UNICEF France Accepts Donations in 9 Cryptocurrencies

UNICEF France Accepts Donations in 9 Cryptocurrencies

The French office of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has started accepting donations in 9 of the most popular cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin cash (BCH) and bitcoin core (BTC). The announcement comes after earlier this year the UN agency launched several other crypto-related initiatives.

Also read: Taiwanese Candidate Accepts Crypto Donations, California Bans Them

UNICEF Accepts Crypto Donations in France

UNICEF FranceUNICEF France Accepts Donations in 9 Cryptocurrencies has announced it’s now accepting donations in 9 cryptocurrencies, according to a press release published by French media. The local office of the organization collects contributions in some of the most widely known digital coins, including bitcoin cash (BCH), bitcoin core (BTC), ethereum (ETH), litecoin (LTC), ripple (XRP), eos (EOS), monero (XMR), dash (DASH), and stellar (XLM).

Donations in all supported cryptos are currently accepted directly through the website of the French branch, the Cryptonaute outlet reported. Commenting on the announcement, the director of UNICEF France, Sébastien Lyon stated:

Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology used for charitable purposes offer a new opportunity to appeal to the generosity of the public and continue to develop our operations with children in the countries of intervention.

The UNICEF official pointed out that cryptocurrencies and crypto technologies represent an innovation in fundraising for solidarity but are still employed by few organizations in the field. At the same time, he noted the positive trend in regards to the spread of cryptocurrency donations.

UNICEF France Accepts Donations in 9 Cryptocurrencies

Announcement Follows Two Successful Crypto Campaigns

This isn’t the first crypto-related initiative of the United Nations Children’s Fund. In February, UNICEF launched a fundraising program to collect funds needed for the protection of the children suffering from the civil war in Syria.

UNICEF France Accepts Donations in 9 CryptocurrenciesThe campaign called “Game Chaingers” was targeting computer gamers. Participants had to download and install a special mining software application from the organization’s website. Their PCs were then used to mine ethereum for the program.

Later, in May UNICEF Australia started a similar campaign through a dedicated website called “The Hopepage”. Visitors are asked to share some of their computing power to mine and donate cryptocurrency by simply opening the page and consenting to their devices being used to process crypto transactions while surfing the internet.

As of the time of writing, more than 22,000 people are currently mining and donating cryptocurrency via the platform set up by the Australian office of the UN agency.

Do you agree that cryptocurrency provides a great alternative for charities and humanitarian organizations to collect funds? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


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Singapore is the crypto sandbox that Asia needs

Singapore Blockchain Week happened this past week. While there have been a few announcements from companies, some of the most interesting updates have come from regulators, and specifically, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The financial regulator openly discussed its views on cryptocurrency and plans to develop blockchain technology locally.

For those who are unfamiliar, Singapore historically has been a financial hub in Southeast Asia, but now has also gradually become the crypto hub of Asia. Compared to the rest of Asia and the rest of the world, the regulators in Singapore are well-informed and more transparent about their views on blockchain and cryptocurrency. While regulatory uncertainties still loom over Korea and Japan, in Southeast Asia, the MAS has already released its opinion “A Guide to Digital Token Offering” that illustrates the application of securities laws to digital token offerings and issuances. Singaporean regulators have arguably been pioneering economic and regulatory standards in Asia since the early days of the country’s founding by Lee Kuan Yew in 1965.

Singapore is the first stop for foreign companies in crypto

In the past, I’ve said that Thailand is one of the most interesting countries in crypto in Southeast Asia. Nonetheless, for any Western or foreign company looking to establish a footing in Asia, or even for any local company in any Asian country looking to establish a presence outside of their own country, Singapore should be the first stop. It has become the go-to crypto sandbox of Asia.

There are a number of companies all over Asia, as well as in the West, that have already made moves into the country. And the types of cryptocurrency projects and exchanges that go to Singapore vary widely.

A few months ago, a Korean team called MVL introduced Tada, or the equivalent of “Uber” on the blockchain, in Singapore. Tada is an on-demand car sharing service that utilizes MVL’s technology. The Tada app is built on MVL’s blockchain ecosystem, which is specifically designed to serve the automotive industry, adjacent service industries, and their customers. In this case, MVL was looking to test out its blockchain projects in a progressive, friendly jurisdiction outside of Korea, but still close enough to its headquarters. Singapore fulfilled most of these requirements.

Relatedly, Didi, China’s ride-sharing company, has also looked to build out its own blockchain-based ride-sharing program, called VVgo. VVgo’s launch is pending, and its home is intended to be in Toronto, Singapore, Hong Kong or San Francisco. Given Singapore’s geographic proximity and the transparency of its regulators, it would likely be a good testing ground for Didi as well.

This week, exchanges such as Binance and Upbit from Korea have also announced their plans to enter the Singaporean market. A few days ago, Changpeng ZhaoCEO of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, announced the launch of a fiat currency exchange that will be based in Singapore. He also mentioned his company’s plan to launch five to ten fiat-to-crypto exchanges in the next year, with ideally two per continent. Dunamu, the parent company of South Korea’s largest crypto exchange Upbit, also just announced the launch of Upbit Singapore, which will be fully operational by October.

The team at Dunamu mentions how they are encouraged by MAS’s attitude towards cryptocurrency regulation and the vision of the country’s government to establish a strong crypto and blockchain sector. They also believe Singapore could be a bridge between Korea and the global cryptocurrency exchange market.

From a high level, the supply of crypto projects and trading volume in Singapore is certainly strong, and the demand also appears abundant. Following China’s ICO ban in late 2017, Singapore has become home to many financial institutions that can serve as potential investors for ICOs.

As recently featured on the China Money Network, Li Dongmei wrote that:

What is supporting such optimism is the quiet preparation of capital on a massive scale getting ready to act the “All In Crypto” mantra. “In recent months, there have been over a thousand foundations being established in Singapore by Chinese nationals,” said Chen Xianhui, an agent specialized in helping Chinese clients to register foundations in Singapore. Most of these newly established foundations are used setting up various token investments funds.

Singapore has become the first choice when crypto companies from both the West and the East are initially scoping out their market strategies in Asia, and companies want an overarching idea of what’s going on in the cryptocurrency world in the region.

In fact, it’s often the case that Southeast Asian crypto companies and leaders gather in Singapore before they go off and do crypto businesses in their own countries. It’s the place for one wants to tap all of the Asian crypto markets in one single physical location. The proof is in the data: in 2017, Singapore ascended to the number three market for ICO issuance based on the number of funds raised, trailing the United States and Switzerland.

Crypto is thriving due to regulator openness

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) takes a very practical approach to crypto. Currently, MAS divides digital tokens into utility tokens, payments tokens, and securities. In Asia, only Singapore and Thailand currently have such detailed classifications.

While speaking at Consensus Singapore this week, Damien Pang, Singapore’s Technology Infrastructure Office under the FinTech & Innovation Group (FTIG), said that “[MAS does] not regulate technology itself but purpose,” when in conversation discussing ICOs in Singapore. “The MAS takes a close look at the characteristics of the tokens, in the past, at the present, and in the future, instead of just the technology built on”.

Additionally, Pang mentioned that MAS does not intend to regulate utility tokens. Nevertheless, they are looking to regulate payment tokens that have a store of value and payment properties by passing a service bill by the end of the year. They are also paying attention to any utility or payment tokens with security features (i.e. a promise of future earnings, which will be regulated as such).

On the technology front, since 2017, Singapore authorities have been looking to use distributed ledger technology to boost the efficiency of settling cross-bank financial transactions. They believe that blockchain technology offers the potential to make trade finance safer and more efficient.

When compared to other Asia crypto hubs like Hong Kong, Seoul, or Shanghai, Singapore can expose one to the Southeast Asia market significantly more. I believe market activity will likely continue to thrive in the region as the country continues to act as the springboard for cryptocurrency companies and investors, and until countries like Korea and Japan establish a clear regulatory stance.

Turkey Finance Minister Embraces ICO Hype for Already Troubled Economy

Turkey Finance Minister Embraces ICO Hype for Already Troubled Economy

If regional Turkish media is to be believed, no less than the country’s Minister of Finance (Finmin), Berat Albayrak, has proposed looking into the wildcat world of initial coin offerings (ICOs) as a way to boost the economy. English-speaking press reports so far haven’t mentioned Turkey’s supposed turn toward state-backed crypto products, but they have highlighted forecasts the country’s sagging, devalued lira is set to make a comeback.

Also read: US Exchange Takes a Step Toward Crypto: Nasdaq Bids for Cinnober

Turkey Finmin Announces New Economic Program

Century old Turkey state media outlet, Anadolu Agency, detailed the Treasury and Finance Minister’s New Economic Program, published this week. Finmin Berat Albayrak suggested the nation’s economy will grow 3.8 percent by year’s end.

“Public Finance Transformation and Change Office has been established under the new economic program,” Mr. Albayrak noted. “We will use all necessary policies and measures to overcome economic challenges. We expect a stabilization process for next year and 2020, so the new economic program aims for 2.3-percent economic growth in 2019.”

Turkey Finance Minister Embraces ICO Hype for Already Troubled Economy
Berat Albayrak

These are wildly different predictions and prognostications from not too long ago. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his US counterpart, Mr. Trump, engaged in a diplomatic battle over the fate of an American religious leader. In the tussle, Turkey’s lira bottomed double digits, devaluing at frightening rates, causing rampant inflation.

Minister Albayrak continued, “Our major intention is to support a stabilization process with discipline in public finance. You will see the most concrete example of this in investment projects that we will support.” Anadolu Agency further explained how according “to the new economic Medium Term Program (MTP), Turkey is targeting a 1.9-percent budget deficit to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio this year, and 1.7 percent in 2021.”

Turkey Finance Minister Embraces ICO Hype for Already Troubled Economy

Finmin Flirts with ICO Hype

The country is clearly craving good economic news, bold new plans, from its political leaders. On that front, Ali Emre Konakçi of Koin Bülteni, a Turkish language crypto site, reports the Finmin, after outlining his formal recovery program, also emphasized initial coin offerings (ICOs) as a possible state economic innovation.

Curiously, no other English-language news account reported such a direction, something sure to have caught headlines if accurate. Instead, Turkish crypto media are insisting the country’s New Economic Program, the 34-page report on economic recovery, “includes ICOs that are closely related to the crypto-money world.” Mr. Konakçi refers to this as a “remarkable factor.” And, indeed, for a government to engage in a version of an ICO, much less encourage their usage, is either a sign of futuristic thinking or desperation, depending on the analyst.

Turkey Finance Minister Embraces ICO Hype for Already Troubled Economy

The document, through a clunky google translation, reads at one point, “Modern and new generation financing methods such as ICO (Initial Coin Offering) and IPCO alternative will be expanded by promoting digital transformation and financing innovative projects.” Unfortunately, not much more elaboration follows, and so pundits have been left to speculate.

ICOs have been something of an investment revelation, often eschewing normal barriers to entry for smaller investors. Usually, there are no KYC, AML, nor accredited investor hurdles for ICO participants, factors which undoubtedly contributed to their meteoric rise in billions of dollars sloshing around. They’re also notorious for scams, and various studies have concluded fraudulent activity among ICOs is disproportionate in the financial world. So far, the only government to plunge full-on into a state-backed crypto experiment has been Venezuela.

Are ICOs a solution for Turkey’s economic woes? Let us know in the comments below. 


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Taiwanese Candidate Accepts Crypto Donations, California Bans Them

Taiwanese Candidate Accepts Crypto Donations, California Bans Them

Using cryptocurrency for political donations has been a hot topic in many societies. Two recent developments demonstrate different views on the matter. A Taiwanese politician who has accepted bitcoin from his supporters believes crypto donations can help keep his country’s political system clean and transparent. At the same time, the California campaign watchdog says cryptocurrency can raise questions about transparency and is hard to track.

Also read: Russian Law Won’t Mention ‘Cryptocurrency’, Russians Won’t Stop Trading

Bitcoin Donations Help Transparency, Taiwanese Politician Says

Cryptocurrency has entered Taiwanese politics. A candidate for the Taipei City Council announced on social media he had accepted a number of small bitcoin donations – a first, according to local media reports. Hsiao Hsin-chen, a representative of the minority New Power Party, received the digital cash worth NT$10,000 (~US$325) from anonymous supporters. The money was sent after an announcement on Facebook last month that his campaign is ready to accept donations in BTC.

Taiwanese Candidate Accepts Crypto Donations, California Bans ThemIn his call for support, Hsiao said the development has political as well as technological implications. Crypto donations could help keep Taiwan’s political system clean, he stressed, quoted by the Taiwanese Business Next outlet. The nature of the cryptocurrency, the fact that every transition is recorded on a public blockchain, can lead to more transparency, he added. “Accepting bitcoins as a political donation is more symbolic than the act appears,” claimed the politician.

In Taiwan, crypto contributions are currently classified as non-cash political donations – a definition given by the Interior Ministry. According to the country’s recently updated Political Donations Act, candidates can accept up to NT$10,000 from anonymous donors, a limit that applies to the value of donated cryptocurrency as well.

If the sum exceeds the maximum amount, politicians are obliged to return the excess money to the donor or hand it over to the state. However, it’s unclear how the value of crypto donations will be estimated as the prices of digital assets can change significantly in a short period. Control Yuan, a government monitoring agency, has advised candidates to keep full records of their donations.

‘Independent’ Commission Says No to Crypto Donations in California

Officials in the US state of California, however, share a different view of campaign contributions in crypto. A commission charged with overseeing the political process in the Golden State has recently announced that donations cannot be made with cryptocurrency such as bitcoin, according to an Associated Press report. On Thursday, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) voted 3-1 to ban them. The watchdog says it may be hard to track the origin of cryptocurrency contributions which could raise questions about transparency.

According to its website, the FPPC is an “independent, non-partisan” commission responsible for the administration of the state’s Political Reform Act which regulates campaign financing along with other potentially controversial aspects of political campaigns such as conflicts of interest and lobbying. Promoting transparency and fostering public trust in the political system are two of its core objectives.

Taiwanese Candidate Accepts Crypto Donations, California Bans Them

The Commission is composed of five members appointed for four-year terms. The Chair and another member from a different party are appointed by the Governor. The other members are appointed by the State Controller, Secretary of State and the Attorney General. No more than three commissioners may be from the same political party. Currently one of the seats is vacant, which may be interpreted as a positive in terms of finding the balance in the generally bipartisan political landscape of the US.

A similar body on national level, the Federal Elections Commission (FED), allows bitcoin donations to federal candidates. In 2014 the FED decided that every US citizen can donate cryptocurrency worth up to $100. A number of states have already addressed the issue as well – Colorado and Montana allow crypto contributions with certain restrictions, South Carolina and Kansas have banned them. In April, the Wisconsin Ethics Commission discussed a proposal to cap crypto donations with the limit applicable to cash contributions – $100. Larger donations require a credit card or a bank check.

What is your opinion about campaign contributions in cryptocurrency? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


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Steve Hanke: Central Banks Fuel Wealth Loss and Inflation – The World Needs Less of Them

Central Banks Fuel Wealth Loss, Inflation - The World Needs Less Of Them: Hanke

Respected economist Professor Steve Hanke has chanted down central banks. While Hanke doesn’t tout cryptocurrency as an alternative, he does say that the world needs fewer central banks because these government-controlled entities are messing up economies and abusing monetary policy, while fueling inflation and loss of wealth.

Also read: Ex-Liberia Central Bank Chief Under Probe For Missing $104M, State Seeks FBI Help

Central Banks Have Crashed Economies Through Reckless Money Printing

Central banks have come under fire for aiding struggling economies to crash through reckless money creation, thereby fueling inflation. Prominent economist and currency expert Steve Hanke, who played a key role in establishing new currency in Argentina, Estonia, Bulgaria and Ecuador, says the world needs fewer state banks to prevent economic and cash crises.

Central Banks Fuel Wealth Loss, Inflation - The World Needs Less Of Them: Hanke
Professor Hanke

He said central banks, armed with discretionary powers to create money and credit, are behind currency crises in most emerging markets. “They are also the engine that generates inflation. And it is inflation that destroys wealth, undermines growth and destabilize societies,” Hanke said, in an opinion piece on September 20.

The Johns Hopkins University professor of applied economics said 10 countries – Argentina, Iran, Venezuela, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Sudan, Yemen, Zimbabwe, South Sudan and Liberia – have annual inflation rates exceeding 35%, which risks collapsing their economies further.

Monetary authorities in these countries continue to print money to cater for their respective government’s high expenditures, worsening economic decay. According to Hanke, any nation which exceeds 35% in annual inflation would have failed his inflation test.

Cryptocurrency Is a Viable Alternative

Central Banks Fuel Wealth Loss, Inflation - The World Needs Less Of Them: Hanke
Bitcoin

This is exactly why cryptocurrency was created: to stop governments from pushing bad economic policies. That’s why it all started with an anti-establishment rhetoric. As the legacy financial ecosystem has developed, the need for regulation, in order for bad players to be kept in check, has heightened. Central banks have objectives that are aligned to governments and these do not necessarily revolve around innovation and cost reductions. Their involvement in cryptocurrency regulation should be more observant than instructional.

Get Rid Of Central Banks, Adopt Currency Board

Hanke proposes two ways for countries with failing economies to get rid of their central banks: either by adopting the US dollar or by introducing currency board systems. A currency board issues notes and coins, convertible on demand into a foreign anchor currency at a fixed rate of exchange. As reserves, it holds low-risk, interest-bearing bonds denominated in the anchor currency.

“Countries that employed currency boards have delivered lower inflation rates, smaller fiscal deficits, lower debt levels relative to the gross domestic product, fewer banking crises, and higher real growth rates than comparable countries that have employed central banks,” he said.

The Cato Institute founder, who correctly predicted Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation in 2008, which reached 231 million percent according to official estimates, noted that a currency board, unlike a central bank, has no discretionary monetary powers and cannot engage in the fiduciary issue of money.

“It has an exchange rate policy (the exchange rate is fixed) but no monetary policy. A currency board’s operations are passive and automatic. The sole function of a currency board is to exchange the domestic currency it issues for an anchor currency at a fixed rate.”

Central Banks Fuel Wealth Loss, Inflation - The World Needs Less Of Them: Hanke

“Consequently, the quantity of domestic currency in circulation is determined solely by market forces, namely the demand for domestic currency,” he explains, adding that currency boards have existed in about 70 countries, and none have failed.

A currency board cannot issue credit. Accordingly, a currency board imposes a hard budget constraint and discipline on the government. Hanke said this is an underappreciated feature of currency boards.

What do you think about the behavior of central banks? Let us know how you feel in the comments section below.


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The Petro Coin Will Be Used for Global Trade in Venezuela Come October

Petro Coin

Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro, just made a bold statement regarding his oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro Coin.

The Petro Coin

Maduro appeared on the national VTV channel today and delivered a speech about his country’s latest economic issues. According to VTV’s official website, Maduro said:

“The Petro enters the street, as a currency of exchange, purchase and convertible currencies for the world.”

However, the Venezuelan president didn’t specify the areas where the Petro will be used. Maduro also didn’t name any countries willing to accept the Petro Coin.

This oil-backed cryptocurrency ...

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Markets Update: XRP Briefly Dethrones ETH as Second Largest Crypto

Markets Update: XRP Briefly Dethrones ETH as Second Largest Crypto

The cryptocurrency markets have produced a significant rally today – with just three of the top fifty crypto markets by capitalization posting losses for the last 24 hours of trade action as of this writing. The most notable gainer has been XRP – gaining over 50% in the last day to overtake ETH as the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.

Also Read: China Updates Crypto Rankings, Downgrades Bitcoin

BTC Break Above Resistance at $6,500 USD

BTC has broken above the $6,500 resistance area, following roughly two weeks of sideways price action between approximately $6,000 and $6,500.

Markets Update: XRP Briefly Dethrones ETH as Second Largest Crypto

As of this writing, BTC is trading for approximately $6,700 after appearing to establish roughly $6,800 as local resistance when looking at intraday price action. BTC has gained roughly 4% in the last 24 hours.

Looking at the stochastic RSI on the weekly charts shows that momentum is coiling into an increasingly tightening mid-level range – suggesting that the markets may be primed for a strong move in either direction.

Markets Update: XRP Briefly Dethrones ETH as Second Largest Crypto
BTC/USD – StochRSI – Bitfinex – 1w

Bitcoin Core has a total capitalization of $115.7 billion and a market dominance 52%.

BCH Tests $500 Area

Bitcoin Cash gained roughly 12% in the last 24 hours – bouncing from approximately $430 to currently be trading for $483.

Markets Update: XRP Briefly Dethrones ETH as Second Largest Crypto
BCH/USD – Bitfinex – 4hr

BCH also gained nearly 7% over BTC today – rallying from 0.067 BTC to 0.0735 BTC, before retracing to the current price area of 0.072 BTC.

Markets Update: XRP Briefly Dethrones ETH as Second Largest Crypto
BCH/BTC – Bitfinex – 1d

The BCH/BTC rally appears to coincide with a bounce of the upper-side of the descending trend line that has guided price action since May. BCH currently has a market cap of $8.34 billion and a dominance of 3.75%.

Dramatic XRP Rally Elevates Ripple to Second Largest Crypto by Market Cap

XRP posted the largest gains of the top cryptocurrency markets – rallying by 100% before violently retracing to post daily gains of approximately 50% as of this writing. The markets quickly bounced from roughly $0.4 to $0.8, before retrace to the current $0.6 price area.

Markets Update: XRP Briefly Dethrones ETH as Second Largest Crypto
XRP/USD – Bitfinex – 4hr

XRP posted similarly impressive gains over BTC also – rallying 90% from 0.000062 BTC to test 0.000117, before retracing to the current price are of 0.0000875 BTC.

Markets Update: XRP Briefly Dethrones ETH as Second Largest Crypto
XRP/BTC – Bitfinex – 4hr

The dramatic XRP rally drove Ripple to overtake Ethereum to rank as the second largest cryptocurrency by capitalization for the third time in the last 18 months. Ripple currently has a market capitalization of $23.5 billion and a dominance of roughly 10.5%.

ETH Bumped Down to Third-Largest Crypto

Despite a slight slide Ethereum’s ranking by market cap, ETH also produced bullish price action today – gaining by over 10% in the 24 hours from $210 to currently be trading above $230 after breaking the descending trend line that has guided USD price action since May.

Markets Update: XRP Briefly Dethrones ETH as Second Largest Crypto
ETH/USD – Bitfinex – 1d

Looking at the ETH/BTC chart, it appears that Ethereum has broken out of the descending channel in which it has traded since mid-July – gaining almost 5% in the last day to currently be trading for approximately 0.036 BTC.

Markets Update: XRP Briefly Dethrones ETH as Second Largest Crypto
ETH/BTC – Bitfinex – 1d

Ethereum has a market capitalization of $23.3 billion and a dominance of roughly 10.5%.

Stellar and Cardano Also Post Double-Digit Gains for Today

XLM and ADA were the second and third strongest performing of the top ten crypto markets by capitalization today.

Stellar’s current price of $0.255 comprises a daily gain of 18.5%, however, similar to XRP, the markets XLM market produced a parabolic spike of 30% on the intraday charts before retracing to current price levels. Stellar is also trading for 0.00003835 BTC and has a market cap of $4.72 billion – making it the sixth-ranked cryptocurrency by capitalization.

Markets Update: XRP Briefly Dethrones ETH as Second Largest Crypto
ETH/USD – Kraken – 4hr

ADA gained 13% today – rallying from $0.076 to the current price area of roughly $0.086. Cardano is also trading for 0.00001300 BTC and is the ninth largest cryptocurrency with a market cap of roughly $2.19 billion.

Markets Update: XRP Briefly Dethrones ETH as Second Largest Crypto
ADA/USD – Bittrex – 4hr

Do you think XRP can hold its position as the second largest cryptocurrency market by capitalization? Or do you expect that ETH will quickly reclaim such? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!


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China Updates Crypto Rankings, Downgrades Bitcoin

China Updates Crypto Rankings, Downgrades Bitcoin

The China Center for Information Industry Development has updated its crypto rankings. The list contains 33 crypto projects, ranked overall and in three separate categories. High up in the overall ranking are EOS, Ethereum, and Bitshares. Bitcoin, however, has been downgraded.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

China’s Fifth Ranking

China Updates Crypto Rankings, Downgrades BitcoinThe China Center for Information Industry Development (CCID), under the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, officially published its fifth crypto rankings on Sept. 20. Thirty-three crypto projects are ranked. Each is given an overall score and a separate score for each of the three categories – basic technology, applicability, and creativity.

In the overall ranking published Thursday, the center put EOS at the top of the list, followed by Ethereum, and then Bitshares. EOS and Ethereum were also at the top of last month’s overall ranking. Bitshares, however, jumped from the 12th place the 3rd place.

BTC was downgraded from the 10th place to the 16th place while BCH fell a few places, from the 29th place to the 31st place. In the creativity category, however, BTC tops the list, with EOS in the 3rd place.

China Updates Crypto Rankings, Downgrades Bitcoin

The center started ranking 28 crypto projects in May. Two more projects were added in June, one in July, and two in August. Last month BTC made the top ten list in the overall category for the first time.

Ranking Methodology

The center explained that there were some improvements in the latest evaluation methodology compared to the previous month, stating:

The evaluation of the public chain development tools was classified and refined, and the accounting method of the actual throughput of the public chain was optimized.

The basic technology category “mainly evaluates the technical realization level of the public chain, and examines the function, performance, safety and decentralization of the public chain,” the center described. This category accounts for 65 percent of the overall ranking.

China Updates Crypto Rankings, Downgrades BitcoinThe applicability category “mainly evaluates the comprehensive level of public chain support for practical applications, involving node deployment, wallet application, development support and application implementation,” the CCID explained. This category accounts for 20 percent of the overall ranking.

Creativity only carries a weight of 15 percent in the overall ranking. This category “focuses on the continuous innovation of the public chain, including developer size, code update and code impact,” the center detailed.

Referring to the latest ranking, the CCID wrote:

Compared with the previous period, the EOS and Ethereum indices decreased by 13.2 and 5.3 respectively, and Bitshares rose by 9.9. The position of Bitshares also jumped from the 12th in the previous period to the 3rd place.

What do you think of China’s latest crypto ranking? Let us know in the comments section below.


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The Daily: Poloniex Drops 8 Coins, New Exchange Licensed in Estonia

The Daily: Poloniex Drops 8 Coins, New Exchange Licensed in Estonia

Cryptocurrency trading platform Poloniex has delisted eight coins with low liquidity, while another US-based exchange, Gemini, is adding litecoin to its offerings. Also in The Daily, Ironx has been licensed to offer exchange services from Estonia, and Bitmain’s Antpool will sponsor NBA team Houston Rockets with bitcoin cash.

Also read: Coinbase Denies Self-Trading, Kraken Gets Feisty

Poloniex Delists 8 Cryptocurrencies

The Daily: Poloniex Drops 8 Coins, New Exchange Licensed in EstoniaUS-based crypto exchange Poloniex has decided to delist eight coins – bitcoindark (BTCD), bitmark (BTM), einsteinium (EMC2), gridcoin (GRC), neoscoin (NEOS), potcoin (POT), vericoin (VRC), and bitcoin plus (XBC). These digital currencies will be excluded from the platform’s offerings on Tuesday, September 25, at 12:00 ET, according to an announcement published on Twitter this week.

The Delaware-headquartered company advised its customers to finalize all trades and close any positions in these cryptos prior to this date. “Once delisted, you will have 30 days to withdraw any balances in these assets,” Poloniex tweeted. No reasons were given for the delisting but none of the coins ranks in Coinmarketcap’s top 100 which indicates low liquidity may be the main motive, Forklog commented.

In a blog post, Poloniex explains that once the deadline has been reached, withdrawals will be disabled and the assets will be fully decommissioned. “From this point forward, we will be unable to process withdrawals of impacted assets. It is imperative that customers withdraw delisted tokens by the withdrawal deadline,” the exchange informed its users.

Gemini Adds Litecoin to Its Offerings

The Daily: Poloniex Drops 8 Coins, New Exchange Licensed in EstoniaGemini, another US cryptocurrency exchange, is adding support for litecoin (LTC) next month. The announcement was made during the Litecoin Summit in San Francisco. LTC will be listed on the New York-based trading platform on October 13, which is also the coin’s birthday, the Litecoin Foundation noted in a tweet.

Recently, Gemini Trust announced it’s launching Gemini Dollar (GUSD), a new stable coin pegged to the US fiat currency. The move was approved by the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS). The regulatory body is responsible for Bitlicense, the state’s licensing regime for business activities involving cryptocurrencies. According to a study released this week, GUSD accounts can be frozen by the exchange.

New Crypto Exchange Granted License in Estonia

The upcoming trading platform Ironx has been granted regulatory approval by the Estonian Financial Intelligence Unit. The license will allow it to operate as a regulated cryptocurrency exchange from the Baltic country, an EU member-state and a leader in digitization on the Old Continent. Ironx is a joint venture between the online brokerage firm Ironfx Group and Emurgohk, the builder of the Cardano blockchain. The exchange is among the first to receive such approval by a European financial regulator, Finance Magnates reported.

The Daily: Poloniex Drops 8 Coins, New Exchange Licensed in Estonia
Tallinn, Estonia

Two crypto companies were approved by regulators in Tallinn this past June. Ibinex, a provider of white-label solutions for crypto exchanges and trading software, obtained a license in Estonia giving it the opportunity to launch exchange and wallet services in a European jurisdiction. Cryptocurrency trading platform Coinmetro announced it had secured two licenses in Estonia for crypto-fiat exchange operations and fiat currency e-wallet services.

Earlier this month, Ironfx Group said it expected to launch its crypto exchange in the fourth quarter of this year. Following approval from Estonian authorities, the Ironx Exchange is likely to commence operations in beta by the end of September, initially only for IRX token holders, and the official launch is scheduled for December.

Antpool to Sponsor NBA Houston Rockets with BCH

The Daily: Poloniex Drops 8 Coins, New Exchange Licensed in EstoniaThe National Basketball Association’s team Houston Rockets has agreed to accept sponsorship in bitcoin cash (BCH) from Antpool, one of the world’s largest bitcoin mining pools, 8BTC reported. Antpool is owned by the Chinese mining giant and hardware manufacturer Bitmain. The sponsorship deal is covering the upcoming 2018-2019 season. Its announcement comes weeks after Antpool chose the city of Houston to begin its expansion in the United States where the company plans to grow its client base in the crypto mining industry. A luxury car retailer owned by Houston Rockets owner, billionaire businessman Tilman Fertitta, also accepts payments in bitcoin cash (BCH) and bitcoin core (BTC). Earlier this year, the owner of Dallas Mavericks, entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban, announced his team will start accepting cryptocurrency for tickets.

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


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Antpool (Facebook).


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PR: Coinsbit Launches Reliable and Safe Trading Platform

Coinsbit Launches Reliable and Safe Trading Platform

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

The blockchain technology has recently gained a great popularity and there are unlikely people who haven’t heard about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. The more coins enter the market, the more trading opportunities should be provided. In this case, crypto exchanges come into play. CoinMarketCap has over 200 trading platforms in its rating list. In fact, there are over 500 exchanges to choose from. Coinsbit has looked at the existing trading platforms and marked out key features that reliable and safe crypto exchange should have.

Key features of a perfect exchange

The rules for any exchange in the market are simple: registered legal entity, high level of security for transactions and users’ personal data, customer support, low transactions fees, high speed of transactions and more.

Coinsbit exchange provides traders with a wide range of opportunities that makes the platform legit, reliable, and secured:

Single Page Application
The exchange website doesn’t require much time to load and don’t overload the server.

CoinsCodes
Platform’s users can perform transactions between each other without the transaction fee;
High performance of the trading server

Transactions are fast and do not require much time to be confirmed. The exchange process up to 10.000 trading operations per second.

Security
The platform complies with the OWASP Top 10 standard. All financial assets of the traders are stored on cold wallets.

Client support
Coinsbit team provided a 24/7 support in English, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Spanish, German, Russian languages;

Simple KYC
Fast user’s verification process;

Legitimacy
The exchange has a license to make trading operations in the EU.

Road for the future development
Exchanges should constantly evolve in accordance with the market requirements. Security, functionality, speed – everything should be developed with time in order to give users even more opportunities for trading crypto. By the end of 2018, Coinsbit is planning to introduce a margin trading with a 1:2, 1:3 leverage, cryptoloans in USD and USDT on the security of the cryptocurrency directly on the exchange, cryptofunding to make earnings on deposits in cryptocurrencies in the financing of margin trades, and hybridity in order to transfer part of trading pairs on a decentralized mechanism to increase the security of traders financial assets. One of the main goals of the team is to get a chance to be listed on CoinMarketCap.

More information about Coinsbit is available on the official website.

Press Contact Email Address
info@coinsbit.io

Supporting Link
https://coinsbit.io/

This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

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Japanese Regulators Urgently Respond to Zaif’s Hack

Japanese Regulators Urgently Respond to Zaif's Hack

Following the hack of Zaif, one of Japan’s regulated crypto exchanges, the country’s financial regulator immediately responded, launching an emergency inspection of the exchange and a survey of all other crypto exchanges. Finance Minister Taro Aso has also commented on the situation. In addition, the recently established self-regulatory body has asked all exchanges to inspect their systems.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

FSA Launches Emergency Inspection

Japanese Regulators Urgently Respond to Zaif's HackJapan’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), has responded to the hack of Zaif, one of its regulated crypto exchanges. Japan only has 16 exchanges registered with the FSA.

Zaif announced on Thursday, Sept. 20 (Japan time), that it was hacked on Sept. 14 but noticed the breach on Sept. 17. The exchange claims that at least 5,966 BTC were stolen and estimates the total damage to be approximately 6.7 billion yen (~US$60 million). Other than BTC, it believes that some BCH and MONA were also stolen.

Following Zaif’s announcement, the FSA immediately launched an emergency inspection of the exchange, according to local media. The Mainichi Shimbun reported:

The FSA inspected the company’s base in Osaka on the same day in order to confirm the circumstances…We will examine in detail the [exchange’s] safety management system etc.

Japanese Regulators Urgently Respond to Zaif's HackThe news outlet added that “On the same day, the Financial Services Agency launched a simultaneous survey on the customers’ property management situations of all virtual currency exchange operators.”

Japanese Regulators Urgently Respond to Zaif's Hack
Taro Aso.

The Japanese regulator is still dealing with the aftermath of Coincheck’s hack in January when hackers stole 58 billion yen (~$534 million) worth of the cryptocurrency NEM. Since then, the agency has stepped up its oversight of crypto exchanges, including on-site inspections. Last month, it revealed the result of the inspection of 23 crypto exchanges which shows many problems.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Taro Aso was quoted by Nikkei speaking at a press conference after the cabinet meeting on Sept. 21 (Japan time):

It is regrettable that virtual currency of about 6.7 billion yen leaked from illegal access from the virtual currency exchange company Tech Bureau…There is a problem with [its] system and governance…We will grasp the actual situation and conduct administrative responses necessary for user protection.

Third Business Improvement Order

Following Zaif’s hack announcement, Reuters reported that the FSA is considering issuing a third business improvement order to Tech Bureau, the operator of Zaif. The firm has already received two business improvement orders: one in March and another in June. However, the news outlet noted:

Even with repeated administrative sanctions, strengthening of the [exchange’s] internal control system did not proceed.

The Sankei Shimbun quoted an investigator saying, “I am overly concerned about [Zaif’s] security,” noting that the situation could “repeat the same thing as [the] Coincheck incident.”

Response From Self-Regulatory Body

Japanese Regulators Urgently Respond to Zaif's Hack
Taizen Okuyama.

The Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (Jvcea) has also issued a statement regarding the hack of Zaif. The association is a self-regulatory body whose members are the 16 registered crypto exchanges including Tech Bureau.

“Although the situation is unknown at this time, our association will also request the company to take measures necessary for user protection, such as protection of user property and prompt disclosure of information,” the president of the association, Taizen Okuyama, announced on Sept. 20. He added:

Also, in order to avoid the same situation, the association [has] requested all members to conduct emergency inspections of [their] virtual currency management systems.

Exchanges Self-Inspecting

A number of crypto exchanges in Japan have made announcements about their own systems after the news of Zaif’s hack spread.

Japanese Regulators Urgently Respond to Zaif's Hack“In light of the recent theft of assets from Tech Bureau Corp., we have conducted an immediate inspection of our asset management systems. We detected no signs of unauthorized activity,” Bitflyer claims. Japan’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume has stopped accepting new customers since it received a business improvement order from the FSA in June.

GMO Coin, the crypto subsidiary of Japan’s internet giant GMO, has made an announcement in response to customer inquiries about the possibility of theft from its platform. The exchange wrote:

We check customer balances and the balance of the virtual currency kept by our company every business day, and also check [for] the existence of theft and spill in the process of sorting and storing customers’ virtual currency and our own virtual currency separately…we have confirmed that there is no problem even today and in the past confirmed results.

Another crypto exchange, Bitpoint, has notified its customers that it has “carried out urgent re-inspections and confirmed that no illegal outflow of virtual currency is taking place and that there are no problems with security measures.”

What do you think of how the Japanese regulators respond to Zaif’s hack? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Pixabay, Zaif, and Money Partners.


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Crypto Daily News: Crypto Market Rebound and Coinbase Issues a Statement about Proprietary Trading

Crypto daily news

In today’s edition of Crypto Daily News, we’ll cover the details of the crypto market rebound and Coinbase’s official statement regarding the proprietary trading allegations.

Crypto Daily News: September 20th, 2018 Crypto Market Rebounds

The crypto market is rebounding this morning, after taking a sharp fall last week after rumors spread that Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) wasn’t focusing on a cryptocurrency trading desk. Later, GS confirmed that the news was “fake” and that the desk is, in fact, ready, but waiting for demand.

Currently, the crypto market is trading just above $200 billion. In the ...

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LINE’s Token-Powered Ecosystem: Plans have been Unveiled

LINE's Token-Powered Ecosystem

Plans for LINE’s token-powered ecosystem have been unveiled. The messaging app giant from Japan announced its new venture at CoinDesk’s Consensus: Singapore event this morning.

LINE’s plans are ambitious; it wants to launch its new system by the end of 2018. Will it do it?

LINE’s Token-Powered Ecosystem

It can have such ambition because LINE already has more than 164 million monthly active users across four key countries. It is this user-base that the app giant will capitalize on to launch its token-powered ecosystem.

LINE’s token-powered ecosystem centers around its previously announced  ...

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Treasury Committee Criticizes UK Regulators’ “Unsustainable” Crypto Stance

Treasury Committee Criticizes U.K. Regulators’ “Unsustainable” Crypto Stance

The parliamentary report published by the UK Treasury Committee has advocated for regulation of the “wild west” crypto-assets sector. The report criticizes the “ambiguity” of the current stance of UK regulators, arguing that with effective regulations, the United Kingdom could become a “global center” for the emerging cryptocurrency sector.

Also Read: Brazil’s Biggest Banks Under Investigation For Monopoly In Cryptocurrency Trade

Treasury Committee Criticizes UK Regulators’ “Unsustainable” Crypto Stance

U.K. Treasury Committee Calls for Regulation of "Wild West" Crypto-AssetsThe recent UK parliamentary report into cryptocurrencies has found the current “ambiguity of the UK Government and regulators’ position [regarding crypto-assets] is clearly not sustainable.”

The report states that “Crypto-assets, and most Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), are currently not within the scope of Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulation,” and as such, “Crypto-asset investors are currently afforded very little protection from the litany of risks, namely there are no formal mechanisms for consumer redress, nor compensation.”

The Treasury Committee advocates “strongly” that “regulation should be introduced,” proposing, “At a minimum, regulation…address[ing] consumer protection and Anti-Money Laundering (AML).”

U.K. Has Potential to Become “Global Center” for Crypto-Assets

U.K. Treasury Committee Calls for Regulation of "Wild West" Crypto-AssetsThe report asserts that “In deciding the regulatory approach, the Government and regulators should evaluate the risks of crypto-assets, and assess whether their growth should be encouraged.”

“If growth is favored,” the Committee continues, “regulation could lead to positive outcomes for the crypto-asset market, including the move toward a more mature business model and increased liquidity.”

The report emphasizes that “If the UK develops a proportionate regulatory environment for crypto-assets, the UK could be well placed to become a global center for this activity.”

“Consumer Warnings” Comprise “Feeble Corrective” to Misleading ICO Adverts

U.K. Treasury Committee Calls for Regulation of "Wild West" Crypto-AssetsThe parliamentary report also argues that the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has insufficiently responded to “misleading adverts” for initial coin offerings (ICOs).

The Committee asserts that “The advertisements of both ICO issuers and crypto-asset exchanges are not regulated by the FCA. One-sided adverts imply that the crypto-asset market will only go up, and that anyone can make a lot of money easily.”

The report describes “The FCA’s consumer warnings” as comprising “a feeble corrective to such misleading adverts,” concluding that “The regulator needs more power to control how crypto-asset exchanges and ICOs market their services.”

What do you make of the UK parliamentary report’s findings? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock


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Circle wants more women to invest in cryptocurrency

The earliest adopters of Bitcoin — the libertarian anarchist “cypherpunk” crowd — were mostly men. Today, roughly a decade after Satoshi Nakamoto’s famed white paper was released, the majority of cryptocurrency holders are still men.

This poses a problem for the companies betting on the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency. At this point, they’ve already tapped into that core base of Bitcoin enthusiasts, namely Millenial men. But how do they reach more women? Or Gen Xers? Or Baby Boomers?

Crypto finance company Circle thinks accessible, educational resources are the answer. As of today, the company has added a new feature (pictured above) to their crypto investing app, Circle Invest. Their hope is that simple, jargon-free explainers — sort of a ‘Cryptocurrencies for Dummies’ built into the app — will make it easier for new demographics to get their foot in the door of the crypto universe and learn a thing or two along the way.

“A lot of the apps that exist on the market are geared toward folks that understand the market already and unfortunately, that tends to be men,” Circle’s head of product Divya Agarwalla told TechCrunch.

The inspiration for the new feature came after the results of a study showed a serious lack of diversity among crypto investors. The study, commissioned by Circle, surveyed 3,000 Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers in the U.S. and found that Millennial men are more than twice as likely to invest in crypto in the next year.

For anyone that has attended a blockchain event or crypto conference, this probably isn’t news. According to Coin.dance, roughly 95 percent of Bitcoin “community engagement” comes from men.

A strategic attempt to tap into a new user base is a natural step for Circle, which has long had ambitions of becoming the PayPal (and Venmo) of cryptocurrency.

Most people are familiar with Circle’s consumer-facing payments app, Circle Pay, though the company also operates a trading desk called Circle Trade, as well as Poloniex, another exchange platform the company tacked on via its acquisition of the company of the same name earlier this year. That deal, according to Fortune, was worth some $400 million.

Circle has raised about $250 million in venture capital funding to date from IDG Capital, Breyer Capital, General Catalyst, Accel, Digital Currency Group, Pantera, Blockchain Capital, Goldman Sachs, Tusk Ventures and more. A $110 million round in May valued the company at $3 billion. 

Danske Bank’s Alleged Money Laundering Now Totals $234 Billion, CEO Quits

Danske Bank's Alleged Money Laundering Now Totals $235 Billion, CEO Quits

The investigation into Danske Bank’s alleged money laundering has uncovered new funds. The amount of “questionable money” flowing through the bank’s Estonian branch has grown from $150 billion to approximately $234 billion. In response, the CEO of Danske Bank turned in his resignation.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

From $150B to $234B

Danske Bank's Alleged Money Laundering Now Totals $235 Billion, CEO QuitsDenmark’s largest bank released the report detailing the results of its internal investigation into the money laundering allegations involving its Estonian branch on Wednesday.

Prior to this release, $150 billion allegedly flowed through Danske Bank’s Estonian branch to suspicious accounts of non-resident clients from 2007 to 2015. However, the bank’s investigation has revised this number. Danske has “acknowledged that about €200bn [~US$234 billion] in questionable money flowed through its small Estonian branch in one of the largest money laundering scandals ever uncovered,” the Financial Times reported.

Lars Lokke Rasmussen, Denmark’s prime minister, was quoted by the news outlet:

I’m shocked. The numbers that came out today are of an astronomical magnitude. It is, of course, deeply disappointing that a bank that I consider to be an important player for Denmark has become involved in this kind of activity.

Danske’s Investigations

Danske Bank's Alleged Money Laundering Now Totals $235 Billion, CEO Quits“The investigations have been led by the Bruun & Hjejle law firm,” Danske Bank described, adding that “The scope of the investigations covers approximately 15,000 customers and 9.5 million payments.”

According to the report, “Some 12,000 documents and more than 8 million emails have been searched, and more than 70 interviews have been conducted with current and former employees and managers…Overall, approximately 70 people have worked full time on the investigations.” In addition, the report states that approximately 6,200 high-risk customers have been examined, “and the vast majority of these customers have been deemed suspicious.”

The Financial Times added that “The non-resident customers came from countries including Russia, the UK and the British Virgin Islands, but the bank said it could not yet estimate how much of the total was illicit.” The news outlet noted that Russia’s central bank said that Danske customers “permanently participate in financial transactions of doubtful origin,” estimated at billions of roubles monthly.

CEO Borgen Resigns

On Wednesday, Danske Bank also announced that its CEO, Thomas F. Borgen, has resigned. He has been the bank’s CEO since 2013 and was in charge of international banking including Estonia from 2009 to 2012. Borgen said:

It is clear that Danske Bank has failed to live up to its responsibility in the case of possible money laundering in Estonia. I deeply regret this…I believe that it is best for all parties that I resign.

According to the bank’s announcement, Borgen will continue in his position until a new CEO has been appointed.

Donation and Revised Outlook

Danske Bank's Alleged Money Laundering Now Totals $235 Billion, CEO QuitsAnother announcement made by Danske Bank on Wednesday concerns the donation of DKK 1.5 billion (~$235 million).

“Danske Bank does not wish to benefit financially from suspicious transactions that took place in the non-resident portfolio of its Estonian branch in the period from 2007 to 2015,” the bank wrote, adding:

As the bank is not able to provide an accurate estimate of the amount of suspicious transactions made by non-resident customers in Estonia during the period, the Board of Directors has decided to donate the gross income from the customers in the period from 2007 to 2015, which is estimated at DKK 1.5 billion, to an independent foundation.

The foundation will be “set up to support initiatives aimed at combating international financial crime, including money laundering, also in Denmark and Estonia.”

The bank further explained that its net profit for 2018 has been revised downward due to this donation. “We now expect net profit for 2018 to be in the range of DKK 16-17 billion [~$2.5-2.7 billion],” the bank clarified, noting that previously it “expected net profit for 2018 to be at the lower end of the DKK 18-20 billion [~$2.8-3.1 billion] range.”

Why do you think regulators are going after crypto when there is so much money laundering in the banking system? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Japanese Regulated Exchange Zaif Hacked – Nearly 6000 BTC Stolen

Japanese Regulated Exchange Zaif Hacked – Nearly 6000 BTC Stolen

Japanese government-approved cryptocurrency exchange Zaif has confirmed that it has been hacked. After a preliminary investigation, the exchange says at least 5,966 BTC have been stolen, with an estimated total damage of $60 million. Some of the stolen coins belong to the exchange but the majority belong to customers.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

Zaif Hacked

Japanese Regulated Exchange Zaif Hacked – Nearly 6000 BTC StolenJapanese crypto exchange Zaif has been hacked, its operator announced on Wednesday, Sept. 19. Tech Bureau Inc., which operates Zaif, explained that the exchange “detected server abnormality” on Monday and immediately suspended several services, including deposit, withdrawal, and merchant payment services.

The company revealed that unauthorized access to its hot wallet was detected between 17:00 and 19:00 on Sept. 14, elaborating:

Some of the deposit and withdrawal hot wallets were hacked by unauthorized access from the outside, and part of the virtual currencies managed by us was illegally discharged to the outside.

Japanese Regulated Exchange Zaif Hacked – Nearly 6000 BTC StolenThe exchange believes that three cryptocurrencies may have been stolen: BTC, BCH, and MONA. While it has confirmed that 5,966 BTC were stolen, the theft of the other two cryptocurrencies is still being investigated. Tech Bureau explained that the extent of the damage is currently unknown because the exchange’s server will not be restarted until it is confirmed to be secured in order to prevent further damage. Nonetheless, the company clarified:

It is estimated that the total loss due to the damage…is equivalent to about 6.7 billion yen [~US$60 million] (including MONA and BCH) in Japanese yen.

Out of the total damage, the company says 2.2 billion yen (~$19.6 million) belong to the exchange and 4.5 billion yen (~$40 million) belong to customers. Tech Bureau said it has asked for 5 billion yen (~$44.6 million) in assistance from a subsidiary of Fisco Ltd. to help repay affected customers, Kyodo News described.

Investigating and Rebuilding

In its announcement, Tech Bureau stated that it reported the breach to the Treasury Department on Sept. 18. “This case is a criminal case,” the company wrote, adding that it has requested an investigation into the breach. The company detailed:

Currently, we are checking and strengthening security, rebuilding the server, etc., in order to restart the system of depositing / withdrawing virtual currency.

The Osaka-based exchange, established in 2014, is one of the 16 government-approved crypto exchanges in Japan. The country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) issued the company two business improvement orders: the first was on March 8 and the second on June 22. The agency ramped up its oversight of crypto exchanges after hackers stole 58 billion yen (~$534 million) worth of the cryptocurrency NEM from Coincheck in January.

What do you think of Zaif’s hack? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Zaif.


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The post Japanese Regulated Exchange Zaif Hacked – Nearly 6000 BTC Stolen appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Brazil’s Biggest Banks Under Investigation For Monopoly In Cryptocurrency Trade

Brazil's Biggest Banks Under Investigation For Monopoly In Cryptocurrency Trade

Some of Brazil’s biggest banks have come under investigation for alleged monopolistic tendencies in the trade of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The Administrative Council for Economic Defense, a transparency and competition body, accuses the financial institutions shutting down accounts of brokers trading cryptocurrency without merit.

Also read: Zimbabwe’s Golix Battles To Grow Volume After Breaking Into Seven African Countries

Banks Probe To Fish Out Monopolistic Practices

The Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) said on September 18 that it had started a probe of six of Brazil’s biggest banks for alleged malpractice in the trade of cryptocurrencies.

Brazil's Biggest Banks Under Investigation For Monopoly In Cryptocurrency Trade

According to a report by Reuters, the Brazilian transparency and competition body is looking into allegations of “monopolistic practices” within the cryptocurrency industry “that could be limiting the action of brokers.”

“In fact, the main banks are imposing restrictions or even prohibiting … access to the financial system by cryptocurrency brokerages,” CADE is quoted as saying.

Banks under investigation include Banco Santander Brasil SA, Banco Bradesco SA, Banco do Brasil SA, Itau Unibanco Holding SA and Banco Inter and Sicredi, the report says.

Brazil is a groundswell of cryptocurrency activity in Latin America. The number of people trading bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency has soared from a few dozen thousands two years ago, to about 1.4 million today. More than $2.4 billion worth of bitcoin was traded in the country last year, up from just $160 million in 2016.

In January, the Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission stopped local investment funds from buying digital coins because “cryptocurrencies cannot be qualified financial assets.”

The Commission, however, made a U-turn immediately after, allowing for indirect ownership, meaning Brazilians could buy into crypto-related investment funds. Even politicians are talking about bitcoin. A candidate for the presidential election set for next month is already talking of legalizing bitcoin.

 Bank Accounts Closed Down Arbitrarily

The Brazilian Association for Cryptocurrency and Blockchain (ABCB) complained to CADE that “banks were abusing their power as financial players by closing accounts of brokerages trading in bitcoin.”

Brazil's Biggest Banks Under Investigation For Monopoly In Cryptocurrency Trade

Banks denied the charge, saying “that the accounts were closed because of the absence or lack of client data that is required by law to prevent money laundering,” Reuters reported.

Our contact in Brazil told news.bitcoin.com that “many banks are closing (crypto) exchange accounts with no explanation.”

Do you think that the Brazilian banks are acting fairly? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Coin 2001


The Bitcoin universe is vast. So is Bitcoin.com. Check ourWiki, where you can learn everything you were afraid to ask. Or read our news coverage to stay up to date on the latest. Or delve into statistics on our helpful tools page.

The post Brazil’s Biggest Banks Under Investigation For Monopoly In Cryptocurrency Trade appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Crypto Mining Malware Up Nearly 500% in 2018

Crypto Mining Malware

According to a crypto jacking report published by the Cyber Threat Alliance (CTA), crypto mining malware infections are up nearly 500% in 2018.

Crypto Mining Malware Report

The threat of illicit cryptocurrency mining represents an increasingly common cybersecurity risk of enterprises and individuals. According to the report, the CTA found that malware detections were up 459% between 2017 and 2018.

“Combined threat intelligence from CTA members show that this rapid growth shows no signs of slowing down, even with recent decreases in cryptocurrency value,” the company writes in a preface.

The threat ...

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