US: Pennsylvania Rules That Crypto Exchanges, ATMs Are Not Money Transmitters

US: Pennsylvania Rules That Crypto Exchanges, ATMs Are Not Money Transmitters

The American state of Pennsylvania has clarified that cryptocurrency exchanges do not fall subject to the Money Transmitter Act (MTA), according to a Department of Banking and Securities (DoBS) document published today, Jan. 23. The document clarifies crypto exchanges thus do not require a license to offer their services to Pennsylvania residents. The MTA — otherwise referred to as the Money Transmission Business Licensing Law — provides that “[n]o person shall engage in the business of transmitting money by means of a transmittal instrument for a fee or other consideration with or on behalf of an individual without first having obtained a license from the [DoBS].” While the definition of a “person” pertains to both individuals and organizations, the DoBs underscores that the transmission of money under the MTA necessarily involves the transfer of fiat currency “with or on behalf of an individual to a 3rd party” — a service for which the transmitter charges a fee. According to the document, digital currencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) are not deemed to be “money” under the MTA — which is defined as being “currency or legal tender or any other product that is generally recognized as a medium of exchange.” According to the DoBs, no United States jurisdiction has recognized cryptocurrencies as legal tender to date. Pennsylvania in particular restricts the definition of money to “[a] medium of exchange currently authorized or adopted by a domestic or foreign government.” The document also clarifies that in regard to crypto kiosks, ATMs and vending machines — regardless of whether they enable one-or two-way deposits and exchange of crypto and fiat — no money transmission is deemed to be involved, as there is no transfer of money to a third party. As reported last week, a bill that exempts companies providing non-custodial crypto services from certain state money transmitting laws was recently re-submitted to the U.S. Congress. In March of last year, the state of Wyoming preempted any prospective national level amendments by passing its own bill to exempt particular blockchain-based tokens from certain securities and money transmission laws.

Ripple Partners With Chinese University for Blockchain Research Program

Ripple Partners With Chinese University for Blockchain Research Program

Ripple has partnered with a top Chinese university for a blockchain research program. The Institute for Fintech Research (THUIFR) at Tsinghua University in Beijing announced last week that the scholarship program would focus on global regulatory policies and blockchain development. Selected students will also get to participate in corporate visits and events. Ivy Gao, director of international cooperation and development at the university, said that the initiative is aimed to provide students a “comprehensive view” of global blockchain regulatory policies, adding that he believes it would help students with their “future research or career in the field of blockchain technology.” Eric van Miltenburg, Ripple’s SVP of global operations, said: “The program’s goal – to provide students with opportunities in blockchain research – closely aligns with that of Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Initiative; we’re thrilled to support THUIFR in this endeavor and look forward to its launch.” Back in June, Ripple announced it was putting over $50 million into academic research into blockchain through the university initiative. It partnered with 17 universities from across the globe at the time, including institutions in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada, Europe, India and South Korea. Blockchain research projects from educational institutions around the world have received funding support from government agencies as well. Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Energy announced federal funding of up to $4.8 million for universities working on R&D projects, including those related to blockchain. Tsinghua University campus image via Shutterstock

Governmental Overreach in Developing Nations Will Hasten Hyperbitcoinization

Governmental Overreach in Developing Nations Will Hasten Hyperbitcoinization

Op-Ed For bitcoin idealists, the coming utopia for global finance stars bitcoin dismantling the fiat hegemony, empowering citizens to own their money without central bank mediation, and facilitating borderless trade. Credited to Satoshi Nakamoto Institute co-founder Daniel Krawisz, hyperbitcoinization is a term which describes bitcoin coming to dominate the global currency basket through mass adoption. Also read: Romania Imposes 10% Tax on Cryptocurrency Earnings Fiat Currencies in Race to the Bottom Should hyperbitcoinization occur, it will almost certainly be fast-tracked by bad policies. While some countries are clearing the turf for cryptocurrency through soft touch regulation, others are unwittingly doing the same by failing to contain inflation and maintain liquidity, culminating in a breaking point where citizens will be forced to take back their financial freedom through alternative currencies, primarily bitcoin. In Zimbabwe, Venezuela and Sudan, fiat currencies are in a race to the bottom, prompting governments to implement dubious policies to stop the rot. But the invocation of special powers by presidents, price controls and surrogate currencies also compete with sanctions, bad governance and other structural factors that render government fiscal control efforts futile and deny citizens control of their money. The humanitarian failures of fiat money can be seen in Venezuelan families being forced to buy rotten meat for consumption and give up their children for adoption in the face of a shortage of basic commodities. Such tragic cases impress an urgent case for an alternative currency that is not vulnerable to the whims of central banks. In Zimbabwe, government policies have robbed citizens of their savings twice in two decades as the national currency has dramatically shed value. Repression Opens up New Possibilities for Bitcoin Historically, economically failing and increasingly isolated governments resort to obsessive control of institutions and repression of citizens as they voice protests. Zimbabwe on Jan.  21 lifted a ban on popular social networks, ordered a week earlier to contain protests and black out coverage of a brutal government clampdown that reportedly resulted in 12 deaths, more than 60 gunshot victims in hospital and widespread beatings. Sudan has also responded to protests with rounds of fire in recent weeks. However, repression has also been known to open up new technological possibilities. As citizens take back their democratic liberties through alternative communication channels, there…

Tidbits: Todd on Passphrase Memorization, Antonopoulos Explains Transaction Fees

Tidbits: Todd on Passphrase Memorization, Antonopoulos Explains Transaction Fees

News Tidbits is a roundup of talking points from across the cryptosphere. In this edition, Peter Todd suggests memorizing randomly generated passphrases to secure recovery keys. Amaury Séchet explains how the BCH community faces an uphill battle with adoption, and Andreas Antonopoulos explains why transaction fees don’t show up as a transaction output in the block explorer.  Also read: Hollywood Actor Kevin Connolly Directs New Television Pilot ‘Cryptos’  Peter Todd Recommends Memorizing Randomly Generated Passphrases Cryptographer Christopher Allen recently asked his followers if they keep redundant copies of their own recovery keys. One commentator responded to the thread, arguing that it was safe to keep multiple copies of recovery keys as long as they are properly protected by a good passphrase. Adding to that train of thought, Bitcoin pundit Peter Todd explained that it was important to use and memorize randomly generated passphrases to protect recovery keys. Todd also practices this himself, because unauthorized access of recovery keys is riskier than losing access to them. Personally, I *do* rely 100% on memorizing randomly generated passphrases for quite a lot of stuff, because I considered unauthorized access more of a risk than losing access. But I also have unencrypted backups of other things. Case by case decisions. — Peter Todd (@peterktodd) January 22, 2019 Amaury Séchet on BCH’s Uphill Battle With Adoption Bitcoin ABC lead developer Amaury Séchet has explained how he has been warning the crypto community about negative merchant adoption since 2017. In the past, BTC users were able to purchase Dell computers, Steam games and goods from numerous merchants with BTC. People who joined the cryptocurrency space over the last 2 years or so (probably the majority by now) may not realize this, but you used to be able to purchase @Dell computer, games on @steam_games and numerous shops. 1/2 https://t.co/W7kTla58VF — Deadal Nix (@deadalnix) January 22, 2019 Séchet went on to explain that BCH has fixed the issues that caused merchants to stop accepting BTC as a means of payment, but the BCH community is now facing an uphill battle to reboot merchant adoption. He finished the thread on a hopeful note, explaining that increased merchant adoption could help hasten the return of a crypto bull market. Andreas Antonopoulos Explains Transaction Fees Mastering Bitcoin author…

John McAfee Flees U.S. for Alleged Crypto Tax Fraud

John McAfee Flees U.S. for Alleged Crypto Tax Fraud

News U.S. presidential candidate John McAfee announced on Tuesday that he has fled the country. According to McAfee’s recent Twitter video he’s “living in exile” on a boat because he’s been charged with felonies handed down by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Also Read: Former Mt Gox CEO Reflects on Incarceration in Japan While Facing More Prison Time Crypto Figurehead John McAfee Is on the Run The former antivirus tycoon and cryptocurrency advocate John McAfee says he’s got problems with the U.S. tax agency the IRS. McAfee recently explained in a video that he was charged for “using cryptocurrencies in criminal acts” by Tennessee court officials. McAfee also detailed that four members of his 2020 presidential campaign have also been charged with “unspecified charges of a felonious nature” and his wife as well. “I have not paid taxes for eight years and I have made no secret of it,” McAfee emphasized while sitting on a rocking boat. John McAfee says a grand jury in Tennessee is looking to charge him and his entourage with tax fraud. “They want to silence me and I will not allow that,” McAfee continued. “I am running my campaign in exile on this boat for the duration — I will not allow them to imprison me and shut my voice down, which they will do immediately — Why? I am a flight risk. Obviously, I am in flight,” McAfee remarked. Today, crypto community, we are at war, and I am on the frontlines. McAfee’s Recent Anti-Taxation Statements May Have Made Him a Target The infamous cryptocurrency proponent has been known for being brutally honest and makes statements about digital currencies nearly every day. McAfee’s video also refers to prior statements concerning taxation such as the first week of January when he told his 890,000 Twitter followers that he refuses to pay taxes to the government. The candidate also said he was a prime target for the IRS and seemingly dared the agency to come after him by saying “here I am.” McAfee further stated that taxation is illegal and he’s “paid tens of millions already and received jack shit in services.”     “I’m done making money and I live off of cash from McAfee Incorporated — My net income is negative,”…

Blockchain.com Wallet Confirms ‘Limited Support’ for Bitcoin SV

Blockchain.com Wallet Confirms ‘Limited Support’ for Bitcoin SV

Cryptocurrency statistics and wallet provider Blockchain.com announced it had launched partial support for Bitcoin SV (BSV) in a blog post Jan. 22. The product of a contentious hard fork of Bitcoin Cash (BCH), BSV has existed since November 15, 2018, but suffered various technical difficulties in the weeks following its creation. Some wallet providers and exchanges were initially skeptical of the new coin, with major exchange Kraken noting BSV had “many red flags” and “should be seen as an extremely high risk investment.” Blockchain.com, formerly Blockchain.info, confirmed Tuesday that users have some of the same options with BSV as with its four other hosted cryptocurrencies — Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum (ETH) and Stellar (XLM). “We have been tracking Bitcoin SV chain [sic] closely and will now offer limited, close out transaction support for Bitcoin SV (BSV). You will be able to view your balance, exchange BSV for BTC, BCH, ETH, and XLM through Swap, and send BSV to any address,” the blog post reads, continuing: “We do not have plans to enable full BSV functionality at this time.” “We will continue to monitor activity of BSV to determine how long we will maintain limited support and we’ll make sure to keep you updated on any service changes!” the blog post concludes. As part of the wallet’s support for the cryptocurrency, users who held BCH tokens in their Blockchain.com wallet prior to the fork date will now be able to use a dedicated coin splitting tool to retrieve their duplicate BSV balance. The tool mimics that used by Blockchain.com in 2017, when BCH forked off from the BTC chain. BSV/USD is currently trading around $75.80, below its initial market price around $88. The asset reached a high of $243 shortly after it debuted, according to cross-exchange data from CoinMarketCap.

Bitcoin Approaches $3,600 Again as Top Cryptocurrencies See Gains

Bitcoin Approaches $3,600 Again as Top Cryptocurrencies See Gains

Wednesday, Jan. 23 — most of the top 20 cryptocurrencies are seeing slight to substantial growth on the day to press time. Bitcoin (BTC) is hovering near $3,600 again, according to Coin360 data. Market visualization from Coin360 At press time, Bitcoin is up just over 1 percent on the day, trading at around $3,603. Looking at its weekly chart, the current price is just slightly lower than $3,658, the price at which Bitcoin started the week. On the month, the leading cryptocurrency is down about 10 percent from just over $4,000. Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Ripple (XRP) is up under half of a percent on the day, trading at around $0.317 at press time. On the weekly chart, the current price is lower than $0.33, the price at which XRP started the week — and down from $0.333, the midweek high reported on Jan. 19. Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Second largest altcoin Ethereum (ETH) has seen its value increase by a little over 1.5 percent over the last 24 hours. At press time, ETH is trading at $118, having started the day about one dollar lower. On the weekly chart, Ethereum’s current value is lower than $124, the price at which the coin started the week. Ethereum 7-day chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Among the top 25 cryptocurrencies, the ones experiencing the most notable growth are Waves (WAVES), which is up over 22 percent, and Bitcoin Cash (BCH), which is up over 7 percent on the day to press time. The combined market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies — currently equivalent to about $120.6 billion — is lower than $122.3, the value it reported one week ago. Furthermore, the total market cap has grown by over a billion dollars in the 24 hours to press time, having started the day at about $119.1. Total crypto market cap 7-day chart. Source: CoinMarketCap As Cointelegraph recently reported, Bitcoin is nearly oversold and may be gearing up for a short-term rally, according to a Bloomberg analysis. Also, news recently broke that Adena Friedman, president and CEO of Nasdaq Inc., said that cryptocurrency “deserves an opportunity to find a sustainable future in our economy.”

Bitcoin’s Technicals Show Signs of a Bottom, Possible Short Term Rally: Analysts

Bitcoin’s Technicals Show Signs of a Bottom, Possible Short Term Rally: Analysts

Key technical parameters signal that top cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC) may be finding a bottom, and could even be headed for a short term price hike, according to analysts at Bloomberg Jan. 22. Bitcoin’s GTI Global Strength Technical Indicator is now at 35.6, which Bloomberg notes is “nearing oversold levels,” and the lowest level since December. The parameter indicates the coin has robust support at $3,000-$3,100, and is stabilizing around the $3,500 mark. Bloomberg gages the likelihood of a short term rally based on the GRI VERA Trend Signals indicator — VERA, which stands for Volatility Explosion Relatively Adjusted theory, is used to identify trends over multiple time spans. Having reportedly breached its lower VERA band limit yesterday, Bitcoin quickly rebounded to trade just above it — a behavior that Bloomberg suggests could signal a short term price surge. To press time, Bitcoin is trading around $3,600 — up 1.1 percent on the day, and down by around the same — 1.7 percent — on the week. The asset remains at over 80 percent down from its peak value in December 2017, when the coin hit over $20,000. In remarks earlier this week, United Kingdom-based investor and entrepreneur Alistair Milne predicted that Bitcoin is likely to repeat — and even exceed — its record-breaking price leap: “The probability that Bitcoin matches its ATH [all-time high] price again and doesn’t then continue past it seems very low. Each wave of adoption is an order of magnitude bigger than the last.” Yesterday, Adena Friedman, president and CEO of Nasdaq Inc., argued that for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to evolve into a practical, useable invention with stable value, better “governance and regulatory clarity” for the sector is required.

Seed CX Launches Spot Bitcoin Trading in Bid for Big-Money Investors

Seed CX Launches Spot Bitcoin Trading in Bid for Big-Money Investors

Seed CX has taken its first big step to bring institutional investors to the crypto space. The Chicago-based exchange startup announced Wednesday that it had launched a bitcoin spot trading market for its major clients, offering a regulated platform with “a deep book of liquidity.” Interested clients can access the market through a web API, a graphical user interface or the financial information exchange (FIX) protocol, according to a press release. Seed CX, which has raised $25 million since its inception in 2015, is now offering a licensed exchange for institutional trading and settlement. At some point in the near future, it will begin offering a market for crypto derivatives regulated by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). “We’re offering truly institutional level support. We are live,” said Seed CX co-founder and CEO Edward Woodford. He told CoinDesk that at launch, the exchange will offer a bitcoin/U.S. dollar trading pair, with plans to add dollar pairs for ether, litecoin and bitcoin cash by the end of the month. “In February we’re going to be offering more trading pairs, so we’re going to be offering up euros and Japanese yen,” he added. Woodford explained that Seed CX’s offering targets institutions looking at the market after months of price declines, adding: “The narrative right now is ‘low prices, low prices, low prices,’ and the question is how do we respond to this. In a sense, we’ve launched months ago [by on-boarding early clients], but now we’re getting a whole bunch of clients looking to decrease their operational risk.” Managing risk As part of these efforts to decrease risk, the exchange plans to help investors with margin trading, use larger tick (minimum price movement) and contract sizes than retail trading platforms and employ tighter quote requirements for its clients. Clients can also post non-traditional assets (including digital assets) as collateral. All U.S. dollar deposits to the exchange will be stored in regulated banks and insured through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), while digital assets will be stored via Seed CX’s wallet infrastructure. Rather than storing all its clients’ crypto in one big pot, as many crypto exchanges do, Seed CX maintains segregated wallets for each client. As part of its pitch to potential clients, the exchange also noted that…

Gold Price May Offer Clues About Next Big Bitcoin Move

Gold Price May Offer Clues About Next Big Bitcoin Move

Bitcoin (BTC) traders could get cues from an apparent negative correlation that has developed between bitcoin and gold prices. Gold picked up a strong bid at $1,196 on Nov. 13 and jumped to $1,300 on Jan. 4, possibly due to a sell-off in the weakening U.S. dollar. The greenback was down against most currencies in last two months of 2018 on growing speculation that the Federal Reserve (Fed) could decrease or pause interest rate hikes in 2019. Bitcoin, however, did not benefit from that broad-based sell-off in the dollar. The cryptocurrency instead saw a revived bear market with a convincing move below $6,000 on Nov. 14 – a day after gold found takers around $1,200 per ounce. That price action indicates that the two assets are inversely correlated. Validating that argument is the 90-day correlation coefficient of -0.593. The statistical measure ranges from -1 to 1, with a negative number representing the inverse relationship between the two variables, while a positive number implies direct correlation. As a result, the leading cryptocurrency by market value could be influenced by the next move in gold prices. Currently, the safe haven metal is trading at $1,285, having hit a three-week low of $1,276 earlier this week. Meanwhile, BTC is trading in a narrow range above $3,500 for the 13th straight day. The prolonged period of consolidation could end with a strong bullish move if the corrective pullback in gold worsens. It is worth noting that correlation is not causation and only describes the relative change in one variable when there is a change in another. Bitcoin and gold chart As seen above, bitcoin and gold have moved in opposite directions since late November. Gold rallied 8.33 percent in seven weeks leading up to Jan. 4. During the same time, BTC depreciated by 50 percent. Further, gold’s repeated failure at $1,300 has established that psychological level as a stiff near-term resistance. Meanwhile, BTC has defended $3,500 since Jan. 11. The cryptocurrency could see a strong bullish move if the pullback in the yellow metal gathers steam. Bitcoin daily chart On the daily chart, BTC created a “long-tailed” candle at the crucial support of $3,500, signaling bearish exhaustion. A positive follow-through – that is, a convincing move above $3,615 (Tuesday’s…