Led 31

South Korea Government ‘Will Not Ban Or Suppress’ Cryptocurrency – Minister

· January 31, 2018 · 6:30 am

South Korea’s government has confirmed it has “no intention” of banning or “suppressing” cryptocurrency trading in fresh comments on the industry.


‘No Intention To Ban’

In comments Wednesday quoted by Reuters, finance minister Kim Dong-yeon, who earlier in January said that a shutdown was still a possibility, finally ended apprehension surrounding the future of cryptocurrency trading in the country.

Kim had faced a 200,000-strong petition demanding he be fired from his position after the comments, which along with those by justice minister Park Sang-ki, sent shock waves through cryptocurrency markets and sparked public outrage.

South Korea won't ban crypto trading

“There is no intention to ban or suppress cryptocurrency,” he said.

The confirmation may come as less of a surprise to some, as Seoul moves forward with regulatory improvements to the exchange sector at breakneck speed in recent weeks.

In addition to tax and security obligations, an anonymous trading ban became law Tuesday, with exchanges now obliged to ensure account identities match those of bank accounts.

The pace of change is already causing teething problems, however, as Bitcoinist reported as the ban commenced that big-volume exchanges were finding it considerably easier to work with banks to stay compliant.

Conversely, smaller exchanges faced being cut off from the market through lack of compliance as banks failed to cope with demand. This, sources say, could see one million users caught out.

crypto exchange

Soeul Goes After Illegal Actors

Not just bonafide actors, but also the shadier side of South Korea’s trading market has caught the attention of regulators.

Customs in the country has announced it has uncovered “illegal foreign exchanges” involving cryptocurrency worth almost $600 million this week, with investigations ongoing.

The organization stated:

Customs service has been closely looking at illegal foreign exchange trading using cryptocurrency as part of the government’s task force.

Bitcoin prices have, meanwhile, stopped reacting to developments in South Korea’s regulation after Japan’s major hack and legal troubles at Tether stole the limelight.

What do you think about the latest developments in South Korea? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Pxhere and Bitcoinist archives.

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Led 30

South Korea: Anonymous Trading Ban Leaves a ‘Million’ Users in Limbo

· January 30, 2018 · 9:00 am

South Korea cryptocurrency exchanges are complaining of unfair treatment as the country’s ban on anonymous trading begins Tuesday.


Banks Favor Big Names

According to local news media outlet Business Korea, exchanges using corporate bank accounts may face sudden halts to service or even an obligation to cease trading altogether.

Korean authorities deemed January 30th the date when all citizens trading cryptocurrency must do so through just one account, the identity details of which match their bank account.

Banks have been working to implement the required system at breakneck speed as details were finalized just weeks ago, but teething problems have meant not every exchange is in a position to comply with the new laws.

South Korea Exchange Bithumb Hacked For 'Tens Of Millions' Of Won

Specifically, four major exchanges appear to have been given preferential treatment based upon their size, Business Korea reports. The media outlet states:

…Banks decided to provide a new virtual account service that uses a real name system only to four companies – Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, and Cobit – which had previously issued virtual accounts, citing their mounting workloads among others.

Other exchanges using corporate rather than virtual accounts may thus be left in limbo as of today, along with the funds of their users who could total over one million.

The result would be a regulatory ‘blind spot’ for those holdings, ironically shielding them from the anti-money laundering eyes of regulators who demanded the switch-up in the first place.

Adoption Push Shows Divide Between Big And Small

The big players in the South Korea exchange arena are faring conspicuously better at the end of January compared to smaller operations. On Monday, major e-commerce platform WeMakePrice even announced it would begin accepting up to 12 coins as payment via a partnership with the largest exchange by volume Bithumb.

Meanwhile, HTS Coin, one of the lesser exchanges facing delays in getting virtual account support from banks, complained that it had itself begun building an identity scheme with its banking partner back in December. This, it was told, was subsequently canceled.

“We have already executed sufficient procedures for confirming the identity of a member when receiving a new member via a corporate account,” a spokesman told Business Korea. “It is against equity to allow only a few exchanges to issue new virtual accounts.”

What do you think about the anonymous trading ban? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Led 29

Revain Releases Dashboard Version 0.4

· January 29, 2018 · 8:00 am

Moscow, Russian Federation, January 29th, 2018 – The first release of 2018 is here. Today Revain is announcing next step in the development of its blockchain-based review platform. The company just released version 0.4 of its flagship Dashboard service. After several iterations aimed to test some core functions, Revain is finally adding first 15 projects to the platform.


A few new things were included in v0.4.

The starting page was relocated from Revain project’s page to the page with a list of all tokens which were added on the platform with some basic information such as rating, volume, today’s and ICO price, open source activity.

Users can choose a project and review all the statistics about it as well as authentic and qualitative feedback provided by other token holders.

Next. Dashboard overall user interface and design were improved. The search line was redesigned. Some user interface changes were made, such as second ‘add review’ button for user’s convenience was moved to the bottom of the site, new animations were added, etc.

Finally. Dashboard got sharing buttons. Users can share different statistic and performance of the token which they hold through social media channels.

We are really gaining momentum with the platform’s progress as development becomes more complex and sophisticated. Release 0.4 is available here: https://dashboard.revain.org/

About Revain

Revain is aimed to revolutionize online reviews using blockchain technology. Its platform is designed for accumulating authentic user reviews on projects and startups that have concluded their crowdfunding / ICO stage. The platform is bringing to life the service that will finally allow businesses to receive detailed and genuine feedback about their projects, while users will get access to other people’s experience with ICOs and share their own insights as well. The platform will be aggregating information on token dynamics and major milestones in startup’s development.

Revain released version 0.3 of the platform in December 2017 with a target to deliver full release 1.0 as early as Q2 2018. Using blockchain technology, Revain creates an economic model that rewards users for creating honest reviews online through its token RVN. RVN remains as a stable internal token thanks to a nonlinear conversion mechanism based on R, the token that is tradable and available outside of the platform. The entire system remains transparent, incorruptible and immutable thanks to its reliance on the Ethereum platform.

Find out more about Revain: https://revain.org/

Telegram: https://t.me/joinchat/CzZcC0PCgpJcbBCb3JfNeQ

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/revain.org/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Revain_org

Medium: https://medium.com/revain

Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/revain_org/

Slack: https://revain-community.slack.com/


Images courtesy of Revain

The content of this article was provided by the company referenced. Bitcoinist does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. Readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company.

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Led 28

Masked Gunmen Steal ‘Fortune’ in Bitcoin in Daylight UK Robbery

· January 28, 2018 · 9:00 am

The very first UK Bitcoin robbery occurred when four armed men broke into a home and forced a crypto trader to transfer a “fortune” in Bitcoin.


The meteoric rise of Bitcoin over the course of 2017 featured a number of positive effects. A lot of people made a good deal of money, and media and public interest in cryptocurrency reached new heights. However, a downside to such attention is that criminals now see physically stealing Bitcoin or money used to buy crypto as a viable way to make money. A family in the UK found this out the hard way when four armed men broke into their home and forced the husband to transfer his bitcoins.

UK Bitcoin robbery

Terrifying Ordeal

It’s being called the first Bitcoin robbery in the UK, and it took place in Moulsford, Oxfordshire, a wealthy enclave, during the morning hours. The criminals broke into the home belonging to a cryptocurrency trader and his family.

The criminals were armed with handguns and wearing balaclavas. They tied up the trader’s wife and put the couple’s baby outside in a pram before forcing the trader to transfer over a “fortune” in bitcoins. (The exact amount that was stolen has not been disclosed.)

The criminals then fled, and the police manhunt began immediately after. A police helicopter was used in an effort to locate the hoodlums, but to no avail. Nearby schools were put on lockdown. Police are asking for any camera footage that shows four suspicious males in the area during the early morning hours.

One woman apparently saw the criminals. She describes:

I saw four young men in black tracksuits with the hoods pulled up, crossing the road to the property where it took place. They were aged 18 to 25, dark-skinned and super-fit. They jumped over the fence on the other side of the road. I didn’t see any gun, but that’s what people locally are saying – and that the men wore balaclavas which I didn’t see either, just the hoodies pulled up.

Bitcoin robbery

Media Hyperventilates on Bitcoin

Fortunately, no one in the family was injured during the Bitcoin robbery. Since the media has no blood and gore to wheeze on about, they’re drudging back up the same old tired talking points that Bitcoin is used mainly for illicit means.

Naturally, this is ludicrous as the blockchain is pure transparency. The UK-based cybersecurity firm Elliptic recently released a report that shows less than 1% of all Bitcoin transactions originate for criminal reasons. Of course, hard facts do little to hinder media speculation on Bitcoin and illegal activities.

While the rise of cryptocurrencies is tremendous, there is a dark side. There’s been a number of recent criminal attacks upon individuals with a connection to crypto. There has been a kidnapping and multiple accounts of robberies over the last month or so. Sadly, such instances are likely to continue as long as cryptocurrencies continue to gain in value.

Are you worried about the seeming rise of Bitcoin robberies? What can be done to stop them? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Pxhere and Bitcoinist archives.

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Led 27

FBI Warns About Bitcoin Murder Scam

· January 27, 2018 · 7:00 am

A new extortion scheme has caught the attention of the FBI in which a Bitcoin scam is undertaken through an emailed death threat.


There are lots of ways that crooks try to extort money from their victims via the internet. Some of their tricks of the trade include sending infected emails or remote hacking. However, a new extortion attempt is proving to be downright scary and has attracted the attention of the FBI. Basically, the extortion attempt is a Bitcoin scam in which the victim is threatened with murder unless they pay up.

Scared for Your Life

One victim told her story to the media. She said that she received an email that said, “I will be short. I’ve got an order to kill you.” Her only recourse to supposedly save her life was to pay the would-be-assassin $2,800 in Bitcoin.

Needless to say, the victim was scared to hell by this murderous Bitcoin scam. She told the media:

I knew no one was tracking me. But I found myself as I was on my way to work looking around. Are any cars following me? Does anyone look suspicious?

Online Death Threats Not Uncommon

While one would think that such an incident would be rare, it’s actually more common than you think. The victim contacted the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center over the death threat.

death threat emails

About the agency’s website, FBI agent Laura Eimiller says:

We receive an average of 800 complaints a day in the United States on that site. We believe it represents about 15 percent of the scams that are actually taking place, so it is heavily underreported.

Agent Eimiller goes on to say that if you’re online, chances are that you will be victimized multiple times with various scams and threats. She adds that the current Bitcoin scam involving death threats is easy money for criminals as they rely upon volume.

FBI

She states:

If only 1 percent of people send money to them, there’s no overhead for them. That is money in the bank.

Police authorities say that even educated professionals have been lured in by the emails. The reason being that the emails containing the death threats have been carefully constructed. In short, this isn’t your old Nigerian scam email. Plus, having a death threat show up in your inbox is enough to freak any sane person out.

While the internet does allow us instant communication and access across the world, it does open us up to attacks from bad guys just using a keyboard. The best thing to do if you get such a murderous Bitcoin scam email is to not answer it. Contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and register a complaint.

Have you ever received a death threat in an email? If so, what did you do? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Pixabay, Wikimedia Commons, and Bitcoinist archives.

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Led 26

Katy Perry Showcases Her Crypto Claws

· January 26, 2018 · 7:00 am

Katy Perry is the latest celebrity to jump on the cryptocurrency bandwagon, recently posting an image of her crypto-inspired nails.


You know a particular thing has hit the mainstream when you see celebrities flocking to be associated with it. In their never-ending quest to stay in the public eye and remain relevant, they’ll glom onto the latest trends and hold on for dear life. The latest example is Katy Perry, who has definitely jumped onto the Bitcoin and digital currency bandwagon. She recently posted an Instagram image of her cryptocurrency-themed nails.

Bitcoin Going Hollywood

In her Instagram post that’s captioned “$—CrYpTo ClAwS—$,” Katy Perry sports some eye-catching fingernails. Her nails are embossed with the symbols of some of the most popular cryptocurrencies out there.

Naturally enough, we see Bitcoin taking center stage on one hand. Her thumbs boast the popular Ethereum cryptocurrency, and her remaining digits feature the likes of Litecoin, Stellar, and Monero.

This isn’t the first time Perry has flirted with cryptocurrency. Back in November 2017, she posted an image of her talking to investor Warren Buffett. In the post, she says that she’s asking Buffett his thoughts on cryptocurrency. (Hopefully, she did not follow his advice.)

Celebrities and Crypto

However, Katy Perry is certainly not the first celebrity to jump on board the crypto bandwagon, and she definitely won’t be the last. Floyd Mayweather was one of the first celebs to tout crypto by hyping the Stox ICO. He later pushed digital currencies by posting an image of him holding a Titanian Centra debit card, which is a card for various cryptocurrencies, while in an upscale shoe store.

The saddest case of a celebrity tying themselves to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is Paris Hilton. She hyped the ICO of a marketing platform called LydianCoin. However, she quickly deleted any endorsements after people pointed out that the person behind the project had been convicted of domestic assault.

Chances are that we’ll continue to see celebrities pushing themselves onto the crypto scene. Some may have a legitimate interest, but the majority will probably be doing it for the publicity. However, one wonders how many crypto projects will pay for celebrity endorsements in the future. ICOs raise a ton of cash, some of which could be used to hire a famous spokesperson.

What do you think about Perry’s crypto claws? Will we see more celebrity endorsements of cryptocurrency in the future? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Instagram/@katyperry, Twitter/@FloydMayweather, and Wikimedia Commons.

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Led 25

Ottawa Police Hunting for Armed Bitcoin Robbery Suspects

· January 25, 2018 · 8:00 am

Police in Ottawa, Canada, are on the manhunt for armed Bitcoin robbery suspects who staged an attempted daylight robbery of a Bitcoin financial business.


The world of crypto can become a dangerous place at times. This usually occurs when someone ventures out to personally buy bitcoins from an buyer they do not know, all the while carrying quite a bit of cash. Yet even a cryptocurrency business is not a safe guarantee, as was evident by Ukrainian police seizing crypto assets from the Forklog founder recently. The latest incident of a Bitcoin robbery took place in Ottawa, Canada, where armed men tried to rob a Bitcoin business.

Gunning for Bitcoin

On January 23rd, three men entered a Bitcoin financial business located in an industrial park in Ottawa at around 11am. (So far, the business has not been named in media reports.) All three men were armed with handguns.

The robbers took control of four employees that worked at the business and bound them. One of the bound employees was hit in the head with a pistol during the ordeal. (The employee later required some medical attention at the hospital.) A fifth employee was not detected by the criminals, and he was able to contact the police.

Armed Hosers on the Loose

The criminals then fled the business empty-handed. Police noted that one of the Bitcoin robbery suspects fled into a nearby ravine. They were then able to track him down and arrest him. The suspect has been identified as 19-year-old Jimmy St-Hilaire. He’s been charged with the following crimes:

  • Five (5) counts of robbery with a firearm
  • Five (5) counts of point a firearm
  • Five (5) counts of forcible confinement
  • Wear disguise
  • Conspiracy to Commit and indictable offence
  • Carry concealed weapon
  • Possess firearm while prohibited
  • Possess weapon for committing an offence
  • Possess loaded regulated firearm

The other two criminals are still on the lam, and the police are putting on a massive manhunt looking for them. The Ottawa police are also looking for a person of interest who was in the business when the robbery began but who later fled the scene. People who work at other businesses within the industrial park have been shaken by the Bitcoin robbery attempt, especially as it took place during daylight hours.

One wonders what the criminals were hoping to gain from the robbery. It may be that the business had cash on hand to handle cryptocurrency buying and selling. Perhaps they were hoping to force the employees to transfer funds to a specific address. Whatever the reason for the robbery attempt, it is fortunate that the employees were not seriously hurt.

Overall, the public’s fascination with Bitcoin, along with the massive gains it made in 2017, have emboldened some criminals to physically rob or even kidnap people in order to obtain some ill-gotten gains.

Will crypto robbery attempts become an everyday occurrence? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Twitter/@JudyTrinhCBC and Pexels.

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Led 24

South Korea Fines 6 Exchanges For Security Law ‘Violations’

· January 24, 2018 · 8:30 am

Six major South Korea cryptocurrency exchanges have received fines of around 25 million won ($23,500) for lax security measures which “violated” laws.


6 Of 10 Exchanges Ordered To Pay

As local news media outlet Yonhap News Agency reports Wednesday, government officials will press forward with penalties in what some commentators view as an increasingly promising sign of bringing the domestic cryptocurrency industry under regulatory control.

“Although the size of transactions and the number of users are surging, overall user protection measures are insufficient,” the publication quotes the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) as saying.

South Korea

The decision to fine exchanges flouting the Information and Communications Act, which include well-known names such as Korbit, Coinone and Coinplug, follows a joint investigation into security setups at ten exchanges which several government agencies ran from October to December last year.

‘Tiny’ Fines

The move is the latest is Seoul’s ongoing bid to solidify the exchange market, having confirmed this week that anonymous trading would end January 30 and exchanges must pay tax on 2017 profits in full by April 30.

Reactions have been mixed, with native exchange users in particular sensitive following mass uproar resulting from the government’s handling of the issue over the past months.

Consensus appears to be similarly lacking on the fines, a KCC source telling Yonhap the amounts involved are “too low” and industry figures likewise voicing suspicions.

“I know there is an indication that the amount imposed on each operator is too low, but this measure imposes the maximum amount possible under current information and communication network law,” the official stated.

Nonetheless, security problems at Korean exchanges have received significant negative press amid rumors North Korea was stealing funds for its own ends on a regular basis.

Amid the suspicion, one media company hired white hat hackers to create and then compromise accounts on five exchanges, which it reports was successfully done with what it describes as “basic” tools.

What do you think about the South Korean exchange fines? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

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Led 23

South Korea ‘Legalizes’ Cryptocurrency Trading, Bans Anonymity

· January 23, 2018 · 8:30 am

South Korea lawmakers have confirmed cryptocurrency exchanges will become de facto legal January 30 as they enact new laws about anonymity in trading.


6 Banks On Board For Change

In its most recent statements, the country’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) confirmed that exchanges must only permit trades from customers whose name matches their bank account. Foreign citizens, both native and non-native, will not be allowed to trade.

“Establishment of the system for ‘real name verification of deposit and withdrawal accounts’ for settlement will be completed by January 30, 2018,” the FSC documentation reads.*

So far, six of Korea’s major banks have signed up to implement the required monitoring changes following collaboration with the government on inspection of anonymous exchange trading accounts earlier this month.

These are Shinhan Bank, Nonghyup Bank, Industrial Bank, Kookmin Bank, Hana Bank and Gwangju Bank.

Exchanges Prepare In Advance

In reactions to the setting in stone of the new way of trading cryptocurrency, major exchanges presented various requirements for users.

Korbit, one of the leading platforms along with Bithumb, told customers to open an account at Shinhan specifically in order to continue trading.

“To use the new KRW deposit method, which is slated to be implemented within this month, you must have a Shinhan Bank account registered under your legal name. Please use this time to create a banking account at Shinhan Bank,” a post states.

South Korea Bans Bitcoin Futures As Authorities Consider Crypto Income Tax

Foreign-based customers had been able to gain access to the Korean market through virtual bank accounts and other tools, but they, along with minors, now face a moratorium of undetermined length.

On Monday, Seoul also addressed the issue of taxation on cryptocurrency exchanges, which are now obliged to pay a corporation tax and local income tax for 2017 profits amounting to 24.2%.

Markets continued to fall slightly through Tuesday, with the cementing of Korea’s official regulatory position on crypto trading having little effect on overall flat sentiment.

*This quotation is extracted from the first PDF file available in attachments via the source link.

What do you think about the latest news from South Korea’s cryptocurrency exchange regulation? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Led 22

Bitcoin’s Wall Street Combo Of Greed and Volatility

· January 22, 2018 · 7:30 am

The lack of volatility in global markets is leading investors to seek riskier investments with increased rewards. Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, are being used to feed this increased investor appetite. 


Financial Markets Bitcoin

Analysts at Deutsche Bank have asserted that there is a correlation between the price of Bitcoin and the volatility index (VIX). The analysts backed up their  argument saying that the first three weeks of 2018 so far show “correlation between Bitcoin and VIX has increased dramatically.”

The analysts go on to say:

The current ‘triple-low environment’ of low interest rates, low spreads, and low volatility has given birth to new asset classes like implied volatility (ETFs selling volatility), and cryptocurrencies.

Retail Investors Informing Institutional Investor’s Ideas Of Asset Sustainability

It appears to be a sign that investors’ risk appetites are growing as they veer away from the safer stocks and look to the large gains that are made in more volatile markets, such as those like Bitcoin and other more established cryptocurrencies.

CME Group to Launch Bitcoin Futures Trading

Masao Muraki,  Hiroshi Torii, and Tao Xu, Deutsche Bank global financial strategists, write:

Cryptocurrencies are closely watched by retail investors, affecting their risk preferences for stocks and other risk assets. Although institutional investors recognize that stocks and other asset valuations may have entered bubble territory (US equities’ average P/E is around 20x), they cannot help but continue their risk-taking. Now, a growing number of institutional investors are watching cryptocurrencies as the frontier of risk-taking to evaluate the sustainability of asset prices.

The correlation that the analysts highlight is that when volatility, as judged by the VIX, drops, then they are seeing the price of Bitcoin rise as investors seek potentially more lucrative investments.

The analysts conclude:

The result is that institutional investors, who are supposed to value assets using their sophisticated financial literacy, analysis, and information-gathering strengths, are actually seeking feedback about the market from cryptocurrency prices (which are mainly formed by retail investors).

Greed Is Good

Bitcoin Price markets

Steve Chiavarone of Federated Investors told CNBC’s Trading Nation that:

It’s the first sign of greed since the Great Recession, It’s indicative of rising risk appetites which will drive equity markets higher almost regardless of what happens with bitcoin.

These risk appetites are currently not being exercised in the world of traditional stocks but rather in the world of cryptocurrencies. However, Chiavarone is confident that whatever happens to Bitcoin and crypto in 2018,  investor appetites have nonetheless grown from their exposure to cryptocurrencies. As 2018 unfolds, we will see if money moves back to traditional stocks or remains with Bitcoin and other virtual currencies.

Is the correlation a sign of causation? Are retail investors’ risk profiles increasing and what will this mean for traditional markets? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Images Courtesy of Bitcoinist archives and Pxhere.

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