Reserve Bank of India Anticipates Shift to P2P Crypto Trading

Reserve Bank of India Anticipates Shift to P2P Crypto Trading

Regulation India’s central bank has released its latest annual report which includes a section dedicated to cryptocurrency. The Reserve Bank of India outlines the risks posed by crypto and emphasizes the need to monitor crypto development in anticipation that some trading may shift from exchanges to peer-to-peer (P2P) mode. Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space Risks to Monetary Policy The Reserve Bank of India, the country’s central bank, published on Wednesday its 268-page annual report for 2017-18. While asserting that “the cryptocurrency eco-system may affect the existing payment and settlement system which could, in turn, influence the transmission of monetary policy,” the central bank wrote: Though cryptocurrency may not currently pose systemic risks, its increasing popularity leading to price bubbles raises serious concerns for consumer and investor protection, and market integrity. A Shift to Peer-to-Peer The annual report also confirms that the government and the central bank “are keeping a close watch on cryptocurrency.” Referring to the circular it issued in April banning all financial institutions from providing services to “any individual or business entities dealing with or settling in virtual currencies,” RBI reiterated: Developments on this front need to be monitored as some trading may shift from exchanges to peer-to-peer mode, which may also involve increased usage of cash. Possibilities of migration of crypto exchange houses to dark pools/cash and to offshore locations…require close watch. Since the RBI ban, crypto exchanges in India have come up with solutions to continue providing Indian rupee deposit and withdrawal services to their customers. One solution that is growing in popularity is through exchange-escrowed P2P trading. RBI Sees Additional Risks RBI claims that cryptocurrencies are “prone to hacking and operational risk” because they are stored in electronic wallets. In addition, the central bank sees “a high possibility of its usage for illicit activities, including tax avoidance.” Emphasizing that crypto lacks an “established framework for recourse to customer problems/ dispute resolution as payments by cryptocurrencies take place on a peer-to-peer basis without an authorised central agency which regulates such payments,” RBI detailed: The absence of information on counterparties in such peer-to-peer anonymous/pseudonymous systems could subject users to unintentional breaches of anti-money laundering laws (AML) as well as laws for combating the financing of terrorism (CFT). Furthermore, the report…

Nchain Publishes Bitcoin SV Alpha Release

Nchain Publishes Bitcoin SV Alpha Release

News Over the course of the last two weeks, many Bitcoin Cash (BCH) proponents were waiting for the firm Nchain to publish its Bitcoin SV codebase. Then on Wednesday, August 29, the company published its alpha release in order to show the code to miners and pool operators. Moreover, a mining pool called ‘SV Pool’ was also announced which will allow miners to point their hashrate at the SV client. Also Read: Free Keene Activists Launch Tip-Card Creator Called Cryptotip.org Nchain Releases Bitcoin SV Alpha Client Initially Nchain had promised its open source codebase on the first week of September but instead, the company has released its alpha release on August 29. However, Nchain says they still intend to publish a more polished version during the first week of September. The current alpha code is based on Bitcoin ABC 17.2 with some differences which include a new soft limit of 32MB, OP_MUL, OP_INVERT, LSHIFT and RSHIFT integration, the limit of 201 opcodes per script has been removed, and the automatic replay protection for November 15, 2018, was removed. 128MB functional tests are mentioned here. At the moment there is not much of a reference in the code towards the 128MB block size increase, which has caused some arguing among the community. But there has been a functional tests addition implemented to the code seven days ago which says, “Add a couple of new functional tests to check for being able to set the block size flags via the bitcoind.conf file and to check if we can actually process 128M blocks.” Many people believe after the initial alpha code release there will be new changes to the code going forward. “This is an Alpha release, the purpose of which is to provide a preview of the code in response to requests from miners and pool operators,” explains the Github repository.   This is not intended to be a release candidate. Work is still in progress targeting a beta release for 1st week of September in line with the initial Bitcoin SV announcement. SV Pool Launches Pre-Registration In addition to the alpha code release, a mining pool has been launched so miners can point their hashrate to the Bitcoin SV client. The website Svpool.net leads to the SV…

Crypto Exchange Huobi Acquires Public Firm for $70 Million

Crypto Exchange Huobi Acquires Public Firm for $70 Million

Crypto exchange Huobi has completed an acquisition deal to become the largest shareholder of a public firm listed in Hong Kong, inching a step closer to a possible back-door listing. Pantronics Holdings, the acquired firm, released a statement on Aug. 29 that Huobi Group completed the deal by having purchased about 199 million of its shares via two of the group’s subsidiaries – Huobi Capital and Huobi Universal. With that amount, Li Lin, chairman of Huobi Group and controller of the two subsidiaries, now owns 66.26 percent of Pantronics and is effectively the largest individual substantial shareholder. The deal could further give Huobi the opportunity of a back-door listing in the future – a process where a private firm enters the secondary financial market by purchasing a major number of shares of a public company. Based on the announcement, the transactions were made at an average price of HK$2.72 (or $0.35) per share with a total amount close to $70 million. Yet, the number of shares acquired appear to fall short of what the exchange intended. As CoinDesk previously reported, in a disclosure of interests filed by Pantronics on Aug. 21, Huobi was seeking to purchase 73.73% of the firm’s ordinary shares which would have cost a total of $77 million. Pantronics’ shareholding disclosures were further amended on Aug. 28 to reflect the change. A spokesperson for Huobi Group declined to comment on the issue and said the firm is not authorized to disclose information other than what was in the announcement. Further, the latest document on Wednesday offered a peek into Huobi’s corporate structure such as the ownership percentage by notable investors of Huobi including Sequoia Capital and Zhenfund. Based on the document, while Huobi Capital is fully owned by Li himself, Huobi Universal’s largest owners include Techwealth (58.44 percent), Sequoia Capital CV IV (23.32 percent) and Zhen Partners Fund I (7.46 percent). Among them, Techwealth is an investment company, of which Li owns 89.09 percent. Meanwhile, Sequoia Capital CV IV is a fund that’s solely owned by Sequoia Capital China and Zhen Partners is a venture capital firm launched by Chinese entrepreneur Xu Xiaoping together with Sequoia Capital China. Huobi image via Shutterstock The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic…

Hong Kong Seeks Fintech Talent, DLT Experts

Hong Kong Seeks Fintech Talent, DLT Experts

Economy & Regulation Authorities in Hong Kong have taken steps to attract fintech specialists who can support its economic development. The government of the Chinese region has prepared a list of needed professions from several related fields, including distributed ledger technologies and asset management. Also read: China Escalates Crackdown, Russia Chases Shadows, UK Warns of Scams Hong Kong Updates Immigration Policy to Attract Fintech Professionals As part of new efforts to underpin Hong Kong’s development as a “high value-added and diversified economy,” the government of the special administrative region of China is now moving to facilitate the immigration of “quality people” from around the world. To do that, Hong Kong authorities have drafted a “Talent List” of 11 in-demand professions, a number of which belong to the fintech industry, and intend to publicize it under the banner “Hong Kong. Talent Hub – Unlimited Opportunities.” In an announcement published on its website, the government notes that the list highlights specific professions needed most for Hong Kong‘s economic development. Beside waste treatment specialists, engineers and naval architects, the city wants to attract foreigners with expertise related to the crypto and blockchain space. According to the notice, Hong Kong is interested in fintech professionals and innovation and technology experts in fields like distributed ledger technologies (DLT), or blockchain, data engineering, including mining and analytics, artificial intelligence and robotics, cyber security. Authorities are also eager to invite experienced professionals in asset management, including trust fund management, as well as legal experts specializing in resolving international financial and investor-state disputes and lawyers with knowledge in cross-border transactions from investing or host states. Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, Chief Secretary for Administration and Chairman of the Human Resources Planning Commission has been quoted saying: Hong Kong welcomes talents from all over the world with valuable skills, knowledge and experience to work here, bringing their talent into full play and further developing their careers. The promulgation of the Talent List is one of our major initiatives to enhance our competitive advantages in attracting international talents, creating cluster effects, stimulating the development of local talents and propelling Hong Kong forward. No Prior Employment Arrangement Required The authors of the official announcement have also pointed out that immigration facilitation will be provided to eligible persons through…

OpenFinance Launches Regulated Alternative Trading System for Securities Tokens

OpenFinance Launches Regulated Alternative Trading System for Securities Tokens

OpenFinance, a security token trading platform, has launched a regulated alternative trading system (ATS) for security tokens, according to information shared with Cointelegraph August 29. In the U.S. and Canada, an ATS is a non-exchange trading venue that that matches buyers and sellers to find counterparties for transactions. They are usually regulated as broker-dealers instead of as exchanges. In an email, Juan Hernandez, CEO at the U.S.-based OpenFinance, confirmed to Cointelegraph that the company has created the trading system, noting that the official press release will appear later on the company’s Medium account. Earlier this month, cryptocurrency exchange Huobi entered into a strategic partnership with OpenFinance. The press release stated that the partnership was a move “toward a more regulated security token market and growing confidence in the U.S. market.” Regarding Huobi’s strategic investment, Hernandez said: “We believe that security tokens are the future of finance, and that Huobi’s investment in our trading platform is reflective of the rising interest around the globe in this emerging financial ecosystem.” In the U.S., a security token is any token which is found to be a security by employing the Howey Test, i.e. the token offers an opportunity to contribute money and to share in the profits of an enterprise managed and partly owned by respondents. Additionally, the scheme involves an investment of money in a common enterprise with profits to come solely from the efforts of others. Last week, U.S.-based registered broker-dealer Rialto Trading announced that the company has been working with the regulators to expand its trading operations to include blockchain-based securities, according to a PR Newswire press release August 23. On July 16, leading U.S. cryptocurrency exchange and wallet service Coinbase announced that it had received approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to list digital coins considered to be securities. A week later, Coinbase retracted its statement, saying that it was “not correct to say that the SEC and FINRA approved Coinbase’s purchase of Keystone because SEC was not involved in the approval process.” The SEC confirmed that they did not give Coinbase “explicit approval” for the deal, while a spokesperson wrote that Coinbase’s communication with the SEC had been of an “informal” nature.

Russian Agency to Track Crypto Wallets of Criminal Suspects

Russian Agency to Track Crypto Wallets of Criminal Suspects

Rosfinmonitoring, the Russian government agency responsible for monitoring and preventing financial crimes in the country, is seeking to expand its internal systems to account for cryptocurrencies. The order, first reported earlier this week by the BBC, indicates that the agency wants to beef up its ability to monitor alternative types of transactions, including those made with cryptocurrencies. According to the publication, an improved system allowing for data about crypto wallets tied to certain individuals is being developed by Moscow Institute for Security and Information Analysis (SPI), with a price tag of roughly 195 million rubles (or about $2.8 million). According to documents published through an electronic auction system that registers purchases and purchase requests from Russian agencies, Rosfinmonitoring should get the updated system before the end of the year. The SPI has created other law enforcement-focused tools in the past, according to the BBC. Outside of the documents, not much is known about the scope of the initiative, and the SPI didn’t respond to a request for comment. Rosfinmonitoring declined to reveal any details about its crypto-monitoring capabilities, with its press office saying in an email that information about the system is classified. That the agency would solicit such functionality is perhaps unsurprising, and its work could one day fit into a wider regulatory framework within Russia. As previously reported, policymakers and legislators in the country have gone back and forth on the question of cryptocurrency oversight. Last year, for example, it was reported that Rosfinmonitoring could play a possible role in monitoring transactions on regulated cryptocurrency exchanges. Yet the criteria for how that information would be added to Rosfinmonitoring’s systems isn’t clear. In recent years, the number of people placed on the agency’s list has been tabulated by those who have been charged over social media posts that are considered extremist or anti-religious in nature. Right now, the list of individuals whose accounts have been blocked in Russia due to terrorism charges includes 8,600 people. The list of entities has 485 entries, with most of them being various Russian religious organizations. The database also lists 101 foreign entities and 415 foreign individuals. 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…

Japanese Actress Helps Tokyo Police Raise Crypto Cybersecurity Awareness

Japanese Actress Helps Tokyo Police Raise Crypto Cybersecurity Awareness

Security A Japanese actress and singer has helped the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department raise awareness on cybersecurity issues, including cryptocurrencies. She reportedly took on the role of a cybersecurity manager in an event hosted by the department where participants learned about cybercrime countermeasures. Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space Rie Kitahara Raises Cybersecurity Awareness Rie Kitahara. Japanese actress and singer Rie Kitahara, formerly associated with the idol girl group Ngt48 and former member of Akb48 and Ske48, has helped the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department raise awareness of cybersecurity issues, including those related to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, according to local media. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, Shinjuku Ward, hosted an event on August 26, where Kitahara tried to educate participants about measures against cybercrime. She assumed the role of the department’s cybersecurity measure manager for the day. Approximately 1,700 guests, parents and their children attended. They learned about email phishing and fake websites that try to steal personal information and how to protect themselves from these security threats. Asahi TV described: Participants learned about the importance of countermeasures, such as a PC hijacking simulation experience and quizzes on cybersecurity. Last year, the number of cases with cybercrime victims reported to the Metropolitan Police Department was 13,101 which has been decreasing overall, but the damage of unauthorized access to [steal] virtual currencies such as bitcoin is increasing. Japanese Phishing Emails on the Rise In January, crypto exchange Coincheck was hacked and 58 billion yen (~US$522 million) worth of the cryptocurrency NEM was stolen. It was later revealed that the hack may have resulted from emails sent to the exchange’s employees to spread viruses. In July, news.Bitcoin.com reported that the number of cases involving phishing emails in the Japanese language rose to at least 1,500 last fall. The Council of Anti-Phishing Japan has issued warnings regarding cryptocurrency phishing several times. “We are working to raise awareness of the public not to immediately click the URLs indicated in the email,” Kaori Uemura, a spokeswoman for the council, told news.Bitcoin.com. She added that recipients should reach out to a legitimate contact at the crypto exchange supposedly sent the email to verify its authenticity. Cooperating with Crypto Exchanges In order to fight crypto-related cybercrime, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has been cooperating…

Report: EU to Discuss Further Crypto Regulation Amid Concerns About Lack of Transparency

Report: EU to Discuss Further Crypto Regulation Amid Concerns About Lack of Transparency

Economic and financial affairs ministers from the European Union’s (E.U.) 28 member states will reportedly hold an informal meeting on the challenges posed by digital assets and the possibility of tightening regulations, Bloomberg reported August 29. According to a draft note seen by Bloomberg, participants will discuss a general lack of transparency and the potential for cryptocurrency to be used for tax evasion, terrorist financing and money laundering at a September 7 meeting in Vienna, Austria. The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has previously warned customers about Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), citing a lack of investor understanding and problems with unregulated financial activities. The ESMA also noted that unregulated exchanges are unprotected due to their existence outside of global financial regulations, which means that customer losses from an event like a cyberattack would not be covered by E.U. law. Despite previous warnings from E.U. financial watchdogs, the document obtained by Bloomberg says that ICOs “have established an effective and efficient way to raise capital.” The document reportedly also states that ICOs could help integrate capital markets in the E.U. The E.U. Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive came into force on July 9. Measures within the directive set a new legal framework for European financial watchdogs to regulate digital currencies. The new rules enact stricter transparency requirements directed at the use of “anonymous payments through prepaid cards” and  “virtual currency exchange platforms” for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing. In March, the ESMA strengthened requirements for Contracts For Differences (CFDs) in cryptocurrencies. In accordance with the introduced rules, investors must have enough funds to cover at least half of a contract value upon opening, changing the leverage limit of cryptocurrency CFDs to 2:1 from 5:1 at opening.

Ethereum Cofounder Joseph Lubin Doubts Tether Bitcoin Price Manipulation

Ethereum Cofounder Joseph Lubin Doubts Tether Bitcoin Price Manipulation

Ethereum cofounder Joseph Lubin said on Yahoo Finance’s Final Round August 28, that he doubts manipulation accusations against stablecoin Tether (USDT). Founded in 2014, Tether was “the first” blockchain-powered platform that allows for the tokenization of fiat-backed cryptocurrencies. In June, after the publication of a study conducted by analysts from the University of Texas, USDT fell under suspicion of Bitcoin (BTC) price manipulation in 2017, when the BTC price surged to an all-time high of $20,000. The paper claims that “purchases with Tether are timed following market downturns and result in sizable increases in Bitcoin prices.” While many cryptocurrency enthusiasts are convinced Tether is lying about its backing assets, Lubin is unconvinced of manipulation accusations against the token and the company behind it. He said that “based on our analysis, which involves just talking to a bunch of people in the space, we do believe that [USDT] are backed 1:1 by U.S. dollars in bank accounts” although it is “still not 100 percent solid in terms of a story, from my perspective.” He added: “…with respect to market manipulations, I’m not sure that market manipulations are related to Tether directly, if they do exist. It has been an unregulated market set of exchanges that enable big players to do what they want to do […] Ideally we’ll get a little better regulation of those centralized exchanges at least.” In June, law firm Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP conducted an unofficial audit of Tether’s accounts, where it was discovered that USDT did indeed have enough funds to back each token 1:1 with U.S. dollars. However, the firm noted that it is, “not an accounting firm and did not perform the above review and confirmations using Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.”

Tippr Bot Distributes Over $100K in Bitcoin Cash Across Reddit Forums

Tippr Bot Distributes Over $100K in Bitcoin Cash Across Reddit Forums

Sharing economy During the first month of 2018, news.Bitcoin.com reported on a bitcoin cash (BCH) tip bot called Tippr, which distributes thousands of BCH tips on Reddit and Twitter. This week, according to Tippr statistics just on Reddit alone, the tip bot has tipped people over $100,000 worth of bitcoin cash (76 BCH) since the app’s launch. Also read: Researchers Find Discrepancies With Top Exchange Volumes Bitcoin Cash Bot Tippr Sends $100,000 Worth of Bitcoin Cash Across Reddit Because bitcoin cash transactions (tx) have really low network fees that typically average around $0.003 per tx, sending micro-transactions and tips happens regularly within the BCH community. For instance, for a very long time, every Tuesday patrons of the Reddit forum r/btc celebrate ‘Tipping Tuesday’ a day where lots of tips are sent to bitcoin cash fans on Reddit. Usually, when people are tipping funds on Reddit they use a platform called Tippr a tipping bot that can send BCH transactions by command and the app is also used on Twitter. While perusing through lots of cryptocurrency Twitter threads the Tippr bot can be seen tipping people small fractions of BCH as anyone can use the platform to send transactions to people. Tippr has distributed over $100K in bitcoin cash to 15,171 unique visitors. Since Tippr was launched the platform has seen over $100,000 worth of bitcoin cash transactions since its integration with Reddit. Statistics detail that Reddit users have sent 34,227 BCH tips to over 15,000 unique users. Furthermore, the Reddit users u/asicshack ($7,582), u/jarenfeser ($5,390), u/grant-meaccess ($4,649) u/mobitcoinsmoproblems ($3,735), and u/cryptorebel ($3,370) are the top five tippers today. Scrolling through the app’s profile timeline on Twitter, people can also see a bunch of BCH micro-transactions being dispersed throughout the social media platform. Tippr also has an index which explains how people can use the Tippr bot commands online.    “Tippr is a bitcoin cash tipbot for Reddit and Twitter that allows you to reward good content,” explain’s Tippr’s tutorial.   See something you like, want to support the author? Then reward them by leaving a tip — How generous is up to you. The top 25 largest tippers and most tipped Reddit users according to Tippr data. 15,000 Unique Users Have Received BCH Tips, and Tippr…