In a new interview with host Peter McCormack, producer of crypto podcast What Bitcoin Did, US Security and Exchange Commissioner Hester Peirce maps out the role of the SEC with respect to Bitcoin and new crypto-related products.

The US regulator, which recently took enforcement action against crypto trading platform EtherDelta and also cracked down on initial coin offerings that allegedly offered unregistered securities, extended the deadline on its latest decision for a fully regulated Bitcoin ETF.

Earlier this year, the SEC rejected several Bitcoin ETF proposals.

 

 

Peirce, who issued a dissent in July after the SEC rejected the Bitcoin ETF proposal from Ty and Cameron Winklevoss of cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, noted at that time that the agency’s lack of approval was detrimental to the Bitcoin market.

She wrote,

In addition, I am concerned that the Commission’s approach undermines investor protection by precluding greater institutionalization of the bitcoin market. More institutional participation would ameliorate many of the Commission’s concerns with the bitcoin market that underlie its disapproval order. More generally, the Commission’s interpretation and application of the statutory standard sends a strong signal that innovation is unwelcome in our markets, a signal that may have effects far beyond the fate of bitcoin ETPs.”

Since that time, the agency has been taking a long and deliberate approach to making its upcoming decision, analyzing public comments as well as meeting with interested partiesVanEck, Cboe and SolidX last month.

Speaking with McCormack on November 20, Peirce says she’s concerned that the SEC strays from its mandate of not standing in the way of innovation.

“This country is built on drawing brilliant ideas from all over the world because we have such deep capital markets. People want to come here because they can find the money to support those ideas. And I certainly want the US to continue to be a center of innovation and a center of creative thinking. I do worry that if we send the message that it’s just too hard to get through the regulatory thicket here, people will go to places where they say, ‘We’re going to be much more open to innovation.’”

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As for commentary on the possibility of an SEC regulated Bitcoin ETF, Peirce says that timing is difficult to predict and that people need to let the regulatory process play out.

According to Peirce,

“Things are getting more developed. So I can’t say that anything is inevitable, but I can say that given the amount of time and energy being spent in this area, I think it’s definitely possible that we could see products that are based on cryptocurrencies in our markets.”

Listen to the full interview at What Bitcoin Did

The Crypto Beat

VanEck, Cboe and SolidX Make Case for Bitcoin ETF in Meeting With U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

 

This post credited to Daily HODL Image source: Daily HODL

On November 16, the Hong Kong-based blockchain startup Crypto.com announced that it is planning to issue its prepaid card, MCO Visa Card, in the United States. The company says the card has been approved for launch in partnership with its local bank partner Metropolitan Commercial Bank. Its metal cards promise up to two percent token rewards with its native MCO token, airport lounge access (select cards), tap-and-pay functionality, as well as competitive interbank rates.

Convert crypto to fiat with a few taps

According to Crypto.com, users of the MCO Visa Card can easily convert their crypto to fiat using the mobile wallet to be spent at over 40 million locations worldwide, online and offline. However, the company highlights that users need to exchange crypto to fiat currency first via Crypto.com’s Wallet before transacting.

The company began shipping cards to Singapore users in October, and says it currently has reservations for over 100,000 cards.

The blockchain startup says that the cards come with no annual or monthly fees, and no-fee ATM withdrawals.

The company’s official announcement quotes Mark DeFazio, President and CEO of Metropolitan Commercial Bank, who said that they are pleased to work closely with Crypto.com, as “the MCO Visa card is quite unique and provides a bridge between the traditional banking and cryptocurrencies in a safe and compliant way.”

Card reservations are made through a Crypto.com’s Card & Wallet App available for iOS and Android users.

More than a card

Crypto.com believes their product range will be useful for both crypto newcomers and experienced users. In addition to the MCO Visa Card, the company has created products that are geared towards making cryptocurrency more accessible to a broader group of customers.

Crypto.com’s Wallet is designed to securely buy, sell, send, store, and track a range of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ether, XRP, Litecoin, Binance Coin, and its own MCO Token. Crypto Invest is a tool to help democratize quant trading. Crypto Credit, which is not yet released, will allow customers to “spend crypto without selling.”

Crypto.com assures, that their App is easier to use than some other platforms. For example, buying cryptocurrency requires only a few taps compared to the complex process of other wallets, the company says. With Crypto.com’s Track Coin feature, users can track coins, compare exchange rates and prices, and sort coins by capitalization, performance, and volume.

Crypto.com Co-Founder and CEO Kris Marszalek said, “Our vision is to put cryptocurrency into every wallet, and the upcoming card roll out in the United States is a huge step in that direction. Our products are beautifully designed to connect the fiat and crypto worlds and drive mass market adoption.

About the project

The company was founded in July 2016. Crypto.com was formerly known as Monaco until its rebrand to Crypto.com in July 2018. The founders had raised $26.7 million during their token sale in June 2017. Crypto.com is headquartered in Hong Kong.

This post credited to cointelegraph Image source: Cointelegraph

Janet Yellen, the former chair of the Federal Reserve, has doubled down on her longstanding criticisms of bitcoin and other cryptocurrency assets.

Speaking on Monday at the 2018 Canada FinTech Forum in Montreal, the Obama appointee, who led the Fed from 2014 to 2018 following a four-year tenure as vice chair, alleged that bitcoin’s decentralized nature inhibited its utility as a payment instrument.

She said:

“It has long been thought that for something to be a useful currency, it needs to be a stable source of value, and bitcoin is anything but. It’s not used for a lot of transactions, it’s not a stable source of value, and it’s not an efficient means of processing payments. It’s very slow in handling payments. It has difficulty because of its very decentralized nature.”

Of course, supporters would argue that cryptocurrency is still an early-stage technology, comparable to the internet in the early 1990s in that it has shown promise while also suffering from growing pains and a sub-optimal user experience.

Despite a fairly steep dropoff during early 2018, the average number of bitcoin transactions per block has steadily increased throughout the network’s history, from just 1 in 2010 to more than 1,800 today. Developers also predict that second-layer technologies such as the Lightning Network (LN) should allow the network to scale its transaction capacity exponentially while also making BTC useful for everyday payments and microtransactions.

bitcoin transaction rate

Though perhaps not useful for the proverbial “cup of coffee” today, bitcoin is regularly used to move hundreds of millions of dollars across borders, often much more quickly and cheaply than settling such transactions through the conventional financial system. Earlier this month, for instance, a crypto user sent $194 million worth of bitcoin for just $0.10.

To Yellen’s other point, bitcoin, as the face of an entirely new asset class, is indeed volatile, though it has grown more stable in recent months, bolstered by the launch of cryptocurrency derivatives and other tools that aid in price discovery.

Nevertheless, Yellen’s bearish outlook on bitcoin is largely in line with criticisms she has made in the past. Last December, days before the bitcoin price crested near an all-time high near $20,000, she lambasted bitcoin as a “highly speculative asset” with a “very small role” in the financial system.

She said:

“I would simply say that Bitcoin at this time plays a very small role in the payments system. It is not a stable store of value and it doesn’t constitute legal tender. It is a highly speculative asset.”

Her successor, Trump appointee Jerome Powell, has struck a similar tone, warning lawmakers earlier this year that cryptocurrency is a risky investment class that is dangerous for “unsophisticated” retail investors. He also said that bitcoin and its peers should not be considered real currencies since they have no intrinsic value.

This post credited to ccn Image from Wikimedia

The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and other government bodies play a role in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

For starters, SHA-256 and most other hashing algorithms using in cryptocurrencies have been reviewed and tested by the Institute in the past. Independent cryptographers are frequently consulted by government agencies and scientists. The NSA and NIST occasionally conduct competitions for the development of new cryptographic software. The most recent winner was an algorithm called Keccak, but it is now most often referred to as SHA-3. The majority of hash functions that are submitted to these competitions see use, often wide use, regardless if they win or not.

While the world’s most famous cryptographers work in the private sector, it is fair to say that NSA and other government agencies provide decent career opportunities for up-and-coming cryptographers.

NIST Publishes Paper Suggesting Managed Blockchain with Transparency

Peter Mell of NIST wrote a paper in recent times entitled “Managed  Blockchain Based Cryptocurrencies with Consensus  Enforced Rules and Transparency.” The gist of the paper is that there is a happy medium between public, wild blockchains like Bitcoin, which follow the laws of consensus and little else, and managed blockchains which give their permissioned owners an untrustworthy amount of paper.

We demonstrate how to implement our approach through modest modifcations to the implicit Bitcoin specifcation, however, our approach can be applied to most any blockchain based cryptocurrency using a variety of consensus methods.

The implications are obvious: the blockchain could potentially be used by the government to issue its own cryptocurrency. A strictly public mining network and blockchain would obviously fail the means test for the government, for multiple reasons including the potential of a 51% attack launched by an unfriendly government. According to the paper, the features which make the Bitcoin protocol attractive to the government are its transparency and, of course, the inability to lose funds on it.

“We provide a novel cryptocurrency architecture which is a hybrid approach where a managed cryptocurrency is maintained through distributed open consensus-based methods. Key to this architecture is the idea of a genesis transaction upon which all other transactions are based and which enables the establishment of a hierarchy of accounts with differing roles It is these roles that enabled us to introduce features from fiat currencies into a cryptocurrency: law enforcement, central banking, and account management,” an excerpt from the paper explains.

“Another novel feature is that the architecture allows the cryptocurrency policy to be maintained dynamically by the currency administrator, but certain policy settings can be made permanent in order to facilitate confidence in the stability of the system. This is especially important for the relationship between the currency administrator and an independent community of miners,” it added.

Democracy is meant to be transparent, and government agencies are supposed to be accountable to the people who elect and pay for them. Current technologies in place don’t always provide for this and there are plenty of opportunities for fraud, waste, and abuse in the government sector.

The NIST version of the Bitcoin system makes only minor changes to the structure of a Bitcoin transaction in order to allow for the introduction of administrator policies. “Roles” are introduced into Bitcoin transactions, enabling changes to be made in the protocol as a whole. The paper explains that they are using the existing design which enables the spending of coins to additionally “spend roles.” Without getting too technical, it enables the manager of the blockchain to have a great degree of control over the entire pool of money in the system.

The  vin[] field operates  similarly as before. In  Bitcoin, a vin[] field specifies a set of coins from a particular transaction already posted on the blockchain.[…] However,  the vin[] field can also be used to bring roles into a transaction to authorize activities that require roles (which is most any activity in our architecture, depending upon the  specific policy enacted). Functionally, it is like we are ‘spending’ a role to use it to authorize some action given the usual use of a vin[] field (but roles can be ‘spent’  an infinite number of times and are not transferred like coin). A vin[] field can  specify a former transaction where an account was given a role.

Importantly, the design mentions an “independent community of miners.” Several aspects of the idea would require rigorous testing before ever seeing any real-world use – one example that comes to mind is the US Treasury’s blacklist and range of countries US Government and most US citizens cannot do business with. These people would have to be banished from both mining and the possession or use of “USCoin” in order for such a project to be in compliance with US laws.

NIST Tests Ideas on Own Bitcoin Fork

In addition to this paper, NIST has quietly maintained a fork of the Bitcoin software which attempts to integrate the ideas presented in the paper. Presumably the software has only been run in government labs, but it could inadvertently provide a boost to countries like Sweden which are actively working toward developing their own nationalized cryptocurrencies.

The prospects of a government-backed cryptocurrency in the US are likely years away, but certainly folks within the system have floated the idea multiple times. Government use of blockchain is on the rise, and the arc of history likely points toward cryptocurrencies being at the heart of all financial systems, but only time will tell what shape they will actually take. Aside from operating their own blockchain, governments could simply issue tokens on existing blockchains which follow the rules they decide to put in place. The options are myriad, but one thing is for sure: traditional, fiat-backed currencies are inferior to transparent and modernized digital currencies and will eventually have to be updated.

This post credited to ccn Image from Shutterstock.

Nov. 2: Cryptocurrency markets have continued trading slightly in the green today, remaining relatively quiet with moderate gains throughout the top 20 coins. Most of the top 100 digital currencies have experienced humble gains over the past 24 hours.

COIN360

Market visualization from Coin360

The leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC) is up only 0.06 percent on the day, and is trading at around $6,395 as of press time. BTC has seen slight volatility during the day, with the deepest and highest points of $6,327 and $6,396 respectively.

BTC

Bitcoin 24-hour chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ethereum (ETH) is up by slightly almost 1 percent over the last 24 hours, trading around $200, and the altcoin’s weekly chart showing its price decreasing by a relatively modest 0.41 percent. After dipping to its weekly low of $193.29 on Oct. 31, ETH has been steadily gaining in price.

ETH

Ethereum 24-hour chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

The third largest cryptocurrency by market cap Ripple (XRP) is up by 0.57 percent over the last 24 hours, and trading around $0.459 at press time. Over the past seven days, XRP is down by 0.06 percent.

XRP

XRP 24-hour chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has stood out among other top 10 coins, making gains of 9 percent on the day. The altcoin is trading at around $462, while its daily trading volume is around $522 million, according to CoinMarketCap. On its weekly chart, BCH rose to as high as $469 following a dive to $411.

BCH

Bitcoin Cash 24-hour chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

During the last week, total market cap has seen some notable fluctuations, with a sudden dive to $202 billion and surge to $209 billion on Oct. 29 and Nov. 1 respectively. After jumping to as much as $209 billion yesterday, total market capitalization dropped to $205 billion, after which it saw moderate gains today.

TOTAL

Total market capitalization weekly chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

The industry has been awaiting the decision of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding the review of proposed rule changes related to a series of applications to list and trade various BTC Exchange-Traded Fund (ETFs) set for Nov. 5.

Yesterday, the so-called “godfather of ETFs” Reggie Browne said that Bitcoin ETFs will be certified “no time soon.” He specified that Bitcoin ETFs will be approved only after the development of a strong regulatory framework for the industry.

This post credited to cointelegraph Image source: Cointelegraph

The U.S. Marshals have announced a plan to auction off nearly $4.3 million worth of bitcoin next month.

The government agency said in an announcement on Wednesday that the sealed bid auction is for about 660 bitcoin that were forfeited in federal criminal, civil and administrative cases.

Scheduled to start on Nov. 5, the auction requires would-be bidders to deposit $200,000 after registering their identification with the agency no later than Oct .31.

Based on the announcement, the auction consists of two parts with six blocks of 100 bitcoin each and one remaining block with 60 bitcoin. Bidders will not be able to view other bids or change their bid once submitted, the U.S. Marshals added.

The agency indicated some of the assets in the auction include bitcoin forfeited in several recent cases such as the U.S government’s lawsuits against bitcoin traders Theresa Tetley and Thomas Mario Costanzo – both sentenced to jail on charges of bitcoin money laundering.

While the U.S. Marshals did not reveal how much of the forfeited assets from the two convicts above it plans to sell, previous reports noted that the U.S. government seized at least 120 bitcoin from the two, with 40 from Tetley, and 80 from Costanzo.

The planned auction comes just months after the U.S. Marshals sold over 2,100 bitcoin and 3,600 bitcoin in March and January, respectively, an amount totaling to more than $50 million at the time.

This post credited to Coindesk  Image via Shutterstock

China and the USA have been competing with each other in every field to gain global dominance. The same competition seems to have entered the cryptocurrency industry as White House, understanding China’s Bitcoin Dominance is now backing Ripple Labs.

Its BTC vs XRP as two global superpowers look at a crypto world

China is, by far, the undisputed world leader in bitcoin mining — with Chinese mining pools controlling more than 70% of the bitcoin network’s collective hash rate, the measuring unit of the processing power of the bitcoin network.

Many in the bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry have expressed concern about how much control this gives China over bitcoin, with the Beijing-based Bitmain Technologies mining more than half the world’s bitcoins creating an oligopolistic to near monopoly situation.

While China’s dominance is fairly visible, the United States doesn’t want to stay behind in this race. According to the reports coming in from the White House, it appears U.S. president Donald Trump’s White House is also worrying about China’s bitcoin dominance and Ripple Labs executive, are suggesting the U.S. administration is interested in ripple (XRP) adoption to offset China’s bitcoin strength.

Ripple Lab’s chief strategist, Cory Johnson, was quoted saying in a wide-ranging interview with crypto-focused magazine Breaker that

“The White House, in particular, seems to be thinking about what it means to have 80% of bitcoin mining taking place in China and a majority of ether mining taking place in China,”

“When you look at XRP, there is no mining, so from a foreign-control aspect or from an environmental aspect, XRP is a very different beast. And in conversations we’ve had with the administration, they seem to get that and think that might matter.”

China manufactures most of the world’s bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining equipment and its massive mining farms are supported by the country’s cheap electricity prices, giving it dominance in bitcoin while for Ripple, Ripple Labs controls 60% of the ripple supply and the XRP tokens don’t require any mining. This situation of Bitmain’s dominating control over Bitcoin’s mining and Ripple’s majority control over XRP has received a lot of criticism from the industry as these being centralized in hands of few. A lot of experts believe that this war of the US vs China may intensify the centralization issues as both global superpowers would want to control these cryptos.

This post credited to coingape  Image source: Coingape

North Dakota Securities Commissioner Karen Tyler has issued cease and desist orders against three firms for allegedly offering unregistered and fraudulent securities in the form of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), according to an announcement published Oct. 11.

The companies at the center of the orders are Crystal Token, Advertiza Holdings (Pty) Ltd., and Life Cross Coin a/k/a LifecrosscoinGmbH. Per the statement, Crystal Token (CYL) is an “evolutionary multi-utility” ERC-20 token, that promises earnings up to two percent per day. The token’s website allegedly contains fraudulent claims of “excessive unsubstantiated” rates of return on investment. CYL is not authorized to sell securities in North Dakota.

Advertiza Holdings offers cryptocurrency called “Tizacoin,” or “TIZA,” and claims that holders “can expect to make a profit from the appreciation of the value of TIZA tokens.” That, according to the regulator, indicates that the token’s description as a utility token is incorrect, and is instead a security.

According to the North Dakota Securities Department, Advertiza falsely claims to be registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and is also not registered to sell securities in North Dakota.

The third firm, Life Cross Coin, operates a website from a Berlin IP address associated with ransomware, malware, and identity fraud, and offers a cryptocurrency called “Life Cross Coin,” or “LICO.” The firm claims that the token will be spent on charity, while investors can allegedly get a “huge return on investment.” LICO is not registered in North Dakota, and its site reportedly contains unsubstantiated claims and blatant misrepresentations. Tyler commented on the orders:

“The continued exploitation of the cryptocurrency ecosystem by financial criminals is a significant threat to Main Street investors. In formulaic fashion, financial criminals are cashing in on the hype and excitement around blockchain, crypto assets, and ICOs – investors should be exceedingly cautious when considering a related investment.”

The order is part of Operation Cryptosweep, a coordinated multi-jurisdiction investigation into potentially fraudulent crypto investment programs, that involves 40 U.S. and Canadian state and provincial securities regulators. Since the initiative’s launch in May, investigators discovered about 30,000 crypto-related domain names and conducted over 200 investigations of ICOs.

In May, the Colorado Securities Commissioner launched probes into two companies — California-based Linda Healthcare Corp. and Washington-based Broad Investments LLC — for promoting unlawful ICOs.

 

This post credited to cointelegraph  Image source: Cointelegraph

Cryptocurrencies could serve as a possible solution to disparities currently faced by the U.S. dollar, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis said Tuesday.

During an hour-long question-and-answer session, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis – one of 12 regional banks that make up the U.S. central banking system – answered questions on Twitter with economist David Andolfatto, who is a vice president in the bank’s research division.

During the session, one user asked whether cryptocurrencies can be used to solve the 50-year-old Triffin Dilemma, which refers to the conflicting interests between national and global monetary policy for a country whose currency is used as the world’s reserve.

Specifically, it refers to the U.S. dollar, which has been considered a world reserve currency for decades. In order to maintain this role, the U.S. must incur a trade deficit.

When posed the Triffin Dilemma question, Andolfatto responded:

“The Triffin Dilemma refers to the double-edged sword of possessing a currency that serves as the world reserve currency. If a private cryptocurrency were to replace a given world reserve currency, this would eliminate the dilemma for that currency.”

Other questions asked during the session ranged from whether Andolfatto thought a cryptocurrency could replace the U.S. dollar or whether the Federal Reserve is likely to ever consider monetary policy in terms of cryptocurrencies.

The economist demurred on both counts, noting that cryptocurrencies are essentially private monies, and therefore not something that would fall under the central bank’s purview.

Moreover, because there is “no need for decentralized consensus based record keeping” for the dollar, he does not see it being replaced with a cryptocurrency.

Andolfatto also does not see the demand for cryptocurrencies supplanting the demand for existing reserve currencies, he added.

This post credited to coindesk  Federal reserve logo via Shutterstock

In a new letter dated September 28 to Jay Clayton, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), US Congressmen Warren Davidson, Ted Budd, Tom Emmer, and Darren Soto asked for clarifications on the regulatory status of initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrencies.

According to the lawmakers, the current uncertainty regarding digital tokens “is hindering innovation in the United States,” while hinting that businesses may be moving elsewhere to more crypto-friendly jurisdictions if nothing is done.

The pro-crypto Congressmen went on to write that they “believe the SEC could do more to clarify its position,” and added that they are “concerned about the use of enforcement actions alone to clarify policy […]” The Congressmen were particularly interested in getting a clear regulatory framework for when a token sale should be considered an “investment contract,” thus classifying tokens as either securities or non-securities.

As Cryptonews.com reported last week, Congressman Davidson hosted a roundtable discussion on Capitol Hill between lawmakers and representatives for the crypto industry. The forum, dubbed “Legislating Certainty for Cryptocurrencies,” will provide input from the industry to be used in the preparation of a new bill that Davidson plans to put up for a vote in the US House of Representatives this fall.

During the meeting, Davidson was quoted as saying that “I am confident we can move forward and make this a flourishing market in the U.S.,” while adding that “we did it well with the Internet.”

Meanwhile, not only in the U.S. the lack of regulation in the crypto and blockchain space, especially for projects that raised funds through ICOs, is keeping even compliant projects from working.

“If you’re a good citizen complying with accounting, opening bank accounts, doing everything correctly, you can still get hit every single week by institutions, service providers, partners that tell you they’re not working with you anymore just because you’re dealing with cryptocurrencies,” Ada Jonušė, CEO of Lympo, a Lithuania-based sports and health data monetization company, said in September.

Ripple forms lobbying group

In other news from Washington this weekend, a statement from Ripple revealed that the California crypto startup focusing on the banking sector, and other companies associated with it, are forming a lobbying group to influence crypto regulations during a critical time when lawmakers in Washington are trying to figure out how to approach the issue.

The new advocacy group, dubbed Securing America’s Internet of Value Coalition (SAIV), says it will promote “a vision of fair and equitable Internet of Value,” as well as fair tax treatment on crypto-related “capital gains, assets and charitable contributions.”

 

This post credited to cryptonews  Image source: iStock