OCC Needs to Provide Regulation Clarity to Protect Users and Businesses

The chair of Senate’s powerful committee in charge of banking, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), has asked the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to update his committee on its recent Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in regards to crypto services.

In a letter dated September 1 and addressed to Brian Brooks, acting comptroller at OCC, Sen. Crapo says that it is vital to provide an update to the committee in regards to the office’s recent announcement that national banks, as well as federal savings associations, can provide crypto custody services.

The federal banking regulator had in June last year invited the public to provide their opinion in regards to how cryptocurrencies are used or treated within the financial industry.

The invitation saw about 90 banks, crypto firms, academia, as well as other organizations in the industry respond. Some major US banks stated that they were open to offering crypto services if there are clear regulations.

Crapo is asking the OCC to give the committee an update. “Provide the committee with an update on its findings and the next steps the OCC intends to take with this technology,” Crapo’s letter reads.

Crapo also urges the OCC to come up with clear and precise rules that will help the industry to grow rather than trampling its development.

“The U.S. should develop clear rules of the road that protect businesses and consumers without stifling future innovation,” the letter states.

Crapo explains that the crypto space is providing products as well as services that are diverse in the finance industry, which are not only inevitable but also beneficial. In this regard, Crapo urges the OCC to ensure that the regulations should allow the US to lead in its development.

Previously, Crapo, as the chair of the Banking Committee, has headed various Senate hearings on blockchain and cryptocurrency-related topics. A key area of focus for the committee has been the Facebook-led Libra project, which Crapo has raised concerns on whether the global stablecoin project should observe the US regulations.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Joe Rogan Tells 200 Million Podcast Listeners To ‘Stack Sats’ With Cash App Advertisement

Joe Rogan, the popular host of the podcast – The Joe Rogan Experience – asked his followers to buy bitcoin during one of the episodes while promoting his advertiser Cash App. Before starting any episode, Rogan takes the first 5-10 minutes to talk about the sponsors of the episode.

Cash App is a bitcoin retail app using which people can buy and spend bitcoin and developed by Square, a venture of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

At the start of episode 1515, Rogan talked about Cash App and how easy it is to use and then went on to discuss the technical supercity of bitcoin as a form of cash. He also mentioned the bitcoin slang and asked his followers to ‘stack sat.’ While promoting the Cash App Rogan read aloud:

“Bitcoin is a transformational digital currency that acts as a decentralized peer-to-peer payment network powered by its users, with no central authority. I love it. I wish it was the way we exchanged currency, and maybe it will be in the future. Get on board.”

Rogan also went on to explain what Sat is, given not all of his 200 million followers of the podcast might be aware of the term.

Joe Rogan’s podcast has made him a media mogul. He recently inked a $100 million deal with Spotify to transfer his podcast from youtube to Spotify. The gravity and the monetary aspect of the deal highlight Rogan’s reach and impact on today’s generation. The podcast has seen many high profile names grace the guest chair and, there is no particular theme, and the topic of discussion revolves around guest’s expertise and present affairs.

Rogan has also made it clear that he uses privacy centered Brave browser to get extra privacy for his data. So, even though Cash App is an advertiser, Rogan genuinely believes in Bitcoin and what it brings to the table.

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Author: Hank Klinger

US Federal Bank Regulator (OCC) Issues Notice for Feedback on Crypto and DLT Activity

The Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) has asked for feedback in matters crypto and distributed ledgers according to two notices published on June 4. This U.S bank regulator and charter issuer now wants to engage the public in creating a stable digital currency ecosystem based on regulation.

Dubbed ‘Notice of Proposed Rulemaking‘ and an ‘Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking‘, these initiatives seek to create a conversation with the likes of federal saving associations and banks amongst other stakeholders. Notably, it is the latter notice which focuses on digital currency activity and the supporting tech, distributed ledgers. Bryan Hubbard, the OCC spokesperson, echoed in an email that it is in the regulator’s interest to spearhead this discussion,

“The request for stakeholder comment[s] is part of the OCC’s commitment to responsible innovation and aligned with our understanding that banks must be able to evolve to meet the needs of the consumers, businesses, and communities that rely on them.”

This move comes shortly after Brian Brooks took the helm at the OCC in an interim position. The former Coinbase Chief Legal Officer is optimistic that the regulator will learn what form of support banks and the crypto ecosystem need to thrive together. Speaking to Cointelegraph, Brooks said that the OCC will now consolidate quickly on its thoughts about the crypto space:

“The OCC, quickly under my watch, will get a position together as to what… we think about national banks as appropriate custodians for cryptocurrency. We don’t have a view on that and I don’t want to prejudge that but it is certainly an interest of mine from my past life that we need to come to ground on that.”

OCC’s Focus Area in Crypto and DLT’s

As highlighted earlier, this regulator presented some questions in the filing as it seeks to understand the space better. Basically, the main questions revolved around crypto activity and how adoption can be accelerated through regulatory support. For digital currencies, the filing reads:

“What types of activities related to cryptocurrencies or crypto-assets are financial services companies or bank customers engaged? To what extent does customer engagement in crypto-related activities impact banks and the banking industry? What are the barriers or obstacles, if any, to further adoption of crypto-related activities in the banking industry? Are there specific activities that should be addressed in regulatory guidance, including regulations?”

On distributed ledgers, the filing asks almost similar questions with a focus on their potential to disrupt the current banking ecosystems:

“How is distributed ledger technology used, or potentially used, in banking activities (e.g., identity verification, credit underwriting or monitoring, payments processing, trade finance, and records management)? Are there specific matters on this topic that should be clarified in regulatory guidance, including regulations?”

The OCC has since directed interested stakeholders to share their views via mail, email, fax, hand-deliver, or simply file the feedback online.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Elon Musk to JK Rowling: Massive Money Printing by Central Banks Making Bitcoin Look ‘Solid’

Yesterday, author J.K. Rowling asked that question, “I don’t understand bitcoin. Please explain it to me,” and about the entire Crypto Twitter jumped in to share their two sats.

Even founder and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk chimed in to explain while attacking banks in the process, making the perfect case for Bitcoin.

“Massive currency issuance by govt central banks is making Bitcoin Internet money look solid by comparison.”

In a separate tweet, he also stated, “I still only own 0.25 Bitcoins btw.”

Apparently, “Elon gets it” every time!

Bitcoin… blah blah blah something

According to The Tie, immediately post-halving, the most dominant bitcoin narrative on Twitter is JK Rowling and Harry Potter.

This immense support the crypto community showed in explaining bitcoin, however, might have turned out to be overwhelming for her.

All that she has understood in the haze of her fourth “Old Fashioned” was,

“It’s blah blah blah collectibles (My Little Pony?) blah blah blah computers (got one of those) blah blah blah crypto (sounds creepy) blah blah blah understand the risk (I don’t, though.)”

But this didn’t deter the community. Here are just a handful of the responses.

And Justin Sun wanted to send some Bitcoin to help her better understand the world’s leading digital currency.

Some are even anticipating Bitcoin to be a part of the Harry Potter world now.

“The fact J.K. Rowling is tweeting about bitcoin show the inevitability of it. I guess she is still a “muggle”, FOR NOW, lol. Sooner or later, we will see bitcoin in a new Harry Potter book. Inevitable,” said Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao.

While some like Gabor Gurbacs, digital asset strategist at VanEck says, “Bitcoin isn’t for everyone anyway” and that over time it draws the best and brightest itself.

However, she did thank everyone who came to help, and no she does not own any bitcoin, yet.

“God bless every single one of you now earnestly explaining bitcoin to me as though I’ll grasp it if you break it down properly. Things like this are white noise to me. I cannot and will not ever understand Bitcoin, but I love you for thinking that I can or will,” said Rowling.

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Author: AnTy

Ethereum Muir Glacier Update: Parity Upgrade Alert Due to Attack, 75.7% of Node Operators Ready

  • Those running Parity nodes are asked to update their clients “ASAP”
  • 75.7% of the node operators are ready for Muir Glacier
  • Down 92% from ATH, it is still one of the best performers of the decade, with nearly 18,000% gains

Just a day before Ethereum’s latest and unexpected network upgrade Muir Glacier, Ethereum client Parity came under attack.

Parity Ethereum took to Twitter to announce that on investigating the reports of some of the Parity Ethereum nodes not syncing, they came to believe there may be an attack underway.

Reportedly, valid blocks with manipulated directions, added or replaced, caused the client to stall, according to GitHub. Sergio Demian Lerner, a cryptocurrency security consultant, explained:

“The attack is simple: you send to a Parity node a block with invalid transactions, but valid header (borrowed from another block). The node will mark the block header as invalid and ban this block header forever but the header is still valid.”

New versions v2.6.8-beta & v2.5.13-stable have been released that will protect against this attack. As per this upgrade,

“Make sure to not mark block header hash as invalid if only the body is wrong.”

Those running Parity nodes are asked to update their clients “ASAP.”

Parties involved were already unhappy with the situation as Ethereum chose New Year’s Day for the upgrade. And now Parity underwent an attack.

Moreover, currently, 75.7% of the node operators are ready for Muir Glacier, as per Ethernodes.org.

Binance however, has announced its support for the ETH Muir Glacier upgrade. Because of which, deposits and withdrawals of ETH will be suspended.

When it comes to mining pools, only one, Ethermine is ready while the rest Sparkpool, F2Pool, Nanopool, Zhizhu, and MiningPoolHub still showing ‘no information’.

Earlier this month, the Ethereum network has its Istanbul upgrade and now they are ready for another. Ethereum was forced to have another update (EIP-2387) in less than a month due to a mistake and to delay the difficulty bomb feature that will slow down the Ice Age by about 611 days.

2020 to be the year of Ethereum?

The second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap is currently trading at $131, down 92% from its all-time high of $1,570. Ethereum’s 2019 performance surely has turned negative by 3.50% but it is still one of the best performers of the decade, with nearly 18,000% gains.

For the next year, Ethereum might be in for some good time as it might have hit the bottom.

Trader Crypto Michaël also sees 2020 a good year for Ether as he says, “Each massive breakout of ETH in January showed a significant move.”

Historically, he says Q1 of the year has been a great period for altcoins and their dominance bottoming. So “Let’s rock in Q1 2020!”

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Author: AnTy

BitGo Requests Its Users to Convert/Move BSV Assets

BitGo, the digital currency management firm has asked its clients to consider transforming or transferring their BSV (Bitcoin SV) assets. The request to alter any funds held in this altcoin was issued as a result of a compatibility issue.

On December 18th, BitGo, through a blog post noted that Genesis—the hard fork to be performed on Bitcoin SV would come with a change in protocols.

This change would make it hard for digital wallets to receive any BSV related transactions.

BitGo Issues a Warning on the Deprecation of Bitcoin SV

Genesis, the BSV hard fork has been slated to take place sometime in February next year. Once the hard fork is completed, existing BitGo clients will not be able to consent to any incoming trades. They will still, however, be able to use the Bitcoin SV tokens that may be remaining in their wallets.

The blog post went ahead to refer to the hard fork as a “deprecation.” As such, it sought to advise its clients to contemplate transferring all the Bitcoin SV tokens they had in their wallets on to other wallets. Alternatively, clients could also consider converting their tokens into BTC (Bitcoin) tokens. It summarized the announcement by stating that:

“Clients will need to take one of two actions before February 4:

1.Contact BitGo via [email protected] to convert your BSV holdings to Bitcoin

2. Move BSV funds to an external wallet

If you continue holding BSV in your BitGo wallet after February 4th, you will only be able to sweep the wallet and most functionality will be disabled.”

An analysis of the issues arising with Bitcoin SV indicates that the compatibility issues are being occasioned by the removal of the P2SH protocol. Given that BitGo relies on MultiSig addresses, it means that this hard fork will cripple its whole customer base when the protocol is removed.

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Author: Daniel W

Dubious ‘Royal House’ Letter to Raise Bitcoin to Save British Economy in Post-Brexit Era Circulates

Scammers have allegedly asked for $2.5 Million BTC from the British residents. They claimed that the funds would be used in taking care of the financial system after Brexit.

Emails Vs Letters

These fraudsters dispatched out to the British bodily letters pretending to be the non-public secretary of Queen Elizabeth II. This is according to one of the many copies disclosed by the executive of a local tech agency.

The CEO at a United Kingdom-based IT firm Smart task; Paul Ridden posted on LinkedIn on Sept. 24 an image of the letter. He was raising concern over the failed fraudulent activity and asking if there was someone else who had received something similar.

The letter dated Sept. 16 claimed that it was the second time until now that the Queen was appealing to several folks to save Britain’s financial system. In the letter, the Queen’s side has already garnered 82% of the 19 billion British pounds. This is technically the amount of cash that should be paid to the European Union to save many financial systems.

High Gratuity Guaranteed

The letter has it that the Royal home seeks to borrow from 450,000 to 2,000,000 British pounds (up to $2.5 million) from the British residents. The letter also asked the recipients to transfer the cash to the Royal home via Bitcoin.

In return for participation, the potential Bitcoin donors were promised a 30% interest rate at an interval of three months. They would also have the chance to be a member of Royal Warrant Holders Affiliation.

The British tech-focused publication IT expert contacted Buckingham Palace following the news, but they did not reply during press time. Ridden was sure that no one in their right mind would send Bitcoin to the scammers. He termed the attempt as poor because the letter was written in poor English and also said there is monetary consciousness in Britain.

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Author: Daniel W

Japanese Financial Regulators Warn FISCO Exchange To Improve Business Practices

Japanese-Financial-Regulators-Warn-FISCO-Exchange-To-Improve-Business-Practices

Japanese crypto exchange, FISCO, based out of Osaka has been asked for an administrative action by Financial Services Agency (FSA). There was an onsite inspection conducted by the watchdogs at the offices of the Exchange in Feb 2019 which revealed a set of law violations by the company pertaining to its business management.

An example of the ill business practice noticed by the FSA was that the Board of Directors did not discuss important management issues like business plans. Additionally, there were also problems with the risk management system for anti-money laundering and terrorism financing, and the external management system concerning outsourcing.

FSA told the company to take 9 steps and submit the improvement plan by 22nd July. The 9 steps were:

  1. Establishment of a management system (including establishment of a system in which the functions of the internal management department and the audit department can be fully realized)
  2. Construction of a legal compliance.
  3. Construction of risk management system for laundering and financing of terrorism
  4. Construction of system risk management system
  5. Construction of outsourcing management system
  6. Construction of risk management system concerning new handling of virtual currency
  7. Construction of book document management system
  8. Construction of management system for safety management of user information
  9. Construction of audit system

    Last year saw tightening of the regulatory environment for virtual currency exchanges in Japan. There were a number of business improvement orders issued. Notably, Fisco took over the ownership and management of Japanese exchange Zaif in 2018, a few months after the exchange was hacked leading to a loss of cryptos worth $59.7 million. FSA has done on-site inspections in 12 crypto exchanges with 7 remaining. However, four exchanges are yet to be established while three are awaiting the regulator to inspect them.

[Author Alert] The author’s opinions above are solely based on their own self-conducted research. Assume any and all authors are using, holding, trading and/or buying cryptoassets mentioned as a portion of his or her financial portfolio. Use information at your own risk, do you own research, never invest more than you are willing to lose.

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Author: Sritanshu Sinha