Úno 24

Coinbase Gives IRS More Than 10K Users’ Information

· February 24, 2018 · 9:30 am

After fighting the IRS in court, popular digital currency marketplace Coinbase has been ordered by the Northern District of California to turn over more than 10,000 users’ personal information and trade history — but it could have been much worse.


The Taxman

The Beatles once sang:

If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
If you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.

Now, you can add “If you sell on Coinbase, I’ll tax your trades.”

Coinbase

According to Coinbase support, the popular cryptocurrency marketplace notified roughly 13,000 users concerning a summons from the Internal Revenue Service — the United States’ tax collection agency and official administers of Congress’ Internal Revenue Code.

As described in the United States District Court’s decision, the IRS served up a summons to the exchange regarding records of almost every single Coinbase user over a period of several years. The exchange, however, failed to comply — leading to the IRS narrowing its request to significantly fewer individuals with larger accounts. The Northern District of California both granted and denied parts of the United States of America’s Petition to Enforce, resulting in Coinbase’s being ordered to turn over more than 10,000 users’ information, on suspicion that they failed to pay federal tax on their cryptocurrency profits.

The information provided to the IRS by the cryptocurrency exchange includes users’ “taxpayer ID, name, birth date, address, and historical transaction records for certain higher-transacting customers during the 2013-2015 period.”

Coinbase Is on Your Side

Though nobody enjoys dealing with the IRS, it’s worth noting that Coinbase sought to protect its users’ information from the federal government’s tax collectors. As explained by the exchange:

In December 2016, the Internal Revenue Service issued a summons demanding that Coinbase produce a wide range of records relating to approximately 500,000 Coinbase customers. Coinbase fought this summons in court in an effort to protect its customers, and the industry as a whole, from unwarranted intrusions from the government.

Bitcoin Taxes

Coinbase also considers the result of its initial non-compliance a victory, writing:

After a long process, the court issued an order that represents a partial, but still significant, victory for Coinbase and its customers: the order requires Coinbase to produce only certain limited categories of information from the accounts of approximately 13,000 customers.

Have you received a notification from Coinbase in regards to your information being turned over to the IRS? Do you appreciate the exchange’s initial non-compliance? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Wikipedia Commons, Coinbase, and Bitcoinist archives.

Show comments

Share
Úno 23

Get Rid of Your Passwords – REMME Announces Alpha Release of its Distributed Public Key Infrastructure (PKId) Protocol

· February 23, 2018 · 11:00 am

Ukrainian company REMME has recently released the alpha build of its REMME Core 0.1.0 protocol, which hopes to eliminate human error in the cybersecurity domain by getting rid of passwords entirely.


Password management is no joke. Despite the ever-expanding advances made in cryptography over the years, poor password discipline remains the greatest weakness to modern computer systems. Besides phishing attacks and easily guessable passwords, users have even been shown to give up their passwords for a bar of chocolate.

Even the mightiest cybersecurity systems have been brought to their knees by a single weak password. Case in point: Equifax notoriously lost the Social Security numbers of 143 million Americans in September last year for simply using the embarrassingly default password combo of ‘admin/admin’ in one of their online employee portals.

And yet, humans are getting no better at protecting their own credentials. Considering the average person can now be expected to maintain at least dozens of accounts spread across social media, chat apps, gaming platforms, email, and even work accounts, it’s little wonder that over 80% of people reuse their passwords. The most readily-available fix is to implement a password manager, though studies show that very few people actually use them.

Making the Password Obsolete

Making the Password Obsolete

The long-term solution? Bypass the password entirely.

That is what the REMME project is hoping to achieve with the recent alpha release of their Access Management solution. A Ukrainian company started in 2015, REMME intends to make passwords obsolete by migrating the authentication process on to the blockchain, thereby eliminating human error from the equation. This is being done using their distributed REMME Public Key Infrastructure protocol (PKId) along with a set of Access Management DApps built on top of it.

REMME’s Core 0.1.0 Alpha release currently offers developers access to the core functionality of the protocol, which includes access to the architecture and high-level logic of working with SSL/TLS certificates. It comes with a command-line interface (CLI) for developer’s seeking quick access to the protocol’s central features, such as issuing and revoking certificates and transferring REM tokens between users. The basic elements of working with the company’s REM token have also been integrated.

The protocol’s release comes hard on the heels of the company’s REM token public ICO on February 13th, which raised 19,343 ETH. The token sale has already reached its hard cap of $20 million USD  and tokens are currently locked until February 25th at 14:00 UTC.  The project has already come to the attention of several companies including Ukrinmash, a part of the State Concern Ukroboronprom, a large, state enterprise tasked with managing Ukraine’s military-industrial complex.

REMME’s efforts earned it recognition at the Microsoft Blockchain Intensive held by Microsoft Ukraine in June 2017. The team won first place at the event’s blockchain-themed hackathon, where they used REMME authentication technology, IPFS protocol, and the Ethereum blockchain to build a traffic collision awareness and reporting system. As a result, they made off with a $10,000 project grant, an invitation to the VivaTechnology conference in Paris, and a business, legal, and marketing consulting contract from Ernst & Young Global Limited, a professional services company based in London.

The project began in 2015 following a series of cyber attacks which rocked several large Ukrainian companies. By early 2016, the first closed beta version of the product was released on the Emercoin blockchain. This was followed by a second version on top of the Bitcoin blockchain in 2017.

The team’s next goal is to develop inter-blockchain token migration for the protocol’s next release. This will allow the REM token, which is currently released on the Ethereum platform, to be used on their custom REMME blockchain. Public testing is slated to begin later this year, with a public release set before the end of the year.


Are we entering a new age of cybersecurity? Will REMME finally get rid of the terrible password practices that have come to define most major data breaches? Let us know in the comments below!

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.

Show comments

Share
Úno 22

Bitcoin Price Under $10k As Big Resistance Triggers ‘A Few Days Of Bears’

· February 22, 2018 · 10:30 am

Bitcoin price dropped below $10,000 again Thursday as analysis warns traders to prepare for “FUD” from detractors.


$11,700 The Target To Beat

Data from Bitstamp showed a sudden $500 dip over three hours, taking Bitcoin from around $10,300 to current lows of $9677.

Having traded as high as $11,762 this week, markets appeared to encounter a lack of support closer to $12,000 Wednesday, creating a rapid drop and reversing gains which began around February 17.

“We’re seeing some weakness; this is not good,” analyst Tone Vays told viewers during a Bitcoin weekly chart performance analysis Thursday.

Others mirrored the sentiment behind a temporary fresh downturn, with the altcoin trader known on Twitter as Squeeze forecasting that “bears are likely to take over for a few days.”

Bitcoin’s turbulence continues to have a more profound effect on altcoin markets. A glance at the top 50 assets tracked by Coinmarketcap shows declines in line with Bitcoin but around 30% steeper in the past 24 hours.

Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and others in the top ten all lost around 13%.

Sore Losers Wait For Cashout

“This rebound took a lot of pressure off of BTC owners, but we will start running into overhead resistance,” Jani Ziedins of Cracked.Market meanwhile said in a research note quoted by MarketWatch.

“Many premature dip-buyers jumped in between $12k and $15k and we should expect many of those regretful owners to sell when they can get their money back. Their selling will slow the assent over the near-term.”

The lackluster performance of Bitcoin so far in 2018 has also served to temper the outlook for some of the community’s most ardent proponents.

Ronnie Moas, who led the charge of the bulls during the all-time highs in December 2017, most recently stated the likely finishing point for BTC/USD at the end of this year would now be around $28,000 – nonetheless a record high in itself.

What do you think about Bitcoin’s price dip? Let us know in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

Show comments

Share
Úno 21

Tesla’s Amazon Cloud Account Hacked to Mine Cryptocurrency

· February 21, 2018 · 10:30 am

Tesla, the automotive company, was the victim of a cryptojacking attack as their Amazon cloud account was compromised and used to mine cryptocurrency.


Even the largest and most technologically advanced companies can be vulnerable to being hacked. Case in point is the pioneering electric car company, Tesla, owned by tech billionaire Elon Musk. They were recently the target of a cryptojacking attack that saw their Amazon cloud account compromised and used to mine cryptocurrency.

Tesla car

Security Not up to Snuff

A hacker, or group of hackers, hijacked an IT administrative console belonging to Tesla that had no password protection. The cybercriminals then used sophisticated scripts to begin mining for cryptocurrency.

The hack was discovered by RedLock, a cybersecurity firm. Apparently, researchers for RedLock were tracking down which groups had left their Amazon Web Services credentials openly exposed on the internet. One of the groups that RedLock found was Tesla.

Of the hack, a Tesla spokesman says:

We maintain a bug bounty program to encourage this type of research, and we addressed this vulnerability within hours of learning about it..

The impact seems to be limited to internally used engineering test cars only, and our initial investigation found no indication that customer privacy or vehicle safety or security was compromised in any way.

Crafty Hackers

RedLock notes that the hackers exposed an Amazon “simple storage service” (S3) bucket that held telemetry, mapping, and vehicle servicing data for Tesla. It appears that individual information was not accessed, but the CEO of RedLock, Varun Badhwar, says that they “didn’t try to dig in too much” and instead alerted the car company.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk

Badhwar says that the hackers were pretty crafty in hiding their tracks. They made sure to lower the CPU usage demanded by the Stratum software they were using for cryptocurrency mining. This allowed the mining to be virtually undetected. The hackers also kept their internet addresses secret by hiding behind the services of a content delivery service, CloudFlare.

Overall, it is unknown what cryptocurrency the hackers mined for. The current popular choice is Monero. The amount of cryptocurrency mined by the hackers is also unknown.

For their efforts, RedLock were given $3,133.70 by Tesla as part of the company’s bounty program to reward outside hackers who find flaws in their system. The amount is a reference to 1337, which is old hacker slang for elite.

Tesla is not alone in being the victim of cryptojacking. RedLock estimates that 58% of businesses that use public cloud services have exposed “at least one cloud storage device” to the public. Of that amount, the cybersecurity firm says a full 8% have had cryptojacking incidents.

Do you think companies like Tesla can do more to protect themselves from cryptojacking attacks? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Flickr/@Maurizio Pesce, Pixabay, and Flickr/@JD Lasica.

Show comments

Share
Úno 20

South Korea to ‘Support’ And ‘Encourage’ Crypto Transactions – Regulator Chief

· February 20, 2018 · 9:30 am

South Korea will “encourage” banks to interact with cryptocurrency exchanges, regulators have said in a surprising development in the country’s narrative.


Choe: We Want ‘Normal’ Transactions

As local news media outlet Yonhap News Agency reports Tuesday, Choe Heung-sik, governor of the Financial Supervisory Service, has announced government organs will “support” all legitimate transactions in the cryptocurrency trading space.

The comments were delivered during a meeting which included representatives from South Korea’s exchange industry.

The emphasis appeared to be on legal versus illegal transactions, with the promise of support “if normal transactions are made.”

South Korea Issues Ban on ICOsChoe’s hinting at a more open-minded stance from Seoul going forward forms part of a recent departure from lawmakers’ harsher words which caused public outrage in recent months.

Since December, talk of an outright ban on cryptocurrency exchanges had metamorphosed into a ban on anonymous trading. This was then joined by plans to create a Japan-style exchange licensing system, constituting an about turn in the space’s legal prospects.

Turbulence As Police Investigate Official Death

Despite the rapidly-changing landscape, however, Yonhap notes the general atmosphere of confusion and hesitation on the part of exchanges themselves to embrace the current market.

“Currently, local banks have been reportedly reluctant to open virtual accounts for cryptocurrency trading amid the government’s crackdown,” it adds commenting on the teething problems witnessed following the anonymous trading ban when it became law January 30.

On Monday, the government released data showing South Korea’s exchanges generated taxable revenues amounting to almost $650 million in 2017. Taxation, hastily enacted last month and worth 24.2% of that figure, is due for payment by the end of April.

At the same time, a more solemn development this week saw Jung Ki-joon, the official working on future cryptocurrency treatment plans suddenly die of a heart attack. Police investigating the event have since announced a more in-depth review will be carried out.

What do you think about Choe Heung-sik’s plans for cryptocurrency treatment? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

Show comments

Share
Úno 19

Billionaire Calvin Ayre is Building a $100m Bitcoin Cash Resort in Antigua

· February 19, 2018 · 9:45 am

Soon, wealthy tourists looking to live large in the Caribbean will be able to reserve rooms at controversial billionaire Calvin Ayre’s resort in Antigua — if you’ve got the Bitcoin Cash.


A ‘Novel and Exciting Concept’

The billionaire founder of the Ayre Group and the Bodog entertainment brand, Calvin Ayre, is reportedly building a $100 million five-star resort on Antigua’s Valley Church beach — funded entirely by profits made from investments in digital currencies.

Antigua

The prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, is excited by the news, as the islands have long been supportive of cryptocurrency. Browne says of the project:

We expect the resort’s novel and exciting concept to broaden Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism product and bring a new category of tourists to our islands. We look forward to working with Mr Ayre on this resort and the many other investments he has made in Antigua.

Calvin Ayre, officially known as “his excellency” on the Caribbean islands where he holds the title of special economic envoy, says:

This resort will attract a totally new market segment of tourism on the island — successful wellness-seekers who also want to have fun. The property will not be an all-inclusive destination. Instead, its amenities will be available to residents of Antigua and Barbuda and visitors alike.

Bring Your Bcash

Unsurprisingly, Ayre’s resort will accept Bitcoin Cash at point-of-sale terminals on the property.

Unaffectionately known as Bcash, the controversial cryptocurrency forked from Bitcoin on August 1st, 2017, and has sparked debate amongst cryptocurrency enthusiasts ever since — with some calling it a get-rich-quick scheme primarily profiting from the unnecessary confusion of others by co-opting the Bitcoin brand.

MillionBitcoinCash - Updated POW & POS Technology With Low Fees with limited Coins

Ayre and Bcash bull Roger Ver are arguably the two biggest proponents of the forked cryptocurrency, claiming the Bcash blockchain is vastly superior to all other blockchains — despite little evidence to support such a claim.

Of course, Ayre himself is no stranger to controversy.

In 2012, Ayre and three other individuals were indicted by the US Attorney for Maryland on charges of illegal gambling and money laundering, leading to the billionaire evading authorities for nearly a decade.

In 2017, however, Ayre got off easy by pleading guilty to a single misdemeanor charge, while the remaining felony charges against him were dropped. According to Forbes, Ayre never came to the US to face the charges.

Would you be interested in spending cryptocurrency while on vacation in the Caribbean? Would you prefer that such cryptocurrency wasn’t Bcash? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitcoinist archives.

Show comments

Share
Úno 18

The New Normal: Cryptocurrency Goes Mainstream This Tax Season

· February 18, 2018 · 7:30 am

Until quite recently, most cryptocurrency investors either did not know or did not care to pay taxes on the capital gains they accumulated buying and selling digital coins. The cryptocurrency community is now facing a hard truth: they have to pay taxes just like all the rest of us.


[Editor’s note: This is a guest article by Mario Costanz, CEO of Happy Tax]

Virtual currencies exploded onto the investment scene last year, due in large part to the astronomical rise in the popularity of Bitcoin and its many successors. Interest in this exciting new investment shows no signs of slowing, and soon cryptocurrency will be as ubiquitous as the other traditional securities traded daily on Wall Street.

Until quite recently, however, most cryptocurrency investors either did not know or did not care to pay taxes on the capital gains they accumulated buying and selling digital coins. The cryptocurrency community is now facing a hard truth: they have to pay taxes just like all the rest of us.

The attention that virtual currencies are receiving from federal and state regulators is a positive sign that this innovative technology is heading towards the mainstream. Of course, it has a long way to go until it gets there. In the meantime, however, cryptocurrency investors need to accept the reality of growing government oversight.

Paying Cryptocurrency Taxes is Not Optional

Bitcoin emerged from an anonymous source far on the fringes of the internet nearly a decade ago. For a time, cryptocurrency traders enjoyed an investment environment free from government oversight. This has caused many investors to turn a blind eye to increasing regulation, particularly from the Internal Revenue Service.

Tax liability for virtual currency investments is still a bit of a gray area in many respects, and new laws and policies are sketching out the boundaries. However, one thing is absolutely clear: if you trade cryptocurrencies, you must report your activity to the IRS.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Asked to Provide a Clearer Cryptocurrency Tax Framework

To the great dismay of many early virtual currency investors, the IRS declared virtual currencies to be taxable capital assets back in 2014. Like other capital assets, cryptocurrencies are subject to the capital gains rules. The tax rate depends on how long you held your coins before you sold them, as well as the price you bought in and the price you sold out. If your capital losses on your cryptocurrency investments exceed your capital gains, you can claim the loss as a deduction on your income tax returns, up to $3,000.

In other words, the same rules apply to cryptocurrency investors as taxpayers who trade stocks and other securities. This sounds simple enough for any seasoned trader, but unfortunately, things in the cryptocurrency world tend to get complicated quickly.

Most securities are used only in straightforward buy-and-sell transactions. However, cryptocurrencies are also intended to be used to purchase goods and services. Contrary to the popular belief – and wishful thinking – of many cryptocurrency investors, cashing out of your virtual currency investments isn’t the only taxable event in the lifespan of your investment. Rather, tax liability arises whenever cryptocurrencies are traded for other coins, cashed out into fiat currency, or used to purchase goods and services. So, for example, if you buy a new couch on Overstock.com using bitcoin, your purchase will be subject to capital gains tax in addition to any sales tax that may apply.

Paying Crypto Taxes Using Cryptocurrency

This type of double-taxation poses a real challenge to the integration of cryptocurrency into retail payment systems. Fortunately, however, it isn’t all bad news. Just last week, the Arizona State Senate passed a bill allowing residents to pay their state income taxes using “Bitcoin, Litecoin, or any other cryptocurrency” allowed by the state revenue department. While the bill still needs to go through the Arizona House of Representatives before it becomes a law, it represents a landmark moment in the cryptocurrency world.

The Arizona bill has been received with a mix of enthusiasm and skepticism. On one hand, the inherent value of cryptocurrencies is still up in the air. Virtual currencies have become legendary for their volatility. The price of Bitcoin more than doubled in the last two months of 2017 before falling again to half its value in the first two months of 2018.

Bitcoin Taxes

Well-known cryptocurrency critics, like Warren Buffett and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, claim that cryptocurrencies offer little to any market value and that current market prices are fueled entirely by speculation. On the other hand, the blockchain technology that supports the virtual currency market is a groundbreaking innovation that has the potential to change the way people use money entirely.

The fate of the Arizona law is now in the hands of state representatives, and it remains to be seen how the saga will unfold. It’s a bold legislative move that may be tossed aside by the state’s more conservative House of Representatives. However, it’s also a sign of the times. Arizona recognizes the potential value of virtual currencies as a technology, not just a security or replacement for traditional cash.

As a result, the state is posturing itself as a cryptocurrency-friendly market in anticipation of greater adoption of virtual currency technology and its derivatives. While the long-term viability of any virtual currency remains to be seen, the integration of cryptocurrency into government revenue streams is a positive sign for the future of this exciting new technology.

Will you be paying taxes on your cryptocurrency income this season? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of HappyTax, Shutterstock 

Show comments

Share
Úno 17

Chicago Trader Steals Over $2 Million in Bitcoin and Litecoin Cryptocurrency

· February 17, 2018 · 10:30 am

A Chicago trader is facing up to 20 years in prison for stealing over $2 million in Bitcoin and Litecoin cryptocurrency from his employer.


Most 24-year-olds would be quite happy to be attached to a new cryptocurrency unit for a major financial entity. That’s not a bad career path for someone who previously worked as a cryptocurrency trader in South Korea before joining Consolidated Trading LLC to become an assistant bond trader in July 2016. A new department looking to dive into the burgeoning crypto world is a great stepping stone for moving up. That is unless that person is a degenerate gambler. Such is the case of Joseph Kim, who stole over $2 million in Litecoin and Bitcoin cryptocurrency from his employer.

Chicago

Stealing Begins Almost Immediately

The cryptocurrency group was created by Consolidated in September 2017, and Joseph Kim joined the unit sometime during that month. He had his own personal cryptocurrency accounts, which he informed his employer of, and he was told to cease all personal trading to avoid a conflict of interest.

However, Kim transferred 980 litecoins (worth $48,000) on a weekend shortly after joining the new unit. When a supervisor found out, Kim said he transferred the coins to a “personal digital wallet for safety reasons” due to issues he was having with Bitfinex, the cryptocurrency exchange in Hong Kong. He then said that the coins had been transferred to a Consolidated wallet (which was untrue).

In November, the trader then sent 55 bitcoins (value of $433,000) from Consolidated into an unknown account. When confronted on this transfer, Kim said that the transfer had been blocked and that he was taking steps to unblock it. He later sent back 27 bitcoins into the corporate account, leaving 28 in his possession.

The Sizes Get Bigger

Eventually, Kim transferred 284 bitcoins (worth $2.8 million) from the company’s account into a personal wallet. He later sent back 102 of those coins into the Consolidated account, after which he then transferred the remaining 182 coins into a different account. Of that last amount, Kim lost a portion of it by personally trading.

Cryptocurrency gambling

When eventually confronted over all the transfers, Kim admitted to investing in short future positions using 55 bitcoins. He continued stealing cryptocurrency from the company to cover his margin calls, losses, and personal investments. After being arrested, Kim said that he was a degenerate gambler and admitted to converting the stolen Litecoin into Bitcoin for investment purposes.

Eventually, Consolidated managed to recover roughly 144 bitcoins from Kim’s various personal wallets. The financial company lost about $603,000 overall from the rogue trader’s gambling addiction.

In an email to his superiors at Consolidated, Kim said:

It was not my intention to steal for myself. I was perversely trying to fix what I had already done. I can’t believe I did not stop.

Investment gambling is real, and cryptocurrency is just a new avenue for some to indulge in the practice. The US Attorney has charged Joseph Kim with wire fraud, which could net him up to 20 years in prison. Kim has also made history, of a sort. He’s the first person in Chicago to be charged with wire fraud in regards to cryptocurrency.

Do you think that we’ll see more cases of traders pilfering cryptocurrency to fuel their gambling addiction in the future? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Pixabay and Bitcoinist archives.

Show comments

Share
Úno 16

Optioment Bitcoin Scam Triggers Europe-Wide Manhunt

· February 16, 2018 · 10:30 am

After possibly thousands of investors got burned by arbitrage-trading company Optioment last year, Austrian authorities have asked Interpol to help track down the fraudsters responsible for the Bitcoin scam.


Another Bitcoin Scam Burns Buyers

European authorities are on the hunt for criminals involved in defrauding thousands of individuals and losing over $100 million worth of investors’ Bitcoin.

According to reports, Optioment ran a now-defunct website while holding large-scale events in Austria — in which the company advertised itself as a “private Costa Rica-based Bitcoin fund” promising unrealistic returns. Law firm Lansky, Ganzger & Partner claims Optioment promised weekly interest payments upwards of 4 percent on long-term Bitcoin deposits, with the added incentivization of inviting new users.

Optioment apparently paid out returns on a timely basis at the beginning of its operation, which boosted investor confidence and encouraged users to reinvest in the scheme. Sometime around the massive bull run in November and December of last year, however, the returns stopped coming, and the fraudulent scheme collapsed.

Spokeswoman Christina Ratz told Bloomberg that prosecutors in Vienna are consolidating “hundreds of complaints” against the fraudulent company, and Die Presse originally reported that upwards of 10,000 individuals have been victimized, resulting in roughly 12,000 lost bitcoins — currently worth an estimated $118.5 million at the time of this writing.

Interpol

According to Bloomberg, no arrests have yet been made, but Interpol has been asked to investigate individuals in Denmark, Latvia, and Germany.

Reinforcing European Rhetoric

The hunt for Optioment’s operators comes at a time when some European countries are calling for a crackdown on cryptocurrency.

French Finance Minister Bruno le Maire and interim German Finance Minister Peter Altmaier have gone on record to state that cryptocurrencies are risky for investors and threaten long-term global financial stability.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has also expressed concerns over cryptocurrency’s criminal usage, stating that she is looking “very seriously” at cryptocurrencies “because of the way they are used, particularly by criminals.”

EU

Additionally, European Central Bank board member Yves Mersch has recently stated that cryptocurrencies are “not money, nor will they be for the foreseeable future.”

Most recently, the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) have also recently issued a press release warning consumers of the dangers associated with buying cryptocurrency.

Do you think scams like Optioment are permanently damaging the reputation of cryptocurrency in Europe and around the world? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/@Plani and Bitcoinist archives.

Show comments

Share
Úno 15

Ripple Signs Major Deal with Saudia Arabia’s Central Bank

· February 15, 2018 · 10:30 am

Ripple, the third largest cryptocurrency by market cap, has been on a tear lately, and it has now signed a significant deal with Saudi Arabia’s central bank.


Ripple Rapidly Gaining Traction

Ripple continues to make inroads into the traditional financial sector. It has recently announced a massive deal with the UAE Exchange and a major partnership with Lianlian International. Additionally, Banco Santander is set to roll out Ripple payments in Q1, and just today came the news that Western Union will begin testing XRP transfers.

Ripple XRP

According to reports, Saudi Arabia’s central bank has penned a deal with the San Francisco-based cryptocurrency company, which aims to help banks in the oil-rich kingdom settle instantaneous cross-border payments using blockchain software. Specifically, Saudi Arabia will utilize xCurrent, Ripple’s enterprise software solution facilitating such payments with end-to-end tracking.

Saudi Arabia’s deal with the cryptocurrency company is the first such blockchain-utilizing pilot program launched by a central bank. Dilip Rao, Ripple’s global head of infrastructure innovation, says:

Central banks around the world are leaning into blockchain technology in recognition of how it can transform cross-border payments, resulting in lower barriers to trade and commerce for both corporates and consumers.

Saudi Arabia’s partnership with the virtual currency company comes after Gulf regulators have expressed concerns over Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market’s lack of regulation. Thus, Ripple has, unsurprisingly, proven itself to be an attractive offer.

Ripple Shoots Up After AMEX Deal and Secret US Bank Meeting

Unlike Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that are largely founded on the premises of deregulation and decentralization, Ripple has openly marketed itself as a blockchain solution for traditional financial institutions. In turn, the cryptocurrency has long come under criticism for undermining what some consider to be the very foundations of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

Drawing further skepticism from investors is the fact that the vast majority of XRP tokens are owned by Ripple’s parent company, thus making it technically capable of regulating the price of said tokens.

XRP saw highs around $3.84 on January 4th but has since fallen as low as $0.59. It is currently trading at $1.12.

In December, UAE central bank governor Mubarak Rashed al-Mansouri also told Reuters that the central banks of both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are working together in hopes of issuing a digital currency that would help facilitate cross-border transactions between the two countries.

What do you think of Ripple’s efforts to continually sign major deals with financial institutions? Do you think Ripple undermines cryptocurrency’s foundations? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Bitcoinist archives.

Show comments

Share