Ukrainian Watchdog to Track Cryptocurrency Transactions Over $1,200 For AML

Authorities in Ukraine are planning to track all crypto transactions that exceed $1,200, says Oksana Makarova, the Ministry of Finance’s head in the country.

The matter was discussed in an interview with MC Today, a local news outlet. It was also mentioned the law for anti-money laundering in crypto transactions, the law that President Volodymyr Zelensky signed just last month. It’s a first for the anti-money laundering law in Ukraine to address crypto too.

Operations Considered Suspicious to Be Reported to the SFCM

In case a payment service provider finds an operation to be suspicious, it needs to report it to the State Financial Monitoring Service (SCFM), the agency that can block any transaction and even confiscate the cryptocurrencies that are obtained illegally. Makarova said,

“SCFM has access to an analytical product that allows investigations into the origins of crypto-assets and their uses. It is impossible to stop operations now, but it is possible to block crypto wallets and remove illegally obtained crypto assets. This can be done by accessing the crypto’s private keys as a result of complex investigations.”

Cryptocurrency Not Yet Defined as an Asset Class by the Ukrainian Law

The Ukrainian law doesn’t yet define cryptocurrency as an asset class. Makarova mentioned that a few national agencies are working together to make a new virtual asset regulation, which regulation is supposed to be revealed to the public in the next 4 months. The Ukrainian parliament already has under consideration a bill that proposes a 5% tax for crypto revenue.

While it’s not yet known just how much crypto is now circulating in the country, Makarova thinks the volume is high but that money laundering is still mostly conducted with cash. She also said the legalization of cryptocurrencies brings new opportunities for the crypto industry to develop in the country.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

John McAfee Shilling Monero Has XMR Price Flying, But Says XRP Is Not The Future

  • McAfee stabs BTC in the back, says $1 million price prediction was just a “ruse”
  • Riccardo Spagni says, “John has been an avid supporter of Monero for years”
  • McAfee isn’t interested in XRP but its price is still flying

In a U-turn, John McAfee declared his $1 million BTC price prediction by the end of 2020 a “ruse.” McAfee bet his dick on this prediction but only to announce on the weekend that it was just to lure people into the emerging industry.

McAfee has never been planning to go on with this as he replied to one of his followers on Twitter,

“Wake the fuck up. What idiot thinks anyone is going to eat their own dick ever? Especially in TV!! Are you that idiot? God… I hope none of my followers are that stupid.”

Back in August last year, while promoting crypto hardware wallet Bitfi, McAfee said the wallet was unhackable only to be proven false but the bounty promised was never paid. Later he admitted, it was just a marketing stunt.

Stabbing Bitcoin in the Back to Embrace Monero

While the British-American entrepreneur has denounced Bitcoin, he emerged as a Monero shiller.

This has XMR prices surging by 14% to $56.31. Currently, XMR/USD is trading at $55, as per Coincodex.

Mati Greenspan, founder of Quantum Economics said in his daily newsletter,

“Not only did he squelch on his debt he also stabbed bitcoin in the back in the process. Can’t say that I’m surprised, old John has been known to talk his book and it seems like Monero is indeed outpacing BTC this morning.”

About this Monero shilling, Riccardo Spagni aka fluffypony, a member of Monero’s core team said,

“John has been an avid supporter of Monero for years. I’m not aware of anyone that’s ever paid him to say anything about Monero. I certainly haven’t.”

Shilling Cryptos

A few years back, it has been found that McAfee charges a whopping $105,000 per tweet to promote cryptos or ICOs. But when the SEC raised questions over the legality of promoting ICOs, McAfee started backing away from promotions.

Back in December 2017, he called verge (XVG), another privacy coin, “the best buy,” resulting in its price doubling overnight.

The tech mogul first went big by investing the computer “anti-virus” software at the time when personal computers became a phenomenon. Then he found his way into Bitcoin mining bout two years back via MGT Capital, a company that was hit with pump and dump scheme.

But XRP isn’t the Big deal

While McAfee has taken to promote the 11th largest cryptocurrency with a market cap of $964 million, he isn’t a believer of XRP.

In response to one of his 1.1 million followers on Twitter’s question, if McAfee’s Bitcoin “ruse” is “Prelude to XRP coming out party,” he said “No”.

The third-largest cryptocurrency meanwhile is enjoying a green day as it jumps to $0.218. XRP has been up 12% in the past 24 hours after Binance launched perpetual contracts with up to 75x leverage.

But this might just be the starting for XRP as experts see it hitting $0.30 in the coming months. According to analyst DonAlt, $0.50 is coming that has him going long on the crypto asset.

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Author: AnTy

China’s Digital Currency Still has No Launch Date But Will Continue its Development in 2020

  • Research and development of digital yuan to continue in 2020 – says PBOC
  • The central bank said it made “smooth progress” on the digital currency in 2019
  • The step to create a digital currency is taken to offset perceived risks presented by Bitcoin and Libra

China’s central bank said on Sunday that it doesn’t have a launch date for its sovereign digital currency but will continue with its research and development, as per the local reports.

A report in August said the central bank-backed digital currency could be launched as early as November but that is long gone.

Last month, Mu Changchun, the official in charge of its development said the “top-level design, formulation, functional research and testing” had been completed.

The People’s Bank of China also shared during the annual work conference held last week that it made “smooth progress” on the digital currency in 2019.

In December, Caijing, a Chinese business magazine reported that the country’s four big state banks — Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank, and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China — and three state-owned telecom firms are involved in its development.

Recently, Mu also said that the sovereign digital currency was intended as a replacement for cash and not designed for speculation.

PBOC has been one of the first central banks to promote the idea of a CBCD. Last year, after Facebook announced plans for its own digital currency Libra, the bank’s research institute stepped up its development. The officials came out to the public and shared aspects of this upcoming digital currency that they said has been ready after five years of research.

Sweden is also working on an e-Krona while Bank of Japan governor would conduct “technical and legal research” into digital currencies but has no plans to issue one because there was no demand.

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Author: AnTy

The Best Investment of the Last Decade is a “Pyramid Scheme” with “No Real Utility”: Economist

  • LendingTree Chief Economist Tendayi Kapfidze says in Bitcoin, “You only make money based on people who enter after you.”
  • Bitcoiners, he says has been trying to create a utility for it for ten years now
  • Though a speculative asset class, speculation is the way to get educated on it

2019 has come to an end and we have entered a new decade. During the past decade, Bitcoin went through three bull cycles, where each one has been of more than 10,000% of upside, with as much as 300,000%.

Overall in Bitcoin’s decade long history, it registered gains of 9,000,000%.

However, during its recent bear market, Bitcoin price lost 84% of its value. But what’s more important is that almost every year, Bitcoin made a higher low.

  • $0.05 in 2010
  • $0.29 in 2011
  • $4.19 in 2012
  • $13.29 in 2013
  • $314.69 in 2014
  • $201.29 in 2015
  • $374.06 in 2016
  • $784.75 in 2017
  • $3,232.93 in 2018
  • $3,385.97 in 2019

A recent report from Bank of America had Bitcoin as the winner of the decade as the best investment for the last decade.

But still, according to some critics like LendingTree Chief Economist Tendayi Kapfidze, Bitcoin is “a pyramid scheme. “You only make money based on people who enter after you.”

According to Lapfidze, it has no real utility in the real world.

“It has no real utility in the world. They’ve been trying to create a utility for it for ten years now. It’s a solution in search of a problem and it still hasn’t found a problem to solve.”

But when it comes to utility, neither does have gold or cash. Only 15% of gold is used in industries, the majority is used for making jewelry, and gold coins and bars. As for paper money, the Federal Reserve says it costs only about 14.2 cents to create a $100 bill, so the remaining $99.85 comes from the trust people place in it.

Despite Bitcoin adoption within some of the world’s largest financial institutions and central banks eagerly making their way to creating their own digital currencies, experts still emphasize that investing in this asset class is just speculation.

As an investor and Chief Market Strategist of Bruderman Asset Management, Oliver Pursche says he owns several cryptocurrencies but doesn’t know what it is.

And though he does say it is “purely speculative” as “you can lose all of your principle,” Pursche says,

“it’s also a way to get educated on it… to me, if you want to learn about it, you’ve got to own it because that’s the only way you’re going to truly educate yourself and pay attention.”

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Author: AnTy

China’s Central Bank Digital Currency is “Digital Form of the Yuan” & “Not for Speculation”

  • Mu Changchun, central bank veteran in charge of the plan for virtual yuan says it will not need the backing of a basket of currencies
  • Chinese internet users unimpressed by no speculating on the virtual currency part

China’s new sovereign digital currency would not be open to speculation like other cryptocurrencies, said a Chinese central bank official on Saturday.

Mu Changchun, head of the People’s Bank of China’s digital currency research institute said it would be a “digital form of the yuan” that wouldn’t need the backing of a basket of fiat currency.

“The currency is not for speculation. It is different to bitcoin or stable tokens, which can be used for speculation or require the support of a basket of currencies,” Mu said.

The central bank official said that the design, formulation, and functional research and testing of the Digital Currency Electronic Payment have been completed. The next step is to roll out the pilot programs before it is launched.

But Chinese internet users aren’t excited about the idea that there would be no speculating on the virtual currency.

“So there will be no fun in it,” one person commented. Another said on news portal Sina.com, “The digital currency is just another form of the yuan, but cryptocurrencies that use real blockchain technology can be treated like gold and silver.”

However, there is no time frame for introducing the central bank-backed digital currency as of yet.

Any Chinese bank or company hasn’t officially confirmed their participation in this digital currency plan either but earlier this month there have been reports that the big four state banks and three state-owned telecom companies are involved in the process.

Meanwhile, Beijing has been cracking down on trading of Bitcoin and other digital currencies and seeing Facebook’s stablecoin Libra as a potential challenge to its capital account control. As the bitcoin price climbs back above $7,600 just a few days before Christmas, it will be interesting to see what is on the 20/20 horizon for everything the crypto world has become in the last decade and will surely blossom and grow in the upcoming decade.

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Author: AnTy

Millionaire Philanthropist Bill Pulte is Giving Away Bitcoin to People in Need

  • Bill Pulte buys the dip says he isn’t concerned about the price
  • Crypto, according to him can help the world’s poorest, especially those who are “unbanked”

Millionaire philanthropist and “Inventor of Twitter Philanthropy” Bill Pulte “recently bought 11 bitcoins” and further “bought more Bitcoin” on Dec. 18, the day BTC price dropped to almost $6,400 before surging past $7,300.

However, he isn’t concerned about the price as he wrote, “I’m much more concerned with the utility of Bitcoin and blockchain technology than price.”

Pulte is known for giving money, food, and more to people in need and this time he is giving away Bitcoin. This according to him is the way to crypto adoption and also a way to get rid of scams in the space.

In the past few days, he has talked about cryptocurrencies a lot stating that “Cryptocurrency can help the world’s poorest…especially those who are “unbanked” … as a philanthropist, I therefore want to promote adoption.”

That’s why Africa is his next step which Jack Dorsey, Twitter and Square CEO believes “Africa will define the future (especially the bitcoin one!).”

While urging people to use Twitter to help everyone, Pulte said he would be giving away Bitcoin to people in need in Africa.

He has already started sending Bitcoin to those working on ending homelessness in their community.

Bitcoin, the best investment of the decade, is designed to use peer-to-peer technology to facilitate payments. It is a decentralized digital currency that doesn’t have a central authority and doesn’t need any intermediaries.

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Author: AnTy

Tradeshift Uses Ethereum’s Network To Speed Up Cross Border Payments And Reduce Cost In Test Pilot

The fintech startup Tradeshift says they have been using the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain in order to process cross border transactions. This allowed the firm to reduce costs and make payments between buyers and suppliers faster and more reliable.

Tradeshift Works With Ethereum

Blockchain technology has been expanding in the financial technology market and it has been offering new solutions to companies and firms. In this case, the supply chain fintech company called Tradeshift has been using Ethereum’s public blockchain in order to reduce costs and improve the reliability of cross border transactions made between parties.

In order to do so, the company has been representing invoice values as tokenized IOUs called FlowTokens that were used by both buyers and suppliers. This allowed them to easily make the transfers that were then settled using on-chain fiat currency.

These tokens are very useful for financial firms and other banking companies that would have better solutions to make cross border transactions. Moreover, this token could certainly be used to improve the supply chain management industry.

Earlier this year, Tradeshift worked with Monerium in order to generate an electronic invoice using the Tradeshift platform. By using a smart contract, the transaction was settled in just a day.

There are several governments that are analyzing the possibility to issue Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) that could be used in the future to make transfers between individuals, companies and other parties. However, there are still some challenges that central banks need to face before being able to release these CBDCs to the general public.

The main benefits of these e-currencies are related to cost reductions and improved payment services for companies. Depending on the jurisdictions and means of payment used, fees and settlement times widely change and affect the way in which financial companies handle their transactions.

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Author: Carl T

US-Based Crypto Exchange Kraken Sued by Disgruntled Employee After Being Fired

The US-based crypto exchange Kraken is getting sued by a former employee who says the company fired him because he questioned the business’s practices.

The case was filed on November 26 by Nathan Runyon, a veteran from the military who is also disabled. While Runyon wants damages for being harassed, discriminated and unfairly fired, he claimed Kraken doesn’t conduct business properly, which hasn’t been proved until now. He says he has been fired for asking questions while still working for the company.

Kraken Supposedly Asked Runyon to Pass Inaccurate Audit

Runyon worked for Kraken as a financial analyst. One of his allegations is that the company asked him to pass an audit based on inaccurate information. More than this, he says Kraken has illegally earned from the companies and nations on the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List. He has declared that he many times expressed his concerns regarding what’s happening, but no one took his opinions into consideration.

Runyon Asked to Reconcile Customer and Company’s Bank Balances

Working under Kaiser Ng, Runyon claims he was also asked to reconcile customer and operations account balances with the company’s balances from the bank, when he discovered the money in the bank accounts was less than should have been, at the level of millions of dollars. He says Ng was informed about the issue because Runyon thought there was embezzlement or a hack, but this got him removed from handling those accounts.

Kraken Asked to Rent a Room in Runyon’s House

What’s strange about Runyon’s declarations is that he claims Kraken pressured him to rent to the company a room in his home for the address, yet he never received any money for doing this. He thinks his contract was ended on August 1, 2019, because he discovered Kraken employees were being defrauded over stock options by Ng.

The blockchain journalist and author David Gerard has written in a blog post that he talked with Claire Cochran, Runyon’s attorney, about the case. Cochran said the plaintiff’s address figured as of Ng’s in the Kraken listing. Kraken didn’t want to make any comment when it comes to “pending legal matters”.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Massive Lawsuit Brought Against Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by PayPal

  • PayPal says that the regulations implemented by the CFPB force them to make “misleading and confusing” disclosures to customers.
  • The payment processing firm is asking to be compensated for the attorney fees and cost of taking this case to court.

PayPal is one of the biggest payment processors in the world, and they’ve served millions of customers on various merchant websites. However, they have recently gotten involved in a lawsuit against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. According to PayPal, the CFPB has required them to make disclosures about its fees with “misleading and confusing” statements.

The lawsuit, which was filed on December 11th by PayPal, states that the agency seems to be unclear on the substantial ways that digital wallets and prepaid products (like their prepaid debit cards) differ. A court filing revealed to CoinTelegraph shows that the CFPB requires both digital wallets and prepaid products to be regulated under the same rules. However, this type of regulation for the digital wallets that PayPal offers is “fundamentally ill-suited,” as PayPal states.

Within this lawsuit, there’s a specific CFPB rule in question – “Prepaid Accounts Under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (Regulation E) and the Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z) Rule.” The rule was originally implemented in April this year, and it states that PayPal must provide users with a disclosure on the fees that are not charged by the company. PayPal claims that the rule also doesn’t properly demonstrate what most customers actually pay for their fees.

Essentially, the rule states that the descriptions of these fees on PayPal that “undermine PayPal’s own clear disclosures” need to be simplified. Furthermore, the rule bans them from offering information to consumers that would otherwise allow them to make “an informed decision,” and instructed the firm to tell their customers the worst possible fee that they may come up against, “even if the fee would rarely be incurred.”

In the filling, PayPal added, “The Rule mandates that customers be given — and actually view — ‘short form’ fee disclosures. The requirements for this short form disclosure are extremely prescriptive and rigid. Certain fee categories must be placed in specified positions and presented in certain font sizes […] The Rule further prohibits PayPal from including explanatory phrases within the disclosure box to describe the nature of these fee categories.”

Along with the petition for the ruling by CFPB to be deemed unconstitutional, the push to relieve them of it also asks that PayPal be awarded the costs and attorney fees by the court, as they deem appropriate.

Andrew Rossow, an internet attorney from Ohio, said that the lawsuit from PayPal makes it clear that there are many regulators – CFPB included – don’t actually understand the new technologies being launched in the industry today, like blockchain, artificial intelligence, and others.

Rossow added, “I think the CFPB’s recent expansion of Regulation E (Prepaid Accounts Under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act) and Regulation Z (Truth in Lending Act) was premature because it still doesn’t understand, in my opinion, how these digital wallets (which includes cryptocurrency wallets—hot and cold) operate and the parties that involved in even the most ‘basic’ of digital money transactions.”

If the court sides with PayPal, the progress could be huge for the cryptocurrency industry. After all, PayPal isn’t just standing up for itself – it is “defending the business operation of each of its competitors, protecting themselves from unwarranted and almost endless liability at any given point in time,” says Rossow.

PayPal has recently revealed their substantial quarterly profits and has been recording new users and more transactions. However, the platform recently cut some of their partnerships, including their ties to Pornhub and their models.

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Author: Krystle M

Newly Circulating Bitcoin Ransomware Permanently Encrypts Files

A report released by BleepingComputer says there’s a malware asking for a Bitcoin ransom circulating. It can encrypt files, meaning it doesn’t only send empty messages.

According to the same report, DeathRansom faked encrypting files in the beginning and became widely known, but soon after it has started to make files unusable.

No Details on How the Malware Gets Distributed

Until now, no one has been able to give any information on how the malware gets distributed, not to mention that it seems to spread very rapidly. Also, it’s still unknown how the files are decrypted after being affected by it. Ever since DeathRansom has appeared on November 20, more and more people have fallen victim to it.

Ransom Note Asks for 0.1 BTC

BleepingComputer has also published the ransom note that tells the victims to pay 0.1 BTC (which is just about $710 now) in 12 hours, if they want to have their fails encrypted. The victims who don’t manage to pay lose their decryption passwords. The hackers have also offered to decrypt one .lnk or .txt file for no charge. In case someone doesn’t have Bitcoin (BTC), there’s are links to one of the leading peer-to-peer crypto exchanges LocalBitcoins and to a detailed article on cryptocurrency published by Coindesk.

$300,000 Worth of Bitcoin as Ransom in a Kidnapping Case

On the other hand, having to pay 0.1 BTC for a computer problem is not the worst that could happen seeing that recently, the godfather of a teenager from Belgium was asked to send $300,000 worth of Bitcoin if he wants to see his godson again.

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Author: Oana Ularu