Crypto Accounts for Less Than 1 Percent of Pornhub Purchases

Crypto Accounts for Less Than 1 Percent of Pornhub Purchases

Canadian adult entertainment giant Pornhub has revealed that less than 1 percent of purchases on the platform are made in cryptocurrencies, Hard Fork reported September 28. Despite the low volume of subscriptions paid with crypto, a Pornhub spokesman told Hard Fork that  “[it] expect[s] to see widespread adoption of crypto[currency] and blockchain on our site in the near future.” Pornhub integrated a cryptocurrency payment option in August through a partnership with crypto payment and billing startup PumaPay. Pornhub is reportedly looking to integrate the Ethereum-based payment processor sometime next year. The PumaPay partnership followed a similar agreement with digital currency Verge (XVG) completed in April. The partnership with Verge lets users pay with the coin for Pornhub Premium and all purchases within the product. A PumaPay spokesman told Hard Fork that the company has attracted more than 60 “partners” mostly from the porn industry interested in the integration of PumaPay’s payment solution. The adult entertainment industry has been actively implementing cryptocurrency payment options. Last month, porn website Tube8 revealed plans to create a blockchain-based platform for users to earn crypto tokens as they watch and interact with Tube8 videos through a partnership with Vice Industry Token (VIT). In March, Playboy Enterprises announced it will be developing an online wallet that will allow customers to use crypto to pay for company’s online media and includes support for VIT. The first sector of Playboy to use the crypto wallet was said to be Playboy.TV. The project did not proceed as planned. In August, Playboy brought legal action against the Canadian developer that was responsible for integrating VIT into it’s online media platforms. Playboy accused Global Blockchain Technology of fraud and breach of contract. In January, Cointelegraph reported that the world famous Bunny Ranch brothel was considering to offer a Bitcoin (BTC) payment option due to demands from high-end clients.

US Congressmen Call on SEC for Regulatory Clarity Regarding Cryptocurrencies

US Congressmen Call on SEC for Regulatory Clarity Regarding Cryptocurrencies

A group of lawmakers from the U.S. Congress has sent a letter to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton, calling for regulatory clarity regarding cryptocurrencies, CNBC reported September 28. According to CNBC, more than a dozen congressmen asked Clayton to tell investors how the SEC plans to regulate digital currency. The lawmakers requested clarity on the criteria for identifying digital tokens as “investment contracts” and therefore securities, in addition to a  description of the tools the SEC will use to provide more concrete guidance to innovators in the field. The letter reads: “It is important that all policy makers work toward developing clearer guidelines between those digital tokens that are securities, and those that are not, through better articulation of SEC policy, and, ultimately, through formal guidance or legislation.” The congressmen reportedly expressed their concerns regarding uncertainty surrounding the treatment of offers and sales of digital tokens because, in their view, it impedes innovation in the U.S. and could eventually drive business to other jurisdictions. The congressmen also said in the letter “We… believe that formal guidance may be an appropriate approach to clearing up legal uncertainties which are causing the environment for the development of innovative technologies in the United States to be unnecessarily fraught.” On Sep. 26, congressman Warren Davidson hosted a “crypto roundtable” with over 45 representatives from major Wall Street firms and crypto companies. Experts expressed their concerns regarding possible regulations of the crypto space and told lawmakers that there is a pronounced lack of regulatory clarity for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and digital currencies. Some of the participants argued that current regulations were not only vague, but outdated. Joshua Stein, CEO at crypto-security firm Harbor, stated that securities regulations “do not work” in regard to utility tokens in decentralized apps (DApps). He added that current securities laws are only appropriate for traditional securities, and “they are not good fit” for the ICO industry.

WSJ: $88.6 Million in Illicit Funds Funneled Through Cryptocurrency Exchanges

WSJ: $88.6 Million in Illicit Funds Funneled Through Cryptocurrency Exchanges

A recent Wall Street Journal investigation has found that $88.6 million in ill-gotten funds have been funneled through 46 cryptocurrency exchanges, the WSJ reported September 28. $9 million of the suspect funds reportedly went through crypto exchange ShapeShift. ShapeShift is a Switzerland-based digital currency exchange that was formed in 2014 by Erik Voorhees. Unlike other trading platforms, ShapeShift allows users to anonymously trade Bitcoin (BTC), which police can track, but can not identify the individual behind the transaction. To conduct its investigation of crypto money laundering, WSJ reportedly developed a computer program that tracked funds from over 2,500 suspected investment frauds, blackmail schemes and other alleged crimes that used BTC and Ethereum (ETH). To analyze ShapeShift transactions, WSJ downloaded and stored a list of the 50 latest transactions every 15 seconds, at the exchange’s website. Per WSJ, bad actors took advantage of ShapeShift’s services to convert BTC into an untraceable cryptocurrency Monero. ShapeShift further continued to process “millions” of fraudulently obtained dollars, but did not change its policy regarding users anonymity. In an interview with WSJ, Voorhees said that he does not think that “people should have their identity recorded to catch an occasional criminal.” WSJ subsequently provided ShapeShift with a list of suspicious addresses, which were allegedly using the exchange. Veronica McGregor, the chief legal officer at ShapeShift, told WSJ that the exchange reviewed and banned those addresses. She also said that the company plans to require user identification data starting Oct. 1. Commenting on Voorhees’s views regarding the company’s anonymity policy, McGregor said that “just because it’s the personal philosophy of the CEO doesn’t mean that’s how the business is going to be run. He’s not pro-money-laundering.” While users have not been previously obliged to sign in or register on ShapeShift in order to execute trades, the exchange will gradually introduce ID requirements for traders. Earlier this month, ShapeShift introduced a new rewards program, which will eventually become a mandatory membership model for the exchange’s users and require the provision of “basic” personal information.

Less Than 10 Percent of Chinese Middle Class Invests in Crypto, Study Shows

Less Than 10 Percent of Chinese Middle Class Invests in Crypto, Study Shows

Less than 10 percent of the Chinese middle class are investing in cryptocurrencies after the government ban, according to a recent study cited by Technode Thursday, September 26. The report called “2018 White Paper on the New Middle Class” was prepared by Chinese financial writer and Professor of Shanghai Zhejiang University Wu Xiaobo. In the study, Wu deciphered the investment habits of members of the Chinese middle class. The newest edition marks the first time Bitcoin (BTC) or cryptocurrencies have appeared in the annual report. To get sufficient data for the report, Wu and his team held a survey of 100,000 individuals and collected 1 million pieces of data from other sources. According to the study, digital currency is the least popular asset in the respondents’ investment portfolios — an expected statistic given stringent anti-crypto measures from Beijing. As per Wu, the country’s middle class is risk-averse as only 9.2 percent of respondents claimed they would accept losses higher than 15 percent. Thus, they are unlikely to invest in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies due to their high volatility. The Chinese government started a campaign against crypto-related activities in 2017. In September of that year, regulators shuttered all of the country’s cryptocurrency exchanges in addition to banning Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). The country’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, has repeatedly warned citizens about the risks of crypto trading. In August 2018, Beijing prohibited crypto-related promotions in the capital region, later extending the ban to the Guangzhou Development District. In an effort to comply with the new rules, Chinese messenger WeChat blocked a number of significant crypto media accounts, whereas tech giant Baidu closed at least two popular crypto-related forums. Local e-commerce giant Ali Baba promised it would restrict or permanently ban any accounts involved in crypto trading.  

Bitcoin Fraudsters Misled Investors and Impersonated Regulators, CFTC Alleges

Bitcoin Fraudsters Misled Investors and Impersonated Regulators, CFTC Alleges

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed charges against two defendants for allegedly going to a number of lengths in attempts to steal bitcoin. The regulator announced late Friday that it was charging two individuals using the names Morgan Hunt and Kim Hecroft for “fraudulent solicitation, impersonation of a CFTC investigator and forging CFTC documents” as part of an elaborate scheme to convince cryptocurrency investors to pay a fake tax in bitcoin to the defendants. According to a press release, Hunt, who claims to be of Arlington, Texas and may be doing business as Diamonds Trading Investment House, and Hecroft, who claims to be from Baltimore, Maryland and may be doing business as First Options Trading, “engaged in a fraudulent scheme to solicit bitcoin from members of the public.” Moreover, the two did so “through false or misleading representations or omissions,” according to a release, which include impersonating a CFTC investigator and forging documents with an official CFTC seal and bearing the CFTC’s general counsel’s name. The pair have successfully defrauded at least two customers, according to the release. At least one of these victims was persuaded to send bitcoin to the pair. Among the charges, the release notes, is the claim that the defendants forged a document stating that bitcoin investors needed to pay taxes to the regulator if they wished to withdraw their bitcoin. CFTC director of enforcement James McDonald said in a statement that “increased public awareness of the CFTC’s involvement in policing the virtual currency markets has, unfortunately, provided new opportunities for bad actors.” He added: “As alleged in the complaint, defendants sought to exploit public trust in the CFTC through forged documents purporting to be official CFTC memoranda requiring the payment of a tax on cryptocurrency accounts. The CFTC does not collect taxes. The CFTC is on guard against fraudsters who try to take advantage of the CFTC’s reputation in order to cheat customers, and will take swift action against such misconduct.” The CFTC is looking to seek restitution for the victims, the disgorgement of any gains, penalties, a permanent trading and registration ban for each defendant and a permanent injunction against any further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and agency regulations. CFTC image via Shutterstock The leader in…

Free Crypto Trading App Robinhood Available in Alaska and Oklahoma

Free Crypto Trading App Robinhood Available in Alaska and Oklahoma

News “Alaska, thanks for bearing with us,” popular smartphone trading app Robinhood tweeted. “Trade Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, commission free.” Mere days after, it announced the same for Oklahoma. Residents of the two states can now trade bitcoin cash, dogecoin, ethereum, ethereum classic, and litecoin on its platform. Also read: Colombia Crypto Exchange Asks New President for Banking Help Robinhood Brings Free Crypto Trading App to Alaska and Oklahoma This week Robinhood, the booming smartphone stock and crypto commission-free trading app, announced it had extended its services to the US states of Alaska and Oklahoma. Effectively, the company is gaining on being available in nearly half of the United States. Including Alaska and Oklahoma, the 19 other states where users can try the app are Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The app features half a dozen cryptocurrencies, but users are also privy to legacy and institutional stock markets, charts, options, as well as up-to-the-minute data from altcoins such as Bitcoin Gold, Dash, Lisk, Monero, NEO, Omisego, Qtum, Ripple, Stellar, and Zcash. A Year of Growing Into Crypto The company began 2018 with a blockbuster announcement, suggesting they were moving into crypto. “Trading functionality for BTC and ETH will be released gradually in waves,” they blogged, “to Robinhood residents in California, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, and New Hampshire. Robinhood Crypto will be available in more states soon.” By February, users could begin trading bitcoin core (BTC) and ether. Not too long after, the company began to inch their way into California, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, and New Hampshire. It has seemed all downhill from then on for the app, as it continued to gain clusters of states. It also wasn’t too much long ago the company was valued at over $5 billion following over a quarter billion dollars in venture capital funding. Some analysts insisted at least part of that eye-popping valuation was due to Robinhood embracing cryptocurrency.   Do you think Robinhood will eventually expand into all 50 US states? Let us know in the comments below.  Images courtesy of Shutterstock. At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even look up…

Samourai Wallet Stops Showing Fiat Value of Bitcoin Balances

Samourai Wallet Stops Showing Fiat Value of Bitcoin Balances

Privacy-focused bitcoin wallet Samourai is dropping fiat conversions from its platform, the company announced Friday. The Samourai Wallet’s latest release includes a number of changes, including the fact that it is now available in 12 different languages, according to a blog post. However, the most significant change will see the three-year-old platform change from showing stored bitcoin amounts in a U.S. dollar equivalent to showing them only in either bitcoin or satoshis. According to the post, the company made the move to force users into transacting with bitcoins, saying “we believe it is fundamental that our existing and future users understand that when they transact within the Bitcoin network, when they participate in the Bitcoin economy, they are transacting with the token native to the Bitcoin network, BTC, and nothing else.” The post explained that when Samourai first began, its founders included a dollar conversion for users’ convenience. However, it added: “We are now nearing the end of 2018 and realize that users will never be ready. Thinking in fiat currency terms is familiar, you likely interact with it all the time. This is precisely the reason that within the context of a Bitcoin wallet it is a crutch. We have made the decision that as of version 0.98.87 to remove that crutch.” While the move may inconvenience some users, the post said, the company still believes it is necessary. That being said, the post noted, “we have decided to keep fiat currency conversion within the Sentinel Watch Only app, as independent merchants who frequently use the app and other use cases require the use of a currency conversion function.” The wallet remains in a test phase at the moment, the post noted. Users can build it from the source code on Github or download it through the Google Play store. Bitcoin 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 an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

US Federal Judge Rules My Big Coin a Commodity, CFTC Can Pursue Charges

US Federal Judge Rules My Big Coin a Commodity, CFTC Can Pursue Charges

Regulation A U.S. federal judge has ruled that My Big Coin is a virtual currency meeting the definition of a commodity, which falls within the jurisdiction of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). This allows the regulator to pursue fraud charges involving the cryptocurrency. Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals Judge Rules My Big Coin Is a Commodity In a lawsuit against My Big Coin Pay Inc. and its founder, the CFTC’s authority has been challenged by the defendants. The case could not move forward until the derivatives watchdog’s jurisdiction has been established. On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Rya Zobel in Boston sided with the CFTC and ruled that My Big Coin (MBC) is a commodity. Reuters reported that, according to the judge: Virtual currencies meet the definition of a commodity and fall within the jurisdiction of the U.S. derivatives regulator, allowing the agency to pursue fraud allegations against My Big Coin Pay Inc. In the case’s Memorandum of Decision filed on Wednesday, Zobel explained that the Commodity Exchange Act “defines ‘commodity’ generally and categorically, ‘not by type, grade, quality, brand, producer, manufacturer, or form’,” elaborating: The amended complaint [by the CFTC] alleges that My Big Coin is a virtual currency and it is undisputed that there is futures trading in virtual currencies (specifically involving bitcoin). That is sufficient, especially at the pleading stage, for plaintiff to allege that My Big Coin is a ‘commodity’ under the Act. The document also references three other cases involving cryptocurrencies. In the case of CFTC v. Mcdonnell, “Virtual currencies can be regulated by CFTC as a commodity.” Virtual currencies are also “properly defined as commodities” in the Bfxna Inc. d/b/a Bitfinex case and the Coinflip case. My Big Coin Case Continues The CFTC filed charges against Randall Crater, Mark Gillespie, and My Big Coin Pay Inc. in January. The regulator alleged that “the defendants misappropriated $6 million from 28 customers they lured by naming their virtual currency [MBC] to sound like bitcoin and further claiming it was backed by gold,” Reuters detailed. However, its jurisdiction over cryptocurrencies was challenged in June, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported. Crater’s lawyer Katherine Cooper argued that MBC “does not have future contracts or other derivatives trading on…

This Month in Crypto: Stanford, Warhol, the LA Dodgers, and Tour de Crypto

This Month in Crypto: Stanford, Warhol, the LA Dodgers, and Tour de Crypto

A curated selection of meaningful moments in September that are bringing us all closer to realizing an open financial system for the world. Scrabble adds bitcoin to its official dictionary The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, published by Merriam-Webster, released its latest edition, adding bitcoin as one of the 300 new words. According to NPR, this is the 6th edition of the dictionary, which was first published in 1976 and is updated only once or twice a decade (the last edition was published in 2014). LA Dodgers launch crypto bobblehead giveaway Image sourced from the Dodgers’ Facebook pageAs part of the first crypto-based giveaway in pro sports, the LA Dodgers launched Digital Bobblehead Night, in which they distributed crypto collectibles to the first 40,000 fans at a game against the Padres. The collectibles will include digital bobblehead versions of Clayton Kershaw, Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen that can be stored in a fan’s Ethereum wallet. Cyclists set off on first Tour de Crypto, a cross-country crypto charity ride Tour de Crypto is a 4,000 mile ride from the Hamptons (NY) to Huntington Beach (CA) that kicked off September 14 and is meant to raise awareness of how cryptocurrencies can be donated as charitable gifts. The inaugural two cyclists aim to raise 1M in crypto which will be donated to the Houston Area Women’s Center, a nonprofit that works to end domestic and sexual violence, and accepts crypto as a form of donation. Warhol painting tokenized and sold in first crypto art auction Image provided by Maecenas (please see link above)Andy Warhol’s 14 Small Electric Chairs (1980) was sold to 100 people using blockchain technology in a month-long auction conducted by London-based gallery Dadiani Syndicate and Maecenas, an art investment platform. The auction raised $1.7 million for 31.5 percent of the artwork at a valuation of $5.6 million. Maecenas tokenized 14 Small Electric Chairs by converting the 1980 Reversal Series work into digital certificates and offered up to 49% ownership interest for sale in auction. Buyers then purchased fractions of the piece with bitcoin, ether or the ART token, a cryptocurrency created for Maecenas. The final price was determined by a smart contract. UN Women to use blockchain to facilitate cash transfers to Syrian refugees Through a partnership with the World Food…

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Stellar, Litecoin, Cardano, Monero, Dash: Price Analysis, September 28

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Stellar, Litecoin, Cardano, Monero, Dash: Price Analysis, September 28

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. Have Bitcoin and the top altcoins bottomed out? We have been maintaining for some time that Bitcoin and a few other cryptocurrencies are in the process of forming a bottom. Now, several experts are also saying that Bitcoin is likely to rally in the final quarter of this year. If the institutions make an entry, the rally might pick up steam. A few technical  indicators are also pointing to a rally in the next few weeks and months. The head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors and a crypto bull Tom Lee has a very optimistic target for Ethereum. He predicted that the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization will jump more than 700 percent from its current price level by the end of 2019. Investors, however, should be cautious and only invest the money they can afford to lose, because every analyst gets a call wrong once in a while. On the side of fundamentals, the news and developments remain strong. Switzerland-based startup SEBA Crypto AG, led by former UBS bankers, has raised about $103 million to set up a bank offering cryptocurrency-related services. Ukraine’s central bank is planning to launch a state-owned digital currency tied to the national fiat currency at a rate of 1:1. This plan has been in the pipeline for some time now, but still, it will be interesting to see the markets’ reaction if Ukraine launches a government-backed cryptocurrency. Is the trend for cryptocurrencies about to reverse? Let’s find out. Note: as a number of cryptocurrencies are showing bottom formations or buy setups, we are recommending them. However, the traders should not jump in and invest all available capital. They should do their own due diligence and only attempt the trades they are confident about. The sentiment is still bearish; hence, caution is warranted. BTC/USD Bitcoin has broken out of the moving averages, but is facing resistance at the September 22 intraday high of $6,831.99. The downtrend line of the descending triangle…