70+ Investigations: 40 Regulators Crack Down on Suspicious Crypto Schemes

70+ Investigations: 40 Regulators Crack Down on Suspicious Crypto Schemes

Forty regulators in the US and Canada are reportedly collaborating in the largest coordinated crackdown on cryptocurrency scams to date by state and provincial officials. The operation has triggered over 70 investigations so far, with 35 cases completed or pending.

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

Mass Crackdown

The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) said Monday that US and Canadian securities regulators have launched nationwide investigations on suspicious cryptocurrency investment schemes, the Washington Post reported. This is “the largest coordinated crackdown to date by state and provincial officials on bitcoin scams,” the news outlet wrote. CNBC elaborated:

More than 40 state and provincial watchdogs are participating in ‘Operation Crypto-Sweep,’ which has triggered at least 70 investigations so far.

70+ Investigations: 40 Regulators Crack Down on Suspicious Crypto SchemesNASAA is a voluntary association whose members are securities administrators from states, provinces, and territories in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, and Mexico. According to its website, the association is the oldest international organization devoted to investor protection.

The association, which helps coordinate Operation Crypto-Sweep, confirmed that “as many as 70 investigations have been opened in the sweep, with more expected in the coming weeks.” Furthermore, the Washington Post detailed, “As many as 35 cases are pending or already completed, with some resulting in cease-and-desist letters warning the alleged schemes that their unregistered activity violates state securities law.”

The efforts focus on “unregistered securities offerings that promise lucrative returns without adequately informing investors of the risks” as well as initial coin offerings (ICOs), the regulators explained.

Fighting Fraud

By posing as members of the public, the NASAA task force found roughly 30,000 crypto-related domain name registrations, the news outlet described, adding that “Many of the alleged scams use fake addresses, slick marketing materials and promises of over 4 percent daily interest,” the news outlet described. “A few have even used unauthorized photos of high-profile individuals, such as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to portray themselves as aboveboard.”

70+ Investigations: 40 Regulators Crack Down on Suspicious Crypto SchemesThe director of enforcement at the Texas State Securities Board, Joseph Rotunda, was quoted saying, “Although the international task force’s work is far from complete, my suspicions have already been confirmed: The market for cryptocurrency investments is saturated with fraud, and our work is only revealing the tip of the iceberg.”

Last week, the Wall Street Journal published a study showing that out of 1,470 ICOs, 271 were found to contain “red flags that include plagiarized investor documents, promises of guaranteed returns and missing or fake executive teams.” Investors have poured more than $1 billion into these 271 ICOs, the publication added. In addition, a Chinese government-backed industry organization also published its fake crypto analysis last week, claiming that its monitoring system has detected 421 fake cryptocurrencies.

Massachusetts’ Secretary of the Commonwealth, William Francis Galvin, emphasized on Monday:

Not every ICO or cryptocurrency-related investment is fraudulent, but we urge investors to approach any initial coin offering or cryptocurrency-related investment product with extreme caution.

NASAA president and the director of the Alabama Securities Commission, Joseph Borg, explained that “consumers face higher risks of being misled at a time when the intense demand for bitcoin has prompted many retail investors to take extreme steps to gain exposure to the currency, such as taking out a bigger mortgage.”

What do you think of Operation Crypto-Sweep? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and NASAA.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post 70+ Investigations: 40 Regulators Crack Down on Suspicious Crypto Schemes appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Spanish Regulator Open to Approving Funds Investing Directly in Cryptocurrencies

Spanish Regulator Open to Approving Funds Investing Directly in Cryptocurrencies

Spain’s financial regulator has clarified its position on regulated investment funds investing directly in cryptocurrencies. These type of funds are legal under Law 22/2014, and investments can be made through three types of legal entities.

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

Funds Directly Investing in Cryptocurrencies

Spanish Regulator Open to Approving Funds Investing Directly in CryptocurrenciesSpain’s National Securities Market Commission (CNMV – Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores) recently clarified its position on registered funds investing in cryptocurrencies directly. The CNMV is the Spanish government agency responsible for regulating the securities markets.

In a Questions and Answers document addressed to fintech companies on activities and services that can have a relationship with the Commission, one of the questions was “Can a fund registered by the CNMV directly invest in cryptocurrencies?” The Commission replied:

This type of funds would have a legal place in Law 22/2014, which regulates, in addition to venture capital entities, other collective investment entities of closed type and their management entities.

Law 22/2014 establishes, among others, closed-end collective investment entities (EICC), closed-end investment funds (FICC), and closed-end investment companies (SICC), Iclg describes.

EICC, FICC, or SICC

The CNMV explained that the investments could be made through EICC, FICC, or SICC.

Spanish Regulator Open to Approving Funds Investing Directly in Cryptocurrencies
CNMV building.

For EICC, Article 2.1 of the above law mandates that “the divestment policy of its participants or partners” must meet two requirements. Firstly, the fund’s “disinvestments [must] occur simultaneously for all investors or participants,” the Commission detailed. Secondly, “what is received by each investor or participant is based on the rights that correspond to each one of them, according to the established terms in its bylaws or regulations for each class of shares or participations.”

Both FICC and SICC have their own “numerous requirements and conditions,” the CNMV noted. For example, an FICC registered with the Commission must be “managed by a management company of closed-end type collective investment entities (SGEIC) or by a collective investment institution management company (SGIIC) that is authorized to manage this type of funds.” The Commission also noted that “the FICC and the SICC are not subject to the supervision of the CNMV (except [for] self-managed SICC)” based on the provisions of article 85 of Law 22/2014.

While registered funds can theoretically invest in cryptocurrencies directly, the Commission emphasized that there are many factors to consider, reiterating:

The investment of FICC and SICC in cryptocurrencies raises a series of practical problems on how to comply with the regulations regarding the valuation of assets, the management of liquidity and the custody guarantee.

European Regulation

Europa Press reported earlier this month that the CNMV “will apply [its] securities regulations to cryptocurrencies until there is European regulation.” The news outlet quoted CNMV’s general director of Strategic Policy and International Affairs, Víctor Rodríguez, saying:

The approach adopted by the CNMV is to try to apply the existing securities regulations as long as we do not have an international or European reference standard.

What do you think of the CNMV’s approach to cryptocurrencies? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, CNMV, and Wikipedia.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Spanish Regulator Open to Approving Funds Investing Directly in Cryptocurrencies appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Canadian Regulator Warns Investors of Five Cryptocurrency Firms

Canadian Regulator Warns Investors of Five Cryptocurrency Firms

The Ontario Securities Commission has issued a warning against five unlicensed crypto companies involved in schemes to encourage investors to trade or invest in cryptocurrencies. The regulator started gathering information about these platforms after receiving complaints about them.

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

Warning to Investors

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) published an Investor Alert on Friday, warning the public of five firms that “appear to be involved in schemes that target Ontario investors and encourage them to trade or invest in cryptocurrencies,” stating:

Btcreal, Bitserial, Hypercube Ventures LP, Cabincoin OÜ, and Baappay Inc. are not registered in Ontario to solicit investments or provide advice on investing in, buying or selling securities.

Canadian Regulator Warns Investors of Five Cryptocurrency FirmsThe Commission started gathering information on several crypto trading platforms last month after it received a number of complaints about them, CBC reported, adding that to date no platform has been recognized by the OSC as an exchange or exempted from recognition. Any platform that offers cryptocurrencies that fit the definition of securities “must determine whether it is a marketplace. Marketplaces are required to comply with the rules governing exchanges or alternative trading systems,” the news outlet elaborated.

Last month, the OSC issued an Investor Alert on Bitconnect, Bitconnect Coin and the BCC Exchange. “Bitconnect, the BCC Exchange and representatives of Bitconnect are not registered in Ontario to solicit investments or provide advice on investing in, buying or selling securities,” the regulator wrote.

The Five Unregistered Firms

Canadian Regulator Warns Investors of Five Cryptocurrency FirmsThe first firm mentioned in Friday’s warning is Btcreal. This company “claims to provide full investment services for cryptocurrency-related investments and forex,” promising investors “high returns in short periods of time,” the OSC described. The company’s website advertises “6 high ROI [Return On Investment] plans.”

Canadian Regulator Warns Investors of Five Cryptocurrency FirmsThe next company is Bitserial which “claims to offer opportunities to invest in BTE Tokens.” The firm also “encourages investors to participate in a lending program where they can exchange bitcoin, litecoin, or ethereum for BTE Tokens that are ‘lent out’ for high returns,” the Commission detailed.

The third company is Hypercube Ventures LP which manages multiple websites to encourage investors to buy “emission pools” in order to generate “VNN cryptocurrency,” according to the Commission.

Canadian Regulator Warns Investors of Five Cryptocurrency FirmsThe fourth is Cabincoin OÜ which “is currently advertising an unregistered token sale for Cabincoin Tokens,” claiming that “the future value of these tokens will far exceed their initial price,” the OSC wrote.

The last on the list is Baappay Inc. which “is a multi-layered platform that integrates both fiat and cryptocurrency payment services for merchants, that will confirm and guarantee all payments in seconds,” its website describes. The OSC says this company “is also currently advertising an unregistered token sale.”

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


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, the OSC, Btcreal, Bitserial, and Cabincoin.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Canadian Regulator Warns Investors of Five Cryptocurrency Firms appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Japanese Crypto Exchange Continues Global Expansion – Now in Five Countries

Japanese Crypto Exchange Continues Global Expansion - Now in 5 Countries

A Japanese government-approved cryptocurrency exchange has resumed expanding overseas. Already operating in five countries with a plan to launch in more in the near future, the exchange aims to construct a global network of crypto transactions.

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

Building Global Network

Japanese Crypto Exchange Continues Global Expansion - Now in 5 CountriesBitpoint Japan was among the first crypto exchanges to be fully licensed by the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA). It is a subsidiary of Remixpoint (3825.T), a listed company on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Bitpoint has started a new round of expansion overseas, after entering a few countries last year. The company announced on Thursday that its Malaysian exchange has begun operations.

The Kuala Lumpur-based Bitpoint Malaysia opened its doors on May 17, offering spot trading and leverage trading. The fee for spot trading is 0.5% while leverage trading carries no fee. Deposits and withdrawals in Malaysian Ringgit are free during the grand opening. The exchange wrote:

We offer leverage of 2, 5, 10 and 25 times.

Five cryptocurrencies are supported: BTC, ETH, BCH, LTC, and XRP. Bitpoint Japan says it “will support Bitpoint Malaysia as a system and liquidity provider.”

Global Operations

Japanese Crypto Exchange Continues Global Expansion - Now in 5 CountriesIn addition to Malaysia and Japan, Bitpoint is also operating in South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. The exchange also opened an office in China in July last year before the Chinese government shut down all crypto exchanges in the country.

In addition, the exchange is reportedly preparing to enter Singapore, Thailand, and other Asian markets in the near future. Bitpoint detailed:

By continuing to provide overseas exchanges using the Bitpoint system in the future, we will continue to realize the construction of a global network of virtual currency transactions.

Tougher Rules and Competition in Japan

Since the hack of Coincheck, one of the most popular crypto exchanges in Japan, the FSA has tightened its cryptocurrency oversight. The country still has 16 fully-licensed crypto exchanges, which have recently formed an association to focus on self-regulation in an effort to rebuild public trust in the crypto industry.

However, out of the 16 “deemed dealers,” which are those allowed to operate while their applications are being reviewed by the FSA, only 8 remain. The agency recently revealed that the other 8 have indicated that they are withdrawing their applications.

Meanwhile, the agency confirmed that over 100 companies are seeking to enter the space, including Yahoo! Japan and Line Corp, which operates the popular chat app Line.

What do you think of Bitpoint’s global expansion plans? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Bitpoint.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Japanese Crypto Exchange Continues Global Expansion – Now in Five Countries appeared first on Bitcoin News.

China Has Found 421 Fake Cryptocurrencies

China Has Found 421 Fake Cryptocurrencies

A Chinese government-backed industry organization has published a report on fake cryptocurrencies. As of April, its monitoring platform has found 421 fake cryptocurrencies, 60% of which are deployed overseas. The Committee has also outlined major red flags of these cryptocurrencies.

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

421 Fake Cryptocurrencies

China Has Found 421 Fake CryptocurrenciesThe National Committee of Experts on the Internet Financial Security Technology (IFCERT), a Chinese government-backed industry organization, published the results of its analysis on fake cryptocurrencies on Friday.

China Has Found 421 Fake CryptocurrenciesCiting that “In recent years, virtual currencies represented by bitcoin, litecoin, ethereum, etc. have received continuous attention,” IFCERT pointed out that “some criminals are engaged in financial fraud or pyramid schemes under the cover of virtual currency.” The Committee added that fake cryptocurrencies frequently appear, “causing investors to suffer major losses.”

IFCERT’s National Internet Financial Risk Analysis Technology Platform continuously monitors fake cryptos, the Committee detailed, elaborating:

As of April 2018, the technology platform has found 421 fake virtual currencies, of which more than 60% of fake virtual currency website servers are deployed overseas. Such platforms are difficult to find and difficult to track.

The Red Flags

China Has Found 421 Fake CryptocurrenciesThe Committee outlined some major red flags of these fake cryptocurrencies. Firstly, they adopt “pyramid-based” business models, claiming that their cryptocurrencies will generate high returns.

Secondly, they have no real code, IFCERT described, noting that they either do not have a blockchain or cannot generate blocks for one.

Thirdly, they will not be traded on legitimate cryptocurrency exchanges, “so they often trade on over-the-counter or proprietary exchanges,” the report detailed, adding that:

There is a phenomenon that prices [on these platforms] are highly controlled by institutions or individuals, which tends to cause the illusion of rapid price increase. However, users often cannot conduct transactions or withdraw cash.

IFCERT emphasized that fake cryptocurrencies have no value and are illegal, asserting that “Many of these platforms do not have business premises and business information, and servers are often deployed overseas,” so it will be difficult to recoup any losses for victims.

271 Fake ICOs

On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal independently published its finding after a review of documents produced for 1,450 initial coin offerings (ICOs). The publication “has found 271 with red flags that include plagiarized investor documents, promises of guaranteed returns and missing or fake executive teams.”

Investors have poured more than $1 billion into these 271 ICOs, the publication detailed, adding that “some of the firms are still raising funds, while others have shut down. Investors have so far claimed losses of up to $273 million in these projects, according to lawsuits and regulatory actions.”

Do you think there are many more fake cryptocurrencies? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and IFCERT.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post China Has Found 421 Fake Cryptocurrencies appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Coincheck Delists XMR, DASH, ZEC, REP – Prompted by Japanese Regulator

Coincheck Delists XMR, DASH, ZEC, REP - Prompted by Japanese Regulator

Japanese exchange Coincheck has confirmed that it is delisting three privacy coins: monero, dash, and zcash. Augur’s reputation token will also be delisted next month. The exchange made this decision after receiving a business improvement order from the country’s financial regulator following the NEM hack.

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

Coincheck Delisting 4 Cryptocurrencies

Coincheck Delists XMR, DASH, ZEC, REP - Prompted by Japanese RegulatorFollowing reports that Coincheck was going to delist monero (XMR), zcash (ZEC), and dash (DASH), the exchange has now confirmed that those cryptocurrencies will be delisted along with Augur’s reputation token (REP).

The four cryptocurrencies will be delisted on June 18, Coincheck emphasized, adding:

The target currencies [XMR, ZEC, DASH, and REP] held on the discontinued date will be sold at the market price and converted into Japanese yen.

The sales’ proceeds will then be credited to the customers’ accounts. Before that date, customers can sell or transfer these cryptocurrencies. The exchange says it has received many transfer requests, warning that it may be several days to complete the transfers.

Business Improvement Order

Coincheck Delists XMR, DASH, ZEC, REP - Prompted by Japanese RegulatorFollowing the NEM hack in January, Coincheck received a business improvement order from the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) on March 8. The exchange is a “deemed dealer,” meaning it has been allowed to operate while its application is being reviewed by the agency. The exchange has now been acquired by Monex Group. After delisting the above cryptocurrencies, Coincheck will continue to support BTC, ETH, ETC, LSK, FCT, BCH, XRP, XEM, and LTC.

In complying with the FSA order, the exchange says it is “drastically reviewing” its internal control and management control systems, as well as rethinking its “management strategy that thoroughly protects customers,” the announcement reads, adding that:

It is necessary [for us] to further develop and strengthen the management system of AML / CFT [Anti-Money Laundering/ Counter-Terrorist Financing] in the future.

Monex CEO Oki Matsumoto “expects the exchange to secure an official license in Japan next month,” Fortune reported on Friday.

FSA Cracks Down on Privacy Coin Listings

Nikkei reported earlier this month that the FSA has set new criteria for crypto exchanges. One of them concerns the types of cryptocurrencies listed on exchanges. “Those granting a high level of anonymity and easily used for money laundering will as a general rule be banned,” the news outlet described.

The FSA “strongly requests money laundering and counter-terrorist financing measures not only for Coincheck but also for other virtual currency exchange operators,” News24 wrote.

Out of the 16 licensed crypto exchanges in Japan, none have listed XMR, ZEC, DASH, or REP on their applications with the FSA.

What do you think of Coincheck delisting the four cryptocurrencies? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Nikkei, and Coincheck.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Coincheck Delists XMR, DASH, ZEC, REP – Prompted by Japanese Regulator appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Five Petitions Pile Up Against India’s Crypto Crackdown – High Courts Ordered to Ignore

Five Petitions Pile Up Against India's Crypto Crackdown – High Courts Ordered to Ignore

Five writ petitions have now been filed against the order by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) banning banks from providing services to entities dealing with cryptocurrencies. The country’s Supreme Court has set a date to hear all petitions but has barred all other courts from accepting any new ones.

Also read: US State Issues Emergency Cease and Desist Orders to Two Crypto Investment Firms

Latest Writ Petition Against RBI Order

Five petitions have been filed with Indian courts against RBI’s order banning financial institutions under its control from dealing with cryptocurrencies and servicing entities that deal with them including crypto exchanges. RBI has set “a three-month deadline or by July 5 for financial institutions to comply with its notice, putting the cryptocurrency businesses in India in a disarray,” the Economic Times elaborated.

Five Petitions Pile Up Against India's Crypto Crackdown – High Courts Ordered to IgnoreThe latest writ petition was filed by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), a non-profit industry body representing the interests of online and mobile value-added services industry. It was filed on Tuesday according to IAMAI president, Subho Ray, and the Supreme Court website, Inc42 reported.

Crypto exchanges that are part of the association include Unocoin, Zebpay, and Coinsecure. They were originally part of another industry body called the Digital and Blockchain Foundation of India which merged with IAMAI, the publication detailed.

Four Other Writ Petitions

The fourth writ petition was “filed by a group of 11 different representatives from various crypto-related businesses,” the Economic Times conveyed on Monday. One of the petitioners told the news outlet:

Banking is an essential service. How can one deny access to an essential service when I am not doing anything illegal? You have not declared VCs (virtual currencies) illegal in the country.

Three more writ petitions were previously filed. One was by Kali Digital Eco-systems and another by Flinstone Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which conducts business under the trade name Money Trade Coin (MTC).

Moreover, a joint writ petition was filed by four cryptocurrency exchanges in the Supreme Court against the RBI circular on May 8. According to lawyer Mohammed Danish, the four exchanges are Coindelta Exchange run by Bitfair Technologies, Koinex Exchange run by Discidium Internet Labs, Throughbit Exchange run by Throughbit technologies, and Coindcx run by Neblio Technologies.

Supreme Court Taking Charge

Five Petitions Pile Up Against India's Crypto Crackdown – High Courts Ordered to IgnoreFollowing the petition by IAMAI, the Supreme Court on Thursday reportedly refused to stay RBI’s order. “However, it allowed cryptocurrency exchanges, their shareholders, traders and other individuals to present their cases within two weeks to the RBI, which will look into the issue in accordance with the law,” the Financial Express explained.

All petitions relating to RBI’s crypto directive will be heard by the Supreme Court; the hearing is set for July 20. Pending petitions have been transferred to the Supreme Court from two high courts – two in Delhi High Court and one in Calcutta High Court.

Furthermore, high courts have been ordered not to entertain any more petitions regarding RBI’s crypto order, Business Standard described, adding:

No court shall accept petitions on the subject of cryptocurrency.

Do you think the Supreme Court will reverse RBI’s order? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Indian Express, and RBI.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Five Petitions Pile Up Against India’s Crypto Crackdown – High Courts Ordered to Ignore appeared first on Bitcoin News.

South Korea to Follow G20 Unified Cryptocurrency Regulations

South Korea to Follow G20 Unified Cryptocurrency Regulations

The South Korean government reportedly plans to soften its crypto regulations in line with the policies set by the G20 nations in an effort to create “unified regulations.” The Korean regulators have also agreed to apply the standards set by the Financial Action Task Force to its crypto policies.

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

G20’s Unified Crypto Regulations

South Korea is reportedly planning to follow the policies set by the G-20 nations and soften its crypto regulations, the Korea Times reported.

The G20 is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors. Its members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, and the European Union.

South Korea to Follow G20 Unified Cryptocurrency Regulations

The top financial policymakers of these countries have agreed to acknowledge and regulate cryptocurrencies as financial assets, the news outlet noted, elaborating:

Financial policymakers of G-20 nations have set a July deadline for the first step toward ‘unified regulations’ of cryptocurrencies. One reason for the move by the G-20 is that they see cryptocurrencies as ‘too small to jeopardize’ financial markets. The combined market value of cryptocurrencies is less than 1 percent of the global GDP.

Financial Action Task Force Standards

While the G-20 classifies cryptocurrencies as financial assets, the Korean government has earlier classified them as non-financial products due to their speculative nature. Acknowledging the differences, the country’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) was quoted expressing:

It’s almost certain that cryptocurrencies will be classified as assets and the main issue will be centered on how to regulate them properly under the unified frame that will be agreed upon between G-20 nations. Given the current stance, this isn’t good, but we will step up efforts to improve things.

South Korea has also agreed to apply to cryptocurrencies the standards of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body formed to fight money laundering and terrorism financing, the publication conveyed.

Softening Crypto Policies

Recently, the new FSS chief indicated that he will ease the country’s cryptocurrency regulations. Governor Yoon Suk-heun said there are many positive aspects of cryptocurrencies, promising to release updates on this issue in the near future.

South Korea to Follow G20 Unified Cryptocurrency RegulationsMeanwhile, the country’s National Tax Agency has been collaborating with the finance ministry to collect tax data in order to establish crypto tax policies. While cryptocurrency transactions are currently tax-free in Korea, crypto operators are required to pay income taxes, the news outlet detailed.

Despite the new FSS chief suggesting an easing of crypto regulations, his department has launched an investigation into crypto exchanges, in collaboration with other related authorities. In March, the prosecution arrested four employees of crypto exchanges including the CEO of Coinnest. Last week, they started investigating the country’s largest crypto exchange, Upbit. This week, three people were arrested from HTS Coin exchange for alleged fraud and embezzlement charges.

Do you think South Korea will soon ease crypto policies? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the South Korean government.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post South Korea to Follow G20 Unified Cryptocurrency Regulations appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Openbazaar Enables Decentralized Peer-To-Peer Trading of 44 Cryptocurrencies

Openbazaar Enables Decentralized Peer-To-Peer Trading of 44 Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies can now be traded on the peer-to-peer online marketplace Openbazaar in addition to physical goods, digital goods, and services. Initially, 44 cryptocurrencies are supported but the development team plans to add more over time. There is no fee for trading cryptocurrencies and no need to register with any service.

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

Crypto Trading on Openbazaar

Openbazaar Enables Decentralized Peer-To-Peer Trading of 44 CryptocurrenciesPeer-to-peer e-commerce platform Openbazaar’s development team, OB1, announced this week that fully decentralized, fee-free cryptocurrency trading is now available on the platform with the release of Openbazaar version 2.20. The platform previously had three types of listings: physical goods, digital goods, and services. “We’re now adding a fourth: cryptocurrency,” the team emphasized, elaborating about the new software version:

The biggest new feature is the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. Vendors are now able to use a special new listing type to sell cryptocurrencies on Openbazaar. They can choose from 44 different cryptocurrencies right now and more will be added over time.

The main benefits of using Openbazaar to trade crypto, as detailed in the announcement, is that there are “no fees, no need to register with any service, and no threat of an exchange getting hacked,” so users “aren’t forced to reveal any identifying information.”

Openbazaar Enables Decentralized Peer-To-Peer Trading of 44 Cryptocurrencies

“We’ve released this new feature with the goal of listening to the community about how they believe cryptocurrency trading on Openbazaar can be improved. We plan to rapidly iterate as we receive feedback from users,” the OB1 team conveyed. They also shared that since the launch of the crypto trading option, “we’ve seen users on the Openbazaar network from more than 60 different countries.”

Not an Exchange, No Order Book

However, the platform is “completely peer-to-peer” so “this is not an exchange,” Openbazaar developers admitted, adding that “the new feature only allows people to trade cryptocurrencies directly with each other at market prices.” It does not “include an order book with the ability to choose a target price for buying or selling,” the OB1 team clarified.

Openbazaar Enables Decentralized Peer-To-Peer Trading of 44 CryptocurrenciesCurrently, the platform uses 3 different cryptocurrency payment types: Direct, Offline, and Moderated. “If a buyer trusts a seller they can just send their coins directly to them in a direct payment,” the developers described. For sellers who are offline at the time of payment, the Offline option allows them to claim their coins when they return. The Moderated option can be used when buyers do not know or trust the vendors.

For crypto trading, the team reiterated:

“Payment must be settled in whichever coin they [vendors] have chosen for their Openbazaar store, either bitcoin, bitcoin cash, or zcash.”

What do you think of Openbazaar’s crypto trading option? Will you trade cryptocurrencies on Openbazaar? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Openbazaar.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Openbazaar Enables Decentralized Peer-To-Peer Trading of 44 Cryptocurrencies appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Thailand Waives 7% VAT for Individual Cryptocurrency Investors

Thailand Waives 7% VAT for Individual Cryptocurrency Investors

Thailand’s Revenue Department has announced that it will waive the 7% value-added tax for individual cryptocurrency investors. The country began regulating digital currencies and initial coin offerings on Monday, putting the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in charge of the regulations.

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

VAT Exemption

The decree to provide the legal framework for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) in Thailand went into effect on Monday.

Cryptocurrency transactions are currently subject to income tax for both private companies and individual investors, Nation Multimedia explained. Saroch Thongpracum, Director of Legal Affairs of the country’s Revenue Department, announced at a press conference on Tuesday:

The Revenue Department will waive value-added tax for people trading in cryptocurrencies on exchange markets approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Thailand Waives 7% VAT for Individual Cryptocurrency InvestorsHowever, Mr. Saroch emphasized, “Individuals will still have to pay a 15 percent capital gains tax, also known as a withholding tax, on income earned in a transaction.”

The VAT waiver for individual cryptocurrency traders aims to “reduce their tax burden,” the publication noted, adding that the Revenue Department “would issue a regulation waiving the 7 percent VAT for individual investors.”

Furthermore, the news outlet detailed, “Under the new law, private companies launching ICOs have to pay corporate income tax on the funds they raise from the exercise.”

Full Regulations Expected Next Month

Thailand Waives 7% VAT for Individual Cryptocurrency InvestorsAccording to the decree, the Thai SEC will be the primary regulator of digital assets. Three groups of crypto operators will be regulated: brokers, dealers, and ICO portals. They must obtain licenses from the Finance Minister, according to the department’s spokesperson.

The SEC chief says that the Commission expects to issue regulations on cryptocurrencies and ICOs by the end of June after holding a public hearing. “The public hearing will take 2-3 weeks because investments in digital tokens are complicated and carry high risks,” the Bangkok Post reported SEC secretary-general Rapee Sucharitakul conveying. During this time, ICOs are banned in the country.

The news outlet then quoted Mr. Rapee elaborating:

The new regulation aims to provide protection for general investors since only investors who have knowledge of ICO issuance or digital-asset transactions should be allowed to engaging in this kind of trading.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Thailand (BOT) announced that it will wait for the SEC to release more details of the regulations before it will take any action, Assistant Bank of Thailand governor Chantavarn Sucharitakul told the publication. The central bank has previously requested financial institutions in the country to refrain from dealing with cryptocurrency transactions.

What do you think of Thailand waiving 7% VAT for individual crypto investors? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Thai SEC.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Thailand Waives 7% VAT for Individual Cryptocurrency Investors appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Investment Platform Etoro Launches in the US with 10 Cryptocurrencies

Investment Platform Etoro Launches in the US with 10 Cryptocurrencies

Social trading platform Etoro is expanding into the US. Pre-registration has already begun. Initially, 10 cryptocurrencies will be offered, but the company plans to add more throughout the year. The company’s crypto business has boomed in recent years, with 70% of its users reportedly trading cryptocurrencies.

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

Etoro Launching in the US

Social investment platform Etoro has announced that it is expanding into the US market. CEO Yoni Assia unveiled the company’s plans at the Consensus conference on Tuesday. According to the announcement:

The launch will initially enable U.S.-based users to invest in 10 cryptocurrencies, with more to be added throughout 2018. Users will have access to a community feed and tools, letting them engage in conversations about cryptocurrencies and follow the investment strategies of other U.S. users.

Investment Platform Etoro Launches in the US with 10 CryptocurrenciesLaunched in 2007, Etoro is regulated in Europe by Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission and in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority. The company says it has more than 10 million registered users across 140 countries in Europe, Asia, and Australia, with an accumulated capital funding of more than $162 million. Currently, its website shows 247,387,974 open trades on the platform.

Assia commented, “Etoro will continue to focus on simplicity and user-friendliness so that more diverse groups will feel welcomed into the global crypto community.”

Pre-Registration Begins for US Users

The company explained that US users can join the waiting list for the platform starting on May 15. “Users will be able to experience the interface and perform mock cryptocurrency investments via a virtual portfolio,” its announcement details, adding:

The 10 cryptocurrencies that will be initially available are: bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, XRP, dash, bitcoin cash, stellar, ethereum classic, NEO, and EOS. Etoro intends to integrate several more cryptocurrencies throughout 2018.

Investment Platform Etoro Launches in the US with 10 Cryptocurrencies“The platform will offer U.S. investors three ways to access the crypto markets,” Etoro described. The first way is “by manually investing in a coin.” The second is “by automatically copying the trades of other traders on the platform to benefit from their knowledge and investment expertise.” The third is “by investing in a Crypto Copyfund which provides a diversified portfolio of major crypto assets.”

A Copyfund is Etoro’s investment product aimed at helping investors minimize long-term risk, its website states. “Once you invest in a Copyfund, your capital is professionally managed by Etoro’s investment committee. Each Copyfund’s performance is analysed in depth and rebalanced automatically to maximise its gain potential.”

Etoro’s Booming Crypto Business

In January last year, the platform added cryptocurrencies. According to Fortune, “In recent years, the company’s crypto business has boomed with 70% of its users trading digital currency.”

Investment Platform Etoro Launches in the US with 10 Cryptocurrencies
Yoni Assia.

In an interview with the news outlet, Assia predicted that Etoro’s “unusual social media features would help it gain a foothold” in the US. “Those features let users create a public profile of their investments, which in turn allows others on Etoro to track and copy their trading decisions.”

Commenting on the crackdown by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) targeting tokens that resemble securities, Assia told the publication that he is confident “the digital assets Etoro plans to list are currencies not securities.” He expects Etoro will list as many as 15 tokens by the end of the year, the news outlet conveyed, adding that the company also “plans to open a global wallet and exchange service later this year that is aimed at institutional traders.”

Currently, the aforementioned ten cryptocurrencies are already being offered on the platform for non-US users.

Investment Platform Etoro Launches in the US with 10 Cryptocurrencies

What do you think of Etoro launching in the US? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Medium, and Etoro.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Investment Platform Etoro Launches in the US with 10 Cryptocurrencies appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Japan’s GMO Gets Ready to Start Selling 7nm Bitcoin Mining Chips

Japan's GMO Gets Ready to Start Selling 7nm Bitcoin Mining Chips

Japanese internet giant GMO has updated its plans to manufacture and sell its 7nm bitcoin mining chips as well as for its own mining operations. Interested customers will soon be able to reserve some of these chips.

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

GMO Readies 7nm Mining Chips

Japanese conglomerate GMO Internet Group published its first quarter results for the fiscal year 2018 last week. During the earnings results presentation, the company outlined its plans for the sale of its long-awaited 7nm bitcoin mining chips.

Japan's GMO Gets Ready to Start Selling 7nm Bitcoin Mining ChipsGMO is building two versions of the chip, dubbed V1 and V2. The former is the initial prototype of the 7nm mining chip. The latter is for mass production of the 7nm mining chips, which the company plans to use in-house for its own mining operations, sell to the public, and use in cloud mining.

V2 is now being designed and will enter the mass production phase in the fourth quarter of this year.

Sale of 7nm Chips Starting Soon

In its presentation, GMO has revised its mining business plans from the fourth quarter of last year. The company now indicates that its mining operations are initially “based on store-bought mining computers,” and in roughly June the “7nm (V1) operation” will commence and in approximately October the “7nm (V2) operation” will be underway.

As for the sale of its 7nm bitcoin mining chips, the company spokesperson told news.Bitcoin.com:

We can disclose that accepting reservation will start from Q2 onwards and launch will be Q4 onwards only at this moment.

The actual sale dates are not specified. Furthermore, the company says its cloud mining operation will be launched in June.

Japan's GMO Gets Ready to Start Selling 7nm Bitcoin Mining Chips

GMO’s Mining Business

The mining business was launched on December 20 through GMO’s European legal entity. It comprises three areas: “[1] In-house mining; [2] Develop, manufacture, and sell mining machines; [and 3] Cloud mining.”

GMO says “Hash rate is increasing as planned. Amount of mined bitcoin is increasing as expected.” The company added that it has “new businesses at multiple locations in 2 countries,” noting that its hashrate in April was 241 PH/s but is confident that it will reach the target hashrate of 3,000 PH/s by the year’s end.

Japan's GMO Gets Ready to Start Selling 7nm Bitcoin Mining Chips

In addition to its mining business, GMO also operates a crypto exchange called GMO Coin and plans to launch a crypto payment service. The company aims “to become No. 1 in the field of cryptocurrency.”

Do you want to buy GMO’s 7nm chips? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and GMO Internet.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Japan’s GMO Gets Ready to Start Selling 7nm Bitcoin Mining Chips appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Investigation of South Korea’s Largest Crypto Exchange Upbit Continues

Investigation of South Korea’s Largest Crypto Exchange Upbit Continues

Since the South Korean prosecution started investigating Upbit, the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, more events have unfolded. While local media still discuss allegations and raise questions about Upbit’s business practice, some people believe that Upbit is already in the clear. The investigation continues.

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

The Allegations

Investigation of South Korea’s Largest Crypto Exchange Upbit ContinuesLocal media reported on Friday that South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Upbit, is under investigation for alleged fraud. More information has surfaced since, casting doubt on whether the allegations can be considered fraud. No charges have been filed against Upbit at the time of this writing. However, the prosecutors have confiscated the exchange’s computers and records as part of the investigation.

On Monday, News1 Korea described:

Prosecutors searched Upbit for fraud charges triggered by coinless transactions, suspicion of insider trading during the listing process, and allegations of money laundering and leakage of money through US trading sites.

Liquidity Issue

Investigation of South Korea’s Largest Crypto Exchange Upbit ContinuesThe first allegation, the most heavily scrutinized, concerns the liquidity of some of the coins listed on Upbit.

The exchange currently lists 137 cryptocurrencies but not all of them have wallets. South Korean prosecutors are accusing the exchange of “book-trading” where Upbit facilitates the trading of cryptocurrencies without actually having the coins in its possession. Joongang Ilbo elaborated:

Of the more than 130 cryptocurrencies currently traded on Upbit, about 40 do not support e-wallets.

News1 also pointed out that there is a viewpoint among investigators that if users request a transfer or withdrawal of their coins all at once, then Upbit will not be able to return their money immediately, which would render the original transactions fraudulent.

However, some argue that “most domestic trading sites are adopting this method” except those that handle a small number of cryptocurrencies such as Bithumb, the news outlet conveyed, adding that if this method is found to be an “apparent fraud…[then] the industry will not be much affected.”

Upbit Calls It a Misunderstanding

Upbit says that this investigation is “something that comes from misunderstanding,” Joongang Ilbo reported.

Investigation of South Korea’s Largest Crypto Exchange Upbit ContinuesThe exchange has repeatedly dismissed the above accusation, emphasizing that it will secure the needed cryptocurrencies as soon as it has brokered a transaction for the coins without a wallet, the news outlet detailed. In addition, Upbit insists that it has “never bought or sold cryptocurrencies that it did not own since it opened last October.”

Furthermore, given Upbit’s exclusive partnership with the US exchange Bitrex, crypto experts believe that “the lack of understanding of the Upbit trading system that links the system with the overseas exchange has led to the suspicion of book trading,” the publication emphasized, adding:

Cryptocurrency traded in KRW is directly managed by Upbit, and when customers buy other virtual currencies…transactions are made through Bittrex under the responsibility of Upbit.

A representative of another crypto exchange explained that except for the won market, Upbit transactions are made through Bittrex. “It is a legitimate book deal, and the prosecutors seem to have misunderstood why they are selling cryptocurrencies that they do not have.”

Previous Internal Audit

Another factor at play is an article published by Money Today on Tuesday, referencing an internal audit which reportedly happened earlier this year. The news outlet quoted Lee Seok-woo, president of Dunamu Inc. which operates Upbit, saying that “In early March, when Upbit was suspected of only [conducting] book transactions without [holding the] coins…I have been notified that the amount of coins [in the books] is 100% identical to the number of coins” in the wallets.

Referencing the above article, Twitter user Crypto of Korea wrote, “Upbit claimed that they had the internal account audit…The audit shows that 100% of the coins are real, the ledgers all synced to their own wallets.”

Investigation of South Korea’s Largest Crypto Exchange Upbit Continues

Some people subsequently took Upbit’s claim as the exchange being clear of wrong-doing in this current investigation, while others remain more objective. Twitter user Nash wrote, “Not concluded yet. It’s just “Upbit’s claim.” Meanwhile, Korean media still raise questions about Upbit’s operations and seek more answers at the time of this writing.

Insider Trading and Money Laundering Concerns

The prosecutors are also reportedly looking into allegations of insider trading and money laundering surrounding Upbit, News1 Korea wrote, noting that “some investors have raised strong suspicion that there is insider trading” at the exchange. “It is suspected that a person who receives information from an Upbit employee about an upcoming listing [on Upbit] would have bought the cryptocurrency from [an] overseas trading site and sold on Upbit.”

Furthermore, the investigators alleged that “illegal business funds are more easily transferred from the domestic [exchange] to the US due to the linkage with Bittrex,” the publication described.

As for any fraud charges, a lawyer was quoted by the news outlet commenting:

It is difficult to judge it as a fraud because there is no victim. If the capital market law applies to the transaction site [Upbit], it is a criminal offense. The lack of a clear baseline law is a bigger problem.

Joongang Ilbo further asserted that according to the position of the country’s financial regulators, “cryptocurrency is not subject to the Capital Market Law because it is not a monetary product.” In the unlikely event that the prosecutors can apply the Capital Market Law to this case, commissions through book transactions would be considered criminal proceeds, the news outlet explained.

Do you think Upbit has done anything wrong? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter, and Upbit.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Investigation of South Korea’s Largest Crypto Exchange Upbit Continues appeared first on Bitcoin News.

US Court Indicts Founders of Crypto Company for Fraudulent Scheme

US Court Indicts Founders of Crypto Company for Fraudulent Scheme

A US federal court has indicted three founders of a company purported to offer cryptocurrency-related financial products and have raised $25 million in an initial coin offering. In addition to claiming to have licenses in 38 states, the company also claimed partnerships with Bancorp, Visa, and Mastercard to issue its own cards.

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

Three Founders Indicted

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Monday that the founders of a cryptocurrency-related company have been indicted in the Manhattan federal court.

US Court Indicts Founders of Crypto Company for Fraudulent SchemeFlorida residents Sohrab Sharma, 27, Raymond Trapani, 27, and Robert Farkas, 31, are co-founders of a startup called Centra Tech. The company purported to offer cryptocurrency-related financial products including the Centra Card, a debit card which supposedly “allowed users to spend various types of cryptocurrency to make purchases at any establishment that accepts Visa or Mastercard payment cards,” the DOJ described.

The three were arrested last month. The US Attorney’s Office of Southern District of New York and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) seized 91,000 ether which was “raised from victims as part of the charged scheme” in an initial coin offering (ICO).

The attorney for the United States, Robert Khuzami, explained:

As alleged, the defendants conspired to capitalize on investor interest in the burgeoning cryptocurrency market. They allegedly made false claims about their product and about relationships they had with credible financial institutions, even creating a fictitious Centra Tech CEO. Whether traditional or cutting-edge, investment vehicles can’t legally be peddled with falsehoods and lies.

ICO Worth $60+ Million

US Court Indicts Founders of Crypto Company for Fraudulent SchemeThe three began “soliciting investors to purchase unregistered securities, in the form of digital tokens issued by Centra Tech” through an ICO in approximately July. In oral and written materials, they falsely represented that Centra Tech had an experienced executive team and “had formed partnerships with Bancorp, Visa, and Mastercard to issue Centra Cards licensed by Visa or Mastercard.” They also represented that the company “had money transmitter and other licenses in 38 states, among other claims,” the DOJ revealed, adding:

Based in part on these claims, victims provided millions of dollars’ worth of digital funds in investments for the purchase of Centra Tech tokens.

“In or about October 2017, at the end of Centra Tech’s ICO, those digital funds raised from victims were worth more than $25 million” – the amount which has now appreciated to more than $60 million.

False Statements

US Court Indicts Founders of Crypto Company for Fraudulent SchemeThe Department of Justice found that statements made by the three to secure these investments “were false,” emphasizing that the three “were well aware of the falsity of such claims.”

For example, “the purported CEO ‘Michael Edwards’ and another supposed member of Centra Tech’s executive team are fictitious people who were fabricated to dupe investors.”

The DOJ then described the scheme used to fabricate the CEO and another executive:

Sharma text-messaged Trapani on or about July 29, 2017, that they ‘Need to find someone who looks like Michael’…Similarly, Sharma later wrote during that same exchange: ‘Gonna kill both CEO and her [another executive],’ ‘Gonna say they were married and got into an accident.’

Furthermore, the company’s claimed partnerships and licenses were non-existent, the DOJ revealed, citing text messages between Trapani and Sharma discussing “Centra Tech’s lack of actual partnerships with banks or credit card companies.” Another text message from Sharma to Trapani and Farkas says, “Gotta apply for all licenses,” “Should I even say this.”

Four-Count Indictment

According to the Justice Department’s announcement:

All three of them are charged in a four-count Indictment.

One count is “conspiracy to commit securities fraud, which carries a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison.” The other three carry “a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison.” They are securities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and wire fraud. Additionally, each charge also carries potential financial penalties. “The maximum potential prison sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge,” the DOJ wrote.

Moreover, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has separately filed civil charges against the trio.

What do you think of the DOJ indicting the three Centra Tech’s founders? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter, and the DOJ.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post US Court Indicts Founders of Crypto Company for Fraudulent Scheme appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin Traders Join Supreme Court Challenge to India’s Banking Blockade

More bitcoin traders are challenging India’s directive for banks to stop financial services to cryptocurrency exchanges in the populous Asian country, with a court hearing of the challenge set for Thursday this week amid complaints that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is curtailing “essential” trade services. On Monday, the Economic Times in India reported … Continued

The post Bitcoin Traders Join Supreme Court Challenge to India’s Banking Blockade appeared first on CCN

Arrest Warrants Issued to Employees of South Korean Crypto Exchange

Arrest Warrants Issued to Employees of South Korean Crypto Exchange

Arrest warrants have reportedly been issued to three employees of a small South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, including its representative director. The three are “suspected [of] fraud and embezzlement,” according to local media.

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

Arrest Warrants for Crypto Exchange’s Employees

Arrest Warrants Issued to Employees of South Korean Crypto ExchangeOn Monday, local media reported that arrest warrants have been issued to employees of a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange. “Three of the company’s executives, who operate virtual currency trading site HTS Coin, were arrested for [suspicion of] fraud and embezzlement,” Money Today wrote.

The Financial Investigation Division 2 of the South Korean Prosecutor’s Office “demanded a warrant for three employees, including…[the] CEO of HTS Coin,” Token Post detailed, adding that the other two employees are a program developer and a system operations manager. The news outlet elaborated:

According to the prosecution, Shin [the representative director] and his employees are suspected of taking money out of their accounts by transferring customer funds from a bank account to another account.

Arrest Warrants Issued to Employees of South Korean Crypto ExchangeThe publication explained that the three are also suspected of “deceiving investors, [by] pretending to” have cryptocurrencies “on the computer side without having real cryptocurrencies.”

“The prosecution believes that they have falsified” records and “used the money in the customer’s account as a personal account of the exchange,” Joongang added.

Responding to media reports, the exchange posted a notice Monday on its website maintaining that “All services except Korean won deposits, such as Korean won withdrawals, coin deposits, and coin withdrawals, are operating normally,” clarifying:

HTS Coin is currently under investigation by the prosecution and we are working diligently…Unlike external concerns, we still have 100% of your deposits and coins. We keep customer deposits and coins that can be withdrawn promptly even if all customers request a withdrawal at the same time.

On-Going Investigations

According to Asiae, an “interrogation of the suspects before the arrest was held in the southern part of Seoul on the morning of the same day,” adding that in March the “prosecutors searched three virtual currency exchanges including Coinnest, and it was reported that HTS Coin was included in the seizure investigation at that time.”

Arrest Warrants Issued to Employees of South Korean Crypto ExchangeJoongang confirmed this report, stating that “prosecutors searched three virtual currency exchanges including HTS Coin, Coinnest, and Komid last March.”

The news outlet further conveyed that “the prosecution has been investigating the illegal acts of virtual currency trading sites” in collaboration with the Korea Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) under the supervision of the Financial Services Commission (FSC). In March, “the investigation resulted in the arrest of four executives including CEO Kim Ik-hwan [of] Coinnest…Kim was handed over to trial last month.”

Last week the prosecution also started investigating South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Upbit as the regulators announced the widening probe of crypto exchanges. Money Today emphasized, “however, in the case of Upbit, there is no suspicion of embezzlement unlike Coinnest and HTS.”

What do you think of the Korean prosecutors going after HTS Coin’s employees? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Coinnest.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Arrest Warrants Issued to Employees of South Korean Crypto Exchange appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Korean Regulators Widen Investigation of Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Korean Regulators Widen Investigation of Cryptocurrency Exchanges

South Korea’s government is widening its probe on cryptocurrency exchanges, particularly the use of corporate accounts which the regulators say can lead to money laundering. This announcement follows the prosecutors launching an investigation on the country’s largest crypto exchange, Upbit.

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

Widening the Crypto Probe

South Korea’s top financial regulators are teaming up with prosecutors to widen their investigation of domestic cryptocurrency exchange operators. An official of the Financial Service Commission (FSC) was quoted by the Korea Times on Sunday:

Following a request by the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) and the prosecution to address growing anti-money laundering compliance concerns and possible abuse of cryptocurrencies in money laundering and fraud, the FSC is looking into exchanges’ corporate accounts opened in local banks.

The use of corporate accounts for crypto transactions should have been discontinued when the government introduced the real-name system at the end of January. However, only 30% of all crypto accounts haveKorean Regulators Widen Investigation of Cryptocurrency Exchanges been converted into real-name ones so far.

The six banks that have the ability to issue real-name accounts have chosen to only service the country’s largest crypto exchanges: Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit. Nonetheless, not all accounts at these exchanges have been converted into real-name ones. In addition, all small and medium-sized exchanges continue to use corporate accounts for crypto transactions.

The regulators say that the use of corporate accounts can lead to fraud such as recently seen with Coinnest whose CEO was charged with embezzlement. The largest Korean crypto exchange by volume, Upbit, is also currently under investigation even though banks have been converting its accounts to real-name ones.

Collaborating with Other Countries

Korean Regulators Widen Investigation of Cryptocurrency ExchangesSouth Korea has been discussing a collaboration with other countries on cryptocurrency regulations. At a recent International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) Board of Directors and Annual General Meeting held in Hungary, FSC Vice Chairman Kim Yong-beom discussed cryptocurrency issues with major national supervisory bodies. The need for IOSCO to cooperate on cryptocurrency and ICO regulations was stressed at the meeting.

An official of the FSC was quoted by the Korea Times saying:

The FSC is collaborating with authorities in other countries. Our latest findings show that the domestic exchange faked its balance sheets and deceived investors. The FSC is checking Upbit’s computer system with prosecutors and the FSS to audit the exchange’s virtual currency holdings.

Meanwhile, the new FSS governor Yoon Suk-heun recently indicated that he will look into easing regulations on domestic cryptocurrency trading, citing that “there are some positive aspects to cryptocurrencies.”

What do you think of the Korean regulators widening probe on crypto exchanges? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the Korean government.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Korean Regulators Widen Investigation of Cryptocurrency Exchanges appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Thailand Commences Cryptocurrency Regulations Today

Thailand Commences Cryptocurrency Regulations Today

The decree to regulate cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings in Thailand goes into effect on Monday. The government has also revised the country’s tax code to add crypto taxation. Sellers of digital tokens will face a fine or even jail time if they fail to register with the regulator within 90 days.

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

Crypto Law In Effect

Thailand Commences Cryptocurrency Regulations TodayThe Thai government’s decree to regulate cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) goes into effect on Monday. The Digital Asset Management Act BE 2561 was approved by the Thai cabinet in March and has been amended since.

The revision of the Revenue Code No. 19 was also announced in order to tax crypto profits at 15%, according to local media. Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong previously said, as reported by the Bangkok Post:

It [the decree] was not meant to prohibit cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings (ICOs) and other digital asset-related transactions, but to protect investors.

Power to the Thai SEC

Thailand Commences Cryptocurrency Regulations TodayAccording to the decree, the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has the duty and the authority to regulate digital currencies and their operators, Matichon reported.

The publication outlines four areas the SEC will be responsible for. The first is to regulate the issuance and offering of cryptocurrencies and digital asset businesses. The second is to set the fees and requirements for the registration and approval of cryptocurrencies and their operators. The third is to establish a guideline for dealing with potential problems. The fourth concerns all other areas not previously mentioned.

“All sellers are required to register with the SEC within 90 days of the law taking effect,” the Bangkok Post wrote, adding that:

Sellers of digital tokens unauthorized by the SEC will be fined no more than twice the value of the digital transaction or at least 500,000 baht [~US$15,703]. They could also face a jail term of up to two years.

The news outlet elaborated that “the [finance] ministry and SEC will now work on organic laws requiring all digital asset transactions, including those of digital asset exchanges, brokers, and dealers, to be registered with the relevant authorities according to the decree.”

Despite the new rules and direction presented in the decree, the Bank of Thailand (BOT) says that it will wait for the SEC to announce other details of the regulations before it will make a stance on cryptocurrencies and ICOs, according to Matichon. The BOT has previously banned financial institutions from crypto activities.

What do you think of the Thai crypto regulations? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Thai SEC.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Thailand Commences Cryptocurrency Regulations Today appeared first on Bitcoin News.

New Crypto Exchanges Open in Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines

New Crypto Exchanges Open in Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines

The number of new cryptocurrency exchanges is rapidly growing worldwide. This new crypto exchange roundup features four platforms located in South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

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

South Korea’s Coinbit

New Crypto Exchanges Open in Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the PhilippinesSouth Korean game developer Axia Soft Co. Ltd. has recently launched a crypto exchange called Coinbit. For its grand opening, the exchange is offering zero commission trades until the end of May.

Coinbit says 50 cryptocurrencies will be listed initially and more than 100 coins will be listed by the end of the year. Among supported cryptocurrencies are bitcoin, ether, ripple, bitcoin cash, ethereum classic, litecoin, waves, stox, eos, vechain, omisego, qtum, and neo.

New Crypto Exchanges Open in Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines

Thailand’s Jibex

New Crypto Exchanges Open in Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the PhilippinesCryptocurrency exchange Jibex has recently opened its doors in Thailand. The exchange is backed by IT company J.I.B. Computer Group Co. Ltd, a distributor and seller of computer hardware and IT trading products with 150 stores nationwide.

Initially, only five cryptocurrencies will be supported: bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether, litecoin, and ripple. More will be added in the future, according to Jibex CEO Thuntee Sukchotrat. The exchange also offers a wallet supporting those five cryptocurrencies.

For the grand opening, Jibex is waiving its commission of 0.24%. No trading fee will be charged for 45 days ending on June 26.

Jibex Chairman Dr. Thantharaksuk Chotirat commented:

The partnership with J.I.B. Computer Group (JIB) will give users peace of mind and confidence in their investment. The service is good, fast and attentive to all customer needs.

New Crypto Exchanges Open in Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines

Vietnam’s Kenninex

New Crypto Exchanges Open in Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the PhilippinesKenninex crypto exchange has recently launched in Vietnam, headquartered in Ho Chi Minh City.

The exchange claims to be “the first live cryptocurrency exchange in Vietnam…[and] the first e-money trading platform in Vietnam to have a trading office where investors can experience our services as well as receive effective investment advice,” according to its website.

Customers can currently convert bitcoin and ether into VND and vice versa. The transaction fee is usually 0.4% but has been reduced to 0.2% for the first month of launch, according to local media.

The Philippines’ Coinvil

New Crypto Exchanges Open in Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the PhilippinesWhile Coinbit, Jibex, and Kenninex have already launched, this next exchange has not. South Korean blockchain technology and services company Glosfer and Coinvil have agreed to collaborate to build and launch a cryptocurrency exchange in the Philippines. Glosfer will build the platform while Coinvil will operate the exchange. Coinvil CEO Park Rae-hyun commented:

The Philippines will become the largest cryptocurrency trading market that connects Europe and Asia.

Do you think the number of new cryptocurrency exchanges will keep growing? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: None of the information on news.Bitcoin.com is intended as investment advice, an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products or companies. 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 this article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Coinbit, Coinmarket Calendar, Kenninex, Glosfer, Bangkok Post, and Jibex.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post New Crypto Exchanges Open in Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Public Company’s ICO Paves the Way for Other Token Sales in Thailand

Public Company's ICO Paves the Way for Other Token Sales in Thailand

The first initial coin offering (ICO) by a publicly traded company in Thailand has begun trading on a couple of local exchanges. Meanwhile, the regulators are still drafting the legal framework for cryptocurrencies and token sales.

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

First Public Company to Launch ICO

The launch of an ICO by a publicly traded company has paved the way for other token sales in Thailand.

Public Company's ICO Paves the Way for Other Token Sales in ThailandJay Mart Plc’s subsidiary, J Ventures Limited, launched its ICO called Jfin Coin last week. Jay Mart Plc operates in the wholesale and retail sectors for mobile phones and technology accessories and is listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET).

The pre-sale of Jfin Coin was held on February 14 at the rate of 6.60 baht (~US$0.21) per token, which was sold out. Its ICO debuted on local cryptocurrency exchange Coin Asset at 6.45 baht, but quickly tanked 57.09% to roughly 3 baht before regaining some of its losses. It is currently trading at 3.94 baht (~$0.12).

Public Company's ICO Paves the Way for Other Token Sales in Thailand

Initially, J Ventures was going to trade the tokens on a much larger crypto exchange in the country, the Thai Digital Asset Exchange (TDAX). However, the company switched to Coin Asset, which has much lower liquidity, according to the Bangkok Post.

Jfin Coin also started trading this week on another local platform, Cash2coins. J Ventures CEO Thanawat Lertwattanarak told the news outlet that the company plans to list Jfin Coin on Hong Kong’s Hitbtc as well as South Korea’s Upbit in the near future. His statement came prior to Upbit being investigated by the Korean authorities for alleged fraud.

Other ICOs Follow

The Thai government is currently drafting the regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies and ICOs. However, some companies are not waiting for the legal framework to be introduced.

Public Company's ICO Paves the Way for Other Token Sales in ThailandFollowing Jfin Coin, Zmine Holdings Limited is also planning a token sale. CEO and co-founder Kasem Pativitvatana said the company expects to raise at least 180 million baht (~$5.6 million) through the issuance of 100 million ZMN tokens in order to expand its crypto mining business which began in 2014, Prachachat Turakij reported.

The pre-sale of ZMN tokens began last week. MGR Online reported that 2 million tokens were sold on the first day for approximately 3.5 million baht (~$109,825).

Recently, “the Finance Ministry took steps to put the brakes on the Initial Coin offering (ICO) bandwagon by threatening to hit the emerging ICO market with value-added tax and capital gain tax,” the Nation Multimedia described, adding:

Under the proposed new laws, the [Thai] Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) would be responsible for regulating the ICO market, covering securities and other kinds of digital tokens. One key feature of a related new law covers the electronic-KYC (know your customers) requirement aimed at preventing money launderers and other criminals from taking advantage of the new funding channel.

Do you think the Thai government will let ICOs flourish? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Coin Asset, J Ventures, and Zmine.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Public Company’s ICO Paves the Way for Other Token Sales in Thailand appeared first on Bitcoin News.