BTC.com Withdraws from China, AntPool Suspends IP Access, & Tencent Bans 1,000 WeChat Accounts

BTC.com Withdraws from China, AntPool Suspends IP Access, & Tencent Bans 1,000 WeChat Accounts

Bitcoin mining pool BTC.com announced on Friday that it is withdrawing from the Chinese market on October 15, 2021.

It would no longer provide its mining services to users in mainland China to “comply with the latest regulatory policy requirements of the Chinese government.”

Starting today, the registration of new users in mainland China will be suspended, and mining services will be shut down. Users from China are asked to withdraw their crypto assets and complete the migration of computation power as soon as possible.

“We will reserve the right to further dispose of your account,” said BTC.com, the subsidiary of crypto mining company BIT mining Lt. (NYSE: BTCM).

Leaving China Forever

This week, mining machine manufacturer Bitmain’s crypto miner AntPool also announced that to comply with the regulations, starting October 15th, it will suspend IP access in Mainland China (excluding Hong Kong and Taiwan).

“ANTPOOL has no plans to establish an operating entity in mainland China,” said the miner, adding it will rebuild its new business and operating team with Singapore as its headquarters.

Additionally, it will introduce a KYC verification system for the global registered users to abide by the laws and regulations of users’ locations.

The US Gains Dominance

China’s ban on cryptocurrency trading and mining has already had a severe effect on the country’s market share in Bitcoin mining. As we reported, China’s mining share has fallen to zero, from 75% in 2019.

However, China’s loss is turning out to be the US’s gain, whose market share of Bitcoin’s global hash rate has surged to 35.4% and is now dominating. Miners ousted from China have simply moved overseas to the United States, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Canada.

“As a veteran who witnessed the industry’s birth in China, I feel the situation today is lamentable,” said Mao Shihang, founder of F2Pool, in an interview.

“China is losing its share of computing power … the industry’s center of gravity is shifting to the United States.”

No Info on Crypto

This week, Tencent Holdings Ltd. also made a move and imposed a ban on more than 1,000 WeChat accounts.

A total of 1,463 WeChat accounts were banned due to illegally publishing virtual currency and mining-related information, Tencent said in a statement on its website on Thursday. While some accounts were shut permanently, others are facing a week-long restriction.

The tech giant, which has over a billion WeChat members, said that it will “continue to strengthen its corporate responsibility and increase its crackdown on illegal financial activities such as virtual currency transactions.”

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Author: AnTy

$60 Billion Fund Manager Allows Access to Bitcoin Through A Mutual Fund Investment

$60 Billion Fund Manager Allows Access to Bitcoin Through A Mutual Fund Investment

Maryland-based ProFunds, a mutual fund management company with $60 billion in assets under management (AUM) is introducing a new way to invest in Bitcoin without actually buying the crypto asset.

A premier provider of mutual funds with more than 100 funds, ProFunds is launching what it says is the first publicly available US mutual fund called the Bitcoin Strategy ProFund (BTCFX) which will correspond to the price performance of the leading cryptocurrency.

The mutual fund invests in Bitcoin futures contracts and aims of results that track the price of Bitcoin, currently above $40k, before fees. Through this product, the fund wants to eliminate the need to hold BTC and worry about its custody. ProFunds CEO Michael Sapir said,

“Cryptocurrency has become a significant asset class, and our new Bitcoin Strategy ProFund provides investors access to a bitcoin strategy through a mutual fund investment.”

“Compared to directly buying bitcoin, which may involve opening a new account with an unregulated party, this ProFund offers investors the opportunity to gain exposure to bitcoin through a form and investment method that tens of millions of investors are familiar with.”

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Author: AnTy

Goldman Sachs to Start Offering its Wealthy Clients Access to Bitcoin Starting Next Quarter

Goldman Sachs to Start Offering its Wealthy Clients Access to Bitcoin Starting Next Quarter

The bank’s VP says there is “a large contingent of clients” looking for ways to participate in the crypto space and sees Bitcoin as a hedge against inflation.

Goldman Sachs plans to start offering its first investment vehicles for Bitcoin and other crypto-assets to its wealthy clients in the next quarter.

CNBC reported the news on Wednesday, citing an internal company memo seen by it.

In an interview this week, Mary Rich, the new global head of digital assets for Goldman’s private wealth management division, which targets individuals, families, and endowments with at least $25 million to invest, said,

″We are working closely with teams across the firm to explore ways to offer thoughtful and appropriate access to the ecosystem for private wealth clients, and that is something we expect to offer in the near-term.”

Throughout the first quarter, Goldman Sachs has been working towards offering crypto products as it rebooted its bitcoin trading desk from 2018, filed for an ETF to provide indirect exposure to BTC, and reported “rising” client demand.

Another big name Morgan Stanley is reportedly on track to place clients into its bitcoin funds starting in April.

The investment banking giant is, according to Rich, is looking to offer a “full-spectrum” of investments in digital assets that ultimately range from physical bitcoin to derivatives and traditional investment vehicles.

It is basically all about demand for Bitcoin from the customers, and “there’s a contingent of clients who are looking to this asset as a hedge against inflation, and the macro backdrop over the past year has certainly played into that,” Rich said.

She further said that “a large contingent of clients” also feels like we’re at the dawn of a new Internet and are looking for ways to participate in the crypto space.

While the ecosystem is still at its “very nascent stages,” she said, “it will be part of our future.”

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Author: AnTy

43 Million Retail Investors Now Gets Access to SUSHI, MATIC, & SKL on Coinbase Pro

43 Million Retail Investors Now Gets Access to SUSHI, MATIC, & SKL on Coinbase Pro

SKALE (SKL) reacted the most to the Coinbase Pro listing. The three crypto-assets will begin trading on March 11 and are not yet available in New York State and on Coinbase.com or its mobile apps.

Coinbase, the leading US cryptocurrency exchange, has listed popular DeFi token SUSHI along with MATIC and SKL.

SUSHI is the governance token of Sushiswap, the second-largest decentralized exchange (DEX), managing about $500 million in daily trading volume. The DeFi token is trading at $18.50, up 450% YTD.

MATIC powers the Polygon Network that aims to provide faster and cheaper transactions on Ethereum using Layer 2 sidechains. Trading at $0.321, the token has been having a spectacular 2021 with 1,720% gains this year so far.

The company disclosed that its investment arm, Coinbase Ventures invested in the project Matic in 2019 and owns MATIC tokens.

Unlike the other two tokens, SKALE reacted to the listing the most with a 93% increase in value, currently trading around $0.55. It is an Ethereum-compatible decentralized network designed to scale Web3 applications.

All three crypto-assets are listed against USD, BTC, EUR, and GBP, with SUSHI having an additional pairing with ETH as well.

Now, US users will be able to get access to these DeFi tokens, which, as Coinbase revealed in its SEC filing, are 43 million. Also, institutions will be joining in as they now account for 64% of Coinbase’s volume by customer segment as of Q4 2020.

These cryptos will be available in all of the exchange’s supported jurisdictions except for New York State. For now, they are not yet available on Coinbase.com or through its mobile apps either.

While the transfers on Coinbase Pro accounts are now opened, trading will begin on March 11.

These listings are just one of the many DeFi tokens that the exchange has been exploring for listing. Several major DeFi tokens, including AAVE, Bancor (BNT), Synthetic (SNX), YFI, Uniswap (UNI), Maker (MKR), are already on Coinbase.

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Author: AnTy

SEC Commissioner Finds DeFi’s Democratization, Open Access, Transparency, & Resilience ‘Alluring’

SEC Commissioner Finds DeFi’s Democratization, Open Access, Transparency, & Resilience ‘Alluring’

Yet again, Hester Peirce, aka Crypto Mom, talked about balancing innovation and regulation but this time in decentralized finance.

SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce, aka Crypto Mom, during the recent regulating the Digital Economy Conference, while talking about the recent market mania in the meme stocks, praised the decentralized finance (DeFi). She acknowledged that people love participating in hot markets, and as regulators, the mission is simple, capital formation and investor enrichment.

The goal of our market, she said, is to facilitate the flow of investors’ money into real companies that can serve other people’s needs and then return the money so investors can build wealth and technology has the potential to turbocharge capital markets’ this ability. But, for technology to have its maximum benefit, Peirce, who has long been a crypto advocate, said, “we will need to change our attitude.”

“Specifically, we tend to look at technological innovation in the markets with deep suspicion, and that mindset has to change,” she added. For this, embracing the technology is the only way to do it, and that regulators’ role is to “protect investors and markets, not incumbents.” In order to do the best for both investors and markets, DeFi “will provide a very good test,” said Peirce.

She defined DeFi as the nascent industry which is working on building an alternative to the legacy centralized financial system (“CeFi”) run through smart contracts rather than financial intermediaries. Instead of counterparties, its users trust in smart contracts. She said in her speech,

“Although a work in progress with all the growing pains and rough edges that implies, DeFi’s promises of democratization, open access, transparency, predictability, and systemic resilience are alluring.”

As such, regulators need to provide both legal clarity and the freedom to experiment so that it can compete with CeFi, she wrote. Not to mention, increased participation in markets propelled by technology is beneficial for the markets themselves.

Besides using technology for transparency, it can be used for real-time settlement, she said, echoing Robinhood CEO’s call and pointing out how crypto transactions actually settle quickly and effectively without a central counterparty.

“The digital economy does pose some new regulatory challenges, but it also gives us new tools to meet those challenges,” concluded Peirce, adding, welcoming its potential has high payoff,

“A successful regulatory framework for the digital economy will unleash its ability to empower individuals to build better futures for themselves, their families, and their communities.”

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Author: AnTy

Huobi Global Partners With BCB Group; Traders Gain Access to European Fiat On-Ramp

Huobi Global Partners With BCB Group; Traders Gain Access to European Fiat On-Ramp

Crypto exchange giant Huobi Global has announced a new partnership with BCB Group in efforts to link its trading desks to the European banking system, including the United Kingdom.

Seychelles registered crypto exchange will now offer instant euro and GBP settlements to its clientele.

The deal, which was announced on Tuesday, reveals that Huobi’s over-the-counter (OTC) customers can now complete transactions instantly using either the pound (GBP) or euros through BCB’s BLINC network.

In the recent past, crypto exchanges have faced different hurdles in their efforts to establish banking relationships that can provide an interface to the fiat money world. Before the current deal, Huobi had no established European fiat gateway, BCB CEO Oliver von Landsberg-Sadie stated.

Speaking to media outlets, Landsberg-Sadie stated that the partnership would provide a robust infrastructure that will enable seamless trading for Huobi’s customers.

“We’re here to provide that robust infrastructure so that these guys can just get on with trading and know that trades are happening in a way that’s properly monitored, that’s regulatory-friendly.”

Huobi’s head of global business, Ciara Sun, stated that the process has been rigorous and although it took some time it is for the benefit of the firm’s European customers. Sun said,

“Partnering with BCB allows us to offer a European fiat on- and off-ramping service that we know is in line with the laws of that area, but it also allows our customers in Europe to experience a smooth and hassle-free user experience.”

Huobi becomes the latest major crypto exchange using BCB’s BLINC platform, following Bitstamp, which had joined earlier. BCB stated that other partnerships with various crypto exchanges would be announced soon.

Huobi Korea Secures Certification From Korea Internet and Security Agency

Huobi Korea, an offshoot of Huobi Global operating in Seoul, has been certified as an information security management system, or ISMS. The certification complies with Korea’s Special Payment Act.

The certification means that Huobi Korea will be granted a broad management system that guarantees security as well as compliance with Korean laws. The new law requires crypto-based enterprises to report transactions as per the updated KYC and AML policies issued recently.

Huobi Korea CEO, Park Si-deok, said that the issuance of the certificate is a testament that the exchange is well prepared to offer quality services to both institutional and individual clients.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

‘Large-Scale’ Crypto Exit Scams Detected in Estonia’s E-Residency Program

Estonia had granted foreigners remote access to its digital infrastructure through its e-residency program, which is now linked to cryptocurrency frauds abroad.

Amidst Europe working on improving its anti-money laundering rules, with EU banking watchdog calling for a single set of regulations after going through several related scandals, companies headed by Estonian e-residents have been involved in “a few large-scale exit scams,” where clients are unable to withdraw their assets.

The police’s Finance Intelligence Unit form last week said these companies that are registered overseas are also linked to organizing “suspicious initial coin offerings and the misappropriation of large sums within them.”

The Baltic nation’s reputation recently got a hit after seeing Europe’s biggest scandal with Danske Bank accused of funneling $230 billion in illicit funds through the Estonian branch.

Estonia, which has a 1.2 million population, has also been seeing the issuance of digital IDs, a program that started in 2014, to e-residents down from the 2018 peak, having already issued 70,000 from 174 countries.

In June this year, the nation also canceled the licenses of 500 crypto firms, 30% of the total, as part of the clampdown on illicit financial flows.

Still, a new set of frauds have been detected. Officials had warned earlier that the e-residency program, allowing non-residents to run businesses from abroad, needed changes to avoid criminal abuse and improve its security.

Police have also moved to curb down on companies that exchange and help clients hold digital currencies.

The e-residency team is currently working “hand in hand” with the police and the FIU. “The survey doesn’t show that all fraudsters have been e-residents, but that there have also been e-residents among fraudsters,” said its head Ott Vatter.

According to the police, a “considerable connection” with e-residents is raising the risk of reputational damage in the crypto sector of Estonia, where about a third of companies, 554, providing crypto services have at least one e-resident as a related party.

Compared to 1,234 companies with cryptocurrency licenses at the end of last year in the country, as of August, there were only 353.

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Author: AnTy

MetaMask Rolls Out Mobile Wallet on iOS and Android; Buy Ethereum Directly with Apple Pay

  • MetaMask launches its mobile app allowing users easy access to wallet services.
  • Available on Apple iOS and Android

Following the launch of its public V1 version, ConsenSys (who purchased MetaMask recently) announced on Thursday the launch of its MetaMask Mobile app. The app aims to provide a secure, fast, and easy-to-use wallet for Ether (ETH) and Ethereum-based tokens on the phone. The mobile app will now be available to both iOS and Android users.

According to a statement obtained by BEG, the MetaMask Mobile version will provide similar services to its web version without compromising on the security of the token vaults. However, unlike the web-based version, the mobile version is a native cryptocurrency wallet that will interact with dApps installed on the phone or entering the dApp URL on a built-in web browser.

MetaMask is a crypto wallet that functions as a web browser extension allowing users to connect to web-based dApps directly easily. The platform securely stores ETH and Ethereum based tokens allowing easy and frictionless transactions on any dApp.

The MetaMask mobile version also comes with an easy payment gateway for those who want to purchase ETH and ERC-based tokens. A report from Mashable confirms the mobile crypto wallet will allow users to buy crypto using Apple Pay, debit cards, or other payment methods (depending on the country).

MetaMask remains the DApp wallet of choice even in the rise of DeFi, with ConsenSys stating the wallet has over 4 million users. The MetaMask Mobile app was released in a closed beta version back in 2019, with 135,000 users testing it.

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Author: Lujan Odera

US-based Online Crypto Tax Service Compromised; Hacker Accesses Data From Over 1000 Users

Cryptotrader.Tax was compromised by a hacker who managed to access the data of over 1,000 users of this online tax calculation and filing service. Coindesk reported yesterday that the hacker was able to break into the Cryptotrader.Tax ecosystem through an employee’s account in the marketing and customer service department.

The hacker accessed sensitive information, including personal data such as clients’ names, email addresses, and messages with details on crypto incomes, and payment processor profiles. According to the report, they then preceded to sell affiliated screenshots on the dark web upon which the news was leaked to crypto media.

Following this development, Cryptotrader.Tax Co-founder and CEO, David Kemmerer, confirmed that indeed their system had been compromised on April 7. Kemmerer further reiterated that the hacker had gained access through an employee’s account, noting that they also downloaded a file with around 13,000 rows of information hence the leaked customer data.

He was, however, keen to reassure that filing account passwords were not breached according to a security review done by the Cryptotrader.Tax team. It is also noteworthy that the platform’s website was not compromised as well. Kemmerer highlighted that the Cryptotrader.Tax security team had since taken appropriate measures such as improving monitoring and alerting affected parties.

Despite this recent shake-up of the Cryptotrader.Tax ecosystem, this platform currently proposes significant value in a niche where ambiguity reigns. The project is a Coin Ledger subsidiary and based in Kansas City; its value proposition favors crypto traders in tax reporting. Cryptotrader.Tax enables its clients’ to import trades from over 36 digital asset exchanges. The platform then generates TurboTax compatible reports as per the underlying crypto income gains and losses.

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Author: Edwin Munyui