DOJ Selling $56M Crypto to Compensate BitConnect Victims, Mt Gox Rehabilitation Plan Finalized

DOJ Selling $56M Worth of Crypto to Compensate BitConnect Victims, Mt Gox Rehabilitation Plan Also Finalized

The timing and specific amount of the Mt. Gox repayments haven’t been announced yet. Meanwhile, the DOJ describes the liquidation as the US’s largest single recovery of crypto fraud.

The United States Department of Justice has seized $56 million worth of cryptocurrency that will be sold to compensate the victims of the BitConnect fraud.

This week, the DOJ announced that US District Judge Todd W. Robinson had granted the request to liquidate approximately $56 million in fraud proceeds seized from the self-described “number one promoter” of BitConnect, who consented to the seizure.

The agency described the liquidation as the largest single recovery of a crypto fraud by the United States to date.

According to court documents, Glenn Arcaro pleaded guilty to participating in the conspiracy to defraud BitConnect investors in the US and abroad, in which investors were fraudulently induced to invest over $2 billion.

Scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 7, 2022, Arcaro is facing a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

To make victims of the BitConnect scheme whole, the government will begin the process of selling the crypto assets and holding the proceeds in USD. The seized proceeds will be custodied in crypto wallets which will then be used to provide restitution to the victims pursuant to a future restitution order by the court at sentencing.

Coming To An End

In other news, creditors of the defunct Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox are now getting closer to receiving reimbursements under a plan that has become final and binding. With this, one of the longest-running sagas, which began in 2014 in the crypto world, is now coming to an end.

The rehabilitation plan filed in Tokyo court nearly a year ago was approved last month and has now been finalized.

According to a letter from a Japanese trustee Nobuaki Kobayashi, who is in charge of returning the funds to creditors, the timing and specific amount of the repayments hasn’t been announced yet.

The announcement of finalization follows the approval by a “large majority” of creditors last month.

The Rehabilitation Trustee thanked all the involved parties for their support, leading to the plan “becoming final and binding” as per which repayments to rehabilitation creditors holding allowed rehabilitation claims will be made.

“An announcement will be made to rehabilitation creditors on the details of the specific timing, procedures, and amount of such repayments.”

While some feel the announcement of the payout might negatively affect the market, resulting in BTC falling under $59k, it is unlikely that reimbursement would happen anytime soon or at least this year, given that court proceedings take time.

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Author: AnTy

Hacker Selling T-Mobile Customer Data in Exchange for 6 Bitcoin

Hacker Selling T-Mobile Customer Data in Exchange for 6 Bitcoin

US operator T-Mobile is currently investigating the validity of the claims of a data breach that is said to involve the personal data of more than 100 million people, some of which have been put on sale for Bitcoin.

In an online forum, the hacker has asked for 6 Bitcoin worth $2.85 million at the current price of about $47,500 per BTC, as of writing, for a subset of data containing 30 million social security numbers and driver licenses. The rest of the data is being sold privately, the hacker told digital media outlet Vice, according to the report in Vice’s Motherboard.

“We are aware of claims made in an underground forum and have been actively investigating their validity,” a spokesperson for the Bellevue, Washington-based wireless carrier said.

Besides social security numbers and driver’s license information, the data included names, phone numbers, and physical addresses.

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Author: AnTy

You Wouldn’t Need Crypto If You Have CBDC; ECB & Fed Selling Their Digital Fiat As Better Than Bitcoin

You Wouldn’t Need Crypto If You Have CBDC; ECB & Fed Selling Their Digital Fiat As Better Than Bitcoin

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Wednesday came out strongly supporting a digital dollar, saying it could undercut the need for cryptocurrencies and stablecoins.

When asked during the congressional hearing if having a digital currency issued by the central bank would be a more viable alternative than cryptos in the payments system, Powell agreed and said:

“I think that may be the case and I think that’s one of the arguments that are offered in favour of digital currency. That, in particular, you wouldn’t need stablecoins, you wouldn’t need cryptocurrencies if you had a digital US currency – I think that’s one of the stronger arguments in its favour.”

Powell said a discussion paper would be released in early September for the same, which he described as a key step in accelerating the Fed’s efforts to determine if it should issue its own central bank digital currency (CBDC).

During the hearing, Powell also shared his skepticism towards crypto assets becoming the primary payments vehicle in the US. But he does see stablecoin gaining more traction, and because of that, they need more regulation.

“We have a pretty strong regulatory framework around bank deposits,” which Powell said, “doesn’t exist currently for stablecoins.”

If stablecoins are going to be a significant part of the payments universe, which crypto assets won’t be “but stablecoins might be – then we need an appropriate regulatory framework,” Powell added.

European Central Bank (ECB) also shared similar views on the same day as it said a digital euro would be more “environmentally friendly” than the energy consumption of Bitcoin.

This comparison came as ECB announced that it had launched the investigation phase of a digital dollar project that will last 24 months. ECB President Christine Lagarde said,

“Our work aims to ensure that in the digital age, citizens and firms continue to have access to the safest form of money, central bank money.”

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Author: AnTy

China’s Regulatory Crackdown Focused on High Leverage Derivatives Trading

China’s Regulatory Crackdown Focused on High Leverage Derivatives Trading

Buying, selling, and holding of cryptocurrencies is not affected; rather, derivatives trading is targeted as crypto exchanges suspend related services for Chinese users.

Ahead of the politically sensitive 100th anniversary of the ruling Communist Party on July 1, China recently took a strong stance against Bitcoin and crypto mining, which sent the prices of the cryptocurrencies crashing.

However, things seem to be leaning towards derivatives trading rather than the spot market.

One of the biggest Chinese cryptocurrency exchanges, OKEx, recently clarified that while the regulators are going to be more strict on exchanges and mining operations, people can still hold cryptos.

The exchange noted that the clampdown has been “mainly due to potential risks for consumers and society in China.”

Before the State Council’s notice, the China Internet Finance Association also warned the public about the risks of investing in cryptocurrencies, which focused on the fact that institutions should understand the nature of crypto assets, financial institutions shouldn’t engage with them and must abide the existing regulations, and that China does not offer legal protection for crypto-related investment.

Amidst this, China’s largest altcoin exchange MXC announced that new users in China are prohibited from trading futures.

“Due to recent dynamic changes in the market, MXC will be suspending some of our services such as Margin Trading and Futures to new users from a few specified countries & regions. Most users will be unaffected by this change,” said the exchange.

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Another exchange BitMart also reported a change in policy as per which it will suspend contract trading services for all Chinese users. While the positions already opened can be closed, no new positions are allowed.

“Chinese state media are severely criticizing high-leverage futures trading,” noted local media, Wu Blockchain.

Binance, Huobi, Bybit, and OKEx are the top four global exchanges, and Huobi, which is most sensitive to China’s policy, has also announced that it has banned new Chinese users from using futures, it added.

Recently, in an interview, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao revealed that its Chinese market comprises 80% to 90% of retail, unlike the US, where it’s exactly the opposite with institutions accounting for this much share.

Wu Blockchain also noted that Binance has also changed all Chinese related to contracts and leverage to traditional Chinese because it is “worried about mainland China’s crackdown on leverage and derivatives trading.”

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Author: AnTy

eBay CEO says Company Is Looking at Crypto as Payment Option & Selling NFT on the Platform

eBay CEO says Company Is Looking at Crypto as Payment Option & Selling NFT on the Platform

eBay is keeping an eye out after reporting a weak second-quarter profit forecast as it faces stiff competition from Amazon while the total crypto market cap aims for $2.4 trillion.

eBay Inc. is looking at new payment options for its customers, and that includes Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, said chief executive officer Jamie Lannone in an interview with CNBC on Monday.

“We are always looking at the most relevant forms of payment and will continue to assess that going forward. We have no immediate plans, but it (cryptocurrency) is something we are keeping an eye on,” eBay said in a statement.

Last week, eBay reported a weak second-quarter profit forecast as it faces stiff competition from Amazon. The shares of eBay (EBAY) recorded a 2.4% increase today, which has been down 14% from mid-April.

The eCommerce firm further explores a “number of ways” to get involved in non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Lannone said.

“We’re exploring opportunities on how we can enable it (NFTs) on eBay in an easy way,” Lannone said on Reuters. “Everything that’s collectible has been on eBay for decades and will continue to be for the next few decades.”

NFTs exploded in popularity this year, and last month they were starting to lose traction with prices of digital art and volume dropping, but they seem to be making their comeback now.

“The bubble isn’t crypto, the bubble is everyone else realizing holy shit crypto is here to stay wtf can we do to get in on it,” noted popular trader Loomdart, who is also an advisor to eGirl Capital. It is also a “great” way to onboard new people, he added.

Already many companies are accepting Bitcoin as a payment option, such as Tesla. Both Visa and Mastercard have also taken steps towards integrating crypto in their payment systems.

Payments giant PayPal has already integrated crypto into its system by allowing its users to buy, sell, and hold crypto along with a crypto checkout service. PayPal-owned Venmo also introduced a crypto feature on its app last month.

“Demand on the crypto side has been multiple-fold to what we initially expected,” stated PayPal CEO Dan Schulman.

Amidst this, Digital Currency Group (DCG), the parent company of Grayscale, announced that they are going to purchase up to $750 million worth of GBTC, 3x the original $250 million they were planning to buy.

As of April 30, 2021, DCG has purchased $193.5 million worth of shares of GBTC, it said in a statement.

The market is currently euphoric, with Bitcoin near $58,000, Ether constantly making new highs hitting $3,300 today, and the total crypto market cap set to hit $2.4 trillion.

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Author: AnTy

A Single Red Pixel Is Selling As An NFT for $800,000 – That’s Not A Typo

A Single Red Pixel Is Selling As An NFT for $800,000 – That’s Not A Typo

After all, ‘beauty is in the eyes of the beholder’ who has the money to appreciate it, of course. The NFT market is definitely frothy and “very speculative,” according to Beeple but also in the “very early days.”

In the world of non-fungible tokens (NFT), artist Unhomed is selling three digital artworks on NFT marketplace OpenSea, for more than $800,000 each.

What’s interesting about these digital artworks is they involve 1x1px in three colors; green, blue, and red, named Digital Primary G, B, and R, respectively.

All three of the digital artworks have received hundreds of views which could have been propelled by YouTuber Marques Brownlee tweeting, “A single red pixel selling as an NFT for $900,000. Hm. Right. Got it.”

So far, despite hundreds of views, not a single offer has been made on any of the NFTs.

However, if they do get hefty bidding, even that wouldn’t be out of the ordinary, not just in the NFT space but also in physical artwork. People were quick to point out that Yves Klein’s “Le Buffle,” which is a splash of blue, was sold for $12.4 million at Christie’s New York in 2010.

After all, ‘beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.’ And of course, the beholder needs to have tons of money which the ongoing bull run has provided many digital assets participants.

This has helped NFTs explode into popularity this year, with overall NFT sales volume exceeding $220 million in Feb., up from the $250 million transactions recorded in the entire last year.

According to Pitchbook, so far in 2021, investors have poured $90 million into NFT, and digital collectibles companies, about triple the $35 million NFT start-ups raised last year.

“It’s one of those developments that has mass-market appeal and could potentially impact a world outside the crypto niche,” Andrei Brasoveanu, a general partner at Accel, told CNBC, which was part of the $50 million investment in Sorare, a blockchain-based fantasy football game.

“Very Speculative,” But  In The “Very Early Days”

This week, a New York Times columnist Keven Roose also joined in and sold his article titled “Buy This Column on the Blockchain” in the form of an NFT for $563,000.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also sold his first-ever tweet for $2.9 million this Monday.

Even the humanoid Sophia joined in on this NFT craze by co-creating a physical “self-portrait” and an attached 12-second MP4 file showing how the work evolved.

“We wanted to explore the possibility for humans and robots to collaborate not only on operational tasks but also on creative efforts,” said Andrea Bonaceto, an artist and partner at blockchain investment firm Eterna Capital who co-created the artwork.

According to digital artist Beeple, who became the third most valuable living artist by selling his NFT digital artwork for $69.3 million, there is “definitely some froth” in the market, but there is a lot of excitement as well.

Some people are definitely putting money into things that are “going to be worthless,” Beeple told The Associated Press via a Zoom call and likened it all to the Internet (dot-com boom) bubble, which burst, but that didn’t make people stop using the Internet.

Although “it’s very speculative,” he said, “It’s very early days.”

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Author: AnTy

Beeple is the 3rd Most Valuable Living Artist by Selling his NFT for a Whopping $69 Million

Beeple is the 3rd Most Valuable Living Artist by Selling his NFT for a Whopping $69 Million

This is just the beginning. Meanwhile, Barry Silbert of DCG has offered to build a gallery for the unknown buyer of the artwork to display for everybody to see and enjoy.

The first NFT (non-fungible token) to be sold at an auction house, Christie’s fetched an eye-popping $69.3 million.

The digital artwork was ‘Everdays: The First 5,000 Days’ by Beeple, who became the third most valuable living artist after a sculpture by Jeff Koons and a painting by David Hockney. But those two top artworks were sold by collectors, and the artists didn’t get a cent.

The NFT was sold for $60.25 million, without the buyers’ premium, which also broke the record of an NFT piece.

And if you are trying to understand why such a hefty price, “Art has never been rational. Never will be.”

While initially, the mainstream media reported Tron cryptocurrency founder Justin Sun to be the owner of it with his $60.25 million bid, later he took to Twitter to clarify that he was actually outbid by a mere 0.3% of the total price at the last minute.

Reportedly, his bid was costing him $69 million in fees. As the auction house announced last month, Christie’s accepted cryptocurrency Ether for the sales of the NFT for the first time. While the buyer’s premium had to be paid in fiat currency, it was changed later to Ether as well.

Also, Sun said updated his bid to $70 million but wasn’t accepted by the system despite there being 20 seconds left.

“To avoid these types of disputes in the future, ALL bids should be transparent & utilizing blockchain technology would satisfy this requirement,” said Sun and offered his assistance to incorporate blockchain technology into Christie’s system.

The artwork made by artist Mike Winkelmann, who goes by the name Beeple has been in the works since 2013. A mosaic of every image the artist had for the last 8 years is attached to an NFT, basically a digital certificate of authenticity.

Barry Silbert, founder, and CEO of Digital Currency Group (DCG) offered to build a gallery in Decentraland for the unknown buyer to display their new piece of art for everybody to see and enjoy. “You can even create fractional interests in the NFT via NIFTEX to sell to the crowd,” he said.

The bidding for the artwork started at $100 on Feb. 25, which was pushed to $1 million by about 20 bidders.

“The first day of bidding was one of the most magical events in my auction career,” says Noah Davis, a specialist at Christie’s who organized the sale. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

According to the oldest auction house, the final minutes of the sales were closest to the bidding for a work by Leonardo Da Vinci; the last minute extended bidding, which pushed its price to $450 million in 2017.

But this is just the beginning, as per Davis, who said, “I think we will have really compelling and exciting NFT-based art opportunities at Christie’s in the near future.”

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Author: AnTy

Finland Is Selling 2,000 Bitcoin Seized in A Darknet Investigation in 2016

Finland Is Selling 2,000 Bitcoin Seized in A Darknet Investigation in 2016

“Have fun staying poor” is what Crypto Twitter thinks of Finland’s this move.

Tulli, the Customs department of Finland, has decided to sell nearly 2,000 Bitcoin, worth over $68.2 million at current BTC prices BTC 5.11% Bitcoin / USD BTCUSD $ 34,162.11
$1,745.685.11%
Volume 78.42 b Change $1,745.68 Open $34,162.11 Circulating 18.6 m Market Cap 635.37 b
11 s Finland Is Selling 2,000 Bitcoin Seized in A Darknet Investigation in 2016 1 h Grayscale Reopens Deposits for New Investors In Its Crypto Trusts; Excludes Ethereum & XRP 1 h Crypto Fund Inflows Drop Significantly After December Record; Evidence of Profit Taking: CoinShares Report
.

Four years ago, the local authorities seized these Bitcoin in 2016 in connection to a Darknet drug-trafficking investigation. During this time, the seized crypto asset has surged 100x in value.

“On behalf of the Customs Act, we had the option of handing them over to another government agency or some other party and destroying them […]We came to the conclusion that alternatives other than sales are not realistic,” said ekka Pylkkänen, Tulli CFO on the matter of using an intermediary or selling the BTC stash itself.

The proceeds from the sale will be sent to the country’s Ministry of Finance.

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Author: AnTy

Regulation Will Only Boost Mass Institutional Buying and Selling: BitPay COO

Regulation Will Only Boost Mass Institutional Buying and Selling: BitPay COO

Sonny Singh says $20k is BTC’s floor price and expects $45k next month. According to him, Coinbase’s IPO is “very very instrumental” for the market and its numbers will blow Wall Street’s minds away.

$20,000 is the floor price for how far Bitcoin could go down, said Sonny Singh, Chief Commercial Officer at BitPay.

As for the upside, given that his $30k target has been hit in just 20 days rather than taking over a month, with “very little sell-side pressure,” he sees BTC going to $40k-$45k next month when some pressure will be seen.

Sonny also predicted that this year Bitcoin will “become a trillion-dollar currency” and the magic number for that is $54,000 roughly. At this point, he expects, even governments and the Treasury Department to start buying BTC “which may sound far-fetched but two years ago corporations buying bitcoin for the balance sheet was crazy too.”

Supply & Demand

Talking about the current price movement in the market, Sonny said Monday’s 20% correction was “just a minor blip in the road” — it wasn’t long-term fundamentals at all rather just futures getting liquidated. Singh said in his interview on Bloomberg,

“What you’re seeing over the last month is there’s supply and demand. There are a lot of institutional buyers out there and there’s very little supply.”

While these buyers have bought in all the BTC for a three to five-year time horizon, if Bitcoin hits about $45,000 next month or so and these institutions decide to start selling, the selling pressure of $200 million which the industry has never seen before can cause a catapulting event, to cause things to come down pretty quickly and there $20k will act as a floor, he explained.

Regulatory Concerns

On the regulation side, which remains a concern for outsiders, it is already happening. Governments are passing a lot of KYC/AML policies on the exchange but “that really won’t slow growth,” said Singh.

While it may slow the utility of sending Bitcoin to your friends or spending it at merchants, regulation will only help the actual mass institutional buying and selling, he said.

As for the Ripple part, Singh said it is to be seen if the SEC would want to do a long drawn out court case or do a quick settlement, especially as the administration changes under the new president.

According to Wayne Trench, chief executive officer at OSL, the main regulatory hurdles are already solved in terms of custody and clarity.

The last remaining pieces are regulators globally collaborating cross-border which is starting to happen now, said Trench noting that industry bodies are working on collaborating across borders that we’ll see play out a bit more in 2021.

Big for the Market

Singh also believes Coinbase’s IPO is “very very instrumental” for the market because while Wall Street loved that Square traded $1.6 bln with crypto in Q3 last year, Coinbase traded $1.5 bln on this last Saturday.

“The revenue numbers at Coinbase are going to blow people’s minds away and then Wall Street is going to really drive that stock price up,” he said. And then Charles Schwab, E-Trade, and others won’t sit back and let Coinbase have a sole market, Singh added.

“It’s going to put a lot of media frenzy around this whole industry.”

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Author: AnTy

Ripple Getting Rich on XRP Price Jump & Selling the Surging MoneyGram Shares

A year later, Ripple is selling about one-third of its stake in the payments company MoneyGram.

San Francisco-based fintech startup is selling up to 4 million shares, which means roughly 33.3% of its stake, as per the filing with the US SEC on Friday.

In Nov. 2019, Ripple had made a $50 million investment in MoneyGram.

After the sale, Ripple would still own nearly 4.45% of MoneyGram, with the ownership of 3.22 million shares.

Ripple also has the warrant to buy up to 5.95 million additional shares at the predetermined price, which brings its stake at MoneyGram at around 11%.

In June 2019, when the initial investment was originally announced, Ripple bought MoneyGram’s shares at $4.10 each, which was at a “significant premium” to the market share price of $3.18 at the time.

However, currently, MoneyGram shares are trading at $7.42, rallying almost 175% in the past two months, which could profit Ripple.

The news of Ripple taking off some profits from cashing out its stake in MoneyGram came not long after it was revealed that Ripple gave yet another $9 million to the company in Q3 2020 for using its digital asset XRP.

Besides selling the stake in MoneyGram, Ripple, which still has the dominant ownership of XRP, is also benefiting from the huge surge in the price of the digital asset.

Recently, the company started buying back XRP as well — $46 million worth of XRP in Q3 2020.

The third-largest cryptocurrency is currently trading above $0.60, back on the rise today after falling under $0.50 on Thursday.

Before the big drop along with the rest of the crypto market, XRP went as high as $0.78, last seen in Sept. 2018. Now, on the weekend, the digital asset seems to be making another attempt at $1 as the cryptocurrency market enjoys the greens.

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Author: AnTy