Former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers: Cryptocurrency Will ‘Do Better Regulated’

Former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers: Cryptocurrency Will 'Do Better Regulated'

Former U.S. treasury secretary and chief economist at the World Bank, Larry Summers, says cryptocurrency will do better regulated in a sound way instead of being treated as a libertarian paradise.

Larry Summers Sees Crypto Benefiting From Strong Regulation

Lawrence Summers, who served as the Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton administration and director of the White House National Economic Council in the Obama administration, talked about cryptocurrency regulation during an interview with Bloomberg Friday. A former chief economist at the World Bank, Summers is currently Harvard University’s President Emeritus.

He was asked why regulators worldwide are “deeply skeptical” about cryptocurrencies. China, for example, has been cracking down on crypto activities. Summers began by stating that the word “crypto” suggests a “desire for secrecy with respect to large financial sums,” elaborating:

When you have large financial sums happening in secret, you have risks of money laundering, risks of supporting various kinds of criminal activities, risks of innocent people being ripped off.

“The truth is that we wouldn’t have a viable airplane industry if we weren’t regulating airline safety,” he continued. “We wouldn’t have the transportation system we do if we didn’t regulate automobile safety.”

He added that the blockchain-based payments industry “is going to do better regulated in a sound way, rather than trying to be some kind of libertarian paradise,” noting:

I think the crypto community needs to recognize that, and needs to work cooperatively with governments and if they do that. I think that this innovation can be one of the important innovations of this period.

The former IMF chief economist pointed out that some people believe in the idea that cryptocurrency is “going to be some kind of a libertarian paradise where we are not going to be able to enforce bank rules, like knowing your customers [KYC], where we are going to be able to move money freely and avoid paying taxes.”

Summers opined, “I think it’s a recognition that all industries need to come to that are systemic in their importance,” adding:

It’s not entirely unlike the discussion of big tech companies. They need to have a regulatory framework. They don’t just need it for the protection of their consumers, they need it for the protection of themselves.

In conclusion, he said, “We wouldn’t have the New York Stock Exchange as the center of the world’s stock market if we didn’t have a strong SEC,” emphasizing, “Even if people didn’t like the rules some of the time.”

What do you think about Larry Summers’ comments? Let us know in the comments section below.

US Senator Calls on SEC Chairman to Provide Regulatory Clarity on Cryptocurrencies

US Senator Calls on SEC Chairman to Provide Regulatory Clarity on Cryptocurrencies

A U.S. senator has asked the chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler, to provide clear guidance on cryptocurrency regulation. The senator stated that in many enforcement actions, “the SEC did not identify the securities involved or the rationale for their status as securities, which would have provided much-needed public regulatory clarity.”

US Senator Wants SEC to Provide Clear Guidance on Crypto Regulation

Senator Pat Toomey, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, wrote a letter to SEC Chairman Gary Gensler Friday regarding cryptocurrency regulation.

His letter followed Gensler’s testimony before the Senate Banking Committee last week. Toomey began:

I write to follow up on the concerns I expressed at the hearing about the need for regulatory clarity around emerging technologies like cryptocurrencies, including stablecoins.

Noting that “For investors to benefit from a fair and competitive marketplace, regulators must proactively provide rules of the road to industry,” the senator said the SEC “has instead adopted a strategy of regulation-by-enforcement in this area.” So far, the Commission has brought more than 75 enforcement actions on the crypto industry and has imposed fines and penalties totaling more than $2.5 billion on crypto firms and individuals.

At the Senate hearing, Gensler touted “the SEC’s success in pursuing crypto-related enforcement actions.” However, Toomey pointed out that “In many of these enforcement actions, the SEC did not identify the securities involved or the rationale for their status as securities, which would have provided much-needed public regulatory clarity.”

SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce is also concerned about the SEC’s approach to crypto regulation. She criticized her own agency in August for taking an enforcement-centric approach to crypto regulation.

The senator from Pennsylvania noted that the SEC’s approach appears related to Gensler’s belief that “the probability is quite remote” that any given cryptocurrency platform has zero securities. For example, Gensler told Senator Elizabeth Warren at the hearing that the Nasdaq-listed crypto exchange Coinbase (Nasdaq: COIN) may have dozens of tokens that may be securities.

Recently, Coinbase had to drop its plan to launch a lending product after the SEC threatened a lawsuit and the company claimed it received no explanation from the regulator. Meanwhile, the securities watchdog is in an ongoing lawsuit with Ripple Labs and its executives over whether XRP is a security.

Senator Toomey emphasized:

The SEC has a responsibility to do more than just provide probabilistic estimates.

The senator concluded his letter by providing a list of questions he wants Gensler to answer in an effort to obtain additional guidance on crypto regulation.

What do you think about Senator Toomey asking SEC Chairman Gensler to provide clear guidance for crypto regulation? Let us know in the comments section below.

US Lawmakers See China’s Authoritarian Crackdown on Crypto as Big Opportunity

US Lawmakers See China's Authoritarian Crackdown on Crypto as Big Opportunity for US

Several U.S. lawmakers see China’s authoritarian crackdown on cryptocurrency, including bitcoin, as “a perfect opportunity for American leadership on cryptocurrency.” One senator noted that it is “a reminder of our huge structural advantage over China.”

US Lawmakers Comment on China’s Cryptocurrency Crackdown

Following the latest news of China’s crackdown on cryptocurrency, several U.S. lawmakers have shared their views on the situation.

Senator Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania said:

China’s authoritarian crackdown on crypto, including bitcoin, is a big opportunity for the U.S. It’s also a reminder of our huge structural advantage over China.

“Beijing is so hostile to economic freedom. They cannot even tolerate their people participating in what is arguably the most exciting innovation in finance in decades,” he added. “Economic liberty leads to faster growth, and ultimately, a higher standard of living for all.”

The pro-bitcoin senator from Wyoming, Cynthia Lummis, who has been trying to educate her colleagues in Congress that bitcoin is a great store of value, chimed in. Commenting on Toomey’s tweet, she wrote: “Gradually, then suddenly. Closer to the ‘suddenly’ phase by the day. Keep up the education on the Hill. It’s spreading.”

Congressman Tom Emmer from Minnesota opined: “Digital. Authoritarianism. China is forcing its citizens away from decentralized currency and onto the digital yuan so the CCP can track all money movements. You fear Big Brother? Then you should also fear what the Fed might be designing.” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell recently said that the Fed will soon publish a discussion paper on a central bank digital currency (CBDC). Emmer further stated:

Open. Permissionless. Private. If China bans it, you know it’s something worth fighting for.

U.S. Representative Warren Davidson from Ohio described: “America has an incredible opportunity to protect personal digital wallets, embrace true distributed ledger technology, and strengthen our advantage over China’s authoritarian Communist Party.”

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who is trying to make his city a bitcoin hub, stressed: “China banning bitcoin is a massive mistake with impacts that will be felt for generations. Their loss is our gain and America can and will lead the future by providing a clean power home for bitcoin miners and all who are building on/with/for bitcoin.”

Congressman Patrick McHenry from North Carolina concurred with the mayor of Miami. “You’re exactly right Mayor Francis Suarez,” he replied to the mayor’s tweet, emphasizing:

China’s decision to restrict access presents a perfect opportunity for American leadership on cryptocurrency.

Do you agree with these U.S. lawmakers? Let us know in the comments section below.

Morgan Stanley’s Executive Likens Bitcoin’s Resilience to Kenny Who Dies in Every South Park Episode

Morgan Stanley's Executive Likens Bitcoin's Resilience to Kenny Who Dies in Every South Park Episode

Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s Dennis Lynch, says that bitcoin’s resilience is like Kenny from the popular TV series South Park. In almost every episode, Kenny comically died but always came back, just like how bitcoin bounces back every time after a bear market.

Bitcoin Is Similar to Kenny in South Park, Says Morgan Stanley’s Executive

Morgan Stanley’s Dennis Lynch talked about bitcoin’s resilience at Morningstar’s annual investment conference Thursday. Lynch is head of the Counterpoint Global team at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, the bank’s asset management arm. He joined Morgan Stanley in 1998 and has 27 years of investment experience. The Morgan Stanley Counterpoint Global team “invests primarily in established and emerging companies globally,” the firm’s website describes.

Lynch compared the cryptocurrency’s ability to recover and bounce back from bear markets and massive sell-offs to Kenny, a character from the popular TV cartoon series South Park, stating:

I like to say that bitcoin’s kind of like Kenny from South Park — he dies every episode, and is back again.

The South Park show follows the stories of four boys: Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman, and Kenny McCormick. During the show’s first five seasons, Kenny died in nearly every episode before returning in the next with little-to-no definitive explanation given.

The Morgan Stanley executive said that like Kenny of the Comedy Central franchise, bitcoin just keeps coming back.

According to “Bitcoin Obituaries” by 99 Bitcoin, BTC has died 430 times, including 37 times so far this year. By comparison, the cryptocurrency only died 14 times in 2020 and 41 times in 2019.

Lynch added that bitcoin “demonstrates some ‘anti-fragile’ qualities,” elaborating:

It kind of sits in the portfolio in a small manner, that it possibly is something that can go right when the rest of our portfolios having something go wrong … Ten years from now, given bitcoin’s persistence, is worth a small speculation.

The executive said he can envision bitcoin “benefiting from different environments, whether people look at it as a digital gold, or people start to really question fiat currency, given all the stimulus and the policy there,” citing the Fed’s “accommodating” policies and the low-rate environment.

Morgan Stanley was among the first major banks to embrace bitcoin. The firm made bitcoin funds available to clients back in March and added bitcoin to 12 mutual funds‘ investment strategies the following month. In addition, the global investment bank recently launched a dedicated cryptocurrency research team.

What do you think about comparing bitcoin to Kenny from South Park? Let us know in the comments section below.

Fed Chair Powell Updates Progress of Digital Dollar, Says ‘I Don’t Think We Are Behind’ on CBDC

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has shared the progress of the Fed’s work on a central bank digital currency (CBDC), the digital dollar. “We are working proactively to evaluate whether to issue a CBDC and, if so, in what form,” he said, adding that he does not believe the U.S. has fallen behind other countries in this area.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Progress of the US CBDC

The U.S. Federal Reserve has not made a decision whether to launch a digital dollar, Fed Chair Jerome Powell revealed on CNBC Wednesday.

He was asked for an update of the Fed’s work on central bank digital currency (CBDC). “We think it’s really important that the central bank maintains a stable currency and payments system for the public’s benefit. That’s one of our jobs,” Powell began. “We also live in a time of transformational innovation around digital payments and we need to make sure that the Fed is able to continue to deliver to the public a stable and trustworthy currency and payment system.”

He continued: “There’s extensive private innovation — a lot of which is taking place outside the regulatory perimeter. Innovation is fantastic. Our economy runs on innovation. But, where the public money is concerned, we need to make sure that the appropriate regulatory protections are in place, and today they really are not in some cases.” The chairman of the Federal Reserve added:

So, with that in mind, and with the creation of myriad private currencies and currency-like products, we are working proactively to evaluate whether to issue a CBDC and, if so, in what form.

Powell opined: “We do intend to publish a discussion paper soon that will be the basis for the period of public engagement, engagement with many different groups, including elected public officials around these issues. We think it’s our obligation to do the work on technology and public policies to form a basis for making an informed decision.”

He added: “The ultimate test we’ll apply when assessing a central bank digital currency and other digital innovation is whether clear tangible benefits outweigh any costs and risks.”

The Fed chair proceeded to talk about the current work at the Fed on CBDC, stating:

We really have two broad work streams, one of which is really technology, both at the Board and in the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s work with M.I.T. The other is to identify, scope out, deal with, analyze the various public policy issues.

“We’re also investing heavily right now in building a new settlement system for instant payment in the U.S. It will be the first such major expansion of our core payment system since the 1970s. We found the case for this quite compelling for consumers, businesses, and just ensuring that all financial institutions have access to the payment system,” he continued.

Powell concluded: “So, bottom line, we haven’t made a decision about the CBDC, but we will be issuing a discussion paper soon in order to form the basis of this public interaction that we will have.”

Currently, 81 countries are exploring issuing their own digital currencies, according to the CBDC tracker by Atlantic Council’s Geoeconomics Center. Some countries have already issued a CBDC, including China which has been heavily testing its digital yuan.

Powell was further asked whether he was “concerned at all” that the U.S. is getting behind in the area of central bank digital currencies. He replied:

I don’t think we are behind. I think it’s important to do this right than to do it fast. We’re the world’s reserve currency. I think we are in a good place to make that analysis and make that decision, which will be a government-wide decision.

What do you think about the comments by Fed Chair Jerome Powell on a CBDC? Let us know in the comments section below.

Twitter Launches Bitcoin Tipping Feature, Explores NFT Authentication

Twitter Launches Bitcoin Tipping Feature, Explores NFT Authentication

Twitter has begun rolling out “Tips,” a feature that allows users to send bitcoin or cash tips. The rollout begins with iOS users with Android coming soon. The company is also planning support for non-fungible token (NFT) authentication.

Twitter Rolls Out ‘Tips’ With Bitcoin

Twitter Inc. announced Thursday that it is rolling out the bitcoin tipping feature starting with iOS users. The company tweeted: “Tested the Tips feature, turns out people love money. Rolling out on iOS with Android coming soon.” Twitter described:

Tips allows you to send bitcoin or cash tips depending on how you configure your Tips settings and the regional availability of third-party payment providers.

Twitter Support tweeted explaining how to use the new tipping feature. “Looking to get a little support with Tips? Tips is now rolling out to everyone (18+) on iOS. Add the Tips icon to your profile from the ‘Edit profile’ button,” the support account wrote.

Esther Crawford, Twitter’s product manager, detailed that when an account has turned on Tips, the Tips icon will appear next to the follow button on the profile page. “Tap the icon, and you’ll see a list of payment services or platforms that the account has enabled, and you can select whichever you prefer,” she wrote, emphasizing:

Once you tap the service you want to use, you’ll be taken off Twitter to the selected app to send funds. Twitter takes no cut.

“In addition to the services currently enabled through Tips, people can now seamlessly tip with bitcoin using Strike — a payments application built on the Bitcoin Lightning Network that allows people to send and receive bitcoin. Strike offers instant and free payments globally,” Crawford added.

Strike is available in the U.S., excluding Hawaii and New York, as well as in El Salvador, where bitcoin is now legal tender alongside the U.S. dollar. Users in eligible markets can sign up for a Strike account and add their Strike username to receive bitcoin tips over the Lightning Network. “You can use any Bitcoin Lightning wallet to send tips to someone’s Strike account,” the product manager clarified.

“When you enable Tips on your profile, you can now also add your bitcoin address. People can copy your address and paste it into a bitcoin wallet of their choice to send you a payment directly,” she noted.

Besides Strike, other payment options and platforms currently available are Bandcamp, Cash App, Chipper, Gofundme, Patreon, Picpay, Razorpay, Wealthsimple Cash, and Paypal’s Venmo.

Twitter Exploring NFT Authentication Support

In addition, Twitter announced that it is also planning to support authentication for non-fungible tokens (NFTs). “We’re excited to soon explore NFT authentication,” Crawford was quoted as saying. “It’s a way to support creators making this art with a stamp to demonstrate authenticity. By allowing people to directly connect their crypto wallets, they can track and showcase their NFT ownership on Twitter.”

She added: “We’re interested in basically just making it visually clear that this is an authenticated avatar and then give you some interesting info and insight about the provenance of that NFT.” A Twitter spokesperson said:

NFT authentication will come in the form of a badge, shown on profile pictures, marking the owner’s NFT as authentic.

What do you think about Twitter’s bitcoin tipping feature and NFT authentication? Let us know in the comments section below.

Mad Money Jim Cramer ‘Begs’ Crypto Investors to Take Profits — Says ‘I Don’t Want You to Lose Money’

Mad Money Jim Cramer 'Begs' Crypto Investors to Take Profits — Says 'I Don't Want You to Lose Money'

The host of Mad Money, Jim Cramer, is begging crypto investors to take profits on any crypto gains in their portfolios. “I’m begging you to. Don’t let it become a loss,” he said, emphasizing, “I don’t want you to lose money.”

Mad Money’s Jim Cramer Advises Investors to Take Profits on Crypto Gains

The host of CNBC’s Mad Money show, Jim Cramer, said Monday that cryptocurrency investors should take profits on their crypto holdings if they have any gains in their portfolios. A former hedge fund manager, Cramer co-founded Thestreet.com, a financial news and literacy website.

He said:

I know the crypto-lovers never want to hear me say sell, but if you’ve got a big gain as I did, well, I’m begging you to. Don’t let it become a loss. Sell some, stay long the rest, then let’s wait and see if China changes its attitude toward an Evergrande bailout.

Cramer warned that the struggles of Evergrande, a major property developer in China, are likely to keep weighing on crypto markets. Evergrande also operates in other industries such as healthcare services and electric vehicles. The company has more than $300 billion in total liabilities and recently warned investors it may default on its debts.

The Mad Money host explained that his crypto concerns right now start with tether (USDT). “The problem with tether is that it’s backed by various holdings and roughly half of those are commercial paper — short-term loans — and much of that is believed to be, but we don’t know, Chinese commercial paper,” he said.

Cramer added: “Tether said they have no Evergrande exposure. But tons of Chinese businesses stand to get crushed by this fiasco, and they have Evergrande exposure, and that could spell real trouble if the dominoes fall here.” He warned: “If tether collapsed, well, then it’s going to gut the whole crypto ecosystem. So if you own crypto in any form and you’ve got big gains, I recommend taking something off the table.”

Nonetheless, the Mad Money host emphasized that he still sees potential for cryptocurrencies to go “mainstream.” He opined:

Right now, owning crypto is what’s known as a ‘crowded’ trade and I don’t want you to lose money if this space keeps getting hit by Evergrande’s contagion worries.

In August, Cramer recommended that investors should put up to 5% of their portfolios in cryptocurrency. In June, he revealed that he had sold his bitcoins and bought ethereum, citing that “it’s more of a currency.”

What do you think about Jim Cramer’s advice to take profits on crypto gains? Let us know in the comments section below.

US Treasury Targets Crypto Exchanges in Whole-of-Government Effort to Counter Ransomware

US Treasury Targets Crypto Exchanges in Whole-of-Government Effort to Counter Ransomware

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has taken actions targeting cryptocurrency exchanges “responsible for laundering ransoms” as part of the whole-of-government effort to counter ransomware. One cryptocurrency exchange has already been sanctioned along with related crypto addresses. “We will continue to crack down on malicious actors,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

US Government Targets Crypto Exchanges in Ransomware Fight

The U.S. Treasury Department announced a set of actions to counter ransomware Tuesday, which include the publication of an updated advisory on ransomware and the addition of entities to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)’s list of Specially Designated Nationals.

The Department of the Treasury declared:

As part of the whole-of-government effort to counter ransomware, the U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced a set of actions focused on disrupting criminal networks and virtual currency exchanges responsible for laundering ransoms.

The actions also aim to improve cyber security across the private sector and increase ransomware payment reporting to U.S. government agencies, including both Treasury and law enforcement. The announcement further notes that ransomware payments surpassed $400 million in 2020, more than four times their level in 2019.

“Some virtual currency exchanges are a critical element of this ecosystem, as virtual currency is the principal means of facilitating ransomware payments and associated money laundering activities,” the Treasury stated, elaborating:

While most virtual currency activity is licit, virtual currencies can be used for illicit activity through peer-to-peer exchangers, mixers, and exchanges. This includes the facilitation of sanctions evasion, ransomware schemes, and other cybercrimes.

Among the actions taken was the sanctioning of cryptocurrency exchange Suex for facilitating “financial transactions for ransomware actors.” According to the Treasury, this was the first crypto exchange targeted “for laundering cyber ransoms.” All property and interests in property of the exchange “that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them,” the announcement details.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen commented: “Ransomware and cyber-attacks are victimizing businesses large and small across America and are a direct threat to our economy. We will continue to crack down on malicious actors.” She added:

As cyber criminals use increasingly sophisticated methods and technology, we are committed to using the full range of measures, to include sanctions and regulatory tools, to disrupt, deter, and prevent ransomware attacks.

What do you think about the U.S. government targeting crypto exchanges to combat ransomware? Let us know in the comments section below.

AMC Theatres Explores Accepting Dogecoin: CEO Fascinated by DOGE Poll Results

AMC Theatres Explores Accepting Dogecoin: CEO Fascinated by DOGE Poll Results

AMC Theatres chain is exploring how to accept dogecoin alongside four other cryptocurrencies. AMC’s CEO conducted a poll on Twitter and was overwhelmed by the results and enthusiasm of the dogecoin community. “It’s clear that you think AMC should accept dogecoin. Now we need to figure out how to do that,” he said.

AMC Considers Adding Dogecoin to List of Accepted Cryptocurrencies

Following the announcement that AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. will accept bitcoin, bitcoin cash, litecoin, and ether for payments, CEO Adam Aron set up a poll on Twitter to ask the crypto community if his company should also accept the popular meme cryptocurrency dogecoin (DOGE).

AMC Entertainment Holdings is the largest movie exhibition company in the U.S., Europe, and the world. As of March 31, AMC owned or operated approximately 950 theaters and 10,500 screens globally.

Aron tweeted Tuesday:

I sincerely want to hear your opinion, via this Twitter Poll. By year-end 2021, AMC will take bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin and bitcoin cash for online payments. I hear from many on my Twitter feed we should accept dogecoin too. Do you think AMC should explore accepting dogecoin?

According to the poll results, 68.1% of the 140,388 voters said, “Yes, for sure do it.” A further 8.6% supported the addition of dogecoin as a payment method but said they “won’t use it.” Only 23.3% said “no” to the company accepting DOGE.

The CEO’s tweet was liked 14.9K times and retweeted 7.1K times at the time of writing. Among those who liked his tweet was Tesla CEO Elon Musk, a dogecoin supporter who has been called the Dogefather. Musk recently revealed that he owned some DOGE. He and the NBA team Dallas Mavericks’ owner, Mark Cuban, said that dogecoin was the “strongest cryptocurrency for payments.”

Commenting on Musk liking his tweet, the AMC CEO wrote: “I never thought I would see this day. Elon Musk liked my Dogecoin Twitter Poll tweet. If you happen to see this tweet too Mr. Musk, congratulations on Tesla and Spacex. I have strived to be an innovator my entire career, but you sir are the epitome of innovation above all others.”

On Wednesday, Aron announced on Twitter that AMC is now exploring how to accept dogecoin. The CEO tweeted: “So Fascinating! Dogecoin Poll was by far my highest ever read tweet. In 24 hours, 4.2 million views, my most ever retweets, most ever replies. 140,000 votes 77% yes 23% no.” He added:

It’s clear that you think AMC should accept dogecoin. Now we need to figure out how to do that. Stay tuned!

Do you think AMC should accept dogecoin? Let us know in the comments section below.

Crypto Exchange Binance Ceases Derivatives Trading in Australia

Crypto Exchange Binance Ceases Derivatives Offerings in Australia

Amid regulatory scrutiny worldwide, global cryptocurrency exchange Binance has announced that it will cease offering futures, options, and leveraged tokens to Australian users in 90 days.

Changes Coming to Binance Australia

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance announced some changes to its offerings in Australia Tuesday. The exchange will cease offering futures, options, and leveraged tokens to existing Australian users. Binance explained:

Effective from 2021-09-24 09:00 AM (UTC), existing Australian users will have 90 days to reduce and close their positions for these products.

“Users will be able to top-up margin balances to prevent margin calls and liquidations, but they will not be able to increase or open new positions,” Binance added. “Users will no longer be able to manually reduce or close their positions after 2021-12-23 11:59 PM (UTC). Thereafter all remaining open positions will be closed.”

Binance Australia has recently gone through some changes. On Aug. 30, the company announced that former Digitalx CEO Leigh Travers had joined Binance Australia as CEO. Digitalx is an ASX-listed blockchain technology company.

Meanwhile, the exchange has been heavily scrutinized by regulators worldwide, including those in the U.K., Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Lithuania, Italy, and Canada. Last week, reports indicate that U.S. authorities are investigating Binance for possible market manipulation and insider trading.

What do you think about Binance ceasing offering derivatives trading in Australia? Let us know in the comments section below.

Robinhood Testing New Crypto Wallet and Cryptocurrency Transfer Features: Report

Robinhood Testing New Crypto Wallet and Cryptocurrency Transfer Features: Report

Stock trading and investing app Robinhood has reportedly been testing new features, including a crypto wallet and cryptocurrency transfers. “The ability to deposit and withdraw cryptocurrencies is tricky to do with scale, and we want to make sure it’s done correctly and properly.”

Robinhood to Add Crypto Wallet and Transfer Features

Investing app Robinhood is “quietly” testing several new features, Bloomberg reported Monday, describing:

Robinhood Markets Inc. is testing new crypto wallet and cryptocurrency transfer features for its app.

Evidence of the new features has appeared in a beta version of Robinhood’s iPhone app, the publication conveyed, adding that the planned offerings were discovered by software developer Steve Moser.

Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev previously said that adding a crypto wallet is a priority for the company’s developers but did not indicate when the launch would be. He said on the company’s second-quarter earnings call:

It’s something that our teams are working on. The ability to deposit and withdraw cryptocurrencies is tricky to do with scale, and we want to make sure it’s done correctly and properly.

Tenev noted that these features are particularly in demand among dogecoin (DOGE) enthusiasts.

Cryptocurrency trading on Robinhood reached record levels in the second quarter, accounting for more than half of all transaction-based revenues. The meme cryptocurrency dogecoin in particular made up 62% of the crypto trading volume in the second quarter.

The new crypto features are being tested as part of an “alpha program,” information within the code of the Robinhood app shows. The publication further noted that the code also revealed the company’s plans for “spare change investing and an early-deposit option for checking accounts.”

What do you think about Robinhood testing new features? Let us know in the comments section below.

Coinbase Abandons Plan to Launch Lend Program After SEC Threatens Lawsuit

Coinbase Abandons Plan to Launch Lend Program After SEC Threatens Lawsuit

The Nasdaq-listed cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has dropped its plan to launch a lending program after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) threatened to sue the company.

Coinbase Will Not Launch Lending Program

Coinbase announced Friday that it has decided not to launch the Lend program. The exchange wrote:

Our goal is to create great products for our customers and to advance our mission to increase economic freedom in the world. As we continue our work to seek regulatory clarity for the crypto industry as a whole, we’ve made the difficult decision not to launch the USDC APY program.

“We have also discontinued the waitlist for this program as we turn our work to what comes next. We had hundreds of thousands of customers from across the country sign up and we want to thank you all for your interest. We will not stop looking for ways to bring innovative, trusted programs and products to our customers,” Coinbase added.

Coinbase unveiled the Lend program in June where users could “earn interest on USD coin (USDC) with rates more than 50x the national average of a traditional savings account,” the company explained at the time. The program advertised that users could earn 4% APY and the “principal is guaranteed.”

However, Coinbase revealed in early September that the SEC sent the company a Wells Notice regarding its Lend program. “The SEC has told us it wants to sue us over Lend. We don’t know why,” the exchange said. “The SEC told us they consider Lend to involve a security, but wouldn’t say why or how they’d reached that conclusion.”

Meanwhile, Coinbase is growing its business in some other ways. Last week, the company filed an application with the National Futures Association (NFA) to offer futures and derivatives trading on its platform. Coinbase is also raising $2 billion by selling bonds. Furthermore, the exchange announced Monday that Coinbase Prime, a comprehensive platform for institutional investors, is launching with updated capabilities.

What do you think about Coinbase abandoning its plan to launch a lending program? Let us know in the comments section below.

60 Cryptocurrency Exchanges in South Korea to Shut Down All or Some Services This Week

60 Cryptocurrency Exchanges to Shut Down All or Some Services This Week

The deadline for cryptocurrency exchanges and wallet operators to comply with the new regulatory requirements to stay open in South Korea is this week. So far, only one crypto exchange has been licensed to continue operations. About 60 crypto exchanges are expected to either shut down or reduce services.

60 Crypto Exchanges Expected to Shut Down or Reduce Services

Under the “Act on the Reporting and Use of Specific Financial Transaction Information (Special Act),” crypto exchanges must be Information Security Management System (ISMS)-certified and register with the South Korean Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) by Sept. 24. Crypto exchanges that fail to do either must cease operations on that date.

According to local media, 34 exchanges have not received ISMS certification, so they are expected to shut down entirely on Sept. 24.

A total of 29 crypto exchanges have been ISMS-certified but only one has successfully registered with the FIU, a unit of the Financial Services Commission (FSC), the country’s top financial regulator.

The Financial Intelligence Unit held its first crypto business review meeting Friday to review the report submitted by Dunamu Inc., the operator of Upbit, the largest crypto exchange in the country. The review committee accepted the report, making Upbit the first licensed crypto exchange operator in the country.

The FIU further revealed Friday that besides Upbit, four other crypto exchange operators have submitted a report: Bithumb, Korbit, Coinone, and Korea Digital Exchange (Flybit). In addition, a wallet operator, Korea Digital Asset (KODA), has also submitted a report.

The FSC said:

Considering that there is one week left until the 24th, virtual asset providers who have not yet filed a report should file a report promptly.

In addition, registered crypto exchanges that want to offer trading in Korean won must also partner with banks to provide users with real-name verified accounts. So far, only the country’s largest exchanges — Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit — have secured banking partnerships. Banks are reluctant to partner with smaller exchanges due to risks such as money laundering.

That means, 25 crypto exchanges out of the 29 that have been ISMS-certified will be crypto-only exchanges if they successfully register with the FIU. They must cease offering trading in Korean won by Sept. 24 and should have already notified their customers as required by the financial regulators. Four companies — Gopax, Gdac, Hanbitco, and Huobi Korea — said they are still working to secure banking partnerships by the deadline.

Currently, out of 63 crypto exchanges, only the top four exchanges will continue to operate as normal. The rest will either shut down or reduce services.

What do you think about all these crypto exchanges having to shut down under the new regulation? Let us know in the comments section below.

Turkey Is ‘at War’ With Cryptocurrency, Says President Erdogan

Turkey Is 'at War' With Cryptocurrency, Says President Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has clarified the government’s stance on cryptocurrencies, stating that the country is at war with crypto. He emphasized that Turkey will continue with its own currency.

A War and a Struggle Against Cryptocurrency

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan answered some questions from young people in the “Meeting with Youth” program held with university students from 81 provinces. The event took place in Mersin, a port city in southern Turkey and an important hub of the country’s economy.

A young man in the audience asked President Erdoğan: “My question is about cryptocurrency. Recently, the central bank established a digital Turkish lira platform. With this decision, is Turkey planning to open up to cryptocurrencies? … We are curious about your ideas on this matter.”

Noting that it is not their intention to open up to cryptocurrencies, Erdoğan clarified:

On the contrary, we have a separate war, a separate struggle against them.

He clarified that cryptocurrency will not receive “premium” treatment since right now Turkey “will continue with our own currency.”

President Erdoğan proceeded to ask Binali Yıldırım, deputy chairman of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and a former prime minister, who also participated in the youth program, about his opinion on cryptocurrency. “What do you say, Mr. Binali?” the president asked.

Yıldırım opined:

Unfortunately, cryptocurrency also opens the door to grievances. So, it’s something that needs serious control.

He noted that there are “bad examples” involving cryptocurrencies. For example, in August, Turkish police launched an investigation into a dogecoin investment scam that stole from 1,500 investors, and earlier this year, two Turkish crypto exchanges were investigated for fraud.

“In the future, at your discretion,” Yıldırım said to Erdoğan. “It may be necessary to make some arrangements as a state, as a government, in order to prevent these abuses and mistakes. Studies on it have already started.”

In April, the Turkish central bank issued a notice prohibiting the use of cryptocurrencies for payments of goods and services. In July, the Turkish government said it was preparing a bill to regulate cryptocurrencies.

What do you think about the comments by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan? Let us know in the comments section below.

Korean Province Seizes Cryptocurrencies From 1,661 Investors for Unpaid Fines

Korean Province Seizes Cryptocurrencies From 1,661 Investors for Unpaid Fines

A South Korean province has seized cryptocurrencies worth over $5 million from 1,661 investors who were more than $12 million in arrears on their fines in total. The seizure followed an investigation of nearly 30,000 companies and individuals as well as their cryptocurrency holdings at four exchanges.

Korean Province Confiscates Cryptocurrencies for Unpaid Fines

The South Korean province of Gyeonggi, the most populous province in the country, announced last week that it had seized 6.1 billion won ($5.14 million) in cryptocurrencies from 1,661 people who were 14.4 billion won in arrears on their fines in total.

The authorities explained that from May to August last year, they conducted an investigation of 29,656 companies and individuals who were delinquent on their payments of 1 million won or more under the category of “nontaxable income.” This includes examining their cryptocurrency holdings at four exchanges.

Nontaxable income in South Korea refers to income imposed and collected in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act, such as government fees and administrative fines.

For example, a clothing wholesaler did not pay the enforcement fees of 20 million won imposed on him last year for illegally building an extension to his factory. However, the investigation revealed that he had 500 million won in cryptocurrency.

The CEO of a frozen food company in Namyangju had 600 million won in cryptocurrency even after paying 40 million won in arrears, including the enforcement fee imposed for illegally changing his business establishment to a warehouse in 2017.

The owner of a local real estate rental company, who had been 50 million won in arrears since 2018 for building illegal extensions and making land quality changes, owned 60 million won in cryptocurrency.

Kim Min-kyung, head of Gyeonggi’s taxation department, was quoted by local media as saying:

It is the largest amount of cryptocurrency seizure in the country for nontaxable income delinquents.

While this seizure may be the largest under the nontaxable income category, the province has seized more cryptocurrencies before. In June, the government of Gyeonggi Province reportedly seized cryptocurrencies worth more than 53 billion won from about 12,000 people who were delinquent on their tax payments.

What do you think about Korean authorities seizing cryptocurrencies for unpaid fines? Let us know in the comments section below.

Crypto Investor Sues Apple Over Malicious App That Stole Cryptocurrencies

Crypto Investor Sues Apple Over Malicious App That Stole Cryptocurrencies

A crypto investor has filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple Inc. after she downloaded a malicious application from the company’s App Store that led to the theft of her cryptocurrencies.

Apple Sued Over Theft of Cryptocurrency Due to Malicious App

Hadona Diep, a resident of the U.S. state of Maryland and a full-time cyber-security IT professional, has filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple Inc. She alleges that the company authorized and maintained “a malicious application” in its App Store despite knowledge of the criminal activity. In addition, the company failed to notify her and the class members that their financial information had been compromised.

The lawsuit explains that “Because Plaintiff knew, or at least thought she knew, that Apple thoroughly vets applications before it allowed them on the App Store, Plaintiff downloaded the application known as Toast Plus from the Apple App Store on or about March of 2020 onto her iPhone.”

The plaintiff believed that “Toast Plus was a version of Toast Wallet, a well-known cryptocurrency wallet, as the names were similar and the logo used for the application in the App Store was the same or nearly identical.”

In January 2018, the plaintiff transferred about 474 XRP from crypto exchange Bittrex to a secure crypto wallet called Rippex. However, Rippex shut down a month later so the plaintiff accessed her coins through the secured wallet and “linked her private XRP key, or a seed phrase, into Toast Plus in March of 2021.”

The court document notes:

As Plaintiff intended to hold the XRP as an investment and not to actively trade it, she did not check the Toast Wallet Plus application after entering her seed phrase into it. In August of 2021, Plaintiff checked her account on Toast Plus, and discovered that not only did she have no XRP in the wallet, her account was ‘deleted’ on March 3, 2021.

Diep began investigating the matter and discovered that “Toast Plus was not in fact a version of the legitimate Toast Wallet application, but was instead a ‘spoofing’ or ‘phishing’ program created for the sole purpose of stealing cryptocurrency, by obtaining consumers’ cryptocurrency account information and thereafter routing the same to the hackers’ personal accounts.”

The plaintiff claims that Apple violated a number of laws, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, Maryland Personal Information Protection and Consumer Protection Acts, and each state’s Personal Information Protection and Consumer Protection Acts.

The plaintiff seeks for the “Award [of] statutory, actual, or compensatory damages” to her and the class “to the maximum extent permitted by law.” She also seeks “reasonable compensation for serving as a class representative” and “pre- and post- judgment interest at the legal rate,” as well as any “further relief as the court deems just and proper.”

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

El Salvador Buys More Bitcoin — Country Now Holds 700 BTC

El Salvador Buys More Bitcoin — Country Now Holds 700 BTC

El Salvador, the country that made bitcoin legal tender alongside the U.S. dollar, has purchased more bitcoin. The Salvadoran government now holds 700 coins, according to President Nayib Bukele.

El Salvador Buys the Dip

El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, announced early Monday morning that his government has purchased 150 more bitcoins. The country’s bitcoin law went into effect on Sept. 7 making the cryptocurrency legal tender alongside the U.S. dollar. He tweeted: “We just bought the dip. 150 new coins! El Salvador now holds 700 coins.”

“They can never beat you if you buy the dips … Presidential advice,” he further wrote.

The price of bitcoin was hovering around $45K when he made the announcement. It has since dropped to $43,326 at the time of writing based on data from Bitcoin.com Markets.

El Salvador started buying bitcoin on Sept. 6 ahead of the bitcoin law taking effect. On Sept. 7, Bukele announced that his country had bought a total of 550 bitcoins.

According to cryptocurrency ATM tracking website Coinatmradar.com, El Salvador now has 205 crypto ATM locations, making it the country with the third-highest number of crypto ATMs, behind only the U.S. and Canada. However, there are reports that the Salvadoran Court of Accounts is planning to investigate the government’s bitcoin ATM purchases and Chivo kiosk construction.

The launch of the government’s bitcoin wallet, the Chivo wallet, was off to a rocky start. However, on Sept. 16, Bukele claimed that the Chivo app is “already working 100%” According to reports, remittance providers like Moneygram and Western Union could lose up to $400 million annually if the Chivo wallet is used more.

On Friday, Bukele tweeted that 1.1 million Salvadorans already use the Chivo wallet, adding that “we haven’t enabled 65% of phone models yet.” He opined:

It seems that we will be able to bank more people in 1 month than they did with nationalizations and privatizations of traditional banks in 40 years.

What do you think about El Salvador buying more bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.

Ripple Has No Plans to Settle With SEC Over XRP, Confident Gensler Will Drop the Lawsuit

Ripple Has No Plans to Settle With SEC Over XRP, Confident Gensler Will Drop the Lawsuit

Amid the ongoing lawsuit with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ripple’s legal team reportedly said that they have no plans to settle with the securities watchdog. They are confident that SEC Chairman Gary Gensler will be convinced that pursuing the case is picking winners and losers in the crypto business to the detriment of innovation.

No Plans to Settle With SEC, Says Ripple’s Legal Team

Ripple’s legal team told Fox Business that it has no plans to settle the lawsuit with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Charles Gasparino reported. He tweeted Friday:

Ripple’s legal team tell Fox Business they have no plans to settle with SEC over lawsuit on XRP, confident they can show Gary Gensler in pursuing the case is picking winners and losers in the crypto business to the detriment of innovation.

The SEC sued Ripple Labs, its CEO Brad Garlinghouse, and co-founder Chris Larsen in December last year over the sale of XRP.

In January, Garlinghouse was asked why Ripple did not settle with the SEC. He replied: “Can’t get into specifics, but know we tried — and will continue to try with the new administration — to resolve this in a way so the XRP community can continue innovating, consumers are protected and orderly markets are preserved.”

Ripple and XRP supporters hope that the new SEC chairman, Gary Gensler, who taught crypto at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), would throw out the XRP lawsuit. They believe that there was a conflict of interest with former SEC Chairman Jay Clayton. In August, a government watchdog began investigating circumstances surrounding the XRP lawsuit involving Clayton and senior SEC official William Hinman.

Gensler has shown that he recognizes innovation. During a U.S. Senate Banking Committee hearing last week, the pro-bitcoin Senator Cynthia Lummis asked him: “Do you support responsible innovation?” Gensler immediately replied: “Oh my gosh, yes. I mean it’s brought us these lights in the room. It’s brought us this ability to have a hybrid hearing with your fellow members. I mean innovation is what supports access, economic activity, and give so much of us better opportunities in life.”

The SEC chairman has also said that Satoshi Nakamoto’s innovation is real. “His innovation spurred the development of crypto assets and the underlying blockchain technology,” Gensler described, adding that “it has been and could continue to be a catalyst for change in the fields of finance and money.”

Do you think the SEC will drop the lawsuit against Ripple Labs and its executives over XRP? Let us know in the comments section below.

AT&T Sued by Customer After Security Breach Led to Theft of Cryptocurrency

AT&T Sued by Customer After Security Breach Led to Theft of Cryptocurrency

An AT&T customer filed a lawsuit against the company last week accusing it of failing to provide “reasonable and appropriate security to prevent unauthorized access to its customer wireless accounts.” This has led to the theft of cryptocurrency from the plaintiff’s crypto exchange account.

AT&T Sued by Crypto Investor

An AT&T customer, Jamarquis Etheridge, filed a lawsuit in the district court for the Southern District of Texas against AT&T Inc. and AT&T Mobility LLC Wednesday.

Etheridge, a resident of the U.S. state of Texas, has been a customer of AT&T since 2009. He claims to be a victim of “SIM swapping,” also known as “SIM hijacking.” SIM swapping is a common scam that AT&T is no stranger to. The company was involved in a bigger case involving this scam last year with crypto investor Michael Terpin.

The court document filed by Etheridge’s attorney, Richard E. Brown, states that on or about Sept. 10, 2020, AT&T “allowed wrongdoers access to plaintiff Etheridge’s wireless account and, without his authorization,” alleging:

AT&T was unable to contain this security breach until the next day, enabling wrongdoers to drain plaintiff Etheridge’s cryptocurrency exchange account.

He further alleges that “AT&T was well aware of the pervasive harm posed by SIM swapping,” as the company previously issued public advisories warning customers of the industry-wide threat of this type of scam.

Etheridge also said that AT&T assured customers that it was exercising adequate measures to prevent unauthorized SIM swapping from happening to its account holders. Nonetheless, the court document reads:

AT&T engages in practices that … fail to provide reasonable and appropriate security to prevent unauthorized access to its customer wireless accounts, allowing unauthorized persons to be authenticated and then granted access to sensitive customer wireless account data, including access and control over 159.8 ethereum tokens.

After the incident, the price of ether reached more than $4,200 per coin, the court document notes. At the time of writing, the price of ETH has fallen to $3,338.

The plaintiff claims that as a result of AT&T’s actions or inactions, he has suffered and continues to suffer actual damages, including the loss of 159.8 ETH, lost time, embarrassment and humiliation, aggravation and frustration, fear, anxiety, financial uncertainty, unease, emotional distress, and various expenses.

In addition to seeking “compensatory and equitable relief restoring him” to 159.8 ETH, he also seeks relief for statutory damages, treble damages, punitive damages, award for attorney fees and reimbursement of all costs, “pre-and post-judgment interest on any amounts awarded,” and any other relief the court deems just and proper.

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

US Court Sentences Cryptocurrency Hedge Fund Founder to 7.5 Years in Prison

US Court Sentences Cryptocurrency Hedge Fund Founder to 7.5 Years in Prison

The founder of two cryptocurrency hedge funds in New York, Stefan Qin, has been sentenced to 7.5 years in prison and three years of supervised release. He is also ordered to forfeit about $55 million. The Department of Justice (DOJ) said that he “engaged in a scheme to steal assets” from his hedge funds and defraud investors.

Crypto Hedge Fund Founder Gets 7.5 Years in Jail

Stefan Qin, the founder of two cryptocurrency hedge funds in New York, has been sentenced to 7.5 years in prison, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced last week.

Qin, a 24-year-old Australian national, founded the Virgil Sigma Fund and the VQR Multistrategy Fund, which claimed to have over $100 million dollars in investments. He pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud on Feb. 4 after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against him in December last year.

According to the DOJ, Qin was sentenced Wednesday to 90 months in prison.

The Department of Justice explained that between 2017 and 2020, Qin owned and controlled the two cryptocurrency investment funds. “Until recently, Virgil Sigma purported to have over $90 million under management from dozens of investors, including many in the United States,” the Department said. “Until recently, VQR had at least approximately $24 million under management from investors.”

The DOJ detailed:

Since 2017, Qin engaged in a scheme to steal assets from Virgil Sigma and defraud its investors. Rather than investing the fund’s assets in a cryptocurrency arbitrage trading strategy as advertised, Qin embezzled investor capital from Virgil Sigma and used the funds for purposes other than the purported arbitrage trading strategy.

Qin also attempted to steal assets from VQR as Bitcoin.com News previously reported. The DOJ explained that Qin’s two cryptocurrency funds “have ceased operations and the liquidation and distribution of assets is being handled by a court-appointed receiver in the matter of S.E.C. v. Qin, 20 Civ. 10849,” adding:

Qin, 24, was also sentenced to three years of supervised release, and ordered to forfeit $54,793,532.

Do you think Qin should go to prison for 7.5 years? Let us know in the comments section below.

US Authorities Investigate Binance for Insider Trading and Market Manipulation: Report

US Authorities Investigate Binance for Insider Trading and Market Manipulation: Report

Binance’s troubles with regulators grow as U.S. authorities are now reportedly investigating the exchange for possible insider trading and market manipulation. The investigation involves the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The Justice Department (DOJ) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have also been investigating Binance on a separate issue.

Binance Probed for Possible Insider Trading, Market Manipulation

U.S. authorities are now investigating Binance for possible insider trading and Market manipulation to ascertain whether the company or its staff profited by taking advantage of its customers, Bloomberg reported Friday, citing people familiar with the matter. Binance was quoted saying:

At Binance, we have a zero-tolerance policy for insider trading and a strict ethical code related to any type of behavior that could have a negative impact on our customers or industry.

The review involves the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) investigators, who have been reaching out to potential witnesses in recent weeks, the publication conveyed. The derivatives watchdog has already been probing whether Binance lets U.S. residents buy and sell derivatives linked to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which is prohibited since Binance is not registered with it.

Besides the CFTC, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are also investigating Binance. The two previously launched criminal probes into whether the exchange has been a conduit for money laundering and tax evasion, the publication also reported. The company has not been accused of wrongdoing and the investigations may not lead to any official action.

A growing number of regulators globally have issued warnings against Binance for illegally operating in their jurisdictions, including in the U.K., Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Netherlands, Germany, Lithuania, and South Africa.

What do you think about Binance being investigated for market manipulation and insider trading? Let us know in the comments section below.

Paypal Completes Rollout of Crypto Offering in UK: First International Expansion Outside US

Paypal Completes Rollout of Crypto Offering in UK: First International Expansion Outside US

Paypal has completed the first international expansion of its cryptocurrency offering outside of the U.S. Paypal Crypto is now available to customers in the U.K. allowing them to buy, hold, and sell four kinds of cryptocurrencies.

Paypal Crypto Now Available to All Eligible UK Customers

Payments giant Paypal Inc. announced Friday that it has completed the rollout of its crypto offering in the U.K. The rollout began in late August when the company announced the launch of its crypto service in the U.K.

The official account of Paypal U.K. tweeted:

We are delighted to share that all eligible customers in the UK can now buy, hold and sell cryptocurrencies bitcoin, ethereum, bitcoin cash & litecoin from their Paypal account.

The company’s website explains that the crypto service in the U.K. is provided by Paypal (Europe) S.à r.l. et Cie, S.C.A., a credit institution supervised by Luxembourg’s financial regulator, Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier. However, the crypto service is not regulated by any regulators, including the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Paypal further detailed: “You can buy, sell and hold cryptocurrency through Paypal’s cryptocurrency service, but you can’t use it to send cryptocurrency. Purchases and sales of cryptocurrency aren’t reversible and cannot be changed.” However, the company said in May that it plans to allow crypto transfers to third-party wallets.

The payments giant noted that the U.K. launch “marks the first international expansion of the company’s cryptocurrency offering outside of the United States.”

Paypal announced that it was launching a crypto service in the U.S. in October last year to allow “its millions of U.S. customers to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrencies.” According to Paypal, its platform is available in over 200 markets, serving more than 400 million consumers and merchants. The company’s cryptocurrency offering is through a partnership with Paxos Trust Company, a New York-based financial institution and technology company specializing in blockchain.

In March, Paypal announced “Checkout with Crypto” and then rolled out crypto service on its mobile payment service Venmo in April. In July, the company unveiled its plans to expand crypto services, hiring over 100 crypto positions.

In addition, Paypal’s venture capital arm has made investments in blockchain and crypto startups, including crypto risk management firm TRM Labs, crypto tax software provider TaxBit, and institutional-grade crypto infrastructure technology Talos.

What do you think about Paypal launching in the U.K.? Let us know in the comments section below.

We Are All Satoshi: Statue of Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto Unveiled in Hungary

We Are All Satoshi: Statue of Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto Unveiled in Hungary

A statue of Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, has been unveiled in Budapest, Hungary. “The statue is made of bronze, the face is made of a special bronze-aluminium composite, thus every visitor can see their own face when looking at Satoshi. We are all Satoshi.”

Statue Representing ‘We Are All Satoshi’ in Honor of Bitcoin’s Creator

A statue of bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, was unveiled Thursday in the capital of Hungary, Budapest. It is located in Graphisoft Park. According to the initiative’s website:

The goal of the statue is to honor Satoshi Nakamoto … his work is truly something to be remembered. Not just because of its significance in the world of IT, but because of its value for humanity in general.

“Satoshi’s statue represents a general human figure, since we do not know the gender, race, age, height of the mysterious developer,” the website describes. “Satoshi is wearing a hoodie, with the Bitcoin logo on its chest. The statue is made of bronze, the face is made of a special bronze-aluminium composite, thus every visitor can see their own face when looking at Satoshi. We are all Satoshi.”

We Are All Satoshi: Statue of Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto Unveiled in Hungary
Statue of Satoshi Nakamoto in Hungary. Source: statueofsatoshi.com

The basic idea for a Satoshi statue came from András Györfi, editor of Hungarian crypto news site Kripto Akadémia. He said the statue is an effort to raise awareness of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.

The statue is the work of two Hungarian sculptors, Gergely Réka and Tamás Gilly. They sought to portray a human form while staying true to the anonymity of Satoshi Nakamoto.

Gilly told the Associated Press:

It was a big challenge. It is very difficult to make a portrait sculpture of a person that we don’t know exactly what they look like. I hope that through the language of sculpture I have managed to convey the basic idea of Bitcoin, that it belongs to everyone and no one at the same time.

What do you think about this statue of Satoshi Nakamoto? Let us know in the comments section below.

Korean Government Says 28 Crypto Exchanges Have Met Regulatory Requirements to Continue Operations

Korean Government Says 28 Crypto Exchanges Have Met Regulatory Requirements

The deadline for cryptocurrency exchanges to meet the requirements to continue operations under new crypto regulations in South Korea is rapidly approaching. A total of 28 cryptocurrency exchanges have reportedly been cleared by the regulators to remain open. However, only four crypto exchanges have met the requirements to offer trading in Korean won.

28 Cryptocurrency Exchanges Meet Regulatory Requirements

South Korea’s financial authorities have released a list of 28 cryptocurrency exchanges that have met the regulatory requirements to stay open past Sept. 24 under the country’s new crypto regulations.

The amended Act on Reporting and Using Specified Financial Transaction Information requires cryptocurrency exchanges to obtain Information Security Management System (ISMS) certification by Sept. 24 and report to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), a division of the Financial Services Commission (FSC). Crypto exchanges that fail to do so must cease operations by Sept. 24.

Jeon Yo-seop, head of FIU’s Planning and Coordination Office, explained that given the approaching deadline:

It is unlikely that there will be additional certified virtual asset trading platforms.

The 28 exchanges that have been ISMS-certified include Gopax, Upbit, Korbit, Coinone, Bithumb, Hanbitco, Casherest, Tennten, Dove Wallet, Flybit, Gdak, Aprobit, Huobi, Coin&coin, Probit, Borabit, Coredax, and Okbit.

However, in order for crypto exchanges to offer trading in Korean won (KRW), they must also partner with banks to offer customers real-name verification deposit/withdrawal accounts.

So far, only the country’s top four crypto exchanges — Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit — have been able to secure partnerships with banks, which have been reluctant to partner with crypto exchanges due to risks including money laundering.

Crypto businesses that do not have banking partners to provide real-name verification deposit/withdrawal accounts must terminate the trading in the KRW market even if they have received ISMS certification. That means 24 out of the 28 exchanges will be crypto-only exchanges.

Financial authorities in South Korea have also distributed business closure guidelines to the cryptocurrency industry. Exchanges must notify users of the expected closing date and how they can withdraw their funds at least seven days before the closing date. They must also provide a window of at least 30 days from the closing date to allow users to withdraw their funds. Korean authorities are also reportedly monitoring crypto exchanges that are likely to shut down to ensure they return funds to customers.

What do you think about the 28 crypto exchanges meeting regulatory requirements? Let us know in the comments section below.

US Senator Requests Government Agencies Step Up Efforts to Prosecute Criminal Use of Cryptocurrencies

US Senator Requests Government Agencies Step Up Efforts to Prosecute Criminal Use of Cryptocurrencies

U.S. Senator Margaret Hassan has requested that government agencies take “additional targeted steps to prevent and prosecute the use of cryptocurrency for criminal purposes.” She expressed her concern over “the rise in the use of cryptocurrency for criminal purposes.”

US Senator Requests Agencies Take Steps to Prevent and Prosecute Use of Crypto for Criminal Purposes

U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan wrote a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland expressing her concern about the criminal use of cryptocurrencies Thursday. Garland is the 86th U.S. attorney general, the nation’s chief law enforcement officer who leads the Department of Justice (DOJ). Senator Hasan wrote:

I write to express my concern over the rise in the use of cryptocurrency for criminal purposes, and request that your agencies take additional targeted steps to prevent and prosecute the use of cryptocurrency for criminal purposes.

The letter was also forwarded to Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); Charles Rettig, commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); Gary Gensler, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); and Himamauli Das, acting director of the Financial Crime Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

In her letter, Hassan brought up that the town of Peterborough in New Hampshire suffered a cyberattack last month and $2.3 million in taxpayer dollars were stolen, noting that most of the funds were converted into cryptocurrencies.

The senator from New Hampshire asserted:

The anonymity provided by cryptocurrency has helped facilitate its use by criminals in a myriad of ways. These uses include drug sales over the dark web, payments for ransomware attacks, tax evasion, financing for terrorism and organized crime, money laundering, and more.

She then pointed out that decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges have less strict know-your-customer (KYC) requirements than centralized ones, emphasizing that “some have no KYC requirements at all.” The senator then referred to “Recent studies [which] have found that many exchanges, both centralized and decentralized, have weak KYC requirements.”

Hassan opined: “It is clear that more robust KYC requirements for cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency kiosks, and OTC cryptocurrency trading desks could improve transparency in the U.S. and global cryptocurrency markets, and lead other countries to follow our lead in requiring KYC information for users on these services.” She elaborated:

This in turn could prevent illicit use of this novel financial technology while allowing the legitimate use of cryptocurrencies to flourish as a whole.

The senator concluded her letter by asking the attorney general eight questions, many of which were about additional authority needed to regulate cryptocurrency trading.

She also asked whether “additional civil or criminal penalties” would aid the agencies’ “efforts to prevent and prosecute the criminal use of cryptocurrency.”

What do you think about the request by Senator Hassan? Let us know in the comments section below.

ECB President Christine Lagarde Insists Cryptos Are Not Currencies, Calls Them Highly Speculative, Suspicious

The president of the European Central Bank (ECB), Christine Lagarde, says cryptos are not currencies, adding that they are “highly speculative, suspicious occasionally, and high intensity in terms of energy consumption.” She also discussed the need for stablecoin regulation and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

Lagarde: ‘Cryptos Are Not Currencies. Full Stop’

ECB President Christine Lagarde shared her view on cryptocurrency, stablecoins, and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) in an interview with Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein, published Thursday.

Lagarde was asked whether “cryptocurrencies are a plus for the global economy” or whether it is too early to tell.

The ECB chief promptly replied: “Cryptos are not currencies, full stop. Cryptos are highly speculative assets that claim their fame as currency, possibly, but they’re not. They are not.” She continued:

I think we have to distinguish between cryptos that are those highly speculative, suspicious occasionally, and high intensity in terms of energy consumption assets, but they’re not a currency.

Lagarde proceeded to discuss stablecoins. “On the other hand, you have those stablecoins that are beginning to proliferate, which some big techs are trying to promote and push along the way, which are a different animal and need to be regulated, where there has to be oversight that corresponds to the business that they’re actually conducting, irrespective of how they name themselves.”

The ECB president then addressed the subject of central bank digital currencies. “And in all that you have the central banks who are prompted by a demand of customers to produce something that will make the central bank and central bank digital currencies fit for the century we are in, which is why we are not all looking at CBDC.”

She explained that “instead of having banknotes and cash in our pockets in our wallets, we can have exactly the same thing but in a digital form so all of us are working on this and certainly I was keen to push the issue, the CBDC issue, on our agenda because I believe that we have to stand ready for that.”

She was also asked whether the ECB’s CBDC would be “to the exclusion of paper currencies or it would be side by side.” Lagarde replied:

Side by side, because we want customers to have their preference. If they still want to hold those banknotes and cash, fine, and it should continue to be available and around.

What do you think about the comments by ECB Chief Christine Lagarde? Let us know in the comments section below.

US Lawmakers Propose to Subject Cryptocurrencies to Wash Sale Rule

US Lawmakers Propose to Subject Cryptocurrencies to Wash Sale Rule

A committee of the U.S. House of Representatives has proposed to subject cryptocurrencies to the “wash sale” rule. Since cryptocurrencies are treated as property by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), they are currently not subject to the wash sale rule. This proposal attempts to close down a big crypto tax loophole.

Crypto Included in New Proposal

The Committee on Ways and Means, the chief tax-writing committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, proposed to subject cryptocurrencies to the wash sale rule Monday. If adopted, the rules will apply to crypto trades occurring after Dec. 31.

The “wash sales” provision in the bill states:

This section includes commodities, currencies, and digital assets in the wash sale rule, an anti-abuse rule previously applicable to stock and other securities. The wash sale rule in section 1091 prevents taxpayers from claiming tax losses while retaining an interest in the loss asset.

The wash-sale rule was designed to discourage people from selling securities at a loss simply to claim a tax benefit. A wash sale occurs when an individual sells a security at a loss and then purchases that same security or substantially identical securities within 30 days.

Shehan Chandrasekera, head of Tax Strategy at crypto tax software firm Cointracker, commented that with this wash sale proposal, the committee “is trying to close down a big crypto tax loophole.” He elaborated:

Since cryptocurrencies are treated as property (IRS 2014-21), they are not subject to the wash sale rule. This allows you to harvest losses more aggressively in crypto than in stocks. You don’t have to wait 30 days. Ways & Means Committee is trying to subject crypto to the wash sale rule.

According to Chandrasekera, “the new rules will not eliminate the tax benefit, it will defer the tax benefit.”

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

Coinbase Files to Offer Cryptocurrency Futures and Derivatives Trading

Coinbase Files to Offer Cryptocurrency Futures and Derivatives Trading

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has filed an application with the National Futures Association (NFA) to offer futures and derivatives trading on its platform. The exchange says its new offerings aim to “Further grow the cryptoeconomy.”

Coinbase Registers to Offer Crypto Futures and Derivatives Trading

Coinbase Global Inc. (Nasdaq: COIN) announced Wednesday via Twitter that it has filed an application with the National Futures Association (NFA) to register as a Futures Commission Merchant (FCM). The exchange wrote:

This is the next step to broaden our offerings and offer futures and derivatives trading on our platforms.

The exchange added that its goal is to “Further grow the cryptoeconomy.” The filing shows that the company is registered as Coinbase Financial Markets Inc.

Crypto derivatives have become a huge market and most major cryptocurrency exchanges offer derivatives trading, including Binance, Okex, FTX, CME Group, and Kraken.

In April, Coinbase announced that it had acquired Skew, a crypto data analytics firm that specializes in tracking the derivatives market.

Coinbase is currently raising funds by issuing bonds. Initially, the company planned to issue $1.5 billion worth of senior notes. However, due to high interest, it has raised the amount to $2 billion. Coinbase said it intends to use the net proceeds from the offering “for general corporate purposes, which may include continued investments in product development, as well as potential investments in or acquisitions of other companies, products, or technologies that Coinbase may identify in the future.”

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SEC Chair Gensler: ‘We Don’t Have Enough Investor Protection in Crypto Finance, Issuance, Trading, or Lending’

SEC Chair Gensler: 'We Don’t Have Enough Investor Protection in Crypto Finance, Issuance, Trading, or Lending'

The chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler, explained that there is not enough investor protection in cryptocurrency. He added that the securities regulator needs more funding and manpower to effectively regulate the crypto sector.

SEC Chair Gensler Says More Funding Needed to Regulate Crypto Space

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler detailed his agency’s approach to regulating cryptocurrencies before the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday. He assured senators that the SEC is working overtime to create a regulatory framework for crypto assets.

Noting the enormity of the task, he told Senator Catherine Cortez Masto that the SEC could use “a lot more people” to evaluate the 6,000 digital “projects” and determine whether they are securities under the U.S. securities law. He said:

Currently, we just don’t have enough investor protection in crypto finance, issuance, trading, or lending. Frankly, at this time, it’s more like the Wild West or the old world of ‘buyer beware’ that existed before the securities laws were enacted.

Senator Pat Toomey, the committee’s ranking member, pressed Gensler over whether stablecoins meet the definition of securities. He emphasized:

I think we need clarity on this. I think you should publicly disclose this … And we certainly shouldn’t be taking enforcement action against somebody without having first provided that clarity.

Gensler has insisted that the rules on cryptocurrencies are clear. “We have a set of investor protection laws in this country … that was laid out in the 1930s where Congress wanted to protect the public against fraud and other bad actors … I think the laws [on cryptocurrencies] are clear,” he told CNBC Wednesday. “The case law, the Supreme Court’s weighed in on this multiple times and that many of these tokens do come under the securities laws.”

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AMC Confirms Plan to Accept Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash

AMC Announces Plan to Accept Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash

The world’s largest movie exhibition company, AMC Entertainment, has announced its plan to accept cryptocurrencies by year-end. AMC CEO Adam Aron says the entertainment giant will accept bitcoin, ether, litecoin, and bitcoin cash.

AMC Prepares to Accept Cryptocurrencies

AMC, the largest movie exhibition company in the U.S., Europe, and the world, has unveiled its plan to accept cryptocurrencies by the end of the year. As of March 31, AMC owned or operated approximately 950 theaters and 10,500 screens globally.

AMC CEO Adam Aron tweeted Wednesday:

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts: you likely know @AMCTheatres has announced we will accept bitcoin for online ticket and concession payments by year-end 2021. I can confirm today that when we do so, we also expect that we similarly will accept ethereum, litecoin and bitcoin cash.

AMC unveiled its plan to accept bitcoin during an earnings call in August. The CEO detailed on Twitter at the time: “By year end, we will have the technology in place to use Apple Pay and Google Pay in our online ticketing, and in a breakthrough, we also expect by year end to accept payment online in bitcoin. That’s a historic step for AMC.”

His tweet continues: “I see that many of you are crypto enthusiasts. AMC is pleased to get out in front, by planning to accept payment online in bitcoin.” Aron clarified:

If it remains safe and reliable to use, it would seem that cryptocurrency will get even more important in future years.

What do you think about AMC accepting cryptocurrencies by year-end? Let us know in the comments section below.