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Here’s Why a Lawyer Thinks Russia’s Cryptocurrency Ban is Unconstitutional

Recently, NewsBTC reported that Russia planned to criminalize the use of cryptocurrency, as stipulated in the latest draft bill “on digital currency.”
However, Russian lawyer Maria Agranovskaya told local media agency ForkLog that the bill limits the rights of cryptocurrency holders to judicial protection, which is against the country’s constitution.
Russian Expert Says Draft Bill to Ban Cryptocurrency Has Many Problems
The draft bill, titled “On Digital Currency,” says that those who hold Bitcoin or other coins can rely on judicial protection only in the case when the crypto holdings are declared. The local expert noted:
“This directly violates the constitutional rights of citizens of the Russian Federation.”
She admitted that the government should provide crypto holders the ability to declare their digital currencies. Nevertheless, the legality of their ownership should not be dependent on the declaration itself.
Agranovskaya doesn’t agree with that fact that the bill in its current form stipulates criminal liability not only for those who are involved in the cryptocurrency market in a direct manner, but also touches upon programmers and even lawyers who advise on such matters.
Another issue with the draft bill is that it might violate the principle of freedom of the media. The document proposes a ban on the promotion of the issuance and circulation of cryptocurrencies. In reality, reporting on various crypto-related events might also be interpreted as a form of promotion. Thus, any mention of crypto could go against the law if the bill is approved by parliament.
Besides this, the expert is not satisfied with the terminology of the bill. She said:
“There is total confusion amid draconian sanctions. Digital currencies are prohibited, while the purport of operating tokens (digital operating tokens – “операционные знаки” is a term coined specifically for this bill) are completely incomprehensible, although they are essentially the same.”
Agranovskaya concluded that the bill will kill the nascent cryptocurrency market in Russia and the country’s digitalization efforts if the State Duma passes it in its current form.
Other Experts Express Similar Opinions
Other local experts also expressed their worries that the proposed bill wouldn’t fix the underground circulation of cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, the law can destroy legal businesses.
United Traders co-founder Anatoly Radchenko told local media agency RBK that the government wouldn’t be able to implement the ban because it’s difficult to track who owns Bitcoin. He noted that it doesn’t make sense at all.
“It is like trying to ban YouTube or the Internet. It doesn’t make any sense,” the crypto executive said.
The draft bill says that if an individual takes part in a cryptocurrency transaction and uses the cryptocurrency as a means of payment, he should pay a fine ranging from under $1 to about $14,000 or even face up to seven years in prison.
The bill was developed by the Digital Economy think tank and the Skolkovo business accelerator.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
Source: Bitcoinist News

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A High-Profile Acquisition Shows Bitcoin Demand from Institutions is Surging

The world is experiencing the worst financial crisis in decades, but the Bitcoin market has its own route. The recent acquisitions announced by cryptocurrency exchanges give hope that the economic recession doesn’t hinder the crypto’s market expansion. Last month, Binance announced the acquisition of Coinmarketcap. Now it’s time for Coinbase to go big.
Coinbase Buys Institutional-Oriented Bitcoin Brokerage Tagomi
Coinbase, America’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, will have more to offer to institutional investors. The company announced the acquisition of crypto-oriented brokerage firm Tagomi.
Tagomi provides a platform that helps big investors automate crypto trades worth millions of US dollars. Other brokerages would execute such orders manually. Tagomi’s clients include family offices and cryptocurrency funds like Bitwise and Pantera Capital.
Coinbase hasn’t offered more details about the acquisition figures, but the fact that Tagomi is a well-established company speaks volumes. It was launched about two years ago with funds from Digital Currency Group, Founders Fund, and Collaborative Fund. Former head of Goldman Sachs’ electronic trading, Greg Tusar, co-founded the firm with Jennifer Campbell and Marc Bhargava.
Tusar told Bloomberg:
“If I wanted to buy $100 million of Bitcoin, we bring the tools to Coinbase to allow users to execute more efficiently. Coupled together with custody and deep liquidity in the Coinbase liquidity pool, together with the existing OTC operation, that’s a combination of things that no one else has.”
Tagomi now offers the support for about 30 digital assets, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, XRP, XLM, and EOS, among others. Most of the crypto assets are traded in pair with USD, Bitcoin, or USDC. Some pairs are in private beta mode, such as ADA, CVC, and XMR.
The acquisition is still pending and waiting for regulatory approval. If or when it succeeds, Tagomi’s co-founder and most of the staff will move to San Francisco, where Coinbase is currency based.
Institutional Investors Are Move Active Despite Recent Correction
Coinbase said that the trading volume from professional and institutional traders doubled during the last three months compared to the previous three months. The surge came despite the market crash from mid-March when Bitcoin saw one of the largest single-day declines in its history.
Tagomi’s platform will come on top of Coinbase’s other services aimed at institutional traders. The crypto exchanges had gradually developed advanced features like margin trading and other tools to help investors diversify their strategies.
Emilie Choi, chief operating officer at Coinbase, explained:
“The thing we are really focused on is getting a world-class trading platform.”
All in all, it seems that whales might be preparing for another rally. Just recently, cryptocurrency custody service provider BitGo announced the launch of a trading and custody solution aimed at institutional investors.
Source: Bitcoinist News

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Gold and 5 Crypto Assets Comprise New Index Listed on Bloomberg

Crypto Gold

Many gold investors are not endorsing Bitcoin as an investment option. Nevertheless, digital asset manager CoinShares launched an index that tracks gold and five crypto assets.
CoinShares’ CGCI is EU BMR Compliant
Earlier on Tuesday, CoinShares launched CoinShares Gold and Cryptoassets Index (CGCI). It is promoted as the first EU Benchmark Regulations (EU BMR) compliant index for the crypto industry that merges gold and crypto assets.
The index can be monitored on Bloomberg Terminals and Refinitiv.
The goal of the new index is to offer exposure to digital assets while boosting average returns and smooth volatility. The CGCI combines the high volatility of cryptocurrencies, the low volatility of the precious metal, and the almost inexistent correlation between the two.
However, during global crises, both gold and Bitcoin might be regarded as reliable safe-havens, which makes a case for a temporary correlation.
Still, the index aims to give institutional investors access to more effective risk control to crypto assets by leveraging the stability of gold. While there are several crypto-oriented indexes that offer exposure to multiple crypto assets via capitalization weighting, most of them cannot boast genuine risk diversification given that there is a high correlation among cryptocurrencies.
As of the beginning of May, crypto assets comprise 31.75% of the CGCI in five equally-weighted components, and gold comprises the remaining 68.25%.
Performance of Bitcoin, Gold, and the CGCI index (source: https://coinshares.com/investment-products/index-strategies)
CGCI Might Boost Crypto Adoption Among Institutional Investors
Institutional investors have always been welcomed to the crypto industry, as they have the potential to push the market to new levels. However, Chainalysis found out that whales had driven the Bitcoin crash in mid-March. Thus, there is much room for institutions to come back, especially when COVID-related restrictions are lifted.
CoinShares hopes that its index bodes well for the image of the cryptocurrency market and will bring more professional investors.
The company’s executive chairman, Daniel Masters, commented:
“Robustly researched and documented index products were the catalyst for institutional adoption of commodities in the late ’90’s through the advent of the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index. This crypto and gold index aims to do the same, by using academic research and its benchmark regulated status to pass muster with even the most stringent investment committees.”
CoinShares has conducted academic research in collaboration with Imperial College London to figure out how gold and crypto assets would work together in terms of risk distribution.
Professor Will Knottenbelt, who leads the Imperial College Centre’s Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering unit, explained:
“The CGCI is the product of nearly 2 years of research, development and experimentation conducted by Imperial in close collaboration with CoinShares.”
CoinShares is now thinking about turning the index into an investable benchmark as part of its passive products business.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
Source: Bitcoinist News

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Study: Bitcoin’s Use in Remittances, FX Boosts Crypto Adoption in India

India is one of the fastest-growing cryptocurrency markets in the world, according to a recent report by Coinpaprika and OKEx. The trend will likely continue as the government has recently made a u-turn by endorsing crypto operations.
Immigrants, Govt Policies Are Driving Cryptocurrency Market’s Growth in India
The report cites three main factors that are driving the crypto market – immigrants, finance, and government policies. The former two are supporting the demand side of the crypto space.
Many immigrants use cryptocurrencies for cross-border remittance and exchange of fiat currencies. The fact that India has the largest population outflow in the world is generating a huge demand for remittances to the country. Traditionally, the volume of remittances by Indian immigrants has been among the highest in the world, and many of them are now turning to cryptocurrencies .
Migrant remittance inflows in India (Source: knomad.org)
Many Indians are using Bitcoin, XRP, and other cryptocurrencies as cross-border payment channels to save on remittance fees as much as possible.
Besides remittances, Indians at home are using cryptocurrencies as a channel to convert rupees to the US dollar or other more stable fiat currencies. India is currently going through the worst recession in its history, which puts pressure on the local currency. The rupee has devalued against the US dollar and other fiat majors. In order to preserve their savings, many Indians would rather keep USD, but that’s often difficult considering the strict forex regulations.
In these circumstances, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies come to the rescue. Many Indians would convert their rupees to Bitcoin and then to USD via P2P trading platforms like Paxful or LocalBitcoins.

Government Friendlier to Crypto
Another factor that helps the crypto market expand at a rapid pace is that the Indian government has become friendlier to this emerging space. In March of this year, the Supreme Court nullified the central bank’s ban against cryptocurrency. Since then, volume figures on most cryptocurrency exchanges operating in India have surged.
Just recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) clarified that it allows banks to provide accounts to crypto exchanges, companies, and traders.
The central bank has responded to an information request by Harish BV, a co-founder of local crypto exchange Unocoin.
Even though the Supreme Court lifted RBI’s ban on crypto-related businesses, uncertainties still persisted, as many banks didn’t know whether they could provide accounts for such clients. Some banks were still rejecting crypto businesses in early spring.
The RBI’s latest intervention brings more clarity by openly admitting that banks should not restrict crypto exchanges and other companies.
Source: Bitcoinist News

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Sberbank Buys 5,000 Blockchain ATMs as Russia Ponders Criminalizing Crypto Use

Crypto

Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, is buying more contactless ATMs that are powered by blockchain, according to local news agency Izvestia. Interestingly, the move comes amid a proposed bill to penalize individuals and companies that use crypto and Bitcoin in financial transactions.
Sberbank Leverages Blockchain for Contactless ATMs
To avoid confusion, Sberbank’s ATMs have nothing to do with crypto as they don’t act as BTMs. The banking giant aims to cut the need for physical contact of clients with their bank cards amid the COVID pandemic.
The blockchain-powered devices will support several contactless payment systems, including Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Mir Pay, and Huawei Pay. The ATMs are also equipped with functionality for pattern recognition and are protected by anti-vandal systems.
In total, Sberbank plans to buy 5,000 ATMs within a framework of a tender worth over $108 million. Consequently, each machine will cost around $22,000.
While it is not a secret that Sberbank is a big fan of blockchain-related innovation, it is unclear how exactly do the new ATMs leverage the technology. About two years ago, the bank launched a blockchain lab to create and trial the technology for various tasks. For instance, in the fall of last year, Sberbank became the first Russian bank to patent a system that converts repo into smart contracts on blockchain.
Today, Sberbank has about 75,000 ATMs across Russia, of which 55,000 are fully functional.
Russia Might Punish Those Who Use Crypto
Sberbank’s move is proving that the Russian state doesn’t want to stay aloof from the blockchain adoption, as the bank is owned by the government. On the other side, the country seems to have a problem with the free use of crypto, including Bitcoin.
At the end of last week, Russian news agency RBK said that the bill on crypto, which has been stagnating for over two years, might go through some amendments that seek the prohibition of the issuance of cryptocurrencies and their operations on the Russian territory. Apparently, the distribution of information about related activities will also be interdicted.
The draft bill, which was submitted by a group of deputies to the State Duma (the parliament’s lower house), proposes that individuals who use Bitcoin in financial transactions should face up to seven years in prison and penalties worth up to $7,000.
Even China didn’t impose such drastic measures when it unexpectedly shut down crypto exchanges.
If the bill becomes law, Russian citizens will be able to become owners of cryptocurrency only if they inherit it.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
Source: Bitcoinist News

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China’s Civil Law Could Enable Citizens to Inherit Bitcoin

China’s Inheritance Law might soon be updated to include internet property and cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin. The draft bill is currently being reviewed by the government.
New Inheritance Law to Be Part of China’s First Civil Code, and It Could Impact Bitcoin
Recently, the Chinese parliament revealed the draft of its first civil code, which includes the protection of civil rights like property, personality, contract, marriage, infringement, and inheritance. The wide-ranging package of laws is expected to promote the country’s rule of law.
In the law about inheritance, the Chinese government has introduced a key framework that could impact cryptocurrency and Bitcoin owners. The current “Inheritance Law,” whose original version was first established in 1985, included civil income, housing, trees, cultural relics, and copyrights.
The new civil code replaced the above terms. It now stipulates that when a natural person dies, his/her legacy is the personal legal property. This touches upon internet property and virtual currency such as Bitcoin.
Dovey Wan, founding partner at Primitive Ventures, tweeted that users should care more about their Bitcoin’s private keys rather than protective laws.

China's Inheritance Law has expanded the scope of inheritance to include internet property and cryptocurrency (so Bitcoin is included)
🤔 but I would rather my Bitcoin be protected by the key itself not the law tho , the problem with law is always enforcement not legislation
— Dovey 以德服人 Wan 🪐🦖 (@DoveyWan) May 25, 2020

Lixin Zhang, Professor at Renmin University of China, reportedly said in an interview with China Central Television (CCTV) that the old version of Inheritance Law hasn’t been in line with the needs of the modern society. In the last few decades, China’s economy has boomed and inclined towards technology adoption and industrialization.
New Chinese Civil Code to Speed up Modernization 
The draft legislative package was submitted to the annual session of China’s national legislature for review, although it still remains unclear as to how much it will impact Bitcoin.
Li Zhanshu, chairman of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, delivered the committee’s annual work report earlier today at the third session of the 13th NPC. The official said that the NPC Standing Committee solicited public opinions on seven occasions during the compilation of the code, which has been in work since 2014.
Wang Yi of Renmin University of China commented:
“Having a civil code will be another crucial milestone in developing a socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics. It will greatly boost the modernization of China’s system and capacity for governance.”
However, not everyone agrees that the new civil code will bring significant changes. Some experts argue that the code is nothing else than a mix of existing laws, suggesting that the impact will be minimal.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
Source: Bitcoinist News

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Central Bank Digital Currencies May Arrive Within 3 Years

Deutsche Bank central bank cryptocurrency

Deutsche Bank analyst Marion Laboure said that the major central banks that recently formed a think tank to explore digital currencies might take concrete actions within three years. The global pandemic is accelerating the process.

COVID Pandemic Will Speedup CBDC Adoption
When Bitcoin first came out, central banks ignored the potential of blockchain and even tried to curb crypto adoption. When they understood that cryptocurrency is not only hype, some of them hinted that sometime in the future we might see central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). However, their tone has always been as if this will happen in the post-homo sapiens era.
Now they’re rushing to adopt blockchain so that they can control cash. While central bankers still despise Bitcoin, at least they can create their own version of digital currency that they could monitor.
Deutsche Bank analyst Marion Laboure told Reuters that the central banks that recently formed a group to trial CBCDs would probably issue the first “general purpose digital currency” within about three years from now. The rush is caused by the current COVID-19 pandemic.
In January of this year, Bitcoinist reported that the European Central Bank, along with the central banks of Canada, England, Japan, Switzerland and Sweden had formed a think tank to create CBDCs. The Bank for International Settlement (BIS) also joined the initiative. The group represents about 1.5 billion of the world’s population.
Laboure said that the group of central bankers should have met this month to discuss digital currencies. However, the status of the meeting is unclear at the moment. Nevertheless, central banks have to deliver cash to companies and households at a massive rate during the worst economic crisis in many decades. Blockchain-powered digital currencies can help them streamline many processes.
CBDC’s Will Help Central Banks Inject Cash to Households
According to Laboure, CBDCs will help central banks improve their quantitative easing programmes, as they will be able to pump cash directly to companies and households.
While we already have digital money in our banks and on credit cards, CBDCs will be different in that they will reside on permissioned blockchains. Individuals and companies will probably have digital wallets.
Do you think CBDCs will give central bankers more power? Share your thoughts below!

Images via Shutterstock
Source: Bitcoinist News

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Bitcoin Tumbles Under $7K, More Losses Ahead if Support Fails

Is bitcoin Going to Crash By Year End?

Bitcoin has tumbled below $7,000 on Friday, which has surprised many investors. If the current support level at $6,900 doesn’t hold, the chances are that the bearish mood will extend.

Bitcoin Slips on Good Friday
Most of the traditional markets are closed today in observance of Good Friday, but crypto exchanges don’t experience a significant drop in trading volumes. This suggests that the bearish move is genuine and might continue if bulls don’t hold at $6,900.
On April 7, Bitcoin formed a double top, which is often a bearish pattern in technical analysis. Bitcoinist anticipated that the largest cryptocurrency might face a painful correction if it doesn’t break above the double top’s peak. It didn’t happen – Bitcoin had moved sideways within a range between $7,100 and $7,430 until finally giving up.
It seems that the correction has been triggered by whale traders. Since yesterday, Twitter bot Whale Alert posted an unusually high number of large Bitcoin transactions, most of which moved from crypto exchanges to unknown wallets. Some of the largest moves might have been internal transfers, but most of them were too small to be considered internal reshuffles and too large to be ignored.

🚨 🚨 🚨 5,000 #BTC (36,484,419 USD) transferred from #Bitfinex to unknown wallet
Tx: https://t.co/q9SmrKimeO
— Whale Alert (@whale_alert) April 9, 2020

🚨 1,500 #BTC (10,892,932 USD) transferred from #OKEx to unknown wallet
Tx: https://t.co/wPstDXwEX2
— Whale Alert (@whale_alert) April 9, 2020

🚨 🚨 3,746 #BTC (27,380,655 USD) transferred from #Bitmex to unknown wallet
Tx: https://t.co/wZNuvEYsaq
— Whale Alert (@whale_alert) April 9, 2020

What’s even more worrying is that some of these large transfers came less than two hours ago after the largest bearish candle. This suggests that the downtrend might get worse as the liquidations continue.

900 #BTC (6,270,023 USD) transferred from #OKEx to unknown wallet
Tx: https://t.co/cVrAZb7Co8
— Whale Alert (@whale_alert) April 10, 2020

1,130 #BTC (7,880,735 USD) transferred from #RenrenBit to unknown wallet
Tx: https://t.co/p2Dw3wsNOx
— Whale Alert (@whale_alert) April 10, 2020

Bulls Will Come Back Stronger
Even if the Bitcoin price will slip to $6,300 or even $6,000, it simply means a discount price for bulls, who will come back much stronger in the medium-term future. Many expected that the Fed’s further stimulus worth $2.1 trillion would push Bitcoin prices, but it seems that the recovery is postponed.
The crypto market will also benefit from the halving, though the bold rally is expected after the event.
Even in these conditions, Bitcoin might break above $7,500 soon if it manages to hold at the current level.

Do you think Bitcoin will slip to $6,000? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Images via Shutterstock, Twitter:@whale_alert , BTC/USD chart by TradingView
Source: Bitcoinist News

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Binance Rejects Charges of Embezzlement, Shares Its Side of Story

binance

Binance reacted to recent allegations that it had embezzled hundreds of thousands of US dollars in cryptocurrency from a user, referring to recent reports covering the situation as false information.

Binance Complied with Korean Law Enforcement’s Request
On Wednesday, Bitcoinist reported that Binance was accused of embezzling almost $860,000 in crypto funds from a user based in Ukraine. On Thursday, Binance presented its side of the story.
The crypto exchange admitted that the user’s account was blocked, but it explained that the action was taken after an investigation from South Korean law enforcement.
According to Binance, on November 8, 2018, a Korean crypto project lost 3,995 ETH after falling victim to a listing fee scam. The project managers reported the incident to the local police. The Korean law enforcement then came across a suspect whose identity could not be confirmed, though he is treated separately from the Binance user at this point. The suspect somehow got unauthorized access to the project’s internal emails and discovered that it was seeking to list its token on several exchanges, including Binance.
The suspect then started a social engineering scam, sending emails on behalf of Binance, pledging to list the victim’s token in exchange for a fee. The victim sent the suspect about 10 billion Korean Won in Ethereum, which is the equivalent of over $8.2 million. The South Korean police found that a Binance user had received “a majority of the stolen funds.” The crypto exchange refers to the user with the initials B.K.
On January 18, 2019, the Korean police requested Binance to transfer the scammed crypto funds from B.K.’s account to the victim, which the company did. Moreover, the exchange informed B.K. about the Korean law enforcement’s request and advised to get in touch with his local law enforcement agency.
Ukrainian Law Enforcement Gets Involved
In April last year, a Ukrainian law enforcement agency reached Binance on behalf of the user. The company explained the incident and was told that no further assistance was needed, suggesting that the agency was satisfied with the explanation.
The statement came with screenshots of the exchange’s communication with the Korean law enforcement.

Binance stressed that it was working closely with law enforcement agencies worldwide and was ready to provide further documentation “to fight fraud and bring justice to these cases.”
In the end, Binance warned that it would take legal action against those who “deliberately tarnishes its reputation through misrepresentation or misinformation.”
What do you think about the incident? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Images via Shutterstock, Binance
Source: Bitcoinist News

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Cryptocurrency Primary Use to Buy Illegal Stuff is Myth, Study Finds

Cryptocurrency Primary Use to Buy Illegal Stuff is Myth, Study Finds

Cryptocurrency is successfully used as means of payment more often than generally believed. A study carried out by Visual Objects found out that crypto owners use Bitcoin and other crytpocurrencies to buy food and clothing, though one-third of respondents believe that it’s mostly used to buy stocks and illegal items.

Contrary to Popular Belief, Crypto Owners Mostly Buy Foods and Clothes
The high volatility of Bitcoin and its brethren is an obstacle for those who want to promote the cryptocurrency as a reliable means of payment, but a recent study discovered that crypto owners don’t mind to buy stuff with it, and most of it is about legal and mundane purchases.
Visual Objects surveyed 983 people familiar with cryptocurrency and 157 cryptocurrency owners. The first group was asked what they believed crypto owners prefer to buy. 40% of them said that cryptos are mainly used to buy stocks, while 30% mentioned illegal items. Very few suggested that crypto owners buy clothing (15%) and food (14%).
In reality, the picture is quite different, at least from the perspective of cryptocurrency owners themselves. They said that they use their crypto wallets to buy food (38%), clothing (34%), stocks (29%), and gold (21%). 15% admitted that they purchased weapons and 11% bought drugs with crypto.
Sourse: Visual Objects
The survey suggested that cryptocurrency is used for day-to-day purchases more often that the general public believes. 72% of the crypto owners said that they use to buy items with their digital wallets.
Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency among group of owners, with 70% of the respondents holding it. Ethereum (27%), Litecoin (20%), and Dogecoin (15%) come next.
Cryptocurrency Community Paying More Attention to Utility
People will learn to use cryptocurrencies to buy goods, especially when the fiat money will become less reliable due to the inflationary pressure.
At the beginning of the year, Bitcoinist reported that 36% of American SMEs accept crypto payments, according to a survey commissioned by American insurer Hartford Steam Boiler (HSB).
Last month, Coinbase announced that its card could be used to make purchases on Google Pay.
Do you think that the Bitcoin price will stabilize some day and will be used for payments? Share your expectations in the comments section!

Images via Shutterstock, Visual Objects
Source: Bitcoinist News