Gopi KK, Senior Vice President of Infosys, an Information technology consulting company says blockchain adoption will increase significantly in 2019 with the banking sector leading in its adoption, market participants’ collaboration and government-friendly policies will help to promote this growth, reported Gigabit on December 23, 2018. Industries Are Adopting Blockchain Technology In the interview, Gopi KK was quick to note…Read More. The post by Ogwu Osaemezu Emmanuel appeared first on BTCManager, Bitcoin, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency News
Since implementing the cryptocurrency tax regulation back in April 2018, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) appears not to be satisfied with the level of tax remittances by cryptocurrency investors in the region. MyBroadband reported on August 19, 2018, that the SARS is currently looking for the best way to identify cryptocurrency tax evaders. Bitcoin Traders to be Tracked Per the report,…
The post South African Revenue Service (SARS) Intensify Efforts to Clampdown on Cryptocurrency Tax Evaders appeared first on BTCMANAGER.
According to a statement released by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on August 14, 2018, David T. Laurance, the organizer of a fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO) that issued Tomahawkcoins to California residents, has been penalized by the regulatory watchdog. Tomahawk Scam ICO Crushed Per the SEC order, Laurance sold Tomahawkcoins claiming to raise funds for oil…
The post The SEC Slaps Scam ICO Organizer with $30,000 Penalty appeared first on BTCMANAGER.
Franklin Public Utility District (PUD), local electricity providers in the rural areas of Franklin County, Washington, announced on July 29, 2018, that they will suspend the supply of electricity to bitcoin miners in the city till further notice, in order to review the impact of bitcoin mining operations on the electricity system.
According to local news source, Tri-City Herald, PUD has officially stopped accepting applications for power use from bitcoin miners in Pasco, Connell, Kahlotus, and other rural areas of Franklin County, in Washington, United States.
The moratorium, which has been stamped by the Public Utility District commissioners, will give officials of the energy organization the necessary time needed to reassess the impact of cryptocurrency mining activities on the electricity grid and formulate new tariff structure if need be.
Things Heating up in Tri-City Area
The Tri-Cities have been a hotbed for cryptocurrency miners in recent times, due to the availability of cheap electricity in the area, as compared to other parts of the nation. Wholly owned and governed by the people, Franklin PUD provides affordable, reliable, non-profit electricity to residents.
“Because of the ongoing extreme heat, Franklin PUD is seeing power use higher than normal. To help ease the strain on the electric system, customers are encouraged to conserve energy and use appliances during non-peak times,” tweeted Franklin PUD, on July 26, 2018.
PUDs in Washington Getting Stricter
Presently, there are about 28 Public Utility Districts in Washington, and many of these Regional Transmission Organizations (RTO) have started closing their doors to bitcoin miners.
On April 9, 2018, BTCManager informed that Washington Chelan County PUD had placed an embargo on illegal bitcoin mining operations in the area, after discovering that cryptocurrency miners were engaged in secret mining operations despite being fully aware of the moratorium on mining applications. Commissioner Garry Arseneault said, at the time:
“…heightened enforcement is aimed at ‘scoundrels’ who are deliberating thwarting PUD regulations. I want to take one step back and say that users of power that have legitimate requests, and have been properly sized for the use of that power, that’s not the kind of entity we’re discussing today.”
In a related development, Benton PUD has put in place a new electricity policy aimed at creating a balance between power usage and electricity fees for bitcoin mining activities in the region.
The post No more Electricity Supply to Bitcoin Miners for now – Franklin PUD appeared first on BTCMANAGER.
In a significant triumph for the ShipChain supply chain blockchain project, authorities in South Carolina have on July 26, 2018, vacated the cease-and-desist order hammered on the project earlier in May 2018. The South Carolina Securities Commissioner had no choice but to lift the ban after results of its investigations showed that the ShipChain DLT project and its founders are not guilty of any offense against the state.
A Legit Blockchain Project
In a first of its kind occurrence in the US state of South Carolina, the South Carolina Securities Commissioner, in the South Carolina Attorney General’s office have vacated the cease-and-desist order filed against ShipChain earlier in May this year.
On May 25, 2018, BTCManager informed that a notice had been sent to ShipChain blockchain-based supply chain project and its founders, alleging that ShipChain was operating illegally in the state, selling unregistered securities to South Carolina residents.
“At all times relevant to this order, Respondent ShipChain continuously offered investment opportunities in the ShipChain platform and the corresponding tokens to South Carolina residents,” an excerpt from the order read at the time, adding “At no time relevant to the events were the securities at issue registered with the division or federal covered securities, and the respondents have claimed no exemption from registration.”
As always, ShipChain was given 30 days to respond to request a hearing.
The Push Back
In response to the cease order, the ShipChain team sent a letter to the South Carolina Securities Commissioner’s office on May 24, 2018, stating categorically that it does not “believe that its [SHIP] tokens are securities.”
The team argued that their token sale event was conducted in compliance with all necessary laws and concluded in January even before “locating” its software development team in South Carolina.
The project founders also made it clear in the letter that its SHIP tokens were sold to accredited investors and none of the investors that participated in its token generation event are Carolina citizens or businesses.
After carefully investigating the matter, the Securities Commissioner of South Carolina have deemed it necessary to vacate the order as ShipChain, and its founders have been found to commit no wrongdoing.
“Now, therefore, it is at this moment ordered that the Administrative Order to Cease issued to ShipChain, Inc. on May 21, 2018, is at this moment vacated” an excerpt of the order read.
The post South Carolina Regulators “Unban” ShipChain Blockchain Project appeared first on BTCMANAGER.
Tokyo-based financial services conglomerate, Monex Group, Inc – the acquisitor of the hacked Coincheck cryptocurrency exchange – is primed to launch its Bitcoin trading service in the United States through one of its subsidiaries, TradeStation, according to a financial briefing published by the firm on July 27, 2018.
“Trade Station Crypt”
Monex officials claim to be in talks with regulators to obtain the necessary licenses needed to operate in the region, including the New York BitLicense.
The Monex Group chief, Matsumoto Osamu also noted that the team is still trying to conclude whether to register the firm as a subsidiary of Coincheck or under the TradeStation brand.
After the Coincheck heist in January 2018 that gifted hackers about $530 million worth of NEM altcoin, in an operation that has been described as the most massive crypto exchange hack of all time, Monex Group acquired the embattled exchange for $33 million in April 2018.
Monex Group has always had ambitions to expand operations to the United States, despite the presence of stricter crypto regulatory conditions in the region.
Monex CEO, Oki Matsumoto, said:
“Japan may seem like it’s one step ahead in crypto, but regarding deciding what’s a security or a token and attracting institutional investors, the U.S. and Europe are moving ahead,”
Despite the hack, Coincheck remained profitable, announcing a whopping $490 million revenue in the 2018 financial year.
Per the Monex team, after the successful purchase of Coincheck in May, Monex Group made active plans to ensure the exchange resume full operations under its umbrella in June 2018 however, due to the delayed approval process by the Financial Services Agency of Japan (FSA), Coincheck will resume full operations later in August 2018.
Established in April 1999, Monex Group, Inc has about seven significant subsidiaries spread across the globe, offering clients financial services including Foreign exchange, cryptocurrency trading, Brokerage and more.
Asia Still Leading the Cryptoverse
Asian firms are fast expanding their operations to various parts of the world, occupying the frontline in the cryptocurrency movement.
In May 2018, BTCManager informed that crypto mining behemoth and ASICs manufacturer, Bitmain was looking to launch more bitcoin mining facilities in the U.S.
Similarly, on July 13, 2018, BTCManager reported that the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance was making plans to create a regulated bank called Founders Bank, in Malta.
The post Monex Group Set to Launch U.S. Cryptocurrency Trading Operations Via Subsidiary appeared first on BTCMANAGER.
Two malicious coders who orchestrated a ransomware attack on 1,259 computers demanding bitcoin back in 2015 have finally been sentenced to 240 hours of community service by a Rotterdam court, according to a local news source NU on July 26, 2018.
Community Service not Jail Term
Two brothers, Melvin and Dennis van de B. have been ordered by a Rotterdam court to carry out 240 hours community service. The punishment is a result of hijacking more than a thousand computers in Europe, the U.S., and the U.K. between 2014 and 2015 and demanding for a cryptocurrency ransom.
Per NU, the cyberpunks aged 21 and 25, infected victims’ personal computers with the CoinVault hostess malware and demanded one bitcoin at the time. Although the price of bitcoin was just around several hundred euros at the time, the criminals were able to make 10,000 euros each as several victims paid the requested ransom.
Kaspersky to the Rescue
According to sources close to the matter, law enforcement agents wouldn’t have been able to get hold of the hackers if not for the help of cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky. Kaspersky researchers were able to get the personal details of the pirates through the “source code on the computer of one of the suspects.”
Armed with the names of one of the bad actors, the “Team High Tech Crime” of the Dutch police were able to link the names to the IP address of the criminals and arrested them in 2015.
Once the criminals were apprehended, Kaspersky created nearly 15,000 digital keys to help some victims who hadn’t paid the ransom to regain access to files on their computers.
It’s worthy of note that the Dutch Public Prosecution Service (OM) had earlier ruled that the hackers would be sentenced to one year in prison along with the 240 hours of community service mentioned above.
However, after discovering that the men had no previous criminal records, coupled with the fact that they fully cooperated with investigators since their arrest in 2015, the Dutch prosecutors decided to waive the jail term, but have ordered the fraudsters to compensate victims and complete the 240 community service hours.
While there have been fewer cases of ransomware attacks since the WannaCry ransomware menace held thousands of computers hostage in May 2017, the Dutch court’s decision to give the perpetrators of this crime a minimal punishment may as well serve as an encouragement to other criminals.
In related news, BTCManager informed that cybersecurity giants, McAfee had released a report suggesting that the rate of cryptojacking had increased by 629 percent in 2018 as compared to last year.
The post Dutch Authorities Slap Bitcoin Ransomware Creators with 240 Hours Community Service appeared first on BTCMANAGER.
Skrill, the popular online payments processor firm that enables users to send and receive money seamlessly over the internet, has now added support for bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether, and litecoin, to make life easier for users and retain its customers. As announced by the firm on July 25, 2018, holders of the Skrill wallet will now be able to buy or sell supported cryptos from some parts of the world.
Skrill Joins the Bitcoin Movement
According to a Finance Magnates report, users of the Skrill wallet can now conveniently purchase or sell bitcoin and altcoins such as litecoin, ether, and ether
As stated on its website, cryptocurrency investors can now make use of the over 100 alternative payment methods and 40 fiat currencies supported by the platform, to buy blockchain-based digital coins instantly from more than 30 countries of the world, excluding the United States and Russia.
CEO of Skrill, Lorenzo Pellegrino, stated:
“The world of cryptocurrency trading is exciting and dynamic, and our digital wallet service very much lends itself to this environment.”
More Crypto Ambition
Interestingly, the Skrill team have made it clear that in the coming months, they would extend their crypto offering to additional markets that are not currently covered and would also add the digital currency functionality to the Skrill mobile wallet as well as the NETELLER digital wallet, which is also a brainchild of Paysafe.
Additionally, Skrill will soon make it possible for users to carry out peer-to-peer transfers of cryptocurrency and pay with cryptos at supporting merchants globally.
Established in July 2001, the London-based firm has more than 700 employees and boasts of an annual revenue of over $300 million.
Skrill functions as a payment gateway, payment service provider and offers users digital wallets as well as prepaid cards to ease withdrawals.
Disrupting the Fintech Industry
At a time when distributed ledger technology (DLT), bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are disrupting Fintech industries and the global finance system, Skrill’s crypto compliance appears a sensible move, as it would help the company remain very relevant in a long time to come.
Similarly, on July 25, 2018, reports emerged that international mobile payments firm, TransferTo had formed a strategic alliance with Stellar.org, the parent organization of the stellar lumens (XLM) altcoin, to facilitate cost-effective, fast and frictionless cross-border payments for clients.
It’s no news that the crypto revolution is already upon us, with forward-thinking institutional investors latching onto the bitcoin bandwagon.
BTCManager informed on July 26, 2018, that Galaxy Digital LLP, the merchant bank of bitcoin big whale, Mike Novogratz, had pumped in a whopping $52.5 million into BlockFi, to boost cryptocurrency lending.
The post Payments App Skrill Introduces Cryptocurrency Trading for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Ether appeared first on BTCMANAGER.
BitGo, a California-based blockchain security firm offering institutional grade custodial services for a variety of cryptocurrencies, is now supporting Zcash, as announced by the firm on July 25, 2018.
Security Meets Privacy
Created in 2013 by Mike Belshe and Ben Davenport, BitGo claims to be the world’s largest processor of on-chain bitcoin transactions, handling a massive 15 percent of all transactions involving the world’s flagship cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, while also generating an impressive $15 billion monthly from altcoin transactions.
According to the BitGo team, the pent-up demand for the addition of privacy-centered Zcash has made them start supporting the altcoin. As stated in its Medium blog post, BitGo will now handle Zcash deposits from both shielded and unshielded addresses, though all withdrawals can only be sent to unshielded addresses. With this latest development, BitGo now joins a growing list of Zcash compliant firms, including Circle, Gemini, and Coinbase.
“Zcash is a compelling digital currency that many hedge funds, exchanges, and customers have been asking for because of its emphasis on privacy, said BitGo CTO, Ben Chan, adding “We are glad to deliver a secure multi-signature implementation to store Zcash today.”
Crypto Heists Fueling Demand for Custodial Services
It’s becoming increasingly harder for big whale cryptocurrency hodlers and institutional investors to store their digital assets, as hackers are getting more sophisticated. This challenge has led to increased demand for the services of firms like BitGo.
Back in January, reports emerged that BitGo had entered into an agreement to acquire Kingdom Trust, a South Dakota-based fully chartered traditional financial asset custodian with $12 billion in assets under custody. At the time, CEO of BitGo, Mike Belshe, said, “…BitGo has established itself as the digital security leader, and Kingdom Trust has served as a 40 Act qualified custodian for almost a decade and has developed the expertise required by institutional investors necessary for compliance with the Act.”
On May 16, 2018, BTCManager reported that BitGo had launched a new service that would provide qualified custody of digital assets, institutional custody, and self-managed custody, specifically for institutional investors.
Buoyed by its strengthened organizational structure, BitGo added support for 57 ERC-20 tokens earlier in July.
Zcash to Moon?
Launched in 2016 by founder and CEO, Zooko Wilcox, the privacy-centered altcoin is built using Bitcoin Core’s codebase and its primary objective is to improve anonymity and privacy for users. Authorities have often criticized Zcash for being an excellent tool for bad actors due to its super anonymous nature.
With a total supply of 21 million, just like crypto king, Bitcoin, Zcash is currently ranked 21 on the cryptos table and has a market capitalization of $1.01 billion as seen on CoinMarketCap.
Whether the BitGo support will send the price of Zcash to the Moon remains to be seen.
The post Blockchain Security Firm, BitGo, Now Supports Privacy-Centric Zcash Cryptocurrency appeared first on BTCMANAGER.
Cryptocurrency-to-USD lending platform, BlockFi announced on July 24, 2018, that it has successfully raised $52.5 million in its latest funding round led by Galaxy Digital Ventures LLC, a New York-based asset management firm owned by Bitcoin evangelist Mike Novogratz. With the added capital, bitcoin and ether holders will now be able to enjoy fast loans with minimal interest rates.
A New War Chest
Founded in January 2018 by former banker Zac Prince and Flori Marquez, BlockFi breaks the barriers hodlers face while trying to access loans from traditional financial institutions.
The startup makes it easy for cryptocurrency investors to fund their projects in a fast, affordable and reliable way, with crypto-backed loans that come with standard interest rates between ten to 13 percent.
At current, the BlockFi lending service is only accessible to bitcoin and ether holders. However, with the newly injected funds, the team has pledged to expand its reach to more locations and integrate a vast array of altcoins into its operations shortly.
“We look forward to expanding our services to support more cryptocurrencies and more geographic markets in the near future,” said the CEO and co-founder of BlockFi, Zac Prince.
While there are many startups in the initial coin offering (ICO) industry that claim to give members USD loans or accept cryptos as collateral for related products, BlockFi has received massive support from institutional investors as of late.
Back in February, the startup raised $1.55 million from its seed funding round, with ConsenSys, Kenetic Capital, Lumenary and several others acting as strategic partners of BlockFi. Novogratz, the founder of Galaxy Digital Ventures, said:
“A robust lending market is the keystone for financial systems and BlockFi’s institutional approach, and deep lending expertise were key drivers in our decision to partner with them.”
For the former Wall Street executive and his crypto merchant bank, Galaxy Digital, the deal with BlockFi represents another excellent investment move.
Earlier in May, Galaxy Digital, joined forces with media heavyweights Bloomberg to create a cryptocurrency index called the Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index (BGCI), in a bid to track the performance of bitcoin and nine other established altcoins including ether, EOS, monero, ripple, and more.
The post Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital Invests $52.5 Million in BlockFi to Boost Crypto Lending appeared first on BTCMANAGER.