Just 270 Addresses Responsible for Majority of Money Laundering in Crypto: Chainalysis

Just 270 Addresses Responsible for Majority of Money Laundering in Crypto: Chainalysis

The United States, Russia, and China receive the highest volume of digital currency from illicit addresses.

Just 270 deposit addresses are being used for the majority, 55% of all of the cryptocurrency value sent from illicit addresses in 2020, as per the latest research of Chainalysis. These addresses collectively received $1.3 billion worth of illicit crypto, while just 24 received over $500 million worth of it.

Additionally, 1,867 deposit addresses received 75% of all cryptocurrency value sent from illicit addresses in 2020. This level of concentration is greater than in 2019, showing that a small group of crypto services is being used by criminals to launder hundreds of millions of dollars.

Money laundering actually makes up a huge portion of the illicit funds that travel to service deposit addresses, as per the report. A smaller but significant portion of illicit funds also goes to deposit addresses that do a high volume of legitimate transactions and flies under the radar.

Cryptocurrency sent from illicit addresses facilitating money laundering tends to wind up at just a few services, mostly five including mainstream “risky” exchanges, mixers, gambling platforms, ever since 2017.

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The report also found that the United States, Russia, and China received the highest volume of digital currency from illicit addresses, reflecting their high shares of crypto trading volumes.

Scams followed by stolen funds make up the largest crime type in the US while Russia receives a “disproportionately large share” of darknet market funds, which according to Chainalysis, is because of Hydra. As for China, ransomware and stolen funds are the dominating crime types that the country receives funds from.

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Author: AnTy

CNBC Mad Money Host, Jim Cramer, Calls Companies Not Owning any Bitcoin ‘Irresponsible’

CNBC Mad Money Host, Jim Cramer, Calls Companies Not Owning any Bitcoin ‘Irresponsible’

According to the “Mad Money” host, every treasurer should be calling for putting a portion of their cash in Bitcoin.

It’s “almost irresponsible” for companies not to own Bitcoin, says Jim Cramer, the host of “Mad Money” in an interview with CNBC’s Andrew Sorkin.

Just this week, Tesla announced that they had bought $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin (around 7.7%), and this endorsement from the major US has released a flurry of speculation regarding which company would be the next to join in.

While some don’t feel the same way, much like JPMorgan strategists who see it “unlikely” that more mainstream corporations would follow Tesla in BTC allocation, others expect the herd is coming.

“As far as a way to be able to have a pastiche of things to do with your cash, I’m all for it.” said the former hedge fund manager on Tuesday.

“I think it’s almost irresponsible not to include it. Every treasurer should be going to boards of directors and saying should we put a small portion of our cash in Bitcoin.”

Hedge against Fiat Currency

Cramer shared that he personally owns Bitcoin — “I own bitcoin. I’ve owned it for some time” — and called it “an alternative to a cash position, where you make absolutely nothing.”

Last year in December, Cramer tweeted that he was thinking of buying some BTC, and shortly after, in an interview with TheStreet, he decided to buy some under $18k but didn’t mention just how much exactly.

“Bitcoin is exciting,” he said on Tuesday, adding that he believes in the validity of the cryptocurrency while arguing that it could be used as a hedge against inflation or an equity portfolio.

“It seems to be an interesting way to hedge against the rest of the environment, nice hedge against fiat currency.”

A Trip to Higher Levels

Though Cramer noted that there are a lot of buyers and promoters of the leading digital currency, which is not the case for the seller at this time,

“you have to have some kind of hedge on it. Because if you take it and it goes down, I think that you’re gonna end up saying why did I use bitcoin when I could actually transact in dollars.”

The price of Bitcoin, which shot past a record high of $48,000 following the Tesla announcement, for now, is keeping around $46,500.

Calling Bitcoin a “little inflated,” he pointed out that “there’s plenty of people who say it could go to $100,000.”

Michael Novogratz of crypto investment firm Galaxy Digital is one such bull who sees the prices of Bitcoin going to $100,000 by the end of this year. He is also of the same opinion as Cramer and sees “every company in America do the same thing.”

“Young people are buying into the future, and they see cryptocurrencies – bitcoin and other cryptos – as their currencies.”

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Author: AnTy

DeFi Money Market DAO Shutting Down; DMG Token Falls off a Cliff

DeFi Money Market DAO Shutting Down; DMG Token Falls off a Cliff

DeFi Money Market DAO, DMM is ceasing its operations following the regulatory inquiries.

The team announced late on Friday that “DMM regrets the necessity of this action,” but mToken minting will no longer be available, effective immediately. The redemption of mToken, however, will be available for an indefinite time period. But the interest rate on mTokens will drop to 0% around Feb 10, 2021.

“Capital and interest are currently available to fund the redemption of all outstanding mTokens plus accrued interest,” noted the team. As such, mTokens holders are advised to redeem them as soon as possible.

The governance token of the project DMG also lost more than 84% of its value and is currently trading around $0.104 ever since the news of shut down broke out. For DMG tokens’ redemption as well, an additional fund of available assets is rolled out, details of which will be shared soon.

“Sad to see what happened with DMG today,” tweeted derivatives exchange FTX, which is keeping the DMG market open to let people trade if they want, though leverage will be reined in. Since its drop to $0.045, DMG has been up 28%.

“We don’t know of any nefarious things that happened but will investigate given the unusual price pattern,” added FTX.

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Author: AnTy

Philippines’ Central Bank Issues New Guidelines to Curtail Money Laundering Among VASPs

Philippines’ Central Bank Issues New Guidelines to Curtail Money Laundering Among Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs)

Local Philippines news source, the Philippine Daily Enquirer, has reported this week that the country’s central bank now requires Crypto financial service firms to be fully licensed with the BSP.

This is according to a released document from the BSP, which was issued January 25th, that stipulated that VASPs will need to have a ‘certificate of authority’ to continue operating within the Philippines. In addition to this certification, VASPs would also need to remain in regulatory alignment with central banks, and their existing rules for financial service providers broadly, such as those rules regarding liquidity and operational risk, IT, consumer protections, and anti-money laundering.

Of course, the BSP’s announcement and regulatory requirements would be compulsory to VASPs with a minimum capital size of 50 million (Philippine) Pesos – or $1m – if they provide crypto custodial services, or 10 million pesos ($208k).

While this would place crypto companies in a bind of ensuring they are in complete regulatory alignment, the central bank’s governor stated that this was all in order to strike a balance between regulatory security and “an environment that encourages financial innovation while safeguarding the integrity and stability of the financial system.”

Along with ensuring regulatory adherence, the BSP has also stated that VASPs seeking to qualify as certified will need to undertake their customer due diligence. Additionally, these companies will need to treat crypto transactions in the same manner as cross-border transactions; meaning that participant data for transactions of 50,000 pesos ($1,000) or greater must be retained.

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Author: James Fox

Gen X Investors Overtake Millennials in Crypto Adoption: Wirex & Stellar Report

Nearly 75% of consumers view digital assets and stablecoins as an alternative to traditional money transfer services. High fees, slower transaction times, and hectic cross-border transfers are some of the reasons leading consumers to digital asset payment systems, joint research from Wirex and Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) states.

The research report titled ‘The Future of Money: Cryptocurrency Adoption in 2021‘surveyed 3,834 respondents from the two companies’ database in the past three weeks. Over 81% of the respondents hailed from Europe and 17% from the Asia Pacific region, 83% of them aged above 35 years.

The research focuses on the adoption rates of crypto across different genders, age groups, and regions and how digital currencies solve problems in the real world.

Older People are Rapidly Accepting Cryptocurrencies

The older generations are gradually accepting cryptocurrencies as a global payment system in cross border transfers, the report states. The appetite for crypto solutions in traditional payment systems is clearly there across all ages. Surprisingly, 30.2% of the respondents aged 45-54 stated they have used (are using) crypto, the largest group in the study.

Furthermore, older women are more likely to use crypto and blockchain-powered payment systems, the report shows. Slightly above a quarter (26.1%) of women respondents aged 55-64 years invested in cryptocurrency, while only 14.3% of men in the same age bracket invested in crypto.

Cryptocurrency is a Global Payment System

According to the research, the younger generation is rapidly moving towards digital assets seamlessly to transact across borders. With nearly 57% of respondents aged 18-24 years having sent money internationally, there is still room for growth as the “digitally-conscious” generation look for seamless ways to transact value across the globe.

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International transfer fees remain the major issue that is pushing respondents to crypto. Despite the respondents adjusting, most complained about the international transfer fees were still too high. Over 40% of the respondents believe that paying 1% fees is still too high, with the number understandably increasing as the fees increased.

Consumers are open to switching to alternative transfer channels so long as the costs and fees drop significantly, the report states. This is a problem that crypto could solve. The authors of the report wrote that 74% of the respondents agree to digital assets as the solution to slow and expensive traditional money transfer systems.

Over 83% of the respondents stated they owned at least one cryptocurrency or stablecoin, with Europeans leading the way at 84.5% while 74.7% of the APAC region respondents owning digital assets. Fewer female respondents hold digital assets than male respondents (70.3% vs. 85.6%), with 65.7% of women who hold digital assets aged over 45 years.

A Haven for Users?

Despite the positive sentiments derived from the report and 86.1% of the respondents claiming that they “feel safe” with crypto payments, the authors still believe there’s more to be done in the industry. Unsurprisingly, younger generations feel most safe using crypto (90.6%) while older generations, those at 65+ years, feel less safe (80.7%) due to digital payments’ tech-savvy nature.

However, the survey showed some shortcomings as it focuses on the customers of Wirex and Stellar, who already have interacted with cryptocurrencies. The authors concluded that crypto converts’ views will definitely differ from those who are yet to use blockchain technology or cryptocurrencies in global money payment systems.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Michael Saylor Offers Elon Musk his ‘Playbook’ to Convert Tesla’s Billions into Trillions

Bitcoin isn’t the world’s second-richest person’s “safe word” and is “almost as bs as fiat money,” it’s just all about DOGE.

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk took over the crypto Twitter on Sunday when he tweeted that Bitcoin is his safe word.

This has been in contrast to his tweet earlier this year when he said “Bitcoin is *not* my safe word.” Over a year before that in 2019, he had said, “Cryptocurrency is my safe word.”

Musk’s Tweet has always been vague, after all, he’s here for the memes.

His weekend shenanigans soon gave way to “Just kidding, who needs a safe word anyway!?” this time as well.

“Bitcoin is almost as bs as fiat money,” came his Tweet soon after.

Bitcoin fanboy, Michael Saylor, the CEO of MicroStrategy, the first public company to replace cash with Bitcoin in their balance sheet as a reserve asset, jumped in and encouraged the billionaire to make a similar decision and “do your shareholders a $100 billion favor.”

“Other firms on the S&P 500 would follow your lead & in time it would grow to become a $1 trillion favor,” Saylor added in his tweet on Sunday.

This made Musk inquire if “such large transactions (are) even possible.”

Here, Saylor took over and explained how he has purchased more than $1.3 billion in Bitcoin in the past few months and “would be happy to share my playbook with you offline – from one rocket scientist to another,” said the Bitcoin proponent.

Crypto derivatives exchanges FTX CEO Sam Bankman Fried also chimed in and recommended his OTC desk and “you can even use TSLA stock as collateral to buy it,” he said.

The price of Bitcoin surged more than 230% this year, having broken above the 2017 peak of $20,000 and now venturing on its price discovery that sees the digital asset making a new all-time high every other day.

In the early hours of Monday or late on Sunday, BTC price BTC -4.90% Bitcoin / USD BTCUSD $ 22 909,7304
-1,122.58 -4.90
Volume 46.98 b Change -1,122.58 Open $22 909,7304 Circulating 18.58 m Market Cap 425.6 b
1 h Crypto Exchange EXMO Hacked; BTC, ETH, XRP, ZEC, USDT, and ETC Stolen By Attacker
actually made yet another all-time high to about $24,300.

Today, the market is actually in risk-off mode with Bitcoin falling to $22,400 and TSLA shares also going down 6.3% in pre-market on its debut on the S&P 500 index.

“If Elon Musk/Tesla decided to also allocate part of its treasury holdings to BTC like Microstrategy did, it will embolden other tech companies around the world to do the same,” said one of the partners of the Crypto fund The Spartan Group.

The share price of Musk’s TSLA actually has been on a bull run itself, wilder than Bitcoin’s. Up a whopping 708% YTD and up 862% from March lows, TSLA made a new all-time high at 695 on Friday. These gains added $140 billion to Musk’s $167 billion net worth, making him the second richest person in the world.

Musk ended his crypto session with the tweet “One word: Doge” and changed his Twitter bio to “Former CEO of Dogecoin.”

DOGE jumped over 25% on this, trading above $0.005.

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Author: AnTy

Diehard Bitcoin Believers are What makes BTC so Valuable: AngelList Founder

The world’s largest cryptocurrency is known for being programmable money and a limited supply of 21 million BTC.

The digital gold is slowly climbing up the ranks of the largest asset by market cap. It is portable, fungible, and, most importantly, censorship-resistant.

In 2020, the leading cryptocurrency attracted legendary investors, celebrities, and companies to adopt it as a safe haven asset, a hedge against inflation.

But according to AngelList founder Naval Ravikant, who is a crypto and DeFi proponent, it’s not the institutions that have been coming in masses to Bitcoin this year or even the miners who are responsible for securing the network that make it valuable.

It is because of the bitcoin community that’s simply crazy about it.

“Bitcoin isn’t valuable due to tech or miners or exchanges or institutions. Bitcoin is valuable in direct proportion to diehard believers that agree to transact directly with each other under its rules,” said Naval on Twitter on Friday.

“Someone, somewhere, is always ready to give you their house for Bitcoin. It’s the best such ruleset ever designed. Its believers are ideological,” he added.

Many still don’t believe in this digital asset, which can’t be printed mindlessly by the central banks, but this is the side you need to be on to, according to Ravikant, who’s an investor in both Bitcoin and Ethereum.

“Betting against Bitcoin has been, and will continue to be, an expensive proposition.”

And if you think you can change his mind, that is impossible because it can only be changed if Bitcoin suffers an “irrecoverable technological failure.” Since it was created in 2009, bitcoin has been running non-stop, with its running time being 99.9%.

“Certain attacks due to lack of fungibility and failure of Bitcoin to upgrade in response. Emergence of a better technological platform with a diehard user base” are other reasons that could change Ravikant’s mind about the flagship cryptocurrency, but in his opinion, “they’re each unlikely and priced in.”

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Author: AnTy

Tron Network Suffers A ‘Large Scale Attack’ Now Back Online After Two Hours Of No Blocks

“TRON network gets back to normal. Enjoy sending money on TRON!” said Justin Sun, founder of Tron and CEO of BitTorrent.

The tweet has been regarding the Tron blockchain halting block generation early on November 2nd at block height 24653194. It hasn’t been until just over two hours later that it resumed.

Due to maintenance, several cryptocurrency exchanges Huobi, BitMAX, and Hufu then announced the suspension of deposit and withdrawal of Tron and TRC20 tokens, as per a Chinese media outlet.

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After the network was back online again, Sun took to Twitter to share the reason behind the downtime.

“During the 4.1 version upgrade period, the TRON Mainnet was attacked by a malicious contract on 2020.11.02 at 06:14 (HKT),” said Sun.

The attacker was able to initiate malicious transactions and cause Super representatives to suspend block production by using the authority granted to the contract developer.

“As the busiest blockchain network in the industry, the attacker hopes to get profit from the suspension of block production.”

But the Tron community acted immediately and fixed the problem. At 08:29, the main Tron network gradually resumed block production, and at 9:40, it returned to normal.

Sun further ensured that the data on the 15th largest blockchain remains intact, and the assets of the users are also “absolutely safe.”

“Withstand this large-scale attack, once again proving that the TRON network is the decentralized network with the most resilience and attack defense capabilities in the industry,” said Sun.

The price of the token TRX remained unaffected by the reports of an attempted malicious attack. At the time of writing, TRX was trading at $0.0248, down 4% along with the rest of the crypto market, which is recording losses across the board in tandem with the fall in BTC price to under $13,350.

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Author: AnTy

Binance Launches Decentralized Stablecoin Via; Forked From Compound & MakerDAO

On September. 28, Binance announced the launch of Venus Protocol, an algorithmic money market platform that allows borrowing of over-collateralized loans, lending, and generation of new synthetic stablecoins, VAI. According to a tweet by Joselito Lizarondo, founder of Swipe Wallet and Venus Protocol, the BSC-based platform is a fork from Compound (COMP) and Maker (MKR).

Venus does not include any VC pre-mined tokens or team allocation funds in a bid to fully decentralize the project. The VAI token is a multi-collateralized stablecoin offering cross-chain collateral with other crypto assets based in the BEP-20 format.

The platform allows over-collateralized lending with 75% or lower of the assets supplied on the Venus Protocol and interest-earning on collateral supplied. Users can also stake their vTokens (e.g., vETH) to mint VAI stablecoin, which is pegged to the dollar at a ratio of 1:1. The statement from Binance reads,

“VAI is minted by the same collateral that is supplied to the protocol. Users can borrow up to 50% of the remaining collateral value they have on the protocol from their vTokens to mint VAI”.

The protocol is, however, governed by its governance token, XVS, which allows users to vote on issues on the platform such as adding collateral assets, initiating product developments, and major changes on Venus. At the start, Swipe wallet’s native token, SXP, will be used for governance “until there’s enough quorum of XVS mined to be sufficiently decentralized,” Lizarondo said.

A total of 20% of the mined XVS tokens will be allocated to the Binance launch pool, 1% to the Binance Chain Ecosystem, and the rest will be distributed to the miners. A total of 30 million XVS governance tokens will be mined by May 2024. Miners will be able to stake their Binance Coin (BNB), Binance USD stablecoin (BUSD), and Swipe’s SXP tokens to receive XVS tokens.

Binance also announced the XVS trading pairs would be listed in its Innovation zone, including the XVS/BTC, XVS/USDT, XVS/BUSD, and XVS/BNB pairs.

In September 2019, BEG reported Binance’s Venus project launch as a government-friendly replacement of Facebook-led stablecoin, Libra. But the Venus Protocol was clear to say that this wasn’t the same as the open project from Binance.

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Author: Lujan Odera

China Blacklists Crypto OTC Trading Desks With A Five-Year Banking Ban As Punishment

  • PBoC blacklists crypto OTC traders in its latest efforts to crack down on money laundering.
  • This has caused several OTC trading desks to shut down as the future turns bleak.
  • The central bank set a three to five-year banking ban in the country as punishment.

Bitcoin over-the-counter (OTC) traders could be facing up to a five-year ban on their banking accounts in China, local reports state. The central bank, People’s Bank of China (PBoC), is heavily cracking down on money laundering activities and is blacklisting several OTC trading desks dealing in cryptocurrencies.

Recently, the Chinese central bank had enhanced its efforts in cracking down money laundering activities hence the latest move. In a bid to stop the illicit and illegal trades, the PBoC is taking a step affront to combat cryptocurrencies being used to launder funds by setting some of the OTC traders under its “disciplinary list.”

The first step in PBoC’s crackdown in the crypto ecosystem will target large OTC traders who trade in millions. According to the report, exchanges that allow transactions away from the public and transact high volumes will be blacklisted. Some have already faced the brunt, having their bank accounts and bank-issued cards blacklisted for the next three years and their online accounts banned for the next five years.

Local banks and financial institutions are now in charge of monitoring money laundering, bidding to keep the vice away at the lowest levels and higher levels of government. The institutions quickly flag and restrict the transactions involved in money laundering, and subsequently, the information is transferred to the local branch of the PBoC.

Once registered, the “blacklist” is transferred to other banks and local financial institutions across the country. This prevents the OTC dealers on the disciplinary list from opening and transferring funds to new accounts.

Despite the crackdown, regulations on cryptocurrency transactions within China remain slim – leaving a grey area on the crypto transactions by investors. Because there are no corresponding rules and regulations, “various financial institutions have different judgment standards for cryptocurrency transactions” hence some crypto OTC desks could be flagged by some local financial institutions.

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Author: Lujan Odera