FinCEN to Amend FBAR Rules Regarding Foreign Accounts Holding Crypto

FinCEN Intends to Amend the FBAR Rules Regarding Foreign Accounts Holding Cryptocurrencies

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the United States Department of the Treasury shared its intent to amend the FBAR for cryptocurrencies.

The official document “Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) Filing Requirement for Virtual Currency” notes that currently, FBAR regulations do not define a foreign account holding virtual currency as a type of reportable account.

This means, at the time, a foreign account holding cryptocurrencies is not reportable on the FBAR.

But now, FinCEN is sharing its intention to propose to amend the regulations implementing the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) regarding reports of foreign financial accounts (FBAR) to include virtual currency as a type of reportable account under 31 CFR 1010.350, it states.

“This seems targeted at users of non-US exchanges & shouldn’t apply to assets in self-custody,” said Jake Chervinksy, General Counsel at Compound Finance.

According to him, it could be primarily about tax evasion and bringing non-US crypto companies into compliance with the BSA.

“Anyone claiming to have blocked US citizens (as BitMEX claimed) will have a tough time if/when hundreds of FBARs come flooding in.”

Jake Chervinksy General Counsel at Compound Finance

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Author: AnTy

HM Treasury to Establish Regulatory ‘Gateway’ For Cryptocurrency Promotions

The British government intends to bring some certain cryptocurrencies in to the scope of financial promotions regulations in a bid to protect UK based consumers. They announced at the beginning of this week that they would be looking to put an end to misleading adverts that put retail investors at risk.

According to a proposal published today that was tabled by John Glen, UK financial sector City Minister, the Crypto firms would have channeled through a regulatory gateway before being greenlighted to advertise crypto assets. The Financial Conduct authority (FCA) would play the oversight role for the promotions. Therefore, companies seeking to access the products from these unauthorized firms would require approval from the financial watchdog.

This was after a report from the 2018 crypto taskforce collaborative efforts from the HM treasury, FCA and Bank of England, highlighted that in as much as the crypto sphere and the underlying Distributed Ledger Technology potentially had a lot to offer, they should take steps to protect consumers and markets from looming risks. The risks identified include: Money laundering and terrorist funding and consumer and firm understanding of regulatory framework.

In the statement, the Minister remarking at the deficiencies of the current regulatory framework to catch up with the dynamic products flooding the markets, insisted that the proposal would look to categorize crypto promotions as other financial product promos.

Notably, a recent FCA crypto survey estimates that at least 1.9 million Britons translating to almost 4% of their population own some sort of cryptocurrency. With the number of citizens that have possessed crypto assets increasing to 5.35% in 2020 from last year’s meagre 3%. Bitcoin is the most popular crypto product, with almost 22% of the respondents acknowledging to have heard of Facebook’s Libra initiative despite not being operational yet.

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Author: Lujan Odera

#DeleteCoinbase Trending After the Coinbase Exchange’s Deal with DEA & IRS Becomes Public

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase intends to sell its blockchain analytics software called Coinbase Analytics to two US government agencies.

As per the public records, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are planning to buy the license from Coinbase. The software will provide “identity attribution” for cryptocurrency addresses both domestically and internationally, as per the documents issued in April and May, as per The Block.

Coinbase maintains that the tool only offers the agencies access to publicly-available data and not any internal or customer data. The company uses the product internally for compliance and global investigations.

Coinbase Analytics was developed with the help of Neutrino, a blockchain startup the exchange bought for $13.5 million last year. The acquisition was criticized due to Neutrino founders’ involvement in Italian spyware Hacking Team.

A month after that, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said it would part ways with those associated with the Hacking Team. But then its sales chief announced Coinbase’s previous analytics partner Elliptic sold the customer data which Elliptic denied.

The Details

Coinbase’s contract with DEA involves the “period of performance” from April 3, 2020, to April 2, 2021.

“The least expensive tool on the market and has the most features for the money,” and could help Coinbase make from $10,000 to $250,000. According to the DEA contract, Coinbase Analytics,

“provides investigators with identity attribution and de-anonymities virtual currency addresses domestically and internationally. CA is known for its accuracy of attribution which includes some of the most conservative heuristics used in commercial blockchain tracing tools. This is critical in avoiding false positive during target identification.”

Meanwhile, the IRS contract states this tool can assist in tracking not just bitcoin but various types of cryptos.

Specifically mentioning Neutrino, it says the tool will allow the agency in analysing and,

“tracking crypto flows across multiple blockchains that criminals are currently using.”

“Coinbase Analytics also provides some enhanced law enforcement sensitive capabilities that are not currently found in other tools on the market.”

Its period of performance is one base year from the date of award with 12-month option.

Backlash from Crypto Community

“This is no surprise, our distrust in you is strengthened, we will make your analytics software obsolete,” tweeted Jameson Lopp, co-founder, and CTO of Casa.

Blockstream CSO said, “If there was ever an executive order to confiscate your Bitcoin, I’d wager Coinbase would be first in line to comply.”

The news had the crypto community angered at Coinbase yet again. After the news broke out, Bitcoin has started moving out from Coinbase.

The ‘DeleteCoinbase’ hashtag is also picking up and is gaining strength.

This, however, isn’t the first time that Coinbase is facing criticism. Back in 2018, the exchange suspended WikiLeaks’ Coinbase account which was when the #DeleteCoinbase movement started.

Already, the exchange has been having outage issues, it has been constantly going down whenever bitcoin rallies, even as small as 5% BTC moves.

Most recently Black Swan author also closed his Coinbase account after the exchange didn’t provide customer support.

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Author: AnTy

Republican Mega-Donor Takes Aim at Replacing Jack Dorsey as Twitter CEO

  • Elliott Management of billionaire Paul Singer has taken a “sizable stake” in Twitter intends to “push for changes”

Paul Singer, a Republican mega-donor has purchased a stake in San Francisco-based Twitter and allegedly aims to replace its current CEO – Jack Dorsey.

Singer’s Elliott Management has acquired a “sizable stake” in the social media platform, according to a Bloomberg report from this week.

It is now planning to push for some big changes, including replacing its current CEO and founder. Dorsey, who only owns 2% of the company, would be incredibly vulnerable to these plans.

Twitter users are responding to the news in droves, with some expressing concerns about Singer’s connections to President Donald Trump. Singer had previously donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee.

Trump is highly active on Twitter, famously communicating with the public through the social media platform. In October, Twitter grabbed headlines by announcing a ban on political advertising.

Twitter founder, Dorsey, is also the chief executive of Square, the digital payment company. Dorsey is also the only CEO of two public companies that have market valuations of more than $5 bn. Last year, in Nov. he shared his plans to live and work in Africa for part of each year.

These moves are reportedly part of Singer’s broader desire to push Dorsey out as stakeholders have voiced concern about Dorsey’s leadership.

Under Dorsey, Twitter’s share price struggled continually. since rejoining the company as its CEO in 2015, shares have fallen 6.2% while Facebook’s gained 121% over the same time — although, for the first time it recently reported $1 billion in quarterly revenue.

On Friday, the news of the Elliott stake saw Twitter’s share price rising over 7% after hours. Dorsey has remained silent on this and his most recent tweets are about Bitcoin and Square.

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Author: AnTy

New Trezor Wallet Phishing Website Surfaces, tlezor.io, to Steal Users Private Keys

A new phishing website, tlezor.io has surfaced that’s imitating the Trezor brand. The website intends to steal the user’s recovery seed which would give scammers control over the user’s funds tied to their Trezor device.

The newest phishing site is one of many that have surfaced over the last couple of weeks. The websites looks like a near-identical clone to the original to and have the same features and functionality.

To make sure you are visiting the correct addresses for Ledger, ensure that the address bar shows ledger.com. For Trezor, the actual site’s address is trezor.io.

Below are some examples of the phishing domains:

  • Leedger.io
  • Ledger.co
  • Tlezor.io
  • Trenor.ml

As Bitcoin Exchange Guide reported earlier this week, scammers are serving up Google ads to direct people to these domains. The scammers will be paid each time a user clicks on the ad, and it’s uncertain how many people have clicked or otherwise fallen victim to this newest scam.

Some users on Twitter have been quick to point out that these domains are being used by scammers and have let both Ledger and Trezor know of their existence.

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Author: Matthew North