Tether’s New Banker in the Crosshairs of the U.S. Government for Money Laundering

It appears Tether cannot seem to stay out the news these days. Recent reports suggest that Deltec bank, which recently emerged as the company’s new banker (albeit unconfirmed), is now in the crosshairs of the U.S. government for money laundering.

Venezuelan Money Laundering Operations
According to Tribune242, the U.S. government is targeting two Bahamas-based banks on suspicion of holding money linked to a massive money laundering operation out of Venezuela. State officials in the U.S. say top government functionaries in the Latin American state participated in a $1.2 billion money laundering scheme.
Of particular interest to the case is $12 million collected by a senior official of the Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) – the country’s state-owned oil company. In a plea agreement reached between the U.S. and Abraham Edgardo Ortega, a former senior executive of the company, the latter agreed to forfeit all deposits in both Deltec and Ansbacher.
Presently, there aren’t any indications of Deltec’s complicity in the scheme. However, the news is yet another blow for the reputation of the country’s financial industry. Recently, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) placed the country among ten others with poor anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism funding protocols.

Not a Good Look for Tether
Tether continues to feature prominently in the cryptocurrency news circuit for all the wrong reasons. The company hasn’t been able to provide a formal audit for more than a year due to unstable banking relationships.
Recently, the company announced its new banking partnership with Deltec, claiming a $1.8 billion bank balance. Tether also published a letter from the bank as proof. However, the letter has become a subject of further controversy given that there wasn’t a named signatory on the document.
The news coming out of the Bahamas concerning Deltec is further cannon fodder for Tether critics. The story also gets worse for Deltec as reports also connect the bank with another financial misdemeanor, this time out of Brazil.
Local media sources in the country say that the bank has some connection to a bribery case against former government officials. Paulo Vieira de Souza, who is facing indictment for his role in the Odebrecht corporate bribery scandal, is suspected of funneling some of the proceeds to Deltec.
What do you think about Tether running an account with a bank accused of aiding state-sponsored money laundering in Venezuela? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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SEC Charges EtherDelta Founder with Operating Unregistered Securities Exchange

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged Zachary Coburn, the founder of digital token trading platform EtherDelta, with operating an unregistered exchange.

A First For The SEC
According to an official announcement published earlier today, the SEC has charged Zachary Coburn, the owner of cryptocurrency and token trading platform EtherDelta, for operating an unregistered national securities exchange. This marks the first such enforcement action by the agency.
According to the Commission’s order, EtherDelta represents an online platform designated for secondary market trading of ERC20 tokens which are commonly issued through initial coin offerings (ICOs). The watchdog has hence found that Coburn caused the platform to operate as an unregistered national securities exchange.
According to Stephanie Avakin, Co-Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Arm, the platform was required to register with the SEC as a securities exchange or, at least, to qualify as an exemption:
EtherDelta had both the user interface and underlying functionality of an online national securities exchange and was required to register with the SEC or qualify for an exemption.
Purportedly, almost all of the orders which were placed on the platform took place after the SEC issued its 2017 DAO Report which outlined that certain cryptocurrencies, DAO tokens included, are securities.

Coburn’s Cooperation
Reportedly, Coburn was quick to cooperate with the SEC, paying $300,000 in disgorgement, $13,000 in prejudgment interest and a penalty of $75,000. However, the founder of EtherDelta is neither admitting to nor denying anything, leaving the investigation ongoing. The SEC has recognized Coburn’s cooperation, outlining that it potentially prevented a greater penalty.
According to the Co-Director of the Commission’s Enforcement Division, Steven Peikin, existing regulations need to be followed closely in order to ensure the necessary protection for investors:
We are witnessing a time of significant innovation in the securities markets with the use and application of distributed ledger technology. But to protect investors, this innovation necessitates the SEC’s thoughtful oversight of digital markets and enforcement of existing laws.
What do you think of the SEC’s charges against EtherDelta? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!

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XRP Price & Technical Analysis: XRP Again under Bearish Pressure

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XRP Price & Technical Analysis: XRP Again under Bearish Pressure
XRP is still slightly moving down on Thursday Nov 8, trading at $0.5169, says Dmitriy Gurkovskiy, Chief Analyst at RoboForex.
Technically, the crypto continues its midterm ascending trend. The last upward impulse reached the current channel resistance, which paused the trend and started a pullback. Right now, the trend formed the latest rising move to 50.00% Fibo. The major target, meanwhile, may be at the overall channel support, $0.4750. Conversely, if the resistance at $0.5235 gets broken out, another rising move towards $0.5680 may occur.
Fundamentally, Ripple looks mixed. Ripple is not going to partner with Swift right now, says its spokesman, and the rumors telling otherwise are untrue. Meanwhile, the November protocol update has nothing to do with RippleNet. Swift update, in its turn, is for providing all transactions with a tracking link, which will enable the banks to track them in real time.
The platform in question is Swift GPI, and while it has been promoted, rumors appeared that xRapid may get integrated into this system, too. BBesides, Ripple took part in Swift Sibos conference before, which may have somewhat supported the rumors.
It may be said that xRapid integration could do a lot of good for Swift thanks to a progressive technology with a nice track record. However, it looks like global market players are not ready for spreading such technologies.
The CoinField Exchange launch somewhat supports XRP, as it acts as the base crypto there. The platform is launched simultaneously in 61 countries, making Ripple quite accessible for investors.
XRP Price & Technical Analysis: XRP Again under Bearish Pressure

Ex-Google CEO: Ethereum Has a Tremendous Potential

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Ex-Google CEO: Ethereum Has a Tremendous Potential
The Ex. Google Chairman, billionaire Eric Schmidt, during a live event with economist Tyler Cowen hosted by Village Global in San Francisco, said Ethereum could be a “powerful platform” whose untapped potential is off-the-charts.
In the wide-ranging conversation, Schmidt discussed the future of technology, corporate governance reform, Google’s hiring practices, and bifurcation of the internet.
He also spoke about the blockchain technology that he called “overrated in the public format and underrated in its technical use.”
He said:
“Today, blockchain is a great platform for Bitcoin and other currencies, and it’s a great platform for private banking transactions where people don’t trust each other.”
He also noted that the most interesting stuff that’s going on are the beginning of execution on top of blockchain. The most obvious example is for him, the capability of Ethereum.
He added:
“And if Ethereum can manage to figure out a way to do global synchronization of that activity, that’s a pretty powerful platform. That’s a really new invention.”
Many would agree that that ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin would share this opinion. Just for reminder, few days ago there was an article headline in MIT Technology Review that heralded Vitalik Buterin saying Ethereum can’t succeed unless he takes a step back .
However, Buterin was quick to point out that he is not leaving the platform, and that critics will criticise, whatever he does. He suggested that the headline was misleading, and that the sub-headline gave the more correct emphasis: that Ethereum must stop depending on him if it is to be truly decentralised.
He Tweeted:
“Ethereum stops depending on me” is the correct emphasis. But very far away from me leaving.”
It seems that Schmidt is right when pointing out, how important it is to keep an eye on the ongoing implementation and disruptions due to Ethereum. He is of the view that, if Ethereum developers find a way to implement the Blockchain Technology on the greater levels, then it could prove to be a real beneficiary for people.
He said:
“I think the most interesting stuff that’s going on is the beginning of execution on top of blockchain — the most obvious example being the capability of Ethereum. And if Ethereum can manage to figure out a way to do global synchronization of that activity, that’s a pretty powerful platform. That’s a really new invention.”
However it is interesting that Eric Schmidt was an early believer in Bitcoin. In 2014, he praised the then-obscure cryptocurrency as a unique technological advancement with massive potential.
Schmidt was then saying:
“Bitcoin is a remarkable cryptographic achievement and the ability to create something which is not duplicable in the digital world has enormous value.”
Schmidt has been a strong believer in bitcoin since 2014, according to him. He was first introduced to it by Julian Assange. who allegedly advised him to invest in BTC as it would be valuable in the future.
Schmidt whose net worth stands at around $13 billion said that he did not jump on the bitcoin bandwagon for money, but was reportedly fascinated by the immense potential of the technology behind it.
Balaji Srinivasan Expresses Optimism on Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies
Coinbase’s CTO, Balaji Srinivasan, has recently made some waves by stating that cryptocurrency is entering the tech mainstream.
Srinivasan, who is a big venture capital investor and also Coinbase’s chief technological officer, noted that blockchain and cryptocurrency efforts are now quickly becoming the norm among Silicon Valley companies.
In a tweet, Srinivansan gave examples of a number of big players, which are considering to go the blockchain way. He started by saying that Sundar Pichai & Sergey Brin’s sons are involved in cryptocurrency mining, while companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google Cloud are considering to go the blockchain way:

Great piece. Just to summarize:
– Sundar Pichai & Sergey Brin’s sons are both mining crypto– Facebook is doing blockchain– Square open sourced some nice cold storage code– Microsoft, Amazon, Google Cloud all have blockchain efforts
Crypto is entering the tech mainstream. https://t.co/ew2k3k7YG7
— Balaji S. Srinivasan (@balajis) November 4, 2018

Ex-Google CEO: Ethereum Has a Tremendous Potential

Blockchain Steps in the Right Direction for Bulgaria

Blockchain adoption is something extremely important for developing countries. Just recently Bulgaria’s first blockchain steps made it only the third county in the world with a digital ambassador. Only 2 other countries (Denmark and France) have such an official position.
Dr. Plamen Russev was appointed as the first goodwill Ambassador for Digital Affairs of Bulgaria by the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Dr. Russev is a well-known philanthropist and the current Executive Chairman of the Webit Foundation
Dr. Russev stated: “I am excited to see companies grow in scale and influence. They will inevitably impact more countries and I am looking forward to see which countries will put more effort in their foreign policy to reflect the new possibilities.”
The small Eastern European country is already making many blockchain steps towards adoption. Sofia, the country’s capital was referred to as a Digital Capital by media outlets from around the world. The city was also one of the top 10 in the world when it came to launching a startup. Webit was compared to SXSW, Burning Man and other very well-known tech and innovation events.
Blockchain steps need to be big and decisive

One of the first issues Dr. Russev wanted to look into was the ties between Bulgaria and global tech companies. He also said he will work on growing the tech transfer from and to the country as well as support outsourcing of digital companies. Russev believes that the main areas that companies should invest in, not only in Bulgaria are IoT, AI and Blockchain.
On November 5th, Dr. Russev received the official document by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria in a ceremony held in Sofia. Deputy Minister Stoyanov wasn’t short on praises as he stated:
“The Ministry has the highest praise for Dr. Russev’s activities both nationally and internationally. He is an entrepreneur, pioneer and founder. For nearly 10 years, he has send a clear message to every country and company that Bulgaria is a reliable and safe place to invest in. The promotion of our country as a digital, technological and outsourcing center cannot be placed into better hands.”
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Overstock’s Patrick Byrne: Cryptocurrency Will Become Mainstream

Over the past 24 hours, Bitcoin has crept a bit higher in price. After hanging in the mid-$6,400 range for several days, it appears Bitcoin has finally gotten its taste for ascension back and has sprung up to hit $6,500.

Overstock Takes All the Credit
According to Forbes, this can be attributed to positive sentiment stemming from Patrick Byrne, the CEO of Amazon competitor Overstock.com. The business made headlines back in 2014 after executives announced they would accept bitcoin as a means of payment for goods and services. Overstock was one of the first major companies to take this step.
In a recent YouTube interview with Naomi Brockwell, Byrne says that despite the ups and downs of the past year, he still believes bitcoin will soon experience mass adoption in the coming months, and that the present financial system is set to fall in dramatic fashion:
People turn to [bitcoin] when they collapse, like Venezuela or Cyprus or Syria, something like that. When people start getting into it is when their own financial systems collapse. So, yes – given that I think the entire modern financial system is a big Keynesian, magic money tree Ponzi scheme, I do expect that the day will come when people turn to crypto.

Who Will Set the Path?
To an extent, we are already witnessing the entrance of bitcoin into mainstream territory. The SEC is now considering a new bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) submitted by the joint venture VanEck SolidX. In addition, December is set to introduce traders to Bakkt, a platform designed by the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Microsoft and coffee king Starbucks. The system is set to provide both retail and institutional investors easier access to cryptocurrencies.
Interestingly, however, Byrne says that while he sees cryptocurrency ultimately expanding its horizons in the future, he’s not entirely sure if bitcoin will lead the way. During the interview, Byrne commented that bitcoin has lost roughly 60 to 70 percent of its overall value since last December. While this has occurred amongst most major cryptocurrencies, some – like Ethereum and Ripple’s XRP – have recovered some of their losses and moved on to accomplish major things in the industry.
Keeping an Open Mind
However, he’s not shutting the door on bitcoin altogether, and acknowledges that in a world of blockchain and digital assets, anything can happen at any time:
Whether bitcoin is the one, whether bitcoin has solved its speed problems or it’s another cryptocurrency, only time will tell.
Do you think Bitcoin is set for a major comeback in the coming months? Tell us why or why not in the comments below!

Image courtesy of ShutterStock
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Pro-Crypto Politicians Taking the Lead in U.S. MidTerm Elections

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Pro-Crypto Politicians Taking the Lead in U.S. MidTerm Elections
With the results of the U.S. mid-term elections coming out, it is getting that lawmakers with a crypto-friendly viewpoint are occupying governor positions. Blockchain advocacy group Digital Asset Trade Association (DATA) has compiled a which shows three new governors and two incumbent ones to have a crypto-friendly nature.
To name a few, the new governors include Gavin Newsom (of California) and Jared Polis (of Colorado). Both these governors have openly voiced their support for new technological innovations like the blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Newsom believes that
“Government information and services at every level should be thoroughly ‘digitized,’ enabling citizens to conduct business with public agencies online.”
Gavin Newsom who now chairs the governor seat in California has been a pro-Bitcoin lawmaker. Back in 2014, Newsom also showed his willingness to accept BTC donations for his campaigns. He said:
“I should promote the technology ever so subtly by saying I’ll accept bitcoin in the campaign. I’m ready for it.But how the hell do I explain it to anybody?”
For the past many years, California has remained the home for new technological advancements. Moreover, the state is also free from over restrictive laws. As a result, it has seen several FinTech companies taking birth here.
Colorado Gets a New Crypto-Friendly Governor
Jared Polis, the newly appointed governor of Colorado is also a pro-bitcoin & pro-blockchain lawmaker. Polis has also served as the member of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. Polis is the first U.S. representative ever to accept Bitcoin for campaign contributions. Moreover, he has urged to put the U.S. in the leadership role in integrating and regulating the crypto space.
Polis has also proposed using the blockchain technology in a number of government initiatives. It includes improving the digital voter protections as well as digitizing government records while making them more transparent. Below are the views of Polis on cryptocurrencies and blockchain.
“Similar to Wyoming, I will work alongside the legislature to create a statewide safe harbor designed to exempt cryptocurrencies from state money transmissions laws, and I will work to establish legislation that protects “open blockchain tokens” or cryptocurrencies that are exchangeable for goods and services. These moves could allow our state to attract innovative companies and allow them to engage freely in them – as issuers, exchanges, wallet providers – without the licensing requirements of the multitude of securities and currency laws. Colorado can pave the way into the future and implement safeguards here at home with the hope that the federal government can catch up to our progress. These ideas, while bold, will put Colorado on the map for fostering new technology and experimenting with the best way to implement safeguards here at home and across the nation.”
Similar Scenario in Wyoming, Rhode Island and Texas
Mark Gordan won the governor position in Wyoming, which is already an increasingly blockchain-friendly state. Also, Gordon is well-known for his pro-blockchain stand in the past. Hence it is quite apparent that Wyoming has got the governor it deserved. DATA report shows that Gordon has also proposed exempting crypto businesses from state money transmitter regulations.
The DATA research also shows that Texas governor Greg Abott and Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo has held pro-crypto views in the past. Governor Abott has previously accepted Bitcoin donations. Similarly, Governor Raimondo supports to legally recognize crypto-related business transactions.
Pro-Crypto Politicians Taking the Lead in U.S. MidTerm Elections

Japan’s NRI Presents Its New Blockchain Security Tool, Becomes ConsenSys‘ Development Partner

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Japan’s NRI Presents Its New Blockchain Security Tool, Becomes ConsenSys‘ Development Partner
While the blockchain infrastructure is actively developing, such aspects as security and protection of privacy are still considered to be rather controversial and require to be enhanced in order to increase the level of confidence of the participants of the network.
NRI’s Blockchain Security Tool
Japanese Nomura Research Institute’s (NRI) subsidiary that is dealing with cybersecurity issues has revealed its newly developed blockchain security alert tool.
According to a recently published press release, this new tool named “Blockchain Security Monitoring Service” is aimed at increasing security of blockchain by detecting security vulnerabilities in information systems and services based on blockchain and reporting operators about the found vulnerabilities.
It is informed that firstly it is planned to use the “Blockchain Security Monitoring Service” to track contracts on Ethereum. It is also known that the offered security tools are based on the security log monitoring service “NeoSOC” which is able to track the way of functioning of concrete smart contracts and send notifications to the company if something goes wrong.
Moreover, it’s worth mentioning that one of the available tools is a smart contract security diagnosis and analysis tool offered by ConsenSys Diligence Inc. The tool is called “Mythril” and can effectively discover security vulnerabilities.
Partnership with ConsenSys
The new development is not the only reason to speak about NRI today. As the organization has announced, it entered in a partnership with U.S. blockchain software company ConsenSys. So, NRI Secure has made a history becoming the first ConsenSys’ development partner in Japan.
NRI Secure is going to join forces with ConsenSys’ Diligence team with a view to expand its security offering. Tom Lindeman, co-founder of ConsenSys Diligence, expressed his excitement about their new partnership. He commented their common plans the following way:
“ConsenSys Diligence is extremely happy to forge a new partnership with NRI Secure, who are widely recognized as leaders in managed security services and also leading edge pioneers in the Ethereum blockchain security space. We plan to collaborate closely to bring powerful automated smart contract analysis services to customers worldwide and to further our shared goal of making Ethereum safer for everyone.”
It is planned that NRI Secure will further collaborate with ConsenSys and other companies and organization in Japan and from all over the world with a view to find various options of application of its tools and to increase the level of security within the entire blockchain environment.
ConsenSys’ Partnerships
In general it’s worth mentioning that a blockchain venture production studio ConsenSys is known for its great partnerships and significant contribution to the development of blockchain technology and application of tools built on its base.
For example, earlier this year ConsenSys has become a partner of the Chinese government with a view to create blockchain solutions for China’s “dream city”.
Japan’s NRI Presents Its New Blockchain Security Tool, Becomes ConsenSys‘ Development Partner

How to Ruin Life Trading Cryptos: College Student Turned $5k Investment into $400k Tax Bill

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How to Ruin Life Trading Cryptos: College Student Turned $5k Investment into $400k Tax Bill
In May 2017, the college student invested $5,000 in Ethereum (ETH), when the digital asset was worth around $50. However, what then may seemed like a terrific job done, now seems to be – a not so good of an idea. While this $5k investment eventually turned into $880k in December 2017, gambling and the high volatility in the industry reduced the investment portfolio to $125k and left the student with task worth $400k.
The student, whose identity remained anonymous, posted his predicament on Reddit on the name “u/throwaway283921.” Seeking advice from readers, the student said that he has been slammed with huge tax over his cryptocurrency trading earnings from 2017.
In his story he is telling about how he began his trading back in May 2017, whereby he signed up at popular cryptocurrency broker Coinbase. He then purchased a range of alt-coins, which he states increased in value by more than 10 times. By the end of December 2017, at a time when the cryptocurrency industry experienced a significant injection of capital that resulted in Bitcoin reaching its all-time high of $20,000, the student claims that his portfolio was worth just over $800,000.
He also claims that he was close to cashing out when the portfolio breached the $1 million mark, however once again he proceeded to let his investments ride. When the 2018 bear market begun – which saw some cryptocurrencies lose up to 90% from their all-time high, the trader’s portfolio quickly turned southwards.
He wrote:
“I gambled in more than a few bad ICOs to start 2018, had some money in coins that absolutely plummeted with no chance of recovering, etc. Today my portfolio sits at $125k, a far cry from my $880k. My estimated tax liability for 2017 is about $400,000.”
Unfortunately, 2018 hasn’t been nearly as good for most investors. The cryptocurrency market lost more than 70 percent of its entire capitalization. From $800 billion in January, it’s currently sitting at a little over $211 billion. A lot of the coins issued through initial coin offerings have either tanked or lost over 90 percent of their value.
The situation therefore isn’t really promising for the poor guy since by the US law, cryptocurrency investors are required to declare taxes using the tax form 1099-K and major cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase have tax filing systems in place to automate the process for its investors.
In early 2018, Coinbase reported the 1099-K of the individual, which calculated all of the gains the individual made throughout the calendar year. While the student did not withdraw any funds to a bank account during that time, cryptocurrency-to-cryptocurrency trades were listed on the report.
U.S. in particular are very clear on their stance and that being viewing the cryptocurrency assets in the same manner as property, which includes the likes of stocks, shares, Gold and real estate.
He claimed that he didn’t know anything about taxes so he never bothered to set aside anything.
He added:
“My estimated tax liability for 2017 is about 400k (live in California) […] I’m a student and I work part time making $12/hr as a retail associate at Barnes & Noble. I haven’t paid any taxes or filed any returns for 2017. I wanted to but I have no idea where to begin.”
Tax System Pitfalls
Understanding the way the tax system works and staying compliant is absolutely essential for every investor. According to a research from Fundstrat Global Advisors, the IRS can expect up to $25 billion in Bitcoin capital gains taxes for fiscal 2017. American crypto holdres are struggling to file capital gains taxes, as has been the case for several years now. An interesting report by Fundstrat shows US citizens owe the IRS an estimated $25bn in cryptocurrency. Additionally, this new form of money represents 20% of 2017 US capital gains.
After the price of Ethereum was above $10 for most of the 2016, in March 2017, ETH’s price set an ATH of $50. In June 2017, search interest exploded and ETH’s price hit $400. In January 2018, search interest surged once again, and at the peak of the bull market, ETH hit $1,400.
How to Ruin Life Trading Cryptos: College Student Turned $5k Investment into $400k Tax Bill

Bitcoin Cash Price Analysis: BCH/USD Retesting Area of Interest

Bitcoin Cash recently busted through a near-term area of interest around $550-600, signaling that bulls are gaining control of price action. This also happens to be the neckline of a double bottom classic reversal chart pattern.

However, the price seems to be hesitating at yet another resistance area around $650, leading to some profit-taking and a pullback. A steep rising trend line can be drawn to connect the latest lows and this might serve as support since it lines up with the area of interest.
The 100 SMA is just attempting to cross above the longer-term 200 SMA to confirm that bullish pressure is returning. Then again, this might be indicative of range-bound action as the moving averages had previously been oscillating.
Besides, Stochastic is just making its way down after reaching overbought territory, indicating that a return in selling pressure is just getting started. RSI has also turned south and has plenty of room to cover before hitting overdone levels, which means that bears could stay in control for much longer.

Bitcoin Cash has been climbing but is on shaky footing leading up to its hard fork. A number of exchanges are already making preparations for this move, which typically leads to a dip in liquidity while trading is temporarily halted.
Still, there’s a lot to look forward to as Poloniex announced that it will be the first exchange to offer trading for the BCH hard fork:
We’re doing this to empower customers to demonstrate their support for one coin over the other through trading activity. Poloniex will also support trading markets for both tokens after the hard fork.
Also, six out of the ten major exchanges that support Bitcoin Cash already expressed intentions to support its upcoming hard fork on November 15. This includes OKEx, Binance, Bitforex, and Huobi.

Images courtesy of TradingView
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