JPMorgan Co-President: The Bank Will Get Involved in Bitcoin If Demand is There

JPMorgan Co-President: The Bank Will Get Involved in Bitcoin If Demand is There

Which Daniel Pinto says isn’t there yet but will be at some point.

JPMorgan Chase is onboard to support Bitcoin if the banking giant sees demand for the cryptocurrency from its clients.

In an interview with CNBC, Co-President Daniel Pinto said the client demand isn’t there yet, which he’s certain will change. He said,

“If over time an asset class develops that is going to be used by different asset managers and investors, we will have to be involved.”

“The demand isn’t there yet, but I’m sure it will be at some point.”

Pinto has signaled that he is open-minded about Bitcoin in a recent company meeting, CNBC said, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.

Back in late 2017, JPMorgan CEO, Jamie Dimon, called Bitcoin a “fraud,” which is currently trading at $48,000.

This week, Bitcoin hit a new all-time high at $49,000 and is up nearly 12x from its March low.

Yesterday, America’s oldest bank BNY Mellon announced that it would hold, transfer, and issue Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, including stablecoins and CBDCs. This week has been full of institutional adoption reports from Twitter, Uber, and GM following Tesla’s announcement of $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin purchase.

Another banking giant, Goldman Sachs, has also been reportedly eyeing the cryptocurrency market. Last week, Goldman Sachs hosted a private forum with Mike Novogratz, the founder, and CEO of crypto firm Galaxy digital, for clients and employees.

“It’s possible Galaxy could help Goldman and other banks facing the same challenges,” said Damien Vanderwilt, co-president of Galaxy, who spent over two decades at Goldman Sachs. Vanderwilt expects “a range of releases over 2021,” with more corporates, pensions, and insurance companies to invest in Bitcoin.

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Author: AnTy

Japanese Police Arrest 30 Suspects, Allegedly Involved in 2018’s $530M Coincheck Hack

Japanese Police Arrest 30 Suspects, Allegedly Involved in 2018’s $530M Coincheck Hack

Japanese police have made progress on the Coincheck hack investigations, having recently identified 30 individuals that might have been involved. According to Nikkei Asia, which broke the news, the authorities have arrested some of the alleged hack suspects or referred their cases to the local prosecutors’ office.

The hack which took place back in 2018 is still the largest in crypto history; around 58 billion yen ($530 million) worth of NEM tokens was siphoned from the exchange. Since then, Japanese authorities have been working to catch the Coincheck hackers.

Notably, Coincheck had already released the associated addresses where the stolen NEM tokens were drained. This prompted them to be blacklisted and consequently labeled ‘coincheck_stolen_funds_do_not_accept_trades: owner_of_this_account_is_hacker.’

Last year, the authorities arrested two individuals named Masaki Kitamoto and Takayoshi Doi, who acquired the stolen NEM tokens at a 15% discount via the dark web. The two found themselves in trouble for purchasing the tokens despite being aware of their origin.

It now seems that the Japanese police have narrowed down further given the recent arrests and prosecution referrals. Per Nikkei’s report, investigators were able to trace the 30 individuals by tracking ‘the accounts at conventional cryptocurrency exchanges through which the hacked NEM was converted.’

Sources close to the matter revealed that the transactions in question could total around 20 billion yen, although they are yet to pinpoint the exact parties responsible for the hack. Before this development, the narrative has been Russian hackers suspected of having compromised Coincheck employees’ computers.

On the bright side, Coincheck survived following an acquisition by Monex Group. The crypto exchange is set to host Japan’s first Initial Exchange Offering (IEO) for a project dubbed ‘Hash Palette’; this initiative targets to raise roughly 1 billion Yen ($9.4 million).

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Tether Saves the Day by Reversing a 1 Million ERC20-based USDT Transaction Sent to DEX Swerve

Some might say, Tether has saved the day.

Surely for the degen whose million dollars was involved here. But not for the crypto industry, which promotes self-sovereignty.

As Dovey Wan said, “It’s defeating the purpose of “code is law” and “unconditional execution of smart contracts.”’

And of course, it’s DeFi (Decentralized Finance), not CeFi (Centralized Finance).

What happened was someone accidentally sent a million dollars in ERC20-based USDT to the Swerve token contract directly.

“I have sent 1000000 usdt to swrv address, who can help me get back the usdt,” wrote the user @free on DEX Swerve’s Discord channel.

Swerve Finance is the copycat of the popular DEX Curve, which has more than $1 billion of total value locked (TVL) in it. Swerve, meanwhile has only about $385 million locked while having less than 10% of Curve’s volume.

Its token SWRV is trading at $3.40 with a market cap of $5.4 million compared to CRV’s $74 million market cap at $1.88.

Tether then came to the rescue of the degen, offering to recover the amount.

Paolo Ardoino, CTO at Tether and it’s sister company Bitfinex, asked the person to open a ticket to the Tether support service. Because of the amount involved, Ardoino said the company would prioritize it if the person directly involved in the issue provides the ticket ID.

“If it’s USDt ERC20 stuck in an address we should be able to recover it, but in order to be sure, please contact our customer support and we’ll try our best,” said Ardoino.

USDT is the most popular stablecoin in the market, but much like Coinbase and Circle’s joint effort USDC, it can blacklist the transactions and recover your money.

Back in 2016, Ethereum also reversed the $50 million DAO hack, but the crypto king Bitcoin has never done so. Back in 2019, Binance CEO suggested such a move, a “rollback,” after the exchange suffered a hack, but it didn’t happen because of the strong opposition from the crypto community.

“Most CEX or wallets probably should not let users send to these addresses. But new ones come up all the time…” commented Changepeng “CZ” Zhao this time.

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Author: AnTy

No More Selling Pressure from $5.7B PlusToken Ponzi as Chinese Police Arrest 82 Members

Chinese police have finally arrested all 27 primary suspects involved in the Plus Token Ponzi scheme.

The investigation led by the Ministry of Public Security successfully arrested all the major suspects and 82 key members of the case, reported Chinese financial news outlet CLS.

The Multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme has reportedly grown to 3,000 layers in the past year, frauding more than 2 million people for a whopping over 40 billion yuan, about $5.7 billion.

A year back in August, Chinese police officials arrested six suspects involved in this scheme, but the main suspects were still on the run at that time.

With this Ponzi scheme, the Chinese police have cracked down on one of the biggest Ponzi Schemes involving bitcoin as an exchange method.

PlusToken was launched in early 2018 and then in mid-2019 when some users couldn’t withdraw their funds from the wallets; it solidified the earlier suspicions of it being a pyramid scheme although the company tried to brush it off as a “hacker attack.”

Over these months, PlusToken has been a red sword hanging on bitcoin’s price’s head as time, and again the stolen funds were moved. Just last month, its entire Ether stash, about 790,000 ETH, was moved, spreading a wave of terror that it may cause Ethereum price to dump.

Given that bitcoin bulls now have “little to no baggage,” Dovey Wan, founding partner of Primitive Crypto, said, “let’s send it to the moon.”

The leading cryptocurrency is currently trading just over $11,000 after breaking key levels $10,000 and $10,500 this week.

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Author: AnTy

Kin Releases its Transparency Report, Revealing Foundation Budgets and Structure

The Kin Foundation that’s behind the social messaging app Kik has been involved in a long-drawn out legal battle with the US Security and Exchange Commission over the distribution of its Kin token.

Kik created the Kin token back in 2017.

The SEC alleged that Kin tokens fall under a Security bracket, and thus it must be registered with the regulatory body before the sale. The total market supply of Kin token has been kept at 10 trillion out of which 1.45 trillion are currently in circulation.

The Kin Foundation has now released a transparency report in association with the Messari group revealing crucial financial details. The transparency report was published on the 21st of May, and gave a glimpse at the operation of the Kin token.

The report revealed that the foundation drafts their budget one year in advance, which determines what funding would go towards developers, user grants, node incentives, and marketing and operations.

The Kin Foundation is currently headed by a two-member board consisting of Ted Livingston, the CEO of Kik Interactive and William Mougayar, author of “The Business Blockchain.” The report further revealed that the board members are selected annually by the members along with a Kin Representative who acts as a medium for the developer community and token holders.

The foundation currently has only one Representative in the form of Matt Hannam, however, the foundation plans to add a couple more representatives in the coming year. The Kin foundation also comprises of an informal community of 10 members who look over the kin rewards and disagreements.

The report revealed that around 28 million users have acquired kin from various sources since its creation in 2017 and around 300 million kin was spent per day this year alone.

The Legal Battle Over Security Tag

The United States is counted among nations with a tough regulatory stance towards crypto. This is because any security token offering which promises a profit on the token over a course of time need to be registered with the SEC. The same issue has led to the halt and several postponements of Telegram’s TON blockchain and GRAM token issuance. The Kin Foundation has maintained, since the beginning that,

“the SEC cannot meet its burden to prove that Kin purchasers were primarily led to expect profits from the managerial efforts of others.”

The foundation also believes that the SEC’s legal case against them is heavily inspired by the Telegram case. Eileen Lyon, Kik’s general counsel said:

“Our take on the SEC’s opposition is that it relies heavily on the recent Telegram case, which we think was poorly reasoned and wrongly decided.”

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Author: James W

China Moves Closer to Issuing its Digital Currency in the Face of Coronavirus: Report

  • Alibaba, the company involved in the development of China’s digital currency filed for a patent related to the digital currency
  • The news came hot on the heels of new coronavirus bill in Congress proposing a digital dollar

The People’s Bank of China is getting nearer to releasing its digital currency, reports The Global Times.

According to the latest report, China’s central bank in collaboration with private companies has completed the development of the basic function of the autonomous digital currency and is now drafting laws for its circulation.

Many companies in the private sector, most located in Shenzhen such as Alibaba, Huawei, Tencent, and China Merchant Bank are the participants in the development of China’s digital currency.

Alibaba’s financial arm, Alipay, has made public 5 patents pertinent to China’s  digital currency from 1/21 to 3/17.

The patents address digital wallets, issuance, transaction recording, and anti-money laundering aspects of the digital currency.

The next step in this process is working with financial services and regulators of insurance as well as passing legislation that could be lengthy and as such no exact date has been set for the launch.

Coronavirus Pandemic Pushing for the Need of Digital Currency

This report came close on the heels of the US considering creating a digital dollar to save the US economy from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The virtual greenback could be used to send payments of $1,000 for minors and $2,000 to legal adults.

Both the draft bills “Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act” and the “Financial Protections and Assistance for America’s Consumers, States, Businesses, and Vulnerable Populations Act,” suggest the creation of a digital dollar.

Digital currency is seen as the “most convenient tool” to translate central banks’ zero and negative interest policy to commercial banks.

Citing the industry insiders, the Global Times also reported China should accelerate the availability of its digital currency as interest rates are driven into negative territory around the world to improve liquidity in the market amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Cao Yan, vice director of the Advanced Research Institute of Blockchain, the central bank should accelerate the launch of its CBDC due to the Covid-19 global pandemic. Cao said,

“If there is a chance China is considering lowering its interest rate into negative territory as a final option and directing such policy to commercial loans and lending, a circulated digital currency rather than M0 will be able to achieve that.”

He believes the development of the digital currency would be more efficient if the bank works with private institutions that are involved with blockchain technology and 3rd party payment processes.

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Author: AnTy

Congressional Blockchain Caucus Members Ask IRS To Clarify Guidance on Airdrops And Forks

The US representatives involved in the letter include Tom Emmer, Bill Foster, David Schweikert, Darren Soto, Lance Gooden, French Hill, Matt Gaetz, and Warren Davidson.

These individuals pushed the IRS to clarify if any changes made would be applied retroactively or from the current date going forward.

The guidance and laws surrounding the cryptocurrency industry are still rather complicated in the United States. However, it is becoming more and more fundamentally clear that the industry needs more than some tax laws, as eight members of the US House of Representatives jointly issued a letter to the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.

According to reports from The Block, reps. Tom Emmer, Bill Foster, David Schweikert, Darren Soto, Lance Gooden, French Hill, Matt Gaetz, and Warren Davidson penned the joint letter on December 20th. In it, they voice their concern over the lack of guidance on token airdrops and blockchain network forks, specifically. The letter follows much of the same path of a request sent earlier this year that urged the IRS to offer more information to taxpayers regarding crypto-related obligations. Emmer filed a bill separately in July to request a “safe harbor” that would protect taxpayers in the event of a fork.

The letter states:

“We wrote in April of this year urging the issuance of guidance for taxpayers who use cryptocurrencies and we are pleased to see that you have issued guidance and addressed many questions we posed. We are, however, concerned that this recent guidance creates many new questions related to the topics it seeks to address, namely forks and airdrops. Moreover, the guidance appears inequitable as it comes almost two years after the Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash fork and three years after the Ethereum fork.”

The letter also adds that the IRS needs to examine more of the cryptocurrency industry and products, which would help them “to provide guidance to taxpayers as to how income related to all crypto transactions will be treated for tax purposes.” The group also placed blame on the agency for their inability to offer “any clarity for withholding and tax information purposes.”

The letter asked a series of questions, aimed at helping the IRS to better work with the industry. The questions ask the IRS if and when the IRS will clarify the airdrop and fork policies, if and when the IRS plans to set a standard for establishing dominance. Furthermore, if new guidance is implemented, the representatives want to know if it will be applied retroactively or just from this point forward.

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Author: Krystle M

Libra Whitepaper Gets Updated, Association Members Won’t Get Paid On Reserve Asset Profits

  • The new whitepaper doesn’t use interest to pay early investors, which are predominantly involved in the Libra Association.
  • The interest will still go towards operational costs, keeping transaction fees low, and further development.

Ever since the Libra Association released their whitepaper for their crypto asset (Libra), there have been many regulators pushing for change. Reports by CoinTelegraph shed light on a recent article by Chris Brummer, a law professor at Georgetown University, discussing the new changes that the whitepaper has gone through. Apart from the amendments that were expected with the new list of members, the Libra whitepaper also removed the dividends that were meant to be paid out to early investors in the project.

The original whitepaper for Libra, published in June 2019, stated that the interest accrued for the reserve assets would be used for multiple purposes, including the coverage of system costs, and supporting growth. One of the other uses for the interest was meant to be used towards paying dividends to Libra Association members as the earliest investors in the project. However, the revision has created the following change:

“Interest on the reserve assets will be used to cover the costs of the system, ensure low transaction fees, and support further growth and adoption.”

Brummer stated that the possible reach for the change is that, by awarding dividends to early investors, there’s the possibility of a conflict of interest with the Libra Association members and the currency’s end-users. The reserve assets need to be stable to promote the update of the Libra token, and paying out dividends would put the reserve at risk with other assets. Trust would be reduced or lost entirely, resulting in a lack of uptake for the asset, since the stablecoins rand to lose their value.

Another potential reason for the changes is to address the worries that Libra and other stablecoins could end up being defined as a security, which is the hope of two lawmakers. Still, Brummer remarked that this new definition won’t likely happen, since stablecoins generally keep the same value.

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Author: Krystle M

Transaction Fee Mining Exchanges Are Decreasing, Says CryptoCompare

  • The community involved in the crypto industry don’t typically like transaction fee mining.
  • CryptoCompare was established to bring more transparency into the cryptocurrency market.

The cryptocurrency community isn’t exactly a fan of transaction fee mining, criticizing this process heavily for quite some time. CryptoCompare recently released a report,  Exchange Review October 2019, which showed that TFM is slowly declining. In fact, between September and October alone, it seems that the exchanges that implement this type of mining has dropped 3.8%. The report noted,

“Exchanges that charge typical taker fees represented 66% of total exchange volume in October, while those that implement trans-fee mining (TFM) represented 32%.”

In October, a total of $370.3 billion was traded by crypto-platforms that charge a fee to do so, which is 9.8% higher than what was recorded in September. The exchanges that use TFM traded less than half of that amount ($181.42 billion), though they only showed a decline of 3.8% from September to October. Based on the data shown in the report, the rest of the volume accounted for the exchanges that don’t charge much of a trading fee, totaling $6.69 billion.

BitForex was at the top of the list for TFM exchanges, recording $34.8 billion for October’s total volume alone, showing an increase of 37.35% since the month prior. The second in the list was CoinBene, recording a 19.65% increase from the month prior for a total volume of $32.96 billion. Previously, CryptoCompare stated,

“Zero-fee exchanges as well as transaction-fee mining exchanges present a problem when it comes to assessing whether trading volume as well as pricing are legitimate due to the well-known criticisms of exchanges engaged in these practices.”

Of all of the transaction fee mining exchanges, transaction fees are 100% rebated with the use of exchange tokens from the exchange that allow it. Realistically, this opportunity can encourage traders to participate in more activity on the exchange in the hope of getting more tokens. The blog added that this frequently has features or dividends, which put exchanges at risk for hosting wash trading.

The Exchange Benchmark at CryptoCompare was developed as a result of concern regarding crypto exchanges getting involved in wash trading and other schemes to pump up volume. By publicizing these reports, traders in the market can have the transparency desired for the smartest activity.

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Author: Krystle M