Former Australian Senator With Highly Conservative Views Becomes the Next Bitcoiner

Former Australian senator Cory Bernardi describes Bitcoin as “the millennial’s version of gold.”

A Bitcoin convert, Bernardi took to Twitter to share that it has been only in the last couple of years that he became a bitcoiner.

“My conclusion is it is the millennial’s version of gold.

Still see risks attached but are basically the same as other asset classes – leg, confidence and demand. See demand getting stronger.”

He further mentioned Morgan Creek Digital partner Anthony Pompliano for advocating Bitcoin, to which Pomp said, “There are hundreds of people pushing content, education, and knowledge in the space. Complete team effort.”

Earlier this January, he left politics after serving under the Liberal Party for over a decade. Bernardi, who served as a senator for South Australia, is known for his highly conservative views.

Following his controversial career in politics, Bernardi now runs a membership-based website Confidential Community which, according to him, offers “more common sense than most people can handle.”

Last week was the only other time Bernardi tweeted about Bitcoin when he retweeted Pomp and said his self-proclaimed “famous” newsletter covered the impact of the election on Bitcoin and other potential asset classes.

In 2020 more and more high-profile people have publicly shared bullish views about Bitcoin and declared their BTC holdings. From Paul Tudor Jones, Stan Druckenmiller, Ben Miller to companies like Square and MicroStrategy have found Bitcoin as the best alternative asset class as a hedge against inflation and devaluing the US dollar.

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Author: AnTy

IRS Successfully Prosecute First Bitcoin Tax Case, Ordered to Pay Over $8 Million in Restitution

Volodymyr Kvashuk, a former Microsoft engineer, has been sentenced to nine years in prison for defrauding the tech giant for over $10 million, using a bitcoin mixer to hide taxable income, and filing fraudulent crypto tax returns.

In what is described as the “nation’s first Bitcoin case” by the IRS, Kvashuk was ordered to pay $8,344,586 in restitution. He may be deported to Ukraine following his prison term. IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Korner said on Monday,

“Today’s sentencing proves you cannot steal money via the Internet and think that Bitcoin is going to hide your criminal behaviors.

Our complex team of cybercrimes experts with the assistance of IRS-CI’s Cyber Crimes Unit will hunt you down and hold you accountable for your wrongdoings.”

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A Skiller developer, Kvashuk, 26, worked at Microsoft from August 2016 to June 2018, during which he used his testing access to Microsoft’s online retail sales platform to steal “currency stored value” (CSV) such as digital gift cards.

He made millions of dollars by reselling them on the internet and used the proceeds to purchase a $1.6 million lakefront home and a $160,000 Tesla vehicle.

To hide the source of the funds that he ultimately sent to his bank account, he used a bitcoin “mixing service.” During the seven months of illegal activity, he transferred about $2.8 million in Bitcoin then filed fake tax return forms, claiming the bitcoin had been a gift from a relative.

While gifts are not taxable to the recipient under the current US tax code, one is required to check “yes” on the infamous crypto tax question “At any time during 2019, did you receive, sell, send, exchange, or otherwise acquire any financial interest in any virtual currency?” even if it is a crypto gift. CoinTracker noted,

“Before the 2019 tax year, if you received a crypto gift, you wouldn’t have to disclose it any tax forms encouraging tax cheats to hide crypto income.”

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin-Friendly Ex-CFTC Chief Gary Gensler to Advise Biden on Wall Street

Former Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Gary Gensler will be joining Joe Biden’s presidential transition to examine financial regulators.

Gensler, a former Goldman Sachs partner, is known for implementing a new regulatory regime for swaps and has gained a reputation for standing up to Wall Street.

He is also known for his bitcoin-friendly views, which he called a “catalyst for change.” Gensler actually taught a course at MIT called “Blockchain and Money” on how Bitcoin and the technology underpinning it could be used in finance.

It has been under Donald Trump’s presidential term that the IRS added the infamousdo you own crypto” question, and the President told the Treasury to “go after Bitcoin.” Not to mention he himself isn’t a fan of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies either.

Meanwhile, Gensler has said although many currencies face regulatory scrutiny, Bitcoin “should remain exempt” from that.

Crypto market participants feel positive about Joe Biden and that he could be good for the industry. Even cryptocurrency derivatives exchange FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried made the second biggest contribution to Biden.

The real winner of this election has clearly been Bitcoin as not only the price of the digital currency reached some important levels to climb to a 24-month high, but crypto-friendly faces could be seen in the government too.

Quant trader and entrepreneur Qiao Wang also noted that Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been “openly hostile towards BTC.”

Not only “a likely Republican senate to counter Dems’ aggressive regulation tendencies,” but Wang also believes, “Democrats are more likely to create inflation which is good for BTC.”

Recently we also saw Wyoming electing Bitcoiner Cynthia Lummis to the US Senate.

KeyBank NA executive Don Graves has also been tapped for the role, a longtime Biden adviser involved in reviewing bank regulators.

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Author: AnTy

Wyoming Elects Bitcoiner Cynthia Lummis to US Senate

Wyoming voters have elected former congresswoman and bitcoiner Cynthia Lummis to the US Senate.

Lummis will be the first member of the Congress’s upper chambers to own BTC, at least to declare so publicly, which she first bought in 2013.

Members of the House of Representatives, like the former chair of the Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte, have disclosed in the past that they own crypto but no US Senator, until now.

Meanwhile, Lummis’s home state is establishing as a haven for crypto businesses. The state has passed several crypto favorable laws and recently granted charters to two businesses to become crypto banks.

“In typical Wyoming fashion, we’re sending someone to D.C. who respects individual rights, and especially the right to keep the fruits of our labor. Cynthia believes in the philosophy behind Bitcoin, not just that it is a new asset class,” said Caitlin Long, the CEO of one of the crypto banks, Avanti Financial, in an interview.

She predicted that Lummis would advocate for the crypto industry and tweeted, “(Lummis) LOVES what Wyoming did in crypto—publicly said tonight that she wants to defend it against federal encroachment.”

Although the fast-growing crypto industry has got a bitcoiner on its side, the market, which is extremely excited, shouldn’t expect major changes to be coming anytime soon. The industry faces significant regulatory headwinds in the form of taxation and is seen as a vehicle for money-laundering.

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Author: AnTy

Former UKIP Godfrey Bloom Jumps Into Bitcoin; Predicts BTC To Be A ‘Must-have Asset’

Former UKIP politician (the UK Independence Party) Godfrey Bloom took to Twitter to share that he made his first bitcoin purchase this week, diversifying his portfolio from the precious metals.

The 70-year old has enough gold and silver that had a blast in 2020 thanks to the Federal Reserve’s monetary stimulus. Now, he is looking to get into the leading digital asset, which has been attracting a lot of big players this year as an “inflation hedge.”

Bitcoin is “likely to be a powerful hedge against US dollar weakness,” noted Charlie Morris of ByteTree.

During Bitcoin’s lifetime, 2017 and post Covid-19 crash 2020 has been the only meaningful occasions when DXY fell, and BTC did well. “The vast majority of Bitcoin’s past gains coincided with periods of a flat or weak dollar,” he found.

This year, bitcoin also grew stronger as a store of value and digital gold, even better than physical gold — cheaper to move around, tamper-proof, and easily verifiable.

“That’s something a lot of smaller investors already understand. Institutional investors are adapting to this as well,” said Eric Demuth, CEO and co-founder of crypto exchange BitPanda, which raised $52 million in a Series A round led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures.

Despite the growing progress, mass utilization of the cryptocurrency is not here, and we’re still not there yet, he said.

According to him, in the next five years, bitcoin and crypto overall will become more mainstream with usability getting better and access to these crypto-assets very easy and straight-forward.

“Bitcoin will be a must-have asset in every investor’s – small or big – portfolio in 2025,” he predicted adding, regulation will boost its credibility.

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Author: AnTy

Libra Association Hires Former HSBC Europe Managing Director, James Emmett

In an announcement on Thursday, Libra Association announced James Emmett, former European head at HSBC as the new managing director of its subsidiary, Libra Networks LLC. Emmett will start his role at the digital stablecoin firm on October 1.

According to the statement, James Emmett is a well-experienced financial services leader in “business, strategy, technology, and operations” having worked 25 years at the global financial institution. Emmett becomes the second high-profile manager from HSBC to join Libra, after Stuart Levey joined as the CEO of the Libra Association earlier this year.

Speaking on Emmett’s appointment, Levey showed his excitement saying the new appointee’s “leadership will help make Libra’s vision a reality.”

Emmett’s 25 years at HSBC saw him take on a number of roles including chief executive of HSBC Bank PLC and Europe. In his capacity as the chief executive of HSBC PLC, Emmet was responsible for the bank’s wholesale and retail operations across Continental Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Bermuda. Emmett has also acted in the position of COO of HSBC overseeing overseas technology operations. Passionate in the opportunities that digital currencies offer the current financial services, Emmett said,

“I am delighted to be joining Libra Networks with a mission to enhance financial innovation and inclusion and to deliver the operationalization of the network.”

With global regulators on Libra’s neck as the Association plans to launch its stablecoin, Libra is moving to employ more legal experts to smooth the relationship with global regulators. Shortly after appointment of Stuart Levey and CEO of Libra Association, Libra appointed Ex-Goldman Sachs Executive, Sterling Daines as its global compliance lead and Stevan Bunnel, former Homeland Security general counsel to replace Robert Werner as Libra’s general counsel.

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Author: Lujan Odera

ShapeShift Sues Former Senior Engineer; Stole 90 Bitcoins ($900k) Via Code Put on Servers

ShapeShift crypto exchange is suing a former senior engineer, Azamat Mukhiddinov, who siphoned roughly 90 BTC from the firm’s funds to an external wallet. The Switzerland domiciled crypto business filed this matter in a Colorado court, seeking restitution for damages incurred in pursuant of Azamat.

Notably, Azamat had already reimbursed the siphoned funds in one way or another, but ShapeShift now estimates tracking him could have cost the firm tens of thousands. The filing reads,

“In total, ShapeShift’s costs and expenses relating to the investigation of Azamat’s theft and the repair of its effects totaled tens of thousands of dollars, if not more.”

Other than the tracking costs, ShapeShift also highlighted that the event caused a lag in launching its new mobile application, which should have been out sooner than July. The filing further notes that ShapeShift employees had to spend long hours rewriting code to make the software secure, a process which ultimately involved a thorough review of the ShapeShift infrastructure.

The Inside Job at ShapeShift

Azamat joined ShapeShift as a senior engineer back in 2018; this was around the same time that the exchange enhanced its KYC requirements. With direct access to most of ShapeShift’s backend design, the former senior engineer saw an opportunity to breach the network for personal gains despite the binding contractual agreements.

This siphoning process began back in November 2019 and was executed up to May this year when ShapeShift eventually figured out that some coins were missing. According to the investigation findings, Azamat had created his own software and integrated it within the ShapeShift ecosystem. The embedded code allowed Azamat to siphon around 0.5 BTC progressively, taking advantage of his experience with ShapeShift’s backend security.

Upon being confronted on May 25, Azamat admitted to having compromised ShapeShift for personal gains. He, however, agreed to reimburse the total $900,000 worth of BTC in both crypto and fiat since a portion of the stolen digital assets had been spent. The filing notes that Azamat returned 60 BTC and a duffle bag with $31,900 while paying the rest in small portions. ShapeShift highlighted,

“Eventually, Azamat returned, in one form or another, all of the $900,000 in bitcoin he had stolen.”

It is quite noteworthy that Azamat’s breach at ShapeShift is not the first inside job the company is experiencing. Back in 2016, a similar incident resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Nonetheless, McGregor is confident that the steps were taken after the 2016 incident came in handy with the latest inside job attempt.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Fintech Investment Firm, Ribbit Capital, Seeks $350M In ‘Blank Check’ Public Offering

Former Trump administration advisor, Sigal Mandelker, teams up with top profile investors in a $350 million public offering in Ribbit Capital, a SPAC firm that invests in fintech firms, including blockchain technology projects. The IPO will raise $350 million for a “blank check” company that invests in the unspecified business at the moment.

Ribbit LEAP, short for Ribbit Capital Long-Term Equity Acquisition Pool, is a unique purpose acquisition company (SPAC) looking to join the increasingly popular blank check model that allows the company to effect a merger, acquire assets, purchase stocks, or reorganize a similar business in a prospectus filed with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).

According to the prospectus, the SPAC has yet to define its planned businesses despite raising the multi-million IPO. Blank checks structures allow companies a vast ground for investment and business operations without any interference from shareholders, who are not allowed to vote on any decisions. The S-1 form reads:

“Our shareholders may not be afforded an opportunity to vote on our proposed initial business combination, which means we may complete our initial business combination even though a majority of our shareholders do not support such a combination.”

Ribbit LEAP is one of the first investors in the U.S’ largest crypto exchange, Coinbase, and over 75 other fintech startups, including Robinhood Markets, CreditKarma, MercadoLibre, Inc., Sea Limited, Next Insurance, and Zillow. Other top crypto companies in the Ribbit LEAP portfolio include U.K based Revolut, Xapo, and Chainalysis.

The prospectus further states that the company offered $402.5 million in class A shares at $10 per share to begin, but fees rose to approximately $52 million, bringing the total IPO to raise close to $350 million. Out of the total available shares, the SPAC has pledged a minimum of $100 million in a forward purchase commitment.

According to Reuters, the company is aiming to list the SPAC on the New York Stock Exchange in the coming days with JP Morgan, the only book-manager running the securities.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Bitcoin HODLer Cynthia Lummis Wins Senate Primary in Wyoming

Former Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) has won the first round of the US Senate race. On Tuesday, she won her state’s Senate GOP primary and is now one step closer to replacing retiring Sen. Mike Enzi (R).

Lummis, who served four terms in the House, will now be facing Merav Ben-David but is about guaranteed to fill the seat.

She is a bitcoin holder, which is no surprise given that her state of Wyoming is leading the US in integrating blockchain technology and cryptocurrency into the regulatory framework.

In an interview with CoinDesk, a few months back, she revealed that she continues to hold onto her first Bitcoin that she purchased in 2013 as she is a “HODLer.” Lummis has never sold and remains a buyer, as it is the way to protect her future.

An advocate of bitcoin, she believes in the current macro environment, “we need stores of value that are decoupled from the economy,” and that is bitcoin.

In the 21st century, where the central bank is printing money and declining the value of the US dollar, “cryptocurrencies may be on the uptick,” she said.

Unlike all the interest towards central bank-backed digital currencies, Lummis is very much clear on this very front as well as she explained how that is a matter of convenience instead of targeting being a store of value.

“As long as a dollar-based digital currency is backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S., as opposed to something more scarce, then I don’t think it can add value,” she said.

According to Nic Carter, co-founder of Coin Metrics, it is “amazing” that she believes in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have given that “Cynthia is most likely going to be Wyoming’s new senator.”

“Anyone who thought that America wouldn’t eventually embrace Bitcoin is crazy. Bitcoin values and core constitutional American values have a lot in common,” he added.

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Author: AnTy

Ex-Nissan Chief’s Son Paid $50,000 in Cryptocurrency via Coinbase to Help him Escape

Anthony Ghosn, son of Carlos Ghosn, the former Nissan Motor Co. chairman, made about $50,000 in cryptocurrency payments to an American man who helped his father escape criminal charges in Japan.

The Jr. Ghosn made the payments to a Peter Taylor via the San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase after Sr. Ghosn escaped in a box smuggled aboard a private plane in December, US prosecutors said in a court filing on Wednesday. The crypto transfers were made in installments from January through mid-May.

Coinbase recently struck a deal with the US Secret Service and Internal Revenue Service to sell its blockchain analytics software, which the company emphasizes only contains publicly available information.

Besides crypto, wire transfers were also made to Taylor and his father, ex-Green Beret Michael Taylor who received a total of at least $1.36 million from the Ghosn family.

Carlos Ghosn has been facing charges of financial misconduct in Japan and has fled to Lebanon, claiming his family played no part in his escape.

But the prosecutors found evidence indicating the family did play some role in the operation, and US authorities arrested the Taylors at the request of the Japanese government, which is seeking to extradite them.

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Author: AnTy