the Joongang Daily conveyed, adding that the NYDFS “will start probes into six Korean banks operating in New York either by the end of this month or next month.” They are “Nonghyup Bank, Woori Bank, KB Kookmin Bank, Shinhan Bank and two state-run banks – the Industrial Bank of Korea and the Korea Development Bank,” the publication detailed, elaborating:

Since penalties from the New York DFS would damage the reputation of Korea’s financial industry in general, local financial regulators are also working to encourage the banks to strengthen their control and compliance systems.

The list includes banks that are providing real-name services to crypto exchanges: Nonghyup Bank, Shinhan Bank, and the Industrial Bank of Korea. They are responsible for ensuring that the crypto accounts they service are AML compliant.

Crypto Exchanges Voluntarily Complying

As Korean Crypto Exchanges Step Up AML Compliance, Banks Are FailingIn South Korea, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) is responsible for money laundering prevention and illegal fund flows, including terrorist financing. The FIU collaborates with the FSS to ensure that banks are adhering to AML rules. Both agencies report to the FSC.

Crypto exchanges are currently not directly regulated by the FIU or the FSS, but the regulators have proposed bringing them under the two agencies’ jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, the largest crypto exchanges in the country are voluntarily upgrading their AML and internal control systems. Bithumb has blocked 11 countries from using its platform and reduced withdrawal limits for accounts that are not using the real-name system. The Kakao-backed Upbit has adopted Thomson Reuters’ system for the same purpose. 23 crypto exchanges have also agreed to comply with the self-regulation standards set by the Korean Blockchain Industry Association.

What do you think of how the South Korean government, banks, and crypto exchanges handle AML measures? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, NYDFS, and the Korea Times.


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An Inside Look at the Electron Cash Wallet Coming to iOS

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An Inside Look at the Electron Cash Wallet Coming to iOS

Reviews

Just recently news.Bitcoin.com reported on the unique Electron Cash wallet alongside using the Cashshuffle plugin. Two weeks ago we were granted access to the Electron Cash iOS beta testing period, and we wanted to give our readers a sneak peek at what to expect when this bitcoin cash-centric light client launches.

Also Read: How to Shuffle Your BCH Coins Like a Boss

Electron Cash Is Coming to iOS

An Inside Look at the Electron Cash Wallet Coming to iOSThe Electron Cash wallet is a reputable bitcoin cash (BCH) wallet that’s been around for quite some time. At the moment the client is available for Mac, Linux, Windows, and Android for mobile phones. However, the wallet’s development team and lead developer Jonald Fyookball are in the midst of building the Electron Cash application for iOS users. Fyookball has allowed news.Bitcoin.com access to the beta testing using Apple’s Testflight system so we could experiment with the wallet, and share our experience with our readers.

Experimenting With Beta Version 3.2.0 on Testflight

When opening the wallet users are greeted by a neon-blue like screen that says Electron Cash, from here the user can choose a few options when they launch the app for the first time. The choices given are the usual create new wallet, import an existing seed, or use existing public or private keys. We created a new wallet and the Electron Cash iOS interface gave us a new twelve-word mnemonic phrase to write down. After finishing writing the seed down, the wallet asks you to re-type all twelve words, but it doesn’t take too long because words are predicted and easily-tappable after a few letters are typed. You also encrypt the wallet with a password, and are given the option to name it as well. Remember your password and mnemonic phrase give you access to your funds, and keeping them a secret is a top priority.

An Inside Look at the Electron Cash Wallet Coming to iOS

The Electron Cash iOS app always asks you for your password whenever you open it or if you want to sign an outgoing transaction. In the wallet interface there are five main settings which include wallets, addresses, coins, contacts, and the settings section. The wallet section is basically the main page you are greeted with after entering your password. It shows the name of the wallet(s) and you can toggle to different wallets in the first field on the top of the page. The page will also show you all the transactions that have occurred for that specific wallet. On the very top, there is a blue banner with a green light indicating the client is synced up and online. If it was red this would indicate the wallet is not online and synced to the BCH network.

Moving on to the addresses page it will show a bunch of addresses both used and unused. You can toggle between funded addresses and unfunded addresses, alongside if they are receiving or change addresses as well. The Electron Cash wallet allows users to create contacts by utilizing an individual or organizations’ address so you can easily send funds to any recurring contact. The coins area shows BCH transactions that have been sent or received but are not yet confirmed.

An Inside Look at the Electron Cash Wallet Coming to iOS

The Electron Cash Wallet Has Numerous Adjustable Settings  

The wallet’s settings section is where you can make a bunch of changes to the wallet, like change your password, and view your mnemonic phrase if you needed to see it again. In the settings, the Electron Cash iOS client has an address converter so a person can change a legacy address into the Cashaddr format. This section also offers a variety of features like the ability to change the fee to max static or the user can choose a custom fee. Below that where it says transactions, you can choose to utilize change addresses, multiple change addresses, and whether or not the wallet will spend only confirmed coins. Following this section, you can change the appearance, choose what block explorer you want to use. From here users can also set the fiat settings so you can view the value of coins in USD, EUR, and many other monetary units.

An Inside Look at the Electron Cash Wallet Coming to iOS

The wallet works very well for being in its beta (3.2.0) testing phase and Electron Cash users will be sure to enjoy this wallet. There were a few occasions where it was difficult to remove the keyboard and view the lower fields on the screen in the earlier versions we tried prior to the 3.2.0 upgrade released just the other day. Since then we’ve found the app works like a charm, and haven’t found any difficulties using it. The Electron Cash developers have also been looking for testers on the subreddit /r/BTC over the past few weeks in order to get feedback.

What do you think about the Electron Cash wallet for iOS? Let us know your thoughts on this subject in the comment section below.


Images via Shutterstock, Electron Cash, and Jamie Redman


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Etoro Is Launching an OTC Crypto Trading Desk for Institutions

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Etoro Is Launching an OTC Crypto Trading Desk for Institutions

Finance

While the major banks are taking their time with offering OTC crypto trading, new entrants to the space are stepping up to fill the void. Social investing platform Etoro, which focuses mainly on retail traders, is now expanding into the institutional segment with a new cryptocurrency offering.

Also Read: This Week in Bitcoin: An End to 51% Attacks and Who Controls Bitcoin?

New Crypto Trading Desk for Hedge Funds

Etoro Is Launching an OTC Crypto Trading Desk for InstitutionsEtoro, which recently announced that it is expanding into the US with ten cryptocurrencies, is reportedly setting up an over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk in London for institutions wishing to trade on cryptocurrencies. The platform is connected to fifteen cryptocurrency exchanges from which to pool liquidity and is also said to be planning to launch one by itself. The move is explained as answering demands from hedge fund owners who expressed interest in experimenting with crypto trading.

“We are launching an OTC desk for institutions. We’ve seen more and more interest from corporates and institutions,” CEO Yoni Assia told Business Insider. “We’ve actually set up our corporate team here in the UK to start setting up accounts to trade on eToro. We’ve announced that we’re launching the exchange as well so, between the exchange and the OTC desk, we’re also starting to serve more potential institutions and financial institutions.”

The Growing Institutional OTC Crypto Market

Etoro Is Launching an OTC Crypto Trading Desk for InstitutionsInstitutional OTC desks help big players whose massive transactions might move the markets if they were done in the open. And trading outside popular exchanges can also be seen as risk management, for trying to avoid losing funds in the case of another exchange hacking incident.

In the US, Circle Financial and Cumberland Mining operate OTC crypto services and Goldman Sachs was reported to be in the process of entering the field, although its CEO has denied the rumors. Additionally, JP Morgan and Fidelity are said to be assessing a move into the space. In the UK, Barclays was reported as supposedly considering launching a crypto trading desk back in April. And financial industry insiders, like David Mercer the CEO of LMAX, which recently launched a physical crypto exchange dedicated to institutional clients, expect UK banks would eventually join the market next year. In the meanwhile, big players have also set up their own private network for OTC trading, buying and selling billions every month among themselves via Skype.

“I think there is growing institutional demand and interest of public investors to understand whether they can join the party,” Etoro CEO Assia said. “That is something we definitely see out there. We see more and more public market players and big banks who are interested in this space and feel left out because they’re not allowed to invest in crypto or ICOs.”

Are London banks in risk of losing hedge fund to new trading desks if they won’t support cryptocurrency? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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This Village Decided to Launch Japan’s First Municipal ICO

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This Village Decided to Launch Japan's First Municipal ICO

Crowdfunding

A village in Japan has announced its decision to launch an initial coin offering in order to secure funds for creating a sustainable region. This will be the first time in Japan for a municipality to use a token sale to raise funds.

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

Local Government Launching ICO

This Village Decided to Launch Japan's First Municipal ICOA village in Japan has decided to issue an initial coin offering (ICO) which it describes as “Japan’s first decision to issue a regional ICO by a local government.”

Nishiawakura Village is in Okayama Prefecture, which is located in the southern part of Japan’s Honshu island. The prefecture is largely known for its rural landscapes, feudal castles and art museums. With 95% of the area covered in forest, the village has a population of approximately 1,500. In the early 2000s, the village refused to merge with Mimasaka City when municipalities nationwide consolidated, wanting to remain economically independent.

According to the village’s announcement:

In order to promote the creation of a sustainable region in the future, as a means for small local governments to secure new financing resources and to build up regions through upfront investment, tokens issuance, and the creation of virtual currencies, we will introduce fundraising through an ICO for the first time as a municipality in Japan.

Village’s Coins

This Village Decided to Launch Japan's First Municipal ICOThe village’s tokens will be called Nishiawakura Coin (NAC) and will be issued by the Nishiawakura Village Token Economy Association. The NAC coins will carry voting rights which allow their holders to participate in decision making relating to local ventures, the village explained.

“We plan to advance according to the revised fund settlement law…in line with the self-regulation rules on the management and finance by the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Industry Association,” according to the announcement. This industry association was established in April and consists of 16 government-approved crypto exchanges. The revised fund settlement law went into effect in Japan last year, legalizing crypto as a means of payment. The village added:

The funds procured will carry out business development, etc. in collaboration with Nishiawakura Village, and will develop a sustainable community.

Currently, Japan has no specific law for ICOs, but the regulators have recently been discussing a specific regulatory framework for them. In February, the country’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), issued a warning to an unregistered ICO for allegedly conducting business without a license.

What do you think of this Village in Japan launching an ICO? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Okayama-iju, Turns, and Nishiawakura Village.


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EOS Has Issues

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EOS Has Issues

Blockchain

The EOS mainnet is less than a week old but already the much-vaunted blockchain has ran into a spate of issues ranging from the minor to the critical. Teething problems with new blockchains are to be expected, but the numeracy of these, coupled with a series of other anomalies, have had EOS critics scratching their heads and developers on the defensive.

Also read: Satoshi Nakamoto Known to CIA? FBI? Created by NSA? Search Intensifies

There’s Never a Dull Day in EOS Land

The EOS soap opera has made for compelling viewing in recent weeks. The level of hype and funds invested in the project meant a soft launch was never going to be possible. Satoshi appears to have launched bitcoin alone, with zero fanfare and the world oblivious. EOS, on the other hand, has launched following a year-long $4 billion raise, having excited half of the crypto community and the alarmed the other half.

The most recent issue was a bug which caused block production to stop over the weekend, forcing a conference call between Block.one, EOS’ developers, and the 21 block producers tasked with running the network. The cause of the problem appears to have been an error in the latest build, obliging EOS to resort to an earlier version of the code. This raises the question of how much testing is being performed on new code; it looks like Block.one is issuing updates that have not been thoroughly tested, forcing them to fix problems as they occur on the mainnet.

EOS Has Issues

Features, Bugs, and Anomalies

While unfortunate, bugs are to be expected when an entirely new blockchain launches, and bitcoin and ethereum weren’t without their issues in the early days either. But there are troublesome aspects of EOS that are there by design, and whose presence is harder to explain. There’s the high amount of tokens that must be staked by developers, for instance, in order to run EOS dapps. The amount payable ranges according to the amount of network resources the dapp requires. Had Crypto Kitties been running on EOS at the height of the dapp’s popularity, it’s been suggested that the amount of tokens required to operate it would have ran into the millions of dollars.

And then there’s the complexity of creating an EOS wallet. Creating an account calls for obtaining the assistance of an existing account-holder. Without their input, it’s impossible for any newcomer to join the EOS ecosystem. In time, EOS dapps should make account creation easier, but until then, the public blockchain operates more like a closed system, with participants reliant on the support of other EOS holders to get the ball rolling.

EOS Has Issues

Attaining the 15% quorum of votes to launch the network also proved to be a sticking point. Token holders were required to vote via a process that included entering their private keys. Due to the risk of being tricked by fake EOS dapps, most token holders chose not to vote, leaving the voting process stuck for days at below the 15% threshold.

EOS Oddities Have Failed to Dampen Market Enthusiasm

Despite all the drama, glitches, and oddities of EOS, the market has remained bullish on Dan Larimer’s blockchain. With so many token holders invested in the project, the community is willing EOS to succeed no matter what, and no amount of negativity – or FUD as the acronym goes – will be allowed to prevail. Even when a major bug was discovered in EOS prior to launch, followed by the hasty creation of a bounty program and the discovery of several more bugs, the market shrugged the problems off.

EOS Has Issues

The enthusiasm for all things EOS can partially be attributed to the need for a fast and scalable blockchain. Even the network’s most ardent supporters will concede that EOS isn’t perfect, but given the alternatives – a sluggish ethereum and a handful of untested and unused blockchains – there seems little choice but to pray Block.one can prevail. With each passing drama, the pro and anti EOS brigades become more firmly entrenched in their positions. No other blockchain in the history of cryptocurrency has proven to be so polarizing. Whatever the future holds for EOS, it certainly won’t be dull.

Do you think EOS can shrug off these early setbacks and overtake ethereum as the number one blockchain for dapps? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and Twitter.


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The Reasonable Network

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The Reasonable Network

Op-Ed

This article is my advice on how reasonable people can have a public discussion that is strong enough to avoid being derailed by trolls, no matter who they are. I believe the key is the conviction that if there were such a thing as a reasonable public discussion, everyone else would depend on the conclusions that it arrived at. Thus, everyone taking part in the discussion will tend to prefer to follow the rules over anything that might serve a conflicting interest.

Also read: Markets Update: SEC Adds a Brief Market Spike — But Will It Last?

If you are someone who prefers the Reasonable Network, then you are looking for people who also prefer the Reasonable Network. You must look at what they prefer and see that they prefer to be reasonable. You don’t need to bug him or manipulate him. You just have to let him show you that he prefers reason.

I am not going to define precisely what I think reasonableness is because I would want people to develop their reasonableness test based on everything they know rather than just what is in this article. However, I will say that I think that a person’s ability to repeat an intellectual position to his discussion partner is a test that is so easy to administer and evaluate, and simultaneously such a good indicator that I recommend it as the first step in any evaluation of another person’s reasonableness.

You, of course, don’t want to waste people’s time, especially your own, so I think you should be able to find the best one-sentence version of your position and look for people who appear to be capable of reporting your position back to you. He does not have to get everything right, but you should believe that he is interested in getting it right. I think it is good to let a person talk for a bit after you give them your test and see if they say anything on their own that shows that they have understood basic things about it. If they do not do this, I think that there is nothing wrong with asking them to repeat your position back to you, just to make sure they got it. Someone who is good at discussions may do this without being prompted because he knows he can’t possibly have a reasonable discussion without understanding the basics of the other person’s position.

The Reasonable Network
“He does not have to get everything right, but you should believe that he is interested in getting it right.”

No matter who you are and what you think, it is relatively easy to see whether someone can correctly repeat back what someone else said, if such an event were recorded publically. Furthermore, I think it is hard to argue that there is anything unfair about my reasonableness test and it is easy for you to argue publicly that someone has passed it. Remember, we are talking about a public discussion, so everything that is said should be something that can potentially have a lot of attention drawn on it. You want to be able to behave according to rules that you can defend later, in case anything that you do attracts attention. I believe that my reasonableness test is something that people with many divergent viewpoints could agree on, if they all wanted to have a reasonable discussion.

It is easy to show that someone has passed the test, but there are many reasons that someone might fail it. I would say that it is hard to show that someone has genuinely failed the test, or in other words, shown that they are uninterested in a reasonable discussion or unable to have one. Someone who does not pass the test is not necessarily someone who does not want a reasonable discussion. I think it is important to differentiate between people who cannot pass the test and people who simply have not. People can have many reasons to choose not to pass your reasonableness test. You must pass their reasonableness test at the same time as they are passing yours, so if you won’t say anything that demonstrates a grasp of whatever they have said to you, they might not bother to say anything. I think the reasonableness test should be based on what people have actually said in the current conversation and they should not expect one another to be familiar with who they are or their prior work as part of the reasonableness test. This ensures that both people are engaging with one another regardless of who they are.

On the other hand, someone who makes the same mistake several times in a row and who does not correct his version of your position after you have given him feedback about his response is someone who doesn’t want a reasonable discussion. If he failed because he is stupid, then you don’t need to talk to him anymore. If he failed because he is a troll, then you might see some variety and inventiveness in his failures. In that case, he is testing you to see how easily you can tell that he is a troll. I think it is ok, if you feel like it, to engage with trolls who have a sense of humor, but they should be doing at least something that you find entertaining, and if not, you should not let yourself respond to any of their lures.

The Reasonable Network
“It may be necessary to prove that you are a troll before you can begin to assess another person’s reasonableness.”

A troll who is failing your test in a way that is a very obvious joke is telling you that there is something wrong with your reasonableness test. For example, let’s say that some ideology or religion has taken over your brain to the degree that you have forgotten how to evaluate other people for reasonableness, then a joke may be a way of drawing your attention to some way that you are excluding thinking people from your network. For example, perhaps your reasonableness test is too big. I think that you should not expect people to have to repeat more than a one-sentence version of your position, and if you are in an ideology or religion, it is often impossible to explain your position in one sentence.

On the other hand, in the event of an environment in which there is a lot of thought-control, in other words, there is social punishment for expressing certain ideas, then it may be necessary to prove that you are a troll before you can begin to assess another person’s reasonableness. You want to be talking to someone first who is able to play with social conventions and who is creative with the way that he expresses forbidden thoughts as jokes or in terms that are cryptic so that few will notice.

Someone who deliberately fails your test in a way that is not an obvious joke is a suspicious person.

There is a bootstrapping problem with the reasonableness network because you cannot reliably pick out reasonable people from a crowd. In a good network where people were genuinely reasonable, you would expect the most prominent people to be reasonable. Unfortunately, you cannot depend on this. I believe it is necessary to be able to pick out reasonable people from a crowd, independent of whether they are prominent.

In public, anyone can transmit anything and there can be very loud signals that do not contain a high originality. You must have something that filters people based on what you can see about them publicly, even if it is not a direct test of reasonableness. You, conversely, should want to be someone who is easily identified as someone who wants to have a reasonable discussion. So you need to transmit a signal that will attract reasonable people to you.

Since reasonable people cannot depend on having any shared ideas that will always stand out in a crowd, I think the best signal of reasonableness is the ability to stand out itself. You should be someone who can stand out in any crowd, not just the one you’re in. In other words, just be some kind of individual. In an environment in which there is a lot of ‘group-think’ and in which individuality is punished, it is easy to design a signal that goes against the crowd. You may have to endure some social punishment to transmit it, but you can try to come up with something that goes over most people’s heads. I think that you just need to believe that having a reasonable discussion is more important than the disapproval of people who don’t want one. I think it is ok if you just want to play some goofy character and you don’t show yourself directly. You just have to be an individual.

I would argue that the ability to go against the crowd is the purest signal of intelligence because it involves identifying a class of behaviors and abstracting something about it. If you are looking at a crowd that’s very unfamiliar to you, then someone who is going against the crowd is the signal that an intelligent person could make which would most easily stand out to you. If you are looking at a crowd and it appears that there are many individuals and you can’t tell who the best contrarian is, then that is a sign that you are looking at a crowd of intelligent people who are able to have a reasonable discussion. If a crowd appears to be many people moving together, then a contrarian among them should be easy to identify.

The Reasonable Network
“If you are looking at a crowd that’s very unfamiliar to you, then someone who is going against the crowd is the signal that an intelligent person could make which would most easily stand out to you.”

A connection in the reasonable network is valuable because once it exists, it is not easy to replace. Thus, you must be someone who can identify signals of reasonableness and maintain good relationships with such signals, no matter where you see them. The only thing that keeps you in the reasonable network is your ability to be reasonable. You have to learn to prefer rational discussions to feeling like you have won the argument or to feeling like you want to be a celebrity, or from whatever other motivation you might have for engaging in the discussion.

In the reasonable network, there is nothing wrong with the existence of celebrities or with wanting to be a celebrity or any kind of important person that you want. It is necessary to withhold judgment somewhat about celebrities whom you have not interacted with. If you do talk to any, you need to get your own sense of how reasonable they really are. The best way to become a celebrity in the reasonable network is to show people that you prefer reasonableness over being personally important.

I think that someone who were to think about the problem that I have attempted to solve here would come up with a roughly similar solution. Therefore, I think that the reasonable network exists already. In fact, it exists everywhere, throughout all ages in history. You just have to find it.

Steps for finding the reasonable network:

  • Express individuality (may require trolling)
  • Prefer other people who are expressing individuality when you open discussions.
  • Prefer what you learn from other people you know who have passed your reasonableness test to what you learn from anyone who transmits information without interacting with you.  
  • People you have not met but who appear to be able to pass the reasonableness test publicly should be preferred as sources of information over those who do not.

What do you think about having a public conversation strong enough to derail trolls? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comment section below.

This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support views, opinions or conclusions drawn in this post. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. 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 information in this Op-ed article.


Images via Shutterstock, and Pixabay.


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Six Fake Crypto Exchange Sites Busted by Ukraine’s Cyberpolice

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Six Fake Crypto Exchange Sites Busted by Ukraine’s Cyberpolice

News

The cybercrime combating unit of the Ukrainian police has uncovered a network of fraudulent crypto trading websites. Four people are suspected of offering the fake online exchange services. They have maintained at least six platforms luring cryptocurrency traders with deceptive messages.

Also read: Survey: 13% of Net-Savvy Ukrainians Own Cryptocurrencies

Police on the Lookout for More Fake Exchangers

Officers from Ukraine’s Cyberpolice have exposed an organized group of scammers who created a network of fake online exchangers offering conversion of cryptocurrencies. According to a press release issued by the National Police, a number of sites have been used to deceive and defraud unsuspecting citizens who wanted to trade their cryptos.

“The criminal group consisted of four people […] possessing specialized knowledge and skills in programming,” the NPU’s press service said. They had set up their own CMS-system to manage the websites’ content. The platforms imitated the activities of legitimate online cryptocurrency exchangers, supporting multicurrency conversion, and even displayed fictitious positive ratings and reviews.

The victims were invited to transfer their money to digital wallets registered with forged identification documents under false names of foreign citizens. After receiving some funds through a particular platform, the scammers would close it and open a new one, law enforcement officials explained.

Six Fake Crypto Exchange Sites Busted by Ukraine’s Cyberpolice

So far, Ukrainian police have found at least six fake websites: moneycraft.info, swapex.net, myexchanger.lv, iconvex.net, likechange.biz, and wowex.online, Financial Club reports. Most have been taken down already, with one now redirecting to sites with pornographic content. Investigators believe there are more undiscovered websites and have asked the public to report suspicious platforms to rv@cybercrime.gov.ua.

Six Fake Crypto Exchange Sites Busted by Ukraine’s Cyberpolice

Three of the suspects, aged between 20 and 26 years, have been implicated directly in the six established fraud schemes. They are all residents of the city of Dnepropetrovsk. The police have opened criminal proceedings against them under Section 3 of Article 190 (Fraud) of Ukraine’s Criminal Code.

Officers have already conducted authorized searches at the addresses of the suspects. They have seized computer equipment, including flash drives, as well as bank cards and mobile phones that were used by the scammers. The Cyberpolice unit is currently studying the identified websites to determine the size of the fraud.

Six Fake Crypto Exchange Sites Busted by Ukraine’s Cyberpolice

Ukraine’s Booming Crypto Trade

In the last couple of years, Ukraine has been experiencing a growing interest in cryptocurrencies with a rising trend in crypto trading volume. According to the latest reports, the estimated daily crypto-hryvnia turnover on the three major Ukrainian exchanges, Exmo, Kuna and BTC Trade UA, reaches $1.9 – $2 million USD (~$700 million, yearly). The total is likely to be even higher, as at least eighteen other trading platforms and more than 4,000 individual traders are believed to provide exchange services, both online and offline.

A recently conducted survey found that 72 percent of Internet-savvy Ukrainians know what cryptocurrency is and another 23 percent have heard about it. At least 13 percent of those using the world wide web possess digital coins, the poll confirmed. A number of Ukrainian officials have declared owning digital assets on their tax returns.

According to a new report titled “Green Book: Cryptocurrency Market Regulation”, Ukraine is among the top 10 countries in the world in terms of number of cryptocurrency users, while local companies have created 25 new digital coins, raising $132 million in less than two years.

Six Fake Crypto Exchange Sites Busted by Ukraine’s Cyberpolice

Cryptocurrencies, however, and the fintech industry as a whole, remain largely unregulated. Three draft laws have been introduced in the Rada since October, with no real progress so far. These are the bill “On the Circulation of Cryptocurrency in Ukraine”, the law “On Stimulating the Market of Cryptocurrencies and Their Derivatives”, and a supplementary draft amending the tax code to cover crypto incomes and profits.

Multiple government officials and institutions have insisted on adopting proper crypto regulations, and Ukraine’s Cyberpolice is one of them. In January, the cybercrime combating department shared its concerns about cryptocurrencies and called on the government to either ban them or legalize them “as soon as possible.”

Do you think regulations can effectively ban fraudulent platforms and support legitimate exchanges? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Financial Club, National Police of Ukraine.


Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi’s Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com

This Week in Bitcoin: An End to 51% Attacks and Who Controls Bitcoin?

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This Week in Bitcoin: An End to 51% Attacks and Who Controls Bitcoin?

The Weekly

This week we reported about a suggested solution to 51% attacks, a hacked exchange that was blamed for tanking the market and a cannabis-themed cryptocurrency bringing peace to the world. We also learned, in this week’s most commented-on article, who really controls Bitcoin and why it won’t become a global currency, according to the CEO of Ripple.

Also Read: Get Them While You Can Gamers, Graphics Cards Prices Have Crashed

Hack Takes a Toll on Crypto Markets

The big news on Monday was another hacked South Korean crypto exchange. While the figures stolen were much smaller than past events and the trading venue involved much lesser known, the incident was widely blamed for the drops across the markets due to its timing. The alleged hacker stole $19.5 million in NPXS, $13.8 million of Aston X, $5.8 million in tokens of Dent, over $1.1 million of Tron, and at least five other tokens, all from Coinrail exchange users. Other subjects covered include a hospital where you can pay with tokens and a “blockchain” based cultural center established by a gangster.

POT Prevents Nuclear Armageddon

This Week in Bitcoin: An End to 51% Attacks and Who Controls Bitcoin?The main topic on Tuesday was Potcoin getting global exposure on the back of the nuclear summit in Singapore. The cryptocurrency has been sponsoring the trips of Dennis Rodman to North Korea for a while now and as two of the basketball star’s friends, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, met to discuss peace, POT was able to get into the limelight of this histrionic event. Additional stories covered in Tuesday’s edition of Bitcoin in Brief included Coinbase’s plans for adding support for Ethereum Classic (ETC) and the intentions of Binance to enable euro transactions later this year.

Explosive Vote in Crypto Valley

On Wednesday, we reported that authorities in the Swiss city of Zug will ask local residents to participate in a non-binding “blockchain-based” vote later this month. The experiment will be held between June 25 and July 1, when residents will be able to vote via their smartphones. They will be asked if they are in favor of fireworks during a festival, and whether they think digital IDs should be used to borrow books from the library, pay parking fees, and more. In other serious news from the country, representatives of Switzerland’s financial, technological, academic and legal sectors have formed the Capital Markets and Technology Association (CMTA) to facilitate the use of blockchain in financial markets.

Thomson Reuters Expands Crypto Tracking

This Week in Bitcoin: An End to 51% Attacks and Who Controls Bitcoin?On Thursday, it was reported that Thomson Reuters had expanded the market data for the top 100 cryptocurrencies in its sentiment data offerings. The service is provided in cooperation with Marketpsych Data LLC, a leader in quantitative behavioral science. The new Marketpsych Indices package uses machine learning and natural language processing to measure emotional and topical items across news and social media sites that may drive market participant behavior in cryptocurrency markets. It monitors more than 2,000 global news and 800 social media platforms in real-time.

An End to 51% Attacks?

An important story, which has implications for all Proof of Work coins, was covered on Friday. In a new whitepaper, the Zencash team proposes changing Satoshi Consensus, also known as the longest chain rule, to a method that makes it “both technically infeasible and economically disastrous to attempt double spending.” ZEN aims to achieve this by introducing a penalty “in the form of a block acceptance delay in the amount of time the block has been hidden from the public network.” The team now hopes that other PoW coins will adopt this proposal with a view to mitigating further 51% attacks.

Crypto Behind Bars

An interesting story published on Saturday talked about a new cryptocurrency designed to be used by prison inmates. Prisoners will be able to use the crypto through kiosks that will be installed in the prisons as part of the project. This will allow them to spend their coins in the prison commissary, cover court costs and fees, pay other inmates, and receive money from friends and family. Each user will have a digital wallet to store their funds. Transactions will be made in real time and at minimal fees, Cellblocks claimed.

Bitcoin Controlled by China?

This Week in Bitcoin: An End to 51% Attacks and Who Controls Bitcoin?The most commented-on article during the week covered the claims by Ripple CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, that BTC has no hope of being a world currency and is controlled by China. “A number of prominent people,” he said, “even Steve Wozniak, has said that he sees a world where Bitcoin is the primary currency. I think that’s absurd. I don’t think that any major economy will allow that to happen. By the way, it doesn’t make sense.”

Garlinghouse added: “I’ll tell you another story that is underreported, but worth paying attention to. Bitcoin is really controlled by China. There are four miners in China that control over 50% of Bitcoin. How do we know that China won’t intervene? How many countries want to use a Chinese-controlled currency? It’s just not going to happen.” Has the Ripple CEO given an impartial analysis? Add your say to the discussion.

This Week in Bitcoin Podcast

Catch the rest of this week’s news in the This Week in Bitcoin podcast with host Matt Aaron.

What other stories in the Bitcoin world caught your attention this week? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com.

Satoshi Nakamoto Known to CIA? FBI? Created by NSA? Search Intensifies

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Satoshi Nakamoto Known to CIA? FBI? Created by NSA? Search Intensifies

News

The “request has been rejected,” came response from the CIA, “with the agency stating that it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of the requested documents.” A tech writer petitioned ‘the agency’ to see what it had on the subject of Satoshi Nakamoto, the name credited with founding Bitcoin, the world’s first decentralized cryptocurrency. There have been legendarily famous attempts to unmask the real person, only to find more paradox, more confusion, more wild theories. At least two online journalists believe a definitive answer just might be had through US intelligence agencies. The evidence borders on compelling and infuriating.

Also read: Star Trek Icon Joins Bitcoin Mining Revolution

Satoshi Nakamoto’s Real Identity is Probably Known by US Intelligence Agencies

It’s not often a journalist in the financial technology genre has cause to contact the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), but this week proved reason enough. Keeping normal business hours, the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs, Washington, D.C. 20505 (really Vienna, VA) was evidently swamped. Three calls placed to (703) 482-0623, along with one voicemail message on the final attempt, were not returned as of publication.

Inspiration to do so came from Daniel Oberhaus, staff writer at Motherboard. In an effort to follow up on work done by bloggers and investigative journalists on the tantalizing issue of Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity, Mr. Oberhaus explained, “While recently filing some unrelated [Freedom of Information Act] FOIA requests of my own, I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask some other three-letter agencies what they know about Nakamoto.”

Satoshi Nakamoto Known to CIA? FBI? Created by NSA? Search Intensifies

It’s a delicate game, FOIA requests. Agencies are keen to dismiss a request out of hand, citing vagueness, ill-prepared request documents, standing, and the perennial go to: national security. The fragility is in having spy agencies at all, for citizens’ own good is the claim, and the modern movement to make coercive government doings more transparent.

Mr. Oberhaus continued, “I decided to start broad and request all internal emails containing Satoshi Nakamoto’s name from the FBI and CIA. Agencies generally ask for these sorts of requests to be narrowed down with information you’re unlikely to have in advance, but sometimes they’ll just dump a trove of emails on your plate and say good luck.” Instead, the CIA emailed him a response, short and to the point, complete with obnoxious bureaucrat grammar of referring to itself in the third person. The “request has been rejected, with the agency stating that it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of the requested documents,” the CIA stated flatly.

Satoshi Nakamoto Known to CIA? FBI? Created by NSA? Search Intensifies

Glomar

The CIA’s non denial-denial to Mr. Oberhaus is a classic tactic designed to be a true statement without giving away root facts. It’s known as the Glomar Response, ‘Glomar’ being the abbreviation for Global Marine, a company used by the agency to build a ship capable of salvaging downed Soviet-era subs back in the mid 1970s. The now famously canned statement was employed after a journalist filed a FOIA concerning the CIA ship for Soviet subs project.

And that paranoia extends to the present day. Blogger Alexander Muse, a contributor to Medium, wrote a series of posts (3) last year related to his attempt at uncovering Satoshi’s true identity. Mr. Muse writes about a whole host of subjects, from gourmet cooking to tech startups. His professional experience does involve tech, and he has what seems to be at least a passing interest in bitcoin. He was sucked down the rabbit hole when he learned a contact he had at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) claimed to have inside information.

“According to my source,” Mr. Muse explained, “the NSA was able to the use the ‘writer invariant’ method of stylometry to compare Satoshi’s ‘known’ writings with trillions of writing samples from people across the globe. By taking Satoshi’s texts and finding the 50 most common words, the NSA was able to break down his text into 5,000 word chunks and analyse each to find the frequency of those 50 words.This would result in a unique 50-number identifier for each chunk. The NSA then placed each of these numbers into a 50-dimensional space and flatten them into a plane using principal components analysis. The result is a ‘fingerprint’ for anything written by Satoshi that could easily be compared to any other writing.”

Satoshi Nakamoto Known to CIA? FBI? Created by NSA? Search Intensifies

His true identity is of utmost importance to the US government precisely because, especially as the price began to rise, so many people were relying on it. The problem, before even the tech could be evaluated on its own merit, was the principal DHS worry: a foreign creator. If bitcoin can do all it claims for itself, disrupting financial markets, a country hostile to the US could quickly start that ball rolling and worse. “Why go to so much trouble to identify Satoshi?” he asked rhetorically. “My source tells me that the Obama administration was concerned that Satoshi was an agent of Russia or China — that Bitcoin might be weaponized against us in the future. Knowing the source would help the administration understand their motives. As far as I can tell Satoshi hasn’t violated any laws and I have no idea if the NSA determined he was an agent of Russia or China or just a Japanese crypto hacker.”

Mr. Muse was ultimately unable to get just who Satoshi is. Instead he was left with the conclusion DHS does know, and that bitcoin’s first billionaire was probably a collection of folks. For his effort he was personally contacted by DHS and asked to submit to an interview. He did, noting that he was unable to publish just what he discussed with DHS, but he could say their contacting him was due to his Satoshi’s Medium posts. “I’ve had to stop taking phone calls or accepting voicemail messages,” Mr. Muse concludes. “My email is almost unusable with more than 10,000 unread messages at last count. The only way to contact me now is via text — and it is likely I’m going to have to change my number fairly soon. I still don’t know who Satoshi Nakamoto really is — but I believe the NSA does.”

Is Satoshi’s identity known by US intelligence agencies? Let us know in the comments. 


Images via the Pixabay.


Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com.

Canadian Accused of Assisting Ross Ulbricht Extradited to U.S.

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Canadian Accused of Assisting Ross Ulbricht Extradited to U.S.

Featured

A fifty-nine-year-old Canadian man accused of advising Ross Ulbricht, the creator and operator of the first anonymous free market, Silk Road, has been extradited to the United States from Thailand. Roger Thomas Clark has been charged by federal prosecutors for a number of crimes relating to the operations of Silk Road, including narcotics trafficking, computer hacking conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy.

Also Read: Markets Update: SEC Adds a Brief Market Spike — But Will It Last?

Canadian Extradited From Thailand for Assisting Ross Ulbricht in Operation of Silk Road

Canadian Accused of Assisting Ross Ulbricht Extradited to U.S.The U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of New York has revealed that Roger Thomas Clark has been extradited to the United States and charged with a number of offenses relating to his alleged association with Ross Ulbricht. The United States Department of Justice asserts that “Roger Thomas Clark was a key figure in the development of Silk Road and advised Ross Ulbricht on all aspects of the criminal enterprise.”

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman elaborated: “Silk Road was a secret online marketplace for illegal drugs, hacking services, and a whole host of other criminal activity. Roger Thomas Clark allegedly served as a trusted confidante to Silk Road founder and operator Ross Ulbricht, advising him on all aspects of this illegal business, including how to maximize profits and use threats of violence to thwart law enforcement. Thanks to the investigative work of our fellow law enforcement agencies and our international partners, Clark now faces justice in an American court.”

Mr. Clark Helped Develop Fundamental Rules Underpinning Silk Road

Canadian Accused of Assisting Ross Ulbricht Extradited to U.S.The Department of Justice reports that Ross Ulbricht described Mr. Clark as a “true mentor” who provided advice regarding “security vulnerabilities in the Silk Road site, technical infrastructure, management of the Silk Road users, and operating in a manner to attempt to thwart law enforcement.” Mr. Clark went by a number of pseudonyms on Silk Road – “Variety Jones,” “VJ,” “Cimon,” and “Plural of Mongoose.”

Mr. Clark had a hand in developing the rules and processes underpinning the operations of Silk Road, with U.S authorities asserting that “he communicated at length with Ulbricht regarding the rules that governed Silk Road vendors and users, and regarding the promotion of sales on Silk Road, including the sales of narcotics […] and assisted with hiring programmers to help improve the infrastructure of, and maintain, Silk Road.”

Mr. Clark was also reportedly “responsible for gathering information on law enforcement’s efforts to investigate Silk Road,” and “provided advice to Ulbricht on developing a “cover story” to make it appear as though Ulbricht had sold Silk Road.”

Mr. Clark Could Face Heavy Sentencing

If convicted, the fifty-nine-year-old faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison, among other charges. Mr. Clark was reportedly paid “at least hundreds of thousands of dollars for his role in operating Silk Road.”

Homeland Security Investigations special agent-in-charge, Angel M. Melendez, stated that “The extradition of this man today should be a reminder to those who think they can hide within the confines of the dark web, that you are never out of reach of the long arm of the law. These investigations are important in combating the illicit drug market and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to fight this fight.”

Do you think we will continue to see the arrests of high profile figures linked to Silk Road for years to come? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shuttestock, Wikipedia


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