Iran Steps Up Plan for National Crypto After US Sanctions

Iran Steps Up Plan for National Crypto After US Sanctions

Economy & Regulation Right after Washington’s move to impose sanctions that will restrict Iran’s access to US currency, reports came out that Tehran is speeding up the project to develop a national cryptocurrency. Officials in the Islamic Republic believe the state-issued coin could help circumvent the restrictions imposed by the Trump administration. Also read: New Bill Proposes 5% Tax on Crypto Incomes in Ukraine Iran to Evade US Sanctions Using Own Crypto Faced with renewed US sanctions, Iran is accelerating the development of its national crypto as the oil-rich nation is looking for ways around the American restrictions. Despite calls from partners and signatories to the Iran nuclear deal, like the EU, Russia and China, Washington reimposed measures targeting the ability of the Islamic Republic to acquire US dollars and trade in precious metals. The United States urged allies to cut all purchases of Iranian oil and president Trump warned that the sanctions will “ratchet up to yet another level” in November. Following the news from Washington this week, media reports from Tehran suggested that the Iranian government is now serious about stepping up efforts to finalize the project for an indigenous cryptocurrency. On Wednesday, a day after the Trump administration restored the sanctions, a high ranking Iranian official revealed that President Hassan Rouhani had ordered the country’s central bank to hold a meeting with other relevant authorities to discuss the matter. They are expected to assess the progress in the development of Iran’s digital money at a time when the fiat Rial is plunging. According to Iranian English language channel Press TV, the announcement was made by the Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, whose department will jointly chair the meeting with the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) scheduled to take place next week. Jahromi noted that the preliminary studies had been carried out already by Iran’s Post Bank, which was charged with overseeing the crypto project. The CBI, however, is still opposed to the idea of using digital currencies and considers them illegal in Iran. Nevertheless, the minister hinted that this attitude could soon change claiming that the mentality within the Iranian government is currently in favor of cryptocurrencies. Speaking to reporters, he stated: A new attitude that has been…

UK:  $2.5 Million Losses in Crypto-Related Scams Reported This Summer

UK: $2.5 Million Losses in Crypto-Related Scams Reported This Summer

British police have warned the public about fraudulent investment schemes involving cryptocurrencies, the volume of which has led to 2 million pounds ($2.55 million) worth of losses this summer, according to an announcement published August 10. In the announcement, the police cite statistics prepared by the Action Fraud national reporting center for fraud and cyber crime, which shows that in June and July victims reported losses of $2.5 million in cryptocurrency scams. The average loss totaled to roughly 10 thousand pounds ($12,700 thousand) per person. Director of Action Fraud Pauline Smith said: “It’s vital for anyone who invests or is thinking of investing in cryptocurrencies to thoroughly research the company they are choosing to invest with. The statistics show that opportunistic fraudsters are taking advantage of this market, offering investments in cryptocurrencies and using every trick in the book to defraud unsuspecting victims.” Fraudsters reportedly lure potential victims with “get rich quick” investment schemes in crypto mining and trading. When a person signs up to a fraudulent digital currency investment website, they are asked to provide personal data like credit card details or driver’s licence numbers to open a trading account. Once the victim makes an initial deposit, fraudsters persuade them to invest more to gain a greater profit. In order to fight fraudulent activity involving cryptocurrencies, the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Academy (ECA) has reportedly developed a one-day “Cryptocurrencies for Investigators” course to train officers to recognize and manage crypto in their investigations. This week, the U.K. financial watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), issued two warnings over crypto-related “clone” companies, which claim to be authorized by the FCA. The first firm called Fair Oaks Crypto allegedly tried to hoodwink potential victims by claiming that they represent Fair Oaks Capital Ltd. The second, Good Crypto was reportedly giving out  “false details or mix[ing] these with some correct details of the registered firm,” which in this case was London-based Arup Corporate Finance.

Volumes Surge on Turkey’s Crypto Exchanges as Lira Tanks

Volumes Surge on Turkey’s Crypto Exchanges as Lira Tanks

Trading volume on Turkey’s cryptocurrency exchanges surged Friday as the country’s fiat currency plunged to record lows on economic jitters. According to CoinMarketCap, volume at Turkish exchanges Paribu, Btcturk and Koinim jumped over the past 24 hours by more than 100 percent each. Absolute volumes are still relatively small at these exchanges, with Btcturk, the country’s largest, handling $11.6 million in trades. The Turkish lira hit an all-time low against the dollar, reflecting global market worries about President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s economic policies, his souring relationship with U.S. president Donald Trump and his government’s ability to repay its debts. Doing little to calm such fears, Erdogan spoke in public appearances Friday of “economic war” with the U.S. and called on Turkish citizens to exchange any dollars, euros or gold they own for the lira to prop it up, according to media reports. The ongoing turmoil has increased the appeal of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for some local retail investors, even though the sector has been in a bear market this year. “Every day there are new [bitcoin] exchanges coming up in Turkey,” said a local university student who for safety reasons asked to be referred to by his Twitter handle, Bit_gossip. Another crypto user, an affiliate marketing professional in Istanbul who also prefers to go by a pseudonym, Bitmov, said he has been using bitcoin to buy digital ads abroad for over three years. Now his family and friends turn to him for advice on how to buy bitcoin, he said. Bitmov told CoinDesk: “I started personally trading crypto 1.5 years ago because of the weakness of the Turkish lira, and fear of the political, and financial, status of the Turkish government. Cryptocurrency makes me feel much safer.” Pointing to hardships caused by recent economic policies, Bitmov said he no longer trusts fiat currencies. Similarly, Bunyamin Yavuz, a cardiologist in Ankara, said he no longer trusts local banks and now buys XRP, monero, lumens, among other cryptocurrencies as part of his investment portfolio. Yavuz told CoinDesk his holdings now consist of 30 percent cryptocurrencies, 20 percent U.S. dollars, and just 10 percent lira. Reflecting the growing interest, Bit_gossip has run a crypto Discord channel since 2016 that has recently grown to 11,294 Turkish-speaking members. Bitcoin purchases would be even brisker…

Japan’s Financial Watchdog Publishes Results of Its On-Site Crypto Exchange Inspections

Japan’s Financial Watchdog Publishes Results of Its On-Site Crypto Exchange Inspections

Japan’s financial watchdog, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), has published the results of its on-site inspections of cryptocurrency exchange operators, Cointelegraph Japan reports August 10. Based on its findings, the watchdog has decided to apply more rigorous oversight into new applications from exchanges hoping to receive an official operating license. Newly registered exchanges will be required to undergo on-site inspections at an early stage and the agency plans to closely examine the effectiveness of their business models. According to the agency, there are currently “hundreds” of companies awaiting its review. The FSA probe revealed that exchange operators’ maintenance of their internal control systems has failed to keep pace with the rapid growth of transaction volumes, which it partly attributed to the “renaissance” of the crypto markets in fall 2017. According to the investigations, the total digital assets of domestic exchanges surged to 792.8 billion yen ($7.1 billion), an over six-fold increase within the space of one year. Meanwhile, most exchanges’ workforces are fewer than 20 people, meaning that one employee on average was found to be managing digital assets worth 3.3 billion yen ($29.7 million). The comprehensive document identified a wide array of problems across exchanges’ business models, risk management and compliance, internal audits, and corporate governance. The agency further highlighted concerns over insufficient anti-money laundering (AML) measures among certain exchanges. Local news platform Nikkei has reported that it is likely the new registration of exchange operators — which had virtually stopped in the wake of January’s $532 mln hack of crypto exchange Coincheck — will resume following the FSA’s interim publication. The FSA has said that “substantial” ongoing review of registration procedures will be necessary, and that it will continue to give “priority to investor protection.” In May, the FSA unrolled regulatory stipulations for registered exchanges, including tough restrictions on the trading of anonymity-oriented altcoins. In July, the FSA announced it was considering changing the legal framework for the regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges, and the agency was also recently restructured in order improve its handling of fintech-related areas, including cryptocurrencies. A self-regulatory body, the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA), formed in early March in order to develop and coordinate policies in conjunction with the FSA. Last month, JVCEA announced it would be requiring…

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Litecoin, Cardano, Stellar, IOTA, TRON: Price Analysis, August 10

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Litecoin, Cardano, Stellar, IOTA, TRON: Price Analysis, August 10

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision. The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. Just a few days back we were discussing whether cryptocurrencies have entered a bull phase. Now, after the recent slump in prices, analysts are predicting a huge fall on Bitcoin (BTC). Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Mike McGlone believes that Bitcoin will plunge to last year’s average level of $4,000. Jeff deGraaf, head of technical research at Renaissance Macro Research has a more dire warning for the Bitcoin bulls. He said that “once the top is complete”, it may even mean “game-over” for Bitcoin. DeGraff is a highly respected voice in the technical analyst community, hence, his forecast should be kept in mind. However, it is important to note that technical analysts can quickly change their opinion according to the chart patterns. While it is beneficial to know their views, the trades should only be taken based on the current chart patterns. Additionally, every position should be protected by a stop loss to protect the capital, should the markets go opposite to our expectation. BTC/USD The bulls have defended the critical support level at $6,075.04 for the past two days. Although this is a positive sign, a sharper pullback would have given us greater confidence that the bulls are aggressively buying at these levels. As the recovery has been weak, we will have to rely on other signs to predict the next probable direction on Bitcoin. The moving averages are on the verge of completing a bearish crossover, which is a negative sign. On the other hand, the RSI is close to the oversold territory, which shows the selling has been overdone and a pullback is likely. Any pullback will face a stiff resistance at the downtrend line of the descending triangle and then at the moving averages. The virtual currency will show the first signs of bullishness once it sustains above $7,200. There is a possibility for the BTC/USD pair to remain range bound between $6,000 and $8,500. We have come to this conclusion because the bottom — around…

FinCEN Says It Now Receives 1,500 Crypto Complaints a Month

FinCEN Says It Now Receives 1,500 Crypto Complaints a Month

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) receives more than 1,500 reports every month from financial institutions regarding cryptocurrencies, a top official said Thursday. FinCEN director Kenneth Blanco, speaking at the Chicago-Kent Block (Legal) Tech Conference, discussed the role his agency takes in regulating cryptocurrencies. He noted that while cryptocurrencies can prove beneficial for certain use cases, they also create opportunities for bad actors such as financial criminals, terrorists and rogue states. Blanco emphasized the importance of Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) filings – a type of document that financial institutions must file following a suspected incident of money laundering or fraud. FinCEN receives more than 1,500 SARs every month regarding suspicious activities involving cryptocurrency transactions, he said. These reports come from both traditional financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges, he said. He explained: “It was filings by both banks and other virtual currency exchanges that provided critical leads for law enforcement. This information included beneficial ownership information, additional activity attributed to the exchange of which we were previously unaware, jurisdictional information, and additional financial institutions we could contact for new leads. All of this was obtained through SARs and the supporting documents filed by financial institutions.” Blanco also discussed FinCEN’s role in the crypto space more broadly, explaining that the regulator has worked for years in the cryptocurrency field, with a focus on “exchanges, administrators and other persons involved in money transmission” related to cryptocurrencies. He justified the agency’s legal standing in the field by noting that cryptocurrencies acting as a substitute for fiat currencies are covered by a 2011 rule FinCEN issued regarding money service businesses that provide money transmission services. In addition, Blanco noted that the agency has been working closely with other regulators, including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on “policy development and regulatory approaches” related to cryptocurrency. Blanco referenced initial coin offerings (ICOs) during his remarks, noting that “this rapidly growing area has gained a lot of recent public attention.” He specifically cited fraud around the fundraising method as an area of focus. He continued: “While ICO arrangements vary and, depending on their structure, may be subject to different authorities, one fact remains absolute: FinCEN, and our partners at the SEC and CFTC, expect businesses…

Huge Demand for ‘P2P’ Crypto Trading Seen in India After RBI Ban

Huge Demand for ‘P2P’ Crypto Trading Seen in India After RBI Ban

Exchanges Exchange-escrowed trading directly between cryptocurrency buyers and sellers is growing in popularity in India following the crypto banking ban imposed by the country’s central bank. One local exchange, in particular, is seeing “tremendous” response from Indian traders for this service as “tens of thousands of new users have signed up” in a month. Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space Indians Warming Up to New Solution Since the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), banned banks from providing fiat service to crypto companies, local cryptocurrency exchanges have come up with solutions for their users to be able to withdraw Indian rupees. One popular solution is exchange-escrowed trading which local exchanges call peer-to-peer (P2P) trading. Indian crypto exchange Wazirx launched this service about a month ago. CEO Nischal Shetty told news.Bitcoin.com that the response from traders for this service has been “tremendous,” stating: People love P2P…Everyone had their doubts whether P2P would work or not, the convenience etc…[But now] We’re seeing above 1 trade match every minute happening in P2P…we’re talking about peer-to-peer transactions at a rate of more than 1 per minute. He further revealed, “tens of thousands of new users have signed up on Wazirx after we introduced P2P. In fact we got more signups in the last 2 weeks than we got in the last 2 months.” Platforms With Similar Services The Wazirx P2P system was built “to replicate how a traditional order book in an exchange behaves,” the CEO described. It uses tether (USDT) in transactions. Sellers convert their cryptocurrencies to USDT and sell them for rupees. Buyers convert their rupees into USDT which can be used to trade any cryptocurrencies on the exchange. “Wazirx acts as an escrow account for holding the cryptos during the transaction,” the exchange detailed. “The P2P system has replaced the previous system of depositing fiat into Wazirx account and in return getting INR balance in your account,” Shetty explained to news.Bitcoin.com. “What happens now is that you deposit the fiat into another user’s account and get USDT in return…After you get USDT, you can trade in our USDT market in the regular way (non P2P).” Furthermore, orders are automatically matched by the exchange. “The auto matching open order book in…

Coin Center Updates Its Securities Framework for Cryptocurrencies

Coin Center Updates Its Securities Framework for Cryptocurrencies

Blockchain advocacy group Coin Center continues to believes some cryptocurrencies look like securities by law, and should be regulated as such. Peter Van Valkenburgh, the organization’s director of research, published a new report Friday arguing that certain cryptocurrencies follow the oft-cited Howey Test and act as investment contracts. As such, he wrote, they should be treated as securities. The report updates a 2016 version, which laid out a possible framework for regulators in determining whether any given cryptocurrency should be a security according to the Howey Test. The framework examines three variables that Valkenburgh believes are important for determining whether a cryptocurrency is a security: “distribution, decentralization and functionality.” Specifically, he says, how a token is initially distributed, how decentralized its underlying network is and what powers or rights token holders have should determine whether it is a security. He wrote: “We find that larger, more decentralized cryptocurrencies — e.g. bitcoin — pegged cryptocurrencies — i .e. sidechains — as well as distributed computing platforms — e.g. ethereum —do not easily fit the definition of a security and also do not present the sort of consumer risk best addressed through securities regulation. We do find, however, that some smaller, questionably marketed or designed cryptocurrencies may indeed fit that definition.” The new version more closely examines initial coin offerings (ICOs) than the original, perhaps reflecting the fundraising method’s spike in popularity last year. ICOs raised $46 million in 2016, less than one-tenth of the more than $5 billion raised in 2017. It also provides more in-depth explanations of alt-coins and how they may fit into the framework. Valkenburgh also notes the rise in airdrops and ERC-20 tokens, writing that “several networks, most prominently ethereum, are designed to empower their users to create further bespoke tokens ‘on top of’ the parent network. The minting and transmission of these new tokens and their use is policed and described by the consensus mechanism and blockchain of the underlying network.” Like the previous version, Valkenburgh then outlines possible risks to investors, providing suggestions on how to protect them without hurting innovation. House framework image via Shutterstock The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is…

Crypto Unicorn Bitmain Weighs $18 Billion IPO, One of World’s Largest

Crypto Unicorn Bitmain Weighs $18 Billion IPO, One of World’s Largest

Bitmain Technologies, Ltd. is about to go public. According to documents obtained by CoinDesk, the cryptocurrency mining company is filing for an initial public offering (IPO) potentially as high as $18 billion this September at a market capitalization of $40 to $50 billion. It will be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in Q4 2018 or Q1 2019 amid a wave of Chinese unicorns hitting the public markets, including bitcoin mining competitors Canaan Creative and Ebang Communication. One of the most valuable cryptocurrency companies, Bitmain closed a $1 billion pre-IPO financing round on July 23 at a $15 billion valuation, nearly two times cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase’s $8 billion valuation, reported in April. The possible $18 billion IPO sticker price positions Bitmain to displace social giant Facebook as one of the largest public offerings in history. SoftBank Group and Tencent Music are expected to top Alibaba and Spotify for the number one and two IPOs of all-time in the same fiscal period. Tencent Holdings, Ltd., Softbank Group, China National Gold Group and an unnamed sovereign wealth fund managing $15 billion in assets participated in the pre-IPO round. A minimum commitment of $5 million was deadlined by July 18 and signed over to Bitmain Technologies Holding Company, the offshore Cayman Islands investment holding group that has been linked to Chinese technology billionaire Lei Jun, founder of consumer electronics company Xiaomi, Inc. Before this latest funding, Sequoia Capital China led Bitmain’s $50 million Series A and $400 million Series B rounds with the help of San Francisco’s IDG Capital, Menlo Park’s Coatue Management, Russia’s DST Global and Singapore’s EDBI and GIC. The Series A round accounted for 5 percent of shares at a post-mortem valuation of $1 billion, while the Series B round valued the company at $12 billion. Projected share price and volume are not disclosed, but investment banks close to the IPO are calculating the P/E ratio to be 20 within the first publicly traded year. Financial numbers supporting this multiple indicate that Bitmain profited $3.2 billion in total across 2016, 2017 and Q1 2018, with revenues of $2.5 billion in 2017 and $2 billion in Q1 2018. Bitmain is forecasting $2 billion in profit by year’s end. A diversified crypto strategy Five years ago, Jihan Wu…

Facebook’s Marcus Steps Down From Coinbase Board

Facebook’s Marcus Steps Down From Coinbase Board

David Marcus is stepping down from the board of directors at cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, citing his new assignment at Facebook leading the social media giant’s blockchain strategy. Marcus, a vice president at Facebook since 2014, joined the board at Coinbase, now valued at $8 billion, in December of last year. At the time, CEO Brian Armstrong said Marcus, who was once president of PayPal, would apply his expertise in the “payments and mobile space” to guide Coinbase in its overall mission. Five months later, Marcus was named Facebook’s new blockchain research lead. The company has not released any details about the work it is doing in the field, though Marcus’ team reportedly has fewer than a dozen members (Business Insider reported Friday that the social media company had spoken to “a number of crypto projects” on how it can leverage the technology, including Stellar, which developed the XLM cryptocurrency). Marcus has notably indicated in past remarks that Facebook may embrace blockchain, specifically referencing the idea of sending cryptocurrency payments through its Messenger app. In a statement provided to CoinDesk Friday, Marcus said his decision to resign was “because of the new group I’m setting up at Facebook around blockchain.” He added: “Getting to know Brian, who’s become a friend, and the whole Coinbase leadership team and board has been an immense privilege. I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the talent and execution the team has demonstrated during my tenure, and I wish the team all the success it deserves going forward.” A Coinbase spokesperson said Marcus’ decision to step down was made to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, but declined to elaborate. His departure comes less than a month after Facebook exempted Coinbase from its blanket ban on cryptocurrency-related ads. Armstrong tweeted in July that the exchange’s advertisements would once again appear on the platform, a few weeks after Facebook said it would update its policy “to allow ads that promote cryptocurrency and related content from pre-approved advertisers.” Facebook did not explain why Coinbase specifically received a carve-out. Coinbase ads now appear on both Facebook and Instagram, which Facebook owns. There are currently no efforts underway to fill Marcus’ board seat, a Coinbase spokesperson said. DFJ Venture Capital’s Barry Schuler, Andreessen Horowitz’s Chris Dixon and Katie Haun, Union Square…