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About Shaksaw

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  1. Sveriges Riksbank, the central bank of Sweden, will carry out the next stage of its e-krona project with the help of two organizations from the financial sector. The move signals a transition from the initial in-house testing with simulated participants to cooperation with real, external partners. Riksbank to Work With Handelsbanken and Tietoevry to Test E-krona The main task during the new phase of the pilot will be to trial “the technical solution for the e-krona” with the participation of real market entities. To accomplish this, Riksbank has invited Handelsbanken, one of the country’s major banking institutions, and Tietoevry, a digital services and software company. In an announcement published Friday, the regulator noted: "Involving external actors as participants in the test environment will make it possible for the Riksbank to evaluate the integration between the participants’ existing systems and the technical platform for the e-krona pilot." One of the elements that will be tested is the integration of the payment flows developed during the first year of the pilot with the internal systems of the new participants, Riksbank explained. The partners will simulate how banks might interact with the e-krona infrastructure, Tietoevry detailed in a separate press release, elaborating: "Tietoevry will develop and test the process of interchangeability between commercial money and e-kronor and analyse how this can be carried out securely and efficiently." The Finland-headquartered company also noted its “unique position in the Nordic financial ecosystem” thanks to a large customer base consisting of banks and payment providers. Over 70% of all Nordic bank transfers go through its payment systems and the fintech enables the leading mobile payment providers in Sweden, Norway and Finland. Central Bank of Sweden to Integrate E-krona With Existing Banking Infrastructure “Our role in the Swedish payment infrastructure is well established, and Tietoevry is a natural partner when exploring how to integrate a digital currency with existing banking infrastructure,” said Christian Segersven, head of financial services solutions and software development. “We are looking forward to supporting this journey towards an inclusive digital currency that will open up for innovative and secure services,” he added. Svenska Handelsbanken, the other partner to get involved in the second stage of the e-krona pilot, is one of Sweden’s largest banks, with more than 400 branches across the country. Founded in 1871, it’s also the oldest company listed on the Swedish stock exchange. In the past couple of decades, Handelsbanken has been expanding its operations in other countries in the region as well as Netherlands and the U.K., where it has over 200 branches. Sweden’s plan to issue a central bank digital currency (CBDC) dates back to a few years ago. Towards the end of 2020, the government in Stockholm began exploring the feasibility of digitalizing the national fiat, the Swedish krona. Arguably, the Scandinavian country has already built the world’s most cashless society. The review should be conducted within two years of its launch. Last month, Riksbank announced the completion of the first phase of the study and released a report which highlighted the continuing decline of cash usage in the country. The central bank of Sweden emphasized the need to proceed with the project and facilitate the involvement of market actors expected to take part in the testing now and join the e-krona network in the future.
  2. Brett Heath is the CEO of Metalla Royalty & Streaming (NYSE: MTA) (TSXV: MTA), a company designed to generate leveraged precious metal (PM) exposure via royalties and streams for shareholders. On May 27, Heath spoke with the precious metals news desk from and explained that he believes the mass adoption of digital currencies like bitcoin will lead to catastrophe. Economic calamities begin when society adopts a new financial product Heath asserted. “When you look back to the last few decades and all of the financial crises that happened, they all have a couple of things in common. And one of them is the mass adoption of a new financial product or a new technology that is not very well understood,” Heath stressed during his interview with’s David Lin. Heath further remarked that it reminds him of the subprime mortgage crisis that tossed the financial world upside down 12 years ago. Heath added: "If we just rewind to the mortgage crisis of 2008— We had the mass adoption of mortgage-backed securities, collateralized debt obligations. And once the public had embraced this, this new financial product, then it crashed. It was a huge problem." Heath continued by adding that he was skeptical of the money that has entered into the crypto economy and said that the industry was a “license for the private sector to print money.” But he also called into question the Federal Reserve’s expansion of the American money system. The PMs proponent emphasized that the crypto economy has grown at an exponential rate as well. “If you look at cryptocurrency using the total market cap of cryptocurrency, it’s over tenfold,” Heath stressed. Business has been booming for PM companies like Metalla Royalty & Streaming as the price of gold is tapping new highs again. Gold is trading for $1,904 per ounce while silver is trading for $27.92 an ounce at the time of publication. This past March, Heath’s company acquired royalty on Eldorado Gold’s Tocantinzinho Project (NYSE: EGO) (TSX: ELD). Heath said he was thrilled to work on a project that will cover “over 2 million ounces of gold.” While speaking with’s David Lin, Heath said that the crypto economy seems to be a recipe for disaster and he thinks it could very well lead to a possible financial crisis. “The crypto market could go upwards $3-$10 trillion. When you have that amount of capital wiped out of digital wallets across the globe, you better believe there is going to be some significant financial repercussions that are felt,” Heath concluded.
  3. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has given personal advice to investors regarding investing in cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin. He said that his own personal advice to people is to “stay away” from cryptocurrencies. However, his bank, JPMorgan, will not stay away as clients want exposure to this asset class. Jamie Dimon’s Personal Advice to Investors About Bitcoin, Other Cryptocurrencies Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the U.S., gave his congressional testimony before the House of Financial Services Committee regarding cryptocurrency on Thursday. While admitting that JPMorgan’s clients are interested in investing in bitcoin, Dimon said: My own personal advice to people is stay away from it. That does not mean the clients don’t want it. This goes back to how you have to run a business. I don’t smoke marijuana but if you make it nationally legal, I’m not going to stop our people from banking it. “We are debating should we make it available in some way, in a safe way, that people can buy and sell it” and put it in their financial statements and balance sheets, the JPMorgan CEO continued. “But my own personal view, it’s nothing like a fiat currency. It’s nothing like gold. Buyer beware.” Dimon clarified that his statements only apply to cryptocurrencies, not blockchains or stablecoins, which are “supported by assets,” he said. The JPMorgan boss further emphasized that his personal views do not influence the financial services that JPMorgan Chase offers to its clients. “A lot of our clients are asking, ‘can we help them buy or sell cryptocurrency?” Dimon said at JPMorgan Chase’s annual shareholder meeting last week. “And we’re investing in that as we speak.” The JPMorgan executive further said during his congressional testimony Thursday: I don’t tell people how to spend their money, regardless of how I might personally feel about something. Reiterating his view expressed in April that cryptocurrencies are emerging issues that need to be dealt with quickly, Dimon said in his congressional testimony that the crypto asset class could benefit from more regulation. “I do think that eventually the regulators who are a day late and a dollar short should be paying a lot more attention to the future, like payment for the order flow, a high-frequency trading, cryptocurrency, and put a legal regulatory framework around it,” he opined. Dimon has long been a bitcoin skeptic. He called the cryptocurrency a fraud back in September 2017. Now JPMorgan is slowly getting into the crypto space. In March, the bank launched a crypto investment product tracking public company stocks with bitcoin exposure. The bank is also reportedly working on providing clients access to bitcoin investments. JPMorgan recently highlighted three reasons for investing in bitcoin after its analysts predicted that the price of the cryptocurrency could reach $146K as its competition with gold heats up. The firm subsequently lowered its bitcoin price estimate to $130K but said that clients can put 1% of their portfolios in BTC. Last week, JPMorgan initiated coverage of the Coinbase stock with an overweight rating and a 60% upside from the current price. renzitopues 1
  4. Bank of America, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo have shared their policies regarding cryptocurrency before the U.S. Senate banking committee. The three banks are in different stages of offering crypto services to their clients. They also lag behind some of their peers, such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, in offering access to investments with exposure to bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Bank of America Evaluating Crypto Opportunities The CEOs of Bank of America, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo gave their testimonies on cryptocurrency before the Senate banking committee last week. The committee, headed by Senator Sherrod Brown, summoned the investment bankers for its annual oversight hearing on Wall Street firms. Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said that BofA was keeping distance from bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as the bank continued “to evaluate the opportunities, risks and client demand for products and services related to cryptocurrency.” Noting that his bank holds more than 60 blockchain-related patents, he emphasized, “We still have not found a use case at scale.” The Bank of America executive confirmed: Currently, we do not lend against cryptocurrencies and do not bank companies whose primary business is cryptocurrency or the facilitation of cryptocurrency trading and investment. Bank of America’s analyst said in January that bitcoin was the “mother of all bubbles.” Nonetheless, the bank’s most recent fund manager survey saw “long bitcoin” as the most crowded trade. In March, the bank says the only good reason for holding bitcoin was “sheer price appreciation.” Senator Brown is skeptical of cryptocurrencies. He recently sent a letter to the new Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Michael Hsu, urging him to review the cryptocurrency regulation under the purview of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Citigroup Taking Measured Approach to Crypto Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser talked about her company taking a “measured approach” to cryptocurrency as the bank sought “to understand changes in the digital asset space and the use of distributed ledger technology, including demand and interest by our clients, regulatory developments and technology advancements.” The Citi executive noted: Before we engage with cryptocurrencies, we see it as our responsibility to ensure we have clear governance and controls in place. Citigroup is reportedly planning to launch crypto services as the firm sees a “very rapid” accumulation of interest in bitcoin. In March, Citigroup says bitcoin was at a tipping point and could become the preferred currency for international trade. Wells Fargo Closely Watching Crypto Space Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf said that his company was close to announcing a pilot project using blockchain technology “to complete internal book transfers of cross-border payments within our global branch network.” However, in terms of cryptocurrency, he said: We continue to closely and actively follow developments around cryptocurrencies, which have emerged as alternative investments products, though their status as a currency and mechanism of payment remains fluid. Darrell Cronk, the president of Wells Fargo Investment Institute, said last week that his firm is in the final stages of adding an actively managed cryptocurrency investment strategy to its platform. “We think the cryptocurrency space has just kind of hit an evolution and maturation of its development that allows it now to be a viable investable asset,” the executive opined.
  5. The South Korean government has issued an amendment to introduce tax on cryptocurrency trading profits. The plan is now a reality after several attempts to delay it by lawmakers. New Rules Impose 20% Tax on Crypto Profits Per Asia Today, the legislative notice details that the amendment will be enacted in February, and profits from buying and selling cryptos in South Korea will be taxed at 20%. However, the rule is applicable only to crypto holders with annual income of over 2.5 million won ($2,300). The Ministry of Economy and Finance said the enforcement decree is scheduled to be promulgated after meetings with the central government’s cabinet. The amendment is being applied to the country’s existing 2020 revised tax rules. Although it will be enacted in the next month, the legislative notice clarifies that the new rule will start applying in 2022, according to government documents. The amendment also covers new tax rules for stock transactions. In fact, transactions of listed shares will also be part of the 20% taxation rules for profits of over 50 million won annually, which is substantially lower than the one imposed on crypto gains. Stocks transactions will be taxed at 25% for annual profits of over 300 million won. Korean Government Kept Delaying Crypto Taxation Plan Reports of the South Korean government delaying the launch of a new tax framework for crypto profits made headlines several times in 2020. In November, the National Assembly asked to delay the process, which was originally set to take place in October 2021. In December, the planning and finance committee of the National Assembly announced that it will postpone the new tax rule until 2022. Moreover, the Korea Blockchain Association requested on Oct. 14, 2020, that the regulators postpone the 20% crypto tax plan until 2023. The group argued that local crypto firms need “a reasonable period” of time to comply with the new rules.
  6. Even at this point in Bitcoin’s evolution, it’s still relatively rare for cryptocurrencies to hit mainstream news headlines unless volatility reaches dramatic extremes. It’s even more extraordinary for blockchain apps to get picked up by the global media. Cryptokitties is one of those rare exceptions. When it launched in December 2017, at the peak of crypto price mania, it was an immediate hit. In the first few days post-launch, people spent over $1 million worth of ETH on digital feline artwork. It was so popular that it became the first app to generate congestion on the Ethereum blockchain, drawing the attention of mainstream outlets, including Bloomberg and the BBC. Cryptokitties was among the first applications to make use of the ERC721 token standard, which allows developers to create non-fungible tokens (NFTs.) The game’s popularity led to speculation that there would be a boom in NFT-based applications. However, the craze cooled off as the 2018 crypto winter set in. Now, NFTs are most definitely making a comeback. In fact, the trends that we’re seeing are comparable to the inexorable rise in total value locked in DeFi applications. By September, weekly volumes of NFT transactions had hit the $1 million mark. By December, that number had risen to $2 million. Furthermore, unlike in 2017, when trading volumes were driven out of a single application, transactions are now distributed across a diverse swath of apps and use cases. The Rising Popularity of NFTs Even at a time when Bitcoin is flying high, Ethereum 2.0 has just launched its genesis block, and DeFi continues to dominate, NFTs are also now featuring more frequently in the crypto news. In some cases, they’re even gaining celebrity backing. Over the summer, Hollywood stalwart and blockchain investor Ashton Kutcher auctioned a piece of digital art via Cryptograph. More recently, renowned gamer and YouTube star Pewdiepie confirmed a collaboration with a blockchain-based game called Wallem, which uses NFTs for skins and other in-game assets. Elsewhere, decidedly analogue-flavored auction house Christie’s announced it had sold a digital portrait of the Bitcoin code for the princely sum of $130,250 – over seven times the highest estimate for the work. And the Sorare platform, running a global fantasy football league, has signed up over 100 clubs, including Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid, and FC Bayern München. Sorare allows users to collect and trade digital cards representing their favorite players, to build their own fantasy football teams. Sorare has grown to become one of the most popular NFT games, having accrued over $5 million in traded volume since launching, according to the aggregator website NonFungible. A Match Made in Heaven? Although the global gaming market is huge and offers vast potential for NFTs, there could be another killer use case for NFTs on the horizon: DeFi. 2020 has undeniably belonged to decentralized finance, with the market having grown by over twenty times since last January, according to DeFi Pulse. Despite the growth in popularity of NFTs, they remain relatively illiquid compared to the rest of the cryptocurrency markets, limiting their value. Now, a growing number of projects are starting to see the potential in merging the DeFi and NFT segments to power up the value in both. Although this is still a very nascent field, a core feature that’s emerging is allowing NFT holders to stake their tokens in DeFi applications. So someone owning a rare Cryptokitty, or a piece of land in Decentraland, could use their NFT as collateral to obtain a loan in the same way they’d put down ETH. This is the premise behind NFTfi, which bills itself as a “simple marketplace for NFT collateralized loans.” The borrower agrees to stake their NFT into a smart contract, which will unlock to the lender if the borrower fails to make their repayment. Aavegotchi takes this a step further. Aavegotchis are ERC721 tokens represented as pixelated collectible artworks. Each has specific attributes that determine its overall value and rarity within the Aavegotchi universe. Each Aavegotchi ERC721 token manages an escrow contract address that holds an Aave-backed aToken, generating a yield on Aave lending pools. It effectively means those holding Aavegotchis can use them for liquidity farming. Connecting DeFi to Other Assets If this seems gimmicky, then remember that the entire NFT concept kicked off with digital cat artwork, but now globally recognized legacy brands such as Christie’s are getting involved. Taking the idea further, the fusion of DeFi and NFTs offers the intriguing potential to connect DeFi to other assets, including those in the real world. Currently, the only way to get involved in DeFi is to stake cryptocurrencies. Now, imagine that whoever bought the Christie’s artwork could stake that piece, worth $130,000, to obtain a loan. Furthermore, imagine if a real-world piece of art, or a car, or real estate, was represented as an NFT on the blockchain and could be staked as collateral. While these developments may be some way off, there are other reasons to believe that the NFT trend will gain further traction in 2021. When Cryptokitties first launched, there was little infrastructure in place to support an NFT economy. Stablecoins were in their infancy, meaning users had to transact in volatile cryptocurrencies like ETH. Crypto derivatives hadn’t yet taken off, and the concept of DeFi was unheard of. Today, all of these developments provide a solid basis on which an NFT economy can flourish. Although it’s hard to make any concrete predictions, it doesn’t seem outlandish to suggest that at this point, NFTs have the potential to become the next biggest trend in crypto as we head into the new year. Combined with DeFi, it seems highly likely that they could see even further meteoric growth.
  7. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has updated its instructions for disclosing crypto activities. The update provides clarification on who must answer “yes” to the IRS’ crypto question and when it is appropriate to select “no” as the answer. IRS Publishes New Crypto Tax Filing Instructions The IRS published updated instructions for Form 1040 on Dec. 31. They include additional information on how to answer the cryptocurrency question on the main tax form used by individuals to file U.S. tax returns. The first question on Form 1040 is about cryptocurrency. It reads: “At any time during 2020, did you receive, sell, send, exchange, or otherwise acquire any financial interest in any virtual currency?” Taxpayers only need to answer “yes” or “no” to this question. According to Cryptotrader Tax, a crypto tax software company, the IRS now requires taxpayers who purchased cryptocurrency in 2020 to answer “yes” to the crypto question on Form 1040 — not just if they sold, traded, or exchanged cryptocurrency as outlinned the previous instructions. The company detailed: This language was not present in the prior instructional guidance that was released in October. The IRS will now know everyone who purchased cryptocurrency in 2020 as all taxpayers must answer this question under penalty of perjury. In summary, taxpayers must answer “yes” to the IRS’ cryptocurrency question in 2020 if they purchased or received (including from an airdrop or a fork) cryptocurrencies. They must also answer “yes” if they sold a cryptocurrency for a fiat currency or exchanged a cryptocurrency for another cryptocurrency. In addition, they need to answer yes if they used cryptocurrency to pay for goods or services. Form 1040 for the tax year 2020 showing the cryptocurrency question. Source: IRS The new instructions also clarify when taxpayers do not need to answer “yes” to the crypto question. The IRS described: A transaction involving virtual currency does not include the holding of virtual currency in a wallet or account, or the transfer of virtual currency from one wallet or account you own or control to another that you own or control. “This is valuable clarification for long-term holders who were unsure if they needed to select yes or no to the question,” Cryptotrader Tax commented. The IRS also explained that if a taxpayer disposes of any cryptocurrencies that were held as capital assets through a sale, exchange, or transfer, they must use Form 8949 to figure out their capital gain or loss and report it on Schedule D of Form 1040.
  8. South Korean politicians won’t be required to disclose their crypto holdings or crypto-related earnings as no fewer than three cryptocurrency-related bills failed to pass the National Assembly. Proposal Submitted in November 2020 According to the Electronic Times, the bills aimed to require lawmakers and senior public servants to report all their cryptocurrency holdings and their trading profits, which raised controversy amongst the political sphere. The proposal was submitted in November 2020 by Min Hyung-bae, a lawmaker of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea and a parliamentary finance committee member, whose rule stated that politicians with $9,200 (10 million won) or more worth of cryptocurrency holdings should submit declarations before the Ethics Committee. Min wanted the bills to prevent conflicts of interest within the public officials who “could use their political positions to pursue private interests.” The current act, known as Public Officials Ethics Act, requires South Korean lawmakers and candidates to a political position to declare their lands, housing possessions, cash, and bonds only if each property declared is worth $9,200 or more. Another of the motivations behind proposing the three bills was a case of conflict of interest with lawmakers Park Deok-heum and Jeon Bong-min. However, that case was not related to crypto whatsoever but raised concerns in the National Assembly to “strengthen the existing laws,” the report said. Ministries still point out that cryptocurrencies have no official property value, as their legal status is not reviewed yet. Similar Proposal Approved in Russia A similar proposal was approved by Russian President Vladimir Putin. As reported on Dec. 13, 2020, Putin signed an order that requires government workers to disclose their cryptocurrency holdings. The order stipulates that employees must submit details of where they bought the digital assets and the value thereof by June 30, 2021. Although the discussions to make the legal concept of cryptocurrencies in South Korea unambiguous are halted, the government was actively submitting proposals during 2020 to tax profits made from buying and selling cryptocurrencies.
  9. The price of bitcoin smashed through the last all-time high again jumping above the $37k zone to $37,400 per coin. The crypto asset’s market valuation is around $689 billion at the time of publication, as it has seen $26 billion in trade volume worldwide. Moreover, the entire crypto-economy surpassed the $1 trillion mark on Wednesday evening (EST) as well. Bitcoin (BTC) has jumped over the $37k handle on Wednesday surpassing the cryptocurrency’s previous all-time high (ATH). At approximately 7:04 p.m. (EST), BTC touched an ATH of around $37,400 per unit. Bitcoin is up 8.5% during the last 24 hours, 27% during the last seven days, 91% for the month, and 235% for the 90-day span. BTC is also up more than 350% against the U.S. dollar for the last 12 months. At approximately 7:04 p.m. (EST), BTC touched an ATH of around $37,400 per unit. Currently, BTC is still riding above the $37k handle. Despite BTC’s price being so high, the Bitcoin dominance index is a tad lower. The metric shows bitcoin’s market dominance compared to all the other crypto assets in existence is around 68.5%, after riding high above 70% for a while. The Bitcoin network hashrate has also skyrocketed during the last 24 hours as miners are dedicating 162 exahash per second (EH/s) to the BTC network. There’s approximately 19 mining pools with hashrate pointed at the blockchain and F2pool leads the pack. The pools that follow F2pool include operations such as Huobi Pro, Binance Pool, Antpool, and The executive at the Bitcoin Depot, Brandon Mintz, told that BTC’s scarcity is driving demand. “The scarcity of BTC compared to the printability of dollars is likely to attract savvy individuals looking to diversify their assets in the event of a lapse in the traditional financial system,” Mintz said. “As the adoption rate of BTC increases and the supply remains constant, the value of BTC will only continue to rise.” Meanwhile, as BTC crossed a new ATH, digital assets like ETH, ADA, BCH, LINK, and XLM have all seen percentage gains between 8% to 70%. Ethereum’s market cap, which is hovering around $138 billion, is partly the reason BTC’s dominance has dropped a few percentages. Currently, the entire market cap of all 7,500+ crypto assets is approximately $1,000,395,709,742 according to exchange data.
  10. An unnamed 37-year-old man was a victim of a theft from a gang of robbers who fled with 15 bitcoin (BTC), worth HKD 3 million ($387,000) in cash. They had agreed to meet in person for a crypto exchange transaction. Six Non-Chinese Suspects Allegedly Involved in the Theft Per the South China Morning Post, the bitcoin trader intended to meet in person in Hong Kong with the alleged buyers after an online conversation. Initially, the unnamed victim was paid the HKD 3 million in cash as agreed while in the robbers’ car, as he previously transferred 15 BTC to the buyers, outside a hotel in North Point, Hong Kong. According to data, 15 BTC is worth $519,969 as of press time. However, following the transaction, the robbers kicked the victim out of the car on a hillside while counting the money, sparking a nationwide search. According to the police, the incident happened after the robbers traveled for more than 6km and stopped on Tai Tam Road in Chai Wan. Afterward, three men appeared on the scene, kicked out the victim, stole the victim’s cash and two mobile phones. Hong Kong police stated that they are looking for a total for “six suspects of non-Chinese ethnicity, aged around 30,” including the driver, who are possibly involved in the incident. Reactions From the Crypto Community Police sources told the South China Morning Post that the robbery didn’t involve any weapons, nor struggles that left people injured. As of press time, the Eastern district crime squad of Hong Kong is in charge of the investigation. Reacting to the news, Jameson Lopp, CTO of Casa and former software engineer at Bitgo, issued a short, but straight-to-the-point recommendation: Don’t engage in six figure face to face bitcoin trades without an armed escort, folks. Some people commented on Lopp’s Twitter thread that in-person bitcoin-related transactions are quite common in some countries, such as Japan, even involving “large cash trades.
  11. Grayscale has sold all of its XRP holdings to purchase bitcoin, ether, and other crypto assets. In an announcement made earlier today, Grayscale made it known that the firm has sold all of its XRP tokens from the Digital Large Cap Fund. Grayscale Sells Off All XRP Holdings There appears to be more gloom for XRP as Grayscale Investment announced that it had sold off all XRP tokens it was holding in its Digital Large Cap Fund. This news comes days after a report emerged that Grayscale had purchased a large number of XRP tokens at a much lower price. According to data from Cryptowhale, the firm had bought over 12 million XRP tokens on New Year’s eve. However, in what appears to be a twist in the decision of the leading crypto investment company, the firm has now decided to totally liquidate all XRP holdings in the large-cap fund. This decision might be connected to Genesis Global Trading, the solely authorized participant of the fund, who earlier announced that it would be suspending XRP tradings on its platform. Genesis cited the impending lawsuit between Ripple and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as to why it has decided to stop trading the crypto asset from January 15, 2020. Grayscale made it known that the proceeds from the liquidation have been used to purchase other crypto assets like bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), and litecoin (LTC). XRP Token Is Still Suffering the Effects of the Impending Litigation Against Ripple Labs Since reports emerged that the U.S. SEC was going to be suing Ripple, the regulator alleged that the firm was offering a $1.3 billion unregistered security offering. Due to this litigation, many crypto exchanges have started delisting the token from their platform. Bitwise, Coinbase, Binance, and a host of other major crypto exchanges have either suspended or totally stopped trading the token on their platform. Another effect of the lawsuit is the tumbling of the price of the crypto asset since the legal issues emerged. Since then, the price of XRP has dipped below $0.20 which equates to a 70% drop. Ripple has vowed to stand up against the SEC, noting that the allegations against it remain false and unfounded. The firm also stated that it was going to continue supporting its operations and products that were outside the United States.
  12. Since Iran began recognizing cryptocurrency mining as an industry, it has reportedly shut down 1,620 unauthorized crypto mining farms. Crypto miners initially welcomed the recognition but later said that the electricity tariffs were too high. 1,620 Crypto Mining Farms Shut Down in Iran Iranian authorities have reportedly closed down 1,620 illegal cryptocurrency mining farms since the country started recognizing cryptocurrency mining as a legal industry in July 2019. The Financial Tribune reported Monday that these mining farms were using 250 megawatts of electricity. Many of the unauthorized cryptocurrency mining farms were identified in December as the price of bitcoin surpassed all-time highs. Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi, a spokesman for the Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company (Tavanir), told the state broadcaster on Saturday: Tavanir is strict in dealing with unauthorized miners, those who use subsidized power, such as unlicensed miners, will be fined as much as the loss they impose on the national grid. Their mining places will be disconnected from the national grid and face prosecution. In July 2019, the Iranian government said it would recognize crypto mining as a legal industry. The publication noted that initially, miners welcomed this move but later they claimed that the electricity tariffs were too high and took their businesses underground. Tavanir is legally authorized to shut down illegal crypto mining businesses, the news outlet noted, adding that a total of 24 cryptocurrency mining farms using 310 MW have been approved by the Ministry of Industries, Mining, and Trade so far. The Iranian Energy Ministry explained that the electricity bills for miners are based on average power export rates and the country’s Forex Management Integrated System (Nima). “Miners are charged 4,800 rials for one kilowatt-hour that is half the electricity export rate in autumn, winter and spring,” the publication detailed. “However, billings are planned to be based on 19,300 rials/kw, twice the price for exported electricity in summer (June to Sept).” Rajabi Mashhadi said that the judiciary reported a jump in court cases related to illegal cryptocurrency mining in December and nearly 500 cryptocurrency mining farms were identified with the help of whistleblowers. They are given incentives, including rewards of 100 million rials, for helping energy officials identify illegal crypto mining farms.
  13. On Monday, a British judge rejected the U.S. request to extradite the Australian editor, publisher, and activist Julian Assange. Following the U.K. judge’s decision, the current president of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has offered Assange political asylum in the country. Meanwhile, Wikileaks has gathered hundreds of thousands of dollars in crypto-asset donations since the founders’ arrest in April 2019. US Extradition Requests for Julian Assange Denied The world recently watched a United Kingdom judge reject the United States’ request to extradite the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The activist told the court that the state of the harsh U.S. prisons would likely lead to killing himself. “I find that the mental condition of Mr. Assange is such that it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America,” the judge said after rejecting the U.S. request. Assange was arrested on April 11, 2019, and he faces espionage charges over the publication of classified U.S. documents. Following the judge’s rejection, the notorious whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted about the decision to not let the U.S. take Assange. “Let this be the end of it,” Snowden tweeted after hearing the news. Additionally, the sitting president of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has offered Assange political asylum. Obrador told a daily press briefing that the British judge’s decision to reject the U.S. government was a milestone of justice and added that Assange is “a journalist and deserves another chance.” “I’m in favor that Assange is pardoned, furthermore, I will ask the foreign minister to initiate proper procedures to ask the United Kingdom’s government about the possibility that Julian Assange is set free, and that Mexico offers to provide political asylum,” Obrador stressed. $800K in Crypto Donations Moreover, the cryptocurrency community has been sending Assange and Wikileaks quite a bit of crypto-funding since his arrest in 2019. At the time of publication, the Wikileaks BTC donation address holds 19.66 BTC or over $600k using today’s exchange rates. Bitcoin cash (BCH) proponents have donated 222.99 BCH or over $87k at current BCH prices. The Wikileaks litecoin (LTC) address has 140 LTC or over $21,000 in litecoin donations. 76.87 unshielded zcash (ZEC) has been sent to the Wikileaks address worth $4,350 today. Wikileaks also accepts private transfers of zcash (ZEC) and monero (XMR) as well. As far as ethereum (ETH) donations are concerned, the organization has collected over 89 ether or over $87,000 using today’s ETH exchange rates. Since his arrest in 2019, Assange has spent his time at the high-security Belmarsh Prison. If Assange was to be extradited to the U.S. he faces 18 cyberattack crimes for hacking government computer systems. Assange is also charged with espionage and the aggregate of U.S. charges could see Assange get a 175-year sentence in prison. Out of all the cryptocurrency donations Wikileaks has received, most of the coins have been held for a long period of time. Out of a total of 24.21 BTC donations sent to the nonprofit, Wikileaks has only spent 4.55 BTC to date ($140k) and many other coins have been held long-term as well. Without knowing how much shielded zcash (ZEC) and monero (XMR) Wikileaks has been sent, the addresses that do show donations we can see, indicate that the organization holds over $800,000 worth of crypto donations today.
  14. Chile’s Free Competition Defense Court (TDLC) ruled in favor of the Latin American cryptocurrency exchange Buda after their checking accounts were closed by two major banks in the midst of a lawsuit related to a Ponzi scheme unrelated to the exchange. Chilean Court Rejected Petitions From Two Banks to Keep Checking Accounts Closed From Crypto Exchange Buda According to Diario Financiero, the TDLC decided that Banco Itaú and BancoEstado should keep open Buda’s bank accounts, which were shut down in 2018 during an investigation of a bogus company named Terra Finance that turned to be a scam. The lawsuit filed by four victims of the scheme — defrauded with a total amount of 100 million Chilean pesos ($200,000 approximately) — said that they were users of the crypto exchange. At that time, Banco Itaú backed its decision by claiming that Buda allowed the usage of its platform for bogus companies like Terra Finance indirectly and did nothing to stop it: “Buda is indirectly allowing the use of Itaú’s systems by other cryptocurrency exchanges, of recognized risk, without being able to do anything about it.” However, the Chilean court didn’t consider strong enough such claims and issued the following resolution on the matter: The new information presented does not undermine the serious presumption of the right that is claimed or of the facts denounced in the lawsuit. Legal Battle Is Still Alive Speaking with the local media outlet, Samuel Cañas, Buda’s chief legal officer, said: The bank has not been able to present sufficient information to dismiss the serious presumption of acts that threaten free competition that the Court determined to grant the precautionary measure in favor of But the legal battle had not ended, said Guillermo Torrealba, Buda’s CEO, since the lawyers told him that there is still 1 year left. Still, he pointed out that the exchange is going “on the right path,” as four of five judges voted in favor of Buda, instead of the three votes they got in the last audience.
  15. The top banking regulator in the U.S. has announced that national banks and savings associations in the country can use public blockchains and stablecoins for payment activities. Experts say this is good for bitcoin and its importance should not be understated. Banks Can Use Public Blockchains and Stablecoins The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) published an interpretive letter on Monday “clarifying national banks’ and federal savings associations’ authority to participate in independent node verification networks (INVN) and use stablecoins to conduct payment activities and other bank-permissible functions.” The OCC supervises nearly 1,200 national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches of foreign banks that conduct approximately 70% of all banking business in the U.S. “While governments in other countries have built real-time payments systems, the United States has relied on our innovation sector to deliver real-time payments technologies,” explained Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks. “Some of those technologies are built and managed by bank consortia and some are based on independent node verification networks such as blockchains.” He continued, “The President’s Working Group on Financial Markets recently articulated a strong framework for ushering in an era of stablecoin-based financial infrastructure,” elaborating: Our letter removes any legal uncertainty about the authority of banks to connect to blockchains as validator nodes and thereby transact stablecoin payments on behalf of customers who are increasingly demanding the speed, efficiency, interoperability, and low cost associated with these products. The OCC letter concludes that “a national bank or federal savings association may validate, store, and record payments transactions by serving as a node on an INVN.” In addition, “a bank may use INVNs and related stablecoins to carry out other permissible payment activities. In deploying these technologies, a bank must comply with applicable law and safe, sound, and fair banking practices.” The crypto community widely welcomes this OCC clarification. Dan Held, growth lead at cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, commented: “The OCC will allow US banks to use public blockchains and stablecoins as a settlement infrastructure in the US financial system … This is huge for Bitcoin. As an immutable SoV it already settled over a trillion dollars worth of value annually.” Emphasizing that “This is a huge win for crypto and stablecoins,” Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire explained: The new interpretive letter establishes that banks can treat public chains as infrastructure similar to SWIFT, ACH and Fedwire, and stablecoins like USDC as electronic stored value. The significance of this can’t be understated. “Decentralized, permissionless, open-source and internet-mediated software is literally becoming the foundation for not just the US financial system but for the global economy,” he opined. “It also sets the stage for more regulated financial institutions to run blockchain nodes, and even become validators.”