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ASIC: Being an ICO doesn’t magically make you above the law.

Digital assets aren't a get-out-of-compliance-free card.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has halted five ICOs since April, saying they've been put on hold. In some cases, they will be restructured to comply with Australian law and, in one case, will be subjected to further action.

The consistent problems identified by ASIC are the use of misleading or deceptive statements in sales and marketing materials, operating an illegal unregistered managed investment scheme and not holding an Australian financial services licence.

Part of the problem, noted ASIC Commissioner John Price, was that some ICOs seemed to be assuming that the fundraising structure works like a get-out-of-compliance-free card and means they don't have to comply with existing consumer protection laws.

"If you raise money from the public, you have important legal obligations. It is the legal substance of your offer – not what it is called – that matters," he said. "You should not simply assume that using an ICO structure allows you to ignore key protections there for the investing public and you should always ensure disclosure about your offer is complete and accurate."

juicy crypto words

It's a far cry from less than a year ago, when ICOs were largely flying under the radar as the domain of a small group of enthusiasts, rather than as a type of publicly accessible investment opportunity. This obscurity functionally meant that ICOs of previous years may have technically been illegal at the time. But for the most part, regulators in most countries seem to be more interested in protecting consumers from new products than digging up old projects.

Ethereum, for example, could almost certainly have been considered an illegal security offering at the time of its creation, but equally certainly won't be subject to any retrospective regulatory actions. And one of Australia's earlier ICOs, Power Ledger, by some appearances seemed to sneak in just as ASIC began tightening its focus on ICOs, arriving only a month after the release of the first ASIC ICO guidance paper.

There are no free rides anymore though. A couple of years ago ICOs might have been too small and obscure to attract much attention, but these days they need to be just as legal as their non-crypto equivalents.

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$60 million stolen from Japan’s Zaif cryptocurrency exchange.

Hot wallets are hot targets.

When we came in on Monday, the money was all gone – to paraphrase employees of Tech Bureau's Zaif exchange in Japan.

The hack itself actually took place over a period of about two hours until 7pm Osaka time on Friday, the Japan Times reports, but a system abnormality wasn't detected until Monday, Zaif didn't realise the money was gone until Tuesday and news didn't break until Thursday. So someone at Zaif is really having a hellish week.

The timing of the attack, coming in right at the end of business hours on a Friday, is almost certainly no coincidence. It looks like the attacker aimed to buy some time over the weekend, and it seems to have worked.

It's being reported that about US$60 million of cryptocurrency, including bitcoin, Monacoin and Bitcoin Cash, was pulled out of the exchange's hot wallet. One-third of the funds belonged to the exchange, while the other two-thirds was customer money.

Taking precautions

Japan's exchanges and regulators went on high alert following the monumental CoinCheck heist, in which about half a billion dollars were pulled out of Japan's CoinCheck exchange. It remains one of cryptocurrency's largest single thefts to date.

In the aftermath of CoinCheck, Japan's Financial Services Authority (FSA) swept 15 exchanges across the country, including Zaif.

Of the exchanges swept, seven were ordered to carry out certain improvements while two were ordered to suspend trading. The investigation in general found an industry full of security holes, and occasionally marred by exchange staff toying with customer funds for personal use.

juicy crypto words

Zaif might have been somewhere in the middle of the pack. It's been slapped with two FSA business improvement orders this year, but there was nothing so egregious that it was ordered shuttered. But just like CoinCheck, this particular attack went after an exchange's hot wallet.

Current crypto industry best practice is for as much of the funds as possible, typically over 90% of all customer funds, to be kept in an offline cold wallet at any given time. Most security experts would probably agree that Zaif had no business leaving so much money in a hot wallet.

After the hack, Tech Bureau said it agreed to receive a $44.59 million bailout from Fisco Ltd. In exchange, Fisco would get majority ownership. The value of Fisco's investment is still subject to change though, it said, if further investigation uncovers a different value of funds stolen.

If there's anything to be learned from the ongoing tendency of Japan's exchanges to experience enormous hacks, other than not to leave millions of dollars in a hot wallet, it's that Japan's crypto exchanges are still doing roaring business, and that exchange security should not be taken for granted.

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Coinbase: Reports of 20% of our volume being self-trading are false.

The Attorney General's office seems to have fumbled some of its interpretations of data provided.

The New York Attorney General's Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative report came back with a range of unpleasant findings, including that even the most reliable exchanges are filled with conflicts of interest, self-trading, a near-total lack of consumer protections and ongoing failures to even attempt to address market manipulation.

One of the more widely figures that came out in the report was that almost 20% of Coinbase trading volume is attributable to Coinbase's own trading. That's a lot, especially for a highly regarded platform, and people reacted with appropriate astonishment.

Coinbase has since clarified though, with Mike Lempres, Coinbase chief policy officer, explicitly stating in a blog post that "Coinbase does not engage in proprietary trading."

"Coinbase does not trade for the benefit of the company on a proprietary basis. In order to provide an easy-to-use customer experience, Coinbase Consumer quotes a price and then quickly fills the order from our exchange platform (Coinbase Markets). This takes advantage of the liquidity provided by the entire Coinbase ecosystem."

"When Coinbase executes these trades, it does so on behalf of Coinbase Consumer customers, not itself," Lempres explains.

The post tactfully avoids pointing the finger at the New York Attorney General's office, and instead said "some media coverage inaccurately characterized the report's findings."

The rules of the blame game

Coinbase's legal head naturally wants to stay on good terms with one of the New York attorney general. But in this case the error was clearly on the attorney general's side, which clearly describes Coinbase's disclosed self-trading as "proprietary trading."

The exact words were:

"Coinbase disclosed that almost twenty percent of executed volume on its platform was attributable to its own trading. Such high levels of proprietary trading raise serious questions about the risks customers face on those platforms."

juicy crypto words

It's a small and easy mistake to make, based on the information provided, but the consequences for exchanges are very real. It also speaks to many of the criticisms launched at the investigation, most notably from the Kraken exchange which declined to participate in the initiative.

The general tenor of its complaints are that the New York Attorney General approached exchanges unprepared and heavy handedly, as an disciplinarian rather than a learner despite assurances that the entire exercise was purely a fact-finding mission. This might be echoed by the apparent tendency of the office to assume the worst before comprehensively following up on some pretty serious accusations.

When your results say that one of the world's largest digital asset platforms is apparently admitting to self-trading 20% of its own volume, that's the kind of thing you should probably double check.

And for what was supposed to be a purely educational exercise, this venture sure ended up with a lot of referrals to the Department of Financial Services for potential misconduct.

A more conspiratorially-inclined person might say it almost looks the report was rushed out the door to meet a deadline.

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Texas Regulators Shut Down Three Cryptocurrency Scams.

The Texas State Securities Board has issued an emergency action to halt the deceitful offerings of investments in three cryptocurrency related schemes.

The agency entered a cease and desist order against Coins Miner Investment Ltd, DigitalBank Ltd, as well as Ultimate Assets, who is charged for offering Texans misleading ROIs and promising to grow an initial investment of $1,000 into $10,000 in three weeks.

Coins Miner Charged for CyberFraud

According to the emergency order, Coins Miner was found to have used emails and manipulating online media to solicit funds from Texas residents by pretending to represent Coinbase, a San Francisco-based company that operates an online platform for buying, selling, and storing digital currency.

Ana Julia Lara, an affiliate of Coins Minter who crafted the fake email, is also accused of claiming to be a vice president of CoinTelegraph Media Group.

The organization is also accused of fabricating photographs to show its “state-of-the-art office,” as well as using stock photos to portray its employees. A video featuring stock footage of its servers, facilities, and financial professionals was also cited.

ICO Scam

ICO Initial coin offering

The regulator’s  second cease and desist letter was targeted towards DigitalBank for claiming to be building an external wallet called “Photon Encrypted Ledger Key” and raising capital for an illegal initial coin offering (ICO). Also, DigitalBank was found to be offering shares issued by the company and the issuance of a utility coin, called DBGK, set for an ICO next year.

According to the order, the company told likely investors to purchase DGBK at a price of $0.50 and sell it for $10.00 during the ICO. With these terms, a $5,000 investment would rise to $100,000 in the ICO period.

The Texas Securities Board, however, concluded the offering  was deceptive, as it misled investors on the profitability of the company, while hiding key information needed to make unbiased decision.

Additionally, DigitalBank is also being charged for misleading people with multiple videos featuring President Barack Obama, used for describing the Photon Encrypted Ledger Key. The videos, according to the Securities Board, are misleading as they were created at the 2016 SXSW festival, several years before DigitalBank’s inception.

Misleading Numbers

The third cease and desist letter from the Texas State Securities Board was issued to Ultimate Assets, which deceitfully guaranteed investments with a 900 percent ROI in Bitcoin and Forex trading.

Daniel Dishmon and John Jason Woodard are named for publishing the advertisements for fraudulent investments that target Texas residents.

Also, Ultimate Assets told potential investors that they would be able to provide excessive returns. For example, an original investment of $500 would yield a $5,000 return, a $1,000 investment would yield a $10,000 return, and so on. The company further stated that its trading platform involved no risk and that returns were always guaranteed.

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Brazil’s Antitrust Watchdog Probes Banks for Restricting Crypto Exchanges.

Brazil’s antitrust watchdog, the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE), has recently launched an investigation into whether the country’s banks are purposefully harming cryptocurrency exchanges by restricting their operations.

According to Reuters, the investigation is set to find out whether the banks abused their position in the market to harm the crypto exchanges’ businesses in alleged monopolistic practices. Banks set to be investigated include Banco do Brasil, Banco Bradesco, Itau Unibanco, Banco Santander Brasil, and more.

The investigation was reportedly requested back in June by the Brazilian Association for Cryptocurrency and Blockchain (ABCB), after the bank accounts of Atlas Quantum were closed. As CCN covered, Atlas was hacked last month and saw the data of 264,000 users get leaked. The company itself is seen by some as a Ponzi scheme.

Per CADE, the country’s banks are “imposing restricting or even prohibiting… access to the financial system by cryptocurrency brokerages.” The investigation, Reuters reports, may lead to a new clash between the banks and crypto exchanges, after one in which a Brazilian cryptocurrency exchange, Walltime, won.

In reaching out to regulators, Brazil’s crypto exchanges are trying to stop the banks from shuttering their accounts without a proper explanation so they can keep on operating. They hope the antitrust regulator will force them to either keep their accounts or open new ones. CADE reportedly claimed there was no reason to decide immediately.

Fighting against the accusations, the banks claimed some crypto exchanges didn’t have the client data required by law to prevent money laundering. As such, they shuttered their accounts to avoid a potential backlash from the central bank.

Commenting on the case, CADE officials claimed that while illicit activities do need to be avoided, the banks’ conduct doesn’t seem reasonable.

“However, it does not seem reasonable for banks to apply such restrictive measures a priori on a straight-line basis to all cryptocurrency companies, without examining the level of compliance and the anti-fraud measures adopted by individual brokerage firms conferring unlawful treatment per se on businesses brokering cryptocurrencies.”

The regulator is now set to discuss the case with the country’s central bank before making a decision. In Brazil, regulators are on the defensive as crypto exchanges now have more accounts than stock exchanges, as the nascent industry is booming.

As CCN covered, the government has sent local cryptocurrency exchanges a questionnaire in an attempt to know more about their businesses and study their potential use in money laundering.

Huobi, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, has entered the country. XP Investimentos, Brazil’s biggest investment firm, was reportedly working on launching a crypto exchange earlier this year, although it’s unclear if it still is.

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NYU Offers First Crypto Major in US, Sees Exponential Increase in Interest.

New York University, a prestigious college found in 1831, has started to offer the first crypto major course in the US.

Adjunct professor Andrew Hinkes told CBS New York in an interview that the institution is helping students understand both the legal and the business implications of crypto and blockchain technology.

Hinkes said:

“We hope to establish a groundwork so that the students can understand what’s really happening under the hood, so that they can understand both the legal and the business implications, and prepare them to go out and tackle this new market.”

Crypto Boom at Universities

Throughout 2018, the demand for crypto-related courses at colleges has increased significantly, ever since prestigious institutions like Stanford and MIT started offering programs covering cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

As Mustafa Khan, a student at NYU who enrolled in the crypto major, it has become important for millennials to understand and study an emerging asset class that is rapidly integrating into the global finance sector.

“In the environment we live in today, it’s become especially relevant to get a hold of how new technologies work and how they interact with the legal system,” Khan said.

David Yermack, finance department chair at NYU, stated that students who previously graduated at the college have come back to take crypto courses to obtain a better understanding of the rapidly growing market and the industry surrounding blockchain technology.

“There’s a few people who graduated some years ago but have come back to sit in on this just because of the novelty and the edginess of the topic,” Yermack added.

Similar Movement in Institutional Market

bitcoin education

Influenced by the initial entrance of Goldman Sachs into the cryptocurrency sector through Bitcoin futures clearance, an increasing number of major banks have started to develop crypto custodian solutions to serve institutional investors.

Banks are required to adjust to the demands of its clients and consumers and as such, depending on the trend of the market and the needs of investors, banks tend to add more lucrative services onto their existing range of products to ensure that it can facilitate the interest towards new asset classes and markets from investors.

According to Coinbase vice president Adam White, the education industry has seen a similar trend, as students began to ask universities to offer education on a new industry that is seeing similar levels of interest and developer activity as the Internet in its early days

“This is a grassroots movement. These are students saying, ‘hey, university, I want to take a class on this.’ I think they see the development, the birth of a new industry. In many ways, we look at things like Bitcoin and Ethereum and blockchain as the internet 3.0,” White said.

The integration of crypto and blockchain technology into New York Unviersity’s major courses is expected to lead to other prestigious and well recognized institutions in the US offering similar programs.

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Hackers Nab $58,000 from Cryptocurrency Exchange by Trading Fake EOS Tokens.

Hackers were able to steal nearly $58,000 worth of cryptocurrency from the Newdex exchange by exploiting a vulnerability in the exchange, according to TheNextWeb. The hackers flooded the Newdex exchange with fake EOS tokens they created themselves to buy ADD, BLACK and IQ tokens from the centralized platform.

Newdex acknowledged that an EOS account issued 1 billion phony EOS tokens. The EOS account, oo1122334455, placed purchase orders for ADD, BLACK and IQ. A total of 11,800 phony EOS orders were made. The hackers then exchanged the tokens for real EOS.

Newdex acknowledged the hackers nabbed 4,028 real EOS tokens, worth around $20,000, and sent them to Bitfinex, leaving Newdex users with cumulative losses around $58,000.

Newdex stopped the service at 15:52 on Sept. 18 after discovering an exception and activated an emergency response repair system, according to an observer on Reddit. The repair was completed at 16:33, and normal operation was resumed.

Newdex apologized for the loss, but has no plans to compensate people, according to the report.

EOS Users Warned About Newdex


Several days prior to the incident, the EOS community noted on Reddit that Newdex is not a genuine decentralized exchange (DEX) despite its “misleading marketing.” The PSA said not to trust Newdex since it does use a smart contract and has not published the source code of its centralized matching server.

Instead, Newdex matches orders off-chain in a centralized server, according to the Reddit post. The post also presented a response form Newdex’s support stating it is “the first global decentralized exchange built on EOS,” and requires no deposit, no withdrawal, safe assets, and is open and transparent.

In addition, Scatter (an ecosystem for creating accountability and security in the blockchain space) is used as a login and trading interface so that Newdex would appear to be a genuine DEX, the Reddit post noted. The reality is that users were sending funds to regular EOS accounts that don’t have any kind of smart contract running on them.

Also read: Two EOS gambling platforms fall prey to $260,000 hack

Newdex Issues Continue

According to Trybe, a tokenized knowledge and content sharing platform, Newdex has been plagued with trade issues, token issues, and extensive transfer times.

After allegedly encountering issues trading EOS on Newdex and communicating these issues to the exchange, Newdex responded that there are issues with the EOS network.

Trybe posted a note from Newdex claiming that there has been instability with the EOS mainnet causing unstable trades on all major exchanges, causing some exchanges such as Bithumb and Huobi Pro to withdraw service for EOS, ADD, and IQ.

Trybe noted, however, that it has not encountered issues trading EOS on other exchanges.

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Newsflash: Japanese Cryptocurrency Exchange Zaif Hacked, $59 Million in Losses.

Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Zaif was the victim of a major hack last week, local media sources have reported and the company has now confirmed.

The hack, which occurred on Sept. 14 but was not discovered until Sept. 17, saw the hacker steal various amounts of bitcoin, bitcoin cash, and monacoin from the exchange’s hot wallet, collectively worth 6.7 billion yen (just under $60 million).


Zaif is a minor exchange, currently ranked 108th in daily volume, according to CoinMarketCap.

However, the incident could have major implications for the cryptocurrency industry in Japan, as regulators have already tightened their oversight in response to the record-setting Coincheck hack that occurred in January.

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NY Crypto Exchange Report Bearish for Bitcoin ETF Plans.

A new report drafted by the New York attorney general’s office (OAG) alleges that a significant number of cryptocurrency exchanges may be vulnerable to market manipulation, a finding that could prove ominous for hopes among investors that federal regulators will approve a bitcoin ETF or other exchange-traded crypto products in the near-term.

3 CME-Partnered Exchanges Flagged by NY Probe

Bitcoin, according to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton, is not a security under federal law. However, an exchange-listed fund that provides investors with exposure to bitcoin would be a security, which is why the approval of these products falls under the SEC’s purview.

While several bitcoin ETF applicants have sought to create a fund whose shares would be backed by physical BTC, the sentiment among most analysts is that the first cryptocurrency ETF to receive a green light from the SEC will be one that holds bitcoin futures, which are already regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Currently, bitcoin futures are available on two regulated U.S. stock exchanges — CME and CBOE, both of which are based in Chicago. CBOE was the first to market with its cryptocurrency product, though CME’s sees much more average daily trading volume and bases its pricing data on a wider array of spot trading markets.

This is where the OAG report comes in. The report, published on Monday, is the culmination of a five-month investigation into the operations of 13 cryptocurrency exchanges. Among other things, the OAG examined whether exchanges, in its view, adequately combat market manipulation.

As noted by Bloomberg’s Matt Leising, three of the cryptocurrency exchanges that provide pricing data for CME’s future contracts had policies that the OAG flagged as problematic.

One, Kraken, incurred the OAG’s ire for publicly flouting the state’s inquiry, with CEO Jesse Powell arguing that market manipulation “doesn’t matter to crypto traders.” The report said that two others, Bitstamp and itBit, have no formal policies in place to prevent market manipulation.

Industry Yet to Implement ‘Serious’ Surveillance

CME Group Bitcoin Futures Bitcoin ETF

CME, the largest bitcoin futures trading platform, receives pricing data from three exchanges with policies that the New York OAG report flagged as problematic.

CBOE’s pricing data comes exclusively from Gemini, which has partnered with Nasdaq to use the stock exchange giant’s market surveillance tools on its platform.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that a bitcoin ETF based on CBOE’s futures would be more likely to gain SEC approval, though, because, even if no manipulation was occurring on the Gemini exchange itself, its market prices would nevertheless be affected by unlawful trading activities taking place elsewhere in the global spot market.

Per the OAG report:

“The industry has yet to implement serious market surveillance capacities, akin to those of traditional trading venues, to detect and punish suspicious trading activity. A platform cannot take action to protect customers from market manipulation and other abuses if it is not aware of those practices in the first place. Several platforms also told the OAG that it was impossible to effectively surveil for manipulative activity taking place on more than one platform, and so any one trading platform is necessarily limited in the steps it can take to police abusive activity.”

SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce has criticized the agency for denying past bitcoin ETF applications due to concerns over the underlying bitcoin spot markets, rather than problems with the ETF products themselves. She says that this represents an expansion of the SEC’s authority beyond its lawful mandate.

However, given the commission’s recent rulings, Peirce is in the minority on this point, which is one reason why the SEC may continue to punt on making cryptocurrency products wrapped as conventional financial instruments more accessible to retail investors.

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Bitcoin Price Intraday Analysis: BTC/USD Stabilizes in $6200-$6400 Zone.

Bitcoin price on Wednesday consolidated sideways against the US Dollar, rangebound between two critical levels defined by $6,200 and $6,400.

The BTC/USD kickstarted the day forming lows towards 6316-fiat. The early Asian trading session saw the pair attempting a moderate upside rebound towards 6400-fiat. However, a considerable selling pressure around 6384-fiat, September 11 peak, didn’t allow much upside extension. The pair, thus, reversed and retraced its focus towards 6250-fiat by mid-European session – only to find itself being bounced back.

It would appear the price is stuck ahead of the September 30’s ETF announcement by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The probability of SEC accepting an ETF proposal stands low, and it could allow the price to slip through the bearish cracks – maybe towards 6000-fiat, so shorts close into the dips. ETF gets accepted and BTC/USD could so a complete reverse – a sharp rally towards 7000-fiat.

BTC/USD Technical Analysis

While September 30 is far, what we can do is look into our near-term perspectives. As of now, BTC/USD is trending inside a triangle pattern – somewhat accurate towards its lower highs and higher lows. The upper and lower trendlines together could provide hints for the next interim breakout/breakdown action, while ensuring traders have sufficient intrarange gap to execute their intra-range positions.

Bias wise, on larger timeframes, BTC/USD is still very bearish. The pair is below its 50H, 100H and 200H SMAs, indicators collectively screaming a selling trap. The RSI and Stochastic on a 4H chart are also trending sideways inside their respective neutral zones. The one thing to take away is that there are no reasons to stay bullish.

BTC/USD Intraday Analysis

We are pretty much placing our positions inside the triangle formation. Therefore, a pullback from upper trendline will have us put a short position towards the lower trending, and a bounce back from lower trendline will have us put a long position towards the upper trendline. That’s plain intrarange strategy.

At the same time, we are going to keep our eyes open for a breakout/breakdown scenario. At the very time of this writing, we would enter a long position towards 6400-fiat on a successful breakout from the upper trendline resistance. Nevertheless, our stop loss 3-pips below the entry position would minimize our losses in case the pullback occurs.

Similarly, a breakdown strategy will be in place if price breaks below the lower trendline support. If it happens then it would allow us to enter a short position towards 6200-fiat while keeping a stop loss three-pips above the entry point.

Trade safely!

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Bitcoin Hasn’t Funded any Terror Attacks in Europe, Europol Report Reveals.

Bitcoin and similar digital assets were not used to fund any of the recent terror attacks in Europe, finds a Europol report that paints a clear picture of the contribution of cryptocurrencies to online crime.

The 72-page long study [PDF], titled Intenet Organized Threat Assessment 2018, thoroughly touches upon the various modules of online crime, ranging from ransomware attacks to child pornography. The report mentions Bitcoin on 18 pages to discuss its alleged and confirmed use in several illegal operations online, including terrorism.

Conventional Banking Funds Terrorist Operations, not Bitcoin

In the past, a handful of sympathizing terrorist groups called for Bitcoin donations, including Akhbar al- Muslimin, Dawaalhaq Islamic News Agency, Isdarat. They, however, solicited crypto funds only to finance their online infrastructure and to purchase hosting servers. Nevertheless, one crypto-funded, English-language social media campaign known as Sadaqah reportedly targeted Muslims in the west to recruit them as fighters for the ongoing war in Syria.

“Yet despite the clear potential, none of the attacks carried out on European soil appear to have been funded via cryptocurrencies. The use of cryptocurrencies by terrorist groups has only involved low-level transactions – their main funding still stems from conventional banking and money remittance services,” the report read.

Conventional banking and remittance services, not bitcoin nor any cryptocurrency, continue to be terrorist groups’ main sources of funding: Europol

The conclusion points out that the Jihadist networks could be simply experimenting with cryptocurrencies. It goes against the popular notion that suggests Bitcoin’s use in mainstream terrorist activities. There is no direct evidence that connects the two as of now. And it is unlikely of terrorists to opt a currency that is more transparent and hardly anonymous than their regular cash transaction.

The Europol also suggests that the only ways to battle out terrorist finances are 1) to beat their seekers’ online propaganda and recruit operations through closer coordination and information- sharing across law enforcement agencies, and 2) to focus on their ability to carry out cyber-attacks.

The Most Commonly Ab(used) Cryptocurrency in Cybercrime

A break from terrorism certainly does not translate into a break from online crime in general. Bitcoin ducks terrorist activities only to find itself as the most commonly used currency in cybercrimes, playing a pivot role in the commission, perpetration, and monetization of cybercrime. The notoriously impressive outcome appears despite Bitcoin’s market share dropping from 80 percent to less than 35 percent. Nevertheless, privacy-centric cryptocurrencies like Zcash and Monero are likely to gain adoption among cybercriminals.

“While the criminal abuse of cryptocurrencies remains largely within the realm of cybercrime, some Member States reported that they are increasingly encountering their use by non-cyber [organized crime groups],” the report found.

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Top Ten US Bank Joins Ripple Blockchain RippleNet for Cross-Border Payments.

PNC Bank, the 9th largest bank in the United States by assets, has joined Ripple’s enterprise blockchain network RippleNet in what is a noteworthy addition for the San Francisco-based fintech.

With over $380 billion in assets, Pittsburg-based PNC Financial Services Group has become the latest member to join RippleNet, a global payments network of over 100 institutions including banks, payment providers, remittance forwarders and operators among other financial institutions to enable near-instant money transfers with on-demand liquidity and end-to-end tracking on a blockchain.

PNC Bank, simply known as PNC, is also the fifth largest bank by number of branches and the 4th largest with the most ATMs in the United States. The bank services over 8 million customers in 19 states in areas including retail, consumer-ended banking and corporate banking. While retail services (including consumer and small business banking) is predominantly offered to clients in the eastern states, PNC offers corporate and institutional banking across the country.

Ripple said in its announcement:

“Ripple’s technology will have an immediate impact on each of those groups, enabling PNC’s commercial clients to receive payments from overseas banks in real time.”

As an example, a commercial client of a business transaction situated in Pennsylvania will be able to receive payments from a UK buyer against the invoices instantly, Ripple explained, enabling the client or business owner to benefit from managing their working capital and accounts receivable.

The addition of PNC is arguably Ripple’s biggest banking scoop for its flagship product, which notably doesn’t use the XRP token, a cryptocurrency developed by Ripple. xRapid, a separate Ripple product which uses XRP for real-time liquidity in international transactions has seen relatively fewer adopters compared to the 100 (+) member-strong RippleNet.

While the likes of Western Union have trailed the XRP-based product for money transfers, a wider commercial application for xRapid is only a month away, according to Ripple’s chief of regulatory relations in APAC and the Middle East Sagar Sarbhai.

“I am very confident that in the next one month or so you will see some good news coming in where we launch the product live in production,” Sarbhai said in an interview earlier this week. Ripple chief executive Brad Garlinghouse has previously claimed that “dozens” of banks will be using XRP by the end of 2019.

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‘More Ridiculous than Bitcoin’: Pot Stocks Go Parabolic as Crypto Markets Cool.

The cryptocurrency markets are nine months into a bear market, but the animal spirits that drove the bitcoin price to nearly $20,000 haven’t disappeared. Rather, it seems that they have found a new outlet — pot stocks.

Pot Goes Boom as Crypto Goes Bust

Long a favorite of retail traders on commission-free stock trading app Robinhood, publicly-listed cannabis stocks have gone bananas in recent weeks, driven in part by the impending legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada on Oct. 17.

Publicly-listed pot stocks have been soaring across the board, but one cannabis producer — Tilray — has found itself flying higher than the rest.

Tilray bitcoin

Source: ZeroHedge

At one point during premarket trading on Wednesday, Tilray shares went north of $235, representing a cryptocurrency-like 1,282 percent increase since the firm went public at $17 in July. At this level, Tilray had a market cap greater than $22 billion, representing a $91 million valuation for each of its 243 employees.

Equally as astonishing, the company’s market cap is 714 times as large as its most recent revenue figures, which showed that the company posted $28 million in sales. For reference, Amazon’s price-to-sales ratio is currently about 4.6. At this level, Tilray is also nominally more valuable than a large percentage of companies in the S&P 500 index, per Pension Partners, including social media giant Twitter.


‘More Ridiculous Than Bitcoin’

One theory for Tilray’s parabolic rise is that it managed to execute a short squeeze on short-selling firms including Citron Research, which has been pounding the table on the firm since Aug. 24, when the stock rose 70 percent in a week.

Writing in a report published last week, Citron compared meteoric cannabis stock valuations to the cryptocurrency market boom-and-bust, arguing that this phenomenon is “even more ridiculous than bitcoin.”

“These stock prices are equivalent to bitcoin mania – although it is even more ridiculous than bitcoin. Whereas people liked Bitcoin because it was a blue sky, unregulated, difficult to mine, and had no real competition in crypto currency. Cannabis is highly regulated, can be farmed worldwide for cheap, and has many different players involved. Cannabis has more similarities to tomatoes than bitcoin (not saying we would be long either tomatoes or bitcoin).”

Squeeze or no squeeze, though, Citron continues to hold the line on Tilray, stating in a tweet this morning that the stock’s move is “beyond comprehension.”

As of the time of writing, Tilray shares were trading at $207, down $29 from their intraday (and all-time) high of $236.

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UK Lawmakers Call For Greater Oversight of Crypto Industry.

 A group of U.K. lawmakers has called for more oversight and regulation of the cryptocurrency industry in a new report published Wednesday.

Arguing that "crypto-assets have no inherent value," are "especially risky" for retail investors and are "particularly vulnerable to manipulation," the report states that "the introduction of regulation [to the cryptocurrency space] should be treated as a matter of urgency."

The report comes roughly seven months after the U.K. Treasury Committee first announced it would look into the benefits and risks of cryptocurrencies.

The group wants to give the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the U.K.'s top financial regulator, more authority to regulate crypto markets. The report notes that organizers of initial coin offerings (ICOs), at present, can exploit certain loopholes to avoid scrutiny from the agency.

"Apart from drawing attention to the risks, there is little the FCA can do to protect individuals from being defrauded or losing their money. This is because most ICOs do not promise financial returns, but instead offer future access to a service or utility, meaning they fall outside the regulatory perimeter," the report states.

The lawmakers went on to add:

"While there may be no explicit promise of financial returns, investors in ICOs clearly expect them: they are not buying tokens to gain access to as-yet unbuilt theme parks, or to obtain dental services in years to come, but in the hope of selling them at a profit. The development of ICOs has exposed a regulatory loophole that is being exploited to the detriment of ordinary investors."

No stability risk

The report highlighted the speculative interest in cryptocurrencies, noting that "in the absence of any market fundamentals, their prices fluctuate according to sentiment."

As a result, cryptocurrencies are more volatile than other asset classes, which can result in either greater gains or a greater loss.

"The use of blockchain as a payments system exacerbates these risks, since the exchange rate (vis-à-vis other crypto-assets, or conventional currency) can fluctuate significantly during the time it takes to settle a transaction," the report added.

That being said, the lawmakers argued that cryptocurrencies don't pose a threat to financial stability, primarily due to the small number of users and investors. They also noted that cryptocurrencies and blockchain can even be used positively – provided that they are regulated appropriately.

As such, the report noted that "if the government decides that growth is to be encouraged, the committee believes that the introduction of regulation could lead to positive outcomes for the crypto-asset market."…-crypto-industry/ ‎

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SEC's Chief Accountant: Firms With Digital Assets Still Need to Keep Their Books in Order.

Wesley Bricker, chief accountant for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has said that the advent of digital assets and blockchain technology does not change the “fundamental responsibility” of firms when it comes to their financial reporting activities.

Bricker’s remarks were made as part of a speech delivered before the AICPA National Conference on Banks & Saving Institutions in Washington, D.C. Monday, September 17.

Bricker opened by stressing it was crucial for the accounting profession to keep abreast of emerging technologies to ensure it can adequately fulfil its role as gatekeeper for “issuer compliance related to financial reporting.”

He went on to emphasize that innovations in technology can in fact be “the ally of a company’s business and financial reporting activities, not their opponent”:

“It follows that changes in technology need not work against investors and the public capital markets. Moreover, companies must continue to maintain appropriate books and records—regardless of whether distributed ledger technology (such as blockchain) smart contracts, and other technology-driven applications are (or are not) used.”

Bricker emphasized that for firms and their auditors alike, the existing parameters of auditing standards and federal securities laws, with their attendant reporting obligations – where they apply – should continue to be closely adhered to.

“Distributed ledger technology and digital assets, despite their exciting possibilities, do not alter this fundamental responsibility,” he stressed.

Recent high-profile developments on the crypto regulatory landscape in the U.S. have seen the SEC extend its purview to oversee crypto hedge funds, FINRA muscle in on a case of alleged securities fraud, and a New York federal judge ruling that securities laws are applicable for dealing with crypto fraud allegations…r-books-in-order/

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Binance Reveals Plan to Launch Crypto Exchanges on Almost Every Continent.

One of the world's largest crypto exchanges by trading volume wants to set up fiat-to-crypto trading platforms on almost every continent.

Binance founder and CEO Zhao Changpeng closed out the first day of CoinDesk's Consensus Singapore event with a fireside chat, where he discussed a range of topics, including how he grew Binance from a startup with a $15 million initial coin offering to one of the world's largest crypto exchanges and his future vision for the platform.

During the conversation with CoinDesk's Pete Rizzo, Zhao indicated that by this time next year, he wants the company to launch five to 10 fiat-to-crypto exchanges, with ideally two per continent.

These plans falls in line with Binance's current efforts to roll out an exchange in Singapore that supports local fiat-to-crypto trading services.

Having conducted closed testing on Tuesday, CZ said he hopes the platform could be up and running within months, though he added that working with banks and regulators is much harder than just with cryptocurrencies.

Noting that this move appears to be a reversal to what Binance has been known for, which its crypto-to-crypto is trading, Zhao admitted that the crypto market capitalization is still significantly lower than traditional financial instruments.

"Fiat is still where all the money is in. ... And we've got to open that gate," he said.

Zhao added that in order to so, Binance plans to continue working with relatively smaller countries, citing recent partnerships with nations like Malta. The main reason, he explained, is that these countries tend to respond in a much more efficient way.

"You can access to the top-level government officials and they respond to your questions more directly and efficiently. ... And they do appreciate the investment you are bringing into the local economy," he said.

That said, Zhao brands this move as more of finding a sweet spot rather than an entire pivot, stating that in the long term, the goal is still to build a decentralized exchange when the technology matures.

The fiat-to-crypto plan also comes as Binance has recorded healthy businesses incomes over the past year despite the overall cryptocurrency market downturn.

During the fireside chat, Zhao confirmed that in the first quarter this year, Binance made $200 million in profits, although the assets are all in cryptos. He added that the profits in Q2 declined due to a market drop, with $150 million.

Commenting on Binance's rapid growth, Zhao said luck played some role in the company's success so far as it was established with the "right thing at the right time."

After quitting from OKCoin in 2015, Zhao said he spent the next two years with a team building a cloud-based system that offers crypto exchanges the infrastructure to form their own platforms, a technology he said laid the foundation of the creation of Binance.

And two years later, the exchange went online at a time when the Chinese government was stepping up its scrutiny over crypto trading and eventually issued the ban on domestic initial coin offerings and fiat-to-crypto trading.

"Sometimes negative things could turn out to be positive in the long term if you leverage it right," he said.

Asked if he was concerned about whether market volatility would significantly affect Binance's business, Zhao responded that he sold his house in 2014 to buy bitcoin, after which its price dropped from $600 to $200. Despite the fall, he he didn't sell, adding: "After that, I'm just not that worried."…-every-continent/

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Blockchain in Africa: The Next Frontier – An Interview with Global Gaming Africa’s John Kamara

VALLETTA, Malta, September 19, 2018/ — What kind of solutions can blockchain technology offer the continent? Is Africa on the road to becoming a blockchain hub?

Africa is rising and technology is at the forefront of our growth as a continent. We have seen the explosion of the mobile space in the continent and how it has allowed a number of services and solutions to become easier. Blockchain is about to help solve a number of issues we are currently facing in the public and private sector. Pockets of blockchain innovation are fast springing up in innovation hubs across Africa, as the public and private sector alike seek effective new systems of record with trust embedded.

With Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and South Africa among the countries taking the lead in blockchain experimentation, the financial sector looks set to be the continent’s earliest big adopter. However, development and trials are also underway to apply blockchain technology to virtually every industry sector – from health and social development to retail and agriculture. Governments are exploring ways of using blockchain to aid corruption across multiple verticals and also to push value to service sectors.

One company planning to maximize blockchain’s potential in Africa is Ecobank, a pan-African banking conglomerate with operations in 36 African countries. Ecobank’s Fintech Challenge actively seeks out fintech innovations harnessing Blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning and other next-generation technologies.

Other countries like Kenya and Nigeria have either setup a blockchain committee or advisory programs to explore the opportunity. Some of the happenings in the private sector around blockchain education are also key to use case of the technology, i.e IBM research on blockchain and movement of trade in Africa.  ITEX, a payment solution company servicing multiple POS solutions and software for banks across Africa is exploring blockchain for security and trust.

From my perspective Africa is looking at blockchain as a solution to solve some of the multiple problems we have, as we pioneer digital payment technologies in Africa as well.

As we move into the African future in technology blockchain represents a perfect decentralized and incorruptible ‘truth engine’ that cannot be hacked growth for payment, SME trade and a number of identity management and transactional problems we have in Africa.

Nairobi and South Africa have implemented crypto-friendly laws and Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta has launched a blockchain and artificial intelligence task force. Do you think other African countries will follow suit?

Yes, more countries will follow and create other types of structures that will work for their economy based on their market need.

Some momentum has been gathered around the use of blockchain in Africa so far and throughout 2018. But what could be unusual is the role that governments and public sector organisations could play in raising its profile further. Typically, the development and application of emerging technologies is championed by the private sector before the public sector tends to take notice. Given that the potential use cases for blockchain align so closely with many public services, this is a technology where the public sector cannot afford to be sat in the passenger seat.

For example, the Blockchain Association of Uganda was established earlier this year to create a credible vehicle for driving standards for blockchain across industries in Uganda. The membership organisation also aims to make blockchain-related resources available to government and public-sector consumers.

We also see the evolution of the Blockchain centre for excellence positioned to provide education and train young developers on blockchain and how to build solutions that can solve African problems.

Do you foresee any difficulties with the implementation of blockchain systems? There are some concerns about the risk of crypto asset crime, including tax evasion and money laundering.

Global Gaming Africa

Source: Malta Blockchain Summit

Bitcoin’s wild skyrocket last year may well have turned the world’s interest on to cryptocurrencies, but in Africa, we “still have a long way to go” before they will be considered legal tender, and as such are not of major interest. Governments are still struggling with how to manage crypto space and this is affecting the conversation around blockchain. Any decision to buy into a new cryptocurrency would be guided by the same criteria as other investment decisions, with a focus on avoiding the “cloud” created by the crypto buzz.

African Cryptocurrency exchanges – allowing people to trade various digital currencies against African currencies – may present a more valuable prospect in the short term, but overall, he leans away from the crypto proposition in favour of blockchain solutions. These, he says, will be far more attractive investment opportunities:  It will not be as straightforward as it may sound.

A lot of African banks and government-run when they hear the word crypto because of the effect they feel it will have on the economy and also loss of control. Issues around tax evasion are real and have to be discussed with clarity for us to find a way forward.

What potential does this have to revolutionize the lives of the unbanked, does it represent an opportunity to democratize the economy?

On the private sector side, it is a huge opportunity for the fintech and private sector space. Also, the drive for financial inclusion is one that bodes well for the crypto space in Africa.  We can already see a number of exchanges set up in Africa to take advantage of this growing opportunity.

Just as Africa skipped the early fixed-line telecommunication phases of the 20th century and moved straight on to mobile phone usage, could new blockchain tech provide it with a similar opportunity to bypass inefficient systems and leap into the future?

Yes, 1000% – blockchain is going to revolutionize the way we look at tech and solutions going forward in Africa.  And blockchain on mobile is the next frontier.

There is certainly a lot of buzz around blockchain tech and its potential to bring about change in Africa. In your opinion, is this sense of optimism realistic or are we jumping the gun a bit?

It is optimistic but needs guidance and clarity. It’s also a huge educational opportunity for various private sector companies to create a whole new revenue and income stream. Africa is the land of milk and honey at the moment and blockchain is another form of milk that is going to become huge. Some interesting things happening in blockchain in Africa:

ITEX, one of the top payment solutions in Africa and specifically, Nigeria (over 14 years old), has exposure in over 23 countries throughout Africa and is currently working on an integrated Pan-African settlement platform on the blockchain.

Paxful has announced plans to establish a blockchain incubator hub in Lagos, Nigeria, as well as to run Blockchain and cryptocurrency events in Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon.

AID:Tech and PharmAccess are harnessing AID:Tech’s blockchain platform to collect and verify digital health data to make antenatal care more effective in Tanzania.

Kenyan real estate firm Land Layby Group plans to use blockchain to store land registry records, eliminating the existing real estate challenges of fraud, double ownership and false documents.

Kenyan startup ‘Nurse in Hand’, has signed a MoU with Apla Tech Company to build a blockchain-based accident and emergency response platform.

Blockchain start-up TariLabs has launched in Johannesburg, South Africa, with the aim of building the open source Tari blockchain protocol. The protocol is being constructed as a platform for the management, trade and use of digital assets, and will be merge-mined with the Monero blockchain.

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) ran the Project Khokha proof of concept trialling a distributed ledger technology-based wholesale payment system in a ‘real world’ environment. It reported that the typical daily volume of the payments system could be processed in less than two hours with full confidentiality of transactions and settlement.

Jamborow, the Pan African B2B platform for financial inclusion in Africa is also building a blockchain solution to help secure data, transactional information and identity management for her clients in Africa.

These developments prove that the private sector and governments are taking blockchain seriously in the continent. The proof is in the drive of our private companies to explore and deploy funds into blockchain research as well as projects.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Malta Blockchain Summit.

*Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the company, product or service. is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any loss or damage caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, product or service mentioned in this press release.* 

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Proper Regulations Will Boost Confidence in Cryptocurrency Sector: Abu Dhabi Regulator.

The regulatory chief of Abu Dhabi’s international financial center and free zone has called for tighter regulations for cryptocurrency trading and ICOs while recognizing the growing global industry.

Nearly a year after issuing its guidelines for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs), effectively regulating the industry, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) is sharing its framework with its regulatory counterparts around the world.

“This space needs to be properly regulated, otherwise there is the risk of financial crime,” FSRA chief executive Richard Teng was quoted as saying by The National. “Every time a coin gets stolen or lost, it affects the confidence in this asset class.”

Notably, FSRA chief executive Richard Teng insists that “a lot has changed” over the past few months in a changing landscape that forgoes fears associated to cryptocurrencies to the recognition of a growing industry that requires guidelines to responsibly develop and encourage the sector.

He added:

“We are confident that our comprehensive regime – which we have shared with global regulators like the [U.S.] SEC, the UK Treasury, Financial Conduct Authority and Bank of England, and regulators in Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan – can address these risks and bring greater confidence into this asset class.”

The Abu Dhabi regulator’s comments come at a time when lawmakers in the U.K. urged the government to prioritize regulation of the cryptocurrency and ICO space in a Treasury Committee report published today.

One of the first financial centers and trade zones to outline guidance for cryptocurrency firms in October 2017, the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) enforced the regulatory framework by the FSRA for cryptocurrency firms operating in the zone in June. The regulations, which includes stipulations for exchange operators and crypto custody firms (wallet providers) alike, deems cryptocurrencies as commodities akin to precious metals.

“[W]e do a lot of challenges in regulating something which was designed not to be regulated,” FSRA capital markets director Wai Lum Qwok said of regulating cryptocurrencies like bitcoin last year, whilst insisting the authority is open to the idea in the future.

A member of the R3-led banking-centric blockchain consortium, the ADGM acknowledged the advent of cryptocurrencies as a method of payment earlier this year, despite the likes of Saudi Arabia’s central bank outlawing bitcoin trading in the neighboring country.

The Abu Dhabi regulator said earlier this year:

“The FSRA notes that virtual currencies, although not legal tender, are gaining interest globally as a medium of exchange for goods and services.”

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20% of Coinbase Trades are Made by the Cryptocurrency Exchange Itself.

When trading on a cryptocurrency exchange, investors have little-to-no information about the person trading against them, that is, the person on the other side of their buy and sell orders.

Subject to the geographic restrictions of the exchange, that could be someone who lives in your neighborhood, or it could be someone who lives on the other side of the world.

However, depending on which cryptocurrency exchanges you frequent, there’s a significant chance that, at least occasionally, you are trading against someone that works for the exchange itself.

Proprietary Trading Common on Cryptocurrency Exchanges

That’s one takeaway from the “Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative Report,” published by the Office of the New York State Attorney General (OAG) on Sept. 18. The OAG, as CCN reported, sent a detailed questionnaire to 13 cryptocurrency exchanges, including quite a few that purport to have no business presence in the state, probing them on their policies and internal operations.

While some exchanges, most visibly Kraken, refused to comply with the probe, most did, and of those, half admitted that they engage in proprietary trading on their platforms.

In proprietary trading, exchange employees fill buy and sell orders on behalf of the company, rather than simply matching buyers and sellers. This places the exchange operator in the position of trading against its customers.

Proprietary trading is common in traditional securities markets, and, as the OAG notes in its report, there are multiple reasons why an exchange may participate in this practice. On a basic level, an exchange’s trading desk may be seeking to turn a profit for the company. This is especially plausible on retail-focused exchanges where professional traders can match themselves up against competition with much less experience.

Additionally, exchanges use proprietary trading to increase liquidity on the platform, particularly in markets that are thinly-traded. Toward this end, the trading desk will place both buy and sell orders to make it easier for customers to execute trades. This not only helps the venue serve existing customers but also helps it attract new ones into the market, ultimately building organic, customer-driven volume.

Coinbase, bitFlyer USA are Active Platform Traders

According to self-reported statistics, the level of proprietary trading varied greatly among exchanges. The OAG report found that Coinbase engaged in the most proprietary trading, with these activities accounting for nearly 20 percent of the platform’s trading volume. BitFlyer USA also reported high levels of proprietary trades, which make up approximately 10 percent of its volume.

Circle claimed that proprietary trades accounted for less than one percent of volume on Poloniex, the U.S.-based exchange it acquired earlier this year. Bitfinex and Tidex also acknowledged that they engage in platform trading.

Cryptocurrency exchange platform venue trading

Source: New York OAG

Bitstamp, Bittrex, Gemini, and HBUS, on the other hand, said that they do not engage in proprietary trading, while itBit declined to respond to the question.

Crucially, the cryptocurrency exchanges that engage in proprietary trading said that their traders do not have any advantages over customers. The report said, “Trading platforms that engage in proprietary trading on their own venues uniformly told the OAG that their trading desks had no informational or other trading advantage over customers.”

Report Raises ‘Serious Questions’: OAG

However, the report said that the high levels of proprietary trading on some exchanges raise “serious questions” about the hidden risks that customers face when using those platforms.

Commenting on these findings, the OAG said:

“Such high levels of proprietary trading raise serious questions about the risks customers face on those platforms. As a general principle, when a significant percentage of the volume in one or more assets on a venue is attributable to one source, customers face the risk that the availability of liquidity in those assets could change, without notice and at any time, including when liquidity is needed most – namely, in times of market volatility or rapid price movement.”

“That certain platforms themselves account for such high levels of activity on their own venues also calls into question whether the natural market for virtual currencies on those platforms is as robust as customers might believe it to be,” the report added.

CCN has reached out to Coinbase and bitFlyer USA for comment on their proprietary trading policies and will update this article upon receiving a reply.

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Singapore’s Crypto Market Blooms as Korea’s Largest Exchange Moves In.

Dunamu, the parent company of South Korea’s largest crypto exchange Upbit, has officially announced the launch of Upbit Singapore, which will be fully operational by October.

Upbit Singapore CEO Alex Kim explained in an official statement that local users in Singapore will be able to trade all of the cryptocurrencies integrated by partner exchange Bittrex with 24/7 real-time security monitoring and firewall system for enhanced security.

Kim emphasized that Dunamu’s decision to expand to Singapore was encouraged by the positive approach of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) towards cryptocurrency regulation and the vision of the country’s government to establish a strong crypto and blockchain sector.

Fiat Exchange in Singapore

For many years, despite favorable regulations for cryptocurrency-related businesses, Singapore has fallen behind Malta, Switzerland, South Korea, and Japan in terms of market growth. Specifically, the cryptocurrency exchange market of Singapore has struggled to see an exponential increase in trading volume.

According to Kim, Singapore has openly embraced blockchain technology and cryptocurrency-related businesses, which will allow cryptocurrency exchanges based in Singapore to pursue various opportunities and projects in the blockchain sector.

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has also announced the launch of Binance Singapore earlier this week, integrating fiat pairings against the Singaporean dollar for the first time in the company’s history.

Upbit has supported fiat pairings against the Korean won in the local cryptocurrency exchange market of South Korea since mid-2017. The confidence of Upbit in integrating the Singaporean dollar demonstrates the availability of strong banking partners in the country that will be able to support the demand and interest towards cryptocurrencies.

“We are confident Upbit’s secure and convenient exchange service, combined with the ability to trade in Singapore dollars, as well Bitcoin, Ethereum, and USDT via Bittrex support will allow us to attract users and establish Upbit’s presence in the global market,” Kim said.

Why Upbit Chose Singapore as the First International Market

In an official statement, Dunamu CEO Sigroo Lee explained that the company believes Singapore to be a bridge between Korea and the global cryptocurrency exchange market.

Currently, as CCN reported, there are various regulatory uncertainties in South Korea surrounding the crypto market and until the first crypto and blockchain legislation of the country is passed, which analysts expect to be late 2018, the uncertainties in the local market will not be clarified.

Still, Lee emphasized that the company is confident blockchain regulatory guidelines will be established in South Korea and in the open-minded stance towards cryptocurrencies by the government of Singapore.

Lee said:

“We felt the timing was right to expand globally despite various uncertainties surrounding the Korean market. One of the key functions of a crypto-asset exchange is to connect the real economy to cryptocurrencies, and we believe we can provide this bridge between Korea and the global market. We hope the blockchain regulatory guidelines will be established soon in Korea so that companies here can continue to grow their competitiveness.”

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