Bitcoin Magazine is one of, if not, the oldest source of news, information and expert commentary on Bitcoin, blockchain technology and the digital currency industry. Since 2012, Bitcoin Magazine has provided analysis, research, education and thought leadership at the intersection of finance and technology.
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Bitcoin Magazine - 19 April 2019, 8:38 pm
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau within the U.S. Department of the Treasury, has imposed its first-ever penalty on a peer-to-peer crypto exchange for violating AML regulations, among other violations.FinCEN announced the penalty on its website on April 18, 2019, declaring that it had levied a civil money penalty against bitcoin trader Eric Powers for “[failing] to register as a money services business (MSB), [having] no written policies or procedures for ensuring compliance with the BSA [Bank Secrecy Act], and [failing] to report suspicious transactions and currency transactions.”In other words, Powers was acting as an unregistered exchange by carrying out a number of peer-to-peer transactions in crypto assets. In the course of his various peer-to-peer transactions, FinCEN claimed that Powers exchanged a total sum of BTC worth approximately $5 million, carrying out individual transactions worth more than $10,000 over 200 times.Though FinCEN noted that this is its first enforcement action against a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange, this is not the first prosecution of this sort lately. Earlier this month, Jacob Burrell Campos was charged by the U.S. Department of Justice for similar crimes, acting as an unregistered exchange. A key difference between the two cases, however, is that FinCEN quoted a civil penalty of $35,350 dollars for Powers while Campos was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. Both men were required to forfeit $100,000 and $800,000 in crypto assets.The initial sentencing of Campos came with commentary from regulatory officials such as David Shaw, a special agent for Homeland Security investigations in San Diego, who called the trial “a reminder to those illegal and unlicensed money transmitters that the laws and rules apply to crypto currency dealings just as they do to other types of financial transactions,” signaling that the U.S. government would begin prosecuting these financial crimes more harshly.The FinCEN…Read More
Bitcoin Magazine - 19 April 2019, 7:59 pm
Bitcoin fund Adamant Capital is convinced that the bottom of the bear market is in, and true to its name, the firm has laid out an unwavering case for this position with some persuasive hard data and fundamental analysis.The report, authored by Adamant founders Tuur Demeester and Michiel Lescrauwaet, argues that bitcoin is undervalued at its current price, mirroring sentiments held in Adamant’s 2012 and 2015 reports during bitcoin’s previous downtrends. Weak hands were shaken out in November of 2018, it says, and this capitulation has laid the groundwork for the next market cycle.As such, its underlying thesis is that bitcoin has entered the accumulation phase of the bear market — the first stage of a bull market when forward-thinking investors begin loading up in preparation for the next run.How Do They Know?As the disclosure in the report cautions, Adamant Capital is not an oracle and its research isn’t a crystal ball, so it should go without saying that neither the firm nor anyone else knows for sure what bitcoin will do tomorrow or the next day or a year from now. That said, the firm lays out a convincing argument that we’ve experienced the worst of this bear market’s carnage.In fact, it believes that overall sentiment has morphed from despair to hope. To support this claim, Adamant plotted bitcoin’s booms and busts using unrealized profits and unrealized losses. This metric is derived by taking the value of each bitcoin when it last moved (presumably, when each was purchased/changed hands), aggregating all of these into what is called “realized capitalization” and then subtracting it from bitcoin’s actual market capitalization; this gives you unrealized profits/losses.According to the report, November 2018’s sell-off tanked both portfolios and investor confidence in what could reasonably be considered market capitulation.“Unrealized losses doubled in mere weeks” from…Read More
Bitcoin Magazine - 19 April 2019, 1:59 pm
Aleksandr Lukashenko, the president of Belarus, met with the country’s IT community to discuss the growth of its native tech industry, according to the state-owned national news agency, the Belarusian Telegraph Agency.The meeting was reportedly set up at the president’s request and he promised government support for Belarusian fintech companies.Lukashenko also reportedly outlined some of the progress that the government has made with IT development, while also asking participants to suggest ideas that promote growth. Amongst other things, the president is reportedly planning to establish a Bitcoin (BTC) mining farm in the country.Miner Update reported that the president plans to establish a mining farm adjacent to the Belarusian nuclear power plant. The plant is expected to begin full-fledged operations this year and Lukashenko has proposed an extensive space for Bitcoin mining and trading activities. This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.Read More
Bitcoin Magazine - 19 April 2019, 12:13 pm
Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX) has appointed in-house Head of Business Development Kurt Looyens, as its new CEO.Looyens formerly held the position of Country Executive at ABN AMRO Bank in Spain, and he will be taking over from Nick Cowan, as the latter transitions into his role as CEO of the Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSX) Group.The move is one that is coming at a crucial time for the regulated token sale platform and digital asset exchange, as its digital asset platform is on the verge of listing new tokens.GBX received a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) License from the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC).Speaking on the appointment, Cowan pointed out that Looyens’s “vast experience in finance, business development, and regulatory matters will provide the GBX with essential leadership to cement its position as a leading digital asset exchange.” This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.Read More
Bitcoin Magazine - 18 April 2019, 8:21 pm
An intelligence branch of the Russian government used bitcoin to fund its cyberwarfare efforts to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the Mueller Report claims.The culmination of a two-year investigation, the “Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election” details the findings that Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team uncovered during their inquiry into whether or not the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to hamper Hillary Clinton’s 2016 run for the presidency. United States Attorney General William Barr claimed in late March that the investigation found no evidence of such collusion, and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released a redacted version of the full report on April 18, 2019.Within the mammoth write-up, a small section details bitcoin’s role in bankrolling the Russian government’s cyberwarfare endeavors.“… cyber intrusions (hacking) and releases of hacked materials [were] damaging to the Clinton Campaign,” the report reads on its fourth page. “The Russian intelligence service known as the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Army (GRU) carried out these operations.”Two military units of the GRU, the report continues some 30 pages later, hacked into computer hardware belonging to Clinton’s campaign, the Democartic National Committee (DNC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), leading to email leaks that revealed the DNC gave Clinton preferential treatment during the 2016 Democratic primaries.A subunit of one of these two subdivisions ran “a bitcoin mining operation to secure bitcoins used to purchase computer infrastructure used in hacking operations,” the report states. Others ran “spearphishing campaigns” or developed specified malware to gain access to DNC hardware and data.According to the report, this IT unit stored these bitcoin on the U.K.-based CEX.io, a cryptocurrency cloud mining service and exchange. They also used a portion of the mined bitcoin to anonymously purchase…Read More
Bitcoin Magazine - 18 April 2019, 6:17 pm
Global payment processing platform PayPal has been awarded a patent for a technique that can help with the timely detection and reduction of ransomware attacks. Ransomware attacks are a form of malware that takes over the victim's computer, locks up the files therein and demands a ransom before the files can be accessed again — often to be paid in cryptocurrency.“Frequently, the malicious party will demand that the user pay him some amount of anonymous crypto-currency (e.g., BitCoin) in order to have the user's files decrypted so that they are accessible again,” per the description of PayPal’s patent, which was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office almost three years ago and was awarded on April 16, 2019. “If the user does not pay, then the files may remain encrypted and inaccessible.”The patent details how the company, and by extension computer users, can detect and prevent ransomware from locking up certain files with the use of existing system data.The technique will distinguish between two pieces of content loaded in the cache of a computer system, comparing the two to determine if a version has been altered and encrypted. If this is found to be true, the version that is yet to be altered will be prevented from being deleted by the ransomware. Essentially, it will see to it that the original content is still accessible, even if the ransomware has affected the altered version.“By detecting that ransomware is operating on a computer (e.g., by correlating between the original data and content in different cache layers), the negative effects of the ransomware may be mitigated or avoided,” according to the patent abstract.Ransomware attacks have become increasingly frequent with devastating effects. The inability to access valuable data is particularly detrimental to large companies.A report from RT noted the steps that…Read More
Bitcoin Magazine - 18 April 2019, 3:33 pm
Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) are one of crypto's more novel and ambitious applications — one that Bitcoin, until recently, has had nothing to do with.In practice, they're a bit younger than Bitcoin forks and older than smart contract-focused blockchains. The idea is that you can devise a decentralized governance system using the blockchain's cryptographic controls — rule of code, so to speak. Using tokenomics and technical schemes, the DAO affects certain laws over its participants, incentivizes them to play by the rules and encourages the community to hold itself accountable.Dan Larimer's BitShares, with its delegated proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, was the first DAO, followed by Dash. Since these trailblazers went live, DAO endeavors have become dominated by the Ethereum ecosystem, including, most notably, the eponymous and disastrous The DAO — best known for forfeiting millions in ether to the void after an incompetent coder unwittingly deleted a wallet library — and Maker, among others.Perhaps because of Bitcoin’s limited scripting language and, conversely, Ethereum’s rich scripting language, Ethereum has been the frontrunner for popular DAOs in recent memory, while one has never launched on the Bitcoin blockchain.Until now, that is.Bisq Gets an UpgradeBisq, one of the Bitcoin community’s only truly decentralized exchanges, introduced version 1.0 of its software this week. Along with other ancillary upgrades, the release dropped a bombshell by furnishing Bitcoin with its first DAO.“Bisq's DAO, launched on Monday, April 15, is (to my knowledge) the only attempt of its kind to decentralize a project's management and funding to the extent it does,” Steve Jain, a Bisq contributor, told Bitcoin Magazine.With its intention to migrate toward distributed governance, Bisq will strive for an even greater degree of decentralization than it already features. Its software operates on Tor, and each user must run their own separate instance of the program (akin…Read More
Bitcoin Magazine - 18 April 2019, 2:55 pm
Crypto exchange platform Coinbase has announced that it will be expanding its crypto-to-crypto trading service to more countries.In the announcement, Coinbase explains that cryptocurrencies are in a transition period, which will see them move from being investment options to utilities. According to the exchange, the enablement of crypto-to-crypto conversions will serve as “the backbone of this new decentralized economy.”The new feature will be available to Coinbase.com and Coinbase Pro users in 11 additional nations within Southeast Asia and Latin America. These countries include New Zealand, Peru, Mexico, South Korea, Argentina Chile, the Philippines, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, and Colombia.The exchange’s customers in the aforementioned countries will now be able to trade, send, receive and store digital assets.Coinbase launched the crypto-to-crypto conversion option last year December. This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.Read More
Bitcoin Magazine - 17 April 2019, 8:23 pm
The Winklevoss twins reached a settlement with Charlie Shrem on April 16, 2019, declaring that their case against him has been dismissed with prejudice and will not be reopened.The twins, who founded the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange, originally sued Shrem, the founder of early bitcoin company BitInstant, in November 2018, alleging that Shrem stole 5,000 bitcoin from the pair in 2012. They asserted that Shrem agreed to build a stockpile of cryptocurrency for them at their expense but then came up short by nearly $60,000 in bitcoin at the contemporary market rate, keeping this portion of the hoard secret until its worth grew to the tens of millions of dollars.As the case proceeded, however, Shrem took an early upper hand. Several days after it was opened, federal judge Jed S. Rakoff ordered the end to a freeze on Shrem’s assets and financial accounts. Shrem’s legal team suggested that a separate person entirely was responsible for the unaccounted crypto assets.After several months of relative quiet, the digitally-published proceedings of the case were updated in April 2019, suggesting a near end to the legal battle. On April 5, both parties declared to the court that they had reached an undisclosed settlement. This statement claimed that the suit was dismissed with prejudice but that both parties would have the opportunity to reopen the lawsuit within 30 days provided the agreement was not put into effect.Neither party was inclined to let this deadline run out, however. A second statement released 11 days later, claimed “by and through their respective counsel of record, that the entire civil action be dismissed with prejudice.” Both parties will bear their own legal costs, and “the case will not be reopened.”Given the brevity of these statements and the figures involved, further details regarding the exact agreement between the two parties…Read More
Bitcoin Magazine - 17 April 2019, 7:13 pm
To many on the outside, the blockchain industry and speculative crypto markets are one and the same, which often leads to misunderstandings. For the two entities that regulate the market, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the result is that they tend to either look at the whole industry as an "unregulated mess" or view it with concerns about fraud or "operational risk." Ultimately, regulators view the blockchain industry through distorting mirrors. This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.Read More
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