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January 2006

Crypto Theft Could Hit $1.2 Billion in 2019, Says Cipher Trace

Crypto theft

Crypto theft

Crypto theft has greatly reduced this year compared to last year as regulators continue to enhance their scrutiny and the enforcement of anti-money laundering controls.

Crypto Theft Could Hit $1 billion Mark

Despite being $500 million less than last year, crypto theft could still go well beyond a billion dollars by the end of this year.

A quarterly report released on May 1 by Cipher Trace indicates that investigatory specialists had found that over $356 million worth of crypto had been stolen in Q1 2019. The amount stolen includes the CoineBene and Cytopia exchange hacks and also the $195 million that was lost in December last year when Quadriga CX exchange founder Gerald Cotton died.

Projections of Cipher Trace indicate that crypto theft could hit $1.2 billion by the end of the year after a New York attorney general indicated that Bitfinex had misplaced around $850 million in crypto. The crypto market currently has a market capitalization of around $176 billion and the bulk of this is held by Bitcoin with a market cap of $94 billion, while Ethereum has a market cap of $17 billion. If the market loses $1.2 billion this year, this will be a 0.7% loss in the total value of the market.

>> Bitfinex Tether Issue Continues: CoinFlip and TRON Postpone Plans

Intensifying Anti-Money Laundering Rules

Although crypto theft could hit $1.2 billion this year, this is significantly lower than the $1.7 billion that was reported in 2018 and a 400% increase relative to 2017. Stolen crypto assets and funds are mostly taken offshore where regulators cannot reach them.

Cipher Trace has indicated that in the last two years there has been a 46% increase in cross border crypto payments going from US exchanges to offshore platforms. The firm has also indicated that the number of regulators is currently growing across the globe and they have intensified KYC and AML rules. Cipher Trace indicates that such crypto regulations could lead to bans of privacy coins.

Featured image: DepositPhotos © BrianAJackson

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IBM Hints at Entering the Stablecoin Arena



Jesse Lund, head of blockchain solutions at IBM, has just hinted that the tech company has plans to explore stablecoins in an interview with Cheddar yesterday. Lund did not disclose when this venture may debut but said it would be on its World-Wire platform.

IBM and Stablecoins

IBM began its venture with Stellar in late-2017 and finalized most of its plans in mid-2018. Stellar is an open-sourced, decentralized protocol that focuses on transfers between fiat currency and digital currency.

Lund told Cheddar that US banks are “very interested” in using stablecoins to send cross-border to replace the current SWIFT system. The reason banks are interested in stablecoins over other forms of digital currency is that stablecoins are linked 1:1 to fiat currencies making them more ‘stable’.

“We’re really feeling excited that we’re on a roll to build something new and revolutionary that’s really going to change the landscape of cross-border payments,” Lund explained.

IBM feels the market demand for stablecoins has risen, despite the copious amount of similar coins that have flooded the market as of late. Lund hinted that IBM hopes to create an ecosystem of various digital assets, with many different types of digital assets—including stablecoins.

>> RAID Project: Bittrex Cancels RAID IEO Hours Before Launch

Cheddar asked Lund how the company’s alleged stablecoin compared to the one that JPMorgan just released. The IBM exec said that the company’s solution to cross-border transactions would be “somewhere in between.” Lund claims that this new venture would not be a proprietary coin like JPM coin but feels the major US bank is doing what’s best for them. The bank’s stablecoin will only be used with clients of JPMorgan.

IBM feels its stablecoin should be more broadly accessible and World-Wire seeks to do just that. When this project will be released is still up in the air, but the recent interview proves it is just around the corner.

Featured Image: Pixabay

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Trump Attacks Bitcoin | Is the Digital Coin Immune to His Influence?

Trump attacks Bitcoin

Trump attacks Bitcoin

When President Donald Trump attacks Bitcoin, what do you expect happens? The coin’s price falls, right? Maybe not so.

Last week, Trump attacked Bitcoin on Twitter, and that same day, the coin’s price climbed a little further. Okay, it didn’t exactly shoot for the moon, but it did prove its resilience by climbing and not tanking.

The next day, however, the coin began to fall.

Trump Attacks Bitcoin

But this is interesting because usually when Trump attacks any market or business, the market reacts negatively instantly—such is his power. We’ve seen it happen to Amazon shares when he attacked the company. We’ve seen it happen to Toyota shares and even the entire S&P 500 isn’t immune; it fell 1.5% in a single day when he posted tweets alluding to more tariffs on China.

When Trump calls ill on anything, shares in that anything fall. But not Bitcoin it would seem.

Here’s what he said on July 12:

“I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air. Unregulated Crytpo Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity […] Similarly, Facebook Libra’s “virtual currency” will have little standing or dependability. If Facebook and other companies want to become a bank, they must seek a new Banking Charter and become subject to all Banking Regulations, just like other Banks, both National and International. We have only one real currency in the USA, and it is stronger than ever, both dependable and reliable. It is by far the most dominant currency anywhere in the World, and it will always stay that way. It is called the United States Dollar!”

Trump Attacks Bitcoin, But It Climbs the Same Day

The President didn’t hold back any punches. But the diatribe had little effect on Bitcoin price; rather the coin climbed to $11,858 on the day.

The days after the Tweet, however, did see the coin tumble and now Bitcoin is trading around the mid-$10,000 mark. Whether or not Trump’s comments caused the decline is up for debate. Some believe that Bitcoin’s subsequent fall was due to technicals, and a “typical move well within bitcoin’s current price range.” Other publications, such as FOXBusiness, believe the comments spurred on a delayed reaction and hence, a decline.

>> Huobi Tokens: Huobi Group Buys Back 14 Million HT Tokens

It remains an interesting theory. Because if Bitcoin is unresponsive to Trump’s comments, then it shows that the coin is resilient in the face of government power and influence. This only serves to prove the point of the coin in the first place; a currency for the people that is beyond government control.

On the other hand, Bitcoin may have simply reacted a day later to Trump’s comments as news of his concerns spread. If so, then it is as vulnerable as any other body to influential opinion. It is interesting to note, though, that the immediate response saw the coin climb and not fall.

What are your thoughts? When Trump attacks Bitcoin, what would you expect?

Featured Image: DepositPhotos © grinvalds

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New Zealand Tax Authorities Give the Go Ahead for Crypto Payroll

crypto payroll

crypto payroll

The crypto train has not yet stopped chugging along. More and more companies and countries are looking to get involved in the crypto sector, despite the hardships it has faced the past year. New Zealand just so happens to be the latest country, with reports coming out on Tuesday that said the sovereign island country will allow employers to pay their workers in cryptocurrency.

Here’s everything we know.

New Zealand Allows Employers to Pay Staff in Cryptocurrency

This month, New Zealand tax authorities published a ruling that featured a section giving guidance for companies that want to compensate their staff in cryptocurrency. Blockchain News reported this yesterday, August 13.

The guidance given by tax authorities included how to calculate PAYE taxes when paying in cryptocurrency, as well as highlighting that companies can use foreign exchanges when facilitating crypto payments.

“If the appropriate valuation cannot be obtained from a New Zealand-based exchange, an overseas-based exchange can be used,” the ruling said. “For some ‘altcoins’ (crypto-assets other than bitcoin) it may be necessary to convert into U.S. dollars or another fiat currency, and then convert into NZD.”

This is, of course, significant news as several countries remain anti-cryptocurrency. And New Zealand recognizes this, with the ruling calling New Zealand’s decision to allow crypto payroll “quite progressive.”

>> Ripple (XRP) Gains Regulatory Clarity in the UK: What’s Next?

Not the Only Ones

Despite the significance, and despite the countries that continue to have a hard stance on virtual currencies, New Zealand is not the only country to consider crypto payroll. As various reports noted, last year, CEO of Uphold Robin O’Connell discussed the opportunities using currencies like Bitcoin in payroll will bring.

“With money, people always want the same three things: faster, easier and more transparent,” O’Connell explained. “We think with Bitwage and Dash, we can continue to open that up for a lot more people all over the world.”


What do you think about New Zealand’s decision to allow crypto payroll? Let us know in the comments below.

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