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Smell Something Fishy? The CFTC Will Pay You to Report Crypto Scams

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Nestled in the exhibition room at this year’s Consensus conference, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) had a message for conference goers as they weaved in and out of booths representing various projects and startups in the space: “Be on the lookout for virtual currency fraud” and if you see it, let us know.

CFTC Booth at Consensus 2019

“The Whistleblower Office of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is issuing this alert to inform members of the public about how they may make themselves eligible for both financial awards and certain protections while helping stop [sic] fraud and manipulation relating to virtual currencies,” a handout from the booth reads.

The CFTC has long classified bitcoin as a commodity, and the document states that the CFTC considers all “virtual currencies [as] commodities under the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).”

This same act gives the agency regulatory power to prosecute virtual currency fraudsters. Since the 2017 price run-up, crypto scams have been on the agency’s radar and it’s been keen to keep investors privy to project warning signs. In cooperation with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the CFTC has cracked down on illegal bitcoin brokers and dealers, as well as fraudulent crypto consultants and token rackets like My Big Coin.

In the whistleblowing briefing document, the CFTC uses My Big Coin and CabbageTech as textbook examples of scammy behavior. Among other red flags it warns potential whistleblowers against pump-and-dump schemes, wash/insider trading, unregistered derivatives platforms and “supervision failures or fraudulent conduct (e.g., creating or reporting fictitious trading) by virtual currency exchanges.”

If you notice any of these behaviors in practice, “you don’t have to be an ‘insider’ … to be a whistleblower,” the document reads. It continues to tell readers that they can tip off bad actors through the agency’s website, asking that they provide as much information on the alleged scams and orchestrators as possible (this includes “identifying information” like social media profiles, screenshots, bitcoin addresses, email addresses, etc.).

Anyone whose whistleblow ends in more than $1 million in sanctions against such companies are entitled to 10 to 30 percent of the monetary penalty.

A CFTC representative declined an interview, telling Bitcoin Magazine that each employee must be cleared by the agency to go on record. Bitcoin Magazine did learn that this was the CFTC’s first year at Consensus and that the agency has been making its rounds through the crypto conference circuit over the past year.

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Central Bank of Laos Issues Warning Against Using Cryptocurrency

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The central bank of Laos has warned the public against the use, purchase or sale of digital currencies, local news outlet Vientiane Times reported on May 21.

The Bank of the Lao PDR has issued a warning to financial market participants and the public against cryptocurrency transactions as they are considered illegal in the country. The bank previously banned financial institutions from conducting any operations with cryptocurrencies, as well as making investments in such an asset.

The bank is purportedly concerned about the anonymity of the sender and receiver in a cryptocurrency transaction, which it worries increases the risk of digital assets’ use in money laundering. A source familiar with the matter told Vientiane Times that authorities do not have a relevant security system to protect cryptocurrency owners.

While some countries like, Canada, Malta and Switzerland have embraced the new asset class to varying degrees, officials around the globe are still expressing skepticism toward crypto, while some hardliners call for outright bans.

In the United States, where the legal status of crypto can vary state-to-state, California Congressman Brad Sherman recently called for a full ban on cryptocurrencies. Sherman claimed that crypto presents a threat to the power of the U.S. dollar to affect world economic developments.

In April, Cointelegraph reported that the Indian government was considering a complete ban of cryptocurrencies under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act since it could purportedly be used for money laundering. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs reportedly stated that cryptocurrencies are used in fraudulent schemes to “defraud gullible investors”.

That same month, news broke that Pakistan — which banned cryptocurrency trading last April — is implementing new cryptocurrency regulations in an effort to improve its track record in fighting financial crime. The move was reportedly in part a reaction to demands from international monitoring body the Finance Action Task Force, which has repeatedly voiced concerns about cryptocurrencies’ role in terrorist financing.

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Founder And CEO Of China’s Blockchain-Based Uber, Kuaidi Dache, Shows Concerns Of EOS Use

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Founder-and-CEO-of-Kauidi-Dache-Shows-Concern-About-Use-of-EOS

Founder And CEO Of Kauidi Dache Shows Concern About Use Of EOS

  • CEO of Chinese tax hailing app criticizes the lack of decentralization in EOS.
  • The EOS blockchain network focuses on scalability above decentralization, which has earned it many critics.

Everyone has an opinion of cryptocurrency, whether it is about the industry as a whole or of the market. Weixing Chen, who founded and runs a taxi-hailing app called Kauidi Dache in China, recently commented about one particular crypto asset – EOS. In a statement from Weibo, Chen stated that he was worried about EOS and assets like it in their prioritization of scalability.

The statements were translated, as Chen said that he takes no issue with the technological advancements. Instead, the issue is found in “fraudulent propaganda,” according to the translated text. Chen referred to Million TPS and Next Generation Operating System as examples. He has quite a reputation in the venture capital sector of the Chinese economy as an anti-EOS figure.

Right now, EOS has a valuation of $5.8 billion, and it holds the record as the largest initial coin offering (ICO) to ever occur within the crypto industry. With no live product, the token managed to raise up to $4 billion in May 2018. The following month, the EOS blockchain protocol launched with 21 individuals to produce the blocks on the blockchain ledger with data from the transactions and smart contracts. These individuals are known as “block producers.”

Since the launch, EOS has become increasingly popular amongst users of decentralized applications (dApps). DappRadar reports that the EOS blockchain network is the host of the top three dApps right now, but that has not stopped experts from criticizing how decentralized the network is. The network primarily focuses on offering substantial scalability, along with a high capacity for large transactions, offering plenty of benefits to dApp developers.

Nick Szabo, a pioneer for smart contracts, stated that EOS makes it possible for anyone to freeze funds that users assume belong to them. Further explaining, he said, “Under the EOS protocol you must trust a ‘constitutional’ organization comprised of people you will likely never get to know. The EOS ‘constitution’ is socially unscalable and a security hole.”

This criticism came after a controversial article came out regarding the governance system of the blockchain network. The article says that an inactive account, after three years, can be put up for auction. All of the proceeds from that auction are “distributed to all Members according to the system contract provisions then in effect for such redistribution.”

The CTO of EOS, Dan Larimer, said in October 2018 that the high transaction capacity of EOS is based on the fact that the platform doesn’t solely focus on decentralization. He pointed out that the platform wants to focus on fighting censorship and for “robustness against being shut down.”

https://twitter.com/bytemaster7/status/1120028298573164544

Only the market can decide if prioritizing scalability for EOS is the right approach, but clearly, EOS is gaining interest in the market, or developers would not use the network with such abundance to develop their dApps. The flexibility and capacity for large transactions is appealing, but Chen and investors like him don’t condone the lack of decentralization.

Bitcoin was based on decentralization and ensuring that the public could have a currency that is not ruled by any one country or other entity. Still, the dApp market is new, and it is hard to tell which of the protocols amongst Ethereum, EOS, Cardano, TRON, and others are the right one. Presently, it is impossible to compare dApps to centralized applications, as the last 24 hours alone only show 10,000 users participating.

As of 2:00pm PST, the EOS token is trading at $6.36 after increasing by 1.14% in value in the last 24 hours.

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IRS Commissioner Makes Crypto Tax Clarity a Priority

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The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is planning to overhaul its methods for determining the federal taxes due on cryptocurrency payments to improve clarity for taxpayers.

The decision stems from the recent attempt by Minnesota Representative Tom Emmer to pass legislation reforming the way that hard forks and the resultant “forkcoins” are viewed by tax agencies. Joined by members of his “Blockchain Caucus,” Emmer’s initial attempt to pass the bill failed in September 2018 and he has promised to reintroduce a similar bill in May 2019.

On April 11, 2019, Emmer and the Blockchain Caucus sent an open letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig drawing attention to their concerns about forkcoins under the U.S. tax code and raising more general questions about crypto tax reform.

On May 16, 2019, Rettig responded with an open letter to Congressman Emmer, thanking him for his request for more clarity around cryptocurrency taxes.

“I share your belief that taxpayers deserve clarity on basic issues related to the taxation of virtual currency transactions and have made it a priority of the IRS to issue guidance,” Rettig wrote. “Specifically, your letter mentions (1) acceptable methods for calculating cost basis; (2) acceptable methods of cost basis assignment; and (3) tax treatment of forks. We have been considering these issues and intend to publish guidance addressing these and other issues soon.”

As a show of good faith, Rettig also invited Emmer and the members of the Blockchain Caucus to contact him and his office with any questions they may have about the IRS’ future efforts.

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Watch Out! $375,000 of Cryptopia’s Stolen Ether on the Move

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By CCN: Whale Alert, an account which automatically and manually notes large crypto transfers for Twitter followers, stated this morning that slightly more than $250,000 of stolen Cryptopia ether moved today.

$250k Parked, $125k Moved to EtherDelta

1,000 ether moved to 0x7d90b19c1022396b525c64ba70a293c3142979b7, an address which holds no other tokens. Roughly the same amount of ether previously left the wallet. The Cryptopia hacker seems unable to decide what to do with them.

Interestingly, within the past hour at press time, one of the addresses associated with this one moved 499 ether to EtherDelta. Address 0x338fDf0D792F7708d97383EB476e9418B3C16ff1
made this transaction to the exchange which was previously fined for dealing in unregistered securities.

Cryptopia lost around $15 million in a major hack earlier this year. More recently they’ve gone into liquidation and warned customers not to expect all of their funds back. Reportedly, the exchange could not meet its debt obligations as a result of the hack, which saw its user interest, trust, and volume plummet. One question is why user funds would have been available to the exchange for satisfying debts, as most eloquently stated in this tweet:

The exchange initially reported a theft of less than $3 million, but Elementus, an upstart crypto analytics firm led by Max Galka, discovered that the loss was much more damaging than that.

The exchange then announced a “rebate” plan from which it has more recently backed off.

Hacked Funds Still Moving After Cryptopia Enters Liquidation

The attackers have yet to be caught, but the timing of the recent movement of funds is interesting, to say the least. Any time that an exchange is hacked, people suspect an inside job. That being the case, it’s interesting that on the very day Cryptopia’s official liquidation begins, hundreds of thousands of dollars of its stolen funds begin moving to decentralized exchanges.

Previously, a lot of the tokens had already been sold off on decentralized exchanges.

The funds noted by Whale Alert were still parked by press time. There’s no stopping the holder from continuing to trade them unless decentralized exchanges as a whole decide to “freeze” those funds, which presents its own set of problems for the crypto ethos.

The relatively small exchange’s hacking started the year off with a negative tone and was followed up by the much larger-scale hack of Binance, which has come to be considered an institution. Binance rocked the world a little more when CEO Changpeng Zhao considered the notion of paying miners to thwart his attackers. Other exchange antics such as Bitfinex’s investigation by New York State and the subsequent $1 billion launch of its LEO token continue to cast doubt on the viability of centralized exchanges in decentralized ledger technology.

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Jeff Daniels Skips Dumb, Heads Straight to Dumber in Anti-Trump Rant

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By CCN: Just when you think Hollywood folks will come to terms with the fact they aren’t exactly beacons of intelligence, another has-been jumps up and takes the baton. The latest runner is actor Jeff Daniels, whose unhinged rant about President Trump saw him skip Dumb and head straight to Dumber.

In a spiel that appealed primarily to those whose hatred of fellow human beings outweighs their critical thinking skills, Daniels opined that Trump’s reelection would spell the “end of democracy.”

When Dumb Meets Dumber, Hollywood Style

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He’s doing this under the guise of promoting the theatrical adaptation of “To Kill A Mockingbird.” He plays Atticus Finch, the white attorney who defended a black man accused of raping a white woman in 1930s Alabama.

Decades prior (and again in 2014) Daniels played the fool in “Dumb and Dumber,” alongside Jim Carrey. Both actors seem to have slipped back into these titular roles in the two years since Trump took his oath of office.

Carrey took out his Trump frustrations by painting disturbing anti-GOP cartoons.

Daniels, in turn, used a cherished literary classic as a platform to stoke political and racial divisions. His absurdity in prancing around on liberal TV shows for self-promotion would be laughable had he not shredded a literary masterpiece in the process.

Instead of promoting the classic for addressing vital moral issues, Daniels used it to attack based on his own ignorance, bigotry, hate, and lack of morals.

Jeff Daniels’ Anti-Trump Rant is Just Plain Sad

jim carrey jeff daniels dumb and dumber

“Dumb and Dumber” stars Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels seem to have slipped back into these titular roles in the two years since Trump took his oath of office. | Source: Shutterstock

He called Atticus Finch an apologist and an enabler. That’s quite a take from the novel in which Finch has been called a hero by generations of people who read it.

A climax in the novel is when a mob hell-bent on killing the accused rapist, Tom Robinson, nearly stormed the jail where he was being held.

Here’s Daniels’ takeaway:

“That’s what I see at Trump’s rallies, the lies spewing at these people, and people going, ‘I’ve got to believe in something. He said he’d bring my manufacturing job back, she didn’t, and I’m all in.’”

Either Daniels didn’t read the novel, or he knows his applauders haven’t

‘Dumb and Dumber’ Stars Will Still Be Crying in 2020

In the classic racecard play, Daniels pounced on Republicans, likening them to the KKK. Only a pure fool would make such a connection, given that a sitting Democratic governor got off scot-free after prancing around in blackface!

But for Daniels and his ilk, the only racists are in the Republican Party. He railed:

“This is about the Republican Party—or a wing of it.”

Was he taking a page from Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” book?

He goes on to say Republicans saw Trump’s election as their last chance to save the party. Atop his soapbox, he mocked and mimicked Republicans:

“This is our last chance to save the party. And if we don’t, it’s the end of the Republican Party. And he did, and they did. That was the only card they had left to play and they played it, and they aren’t going to go quietly.”

Seriously? Who thinks like this? Crazies!

The race card is all Democrats have left. They are obsessed with fearmongering, constantly saying “them, they, and the white man bad.” They amplify this foolishness by pretending that the Democratic party is a minority voter messiah.

Ha! Daniels and his Trump-deranged colleagues are the reasons Hollywood liberals will be crying again come November 3, 2020.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.

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