US Regulators Have Imposed $2.5 Billion Penalties on Crypto Firms and Individuals

US Regulators Have Imposed $2.5 Billion Penalties on Crypto Firms and Individuals

A new report shows that U.S. regulators have imposed fines and penalties totaling $2.5 billion on crypto firms and individuals so far. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has imposed the most fines, followed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is the latest government agency to come after crypto firms.

$2.5 Billion in Fines and Penalties

Blockchain analytics firm Elliptic released a report Monday outlining “crypto enforcement actions by U.S. regulators.” The report explains: “Contrary to the widely-held belief that the cryptoasset industry is unregulated, US regulators are increasingly imposing significant financial penalties on crypto businesses – for fraud, breaches of AML regulations, offering unregistered securities and sanctions violations.”

Elliptic analyzed enforcement actions by U.S. regulators since the birth of Bitcoin in 2009 and found that “$2.5 billion in penalties have been imposed against firms and individuals dealing in crypto,” the report details.

The agency which imposed the most crypto-related penalties is the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Crypto firms and individuals have been asked to pay $1.69 billion by the SEC so far, $1.38 billion of which relate to unregistered security offerings.

US Regulators Have Imposed $2.5 Billion Penalties on Crypto Firms and Individuals

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) came second with enforcement actions totaling $624 million. The third is the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a unit of the U.S. Treasury Department, with $183 million.

The fourth is the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the latest government agency to take action against crypto businesses. The OFAC has imposed $606K on crypto entities in total. Among companies fined by the OFAC were Bitgo and Bitpay; both allegedly allowed their users to bypass U.S. sanctions.

The largest enforcement action to date was in 2020 against Telegram Group Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary Ton Issuer Inc., the report notes. The SEC alleged that Telegram’s tokens, called “grams,” were unregistered securities offering. The defendants agreed to return more than $1.2 billion to investors and pay an $18.5 million civil penalty.

The report concludes:

Our analysis of cryptoasset-related enforcement actions in the US, demonstrates that crypto is far from being the ‘wild west’ of finance. Regulators have successfully used existing laws to halt and penalise illicit activity that has exploited cryptoassets.

What do you think about all these enforcement actions by U.S. regulators against crypto firms and individuals? Let us know in the comments section below.

Andreessen Horowitz Says Crypto Is ‘the Future of Finance’ — Launches $2.2 Billion Crypto Venture Fund

Andreessen Horowitz Says Crypto Is 'the Future of Finance' — Launches $2.2 Billion Crypto Venture Fund

Andreessen Horowitz, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm founded by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, has announced the launch of a $2.2 billion crypto fund. The firm is “radically optimistic about crypto’s potential to restore trust and enable new kinds of governance.”

Andreessen Horowitz Launches $2.2 Billion Crypto Fund

Andreessen Horowitz announced the launch of a new $2.2 billion crypto venture fund Thursday. The Silicon Valley venture capital firm, also known as “a16z,” was founded by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz in 2009.

Chris Dixon, Katie Haun, and Ali Yahya, partners on the crypto team at Andreessen Horowitz, explained the new fund in a blog post titled “Crypto Fund III.” They wrote:

The size of this fund speaks to the size of the opportunity before us: crypto is not only the future of finance but, as with the internet in the early days, is poised to transform all aspects of our lives.

“This fund allows us to find the next generation of visionary crypto founders, and invest in the most exciting areas of crypto,” the a16z partners explained. “We invest in all stages, from early seed-stage projects to fully developed later-stage networks.”

Haun told CNBC Thursday that the fund is not a hedge fund but a venture fund. She clarified that the fund invests in tokens and protocols as well as businesses.

The company’s first crypto-focused fund was launched three years ago during a crypto winter when the value of bitcoin plunged roughly 80% from its 2017 highs.

The partners further detailed:

We believe that the next wave of computing innovation will be driven by crypto. We are radically optimistic about crypto’s potential to restore trust and enable new kinds of governance where communities collectively make important decisions about how networks evolve, what behaviors are permitted, and how economic benefits are distributed.

“That’s why today we’re pleased to announce a new $2.2 billion fund to continue investing in crypto networks and the founders and teams building in this space,” the partners emphasized.

What do you think about venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz launching a $2.2 billion crypto fund? Let us know in the comments section below.

Q2’s Banking Platform to Enable Over 18 Million Users to Buy, Sell, Hold Bitcoin

Q2’s Banking Platform to Enable Over 18 Million Users to Buy, Sell, Hold Bitcoin

Q2’s digital banking platform, which currently powers nearly 30% of the top 100 banks in the U.S., will allow more than 18.3 million registered users to buy, sell, and hold bitcoin.

  • Q2 Holdings Inc. (NYSE:QTWO) provides digital banking and lending solutions to banks, credit unions, alternative finance, and fintech companies globally.
  • According to the company, the Q2 digital banking platform currently powers nearly 30% of the top 100 banks in the U.S.
  • Q2 announced Wednesday that it will collaborate with New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG) “to offer integrated bitcoin solutions for financial institutions via Q2’s digital banking platform.”
  • The announcement states:

They will collaborate to provide the more than 18.3 million registered users on the Q2 platform with the ability to buy, sell and hold bitcoin.

  • NYDIG is a leading technology and financial services firm dedicated to bitcoin. It is a subsidiary of Stone Ridge, a $10 billion alternative asset manager.
  • Q2 will leverage NYDIG’s “secure, regulated, full-stack bitcoin platform” to allow its financial institution clients to provide their customers with “integrated bitcoin services and further drive end-user acquisition, retention and engagement, while increasing fee revenue opportunities,” the announcement details.

What do you think about Q2 offering bitcoin buying, selling, and holding on its banking platform? Let us know in the comments section below.

FCA Warns 111 Crypto Firms Are Operating Illegally in UK — Says ‘This Is a Very Real Risk’

FCA Warns 111 Crypto Firms Are Operating Illegally in UK — Says 'This Is a Very Real Risk'

U.K.’s financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has warned that 111 companies are offering crypto services in the country without proper registration. “This is a very real risk so we are worried about that,” said the regulator’s head of enforcement and market oversight.

111 Unregistered Firms Operating in the UK

Britain’s financial watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has identified 111 companies operating in the crypto space without necessary registration, Reuters reported Tuesday. The FCA head of enforcement and market oversight, Mark Steward, told City & Financial’s City Week event that these companies are high risk, volatile, and unregulated. He was quoted as saying:

We have a number of firms that are clearly doing business in the UK without being registered with us and they are dealing with someone: banks, payment services firm, consumers. This is a very real risk so we are worried about that.

In the U.K., the FCA oversees the crypto industry, ensuring that companies comply with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing provisions.

Crypto firms are required to obtain full FCA registration before they can begin trading. However, Steward said that only a handful of them have registered.

He then proceeded to warn of the risks of investing in cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin. The FCA head of enforcement and market oversight opined:

The reason many are investing now is because they have a fear of missing out [FOMO] on what might be a boom. Leaving aside how volatile these instruments actually are, it has tulip mania written all over it.

Earlier this month, News reported that the FCA extended the deadline of the Temporary Registrations Regime (TRR) for existing crypto businesses from July 9, 2021, to March 31, 2022. The TRR was established last year to allow existing crypto asset firms that applied for registration before Dec. 16, 2020, and whose applications are still being assessed, to continue trading. The FCA said at the time:

A significantly high number of businesses are not meeting the required standards under the Money Laundering Regulations. This has resulted in an unprecedented number of businesses withdrawing their applications.

What do you think about crypto companies operating in the U.K. without registering with the FCA? Let us know in the comments section below.

Norwegian Financial Regulator Cautions About Bitcoin Investing as Price Tumbles

Norwegian Financial Regulator Cautions About Bitcoin Investing as Price Tumbles

The Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway (Finanstilsynet) has cautioned investors about investing in cryptocurrencies as the price of bitcoin plunged Tuesday. “There is a strong need for a legal framework and investor protection if cryptocurrency is to be able to become a suitable form of investment for consumers,” the regulator’s consumer coordinator wrote.

Norway’s Financial Regulator Warns of Crypto Risks

Norway’s financial regulator, Finanstilsynet, posted a notice on its website Tuesday warning about the risks of investing in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It is written by the regulator’s consumer coordinator, Jo Gjedrem, a lawyer from the Norwegian Consumer Authority, the Finanstilsynet described. The warning was posted as the price of bitcoin dipped below the $30K level Tuesday.

Gjedrem began by noting that Norwegian consumers increasingly sought new investments during the coronavirus pandemic and “Cryptocurrency has received the attention that very few other investment options have.” He detailed, “The technology is new and exciting, high-profile investors and celebrities have bought in, and influencers are marketing them on social media.”

However, the Finanstilsynet’s consumer coordinator cautioned:

Most cryptocurrencies are subject to extreme price fluctuations. The risk of loss is high … The market has also attracted significant criminal activity. Scammers use spam, computer viruses, fake drawings and a variety of other techniques to deceive consumers.

He explained that cryptocurrency is largely unregulated in Norway, and there is no statutory consumer protection for cryptocurrency buyers, unlike with traditional investments.

Furthermore, Gjedrem emphasized that cryptocurrency trading platforms in Norway are only obligated to comply with anti-money laundering (AML) provisions and the Finanstilsynet does not supervise them beyond that.

Gjedrem noted:

There is a strong need for a legal framework and investor protection if cryptocurrency is to be able to become a suitable form of investment for consumers.

The lawyer pointed out that the European Commission presented a proposal in September 2020 to regulate the cryptocurrency market. The proposed rules, which are expected to be in place in four years, cover various areas, including market abuse, issuer authorization, and investor protection.

“Until such regulations are in place, anyone considering trading in cryptocurrency should think carefully and understand the significant risk that such investments entail,” the Finanstilsynet post concludes. “Consumers who want to try this with open eyes should not invest more than they can afford to lose.”

What do you think about the Norwegian financial regulator’s warning? Let us know in the comments section below.

BIS: Cryptocurrencies Are Often Used in Financial Crimes, Money Laundering, Ransomware Attacks

BIS: Cryptocurrencies Are Often Used in Financial Crimes, Money Laundering, Ransomware Attacks

The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) says that it is now clear that cryptocurrencies are not money but speculative assets, emphasizing that in many cases they are used “to facilitate money laundering, ransomware attacks, and other financial crimes.”

BIS Criticizes Cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin

The Bank of International Settlements published its annual economic report Wednesday, discussing cryptocurrencies, particularly bitcoin, as well as central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

The BIS explained that “Several recent developments have placed a number of potential innovations involving digital currencies high on agenda” of central banks.

“The first of these is the growing attention received by bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies,” the report details. “The second is the debate on stablecoins, and the third is the entry of large technology firms (big techs) into payment services and financial services more generally.” The BIS continued:

By now, it is clear that cryptocurrencies are speculative assets rather than money, and in many cases are used to facilitate money laundering, ransomware attacks and other financial crimes.

The report also discusses stablecoins. Asserting that they “are only as good as the governance behind the promise of the backing,” the BIS noted that these coins “have the potential to fragment the liquidity of the monetary system and detract from the role of money as a coordination device.”

Turning its attention to bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, the BIS said:

Bitcoin in particular has few redeeming public interest attributes when also considering its wasteful energy footprint.

The report discusses CBDCs in detail, stating that central banks are “fully engaged in the development of retail and wholesale CBDCs, alongside other innovations to enhance conventional payment systems.”

The BIS concluded: “To realize the full potential of CBDCs for more efficient cross-border payments, international collaboration will be paramount. Cooperation on CBDC designs will also open up new ways for central banks to counter foreign currency substitution and strengthen monetary sovereignty.”

What do you think about the BIS’ view of bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.

Chainbytes Bringing Bitcoin ATMs to El Salvador, Launching Manufacturing Hub

Chainbytes Bringing Bitcoin ATMs to El Salvador, Launching Manufacturing Hub

Bitcoin ATM provider Chainbytes is setting up a bitcoin ATM manufacturing hub in El Salvador. The move follows the country passing a bill making bitcoin legal tender. The company plans to make El Salvador “the manufacturing hub of bitcoin ATMs for all of the Americas.”

Bitcoin ATMs Coming to El Salvador

U.S.-headquartered Chainbytes LLC, a bitcoin ATM provider, announced Tuesday that it is launching operations in El Salvador, the country which recently passed a bill making bitcoin legal tender.

Chainbytes revealed that it plans “to make El Salvador the manufacturing hub of bitcoin ATMs for all of the Americas.” The hub will service the company’s “operations in the LATAM, US, and Canadian regions with the global supply chain distribution.” The company has been servicing bitcoin ATM operators and enterprises looking to get into the bitcoin ATM business since 2012.

Eric Grill, the CEO of Chainbytes, tweeted on June 21, “Excited to bring Chainbytes bitcoin ATMs” to El Salvador.

Chainbytes Bringing Bitcoin ATMs to El Salvador, Launching Manufacturing Hub

On June 17, Chainbytes tweeted: “Our bitcoin ATMs ready to ship out to El Salvador.”

Chainbytes Bringing Bitcoin ATMs to El Salvador, Launching Manufacturing Hub

Grill recently praised El Salvador for “showing leadership to the world in implementing bitcoin as a legal currency.” The CEO opined, “We believe in doing so the country is positioning itself to be more of a technology hub,” adding that his company “wants to be a part of helping that succeed.” Grill continued:

Our initiative will provide the training and skilled jobs needed for all Salvadorans, which will, in turn, contribute to the economy and the nation.

Tuesday’s announcement states that “Chainbytes will provide services to Salvadorans looking to operate bitcoin ATMs in the country and collaborate with their government, legal entities, and partnerships to ensure the manufacturing hub succeeds and brings prosperity to the country.”

Tracy Jefferson, the company’s COO, explained that El Salvador “has free trade zones and service parks that will encourage more businesses to operate here.” Moreover, she noted that “with the sea and air hubs in place, it makes sense for us to produce machines here for not only Salvadorans but to export throughout North and South America.”

What do you think about Chainbytes manufacturing bitcoin ATMs in El Salvador? Let us know in the comments section below.

JPMorgan Survey: 49% of Institutional Investors Agree Cryptocurrency Is ‘Rat Poison’ as Warren Buffett Says or a Fad

JPMorgan Survey: 49% of Investors Agree Cryptocurrency Is 'Rat Poison' Like Warren Buffett Says or a Fad

Investment bank JPMorgan conducted a survey of thousands of investors from 1,500 institutions and found that 49% of them think that cryptocurrency is either “rat poison squared,” the term used by Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett to describe bitcoin, or “a temporary fad.”

49% of Investors Told JPMorgan Cryptocurrency Is a Fad or ‘Rat Poison Squared’

JPMorgan released the results of a survey it conducted at the firm’s 24th Macro, Quantitative & Derivatives Conference Tuesday. The event took place on June 11; it was attended by some 3,000 investors from around 1,500 institutions. Marko Kolanovic and Dubravko Lakos-Bujas, two of JPMorgan’s top strategists, wrote:

Investors’ view on cryptocurrency’s future is very divided.

The survey results show that 42% of investors feel that cryptocurrency is here to stay and 9% even believe that it will become an important asset.

However, 49% of investors agree with Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett and said that cryptocurrency is “rat poison squared.” Moreover, 16% of respondents see cryptocurrency as a temporary fad.

JPMorgan Survey: 49% of Investors Agree Cryptocurrency Is 'Rat Poison' Like Warren Buffett Says or a Fad
JPMorgan’s survey results. Source: CNBC anchor Carl Quintanilla

In terms of regulation, 81% of investors surveyed expect tighter regulations of cryptocurrency and 95% believe fraud is “somewhat or very much prevalent” in the crypto world.

JPMorgan further found that only 10% of investors trade cryptocurrencies. Of those that do not, only 20% plan to start trading them. However, when asked about their personal investments, 40% of the investors said they were active in cryptocurrencies.

Buffett has long been a critic of bitcoin. In May 2018, the Oracle of Omaha said BTC was “probably rat poison squared.” In February 2019, he said that “bitcoin has no unique value at all. It doesn’t produce anything … It’s delusion basically.”

Charlie Munger, Buffett’s long-time business partner, also likened bitcoin rat poison. In May 2018, he said: “To me, it’s just dementia. It’s like somebody else is trading turds, and you decide you can’t be left out.” Munger has not warmed up to bitcoin despite the cryptocurrency’s rising popularity among investors and traders. In May this year, he said: “I hate the bitcoin success. I don’t welcome a currency that’s so useful to kidnappers and extortionists and so forth … I should say modestly that the whole damn development is disgusting and contrary to the interest of civilization.”

What do you think about all these investors thinking bitcoin is either rat poison squared, like Buffett said, or just a temporary fad? Let us know in the comments section below.

Mike Novogratz: Institutional Investors Will See Bitcoin’s Price Decline as Opportunity to Buy

Mike Novogratz Says Institutions Will See Bitcoin's Price Decline as Opportunity to Buy

Galaxy Digital CEO Michael Novogratz says he is not nervous about bitcoin’s price falling, even when it falls below $30K. “The ecosystem is so much more mature. The amount of players that are moving in are so much more mature. Every single bank is working on their own crypto project,” he said.

Novogratz Still Bullish About Bitcoin

Mike Novogratz commented on the bitcoin market Tuesday in an interview with CNBC as the price of the cryptocurrency fell below $30K. Commenting on the falling BTC price, Novogratz said:

If it’s really breached, $25,000 is the next big level of support … I’m less happy than I was at $60,000, but I’m not nervous.

The Galaxy Digital CEO opined: “We had China really be much more forceful in their idea to ban cryptocurrency. That’s created a retail deleveraging. A lot of crypto happens in Asia, a lot of it is Chinese focused. So we’re seeing big liquidations, so it’s hard to call a bottom.”

Novogratz believes that the Chinese government’s crackdown is a long-term positive for bitcoin. “Maybe not in the short run, but it’s a good thing. That’s what’s created this excessive volatility that we’ve seen,” he detailed.

Recently, Facebook’s head of payments and the Diem crypto project, David Marcus, also said that China cracking down on bitcoin mining is “a great development” for bitcoin. Many people agreed with him on Twitter.

Overall, Novogratz does not expect bitcoin to suffer a massive crash, elaborating:

The ecosystem is so much more mature. The amount of players that are moving in are so much more mature. Every single bank is working on their own crypto project, how they can get bitcoin to their wealth clients.

“I think a lot of clients that didn’t buy it the first time will see this [the low price level] as an opportunity to buy it and get involved,” he concluded.

What do you think about Mike Novogratz’s comments about bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.

John McAfee Found Dead in Prison After Spanish Court Ruled in Favor of His Extradition to US

John McAfee Found Dead in Prison After Spanish Court Ruled in Favor of His Extradition to US

The Catalan justice department has reportedly confirmed that the antivirus tycoon John McAfee was found dead in prison in Barcelona.

  • John McAfee, 75, was found dead in his prison cell in Barcelona, the Catalan justice department reportedly said, noting that everything points to death by suicide.
  • Just hours before the death report, the Spanish high court issued a preliminary ruling in favor of McAfee’s extradition to the U.S. to face tax-related criminal charges.
  • According to El Pais publication, the prison surveillance professionals, who found him dead in his cell, and the prison medical services intervened to perform resuscitation but they were unable to revive him.
  • The Associated Press reported that a statement from the regional Catalan government confirmed that the jail’s medical team finally certified his death. However, the publication noted:

The statement didn’t identify the U.S. tycoon by name, but said he was a 75-year-old U.S. citizen awaiting extradition to the country. A Catalan government source familiar with the event who was not authorized to be named in media reports confirmed to the AP that the dead man was McAfee.

  • McAfee was arrested in October 2020 at Barcelona–El Prat Airport when he was about to leave for Turkey. He was charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with fraudulently pumping initial coin offerings (ICOs) and was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for “tax evasion and willful failure to file tax returns,” fraud, and money laundering conspiracy crimes.
  • Last week, the antivirus tycoon tweeted that all of his assets were seized by the U.S. and he had no hidden cryptocurrency.

What do you think about the death of John McAfee? Let us know in the comments section below.

US Senator Cynthia Lummis ‘Excited’ About Bitcoin’s Price Falling, Plans to Buy the Dip

US Senator Cynthia Lummis 'Excited' Bitcoin Price Is Falling, Plans to Buy the Dip

U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis said that she is “really excited” about the low price of bitcoin, and is planning to buy the dip. “As soon as it drops a little more I’m going to buy some more,” she said. The senator believes bitcoin is a great store of value.

Pro-Bitcoin US Senator Cynthia Lummis Plans to Buy the Dip

U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis from Wyoming commented on the falling price of bitcoin on Tuesday in an interview with Fox Business. She was asked how she felt about bitcoin’s price falling to below $30K. The senator replied:

I’m really excited about it because as soon as it drops a little more I’m going to buy some more.

She then shared a story of another investment she made previously. “My favorite stock that I own is a company called United Rentals. I bought it and it dropped like a rock. I held onto it and … it has performed beautifully over the years for me. And I see bitcoin doing the same kind of thing because the fundamentals are good.”

Senator Lummis was also asked if she wanted any kind of regulation for bitcoin. “I do,” she affirmed. “I want to have a level playing field.” She elaborated that the rules should be simple and easy to understand for digital assets and cryptocurrencies, emphasizing that they should not be “overly restrictive because we want to see increased innovation in this space.”

Lummis revealed last year that she is a bitcoin holder and has been saying that the cryptocurrency is a great store of value. “I was struck by how innovative bitcoin is with its decentralized public ledger and a fixed supply,” she explained at the time.

The senator plans to convince her colleagues in Congress about the benefits of bitcoin. “I want to make sure everybody understands that this is a great store of value,” she previously said.

Senator Lummis is not the only one who plans to take advantage of the falling price of bitcoin and buy the dip. Microstrategy just purchased 13,005 bitcoins and Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki recently revealed that he is waiting for the BTC price to fall to $24K to buy some more coins.

What do you think about Senator Cynthia Lummis’ comments about bitcoin and her plan to buy the dip? Let us know in the comments section below.

Visa, Paypal Invest in Crypto-Focused Blockchain Capital’s New $300 Million Fund

Visa, Paypal Invest in Crypto-Focused Blockchain Capital's New $300 Million Fund

Visa Inc. and Paypal have invested in Blockchain Capital’s new fund. The venture capital firm focuses exclusively on the crypto ecosystem and blockchain technology.

Blockchain Capital Raises $300M for Its New Fund

Blockchain Capital announced Tuesday that it has raised $300 million for its 5th venture capital fund (Fund V).

Paypal and Visa were among the investors. Others include pension funds, major university endowments, and family offices from around the world, the company said, adding that select investors, including Paypal and Visa, will participate in its strategic partnership program.

Blockchain Capital described itself as “the first venture capital firm founded to focus exclusively on blockchain technology and the crypto ecosystem.” The firm has invested in more than 110 companies, protocols, and crypto assets across the ecosystem since its inception in 2013. Its portfolio includes major crypto companies such as Coinbase, Kraken, Anchorage, and Opensea. In addition, it includes Defi players: Aave, Nexus Mutual, and UMA.

Jose Fernandez da Ponte, Paypal’s vice president and general manager of blockchain, crypto and digital currencies, commented:

Paypal is committed to fostering an ecosystem of companies making digital currencies more accessible, useful and secure. Investing in Blockchain Capital’s new fund allows us to engage with the entrepreneurs driving the future of the decentralized economy and the new wave of financial services.

Paypal has been offering a crypto service since late last year. CEO Dan Schulman said in the first quarter that the company’s crypto business showed “really great results” and demand for cryptocurrencies was “multiple-fold” the company’s initial expectations. The payments giant said last month that it will allow withdrawals of cryptocurrencies to third-party wallets.

Visa has also been working on some crypto projects. Last month, CEO Al Kelly outlined five key areas in the crypto space the company is working on. He said, “Our focus is on five different opportunities that we see in this space. And I would say that this is a space that we are leaning into in a very, very big way and I think are extremely well-positioned.”

Regarding Visa’s investment in Blockchain Capital’s fund, Vasant Prabhu, Visa Inc.’s chief financial officer, opined:

We’re focused on enhancing all forms of money movement, whether on the Visa network, or beyond. Through our relationship with Blockchain Capital, we are deepening our efforts to shape and support the role that digital currencies play in the future.

What do you think about Visa and Paypal investing in Blockchain Capital’s fund? Let us know in the comments section below.

Coinbase Approved to Enter Japanese Cryptocurrency Market

Coinbase Approved to Enter Japanese Cryptocurrency Market

Coinbase is now registered as a cryptocurrency exchange to operate in Japan. The Japanese financial regulator has approved Coinbase to trade five cryptocurrencies.

  • Japan’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), announced last week that it has registered Coinbase as a crypto exchange service provider based on the revised Fund Settlement Act.
  • According to the FSA, Coinbase is approved to trade bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), ether (ETH), stellar lumen (XLM), and litecoin (LTC).
  • The approved entity is a Japanese subsidiary of Coinbase Global, a Nasdaq-listed company.
  • Coinbase unveiled its plan to enter the Japanese crypto market back in 2018. The company said at the time that it would be “working hand-in-hand with the Japanese FSA to ensure compliance with local laws at every stage.”
  • Coinbase is also a member of the Japan Virtual and Crypto assets Exchange Association (JVCEA), a self-regulatory organization. Following Coinbase’s successful registration with the FSA, the association announced that the company is now its “first-class member.” In 2018, Coinbase joined the JVCEA as a “second-class member” — the categorization reserved for companies that have not registered with the FSA.

What do you think about Coinbase entering the Japanese crypto market? Let us know in the comments section below.

Iran Seizes 7,000 Bitcoin Mining Machines

Iranian police have reportedly seized 7,000 bitcoin mining machines operating illegally in the country. The machines were found in an abandoned factory west of the capital.

  • 7,000 cryptocurrency mining machines have been seized by Iranian authorities, state news agency IRNA reported Tuesday, noting that this is Iran’s largest seizure of cryptocurrency mining machines to date.
  • Tehran police chief General Hossein Rahimi said that the mining machines were seized at an illegal mining farm — an abandoned factory west of the capital.
  • Cryptocurrency mining is an authorized activity in Iran and miners are required to obtain a license from the country’s Ministry of Industry, Mine, and Trade. However, many miners are operating in Iran without obtaining a license, the authorities claim.
  • An analysis by blockchain analytics firm Elliptic shows that about 4.5% of all bitcoin mining takes place in Iran and the country is using cryptocurrency to circumvent sanctions. Furthermore, Elliptic stated that crypto mining requires the equivalent of around 10 million barrels of crude oil a year, or 4% of total Iranian oil exports in 2020.
  • Iran has mandated that bitcoin miners must sell their BTC directly to the central bank, which will then be used to fund imports. Commercial banks and currency exchangers have also been authorized to use bitcoin legally mined in the country to pay for imports.
  • The mining of cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, was banned in Iran for almost four months in May as the country suffered from frequent power blackouts amid hot and dry weather. Some officials blamed bitcoin mining activities for the surge in electricity demand.
  • Earlier this month, News reported that Iran seized 3,000 bitcoin mining devices in a week. In addition, over 500 devices were confiscated in Tehran Province, where law enforcement officers have already shut down 183 illegal crypto mining farms with 11,000 mining units in the past fiscal year.

What do you think about Iran seizing unauthorized mining machines? Let us know in the comments section below.

Bit Mining Moving 3,000 Bitcoin Mining Machines to Kazakhstan Following China Crackdown

Bit Mining Moving 3,000 Bitcoin Mining Machines to Kazakhstan Following China Crackdown

Shenzhen-based Bit Mining has started shipping bitcoin mining machines to Kazakhstan as the Chinese government cracks down on bitcoin mining operations in the country.

  • Bit Mining Ltd., a mining company based in Shenzhen, announced Monday that “it had successfully delivered its first batch of mining machines to Kazakhstan.”
  • The company explained that bitcoin mining machines will be delivered to Kazakhstan in three batches.
  • The first batch consists of “320 mining machines with a theoretical maximum total hash rate capacity of 18.2 PH/s,” Bit Mining claims, noting that they are “expected to be deployed and in operation by June 27.” The mining company added:

A second and third batch, totaling 2,600 mining machines with a theoretical maximum total hash rate capacity of 102.3 PH/s, are expected to be delivered to Kazakhstan before July 1, 2021.

  • Bit Mining expects to ship its remaining mining machines to overseas data centers over the coming quarters.
  • The move followed the Chinese government cracking down on bitcoin mining operations in the country. The State Grid Sichuan Electric Power Company sent a notice to Bit Mining’s indirectly held subsidiary, Ganzi Changhe Hydropower Consumption Service, on June 19 informing the company that its power supply would be suspended starting on June 19.
  • The Ganzi Changhe data center subsequently suspended its operations.
  • According to Bit Mining’s announcement, the mining operations in Sichuan account for approximately 3% of the company’s total revenue in May.
  • Xianfeng Yang, CEO of Bit Mining, commented:

We are committed to protecting the environment and lowering our carbon footprint. We have been strategically expanding our operations overseas as part of our growth strategy.

  • Bit Mining announced an investment in a cryptocurrency mining data center in Kazakhstan in May. It has also invested in a crypto mining data center in Texas.

What do you think about Chinese miners moving to Kazakhstan? Let us know in the comments section below.

Portugal Begins Approving Cryptocurrency Exchanges — Two Licensed So Far

Portugal Begins Licensing Cryptocurrency Exchanges — Two Approved So Far

Portugal now has two approved cryptocurrency exchanges. The country’s central bank, the Banco de Portugal, has licensed Mind the Coin and Criptoloja.

  • In Portugal, the central bank is responsible for registering entities that intend to act as virtual asset service providers (VASPs). The bank must also ensure that they are in compliance with the legal and regulatory provisions on the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing (AML/CFT).
  • Mind the Coin supports bitcoin, litecoin, and monero. “Buy bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies at our terminals or P2P online,” the company explained.
  • Criptoloja, located in the heart of Lisbon, claims to be “the first company, 100% Portuguese, to provide the service for the purchase and sale of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.”
  • The central bank clarified:

Banco de Portugal’s supervision regarding virtual assets service providers, as determined by Law No 83/2017 of 18 August 2017, is limited to AML/CFT purposes, and does not extend to other areas of a prudential, market conduct or any other nature.

  • Entities that must be registered are those providing exchange services, with or without involving fiat currencies.
  • In addition, entities providing crypto transfer services and “safekeeping and/or administration of virtual assets or instruments that enable the control, ownership, storage or transfer of such assets, including private encrypted keys,” must also register with the central bank.

What do you think about Portugal licensing cryptocurrency exchanges? Let us know in the comments section below.

Sotheby’s Auctioning Rare Diamond Worth $15 Million, Cryptocurrencies Accepted

Sotheby's Auctioning Rare Diamond Worth $15 Million and Cryptocurrency Is Accepted

Sotheby’s, the world’s largest auction house, is auctioning a rare, 101.38-carat flawless diamond estimated to be worth $15 million, and cryptocurrencies are accepted.

Biggest Auction House Accepts Cryptocurrencies

Sotheby’s announced Monday that it is auctioning a rare, pear-shaped diamond on July 9 in Hong Kong that can be purchased with cryptocurrency.

Established in 1744, Sotheby’s described itself as the world’s largest marketplace for art and luxury. With a network of specialists spanning 40 countries and 44 departments, “we host over 600 auctions annually and offer a cross-category selection of items available for immediate purchase via both digital and physical shopping experiences as well as private sales,” its website details. ranks Sotheby’s as the number one auction house by turnover, followed by Christie’s.

The auction house explained that this is the first time a diamond of such size, or any physical object of such high value, is offered for public purchase with cryptocurrency. Bitcoin, ether, and traditional money will be accepted as payment.

Patti Wong, chairman of Sotheby’s Asia, said in a statement:

This is a truly symbolic moment. The most ancient and emblematic denominator of value can now, for the first time, be purchased using humanity’s newest universal currency.

The name of the diamond is Key 10138. The auction house describes it as a 101.38-carat, pear-shaped, colorless, flawless diamond. It is one of just 10 diamonds of more than 100 carats ever to come to auction. It carries a pre-sale estimate of $10 million – $15 million.

Sotheby’s began accepting cryptocurrencies via Coinbase back in May with Banksy’s “Love is in the Air” image at the Contemporary Art Evening Auction. The piece sold for $12.9 million.

What do you think about Sotheby’s accepting cryptocurrencies? Let us know in the comments section below.

Facebook’s David Marcus: China’s Bitcoin Mining Crackdown ‘Great Development’ for BTC

Facebook's David Marcus: China's Bitcoin Mining Crackdown 'Great Development' for BTC

David Marcus, head of Facebook Financial (F2) who is in charge of crypto project Diem, formerly Libra, believes that the Chinese government cracking down on bitcoin mining is “a great development” for the cryptocurrency. Many people in the crypto space agree with him.

Facebook’s Executive Believes China’s Bitcoin Mining Crackdown Is a Good Development

David Marcus, head of F2 (Facebook Financial), has shared his view on the Chinese government cracking down on bitcoin mining. F2 includes Facebook Pay, Novi, and all payments and financial services efforts by the social media giant. Marcus is also a co-creator and board member of the crypto project Diem, formerly Libra.

He tweeted Monday: “How is more bitcoin mining power moving to the United States and the West a bad thing? IMO China cracking down on mining is a great development for BTC.”

Many people agree with Marcus, sharing their opinions on Twitter. Several of them agree that the move may seem bearish in the short term but is good for bitcoin in the long run.

The CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Luno, Marcus Swanepoel, commented: “Familiar pattern for anything Bitcoin: 1 potential issue identified (AML, scaling, Chinese miner concentration, etc), 2 solutions created (Chainalysis, lightening, Chinese ban mining), 3 risk mitigation incorrectly interpreted as increase in risk, 4 eventually penny drops = [Rocket emoji].”

Sharan Nair, chief business officer of Indian crypto exchange Coinswitch Kuber, opined:

I totally love it how every supposed move to bring down bitcoin actually works in its favor. Perhaps what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger has never been more truer.

Following the Chinese government shutting down bitcoin mining farms, miners are reportedly moving their operations out of China. Castle Island Ventures partner Nic Carter was quoted by CNBC as saying:

Chinese miners or miners that were domiciled in China are looking to Central Asia, Eastern Europe, the U.S. and Northern Europe … Every Western mining host I know has had their phones ringing off the hook.

Brandon Arvanaghi, a bitcoin mining engineer and former Gemini security engineer, said: “You are going to see a dramatic shift over the next few months.” He added that Texas could be one of the U.S. states where bitcoin miners will move to. “We have governors like Greg Abbott in Texas who are promoting mining. It is going to become a real industry in the United States, which is going to be incredible,” he opined.

Florida is another U.S. state that may draw crypto miners. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is trying to attract miners to his city, which he aims to build into a bitcoin hub. Noting that Florida has a great abundance of nuclear power, the pro-bitcoin mayor stated, “The fact that we have nuclear power means that it’s very inexpensive power.”

Do you agree with David Marcus that China cracking down on bitcoin mining is a great development for BTC? Let us know in the comments section below.

Mad Money’s Jim Cramer Dumps His Bitcoin Over China Mining Crackdown and Ransomware Concerns

Mad Money's Jim Cramer Dumps His Bitcoin Over China Mining Crackdown and Ransomware Concerns

Mad Money host Jim Cramer said he has sold almost all of his bitcoin. He cited the Chinese government’s crackdown on bitcoin mining and concerns over bitcoin’s role in ransomware attacks.

Jim Cramer Worried About China’s Mining Crackdown and Ransomware, Sold Almost All His Bitcoin

The host of CNBC’s Mad Money show, Jim Cramer, revealed Monday that he has sold almost all of his bitcoin. A former hedge fund manager, Cramer co-founded, a financial news and literacy website.

Citing the Chinese government’s bitcoin mining crackdown and the cryptocurrency’s role in ransomware attacks, Cramer said:

Sold almost all of my bitcoin. Don’t need it.

Cramer got into bitcoin towards the end of last year in fear of massive inflation. In March this year, he said gold let him down and advised people to sell gold and increase their bitcoin holdings. “If they listen to me, they’re going to drop half their gold. I’ve been saying 10% in gold since 1983. And now I say 5% in gold, 5% in bitcoin,” he said. However, about two months ago, the Mad Money host said that he sold some bitcoins to pay off his mortgage.

Bitcoin’s price slid on Monday to $31,602 at the time of writing based on data from Markets as the news of China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), ordering financial institutions to stop all crypto-related activities spread across the markets.

The Chinese government has also been closing down bitcoin mining farms in various areas in China. A report in the Chinese Communist Party-backed Global Times newspaper claims that more than 90% of the country’s mining capacity is shut down after authorities in Sichuan closed down many mining farms in the province.

Cramer opined:

When the PRC goes after something, they tend to have their way … It’s not a democracy. It’s a dictatorship. I think that they believe it’s a direct threat to the regime because what it is, is a system that’s outside their control.

The Mad Money host has also voiced concerns about bitcoin’s role in ransomware attacks and how the U.S. government will handle the cryptocurrency in its efforts to fight ransomware attacks, such as the ones suffered by Colonial Pipeline and Brazil’s JBS. The Biden administration has made fighting ransomware attacks a priority and is reportedly expanding cryptocurrency analysis to identify criminal transactions.

Cramer noted, “In our country, I think it’s outside of our control when it comes to ransomware, and I doubt that Colonial is the first company to pay ransomware. I think they’re the first that almost shut down the East Coast,” elaborating:

I think the Justice Department and the FBI and the Federal Reserve and Treasury could coalesce and say, ‘Ok guys, if you pay ransomware, we’re going to go after you.’

With China cracking down on bitcoin mining and ransomware attacks, Cramer believes that bitcoin “is not going up because of structural reasons.”

What do you think about Jim Cramer dumping his bitcoin due to China’s mining crackdown and ransomware concerns? Let us know in the comments section below.

Financial Advisor Ric Edelman Sees ‘Tremendous Investment Opportunities’ in Bitcoin

Financial Advisor Ric Edelman Sees 'Tremendous Investment Opportunities' in Bitcoin

Financial advisor Ric Edelman, founder of Edelman Financial Engines and RIA Digital Assets Council, has recommended having bitcoin in investment portfolios despite the cryptocurrency’s volatility. “This is totally new and different and it’s the first genuinely new asset class in about 150 years,” he said, emphasizing that “It has tremendous investment opportunities.”

Ric Edelman Sees Benefits of Having Bitcoin in Portfolios

Ric Edelman talked about bitcoin and cryptocurrency investments in an interview with Yahoo Finance last week. He founded Edelman Financial Engines and RIA Digital Asset Council. He is also the author of several personal finance books and the host of a weekly personal finance talk radio show called The Ric Edelman Show.

Edelman explained that “most financial professionals,” who have been in business a long time and are “very successful, very talented, and experienced,” are missing out on opportunities from the new asset class because they do not have a good understanding of cryptocurrency, like bitcoin. “The more talent you have, the more professional designations, the more college degrees in this space you have, the more difficult it is to get your head around bitcoin.”

Noting that he uses “bitcoin as a proxy for all digital assets,” the financial advisor emphasized, “It’s important to recognize this is a completely new and different asset class that doesn’t have anything in common with anything else we’re familiar with: stocks, bonds, real estate, oil, gold, commodities.” He further opined:

This is totally new and different and it’s the first genuinely new asset class in about 150 years … It has tremendous investment opportunities.

Regarding how one should invest in bitcoin, Edelman said, “It’s time to get off zero.” He stressed: “We need to recognize that bitcoin and digital assets are non-correlated assets” to traditional investments, like stocks and bonds, making them an “ideal addition to a diversified portfolio … You lower the risk while giving yourself the opportunity to improve returns.”

Recently, famed hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones also said that he likes bitcoin as a portfolio diversifier. He recommends putting 5% of portfolios in the cryptocurrency.

Edelman acknowledged that bitcoin’s price is volatile and unpredictable. However, he sees enough upside potential in a 1% or 2% allocation in most portfolios. “This can be a materially beneficial way to improve your overall returns over the long term,” he detailed, emphasizing that “it does not take much to have a material impact on your investment portfolio.”

The financial advisor also commented on non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). He said blockchain technology, digital assets, NFTs, CBDCs, and tokens are “the most impactful commercial innovations since the development of the internet itself.” He exclaimed: “This is huge. It’s going to have a tremendous impact on global commerce.”

What do you think about Ric Edelman’s advice? Let us know in the comments section below.

Russian Billionaire Slams Central Bank’s Crypto Policy, Says Even El Salvador Realizes the Need for Bitcoin

Russian Billionaire Slams Central Bank's Crypto Policy, Says Even El Salvador Realizes the Need for Bitcoin

Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska wants the Bank of Russia, the country’s central bank, to embrace cryptocurrency, citing El Salvador’s bitcoin law as an example. El Salvador recently passed a bill making bitcoin legal tender in the country.

  • Billionaire Oleg Deripaska is the founder of Basic Element, a Russian industrial group focusing in areas such as aluminum, energy, construction, and agriculture. In 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control imposed sanctions against Deripaska and some of his companies. According to Forbes, his net worth is currently $4.7 billion.
  • Deripaska commented about bitcoin and criticized the central bank’s cryptocurrency policy in his Telegram channel last week. He said that even a poor country like El Salvador “realized the need for digital currencies and took a simple path – recognized bitcoin as a means of payment.”
  • According to the World Bank, “El Salvador suffers from persistent low levels of growth and poverty reduction in the country has been moderate.” Humanium estimated that four out of 10 people of El Salvador live in poverty.
  • El Salvador passed a bill to make bitcoin legal tender on June 9. The country is now focusing on bitcoin mining using energy from volcanoes.
  • Deripaska questioned when developments in financial technologies (fintech) will “pierce a hole in this wall of superstition” of the Bank of Russia. He also questioned when Russian citizens will “receive a real financial instrument that ensures independence in foreign trade settlements,” instead of just “formal replies and press releases about the ‘development of the digital ruble.'”
  • Last month, News reported that the Bank of Russia is preparing to launch a prototype of the digital ruble by the end of the year. The Russian central bank digital currency (CBDC) will be designed as a unique digital code stored in dedicated electronic wallets and will become a full-fledged means of payment that Russians can use alongside the regular ruble.
  • Meanwhile, Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, said last week that “the time will inevitably come when cryptocurrencies will play a very significant role, occupy a very significant segment in international settlements.”

Do you think the Bank of Russia should follow El Salvador’s example and embrace bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.

Billionaire Steve Cohen: ‘I’m Doing a Deep Dive Into Crypto, I’m Fully Converted, I’m Not Missing This’

Billionaire investor and CEO of Point 72 Asset Management, Steve Cohen, says he is taking a deep dive into cryptocurrency. Emphasizing that he is “fully converted,” the billionaire said, “I’m not going to miss this. I already feel like I missed the first part of it.”

Steve Cohen Gets Into Crypto, Says He Is ‘Fully Converted’

Steve Cohen is the chairman, CEO, and president of Point72, an asset management firm with approximately $22.1 billion in assets under management (AUM) as of April 1. The firm has 12 offices around the globe and more than 1,650 employees.

He shared his view on cryptocurrency in an interview last week, emphasizing that he has finally decided that he has got to get into the game. The billionaire CEO said:

I’m doing a deep dive into crypto. I’m fully converted.

Cohen added: “I have an old saying at the poker table, you got to pay to learn. There’s no way around it. You can talk all you want, but you’ve got to get in the game.”

He continued, “I’m hopeful that we will be able to start building something within Point72,” adding that “we are in the process of starting to think about that.” Regarding when to get into the crypto market, Cohen opined:

The timing is never good. Who knows. I don’t know if these things are going to go up.

However, the Point72 CEO is not keen on bitcoin. “Forget bitcoin,” he exclaimed. “I don’t care about bitcoin. I care more about the technology behind the blockchain and how transformational it is and how disruptive it could be.”

Cohen further shared, “I feel like the way those markets are developing could be a real interesting adjacency to what we do at Point72,” stressing:

So, I’m not missing this. I’m not going to miss this. I already feel like I missed the first part of it, but I still feel like it’s early.

The billionaire noted that cryptocurrency is an example of something he wants to “look forward and take some risk.” He concluded: “I may look foolish initially, but you size it accordingly, learn the game, and when you’re confident, then take it to the next level.”

What do you think about Steve Cohen’s comments on crypto and bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.

‘Big Short’ Investor Michael Burry Warns of ‘Mother of All Crashes’ — Says Crypto’s Problem Is Leverage

'Big Short' Investor Michael Burry Warns of 'Mother of All Crashes' — Says Crypto's Problem Is Leverage

Hedge fund manager Michael Burry, famed for forecasting the 2008 financial crisis, has warned of “the mother of all crashes.” He further explained that the problem with cryptocurrency is the leverage.

Michael Burry Warns of Mother of All Crashes

Famous investor and founder of private investment firm Scion Asset Management, Michael Burry, shared his view last week about where he sees the markets heading.

Burry is best known for being the first investor to foresee and profit from the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis that occurred between 2007 and 2010. He is profiled in “The Big Short,” a book by Michael Lewis about the mortgage crisis, which was made into a movie starring Christian Bale.

The Scion Asset Management founder tweeted Thursday:

All hype/speculation is doing is drawing in retail before the mother of all crashes. #FOMO Parabolas don’t resolve sideways; When crypto falls from trillions, or meme stocks fall from tens of billions, Main Street losses will approach the size of countries. History ain’t changed.

He also commented on cryptocurrency, asserting that “The problem with crypto, as in most things, is the leverage.” The famed investor further opined, “If you don’t know how much leverage is in crypto, you don’t know anything about crypto, no matter how much else you think you know.”

Burry previously said that he does not hate bitcoin but is concerned about the government coming down heavily on cryptocurrency. He warned in February that “In an inflationary crisis, governments will move to squash competitors in the currency arena.”

While emphasizing, “I don’t hate BTC,” Burry said that in his view, “the long term future is tenuous for decentralized crypto in a world of legally violent, heartless centralized governments with lifeblood interests in monopolies on currencies.” Nonetheless, he said he is not short BTC because “In the short run anything is possible.”

Burry is not the only one foreseeing a crash. Last week, Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki warned that the “Biggest bubble in world history getting bigger,” warning that the “Biggest crash in world history” is coming. The famed author expects the price of bitcoin to fall to the $24K level where he will buy some more BTC.

What do you think about Michael Burry’s prediction and his view on cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.

Paraguayan Lawmaker to Present Bitcoin Legislation Next Month — Aims to Make Paraguay Global Crypto Hub

A pro-bitcoin congressman in Paraguay says he will present bitcoin legislation in congress next month with the aim to make Paraguay a hub for cryptocurrency investors worldwide. His efforts follow El Salvador passing a bill making bitcoin legal tender.

Paraguay Wants to Be Global Hub for Crypto Investors

Following El Salvador passing a bill making bitcoin legal tender, a congressman in Paraguay announced that he is working on bitcoin legislation that will be presented next month.

Deputy Carlos Antonio Rejala Helman of the Hagamos Party has called for Paraguay to take similar action to El Salvador regarding bitcoin. The congressman has also changed his Twitter profile picture to include laser eyes, meaning he eyes bitcoin going to $100K.

The deputy is preparing a bill that seeks to legalize the use of cryptocurrencies in Paraguay as a means of payment, La Nacion reported Friday. The bill will establish that any transaction within the national territory can be carried out with bitcoin and the state will be in charge of promoting and training the different sectors so that they can access this new form of electronic payments, the publication conveyed.

The congressman was quoted as saying:

Since we announced that we are working on a bill that legalizes in Paraguay the use of digital assets, better known as digital currencies, or its most popular version, bitcoin, as legal tender for any type of commercial transaction, various Paraguayan companies have already joined and took a step forward towards the new era of transactions, which makes us proud.

The lawmaker aims to present his bill in congress in July. Noting that the legislation is being prepared, he tweeted on June 17 with the hashtag bitcoin, “July we legislate.” He followed up with another tweet that says: “The presentation of the project is coming on July 14.”

The congressman revealed early this month that he is working with CEO Juanjo Benitez Rickmann and “the Paraguayan crypto community in order for Paraguay to become a hub for the crypto investors of the world and subsequently to be placed among the ones on the cutting edge of digital technology.”

Rickmann confirmed that he is working with the congressman “to introduce a project in congress so that Paraguay becomes a crypto-friendly country for worldwide crypto investors, taking advantage of the renewable and inexpensive energy provided by hydroelectrics #Itaipu #Yacyreta.”

The congressman tweeted on June 7:

As I was saying a long time ago, our country needs to advance hand in hand with the new generation. The moment has come, our moment.

“This week we start with an important project to innovate Paraguay in front of the world. The real one to the moon #BTC & #paypal,” his tweet further reads.

Meanwhile, cryptocurrency adoption is growing in Paraguay. A major entertainment group in the country, Grupo Cinco, announced last week that all of its 24 business units now accept cryptocurrencies bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), shiba inu (SHIB), and chiliz (CHZ). In addition, Universidad Comunera (UCOM), a private university in Asunción, Paraguay, now accepts bitcoin for payments.

Would you move to Paraguay if bitcoin is legal tender there? Let us know in the comments section below.

Cornell Economist Says Bitcoin Has 3 Flaws Driving People to Search for Better Alternatives

Cornell University professor of economics and former head of the IMF’s China division, Eswar Prasad, sees three major flaws in bitcoin. Because of these flaws, the professor says that “bitcoin really has set off something of a search for a better alternative.”

Cornell University’s Professor of Economics Outlines Bitcoin’s Flaws

Cornell economics professor Eswar Prasad talked about bitcoin’s flaws in an interview with CNBC Thursday.

Prasad is the Nandlal P. Tolani Senior Professor of Trade Policy and professor of economics at the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University. He is also a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He was previously chief of the Financial Studies Division in the research department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and, before that, was the head of the IMF’s China division.

The first flaw concerns the energy usage in bitcoin mining, which Prasad said is “certainly not good for the environment.” The professor pointed out that in contrast Ethereum is coming up with a method “That is going to be much less energy intensive, and it could deliver a lot of the benefits that bitcoin was supposed to deliver.” He added:

It could also make transactions much cheaper and quicker.

The second point the professor made was that bitcoin is not so anonymous after all. He cited the Colonial Pipeline case where law enforcement claimed to have recovered $2.3 million in bitcoin. He noted that other cryptocurrencies may offer more anonymity than BTC, such as monero and zcash.

The third flaw, according to the professor, is that bitcoin does not work well as a currency. He described BTC transactions as “slow and cumbersome” for use in payments, adding that its market is very volatile and the cryptocurrency has become a speculative asset. Prasad concluded:

So bitcoin really has set off something of a search for a better alternative and people seem to be on the lookout for a medium of exchange that does not require them to go through a trusted institution like the government or a commercial bank — but it’s not quite there yet.

Do you agree with the professor? Let us know in the comments section below.

Rich Dad Poor Dad’s Robert Kiyosaki Warns of ‘Biggest Crash in World History’ — Expects $24K Bitcoin Price

Rich Dad Poor Dad's Robert Kiyosaki Warns of 'Biggest Crash in World History' — Expects $24K Bitcoin Price

Robert Kiyosaki, the best-selling author of “Rich Dad Poor Dad,” has predicted the “biggest crash” in world history. He also expects the price of bitcoin to fall to the $24K level.

Robert Kiyosaki Foresees Biggest Crash in History Coming

Famous author and investor Robert Kiyosaki has predicted that the biggest crash in the history of the world is on the way.

Rich Dad Poor Dad is a 1997 book co-authored by Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter. It has been on the New York Times Best Seller List for over six years. Over 32 million copies of the book have been sold in over 51 languages across more than 109 countries.

Kiyosaki tweeted Friday:

Biggest bubble in world history getting bigger. Biggest crash in world history coming. Buying more gold and silver. Waiting for bitcoin to drop to $24K. Crashes best time to get rich.

However, Kiyosaki did not elaborate on how he came up with his BTC price prediction.

When the price of bitcoin began falling substantially in May, the Rich Dad Poor Dad author urged people to buy the dip. “I hear ‘I can’t afford bitcoin.’ Bitcoin is crashing, good news. Now is your chance. Get educated. Buy coins that outperform bitcoin for pennies. Stop whining and take action,” he advised at the time.

When the BTC price fell to the $37K level on May 30, Kiyosaki tweeted: “Bitcoin crashing. Great news. When price hits $27,000, I may start buying again. Lot will depend upon global-macro environment.” He emphasized: “Remember the problem is not gold, silver, or bitcoin. Problems are the incompetents in government, Fed & Wall Street.”

Kiyosaki has long been pro-bitcoin. He believes that the U.S. dollar is dying as the government continues to give people free money. “Do not save. Buy gold, silver, bitcoin. Dollar is dying,” he said in April last year.

While the famous author expects the price of bitcoin to fall to the $24K level in his most recent tweet, he is bullish about the cryptocurrency in the long run. He said in April this year that the price of BTC will reach $1.2 million in five years, noting that money printing by the government, excessive stimulus, and the devaluation of the U.S. dollar have given bitcoin and gold their appeal.

What do you think about Robert Kiyosaki’s prediction? Let us know in the comments section below.

Grayscale Considering 31 Crypto Assets for Investment Products

Grayscale Considering 31 Crypto Assets for Investment Products

Grayscale Investments is considering 31 crypto assets to add to its family of investment products. The company, with $32.9 billion in crypto assets under management, currently offers investments in 13 cryptocurrencies.

  • Grayscale Investments announced Friday 13 additional crypto assets it is considering for investment products. These cryptocurrencies add to the initial list of coins the company announced it was considering in February.
  • The 13 additional crypto assets are 1inch (1INCH), bancor (BNT), curve (CRV), internet computer (ICP), kava (KAVA), kyber network (KNC), loopring (LRC), near (NEAR), polygon (MATIC), ren (REN), solana (SOL), universal market access (UMA), and 0x (ZRX).
  • The crypto assets already in consideration are aave (AAVE), cardano (ADA), compound (COMP), cosmos (ATOM), eos (EOS), flow (dapper labs) (FLOW), makerdao (MKR), monero (XMR), numeraire (NMR), polkadot (DOT), reserve rights (RSR), stacks (STX), sushiswap (SUSHI), synthetix (SNX), tezos (XTZ), the graph (GRT), uniswap (UNI), and yearn finance (YFI).
  • As of June 18, Grayscale’s net assets under management (AUM) totaled $32.9 billion. The company’s bitcoin trust (GBTC) had the largest AUM in the industry, of almost $24.12 billion, followed by the ethereum trust with an AUM of more than $7.13 billion.
  • The Grayscale family of products currently consists of 13 crypto assets: basic attention token (BAT), bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), chainlink (LINK), decentraland (MANA), ethereum (ETH), ethereum classic (ETC), filecoin (FIL), horizen (ZEN), litecoin (LTC), livepeer (LPT), stellar lumens (XLM), and zcash (ZEC). In addition, the company offers a digital large-cap fund.
  • In April, the company announced its intention to convert GBTC into a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). Currently, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has not approved any bitcoin ETF. This week, the SEC asked for comments from interested individuals on the proposed Vaneck bitcoin ETF.
  • Meanwhile, the firm has been saying that it is seeing rising institutional demand for bitcoin. CEO Michael Sonnenshein commented in March: “Digital currencies have reached an inflection point. Investor demand has never been higher, and every day we’re seeing new entrants to what has surely become a bona fide asset class.”

What do you think about all these crypto assets Grayscale is considering making into investment products? Let us know in the comments section below.

Indian Rapper Raftaar to Be Paid in Cryptocurrency for Upcoming Performance in Canada

Indian Rapper Raftaar Accepts Cryptocurrency for Performance in Canada

Indian rapper Raftaar is reportedly accepting cryptocurrency for his upcoming performance in Canada. “Nevertheless, I’ve finally taken the baby steps in this direction and all the credit goes to my manager, Ankit Khanna for making this dream a reality for me,” Raftaar said.

  • Raftaar, an Indian rapper, lyricist, dancer, TV personality and music composer, made headlines this weekend for being the “first Indian artist to accept performance fee in cryptocurrency.” Raftaar’s real name is Dilin Nair.
  • The performance for which Raftaar will be paid in cryptocurrency is a one-hour virtual event in Ottawa, Canada, for a private group of about 100 people. It is scheduled for the second week of July.
  • “I’ve always been an ardent admirer of blockchain technology. I’ve always wondered why artistes and managers alike haven’t explored the potential of this disruptive medium,” Raftaar opined. “Nevertheless, I’ve finally taken the baby steps in this direction and all the credit goes to my manager, Ankit Khanna for making this dream a reality for me.”
  • The rapper did not mention which cryptocurrency he will be paid in, however.
  • Khanna, Raftaar’s longtime business partner and manager, commented: “In my opinion, music will be one of the first industries to be completely and thoroughly disrupted through the blockchain. The artist can now go directly to the public in every single way without the need of middlemen.”
  • Meanwhile, the Indian government has yet to announce its policy on cryptocurrency. A bill that seeks to ban cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, was scheduled to be introduced during the budget session of parliament but was not. There are now reports that the government is re-examining the proposals in the bill and is setting up a panel of experts to come up with new recommendations.

Do you think all performers should accept cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.

Indian ‘Crypto King’ Arrested by Narcotics Control Bureau — Wazirx Says Not Our User

India’s Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has arrested a Mumbai resident known as “crypto king,” who allegedly used bitcoin to purchase narcotics on the dark web. Indian cryptocurrency exchange Wazirx says the accused is not one of its customers.

‘Crypto King’ Arrested in India

A Mumbai resident, Makarand Pardeep Adivirkar, also known as “crypto king” in the country’s underground drug circuit, has been arrested by India’s Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB). He allegedly used bitcoin to purchase drugs on the dark web that were delivered to India from Europe.

Sameer Wankhede, director of the Mumbai Unit of NCB, explained that “In November 2020, a team of NCB Mumbai had seized 20 LSD blots from Kharodi Village in Malad,” local media reported. The director was further quoted as saying:

The seized psychotropic substance was purchased from Europe by using bitcoin by a drug peddler from Mumbai.

“His modus operandi was to receive cash, and provide bitcoins on marginal profits by using his wallet that was used to purchase drugs from the darknet,” the NCB described.

Following reports that the crypto king may have used Indian cryptocurrency exchange Wazirx to facilitate his drug purchases, the exchange issued a statement clarifying that he is not its user. Wazirx tweeted: “On June 11, 2021, Wazirx had received an email from the NCB enquiring about the said accused and his trading activity on Wazirx. Upon checking our records, we identified that the accused is not a Wazirx user, and we communicated the same to the authorities on June 12, 2021.”

The exchange continued: “That being said, we want to reiterate that Wazirx follows global best practices on KYC and AML compliances and has a robust transaction monitoring system in place. We perform a stringent KYC verification of every user to verify their identity as well as perform a secondary KYC verification through linked bank accounts of users before allowing a customer to transact on Wazirx.” The exchange stressed:

We allow only KYC-verified and whitelisted accounts to withdraw funds from our exchange.

What do you think about this case? Let us know in the comments section below.

Spain’s BBVA Opens Bitcoin Trading to All Private Banking Clients in Switzerland

Spain's BBVA Opens Bitcoin Trading to All Private Banking Clients in Switzerland

Spain’s second-largest bank, BBVA, is opening up its bitcoin trading and custody service to all private banking clients in Switzerland in a few days. The bank has been testing the cryptocurrency service for six months. “The bitcoin management system is fully integrated” in the bank’s app, “where its performance can be viewed alongside that of the rest of the customers’ assets, funds, or investments.”

BBVA’s Fully Integrated Bitcoin Service

Spain’s Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) announced Friday that BBVA Switzerland will open a bitcoin trading and custody service to all private banking clients on June 21.

The bank has been testing this new cryptocurrency service with a selected group of clients for six months. BBVA explained:

For the time being, BBVA Switzerland’s offer includes bitcoin trading and custody services, with the aim of extending it to other cryptocurrencies. The entity will not offer advice on these types of investments.

BBVA explained that the new cryptocurrency service is only available in Switzerland for the time being because the country has “clear regulation and widespread adoption” of crypto assets.

Founded in 1857, BBVA “has a strong leadership position in the Spanish market, is the largest financial institution in Mexico, it has leading franchises in South America,” its website details.

At the end of March, the group had 719.7 billion euros in total assets, 79.8 million customers in more than 25 countries, 122,021 employees, 7,254 branches, and 30,747 ATMs. BBVA is Spain’s second-largest bank after Banco Santander. Its presence in Switzerland is through a 100% group-owned franchise.

The bank’s announcement details:

One of the most important attractions of BBVA Switzerland’s offer is that the bitcoin management system is fully integrated in its app, where its performance can be viewed alongside that of the rest of the customers’ assets, funds or investments.

This service “allows investing and combining traditional and digital financial assets in the same investment portfolio,” the bank noted, adding that it helps clients “in terms of simplicity when it comes to trading, account statements, tax returns, etc.”

BBVA further stated that “Through the customer’s personalized digital wallet, bitcoins can be converted into euros or any other current currency, and vice versa, automatically, without delays and without the illiquidity that affects other digital wallets or independent brokers.”

Alfonso Gómez, CEO of BBVA Switzerland, commented: “We are bringing the quality of banking service to the fledgling world of crypto assets. With this innovative offer, BBVA positions itself as a benchmark institution in the adoption of blockchain technology.” He revealed:

Over the coming months, we will continue to enhance and expand the digital asset offering.

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