Prolific Bitcoin Dealer ‘Blew a Giant Hole’ Through US Legal Framework

Prolific Bitcoin Dealer 'Blew a Giant Hole' Through US Legal Framework

A Mexico-based “prolific bitcoin dealer” has been indicted and held without bond in the US on a number of international money laundering charges. He used Bitfinex for his exchange needs after Coinbase closed his account. His “activities ‘blew a giant hole’ through the legal framework of U.S. anti-money laundering laws,” the Department of Justice wrote.

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

Bitcoin Dealer Indicted

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Friday that a bitcoin dealer, Jacob Burrell Campos, was indicted for international money laundering and is being held without bond. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Ciaffa said during Burrell’s bond hearing on August 17 that:

Burrell was a prolific bitcoin dealer who sold approximately $750,000 worth of bitcoin to hundreds of buyers throughout the United States. He conducted 971 separate transactions with over 900 individual customers, and accepted cash in person, through his bank accounts, and through Moneygram.

Prolific Bitcoin Dealer 'Blew a Giant Hole' Through US Legal FrameworkCiaffa told the court that Burrell operated as a “bitcoin exchanger” and his activities constituted a money transmitting business. He was therefore required to register with the Department of Treasury and comply with all anti-money laundering requirements including “reporting suspicious cash transactions.”

However, Ciaffa claimed that Burrell accepted cash “with no questions asked,” adding that he “supplied hundreds of individuals with an easy outlet to avoid the anti-money laundering laws applicable to all financial institutions, including licensed and registered bitcoin exchanges,” for a 5% fee.

The indictment states that Burrell sent 28 wire transfers totaling over $900,000 from his bank accounts in the U.S. to a bank account in the name of Bitfinex in Taiwan. Ciaffa elaborated:

Burrell sent the money from the United States to buy bitcoin and fund his business. With these and other funds, Burrell bought over $3 million worth of bitcoin in over 2,600 transactions. Burrell resorted to buying bitcoin through Bitfinex after his account was closed by Coinbase, a U.S.-based bitcoin exchange, for circumventing its ID verification process.

Blowing Giant Hole Through US Legal Framework

Prolific Bitcoin Dealer 'Blew a Giant Hole' Through US Legal FrameworkBorn in San Diego, Burrell lives in Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico. He was arrested on August 13 while trying to enter the U.S. from Mexico. The 21-year-old “was ordered held without bail today in connection with a 31-count indictment charging him with operating an illegal money transmitting business, failing to maintain an anti-money laundering program, international money laundering and conspiracy to structure monetary transactions,” the DOJ announcement reads.

The indictment also charges him with conspiracy to structure the importation of monetary instruments. Ciaffa told the court that “Burrell agreed with others to smuggle over $1 million in U.S. dollars into the United States from Mexico, in amounts slightly less than $10,000, in order to avoid the currency reporting requirements.”

The Justice Department reported the assistant U.S. attorney saying:

Burrell’s activities ‘blew a giant hole’ through the legal framework of U.S. anti-money laundering laws by soliciting and introducing into the U.S. banking system close to $1 million in unregulated cash.

Prolific Bitcoin Dealer 'Blew a Giant Hole' Through US Legal FrameworkU.S. Magistrate Judge Karen S. Crawford “ordered him held without bail,” citing that he has “significant ties to Mexico, citizenship in three countries, no steady employment in the United States, the ability to access large sums of cash, and a disdain and unwillingness to comply with U.S. laws.” She, therefore, “concluded that Burrell posed a substantial risk of flight.”

According to the DOJ, the 31 counts in the indictment against Burrell carry different prison terms and fines. The first count carries a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The second carries ten years in prison and a $500,000 fine. The third through 30th counts, for the charge of international money laundering, carry “twenty years in prison for each count, [and a] $500,000 fine.” The last count carries five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. However, the Justice Department clarified that the charges and allegations “are merely accusations” and the defendant is “considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

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


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Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware Wallet

Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware Wallet

In South Korea, Bithumb was visited by officials of the Mongolian government. Upbit is offering free training leading up to its developer conference. A public company has unveiled a hardware wallet as it enters the crypto space. Meanwhile, hacked crypto exchange Coinrail has launched an international service for non-Korean customers, and a US bitcoin ATM operator plans to enter the Korean market.

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

Mongolian Government Officials Visit Bithumb

Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware WalletSenior officials of the Mongolian government visited Bithumb’s headquarters on August 16, local media reported. They were trying to determine the feasibility of using blockchain and cryptocurrency in solar energy businesses in Mongolia. The Korea Economic Daily elaborated:

What they have focused on is the possibility of virtual currency remittance and payment functions and blockchain technology. Mongolia is seeking to utilize blockchains and virtual currency to activate new energy projects such as solar power generation at the government level.

“With the visit of high-ranking officials of the government, it is possible that Bithumb will pursue a business alliance with the Mongolian government or establish a local corporation,” the publication noted.

Ksign Launching Hardware Wallet

Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware Wallet
Ksine’s CEO, Choi Seung-rak, introducing Touch x Wallet.

Kosdaq-listed company Ksine Inc. has commenced its cryptocurrency business with the launch of a hardware wallet called Touch x Wallet, the company announced on August 16.

Touch x Wallet uses locally developed fingerprint authentication technology and has a built-in battery. It can store up to 10 cryptocurrencies – including bitcoin, ether, and ripple – which the company plans to expand to about 50 by the second half of next year, Cctvnews reported. The wallet also has high-resolution electronic paper (e-paper) to display QR codes of addresses and allows users to check their balances.

Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware Wallet

Upbit’s Crypto Training and Developer Conference

Dunamu Inc, the operator of South Korea’s major crypto exchange Upbit, announced on August 16 that it is holding a free crypto and blockchain training for the public on September 12. This is a pre-program leading to Upbit Developer Conference which will take place on September 13 and 14 at the Jeju Creative Economy and Innovation Center.

Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware WalletThe class consists of two parts. The first focuses on the origin and history of blockchain and cryptocurrency. The second focuses on the theory and practice of blockchain including the basic understanding of Ethereum and Lambda chain, solidity and Dapp development, and smart contracts.

Recently, the governor of Jeju Island requested the central government to designate the island a special zone for blockchains and cryptocurrency.

Coinrail Launches International Service

Coinrail, which was hacked on June 10 and resumed services on July 15, announced last week that it has officially launched the Coinrail international service for non-Korean users. Foreigners can now access the exchange’s crypto-to-crypto markets. The service is available in English.

Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware Wallet

Coinme Rolling out Bitcoin ATMs in Korea

Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware WalletU.S. bitcoin ATM (BTM) operator Coinme revealed on August 16 that it is “seeking to roll out its service in Korea before the year-end,” the Investor reported.

Currently, the company’s ATMs are in 67 locations across the U.S., the new outlet noted, adding that “Coinme said it is eying Asia as the next spot for expansion, specifically focusing on Korea and other countries in the region, including Hong Kong and Singapore.”

CEO Neil Bergquist was quoted saying:

We have seen really promising interest in Coinme from Korea…There’s a large and sophisticated cryptocurrency community which understands the potential of a token tied to real world applications.

“The Coinme ecosystem also seeks to offer massively reduced transaction costs, so we see real synergies with the Korean market,” he added.

What do you think of all the crypto activities going on in South Korea? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Zdnet, Bithumb, Upbit, Coinrail, Ksine, and Coinme.


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Venezuelans to Be Paid at Least Half a Petro a Month

Venezuelans to Be Paid at Least Half a Petro a Month

Announcing a 60-fold increase of the minimum monthly salary, President Maduro promised Venezuelans they will be paid at least 0.5 petro, once his monetary reforms are in place next week. The national crypto will be exchanged at a rate of $60 USD and the new “sovereign bolivar” will be pegged to the digital coin.   

Also read: This Fall May Bring More Crypto-Friendly Jurisdictions

1 Petro = 60 Dollars = 1 Barrel

Venezuelans to Be Paid at Least Half a Petro a Month
Nicolás Maduro

Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro revealed the fixed price of the country’s cryptocurrency, the petro, and a new minimum wage as part of a package of measures aimed at improving the socio-economic conditions in the South American country. The policies will be implemented on Monday, when the new, denominated brolivar will be introduced to replace the highly inflated national fiat.

Starting from August 20, 1 PTR will be officially exchanged for $60 US dollars – approximately the value of a barrel of oil on the international markets. The state-issued digital coin can also be purchased with the newly issued “sovereign bolivar” which takes away five zeros from the current “strong bolivar.” One petro will cost 3,600 new bolivars (now 360 million).

With inflation expected to reach 1 million percent by the end of the year, according to the IMF, bolívar fuerte is one of the fastest depreciating national currencies in the world. However, the new bolívar soberano will be “anchored” to El Petro, the oil-backed cryptocurrency introduced by the administration of the leftist Venezuelan leader earlier this year.

60-Fold Increase of the Minimum Salary

President Maduro also announced that the minimum monthly wage in the country will be raised to 0.5 PTR, 1,800 sovereign bolivars or $30 USD. That’s 60 times more than the current 3 million old bolivars (30 after the denomination). The Venezuelan head of state also said the government will compensate small and medium-sized enterprises for the difference in the basic wages in the next 90 days. It will also raise the VAT from 12 to 16 percent.

The changes come after Nicolás Maduro shared his intentions to denominate the bolivar back in March. The new banknotes were expected to have three zeros less than the current and were supposed to be issued in early June. The monetary conversion was subsequently postponed and in late July Venezuelan authorities announced that the petro-pegged bolivar will be introduced on August 20, getting rid of five zeros.

State Retaking Control of Economy

Venezuelans to Be Paid at Least Half a Petro a MonthEarlier this week, the Venezuelan president said that starting from Monday his economically troubled country will have two official units of account – the petro, and the sovereign bolivar. The old and the new version of the national fiat will be circulating together for some time before the “strong bolivar” is phased out.

Maduro assured his compatriots that Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) and all public and private banks already had the new banknotes and were actively preparing to implement the changes. He added that besides salaries, pricing will also be adjusted and the price ceiling mechanism will be restored. On Friday, the president warned merchants there would be no excuses for any price hikes. Quoted by El Nacional, he stated:

There has to be a government, we have to retake the regulatory role, the authority of the state and the government to enforce economic rules.

Venezuela issued the petro in February becoming the first nation to adopt its own cryptocurrency. The crypto is backed by its oil reserves, one of the largest in the world. Caracas has been trying to introduce the coin in bilateral trade with countries like Russia and India but official agreements have not been reached yet.

According to resent reports, the Islamic Republic of Iran, another country hit by US lsanctions with which Venezuela maintains close relations, is stepping up efforts to develop its cryptocurrency. Iranian government wants to use the coin to circumvent the restrictions reimposed by Washington this month which are mainly targeting its ability to acquire US dollars.

What do you think will be the effect of the reforms Maduro’s administration is introducing? Share your opinions in the comments section below.


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Korean Government: 11 out of 21 Crypto Exchanges Complete Security Measures

Korean Government: 11 out of 21 Crypto Exchanges Complete Security Measures

The South Korean government has announced the outcome of its inspection of 21 cryptocurrency exchanges. While a number of exchanges have completed implementing both short-term and wallet management measures, many security vulnerabilities remain at most exchanges.

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

21 Exchanges Inspected

Korean Government: 11 out of 21 Crypto Exchanges Complete Security MeasuresSouth Korea’s government has announced the result of its mid-term review of 21 cryptocurrency exchanges. The inspection was conducted in June and July by the Korea Internet and Security Agency (KISA) and the Korean Ministry of Science and Technology.

KISA security experts visited each exchange to check on the 85 items identified during its previous crypto exchange inspection, conducted between January and March. They focused on 17 items which needed immediate implementation; six were short-term measures and 11 concerned crypto wallet management.

Korean Government: 11 out of 21 Crypto Exchanges Complete Security Measures“Intermediate checks were carried out in such a way as to confirm whether improvements had been made, focusing on the 17 security items recommended for quick action,” the government explained. These items include dedicated security and management staff, a password management system, crypto deposit and withdrawal controls, and a system to monitor wallets for abnormalities.

The agencies revealed that 11 out of 21 exchanges have completed the short-term measures. In addition, eight of them have also improved their wallet management systems. The eight are Upbit, Bithumb, Korbit, Coinnest, Coinlink, Coinone, Coinplug, and Huobi Korea, local media detailed. The government reiterated:

In the management of virtual currency wallets, most of the vulnerabilities in the business have not yet been improved.

Furthermore, twelve companies have been found to have insufficient security procedures to prevent data leakage and loss of funds from their cold wallets. Ten companies have inadequate systems to monitor hot wallets for suspicious activities. In addition, at least ten businesses lack wallet backup and recovery measures.

Further Inspections Planned

The final check on the implementation of recommended measures will be carried out next month, the agencies noted, adding that any new crypto exchanges will also be inspected.

Korean Government: 11 out of 21 Crypto Exchanges Complete Security Measures“Because of the weak security of virtual currency exchanges, we should be careful in investing,” Kim Jong-sam, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Information and Communication, commented. “We will continue to check virtual currency exchanges to improve security.”

Referencing the hack of Coinrail and Bithumb in June, KISA described that “the leakage of virtual currency due to the hacking of recent dealers has directly led to the damage of users,” adding that after checking 85 security items, “there are many dealers with low security.”

Emphasizing that they have been asking crypto exchanges to “improve security levels by completing the recommendations for improvement,” the agencies revealed:

We plan to support the improvement of the security level of the dealers through continuous inspection of the dealers.

What do you think of the Korean government’s review? Let us know in the comments section below.


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The Daily: Husbands Blackmailed for Bitcoin, Blockchain This and That

The Daily: Husbands Blackmailed for Bitcoin, Blockchain This and That

Scammers are threatening to reveal cheating husbands to their wives and asking for bitcoin ransom – check the details in this edition of The Daily. A porn streaming website now rewards its users with tokens, and hair sprays are sold for BTC and BCH. Also, find out what Brits think about blockchain and learn about the latest incarnations of the technology.

Also read: Binance Launches in Liechtenstein, ZB.com Opens Office in Malta

Scammers Threaten Cheating Husbands, Ask for Bitcoin

The Daily: Husbands Blackmailed for Bitcoin, Blockchain This and ThatThe U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has recently issued a warning about new scams involving cryptocurrency: fraudsters have been sending letters threatening to reveal cheating husbands to their wives and relatives unless they are paid thousands of dollars in bitcoin (BTC). The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) says there’s been a significant increase in the number of extortion attempts of this kind.

A variety of scenarios have been reported but the scammers usually accuse people of cheating and visiting porn sites, and claim to possess other compromising information as well. Threats like “I know about the secret you are keeping from your wife” and “I installed malware on the adult video site” are often part of the correspondence.

People’s personal data like names, usernames, or passwords is included to intimidate the targeted individuals. In most cases, the recipient is instructed to pay a ransom in bitcoin. The Bureau asks victims to reach out to the local FBI office and file a complaint with the IC3 at www.ic3.gov, providing any relevant information including the extortion email and the BTC address.

Porn Site Rewards Viewers with Tokens

Speaking about earthly temptations, a leading adult website now wants to reward its users with cryptocurrency. Tube8, a subsidiary of Pornhub, one of the largest platforms in the genre which boasts over 150 million page visits a month, is now moving onto the blockchain. The porn streaming service told Hard Fork it is tokenizing itself through a partnership with Vice Industry Token (VIT). According to the report, the deal will allow users to earn VIT tokens while enjoying the Tube8 videos.

The Daily: Husbands Blackmailed for Bitcoin, Blockchain This and That

The transformation is scheduled to take place by the end of the year, promising to turn Tube8 into the very first major adult platform to pay its users for their activity in cryptos. By doing so, Pornhub, which is already accepting payments in verge, tron and zencash, is truly spearheading crypto adoption and blockchain implementation in the adult industry, taking advantage of the anonymity provided by cryptocurrencies, which is important for its customers.

Something for the Ladies: Buy Hairspray with Bitcoin

The Daily: Husbands Blackmailed for Bitcoin, Blockchain This and ThatThinking about finding new intersections between beauty and technology, beyond formula or packaging, R+Co, the beauty collective founded by stylists Howard McLaren, Thom Priano, and Garren, is now incorporating bitcoin core (BTC) and bitcoin cash (BCH) payments into its business, The Cut reports. The team thinks it’s a logical next step.

Once you decide to pay for your hairspray with any of these leading cryptocurrencies, “The Culture of Hairdressing” promises a simple online checkout experience. After providing billing and shipping information, ladies will be prompted to choose a payment method and they can opt to spend cryptocurrency instead of reaching for the credit card. Selecting the bitcoin option will transfer them to Bitpay where they need to complete the purchase within 15 minutes. Excited about the new service, R+Co’s president Dan Langer said:

Blockchain technology is going to be one of the future disruptors in the beauty industry. It will allow consumers the ability to leverage their data and purchase behavior in all kinds of new shopping ways… from reviews to rewards to product benefits. In order to stay at the forefront of this emerging thinking we wanted to integrate components of it while still in its early stages – like paying with Bitcoin – and learn with it as it evolves.

Blockchain This, Blockchain That

Bitcoin payments – that’s fine, but “blockchain” is not something everyone accepts without prejudice. Almost half of Brits, for example, wouldn’t trust an organization using it, new research from IP EXPO Europe has discovered. The authors have found that over a third of British people (35%) would not trust a company employing the technology to keep their information secure. The main reason for their mistrust is not knowing what blockchain really is.

Another 11% of the respondents in the poll conducted by One Pulse, who believe they know what blockchain is, would also not trust an organization that’s using it. Both figures represent almost half of UK citizens. Add to that the 28% who say they wouldn’t trust a firm using any technology they don’t understand and you’ll realize how important it is for businesses to ensure they don’t confuse their customers while trying to improve their technical capabilities or simply riding the wave of the crypto craze.

The Daily: Husbands Blackmailed for Bitcoin, Blockchain This and That

Nevertheless, the blockchain mania goes on and this week produced a number of examples. We learned that Italian insurance companies are testing a blockchain-based solution to resolve disputes involving car-liability claims, Wyoming farmers want to use the distributed ledger technology to track what their cattle eats and then brand their beef as superior, blockchain-proof probably, and the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation has developed a blockchain platform to improve electronic invoicing… What? Oh, and “China’s first blockchain social network is the brainchild of a 24-year-old female poker player,” mainstream media informed us.

Realizing the importance of blockchain education, Hong Kong authorities have granted $20 million USD to several local universities that are expected to use the funds to finance the research and development of blockchain-based payments systems. And in the Philippines, one of the oldest universities, Ateneo de Manila, is partnering with a healthcare service provider to set up a research laboratory powered by blockchain. All this is happening after Turkey’s Bahçeşehir University inaugurated the country’s first blockchain innovation center. Yes, a lot of education is needed when it comes to blockchain.

What are your thoughts on today’s news tidbits? Tell us in the comments section below.


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US Judge Orders Alleged Hacker to Pay Bail in Cryptocurrency

US Judge Orders Alleged Hacker to Pay Bail in Cryptocurrency

A US federal judge has ordered an alleged hacker to pay the equivalent of $750,000 in cryptocurrency for bail. The man was charged with hacking video game company Electronic Arts (EA), obtaining in-game currency used to buy and sell in-game items, and selling access to online games though black-market websites.

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

Judge Orders Bail Payment in Crypto

US Judge Orders Alleged Hacker to Pay Bail in CryptocurrencyFederal Judge Jacqueline Corley has ordered a “hacker charged with illegally accessing computer network of [a] Bay Area company” to pay bail in cryptocurrency, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced last week.

Martin Marsich, a 25-year-old Serbian and Italian national whose last known residence was in Udine, Italy, was arrested at the San Francisco International Airport on August 8 while boarding a flight to Serbia. At the federal court in San Francisco where he made his first appearance the next day, the DOJ described:

Magistrate Judge Corley ordered Marsich released to a half-way house on the condition that he post the equivalent of $750,000 in cryptocurrency for bail.

Judge Corley was frequently in the news last November for ruling in favor of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) against Coinbase. She ordered the crypto exchange to turn over information about U.S. taxpayers who conducted crypto transactions during the years 2013 to 2015.

The Case and FBI Complaint

A Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent filed an affidavit in connection with the criminal complaint against Marsich on March 25. It states that “a video-game company headquartered in the Bay Area discovered that an individual had illegally accessed its internal computer network and granted access to parts of the company’s systems,” the Justice Department conveyed. “The intruder, later identified as Marsich, gained access to 25,000 accounts that allow customers to purchase items for use in video games.”

US Judge Orders Alleged Hacker to Pay Bail in CryptocurrencyFurthermore, the FBI complaint outlines that “Marsich allegedly used some of the information he obtained from the computer system to obtain in-game currency, used to buy and sell in-game items.” He was also accused of selling “access to the on-line game on black-market websites.”

According to the Daily Post, the Bay Area company is Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), a well-known American video game company headquartered in Redwood City, California. “After making the discovery of the intrusion, the company allegedly closed the stolen accounts and suffered a loss of approximately $324,000,” the DOJ further revealed, adding:

The complaint charges Marsich with intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization to obtain information for the purposes of commercial advantage and private financial gain…and accessing a protected computer to defraud and obtain anything of value.

While clarifying that “a complaint merely alleges that crimes have been committed,” the agency noted that “If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution if appropriate for each violation.”

Why Did the Judge Order Payment in Crypto?

US Judge Orders Alleged Hacker to Pay Bail in CryptocurrencySan Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe was quoted by the Daily Post saying that he “had never heard of anyone bailing out of jail with cryptocurrency in any courtroom.” While acknowledging that cryptocurrency is now acceptable in a federal court, he believes that “a cryptocurrency bail would fly in San Mateo County Superior Court.”

Although the DOJ’s announcement does not specify the reason for bail payment in crypto, U.S. Assistant District Attorney Abraham Simmons explained that “judges can order many kinds of bail, including real estate owned by another person,” the publication conveyed and quoted him describing:

The judge could order just about anything…It really is quite broad…What the objective is is to get the defendant to comply with an order to appear later.

Simmons also said he was “certain” that if the value of the cryptocurrency were to fluctuate dramatically, either party could file a motion to change the bail amount. “I would imagine that either side would alert the court of an extreme change in the value of the asset, but it doesn’t mean that the court would care one way or the other.”

What do you think of Judge Corley ordering bail payment in cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Huobi Launches Partner Exchanges in Russia, Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, Canada

Huobi Launches Partner Exchanges in Russia, Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, Canada

Chinese exchange Huobi and its partners are launching cryptocurrency exchanges in five regions: the Philippines, Russia, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Canada. Partners “share Huobi’s order integration system, wallet system, asset management and clearing systems.” The exchange in Manila has launched with trading in three markets with over 40 trading pairs.

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

Five Partners, Five New Exchanges

Chinese digital asset and service provider Huobi has announced that it has chosen five partners to launch cryptocurrency exchanges in five regions.

Huobi Launches Partner Exchanges in Russia, Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, CanadaHuobi is one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, with a 24-hour trading volume of $915,183,234 at the time of this writing, according to Coinmarketcap. With offices in Singapore, the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Australia, Huobi claims to serve millions of users in over 130 countries.

The five partners are Yatai International Holding Group, Vnesheconombank, Chi Fu Group, Asia International Finance Holdings (AIF) and Dbank Group, according to South China Morning Post. Each partner will utilize Huobi Cloud to set up a new cryptocurrency exchange in “the Philippines, Russia, Taiwan, Indonesia and Canada, respectively,” the publication added.

Huobi clarified on Thursday:

Corporate partners also share Huobi’s order integration system, wallet system, asset management and clearing systems; in addition to Huobi Global’s world-leading depth, liquidity and market data.

The company officially launched Huobi Cloud on July 20, aimed at “enabling its partners to build secure and stable digital asset exchanges quickly.”

Launch Schedule

Huobi has provided a rough schedule for when the new exchanges will be launched by its partners. The exchange in Bali, Indonesia, will be launched on August 22. The one in Taiwan will be called Shubao Digital Asset Exchange and will be launched on August 26. The one in Moscow will be launched on September 3. The company has not provided the launch date for the exchange in Canada at press time.

The only exchange that has already been launched by one of the above partners is in the Philippines; it is called Huibi. Launched on August 12, it is headquartered in Manila and co-founded by Ya Tai International Holding Group.

Huobi Launches Partner Exchanges in Russia, Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, Canada
Huibi exchange in the Philippines.

Huibi lists three markets on its platform: USDT, BTC, and ETH. Eight trading pairs are available for the USDT market, seven for the BTC market, and 26 for the ETH market. There is no fiat support.

Huobi is also expanding its presence in the U.S. On Wednesday, August 15, the company announced that it “has entered into a strategic partnership, including a significant investment” with Openfinance Network, a US compliant security token trading platform launched earlier this summer. This follows Huobi’s recent attempt to enter the US market with the launch of Hbus exchange.

What do you think of Huobi and its partners launching exchanges in these countries? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Huibi, and Huobi.


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Coinbase now supports buying and selling Ethereum Classic

Coinbase has added a new buying option for its customers after the crypto exchange introduced Ethereum Classic to its collection.

The addition was first announced in July but Coinbase took its time to implement its newest addition following criticism over the way it added Bitcoin Cash last year. Allegations of insider trading led the company to investigate the incident which saw service outages and wild price fluctuations for Bitcoin Cash right after its addition to the exchange. It later introduced a framework for adding new tokens.

Nonetheless, Ethereum Classic’s value spiked 20 percent on last month’s news. Today, though, it is down two percent over the last 24 hours, according to Coinmarketcap.com.

Coinbase has taken a conservative approach to adding more crypto. Today’s addition takes it to five tokens — Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash are the others — but that’s likely to change this year. Last month, it announced it is “exploring” the addition of another five tokens while CTO Balaji Srinivasan hinted that the selection would grow further when I interviewed him at the recent TechCrunch blockchain event in Zug.

“We hear your requests, and are working hard to make more assets available to more customers around the world,” Dan Romero, who heads Coinbase’s consumer business, said in a blog post published today.

A note on Ethereum Classic — it was created in June 2016 following a major hack on The DAO, a fundraising vehicle for the project. In short: the Ethereum Foundation created a new version of Ethereum — known today as Ethereum — that rescued the lost funds, while those who opposed continued on with the original chain which was known as Ethereum Classic.

Note: The author owns a small amount of cryptocurrency. Enough to gain an understanding, not enough to change a life.

Regulations Roundup: This Fall May Bring More Crypto-Friendly Jurisdictions

Regulations Roundup: This Fall May Bring More Crypto-Friendly Jurisdictions

August is not the best period for important decisions but it seems a good time to sketch plans for the second active half of the year. Authorities in several countries have shared their intentions regarding the regulation and oversight of the crypto space. The club of crypto-friendly jurisdictions may accept new members this fall. Others may take a different route, at least for now.  

Also read: Malta Tops Exchange-Based Crypto Trade, Russia Leads in OTC Volume

Ukraine to Take Example from Switzerland, Malta, Gibraltar

Regulations Roundup: This Fall May Bring More Crypto-Friendly JurisdictionsKiev, which has postponed the adoption of crypto regulations for some time, has indicated its decision to follow the examples set by crypto-friendly jurisdictions like Switzerland, Malta, and Gibraltar. That’s according to comments made by Timur Khromaev, head of the country’s National Securities and Stock Market Commission (NSSMC).

Ukraine needs a law in order to become a leader in creating conditions for the development of the crypto market, he said, quoted by local and Russian media. Khromaev also believes that cryptocurrency is a financial instrument, before anything else, and insists that it should not be viewed as a means of payment. This presumption is a corner stone of the new regulatory concept adopted recently by Ukraine’s Financial Stability Council of which the NSSMC is a member. The high-ranking Ukrainian official also stated:

We plan to legally recognize cryptocurrencies as a financial assets and allow people to invest and use these financial instruments.

The next step, Khromaev added, will be to implement a mechanism for taxation and define the regulatory responsibilities of relevant government institutions. According to the NSSMC’s president, the new legislation, which is currently being developed in cooperation with Ukrainian deputies and representatives of the industry, is expected to be adopted by the end of the year or in early 2019.

New Russian Crypto Law Coming Soon, Official Says

Regulations Roundup: This Fall May Bring More Crypto-Friendly JurisdictionsAccording to Elina Sidorenko, head of the interdepartmental group assessing the risks associated with cryptocurrencies, the revamped Russian crypto legislation, which “takes into account earlier remarks, as well as the interests of the business and the financial regulators,” will be presented in the near future. The new draft will list “the rights, duties and responsibilities of participants in crypto-relations,” Sidorenko wrote in her Telegram channel.

In May, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, adopted three crypto bills on first reading – “On Digital Financial Assets,” “On Attracting Investments Using Investment Platforms,” and “On Digital Rights.” Deputies then attempted to synchronize the texts, taking out terms like “digital money” but keeping legal definitions such as “digital financial assets” and “digital rights.” The second and third reading of the bills were supposed to take place before July 1, as President Putin had ordered, but they were postponed for the new parliamentary session in September.

Latvia to Adopt a Law for Cryptocurrency Taxation

Regulations Roundup: This Fall May Bring More Crypto-Friendly JurisdictionsEarlier this year, Latvian authorities announced they were considering the possibility to recognize cryptocurrency as a means of exchange in order to impose tax on capital gains from crypto deals. Now, according to local media reports, the government in Riga wants to accomplish this through new legislation and the Latvian Ministry of Finance is preparing a draft law that’s supposed to be ready by December. The bill should determine the taxation procedures applicable to incomes of individuals from transactions with virtual money, including cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

Alexander Kitchenko, member of the Latvian Bitcoin Foundation, revealed details about the proposed tax mechanism in conversation with the local outlet Baltnews.lv. Authorities, he said, intend to collect taxpayers’ data from crypto trading platforms. The monitoring will be performed on the entrance and exit of the crypto space, where corporate entities act like intermediaries for crypto-fiat transactions. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will most likely be taxed as digital property, the expert elaborated.

Hungary Mulls Crypto Regulations and Taxation

Regulations Roundup: This Fall May Bring More Crypto-Friendly JurisdictionsAuthorities in Budapest are considering and drafting regulations for the crypto sector in Hungary. Representatives of the central bank, the finance ministry, the tax service, and other government institutions have formed a working group tasked to assess the legal, economic, security and other aspects of cryptocurrencies, Hungarian media reported.

The Ministry of Finance, quoted by the local financial outlet Portfolio, reminded Hungarians that cryptocurrencies are not yet accepted as legal means of payment in the country. They do not qualify as legal tender, electronic cash, financial instrument, or cash equivalent, the ministry emphasized.

Nevertheless, local crypto investors are expected to pay taxes on their incomes from dealings in cryptocurrency even under the current legislation. Profits from crypto transactions are classified as “other income” on tax returns which means 15% tax is due, as well as 22% in the form of health insurance contributions. Legal entities are obliged to pay the treasury 9% income tax and 2% corporate tax.

Kazakhstan to Follow in the Footsteps of Belarus

Regulations Roundup: This Fall May Bring More Crypto-Friendly JurisdictionsKazakhstan, the Central Asian powerhouse which has been wandering for some time between two extremes – banning cryptocurrencies and supporting crypto development – may eventually implement a Belarus style solution. The Astana International Financial Center (AIFC), which was launched with the goal to turn the country into a regional financial hub, has put forward draft regulations that will place the oversight of cryptos and token sales under its control. That’s a much more crypto-friendly scenario than the alternative of letting the central bank be the main regulator. The National Bank of Kazakhstan has previously called for the prohibition of crypto transactions, exchange, and business.

The legal amendments are designed to facilitate investors, private individuals and corporate entities that want to work with cryptocurrencies in the AIFC, Forbes Kazakhstan reports. They envisage the classification of cryptocurrencies within the national legislation and the adoption of mechanisms to regulate and license the operators of cryptocurrency exchanges. Rules and regulations for crowdfunding through initial coin offerings (ICOs) and the use of smart contracts are also included in the proposed legal framework.

What are your thoughts on these regulatory developments? Tell us in the comments section below.


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‘Crypto’ Thriller Starring Kurt Russell in Post-Production – Producers Share Details

‘Crypto’ Thriller Starring Kurt Russell in Post-Production - Producers Share Details

Crypto, an upcoming cryptocurrency-themed movie starring Kurt Russell and Alexis Bledel, is currently in post-production. The producers share their thoughts, confirming that the “overall message of the movie is positive” despite it being a thriller centered on crime and corruption.

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

‘Crypto’ Thriller Coming Soon

The upcoming thriller movie called “Crypto” starring Kurt Russell, Alexis Bledel, Luke Hemsworth, and Beau Knapp is in post-production. News.Bitcoin.com first reported about this movie in June.

‘Crypto’ Thriller Starring Kurt Russell in Post-Production - Producers Share Details
Kurt Russell.

In an interview with Inverse, producers Jordan Yale Levine and Jordan Beckerman of Yale Productions revealed that neither of them “considers themselves to be experts in actual real-life cryptocurrency.”

“Both of us have dabbled,” Yale Levine was quoted saying. “I don’t know if either of us would consider ourselves expert. It was really our writers who fleshed out the topic and dove into the research. They were the ones who really became experts to make sure the film was authentic.”

The news outlet elaborated that “Crypto may not be as satisfying for die-hard cryptocurrency enthusiasts,” noting:

It doesn’t particularly focus on any particular coin…[But] the overall message of the movie is positive, even if [it] does focus on crime, corruption, and cryptocurrency.

Expected to be released next year, the movie “tells a classic crime thriller set against the backdrop of shady cryptocurrency dealings,” the publication described.

Emphasizing that he and Beckerman “hope that cryptocurrency is here to stay,” Yale Levine further commented:

We hope it [cryptocurrency] lasts for a long time…That’s one of the reasons why we wanted to do the film. We’re not into fads. We hope it stays around for a long time.

The Cast, Movie, and Filming Location

The producers told the publication that “Beau Napp was the first to sign on, thanks to a connection with one of the writers on Crypto…Next was Kurt Russell…As for Bledel, the Gilmore Girls actress is represented by the same agency as her two male co-stars, so the entire thing just fell into place.”

‘Crypto’ Thriller Starring Kurt Russell in Post-Production - Producers Share DetailsBeckerman detailed, “Bledel has won Emmys. Kurt Russell is a legend. I think it’s just a really strong cast that came on board.”

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Crypto is about a young money laundering agent (Knapp) living in a remote New York hometown. While his father (Russell) and brother (Hemswroth) struggle to maintain their family farm, the agent is “tasked with investigating a tangled web of corruption and fraud” involving cryptocurrency.

Yale Levine added, “Crypto was filmed 95 percent upstate…but we did shoot a couple of days in NYC.”

What do you think of this Crypto movie? Let us know in the comments section below.


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