US DEA: Criminal Activity in Cryptocurrency Has Dropped 80 Percent Since 2013

US DEA: Criminal Activity in Cryptocurrency Has Dropped 80 Percent Since 2013

An agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has noted that Bitcoin’s (BTC) role in crimes has dropped to just 10 percent of transactions, while transactions themselves have “grown tremendously,” Bloomberg reports August 7. In an interview, DEA special agent Lilita Infante — who is a member of the 10-person Cyber Investigative Task Force — said that the ratio of legitimate to illegitimate Bitcoin transactions had flipped over the past five years, noting “The volume has grown tremendously, the amount of transactions and the dollar value has grown tremendously over the years in criminal activity, but the ratio has decreased.” The concept of criminals turning to cryptocurrency as an alternative to cash has traditionally formed a central argument used by those critical of Bitcoin’s future. Regulators too have set about tackling the perceived usage of cryptocurrency for illicit purposes, often associated with terrorism and money laundering. As Bitcoin’s popularity has grown, however, it is now legitimate trading which forms the overwhelming majority of activity, with Infante noting that the “majority of transactions are used for price speculation.” She added that although privacy-focused altcoins are less liquid and more anonymous than BTC, the DEA “still has ways of tracking” currencies such as Monero and Zcash. Infante concluded, “The blockchain actually gives us a lot of tools to be able to identify people. I actually want them to keep using them [cryptocurrencies].’’ At a U.S. House public meeting on digital assets in mid-July, Andreessen Horowitz managing partner Scott Kupor suggested that “Bitcoin is law enforcement’s best friend” due to the ability to track illicit transactions on the blockchain.

Fundstrat’s Tom Lee: Bitcoin Misery Index Indicators Show the Crypto ‘Isn’t Broken’

Fundstrat’s Tom Lee: Bitcoin Misery Index Indicators Show the Crypto ‘Isn’t Broken’

Bitcoin (BTC) “isn’t broken” if it’s holding at the current price and volatility levels, Fundstrat’s Tom Lee said to CNBC’s “Fast Money” on August 6. In the interview, the Wall Street bull referred to the current indicators of Fundstrat’s recently launched Bitcoin Misery Index (BMI), which aims to inform investors of how “miserable” holders of the currency are based on its price and volatility. According to Lee, when the index is below 27, it shows that future returns are very good, while if it surpasses 68 percent, it is “time to sell Bitcoin.” Pointing at the index’s current number of 39, Lee concluded that the momentum is “recovering,” noting “Bitcoin isn’t broken if it’s holding at these levels. I think people are afraid it is going to go back down to $6,000 and never come back from those bear markets.” Fundstrat’s head of research also pointed out the current levels of Bitcoin dominance on the crypto markets, which has surged up to around 48 percent over the past several weeks after dropping to as low as 37 percent in July.   As Lee explained, the fact that major cryptocurrency keeps gaining momentum in terms of market share is “actually showing the market is reacting to what’s been taking place.” Lee also pointed at the recent biggest news in the industry, such as the Intercontinental Exchange’s (ICE) announcement of developing a new global digital assets platform, as well as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stating that Bitcoin is not a security. On Aug. 3, ICE, the operator of 23 leading global exchanges including the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), announced its plans to build an integrated digital assets platform to enable customers, merchants, and institutional clients to buy, sell, store, and spend digital assets on a “seamless global network.” In the beginning of July, Lee repeated his stance that Bitcoin could reach anywhere between $22,000 to $25,000 by the end of 2018. Earlier this summer, on June 27, Lee had predicted that the BTC downtrend that took place in June would be reversed if Bitcoin could push through a resistance point of $6,300 to $6,400.

Bitcoin ATMs Now In The Thousands Around the World

Bitcoin ATMs Now In The Thousands Around the World

News Coinatmradar.com reports a milestone of the 3,500 threshold being crossed for bitcoin ATMs (BATM) installed across the globe. One of the goals behind bitcoin automated teller machines is ease of onboarding to the world of crypto. A bear market – a protracted Crypto Winter – appeared to slow BATMs’ placement. And for sure it just might have, but numbers remain relatively strong considering, with the greater worry among BATM operators being US federal regulations preventing innovation. Also read: Queensland, Australia Invests Portion of its $6.1Mil Ignite Ideas Fund in Crypto Startup 3,500 Bitcoin ATMs Installed Around the World Coinatmradar.com announced this week a psychological milestone for the ecosystem had been reached: more than 3,500 bitcoin ATM machines are now installed all over the world. Not so long ago, BATMs were thought to a perfect onboarding tool, and especially in the United States. Americans are already trained on the basic tech, having had decades of automated ways to snag cash. That such machines could be placed where consumers are, rather than the customer having to seek it out, meant BATMs would be put in liquor stores, fast food restaurants, shopping malls, movie theatres, etc. It was just a matter of time until such convenience caught on.   That was before prices soured and the US federal government began cracking down on BATM operators. “No doubt, US regulations play a huge role in our business,” head of marketing at Blockchain BTM, Tim Curry stressed. “We would be able to provide many more services, and for much cheaper, were it not for a myriad of regulations we must comply with,” Mr. Curry explained to News.Bitcoin.com at this year’s Comic Con in San Diego, where his company was an exhibitor. 9 Per Day Still, the fact so many BATMs are up and running, with a heavy concentration of those in the United States, and all this during a bear market, is testimony to BATMs’ potential power. “It’s a bank in a box,” Mr. Curry noted. “We can onboard someone faster than Coinbase, and in about two to three minutes from start to finish. No having to wait up to a week. No linking your personal bank account.” Blockchain BTM is largely focused on the California market at the…

Barclays Denies Crypto Products as Staff Removes ‘Digital Asset Project’ LinkedIn Info

Barclays Denies Crypto Products as Staff Removes ‘Digital Asset Project’ LinkedIn Info

UK-based bank Barclays has denied it is working on cryptocurrency products despite two employees removing LinkedIn evidence they were doing so after receiving mainstream media attention, Business Insider reports August 6. According to Business Insider, Matthieu Jobbe Duval and Chris Tyrer, whom Barclays confirmed worked for the bank, had listed cryptocurrency-related duties on their LinkedIn profiles. Duval had written he was involved in a “digital asset project” and was “hired to produce a business plan for integrating a digital assets trading desk into Barclays’ markets business: revenue opportunity, competitive landscape, budgeting and planning for delivery, I.T. buildout, capital & balance sheet impact.” After Business Insider approached Barclays for comment, however, Duval removed the information while nonetheless confirming it was “accurate.” Tyrer, whose LinkedIn had described him as the head of the digital assets project, declined to comment. As of press time, Duval and Tyrer’s LinkedIn profiles still show positions at Barclays working with “digital assets,” but all information detailing the specifics of the jobs is not listed. Barclays, as well as Duval and Tyrer, have not responded to Cointelegraph’s request for comment by press time. The curious events continue what has become a growing trend among banks of denying cryptocurrency interest at a senior level while appearing to actively develop an approach to the phenomenon elsewhere. This week, Goldman Sachs insiders said the bank planned to offer “crypto custody” services despite a spokesman telling Bloomberg it had “not reached a conclusion” on digital assets. A similar story emerged from BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, whose CEO Larry Fink last month claimed none of its clients had an interest in cryptocurrency exposure while at the same time the company formed a working group to assess Bitcoin involvement. In March, Barclays began serving U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase in a partnership which allowed considerably faster funding options for UK traders.

Ethereum-Powered Insurer Nexus Is Winning Over Blockchain Skeptics

Ethereum-Powered Insurer Nexus Is Winning Over Blockchain Skeptics

“My premise is that you can use blockchain to essentially trust people you don’t know – you trust the code.” While that statement by Hugh Karp may sound like a standard line in crypto-land, his startup, Nexus Mutual, is actually building a product for those who don’t trust the code. Or, at least, don’t trust it completely. With Nexus, Karp is trying to revive mutual insurance, a model that dates back to the 17th century and, many argue, aligned the interests of participants better than today’s profit-maximizing insurance firms. Nexus is one of a handful of blockchain startups, at various stages of development, aiming to use the technology for this purpose. But the first insurance product Nexus plans to offer will cover an ultra-modern type of risk: security failures of smart contracts on the ethereum blockchain. Think of the DAO hack of 2016, in which some 3.6 million ether (valued at around $50 million at the time) was drained from the smart contract by an attacker. Or last year’s Parity Multisig Wallet attack, in which just over 150,000 ether was stolen (then worth around $30 million). Starting early next year, Nexus will offer to insure customers against financial losses from such “unintended code usage.”    Yet Nexus itself will run as a smart contract on top of ethereum. That’s what Karp means when he talks about trusting the code. For him, blockchain is a way to overcome one of the limitations of the old mutuals while retaining their benefits. His thesis is that users will trust the rules of a smart contract underpinned by the immutable ethereum public blockchain. This way, members who don’t know each other can trust each other, allowing the mutual to scale. Eventually, consulting with members, the plan is to explore other areas of catastrophe cover beyond crypto.   Karp stands out in the insurtech space because of his deep understanding of both the sector and the technology. He began his career as an actuary and rose to become the chief financial officer at Munich Re, one of the world’s leading reinsurers. He became fascinated by bitcoin and then ethereum relatively early, in 2014. Stephen D. Palley, a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm Anderson Kill with…

Bitcoin Price Eyes $7.4K After Defense of Key Support

Bitcoin Price Eyes $7.4K After Defense of Key Support

Bitcoin looks primed for a minor rally, having defended a key moving average support in the last 72 hours, technical charts indicate. The 50-day moving average (MA), one of the most widely tracked technical indicators, was put to test in the previous two trading days.  However, on both occasions, prices failed to penetrate the MA support on a daily closing basis (as per UTC), signaling a bearish exhaustion. Today is no different. The leading cryptocurrency picked up a bid around the 50-day MA support of $6,938 earlier today and rose back above $7,000, raising prospects of a corrective rally. At press time, BTC is changing hands at $7,050 on Bitfinex – up 0.70 percent on a 24-hour basis. The solid defense of the 50-day MA support and the early signs of bullish reversal, as seen in the short-duration chart below, indicate scope for a stronger rally toward $7,400. 4-hour chart The above chart shows, the current 4-hour candle is hovering above the top end (resistance) of the falling channel (bearish pattern). A bullish breakout would be confirmed if the candle closes above the falling channel hurdle. In this case, BTC will likely rise toward the downward sloping (bearish) 100-candle MA, currently located at $7,438. This scenario appears more likely as the bullish divergence of the relative strength index (RSI) is signaling the tide has turned in favor of the bulls. Daily chart BTC created a bearish outside-day candle yesterday, meaning the day began with optimism and ended with pessimism. Still, BTC managed to defend the 50-day MA today, which indicates the bears have likely run dry. All-in-all, there is a reason to be optimistic, although the bulls still can’t afford to lower their guard as the short-term MAs are biased toward the bears: 5-day and 10-day MAs are trending south. The sell-off from the July high of $8,507 would resume, sending BTC below the rising trendline if prices close today (as per UTC) below $6,847 (low printed by previous day’s bearish outside-day candle). View BTC looks set to take out the falling channel resistance and could rise toward $7,400 in the next 24 hours, courtesy of the bear failure at the 50-day MA support and the bullish RSI divergence. BTC risks a deeper drop below…

The Daily: Robinhood Reaches Iowa and Georgia, Coinbase Returns to Wyoming

The Daily: Robinhood Reaches Iowa and Georgia, Coinbase Returns to Wyoming

The Daily In today’s edition of Bitcoin in Brief, we cover the return of Coinbase to Wyoming, the expansion of Robinhood Crypto to Iowa and Georgia, a lawsuit against an exchange for failing to give a user his BCH plus a cybersecurity research that finds cryptocurrency exchanges experienced a massive surge of user data leaks. Also Read: Indian Exchange Zebpay Enables Trueusd (TUSD) Stablecoin Trading Coinbase Returns to Wyoming Coinbase has announced that its money transmitter license has been renewed in the state of Wyoming. That means that after about three years of absence, locals can once again use the platform to buy, sell and spend supported cryptocurrencies. Wyoming passed a number of laws meant to make the state more attractive to Bitcoin business this year, including exempting cryptocurrencies from property taxation. Mike Lempres, Chief Legal & Compliance Officer, stated: “Regulators and legislators can work together to foster innovation by either licensing cryptocurrency money transmissions or exempting cryptocurrency from money transmission laws. The leadership and partnership between the state legislature and Governor Matt Meade allowed for this new legislation to be signed into law, under which cryptocurrency companies in Wyoming are no longer required to double reserve the assets of state residents. Now Coinbase and other compliant, regulated cryptocurrency companies can serve Wyoming customers in the same way we serve customers from nearly every other state.” Robinhood Crypto Reaches Iowa and Georgia Robinhood Financial, the Palo Alto-headquartered US stocks brokerage app, has added another two locations where cryptocurrency trading is now supported for its clients. The company officially announced on its Twitter page that the service is rolling out to Iowa and Georgia. The app now supports Ethereum Classic (ETC), in addition to its previous offering of BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC and Doge. In total, Robinhood Crypto is now available in 19 US states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. Chinese User Sues Okcoin According to media reports from China, a user of Okcoin named Feng Bin is suing the exchange over some missing bitcoin cash. The client claims he had to receive about 38.75 BCH following the fork due to his holdings before the event which just…

Coinbase Hires Former AWS and Microsoft Employee Tim Wagner as New VP of Engineering

Coinbase Hires Former AWS and Microsoft Employee Tim Wagner as New VP of Engineering

Former Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft employee Tim Wagner has joined Coinbase as vice president (VP) of engineering, according to a blogpost August 6. Wagner will now lead Coinbase’s engineering team, which is “central to [Coinbase’s] mission of creating an open financial system for the world,” Coinbase writes in the post. Aiming to build the “most open, secure, and accessible financial system,” Wagner will also be responsible for expanding the team by hiring engineering talent in San Francisco, New York, and Chicago, according to his LinkedIn profile. Prior to Coinbase, Wagner served as general manager (GM) at AWS for more than five years, with his most recent positions at AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, and AWS Serverless App Repository. Before AWS, Wagner spent several years at Microsoft, serving as the director of development at Microsoft’s Visual Studio Ultimate. San Francisco-based crypto exchange and wallet Coinbase has also recently hired Wall Street exec Jeff Horowitz as its new Chief Compliance Officer, and Rachel Horowitz, who previously served at Twitter and Facebook as a communications expert, as the new VP of Communications. Last week, Coinbase announced it started exploring the listing of 49 new assets on its custodial service, including storage for such cryptocurrencies as Ripple (XRP), EOS, Monero (XMR), VeChain (VEN), Cardano (ADA), Bitcoin Gold (BTG), and Telegram.

The Daily: Coinbase Returns to Wyoming, Robinhood Crypto Reaches Iowa and Georgia

The Daily: Coinbase Returns to Wyoming, Robinhood Crypto Reaches Iowa and Georgia

The Daily In today’s edition of Bitcoin in Brief, we cover the return of Coinbase to Wyoming, the expansion of Robinhood Crypto to Iowa and Georgia, a lawsuit against an exchange for failing to give a user his BCH plus a cybersecurity research that finds cryptocurrency exchanges experienced a massive surge of user data leaks. Also Read: Indian Exchange Zebpay Enables Trueusd (TUSD) Stablecoin Trading Coinbase Returns to Wyoming Coinbase has announced that its money transmitter license has been renewed in the state of Wyoming. That means that after about three years of absence, locals can once again use the platform to buy, sell and spend supported cryptocurrencies. Wyoming passed a number of laws meant to make the state more attractive to Bitcoin business this year, including exempting cryptocurrencies from property taxation. Mike Lempres, Chief Legal & Compliance Officer, stated: “Regulators and legislators can work together to foster innovation by either licensing cryptocurrency money transmissions or exempting cryptocurrency from money transmission laws. The leadership and partnership between the state legislature and Governor Matt Meade allowed for this new legislation to be signed into law, under which cryptocurrency companies in Wyoming are no longer required to double reserve the assets of state residents. Now Coinbase and other compliant, regulated cryptocurrency companies can serve Wyoming customers in the same way we serve customers from nearly every other state.” Robinhood Crypto Reaches Iowa and Georgia Robinhood Financial, the Palo Alto-headquartered US stocks brokerage app, has added another two locations where cryptocurrency trading is now supported for its clients. The company officially announced on its Twitter page that the service is rolling out to Iowa and Georgia. The app now supports Ethereum Classic (ETC), in addition to its previous offering of BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC and Doge. In total, Robinhood Crypto is now available in 19 US states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. Chinese User Sues Okcoin According to media reports from China, a user of Okcoin named Feng Bin is suing the exchange over some missing bitcoin cash. The client claims he had to receive about 38.75 BCH following the fork due to his holdings before the event which just…

Bitcoin Mining Giant Bitmain to Invest $500 Million in Texas Data and Mining Facility

Bitcoin Mining Giant Bitmain to Invest $500 Million in Texas Data and Mining Facility

Bitcoin (BTC) mining firm Bitmain will build a $500 million blockchain data center and mining facility in Texas as part of its expansion into the U.S. market, the company revealed in a press release August 6. Bitmain, which is valued at around $12 billion after its early July funding round, is also reportedly looking to plan an overseas Initial Public Offering (IPO) in a market with U.S. denominated shares. Bitmain’s new data center will take over the former Alcoa smelter in Rockdale, Texas, with the estimation that the construction and set-up will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2018 and the center set to be “initiated” in early 2019. Last month, job vacancies for a Project Manager and a Data Center Site Manager for Bitmain in Rockdale had been posted on Indeed.com, with Bitmain only confirming the center’s location in the August 6 press release. The press release notes that Bitmain expects to bring in 400 local jobs in the first two years, quoting $500 million as the total investment into the economy over an initial period of seven years. Despite mixed noises from both U.S. and Canadian authorities regarding cryptocurrency mining, both countries have become targets for businesses seeking out cheaper electricity costs in new jurisdictions. In June, mining firm Coinmint confirmed it would transform a former smokestack facility in upstate New York into a Bitcoin mining facility. And in Canada, local miner Hut 8 launched its second mining facility in mid July, becoming the world’s “largest publicly-traded” operator by capacity in the process according to figures published at the time.