Mt. Gox Files for U.S. Bankruptcy Protection - AOL Finance
Mt. Gox Files for U.S. Bankruptcy Protection - AOL Finance
Bitcoin Exchange Mt. Gox Moves to Protect U.S. Assets - WSJ
Japan's Mizuho in U.S., Canada suits over Mt. Gox bitcoin ...
Mt. Gox files U.S. bankruptcy, opponents call it a ruse
Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox goes dark in blow to virtual currency
Bob The Magic Custodian
Summary: Everyone knows that when you give your assets to someone else, they always keep them safe. If this is true for individuals, it is certainly true for businesses. Custodians always tell the truth and manage funds properly. They won't have any interest in taking the assets as an exchange operator would. Auditors tell the truth and can't be misled. That's because organizations that are regulated are incapable of lying and don't make mistakes. First, some background. Here is a summary of how custodians make us more secure: Previously, we might give Alice our crypto assets to hold. There were risks:
Alice might take the assets and disappear.
Alice might spend the assets and pretend that she still has them (fractional model).
Alice might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Alice might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Alice might lose access to the assets.
But "no worries", Alice has a custodian named Bob. Bob is dressed in a nice suit. He knows some politicians. And he drives a Porsche. "So you have nothing to worry about!". And look at all the benefits we get:
Alice can't take the assets and disappear (unless she asks Bob or never gives them to Bob).
Alice can't spend the assets and pretend that she still has them. (Unless she didn't give them to Bob or asks him for them.)
Alice can't store the assets insecurely so they get stolen. (After all - she doesn't have any control over the withdrawal process from any of Bob's systems, right?)
Alice can't give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force. (Bob will stop her, right Bob?)
Alice can't lose access to the funds. (She'll always be present, sane, and remember all secrets, right?)
See - all problems are solved! All we have to worry about now is:
Bob might take the assets and disappear.
Bob might spend the assets and pretend that he still has them (fractional model).
Bob might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Bob might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Bob might lose access to the assets.
It's pretty simple. Before we had to trust Alice. Now we only have to trust Alice, Bob, and all the ways in which they communicate. Just think of how much more secure we are! "On top of that", Bob assures us, "we're using a special wallet structure". Bob shows Alice a diagram. "We've broken the balance up and store it in lots of smaller wallets. That way", he assures her, "a thief can't take it all at once". And he points to a historic case where a large sum was taken "because it was stored in a single wallet... how stupid". "Very early on, we used to have all the crypto in one wallet", he said, "and then one Christmas a hacker came and took it all. We call him the Grinch. Now we individually wrap each crypto and stick it under a binary search tree. The Grinch has never been back since." "As well", Bob continues, "even if someone were to get in, we've got insurance. It covers all thefts and even coercion, collusion, and misplaced keys - only subject to the policy terms and conditions." And with that, he pulls out a phone-book sized contract and slams it on the desk with a thud. "Yep", he continues, "we're paying top dollar for one of the best policies in the country!" "Can I read it?' Alice asks. "Sure," Bob says, "just as soon as our legal team is done with it. They're almost through the first chapter." He pauses, then continues. "And can you believe that sales guy Mike? He has the same year Porsche as me. I mean, what are the odds?" "Do you use multi-sig?", Alice asks. "Absolutely!" Bob replies. "All our engineers are fully trained in multi-sig. Whenever we want to set up a new wallet, we generate 2 separate keys in an air-gapped process and store them in this proprietary system here. Look, it even requires the biometric signature from one of our team members to initiate any withdrawal." He demonstrates by pressing his thumb into the display. "We use a third-party cloud validation API to match the thumbprint and authorize each withdrawal. The keys are also backed up daily to an off-site third-party." "Wow that's really impressive," Alice says, "but what if we need access for a withdrawal outside of office hours?" "Well that's no issue", Bob says, "just send us an email, call, or text message and we always have someone on staff to help out. Just another part of our strong commitment to all our customers!" "What about Proof of Reserve?", Alice asks. "Of course", Bob replies, "though rather than publish any blockchain addresses or signed transaction, for privacy we just do a SHA256 refactoring of the inverse hash modulus for each UTXO nonce and combine the smart contract coefficient consensus in our hyperledger lightning node. But it's really simple to use." He pushes a button and a large green checkmark appears on a screen. "See - the algorithm ran through and reserves are proven." "Wow", Alice says, "you really know your stuff! And that is easy to use! What about fiat balances?" "Yeah, we have an auditor too", Bob replies, "Been using him for a long time so we have quite a strong relationship going! We have special books we give him every year and he's very efficient! Checks the fiat, crypto, and everything all at once!" "We used to have a nice offline multi-sig setup we've been using without issue for the past 5 years, but I think we'll move all our funds over to your facility," Alice says. "Awesome", Bob replies, "Thanks so much! This is perfect timing too - my Porsche got a dent on it this morning. We have the paperwork right over here." "Great!", Alice replies. And with that, Alice gets out her pen and Bob gets the contract. "Don't worry", he says, "you can take your crypto-assets back anytime you like - just subject to our cancellation policy. Our annual management fees are also super low and we don't adjust them often". How many holes have to exist for your funds to get stolen? Just one. Why are we taking a powerful offline multi-sig setup, widely used globally in hundreds of different/lacking regulatory environments with 0 breaches to date, and circumventing it by a demonstrably weak third party layer? And paying a great expense to do so? If you go through the list of breaches in the past 2 years to highly credible organizations, you go through the list of major corporate frauds (only the ones we know about), you go through the list of all the times platforms have lost funds, you go through the list of times and ways that people have lost their crypto from identity theft, hot wallet exploits, extortion, etc... and then you go through this custodian with a fine-tooth comb and truly believe they have value to add far beyond what you could, sticking your funds in a wallet (or set of wallets) they control exclusively is the absolute worst possible way to take advantage of that security. The best way to add security for crypto-assets is to make a stronger multi-sig. With one custodian, what you are doing is giving them your cryptocurrency and hoping they're honest, competent, and flawlessly secure. It's no different than storing it on a really secure exchange. Maybe the insurance will cover you. Didn't work for Bitpay in 2015. Didn't work for Yapizon in 2017. Insurance has never paid a claim in the entire history of cryptocurrency. But maybe you'll get lucky. Maybe your exact scenario will buck the trend and be what they're willing to cover. After the large deductible and hopefully without a long and expensive court battle. And you want to advertise this increase in risk, the lapse of judgement, an accident waiting to happen, as though it's some kind of benefit to customers ("Free institutional-grade storage for your digital assets.")? And then some people are writing to the OSC that custodians should be mandatory for all funds on every exchange platform? That this somehow will make Canadians as a whole more secure or better protected compared with standard air-gapped multi-sig? On what planet? Most of the problems in Canada stemmed from one thing - a lack of transparency. If Canadians had known what a joke Quadriga was - it wouldn't have grown to lose $400m from hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast. And Gerald Cotten would be in jail, not wherever he is now (at best, rotting peacefully). EZ-BTC and mister Dave Smilie would have been a tiny little scam to his friends, not a multi-million dollar fraud. Einstein would have got their act together or been shut down BEFORE losing millions and millions more in people's funds generously donated to criminals. MapleChange wouldn't have even been a thing. And maybe we'd know a little more about CoinTradeNewNote - like how much was lost in there. Almost all of the major losses with cryptocurrency exchanges involve deception with unbacked funds. So it's great to see transparency reports from BitBuy and ShakePay where someone independently verified the backing. The only thing we don't have is:
ANY CERTAINTY BALANCES WEREN'T EXCLUDED. Quadriga's largest account was $70m. 80% of funds are in 20% of accounts (Pareto principle). All it takes is excluding a few really large accounts - and nobody's the wiser. A fractional platform can easily pass any audit this way.
ANY VISIBILITY WHATSOEVER INTO THE CUSTODIANS. BitBuy put out their report before moving all the funds to their custodian and ShakePay apparently can't even tell us who the custodian is. That's pretty important considering that basically all of the funds are now stored there.
ANY IDEA ABOUT THE OTHER EXCHANGES. In order for this to be effective, it has to be the norm. It needs to be "unusual" not to know. If obscurity is the norm, then it's super easy for people like Gerald Cotten and Dave Smilie to blend right in.
It's not complicated to validate cryptocurrency assets. They need to exist, they need to be spendable, and they need to cover the total balances. There are plenty of credible people and firms across the country that have the capacity to reasonably perform this validation. Having more frequent checks by different, independent, parties who publish transparent reports is far more valuable than an annual check by a single "more credible/official" party who does the exact same basic checks and may or may not publish anything. Here's an example set of requirements that could be mandated:
First report within 1 month of launching, another within 3 months, and further reports at minimum every 6 months thereafter.
No auditor can be repeated within a 12 month period.
All reports must be public, identifying the auditor and the full methodology used.
All auditors must be independent of the firm being audited with no conflict of interest.
Reports must include the percentage of each asset backed, and how it's backed.
The auditor publishes a hash list, which lists a hash of each customer's information and balances that were included. Hash is one-way encryption so privacy is fully preserved. Every customer can use this to have 100% confidence they were included.
If we want more extensive requirements on audits, these should scale upward based on the total assets at risk on the platform, and whether the platform has loaned their assets out.
There are ways to structure audits such that neither crypto assets nor customer information are ever put at risk, and both can still be properly validated and publicly verifiable. There are also ways to structure audits such that they are completely reasonable for small platforms and don't inhibit innovation in any way. By making the process as reasonable as possible, we can completely eliminate any reason/excuse that an honest platform would have for not being audited. That is arguable far more important than any incremental improvement we might get from mandating "the best of the best" accountants. Right now we have nothing mandated and tons of Canadians using offshore exchanges with no oversight whatsoever. Transparency does not prove crypto assets are safe. CoinTradeNewNote, Flexcoin ($600k), and Canadian Bitcoins ($100k) are examples where crypto-assets were breached from platforms in Canada. All of them were online wallets and used no multi-sig as far as any records show. This is consistent with what we see globally - air-gapped multi-sig wallets have an impeccable record, while other schemes tend to suffer breach after breach. We don't actually know how much CoinTrader lost because there was no visibility. Rather than publishing details of what happened, the co-founder of CoinTrader silently moved on to found another platform - the "most trusted way to buy and sell crypto" - a site that has no information whatsoever (that I could find) on the storage practices and a FAQ advising that “[t]rading cryptocurrency is completely safe” and that having your own wallet is “entirely up to you! You can certainly keep cryptocurrency, or fiat, or both, on the app.” Doesn't sound like much was learned here, which is really sad to see. It's not that complicated or unreasonable to set up a proper hardware wallet. Multi-sig can be learned in a single course. Something the equivalent complexity of a driver's license test could prevent all the cold storage exploits we've seen to date - even globally. Platform operators have a key advantage in detecting and preventing fraud - they know their customers far better than any custodian ever would. The best job that custodians can do is to find high integrity individuals and train them to form even better wallet signatories. Rather than mandating that all platforms expose themselves to arbitrary third party risks, regulations should center around ensuring that all signatories are background-checked, properly trained, and using proper procedures. We also need to make sure that signatories are empowered with rights and responsibilities to reject and report fraud. They need to know that they can safely challenge and delay a transaction - even if it turns out they made a mistake. We need to have an environment where mistakes are brought to the surface and dealt with. Not one where firms and people feel the need to hide what happened. In addition to a knowledge-based test, an auditor can privately interview each signatory to make sure they're not in coercive situations, and we should make sure they can freely and anonymously report any issues without threat of retaliation. A proper multi-sig has each signature held by a separate person and is governed by policies and mutual decisions instead of a hierarchy. It includes at least one redundant signature. For best results, 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7. History has demonstrated over and over again the risk of hot wallets even to highly credible organizations. Nonetheless, many platforms have hot wallets for convenience. While such losses are generally compensated by platforms without issue (for example Poloniex, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Gatecoin, Coincheck, Bithumb, Zaif, CoinBene, Binance, Bitrue, Bitpoint, Upbit, VinDAX, and now KuCoin), the public tends to focus more on cases that didn't end well. Regardless of what systems are employed, there is always some level of risk. For that reason, most members of the public would prefer to see third party insurance. Rather than trying to convince third party profit-seekers to provide comprehensive insurance and then relying on an expensive and slow legal system to enforce against whatever legal loopholes they manage to find each and every time something goes wrong, insurance could be run through multiple exchange operators and regulators, with the shared interest of having a reputable industry, keeping costs down, and taking care of Canadians. For example, a 4 of 7 multi-sig insurance fund held between 5 independent exchange operators and 2 regulatory bodies. All Canadian exchanges could pay premiums at a set rate based on their needed coverage, with a higher price paid for hot wallet coverage (anything not an air-gapped multi-sig cold wallet). Such a model would be much cheaper to manage, offer better coverage, and be much more reliable to payout when needed. The kind of coverage you could have under this model is unheard of. You could even create something like the CDIC to protect Canadians who get their trading accounts hacked if they can sufficiently prove the loss is legitimate. In cases of fraud, gross negligence, or insolvency, the fund can be used to pay affected users directly (utilizing the last transparent balance report in the worst case), something which private insurance would never touch. While it's recommended to have official policies for coverage, a model where members vote would fully cover edge cases. (Could be similar to the Supreme Court where justices vote based on case law.) Such a model could fully protect all Canadians across all platforms. You can have a fiat coverage governed by legal agreements, and crypto-asset coverage governed by both multi-sig and legal agreements. It could be practical, affordable, and inclusive. Now, we are at a crossroads. We can happily give up our freedom, our innovation, and our money. We can pay hefty expenses to auditors, lawyers, and regulators year after year (and make no mistake - this cost will grow to many millions or even billions as the industry grows - and it will be borne by all Canadians on every platform because platforms are not going to eat up these costs at a loss). We can make it nearly impossible for any new platform to enter the marketplace, forcing Canadians to use the same stagnant platforms year after year. We can centralize and consolidate the entire industry into 2 or 3 big players and have everyone else fail (possibly to heavy losses of users of those platforms). And when a flawed security model doesn't work and gets breached, we can make it even more complicated with even more people in suits making big money doing the job that blockchain was supposed to do in the first place. We can build a system which is so intertwined and dependent on big government, traditional finance, and central bankers that it's future depends entirely on that of the fiat system, of fractional banking, and of government bail-outs. If we choose this path, as history has shown us over and over again, we can not go back, save for revolution. Our children and grandchildren will still be paying the consequences of what we decided today. Or, we can find solutions that work. We can maintain an open and innovative environment while making the adjustments we need to make to fully protect Canadian investors and cryptocurrency users, giving easy and affordable access to cryptocurrency for all Canadians on the platform of their choice, and creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and problem solvers can bring those solutions forward easily. None of the above precludes innovation in any way, or adds any unreasonable cost - and these three policies would demonstrably eliminate or resolve all 109 historic cases as studied here - that's every single case researched so far going back to 2011. It includes every loss that was studied so far not just in Canada but globally as well. Unfortunately, finding answers is the least challenging part. Far more challenging is to get platform operators and regulators to agree on anything. My last post got no response whatsoever, and while the OSC has told me they're happy for industry feedback, I believe my opinion alone is fairly meaningless. This takes the whole community working together to solve. So please let me know your thoughts. Please take the time to upvote and share this with people. Please - let's get this solved and not leave it up to other people to do. Facts/background/sources (skip if you like):
The inspiration for the paragraph about splitting wallets was an actual quote from a Canadian company providing custodial services in response to the OSC consultation paper: "We believe that it will be in the in best interests of investors to prohibit pooled crypto assets or ‘floats’. Most Platforms pool assets, citing reasons of practicality and expense. The recent hack of the world’s largest Platform – Binance – demonstrates the vulnerability of participants’ assets when such concessions are made. In this instance, the Platform’s entire hot wallet of Bitcoins, worth over $40 million, was stolen, facilitated in part by the pooling of client crypto assets." "the maintenance of participants (and Platform) crypto assets across multiple wallets distributes the related risk and responsibility of security - reducing the amount of insurance coverage required and making insurance coverage more readily obtainable". For the record, their reply also said nothing whatsoever about multi-sig or offline storage.
In addition to the fact that the $40m hack represented only one "hot wallet" of Binance, and they actually had the vast majority of assets in other wallets (including mostly cold wallets), multiple real cases have clearly demonstrated that risk is still present with multiple wallets. Bitfinex, VinDAX, Bithumb, Altsbit, BitPoint, Cryptopia, and just recently KuCoin all had multiple wallets breached all at the same time, and may represent a significantly larger impact on customers than the Binance breach which was fully covered by Binance. To represent that simply having multiple separate wallets under the same security scheme is a comprehensive way to reduce risk is just not true.
Private insurance has historically never covered a single loss in the cryptocurrency space (at least, not one that I was able to find), and there are notable cases where massive losses were not covered by insurance. Bitpay in 2015 and Yapizon in 2017 both had insurance policies that didn't pay out during the breach, even after a lengthly court process. The same insurance that ShakePay is presently using (and announced to much fanfare) was describe by their CEO himself as covering “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held,” which is something that has never historically happened. As was said with regard to the same policy in 2018 - “I don’t find it surprising that Lloyd’s is in this space,” said Johnson, adding that to his mind the challenge for everybody is figuring out how to structure these policies so that they are actually protective. “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.”
The most profitable policy for a private insurance company is one with the most expensive premiums that they never have to pay a claim on. They have no inherent incentive to take care of people who lost funds. It's "cheaper" to take the reputational hit and fight the claim in court. The more money at stake, the more the insurance provider is incentivized to avoid payout. They're not going to insure the assets unless they have reasonable certainty to make a profit by doing so, and they're not going to pay out a massive sum unless it's legally forced. Private insurance is always structured to be maximally profitable to the insurance provider.
The circumvention of multi-sig was a key factor in the massive Bitfinex hack of over $60m of bitcoin, which today still sits being slowly used and is worth over $3b. While Bitfinex used a qualified custodian Bitgo, which was and still is active and one of the industry leaders of custodians, and they set up 2 of 3 multi-sig wallets, the entire system was routed through Bitfinex, such that Bitfinex customers could initiate the withdrawals in a "hot" fashion. This feature was also a hit with the hacker. The multi-sig was fully circumvented.
Bitpay in 2015 was another example of a breach that stole 5,000 bitcoins. This happened not through the exploit of any system in Bitpay, but because the CEO of a company they worked with got their computer hacked and the hackers were able to request multiple bitcoin purchases, which Bitpay honoured because they came from the customer's computer legitimately. Impersonation is a very common tactic used by fraudsters, and methods get more extreme all the time.
A notable case in Canada was the Canadian Bitcoins exploit. Funds were stored on a server in a Rogers Data Center, and the attendee was successfully convinced to reboot the server "in safe mode" with a simple phone call, thus bypassing the extensive security and enabling the theft.
The very nature of custodians circumvents multi-sig. This is because custodians are not just having to secure the assets against some sort of physical breach but against any form of social engineering, modification of orders, fraudulent withdrawal attempts, etc... If the security practices of signatories in a multi-sig arrangement are such that the breach risk of one signatory is 1 in 100, the requirement of 3 independent signatures makes the risk of theft 1 in 1,000,000. Since hackers tend to exploit the weakest link, a comparable custodian has to make the entry and exit points of their platform 10,000 times more secure than one of those signatories to provide equivalent protection. And if the signatories beef up their security by only 10x, the risk is now 1 in 1,000,000,000. The custodian has to be 1,000,000 times more secure. The larger and more complex a system is, the more potential vulnerabilities exist in it, and the fewer people can understand how the system works when performing upgrades. Even if a system is completely secure today, one has to also consider how that system might evolve over time or work with different members.
By contrast, offline multi-signature solutions have an extremely solid record, and in the entire history of cryptocurrency exchange incidents which I've studied (listed here), there has only been one incident (796 exchange in 2015) involving an offline multi-signature wallet. It happened because the customer's bitcoin address was modified by hackers, and the amount that was stolen ($230k) was immediately covered by the exchange operators. Basically, the platform operators were tricked into sending a legitimate withdrawal request to the wrong address because hackers exploited their platform to change that address. Such an issue would not be prevented in any way by the use of a custodian, as that custodian has no oversight whatsoever to the exchange platform. It's practical for all exchange operators to test large withdrawal transactions as a general policy, regardless of what model is used, and general best practice is to diagnose and fix such an exploit as soon as it occurs.
False promises on the backing of funds played a huge role in the downfall of Quadriga, and it's been exposed over and over again (MyCoin, PlusToken, Bitsane, Bitmarket, EZBTC, IDAX). Even today, customers have extremely limited certainty on whether their funds in exchanges are actually being backed or how they're being backed. While this issue is not unique to cryptocurrency exchanges, the complexity of the technology and the lack of any regulation or standards makes problems more widespread, and there is no "central bank" to come to the rescue as in the 2008 financial crisis or during the great depression when "9,000 banks failed".
In addition to fraudulent operations, the industry is full of cases where operators have suffered breaches and not reported them. Most recently, Einstein was the largest case in Canada, where ongoing breaches and fraud were perpetrated against the platform for multiple years and nobody found out until the platform collapsed completely. While fraud and breaches suck to deal with, they suck even more when not dealt with. Lack of visibility played a role in the largest downfalls of Mt. Gox, Cryptsy, and Bitgrail. In some cases, platforms are alleged to have suffered a hack and keep operating without admitting it at all, such as CoinBene.
It surprises some to learn that a cryptographic solution has already existed since 2013, and gained widespread support in 2014 after Mt. Gox. Proof of Reserves is a full cryptographic proof that allows any customer using an exchange to have complete certainty that their crypto-assets are fully backed by the platform in real-time. This is accomplished by proving that assets exist on the blockchain, are spendable, and fully cover customer deposits. It does not prove safety of assets or backing of fiat assets.
If we didn't care about privacy at all, a platform could publish their wallet addresses, sign a partial transaction, and put the full list of customer information and balances out publicly. Customers can each check that they are on the list, that the balances are accurate, that the total adds up, and that it's backed and spendable on the blockchain. Platforms who exclude any customer take a risk because that customer can easily check and see they were excluded. So together with all customers checking, this forms a full proof of backing of all crypto assets.
However, obviously customers care about their private information being published. Therefore, a hash of the information can be provided instead. Hash is one-way encryption. The hash allows the customer to validate inclusion (by hashing their own known information), while anyone looking at the list of hashes cannot determine the private information of any other user. All other parts of the scheme remain fully intact. A model like this is in use on the exchange CoinFloor in the UK.
A Merkle tree can provide even greater privacy. Instead of a list of balances, the balances are arranged into a binary tree. A customer starts from their node, and works their way to the top of the tree. For example, they know they have 5 BTC, they plus 1 other customer hold 7 BTC, they plus 2-3 other customers hold 17 BTC, etc... until they reach the root where all the BTC are represented. Thus, there is no way to find the balances of other individual customers aside from one unidentified customer in this case.
Proposals such as this had the backing of leaders in the community including Nic Carter, Greg Maxwell, and Zak Wilcox. Substantial and significant effort started back in 2013, with massive popularity in 2014. But what became of that effort? Very little. Exchange operators continue to refuse to give visibility. Despite the fact this information can often be obtained through trivial blockchain analysis, no Canadian platform has ever provided any wallet addresses publicly. As described by the CEO of Newton "For us to implement some kind of realtime Proof of Reserves solution, which I'm not opposed to, it would have to ... Preserve our users' privacy, as well as our own. Some kind of zero-knowledge proof". Kraken describes here in more detail why they haven't implemented such a scheme. According to professor Eli Ben-Sasson, when he spoke with exchanges, none were interested in implementing Proof of Reserves.
And yet, Kraken's places their reasoning on a page called "Proof of Reserves". More recently, both BitBuy and ShakePay have released reports titled "Proof of Reserves and Security Audit". Both reports contain disclaimers against being audits. Both reports trust the customer list provided by the platform, leaving the open possibility that multiple large accounts could have been excluded from the process. Proof of Reserves is a blockchain validation where customers see the wallets on the blockchain. The report from Kraken is 5 years old, but they leave it described as though it was just done a few weeks ago. And look at what they expect customers to do for validation. When firms represent something being "Proof of Reserve" when it's not, this is like a farmer growing fruit with pesticides and selling it in a farmers market as organic produce - except that these are people's hard-earned life savings at risk here. Platforms are misrepresenting the level of visibility in place and deceiving the public by their misuse of this term. They haven't proven anything.
Fraud isn't a problem that is unique to cryptocurrency. Fraud happens all the time. Enron, WorldCom, Nortel, Bear Stearns, Wells Fargo, Moser Baer, Wirecard, Bre-X, and Nicola are just some of the cases where frauds became large enough to become a big deal (and there are so many countless others). These all happened on 100% reversible assets despite regulations being in place. In many of these cases, the problems happened due to the over-complexity of the financial instruments. For example, Enron had "complex financial statements [which] were confusing to shareholders and analysts", creating "off-balance-sheet vehicles, complex financing structures, and deals so bewildering that few people could understand them". In cryptocurrency, we are often combining complex financial products with complex technologies and verification processes. We are naïve if we think problems like this won't happen. It is awkward and uncomfortable for many people to admit that they don't know how something works. If we want "money of the people" to work, the solutions have to be simple enough that "the people" can understand them, not so confusing that financial professionals and technology experts struggle to use or understand them.
For those who question the extent to which an organization can fool their way into a security consultancy role, HB Gary should be a great example to look at. Prior to trying to out anonymous, HB Gary was being actively hired by multiple US government agencies and others in the private sector (with glowing testimonials). The published articles and hosted professional security conferences. One should also look at this list of data breaches from the past 2 years. Many of them are large corporations, government entities, and technology companies. These are the ones we know about. Undoubtedly, there are many more that we do not know about. If HB Gary hadn't been "outted" by anonymous, would we have known they were insecure? If the same breach had happened outside of the public spotlight, would it even have been reported? Or would HB Gary have just deleted the Twitter posts, brought their site back up, done a couple patches, and kept on operating as though nothing had happened?
In the case of Quadriga, the facts are clear. Despite past experience with platforms such as MapleChange in Canada and others around the world, no guidance or even the most basic of a framework was put in place by regulators. By not clarifying any sort of legal framework, regulators enabled a situation where a platform could be run by former criminal Mike Dhanini/Omar Patryn, and where funds could be held fully unchecked by one person. At the same time, the lack of regulation deterred legitimate entities from running competing platforms and Quadriga was granted a money services business license for multiple years of operation, which gave the firm the appearance of legitimacy. Regulators did little to protect Canadians despite Quadriga failing to file taxes from 2016 onward. The entire administrative team had resigned and this was public knowledge. Many people had suspicions of what was going on, including Ryan Mueller, who forwarded complaints to the authorities. These were ignored, giving Gerald Cotten the opportunity to escape without justice.
There are multiple issues with the SOC II model including the prohibitive cost (you have to find a third party accounting firm and the prices are not even listed publicly on any sites), the requirement of operating for a year (impossible for new platforms), and lack of any public visibility (SOC II are private reports that aren't shared outside the people in suits).
Securities frameworks are expensive. Sarbanes-Oxley is estimated to cost $5.1 million USD/yr for the average Fortune 500 company in the United States. Since "Fortune 500" represents the top 500 companies, that means well over $2.55 billion USD (~$3.4 billion CAD) is going to people in suits. Isn't the problem of trust and verification the exact problem that the blockchain is supposed to solve?
To use Quadriga as justification for why custodians or SOC II or other advanced schemes are needed for platforms is rather silly, when any framework or visibility at all, or even the most basic of storage policies, would have prevented the whole thing. It's just an embarrassment.
We are now seeing regulators take strong action. CoinSquare in Canada with multi-million dollar fines. BitMex from the US, criminal charges and arrests. OkEx, with full disregard of withdrawals and no communication. Who's next?
We have a unique window today where we can solve these problems, and not permanently destroy innovation with unreasonable expectations, but we need to act quickly. This is a unique historic time that will never come again.
How To End The Cryptocurrency Exchange "Wild West" Without Crippling Innovation
In case you haven't noticed the consultation paper, staff notice, and report on Quadriga, regulators are now clamping down on Canadian cryptocurrency exchanges. The OSC and other regulatory bodies are still interested in industry feedback. They have not put forward any official regulation yet. Below are some ideas/insights and a proposed framework.
Typical securities frameworks will cost Canadians millions of dollars (ie Sarbanes-Oxley estimated at $5m USD/yr per firm). Implementation costs of this proposal are significantly cheaper.
Canadians can maintain a diverse set of exchanges, multiple viable business models are still fully supported, and innovation is encouraged while keeping Canadians safe.
Many of you have limited time to read the full proposal, so here are the highlights:
Effective standards to prevent both internal and external theft. Exchange operators are trained and certified, and have a legal responsibility to users.
Regular Transparent Audits
Provides visibility to Canadians that their funds are fully backed on the exchange, while protecting privacy and sensitive platform information.
Establishment of basic insurance standards/strategy, to expand over time. Removing risk to exchange users of any hot wallet theft.
Background and Justifications
Cold Storage Custody/Management After reviewing close to 100 cases, all thefts tend to break down into more or less the same set of problems: • Funds stored online or in a smart contract, • Access controlled by one person or one system, • 51% attacks (rare), • Funds sent to the wrong address (also rare), or • Some combination of the above. For the first two cases, practical solutions exist and are widely implemented on exchanges already. Offline multi-signature solutions are already industry standard. No cases studied found an external theft or exit scam involving an offline multi-signature wallet implementation. Security can be further improved through minimum numbers of signatories, background checks, providing autonomy and legal protections to each signatory, establishing best practices, and a training/certification program. The last two transaction risks occur more rarely, and have never resulted in a loss affecting the actual users of the exchange. In all cases to date where operators made the mistake, they've been fully covered by the exchange platforms. • 51% attacks generally only occur on blockchains with less security. The most prominent cases have been Bitcoin Gold and Ethereum Classic. The simple solution is to enforce deposit limits and block delays such that a 51% attack is not cost-effective. • The risk of transactions to incorrect addresses can be eliminated by a simple test transaction policy on large transactions. By sending a small amount of funds prior to any large withdrawals/transfers as a standard practice, the accuracy of the wallet address can be validated. The proposal covers all loss cases and goes beyond, while avoiding significant additional costs, risks, and limitations which may be associated with other frameworks like SOC II. On The Subject of Third Party Custodians Many Canadian platforms are currently experimenting with third party custody. From the standpoint of the exchange operator, they can liberate themselves from some responsibility of custody, passing that off to someone else. For regulators, it puts crypto in similar categorization to oil, gold, and other commodities, with some common standards. Platform users would likely feel greater confidence if the custodian was a brand they recognized. If the custodian was knowledgeable and had a decent team that employed multi-sig, they could keep assets safe from internal theft. With the right protections in place, this could be a great solution for many exchanges, particularly those that lack the relevant experience or human resources for their own custody systems. However, this system is vulnerable to anyone able to impersonate the exchange operators. You may have a situation where different employees who don't know each other that well are interacting between different companies (both the custodian and all their customers which presumably isn't just one exchange). A case study of what can go wrong in this type of environment might be Bitpay, where the CEO was tricked out of 5000 bitcoins over 3 separate payments by a series of emails sent legitimately from a breached computer of another company CEO. It's also still vulnerable to the platform being compromised, as in the really large $70M Bitfinex hack, where the third party Bitgo held one key in a multi-sig wallet. The hacker simply authorized the withdrawal using the same credentials as Bitfinex (requesting Bitgo to sign multiple withdrawal transactions). This succeeded even with the use of multi-sig and two heavily security-focused companies, due to the lack of human oversight (basically, hot wallet). Of course, you can learn from these cases and improve the security, but so can hackers improve their deception and at the end of the day, both of these would have been stopped by the much simpler solution of a qualified team who knew each other and employed multi-sig with properly protected keys. It's pretty hard to beat a human being who knows the business and the typical customer behaviour (or even knows their customers personally) at spotting fraud, and the proposed multi-sig means any hacker has to get through the scrutiny of 3 (or more) separate people, all of whom would have proper training including historical case studies. There are strong arguments both for and against using use of third party custodians. The proposal sets mandatory minimum custody standards would apply regardless if the cold wallet signatories are exchange operators, independent custodians, or a mix of both. On The Subject Of Insurance ShakePay has taken the first steps into this new realm (congratulations). There is no question that crypto users could be better protected by the right insurance policies, and it certainly feels better to transact with insured platforms. The steps required to obtain insurance generally place attention in valuable security areas, and in this case included a review from CipherTrace. One of the key solutions in traditional finance comes from insurance from entities such as the CDIC. However, historically, there wasn't found any actual insurance payout to any cryptocurrency exchange, and there are notable cases where insurance has not paid. With Bitpay, for example, the insurance agent refused because the issue happened to the third party CEO's computer instead of anything to do with Bitpay itself. With the Youbit exchange in South Korea, their insurance claim was denied, and the exchange ultimately ended up instead going bankrupt with all user's funds lost. To quote Matt Johnson in the original Lloyd's article: “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.” ShakePay's insurance was only reported to cover their cold storage, and “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held”. Physical theft has never, in the history of cryptocurrency exchange cases reviewed, been reported as the cause of loss. From the limited information of the article, ShakePay made it clear their funds are in the hands of a single US custodian, and at least part of their security strategy is to "decline to confirm the custodian’s name on the record". While this prevents scrutiny of the custodian, it's pretty silly to speculate that a reasonably competent hacking group couldn't determine who the custodian is. A far more common infiltration strategy historically would be social engineering, which has succeeded repeatedly. A hacker could trick their way into ShakePay's systems and request a fraudulent withdrawal, impersonate ShakePay and request the custodian to move funds, or socially engineer their way into the custodian to initiate the withdrawal of multiple accounts (a payout much larger than ShakePay) exploiting the standard procedures (for example, fraudulently initiating or override the wallet addresses of a real transfer). In each case, nothing was physically stolen and the loss is therefore not covered by insurance. In order for any insurance to be effective, clear policies have to be established about what needs to be covered. Anything short of that gives Canadians false confidence that they are protected when they aren't in any meaningful way. At this time, the third party insurance market does not appear to provide adequate options or coverage, and effort is necessary to standardize custody standards, which is a likely first step in ultimately setting up an insurance framework. A better solution compared to third party insurance providers might be for Canadian exchange operators to create their own collective insurance fund, or a specific federal organization similar to the CDIC. Such an organization would have a greater interest or obligation in paying out actual cases, and that would be it's purpose rather than maximizing it's own profit. This would be similar to the SAFU which Binance has launched, except it would cover multiple exchanges. There is little question whether the SAFU would pay out given a breach of Binance, and a similar argument could be made for a insurance fund managed by a collective of exchange operators or a government organization. While a third party insurance provider has the strong market incentive to provide the absolute minimum coverage and no market incentive to payout, an entity managed by exchange operators would have incentive to protect the reputation of exchange operators/the industry, and the government should have the interest of protecting Canadians. On The Subject of Fractional Reserve There is a long history of fractional reserve failures, from the first banks in ancient times, through the great depression (where hundreds of fractional reserve banks failed), right through to the 2008 banking collapse referenced in the first bitcoin block. The fractional reserve system allows banks to multiply the money supply far beyond the actual cash (or other assets) in existence, backed only by a system of debt obligations of others. Safely supporting a fractional reserve system is a topic of far greater complexity than can be addressed by a simple policy, and when it comes to cryptocurrency, there is presently no entity reasonably able to bail anyone out in the event of failure. Therefore, this framework is addressed around entities that aim to maintain 100% backing of funds. There may be some firms that desire but have failed to maintain 100% backing. In this case, there are multiple solutions, including outside investment, merging with other exchanges, or enforcing a gradual restoration plan. All of these solutions are typically far better than shutting down the exchange, and there are multiple cases where they've been used successfully in the past. Proof of Reserves/Transparency/Accountability Canadians need to have visibility into the backing on an ongoing basis. The best solution for crypto-assets is a Proof of Reserve. Such ideas go back all the way to 2013, before even Mt. Gox. However, no Canadian exchange has yet implemented such a system, and only a few international exchanges (CoinFloor in the UK being an example) have. Many firms like Kraken, BitBuy, and now ShakePay use the Proof of Reserve term to refer to lesser proofs which do not actually cryptographically prove the full backing of all user assets on the blockchain. In order for a Proof of Reserve to be effective, it must actually be a complete proof, and it needs to be understood by the public that is expected to use it. Many firms have expressed reservations about the level of transparency required in a complete Proof of Reserve (for example Kraken here). While a complete Proof of Reserves should be encouraged, and there are some solutions in the works (ie TxQuick), this is unlikely to be suitable universally for all exchange operators and users. Given the limitations, and that firms also manage fiat assets, a more traditional audit process makes more sense. Some Canadian exchanges (CoinSquare, CoinBerry) have already subjected themselves to annual audits. However, these results are not presently shared publicly, and there is no guarantee over the process including all user assets or the integrity and independence of the auditor. The auditor has been typically not known, and in some cases, the identity of the auditor is protected by a NDA. Only in one case (BitBuy) was an actual report generated and publicly shared. There has been no attempt made to validate that user accounts provided during these audits have been complete or accurate. A fraudulent fractional exchange, or one which had suffered a breach they were unwilling to publicly accept (see CoinBene), could easily maintain a second set of books for auditors or simply exclude key accounts to pass an individual audit. The proposed solution would see a reporting standard which includes at a minimum - percentage of backing for each asset relative to account balances and the nature of how those assets are stored, with ownership proven by the auditor. The auditor would also publicly provide a "hash list", which they independently generate from the accounts provided by the exchange. Every exchange user can then check their information against this public "hash list". A hash is a one-way form of encryption, which fully protects the private information, yet allows anyone who knows that information already to validate that it was included. Less experienced users can take advantage of public tools to calculate the hash from their information (provided by the exchange), and thus have certainty that the auditor received their full balance information. Easy instructions can be provided. Auditors should be impartial, their identities and process public, and they should be rotated so that the same auditor is never used twice in a row. Balancing the cost of auditing against the needs for regular updates, a 6 month cycle likely makes the most sense. Hot Wallet Management The best solution for hot wallets is not to use them. CoinBerry reportedly uses multi-sig on all withdrawals, and Bitmex is an international example known for their structure devoid of hot wallets. However, many platforms and customers desire fast withdrawal processes, and human validation has a cost of time and delay in this process. A model of self-insurance or separate funds for hot wallets may be used in these cases. Under this model, a platform still has 100% of their client balance in cold storage and holds additional funds in hot wallets for quick withdrawal. Thus, the risk of those hot wallets is 100% on exchange operators and not affecting the exchange users. Since most platforms typically only have 1%-5% in hot wallets at any given time, it shouldn't be unreasonable to build/maintain these additional reserves over time using exchange fees or additional investment. Larger withdrawals would still be handled at regular intervals from the cold storage. Hot wallet risks have historically posed a large risk and there is no established standard to guarantee secure hot wallets. When the government of South Korea dispatched security inspections to multiple exchanges, the results were still that 3 of them got hacked after the inspections. If standards develop such that an organization in the market is willing to insure the hot wallets, this could provide an acceptable alternative. Another option may be for multiple exchange operators to pool funds aside for a hot wallet insurance fund. Comprehensive coverage standards must be established and maintained for all hot wallet balances to make sure Canadians are adequately protected.
Current Draft Proposal
(1) Proper multi-signature cold wallet storage. (a) Each private key is the personal and legal responsibility of one person - the “signatory”. Signatories have special rights and responsibilities to protect user assets. Signatories are trained and certified through a course covering (1) past hacking and fraud cases, (2) proper and secure key generation, and (3) proper safekeeping of private keys. All private keys must be generated and stored 100% offline by the signatory. If even one private keys is ever breached or suspected to be breached, the wallet must be regenerated and all funds relocated to a new wallet. (b) All signatories must be separate background-checked individuals free of past criminal conviction. Canadians should have a right to know who holds their funds. All signing of transactions must take place with all signatories on Canadian soil or on the soil of a country with a solid legal system which agrees to uphold and support these rules (from an established white-list of countries which expands over time). (c) 3-5 independent signatures are required for any withdrawal. There must be 1-3 spare signatories, and a maximum of 7 total signatories. The following are all valid combinations: 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7. (d) A security audit should be conducted to validate the cold wallet is set up correctly and provide any additional pertinent information. The primary purpose is to ensure that all signatories are acting independently and using best practices for private key storage. A report summarizing all steps taken and who did the audit will be made public. Canadians must be able to validate the right measures are in place to protect their funds. (e) There is a simple approval process if signatories wish to visit any country outside Canada, with a potential whitelist of exempt countries. At most 2 signatories can be outside of aligned jurisdiction at any given time. All exchanges would be required to keep a compliant cold wallet for Canadian funds and have a Canadian office if they wish to serve Canadian customers. (2) Regular and transparent solvency audits. (a) An audit must be conducted at founding, after 3 months of operation, and at least once every 6 months to compare customer balances against all stored cryptocurrency and fiat balances. The auditor must be known, independent, and never the same twice in a row. (b) An audit report will be published featuring the steps conducted in a readable format. This should be made available to all Canadians on the exchange website and on a government website. The report must include what percentage of each customer asset is backed on the exchange, and how those funds are stored. (c) The auditor will independently produce a hash of each customer's identifying information and balance as they perform the audit. This will be made publicly available on the exchange and government website, along with simplified instructions that each customer can use to verify that their balance was included in the audit process. (d) The audit needs to include a proof of ownership for any cryptocurrency wallets included. A satoshi test (spending a small amount) or partially signed transaction both qualify. (e) Any platform without 100% reserves should be assessed on a regular basis by a government or industry watchdog. This entity should work to prevent any further drop, support any private investor to come in, or facilitate a merger so that 100% backing can be obtained as soon as possible. (3) Protections for hot wallets and transactions. (a) A standardized list of approved coins and procedures will be established to constitute valid cold storage wallets. Where a multi-sig process is not natively available, efforts will be undertaken to establish a suitable and stable smart contract standard. This list will be expanded and improved over time. Coins and procedures not on the list are considered hot wallets. (b) Hot wallets can be backed by additional funds in cold storage or an acceptable third-party insurance provider with a comprehensive coverage policy. (c) Exchanges are required to cover the full balance of all user funds as denominated in the same currency, or double the balance as denominated in bitcoin or CAD using an established trading rate. If the balance is ever insufficient due to market movements, the firm must rectify this within 24 hours by moving assets to cold storage or increasing insurance coverage. (d) Any large transactions (above a set threshold) from cold storage to any new wallet addresses (not previously transacted with) must be tested with a smaller transaction first. Deposits of cryptocurrency must be limited to prevent economic 51% attacks. Any issues are to be covered by the exchange. (e) Exchange platforms must provide suitable authentication for users, including making available approved forms of two-factor authentication. SMS-based authentication is not to be supported. Withdrawals must be blocked for 48 hours in the event of any account password change. Disputes on the negligence of exchanges should be governed by case law.
Continued review of existing OSC feedback is still underway. More feedback and opinions on the framework and ideas as presented here are extremely valuable. The above is a draft and not finalized. The process of further developing and bringing a suitable framework to protect Canadians will require the support of exchange operators, legal experts, and many others in the community. The costs of not doing such are tremendous. A large and convoluted framework, one based on flawed ideas or implementation, or one which fails to properly safeguard Canadians is not just extremely expensive and risky for all Canadians, severely limiting to the credibility and reputation of the industry, but an existential risk to many exchanges. The responsibility falls to all of us to provide our insight and make our opinions heard on this critical matter. Please take the time to give your thoughts.
HEX is the principal endorsement of store on the blockchain! HEX pays Trustless Interest with no counterparty chance. Given programmable cash the principal program ought to be premium. Pays holders rather than diggers. Staking HEX resembles getting free mining equipment and power. Bitcoin and HEX correlation No Satoshi (on the off chance that he doesn't guarantee in 50 weeks) or Mt.Gox dumping on you. No swelling bug conceivable like bitcoin has had. Unit predisposition fixed. Progressively disseminated mining environment. Whale punishment which gives whales coins to stakers, and so forth. Around 12 million or more of the 18 million all out BTC worth of HEX cases will be given to the stakers on day 353 by shares. What's more, It gets duplicated by the Viral and CriticalMass selection extra multipliers which can build it up to 3x. The offer cost just goes up. Stakers that end stake early or late compensation faithful stakers. Longer stake submit pays 20% more every year, up to 3x shares, (halfway years are fine). Lower charges, lower swelling. Referral program. Organizer is a showcasing master with a crowd of people. Early adopters get paid amazingly well. 20% Speed reward tumbling to 0% during the fifty weeks. Unclaimed coins paid to stakers 2% every week for 50 weeks. Consistently you don't guarantee, another person gets your coins. Minimum amount and Virality rewards increment payouts to stakers so they make progressively HEX the more individuals that guarantee, than if less individuals asserted, despite the fact that they get unclaimed coins on day 353. Each pumpamental to bolt up supply, increment reception and cost. Hex has a lower expansion rate than Bitcoin, much after the rate was sliced down the middle twice in its 10 years. The swelling is additionally deferred, in light of the fact that it's just paid on finished stakes, and stakes can most recent 10 years. Failure to exchange staked coins builds the estimation of unstaked coins, and chance that some will early endstake and take care of punishments to faithful stakers. Trustless Interest. Suppose you need to make more bitcoin on your bitcoin. What are your alternatives? You could loan your coins out and face the challenge they're not returned, or you could have a go at selling your coins for mining equipment and want to get more coins back later. Bunches of individuals have lost cash attempting either. Counterparty hazard in Bitcoin ventures. To acquire enthusiasm on their Bitcoin, most clients send them to a brought together outsider, for example, a trade. There, coins can be acquired to "short" the market. Merchants acquire the coins to sell, in the expectations that they can rebuy them less expensive before they need to return them, along these lines benefitting from value diminishes. These brought together gatherings are security openings that are frequently hacked, annihilate protection, or acquaint expenses on the off chance that you need with get your assets out. Billions of dollars in coins sent to trades or loan specialists have been taken. Not your keys, not your coins. These concentrated outsiders and brokers are so essential to clients looking for yield (making interest) that the organizations themselves have made more benefit on Bitcoin than its originator. A huge number of dollars of significant worth has moved into the pockets of brokers. HEX fixes this. This replaces these outsiders with a trustless distributed to framework. Rather than sending your HEX to a trade so they can loan it out for your sake to procure enthusiasm for you, you simply lock it in same brilliant agreement that stamped all the HEX in any case, and it credits you intrigue. In case you're given programmable cash, the principal thing you should program is premium. HEX pays enthusiasm to stakers rather than excavators. A few clients take a stab at mining to make more digital money. Rather than sending your cash to a remote super corp to purchase mining gear which appears late, utilized, or never by any stretch of the imagination, you can avoid the deteriorating resource and power bills and simply stake your coins. HEX is the primary digital currency with a graph of future sellable stockpile (lapsing stakes after some time.) This makes sure about purchasers trust in future estimation of their speculation. HEX has Speculative Stickiness. Typical cryptographic forms of money have: Price, hash rate. HEX has: HEX value, Share cost, Directly influences staker benefit per share: % of supply staking, Average stake length, Average stake size, stake termination diagram after some time, early and late end stake punishments. HEX links: Website: https://hex.win/ Twitter page: https://twitter.com/HEXCrypto Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HEXcrypto Telegram page: https://t.me/HEXcrypto Github: https://github.com/bitcoinHEX Reddit page: https://hexcrypto.reddit.com/ Medium page: https://medium.com/hex-crypto/ Ann: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=4523610.0 Author information; Bitcointalk username: TridentHorn Bitcointalk profile: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=4523610.0
https://preview.redd.it/wvlkcvo0lih41.png?width=1200&format=png&auto=webp&s=9ca7dec1b924363264b8b4dfb3a94b8d025b4ac6 A large population of investors around the world would rather invest in gold than real estate or the stock market. A World Gold Council (WGC) research report shows that over 46% of all retail investors worldwide choose gold over these two other mainstream assets. The study questioned respondents from a wide range of markets, including North America, China, India, Russia, and Germany. The results show that 78% of investors place most of their investment funds into their savings accounts. One other investment choice that is more popular than the precious metal is life insurance. The study shows that 54% of all global investors buy life insurance as a long-term investment. The report affirms gold’s position as a mainstream investment vehicle, highlighting the massive opportunities that the metal has for jewelry and retail selling. The report shows that most consumers would rather buy gold jewelry if given a choice of other metals. Over 56% of the respondents in the study said that they have bought fine gold ornaments, while 34% said that they purchased platinum jewelry instead. Another study by Novem Gold further supports the findings of the WGC research. The gold investment firm conducted a poll on Twitter asking investors what their preferred long-term investment asset was. The survey gave a choice between gold, cryptocurrencies, stocks and bonds, and real estate. The winning long-term investments of choice on the Novem Gold poll were gold and cryptocurrencies, each chosen by 37.5% of the respondents.
Gold and Bitcoin Attract the Same Investors
Gold and Bitcoin are very different assets, but also have some similarities. Gold is old and tangible. Bitcoin is digital, intangible, and has only been around for a decade. The two assets may be very diverse in age and physical attributes, but they share many common principles. Bitcoin mimics many characteristics of the yellow metal. As an illustration, Bitcoin is mined digitally, and its supply is finite, as is the case with gold. It is, therefore, not surprising that both assets attract the same investors. Nevertheless, is one superior to the other? Gold has a larger market cap, standing at over $7.5 trillion compared to Bitcoin’s market cap of $150 billion. The metal has higher daily turnover volumes of close to $230 billion, while Bitcoin’s is much lower at$8 billion. Bitcoin and gold bulls say that both assets are much better forms of currency than fiat. When central banks all over the world voted to move away from the gold standard, paper money quickly lost its value. In no time, politicians got hold of the monetary system, manipulating it and using it to spend heavily, then place future taxes to pay the debt back. Consequently, most of the money in circulation globally is valueless. It, however, fulfills the functions of a currency, in that paper money is an acceptable medium of exchange. Fiat is also divisible, portable, durable, and very fungible. It has an inbuilt value erosion mechanism, making it a questionable store of value. Every year, the value of paper money erodes, as more of it is inflated into the system. As a result, savers lose more of their investment in fiat as taxation subtracts the value of money. The process works so stealthily that over time interest on borrowing keeps inflation in balance. Occasionally, the balance tilts and the real value of fiat becomes clear. In the last few decades, countries such as Argentina, Venezuela, Thailand, Zimbabwe, and Iraq have witnessed money fail the real test of a store of value after periods of hyperinflation.
Investors Want Guaranteed Value Over Time
Gold and Bitcoin both attract investors wary of the value-losing and manipulable aspects of fiat. They are looking for haven assets whose value is guaranteed over time. Gold meets this requirement perfectly. First, it is itself a currency – an ancient medium of exchange. Its robust store of value features makes it a staple asset in every central bank vault around the world. The US government, for instance, has over $350 billion of gold reserves. The yellow metal is also divisible and limited, indestructible by nature, and counterfeit resistant. It is the product of billions of years of geological forces, so a central bank or any other process known to man cannot replicate it. The limit in supply means that it has deflation and inflation limits. Consequently, it is the perfect investment for savers. Since it is inert, it can be subdivided into smaller pieces and stored with no loss of value. Its softness and malleability make it very easy to shape it into coins or bars that can be used in trade. These attributes have made the precious metal the most valued store of wealth in history. It was in use in ancient kingdoms and governments dating back to beyond the Roman Empire. Gold has, over time, accumulated tremendous value, appreciating over centuries. This is the reason gold is used to store wealth in uncertain times by governments, the wealthy, and investment-savvy populations. Gold’s performance often shines when other markets are crashing. It is, therefore, the ultimate hedge against any black swan event. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is divisible, finite, democratic, and counterfeit resistant as well. It has unique advantages to gold, in that it can be mined and traded in record time, online. To access the cryptocurrency’s market, investors require a public address and a private key to receive and to protect assets. Just like gold, Bitcoin is a “bearer” instrument, in that whoever holds it can lay claim to its value. Both assets are, therefore, easy to lose and require significant efforts to protect them. It is easier to steal Bitcoin than gold because the digital currency does not have the bulk that gold has. All it takes is a few seconds of vulnerability, and the asset is lost to an unscrupulous player. Consequently, billions worth of cryptocurrencies have been lost since their inception. Most famous of all these crypto heists is the 2014 Mt. Gox hack, during which $450 million worth of digital assets were stolen from investors.
Gold’s Stability is Unparalleled
The bulk that gold has compared to Bitcoin does not make it much easier to store. Indeed, the precious metals’ holders pay a premium for their storage and insurance costs. Gold’s bulk also prevents its secure storage in large amounts. It is an awkward haven asset if it has to be ferried in large quantities, a problem Bitcoin does not have. Bitcoin, therefore, makes for a fantastic haven asset when the chips are down. Both gold and Bitcoin are speculative assets, and their buyers often buy them in bad economic times, waiting for their haven properties to push their values higher. Jerome Powell, the FED Chair, has referred to Bitcoin as an alternative to gold, saying: “Almost no one uses Bitcoin for payments, they use it more as an alternative to gold. It’s a speculative store of value.” These assets’ finite values make them perfect for year-to-year speculative trading because a limited amount gets to the market at a time. Bitcoin has more of an upside than gold in shortness of supply; of the 21 million Bitcoins that can be mined, 18 million of them are already in circulation. The digital currency also has a halving event, in which its mining block reward is decreased, meaning that less fresh Bitcoin will be available. Nevertheless, the world cannot have enough gold, despite an injection of over3,300 tons of freshly mined gold into the market every year. Gold has been facing an upsurge in demand among individual and institutional investors and central banks around the globe. One of the most significant advantages that gold has over Bitcoin is the precious metal’s slow but stable growth trajectory in the market. An excellent speculative asset, it is not as volatile as Bitcoin, stocks, or bonds. Gold is stalwart, stable, and reliable in the long term. The precious metal is not fighting to establish itself. It has a proven record of accomplishment that it will keep its purchasing power with very low levels of volatility over the decades. Bitcoin is a rollercoaster ride birthed in the wake of the 2008 financial crash. It is, therefore, still untested, and its store of value features can only be proven by time.
Daily analysis of cryptocurrencies 20191006(Market index 32 — Fear state)
https://preview.redd.it/dsaw51582yq31.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=48695d179d1a86f0bf68b0fcb5aa7525405e50bd https://preview.redd.it/v85b8xk82yq31.png?width=1440&format=png&auto=webp&s=2afe4ffc7f1251a1919b9cc4c85f0a0af22ec6cc Multiple People Accused Of Crypto Scams In The Dominican Republic The Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Dominican Republic is prosecuting seven people who were allegedly involved in scams and money laundering with cryptocurrencies. Cointelegraph en Español wrote that the defendants scammed more than 111 people and stole over $500,000. It is unclear if the victims were all from the Dominican Republic or if some victims reside in other countries. German Finance Minister Scholz Wants Digital Euro As of Oct. 3, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz was advocating the idea of launching a digital Euro coin. Scholz stated that such a digital payment system would be beneficial for Europe and added that they “should not leave the field to China, Russia, the US or any private providers.” However, Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, recently said that stablecoins and cryptocurrency in general are of little value, adding: “Thus far, stablecoins and crypto-assets have had limited implications in these areas and are not designed in ways that make them suitable substitutes for money.” German Govt: Stablecoins Should Not Become An Alternative To The Euro The German government announced a desire to prevent stablecoins such as Facebook’s planned Libra coin “as an alternative to the legal tender established” on Oct. 2, adding that: “Banknotes issued by the European Central Bank and national central banks are the only banknotes that are legal tender in the Euro area. From the point of view of the Federal Government, it will be necessary to ensure that “stablecoins” do not establish themselves as an alternative to the legal currency, thereby calling the existing monetary system into question.” Liechtenstein’s Parliament Unanimously Approves New Blockchain Act On Oct. 3, the Parliament of Liechtenstein approved the Act on Tokens and Entities Providing Services Based on Trusted Technologies (TVTG), also known as the Blockchain Act, which aims to improve investor protection, combat money laundering and establish clarity. The new law will enter into force on Jan. 1, 2020. The parliament’s announcement claims that this act will make Liechtenstein the first country to have comprehensive regulation of the token economy. https://preview.redd.it/vc8i8os92yq31.png?width=473&format=png&auto=webp&s=1a4d45a0628d537fa0a0ae6c3c18821935be0e62
Encrypted project calendar（October 06, 2019）
SPND/ Spendcoin:Spendcoin (SPND) will be online on October 6th
Encrypted project calendar（October 07, 2019）
GNO/Gnosis:Gnosis (GNO) will discuss the topic “Decentralized Trading Agreement Based on Ethereum” will be held in Osaka, Japan on October 7th. Kyber and Uniswap, Gnosis and Loopring will attend and give speeches.
Encrypted project calendar（October 08, 2019）
BTC/Bitcoin:The 2nd Global Digital Mining Summit will be held in Frankfurt, Germany from October 8th to 10th.
Encrypted project calendar（October 09, 2019）
CENNZ/Centrality:Centrality (CENNZ) will meet in InsurTechNZ Connect — Insurance and Blockchain on October 9th in Auckland.
Encrypted project calendar（October 10, 2019）
INB/Insight Chain:The Insight Chain (INB) INB public blockchain main network will be launched on October 10.VET/Vechain:VeChain (VET) will attend the BLOCKWALKS Blockchain Europe Conference on October 10.CAPP/Cappasity:Cappasity (CAPP) Cappasity will be present at the Osaka Global Innovation Forum in Osaka (October 10–11).
Encrypted project calendar（October 11, 2019）
OKB/OKB:OKB (OKB) OKEx series of talks will be held in Istanbul on October 11th to discuss “the rise of the Turkish blockchain.”
Encrypted project calendar（October 12, 2019）
BTC/Bitcoin:The 2019 Global Mining Leaders Summit will be held in Chengdu, China from October 12th to 14th.
Encrypted project calendar（October 14, 2019）
BCH/Bitcoin Cash:The ChainPoint 19 conference will be held in Armenia from October 14th to 15th.
Encrypted project calendar（October 15, 2019）
RUFF/RUFF Token:Ruff will end the three-month early bird program on October 15thKAT/Kambria:Kambria (KAT) exchanges ERC20 KAT for a 10% bonus on BEP2 KAT-7BB, and the token exchange reward will end on October 15.BTC/Bitcoin:The Blockchain Technology Investment Summit (CIS) will be held in Los Angeles from October 15th to 16th.
Encrypted project calendar（October 16, 2019）
BTC/Bitcoin:The 2019 Blockchain Life Summit will be held in Moscow, Russia from October 16th to 17th.MIOTA/IOTA:IOTA (MIOTA) IOTA will host a community event on the theme of “Technology Problem Solving and Testing IoT Devices” at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles on October 16.ETH/Ethereum:Ethereum launches Istanbul (Istanbul) main network upgrade, this main network upgrade involves 6 code upgrades.QTUM/Qtum:Qtum (QTUM) Qtum main network hard fork is scheduled for October 16.
Encrypted project calendar（October 18, 2019）
BTC/Bitcoin:The SEC will give a pass on the VanEck/SolidX ETF on October 18th and make a final decisionHB/HeartBout:HeartBout (HB) will officially release the Android version of the HeartBout app on October 18.
Encrypted project calendar（October 19, 2019）
PI/PCHAIN Network:The PCHAIN (PI) backbone (Phase 5, 82 nodes, 164, 023, 802 $ PI, 7 candidates) will begin on October 19.LINK/ChainLink:Diffusion 2019 will be held in Berlin, Germany from October 19th to 20th
Encrypted project calendar（October 21, 2019）
KNC/Kyber Network:The official online hackathon of the Kyber Network (KNC) project will end on October 21st, with more than $42,000 in prize money.
Encrypted project calendar（October 22, 2019）
ZRX/0x:The 0x protocol (ZRX) Pantera blockchain summit will be held on October 22.
Encrypted project calendar（October 23, 2019）
MIOTA/IOTA:IOTA (MIOTA) IOTA will host a community event on October 23rd at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles with the theme “Connecting the I3 Market and Experiencing Purchase and Sales Data.”BTC/Bitcoin:The WBS World Blockchain Summit (Middle East) will be held in Dubai from October 23rd to 24th.
Encrypted project calendar（October 24, 2019）
BCN/Bytecoin:Bytecoin (BCN) released the hidden amount of the Bytecoin block network on October 24.
Encrypted project calendar（October 25, 2019）
ADA/Cardano:Cardano (ADA) The Ada community will host a community gathering in the Dominican Republic for the first time on October 25.
Encrypted project calendar（October 26, 2019）
KAT/Kambria:Kambria (KAT) Kambria will host the 2019 Southern California Artificial Intelligence and Data Science Conference in Los Angeles on October 26th with IDEAS.BTC/Bitcoin:CoinAgenda Global Summit will be held in Las Vegas from October 26th to 28th
Encrypted project calendar（October 28, 2019）
LTC/Litecoin:Litecoin (LTC) 2019 Litecoin Summit will be held from October 28th to October 29th in Las Vegas, USABTC/Bitcoin:Mt.Gox changes the debt compensation plan submission deadline to October 28ZEC/Zcash:Zcash (ZEC) will activate the Blossom Agreement on October 28th
Encrypted project calendar（October 29, 2019）
BTC/Bitcoin:The 2nd World Encryption Conference (WCC) will be held in Las Vegas from October 29th to 31st.
Encrypted project calendar（October 30, 2019）
MIOTA/IOTA:IOTA (MIOTA) IOTA will host a community event on October 30th at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles on the topic “How to store data on IOTA Tangle.”
This past week, BTC started a short term recovery from the $7,659 low against the US Dollar. The BTC/USD pair traded above the $7,800 and $8,000 resistance levels. Moreover, there was a break above the $8,200 resistance area. Finally, the price tested the $8,500 resistance area and topped near the $8,539 level. Recently, it started a fresh decline and traded below the $8,400 level. The price is now following a bearish path below the $8,200 level and is trading well below the 100 simple moving average (4-hours). There was a break below the 50% Fib retracement level of the upward move from the $7,659 low to $8,539 high. At the moment, the price is holding the $8,000 support level, with a bearish angle. An immediate support is near $8,000. It coincides with the 61.8% Fib retracement level of the upward move from the $7,659 low to $8,539 high. More importantly, there is a key declining channel forming with resistance near $8,200 on the 4-hours chart of the BTC/USD pair. Bitcoin remains at a risk of more downsides below the $8,000 support area. If it breaks $8,000, it could decline towards the $7,850 support area. Any further downsides might trigger a move towards the $7,500 support area in the near term. Review previous articles:https://email@example.com Telegram： https://t.me/Lay126 Twitter：https://twitter.com/mianhuai8 Facebook：https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100022246432745 Reddi：https://www.reddit.com/useliuidaxmn LinkedIn：https://www.linkedin.com/in/liu-wei-294a12176/
Let’s All Admit that the Bitcoin Price Bubble Has Popped
Has bitcoin bottomed yet? And, what does the aftermath of major bubbles bursting look like and its implications for price? Thursday, bitcoin had a relief rally in sympathy with most other commodities as the Swiss National Bank (SNB) de-pegged the Swiss Franc from the Euro. This was a surprise move by the SNB but was necessary as being pegged to the Euro has been killing the Franc as the Euro has been sinking against a strong dollar due to Eurozone economic malaise. http://i.imgur.com/x0N089k.jpg A previous article written on this subject can be found here. There is a lot of speculation as to why they did this now and the prevailing sentiment is twofold: the SNB expects the European Central Bank (ECB) to launch massive QE and this will further weaken the Euro so they wanted to get ahead of the curve as the SNB has had to purchase a ton of Euros to protect the Franc and their threshold has been reached. As a result, the Swiss Franc surged and the Euro weakened, while the USD strengthened. All commodities (gold, oil, copper, silver, bitcoin etc.) also saw a sharp rise in anticipation of QE coming. Has bitcoin bottomed yet? The simple answer is no, not yet. As mentioned above, bitcoin had a relief rally yesterday in due to the SNB news in combination with an extremely oversold chart. A relief rally generally occurs in a downtrend, when buyers show up and shorts cover but it is nothing more than a countertrend move and is fleeting at best. As the chart below shows, the downtrend is still intact and yesterday on the daily chart shows a failed attempt to put in a bottom in the form of a Bullish Engulfing Pattern (see here). As a result, there is more downside. Price discovery is a process, but its looking likely at the very least we get a retest of the 160 level, with an eye on 133, which is the Mt. Gox low as mentioned previously. Volume has picked up along with volatility, so the bottoming process continues. http://i.imgur.com/GPTaRIj.jpg Generally, price precedes news. With this downtrend strongly in place, one can assume whatever news comes out will be bad. As we continue to bottom, the bad news can be assumed to be in the price and will not lead to a leg lower. In other words, it will be “priced in.” What the news will be is anyone’s guess, but certainly something is overhanging Bitcoin. In fact, one sign of a bottom will be when bad news comes out and price doesn’t react to it or reacts in an opposite than most people expect. What happens in the aftermath of bubbles? The bitcoin price bubble has burst — that can not be denied. This is a major bubble that has popped as bitcoin has broke through many major support levels on its way down, and is still sinking. Below are charts of other major bubbles and unless one is visually impaired the similarities should be striking. The reason I display these charts is because the aftermath of price bubbles is similar for all of them, and bitcoin should be no different. This is the Japanese real estate bubble: http://i.imgur.com/JWL1ZRI.jpg This is the Dutch East India Company: http://i.imgur.com/c6c5fsv.jpg This is the Dot-Com (1999–2000) bubble: http://i.imgur.com/d9xtq5D.jpg This is Silver in 1980: http://i.imgur.com/zdjG71k.jpg And finally this is bitcoin: http://i.imgur.com/f8hH5nw.jpg Let’s all admit that the bitcoin price bubble has popped. But what we can expect as price searches for a bottom? For now, we can expect volatility to hold up since the bottom isn’t locked in yet. Right now, it looks like we are seeing bottom fishing happening. This is when people are looking for a bottom without being presented of any evidence of such. It’s a sort of front-running for a bottom in anticipation of prices going higher at some point. Once again, bottoming is a process and takes time. History shows that as a bottom forms, volatility dies off as buying and investment interests wane. Traders also move away from the asset as volatility dies in search of better returns elsewhere. Fundamentals start to matter and price just doesn’t begin a massive upside move. In fact, it remains range bound for long periods of time. Within this range, I would expect to see large moves, though the price should not to go back to its highs for quite a long time. During this time, companies will continue building on the protocol with the price becoming ancillary as innovation moves forward, which in turn could lead to surges in price as well as many macro economic factors down the road. In an interconnected global world, things change rapidly and the price is no different. This is a model based on past bubbles and could be different with bitcoin for a variety of reasons, but generally the pattern fits and I would expect a range bound price and a period of low volatility for a while once the bottom is established. Below is a chart that shows the stages of a bubble bursting and the aftermath: http://i.imgur.com/FTA5YbQ.png Written by George Samman, former Wall Street Portfolio Manger and Co-Founder and COO of BTC.sx. BTC.sx is a bitcoin trading platform offering up to 10x leverage to go long or short in bitcoin for bitcoin.
Hello! My name is Daria Volkova and I am the Head of Platinum Legal Department. Our team believes that these are exciting times for the crypto market. We supported more than 100 clients, created and promoted their STO and ICO campaigns, got from an idea to funding in a matter of 2.5 months! See the full list of our services: Platinum.fund We are more than proud to present our education project. The UBAI can help you to learn specifics about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies. Learn all about ICO avenues and opportunities, plug into the world of trading cryptocurrency markets, become an expert in scam projects, promoting ICOs and STOs, launching your own campaigns and many more! What are the different cryptocurrency regulations in major countries? Find the answer after reading this article. Cryptocurrency Regulations across Major Countries Cryptocurrency and the blockchain industry may seem sufficiently exciting and attractive to you now. After all, you are taking the time and effort to study this course. You may be planning to work in cryptocurrency and the blockchain industry. Of course, we want to encourage you and help you proceed toward your goal. But it is also important you understand the regulations guiding the blockchain industry to help keep yourself out of trouble. This year, in particular, seems to be the year in which a lot of countries are looking to finally coalesce the regulations relating to the blockchain industry into a workable legal framework. Some countries are more accommodating to cryptocurrency and blockchain technological innovations while others are still more cautious. We will examine how each major country is forming their own regulatory framework for the blockchain industry. Canada Cryptocurrencies are not considered legal tender in Canada. This was clearly expressed by the country’s Financial Consumer Agency (FCA). Canada, like the US, has yet to clearly define or legislate a framework surrounding cryptocurrencies. But Canada still appears to be among the most transparent of countries for the nation’s interpretation and enforcement of the law surrounding cryptocurrencies (aside from Switzerland). For the time being, Canada has clearly stated its reluctance to adopt cryptocurrency as a legal tender, due to its high volatility. “ “The United States of America (USA) There are certain laws regarding transactions in virtual currency in the US today but there is still no comprehensive legal framework. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission currently regulates virtual currencies as commodities. The CFTC is the first US regulator to allow for public cryptocurrency trading. The Securities and Exchange Commission requires registration of any virtual currency traded in the US if it is classified as a security (e.g. by the Howey test). The regulatory authorities have not yet formulated or offered a coherent framework for regulations regarding cryptocurrencies. Typical of most legislators and regulatory agencies in the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has intensified its focus on the pressing need for comprehensive regulation. And it seems everyone is waiting for the right catalyst to coalesce into a usable set of legal guidelines that can protect the investing public and also allow for blockchain and cryptocurrency innovation as well. If cryptocurrency becomes a form of legal tender in the US, there will likely be stringent laws on its use. However, if cryptocurrency is treated like a security, cryptocurrencies would be regulated under securities law as interpreted by the SEC. Present securities laws place a large number of limitations on who is able to buy securities, how they are traded, and how to ensure transparency in the flow of information relevant to investors. Also note that non-US investors may experience their own difficulties getting a license to trade cryptocurrencies in the country. “ “Japan Japan has always been one of the most positive and forward-thinking nations regarding cryptocurrencies and the blockchain. Of course, they were cautious at first, and they knew no more than anyone else in government, which means they literally knew nothing. But they took time to research, learn, and develop an approach to regulate the industry without killing it. The official policy is clear: Protect the public interest, but also encourage the growth of the industry with a legal framework that allows for innovation in blockchain and cryptocurrencies. China The situation in China is a sad one. The country has been taking increasingly strict actions to discourage and outlaw any activity related to the blockchain industry. China has banned ICOs, frozen all accounts associated with cryptocurrency, stopped bitcoin miners and even ordered a nationwide ban on all forms of cryptocurrency trading. China has the strictest laws against cryptocurrency. Yet, despite that fact, as of 2017, 50% of the world’s mining population was from China! If you are involved with the cryptocurrency industry it is strongly advised to stay away from China, and avoid transactions with Chinese business because of the unpredictable and negative legal framework. “ “The United Kingdom & European Union Brexit is scheduled to take place in March 2019, yet the UK and the EU still remain united in their regulatory attitude toward cryptocurrencies. There are also reports that the UK and EU are planning to end anonymity for cryptocurrency traders. The UK and EU are both trying to control all the scams and frauds. They are working with cryptocurrency platforms to stop or at least report all suspicious transactions. This adds a degree of regulatory burden on the exchanges as well as increasing the associated compliance costs. Cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile. They are a high-risk investment. Governments across Europe are greatly concerned about the possibility of both retail and sophisticated investors losing a lot of money. This has led to a situation similar to that in the US. The regulatory authorities have not yet formulated or offered a coherent framework for regulations regarding cryptocurrencies. There is an intense focus on the pressing need for comprehensive regulation. And everyone is waiting for the right catalyst to coalesce into a usable set of legal guidelines that can protect the investing public and allow for blockchain and cryptocurrency innovation as well. We certainly hope for intelligent and effective legislation from all the major countries. “ “Accommodating & Unaccommodating Countries Below is a list of countries we have not specifically covered, but they have each taken an active position on a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. The following countries are either supportive or at least neutral toward cryptocurrencies: -Switzerland. -Australia. -Nigeria. -Ghana. -South Africa. -Singapore. Countries with the most stringent and negative cryptocurrency regulation: -Venezuela. -South Korea. -India. -Russia. Did you know? It is not uncommon to see Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency ATMs throughout Japan. Exchange robberies and hacks like MtGox, and the recent loss of $530 million NEM coins have led to serious debate in the Japanese government. The industry needs to provide a secure and manageable solution to these problems. Voluntary self-regulation and close cooperation with regulatory authorities is the most favored solution. It seems the regulators are working hard behind the scenes right now leading the industry in the desired direction in typical Japanese fashion. “ “Blockchain Industry Regulations in the USA Based on the information received from the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review, there was a variety of responses from different government bodies about blockchain regulations. The regulators responses ranged from indifference to suspicion, and to positive expectation and excitement. The US government has tremendous constitutional power to regulate business and industry, including of course the blockchain industry if it so desires. But basically, the federal government has been relatively indifferent and has even refused to speak on blockchain regulations despite the interest of various federal agencies. As of 2017, eight states in the US were working on bills promoting the use of cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies. It is even reported that a few states have actually begun the final steps before voting and passing legislation into law. On April 3, 2018 Arizona introduced a law allowing corporations to hold and share data on the blockchain. The governor, Doug Ducey, put forward the legislation after the state began accepting signatures and smart contracts recorded on the blockchain as legally valid documentation. In 2017, Delaware was the first state to pass legislation allowing for shares of stocks to be legally traded on the blockchain. Other notable developments have occurred in the US at the state or local level. Vermont makes use of blockchain as evidence in trials. Chicago uses blockchain to maintain real estate records. New York is currently evaluating four bills for the application of data storage on the blockchain. “ ” Blockchain Regulations in Europe The entire European Union has approached blockchain with a positive and welcoming attitude. The EU has taken the position that they want to actively encourage innovation. This philosophy could support the development of cryptocurrencies in two ways: -Encouraging the exploration of uses testing the impact and effect of the laws in a way that allows for a more finely-tuned and sophisticated understanding for all parties involved. -Giving entrepreneurs the confidence that their target markets will be more trusting of their solution since they are operating with the explicit legal support of the state. This approach, along with the EU’s scope as the regulator of 28 different countries, will encourage growth across the entire crypto ecosystem, and may end up transforming Europe into one of the most desirable destinations for blockchain development. Entrepreneurs are likely to move to the EU bloc to access the rich vein of available talent, as well as the positive and supportive laws. The EU has actually disclosed through its executive arm that it is working on the use of blockchain for distributed ledger based projects. EU officials have constantly stated they are looking for ways to support more innovation with distributed ledger technology. The European Commission said it was “”actively monitoring Blockchain and DLT developments”” and has work in progress to explore “”DLT benefits and challenges as well as fields for application in financial services””. The official press release stated that the commission clearly wants to “”pilot projects to foster decentralized innovation ecosystems and help reshape interactions between consumers, producers, creators and among citizens, businesses and administrations to the end benefit of society””. “ “Blockchain Regulations in Europe §2 Switzerland has gradually become the favored hub for cryptocurrency and blockchain development in Europe. This position has been enhanced through a Swiss non-profit blockchain and cryptographic technology ecosystem known as the Crypto Valley Association. The Crypto Valley Association has begun working on the development of an ICO Code of Conduct to take advantage of the ban imposed by China on token crowd sales. They are hoping to capture the Chinese and Asian entrepreneurs searching for a new home. Other countries are not as accepting of this new DLT technology and have even gone as far as classifying it as illegal and immoral behavior. There have been hyperbolic concerns most notably from China that cryptocurrencies will destabilize world financial markets. There are various pilot projects and efforts to prove the benefits of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain industry currently being tested all across Europe. Yet even now they are barely scratching the surface of the full potential of the blockchain. Country-by-Country Cryptocurrency Adoption Citizens of countries all over the world have varying attitudes about cryptocurrency. These attitudes and sentiments can be very significant to the future adoption of cryptocurrencies because politicians and regulators tend to act in consideration of the collective opinion of the public. Some countries were more accommodating at first but then became stricter, despite positive public interest, basically saying they are still not sure about the possible consequences and benefits of the technology. “ “Country-by-Country Cryptocurrency Adoption Estonia Surprisingly enough this small Baltic nation has gained a reputation for being quick to accept technological innovation. Estonia has a tech-friendly government eager to accommodate the innovative use of cryptocurrency in fields ranging from blockchain technology for healthcare and banking services; and even granting citizens the right to become what is known as “e-Residents”. As e-Residents, Estonian citizens and businesses are provided with digital business authentication. It is also one of the first countries to employ the use of a blockchain-based e-voting service that enabled people to become shareholders of NASDAQ’s Tallinn Stock Exchange. This fascinating and highly innovative country is now host to a number of Bitcoin ATMs and startups, like Paxful. They are cryptocurrency friendly, and cryptocurrency user friendly as well. Estonia also has highest internet penetration rates in the world. Estonia may be a fine place to consider basing your ICO due to the friendly legal and regulatory environment. This and a lot more you can learn on our website: www.ubai.co! “ “Country-by-Country Cryptocurrency Adoption The United States of America The USA is the world’s dominant superpower, and it should come as no surprise that it has the highest number of cryptocurrency users in the world. It also has the highest bitcoin trading volume and the highest number of bitcoin ATMs. Powered by Silicon Valley, which is home to a lot of cryptocurrency and blockchain startups, the US stands at the forefront of all things relating to cryptocurrency worldwide. Many other nations are planning to follow the US lead concerning cryptocurrency regulations. This means the USA will serve as the testing ground for cryptocurrency and crypto-regulation in the years to come. This is likely where the future regulatory framework will take shape. Bitcoin in particular has shown massive growth in the US. This can only be interpreted as a strong tailwind for a positive regulatory environment because the population at large supports blockchain technology. For the moment, due to regulatory paralysis and the resultant legal vacuum, ICOs are strongly advised against raising funds or basing operations in the US. The SEC has been particularly strict in its enforcement of securities and investment law which require an ICO to do an oppressive amount of compliance work. “ “Country-by-Country Cryptocurrency Adoption Denmark When it comes to technological advancements and the standard of living of its citizens, Denmark is among the world leaders. It is considered one of the most developed countries in the world. It is also at the forefront of countries looking to reduce the use of cash money and advance to the use of 100% digital currency. As such, sentiment among the general public and political sphere actively supports the adoption of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment. The only question left is which particular cryptocurrency system to adopt. It is still unclear whether bitcoin is the one, or BTC will mainly just be accepted as a means of exchange. There are also discussions in Denmark about when to redesign its national financial system; this would be a “world first”, and a radical leap forward for cryptocurrencies. Another fascinating thing is that the Danish Central Bank has declared BTC as a non-currency; meaning its use is not subject to the country’s currency regulations. Some of the top bitcoin startups and exchanges such as CCDEK have their foundations in Denmark. With its open market and encouraging regulatory framework, Denmark might very well rival Switzerland in Western Europe for the position of the continent’s preeminent ICO and blockchain industry hub. “ “Country-by-Country Cryptocurrency Adoption Sweden Sweden is quite similar to Denmark, for its social and demographic climate, and also for the government’s desire to eliminate cash. The Swedish Riksbank recently introduced negative interest rates. This can cause a spike in the demand for coins in the near future as citizens look for the best way to preserve their wealth. Negative interest rates like we have seen in Europe and Japan also, actively corrode savers’ wealth because people are actually paying a percentage of their savings to the central bank to hold their cash, in addition to losing out to inflation at the same time. Sweden has taken the boldest step yet in all of continental Europe to legalize cryptocurrency. The country legalized the use of BTC and other cryptocurrencies as a means of payment by official public declaration. It is however expected that exchanges should file for a license in accordance with AML/CTF and KYC regulations. Sweden is also home to a number of cryptocurrency startups such as the Safello Bitcoin exchange, and Stockholm-based KnCMiner. The gradually increasing trading volume of cryptocurrency has been a good indicator of the country’s appreciating demand for cryptocurrencies. “ “Country-by-Country Cryptocurrency Adoption The Netherlands The Netherlands is quite fascinating in its own right. How can a country not be referred to as Bitcoin-friendly when it can boast about having its own “Bitcoin City”? There are over 100 merchants that sell goods that can be purchased with cryptocurrency in Bitcoin City. There are no regulations restricting the use of BTC in the Netherlands under the Act on Financial Supervision of the Netherlands. This explains why a lot of startups, BTC ATMs, and even a Bitcoin Embassy can be found in the heart of Amsterdam (the capital of Netherlands). The friendly climate for cryptocurrency has led to a lot of very active bitcoin communities across the nation hosting regular meetups and other events. The country’s banking sector has been looking to incorporate BTC and blockchain to reduce costs and improve banking technology. The Netherlands is also a popular location for many important bitcoin conferences and bitcoin companies such as BitPay. The Netherlands is increasingly becoming a prominent place for ICOs and blockchain related businesses to base their operations. “ “Country-by-Country Cryptocurrency Adoption Finland Well-known as the home of Nokia, Finland has constantly been at the forefront of technological innovation, just like its other Scandinavian neighbors. The Finnish Central Board of Taxes (CBT) has even gone as far as classifying bitcoin as a financial service, exempting it and cryptocurrency purchases from the VAT. What more could be better for Bitcoin? Finland also boasts a significant number of BTC ATMs despite its small population. The capital of Helsinki alone is reported to have 10 ATMs for BTC. The country is also home to top exchanges such as FinCCX and Bittiraha.fi. As of January 2016, the most expensive bitcoin sale took place in Finland. It involved the sale of a Tesla Model S worth over €140,000 at Auto-Outlet Helsinki Oy. Canada Canada is home to a variety of bitcoin startups and ATMs. It is considered to be more favorable toward cryptocurrencies than the USA. The country has two cities on its eastern and western coasts, Toronto and Vancouver, that are recognized as “Bitcoin hubs”. Canada has a vibrant cryptocurrency community and is home to startups such as Decentral, the Vanbex Group and a large number of merchants who accept cryptocurrencies as payment. Vancouver is known to have over 20 ATMs while Toronto is well-known for holding large cryptocurrency conferences. There has been constant growth in cryptocurrency trading volume in the country. Canada might be the best location in North America to base an ICO or operate a blockchain business due to its supportive regulatory environment and a rich ecosystem for cryptocurrency, with human talent, ATMs and other tools, etc. “ “Country-by-Country Cryptocurrency Adoption United Kingdom The UK is one of the absolute top financial hubs in the world. It is also a center of innovation. There are a large number of bitcoin and blockchain related startups, BTMs and active communities. All of the previously listed crypto-friendly features make the UK a very desirable environment for bitcoin. The UK has identified the inevitable need for a new payment solution and is gradually bracing itself for a widespread adoption of cryptocurrency in the future. There are even a few local pubs that accept BTC as a means of payment. It is also interesting to note that the Bank of England has been closely monitoring bitcoin technology and has requested ideas from citizens on the improvement of its monetary system. Bitcoin is presently seen as “private money” where VAT is imposed from suppliers of goods and services that accept cryptocurrency as payment. Profits and losses incurred from cryptocurrency trading are also subject to capital gains tax, just as in the US. In the UK, it has become increasingly clear that BTC can be part of a bigger story, and the trading volume indicates steady growth. There are not clear laws against cryptocurrencies at the present time. But the lack of regulatory momentum suggests we may see more positive developments soon. One thing to keep in mind, while the Brexit is still in progress, the British government may be more likely to legislate on non-core issues. “ “Country-by-Country Cryptocurrency Adoption Australia The major banks in Australia have been quite hostile toward bitcoin, but at least the country has removed the burden of “double taxation” on cryptocurrency. This was good news to the local business community because blockchain startups had begun to leave the country as a direct result of unfavorable taxation and closure of bank accounts. The use of BTC still remains unregulated, there is no law or regulation restricting the use of cryptocurrencies by Australian citizens. Cryptocurrencies are regarded as a form of property in Australia, and purchases with BTC, for example, are referred to as “barter”. The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), you will remember, is transitioning its CHESS verification system to a blockchain solution that should go live at the beginning of 2019. Cryptocurrencies in Australia are seen a lot like they are in the US. Topics like the imposition of capital gains tax, concern about securities law, the legal debate about using cryptocurrency as payment for goods and services, etc., are all problematic for regulators. While the general population is quite comfortable and supportive of cryptocurrencies and blockchain solutions, at the present it is not a high priority for the government to legislate or regulate. “ “Taxation and Cryptocurrency Tax is of course one of the most important factors in financial matters on both a personal and corporate level. Taxes greatly influence investment decisions and returns, regardless of industry or size. It is one of the first things every individual or group considers before investing. Notably, in Australia and the USA, cryptocurrency gains are treated as capital gains and taxed at up to 50% of the return. Some countries have low cryptocurrency taxes specifically to encourage the blockchain industry. By offering a more competitive tax rate, countries are implicitly supporting cryptocurrency and actively trying to offer a better return profile than other countries. We will discuss the different taxation regimes in a wide range of countries so you can ascertain the financial advantages and disadvantages of a variety of locations. Belarus Belarus charges 0% in taxation until 2023. That exemption is specifically for cryptocurrency exchanges and transactions. This has been done to help Belarus build a special economic zone, referred to as ‘HTP Belarus’. Their goal is to have an economic zone strong enough to compete with the likes of Silicon Valley. The government of Belarus has also declared smart contracts as legal documents. Anyone looking to set up a blockchain company or a cryptocurrency startup should seriously consider Belarus. It has a supportive regulatory and legal environment which actively encourages the blockchain industry and does not impose punitive taxes upon those inside the industry. “ “Taxation and Cryptocurrency Portugal Any and all personal income received from cryptocurrency transactions is tax-free in Portugal at the present moment. Income from cryptocurrency trading is categorized as something legally different from traditional income or capital gains. The Portuguese government stated clearly that any kind of sale of cryptocurrency does not fall under capital income or capital gain. If an individual is however found to be carrying out professional activity, or any business activity related to cryptocurrencies, that is a different matter and such income will be subject to taxation. From a personal perspective, Portugal is one of the leading countries where an individual can carry out their cryptocurrency transactions and enjoy a decent standard of living in the same country too. However, for ICO and Blockchain businesses it is not recommended to base your operations in Portugal. China China is famous the world over for being home to some of the largest cryptocurrency mines and many active cryptocurrency investors; yet at the same time China makes it illegal to conduct any cryptocurrency related business or investment. But China still has an especially attractive environment for investors. Hong Kong runs on a policy of zero VAT or capital gains tax so it is easy to recommend you base your business there. Hong Kong also stands out as a major financial hub in the heart of Asia. “ “Taxation and Cryptocurrency Netherlands Actually, Netherlands was the first country to make use of a non-zero tax rate policy for cryptocurrencies. So, it may seem reasonable to expect a discouraging tax situation. But the fact is, Netherland’s tax policy is rather advantageous for cryptocurrency. They have a very simple, low-tax regime. Cryptocurrency assets need to be declared with the total assets owned by an individual at the beginning of the year to assess their value. Cryptocurrency gains will be taxed at the highest tax bracket for capital income of just around 5%. The Netherlands is strongly recommended as a good country to work and live in, from both a personal and corporate perspective. Germany Germany is the economic center of the EU. This makes it a great place to start a cryptocurrency or blockchain company. Financial technology has been thriving there for more than ten years, and Germany has favorable cryptocurrency laws too. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency assets have a 0% tax when used in making payments due to no VAT levied for making payments with BTC, because there is no “value added” through cryptocurrency as a fiscal product. Germany offers a moderately compelling case for both blockchain business and individuals. While the tax rate on income at the company level is not competitive, the ability to pay for services in crypto as well as hold cryptocurrency assets and sell them at zero percent taxation rate is compelling. “ “Where to Base Your ICO Let’s talk about the countries that are most accommodating with regard ICOs. Start-up ICO companies, like any company, essentially require three key principles for operation. The first is a sound legal and regulatory framework wherein the rule of law is preserved and business encouraged. The second is the ability to hire or acquire talented individuals to work at the firm. The third and final is the tax system and access to associated financial systems in order to allow the enterprise to succeed. Estonia This country is, perhaps surprisingly, widely referred to as the most digital society in the world. Estonians are known to be pathfinders deeply involved in setting up an efficient, secure, and transparent internet ecosystem. The country ranks first when it comes to the number of ICOs per inhabitant. It has an incredibly supportive tax regime, actually among the most competitive in the world, as well as a deep pool of talent across all areas of the digital spectrum. Estonia offers possibly the most supportive and friendly regulatory and legal framework in the world for an ICO. This, in combination with a zero percent tax rate at both a personal and corporate level, combine to make Estonia one of the single most appealing locations from which you can launch and operate your ICO. “ “Where to Base Your ICO Singapore Singapore is another important regional hub in Asia for its strong rule of law as well as low taxation. The country offers one of the highest standards of living in the world. It is centrally located in the heart of Asia, so it easy to travel and recruit talent from surrounding countries. At the present there are not any specific regulations targeting the blockchain industry, but it is one of the world’s largest countries by funds raised for ICOs. It has a competitive tax regime in combination with strict AML and KYC. All of these factors make Singapore Asia’s leading location to launch and base an ICO. The regulatory situation around the world may seem rather complicated. That is because it is. Laws and regulations are changing rapidly all over the world. And the regulatory framework is the most significant point of concern for a startup ICO. You should carefully study not only the current regulations surrounding your particular venture and how its tokenomics affects its classification, but you also need a reasonable sense of where the country is likely to be six months or a year later. Ideally you would base your ICO in a country that is supportive now, and all timeframes into the future with a competitive and legally sound tax system. Where to Base Your ICO Slovenia Slovenia has recently transformed itself into the leading destination for blockchain technology in Europe. The government of Slovenia has placed a strong emphasis on the study of blockchain technology in public administration, and there has been an amazing success rate for ICOs in Slovenia. While the Slovenian government is a leader in terms of adopting cryptocurrencies, its rate of taxation is still considered quite high at 19%, even though that is still lower than other European countries. ICOs are considered to be normal business activities where you are taxed based on the funds received from an ICO less the expenses of doing business. Switzerland Switzerland is trying to remain relevant for the blockchain industry and for ICOs. The Swiss finance ministry is actively trying to attract investors to the country. Switzerland is considered a very important crypto location due to fact it was home to four of the largest ICOs in the world. The country is also very attractive to investors because of its friendly regulations and digital expertise. The taxation and regulatory environment is extremely secure and positive towards the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry in general. Are there successful ICOs that have originated from the specific countries considered? Read the full article to get the answer! UBAI.co Learn more about our STO and ICO marketing services right now! Contact me via LinkedIn: LinkedIn
Mt. Gox, once the world's biggest bitcoin exchange, looked to have essentially disappeared on Tuesday, with its website down, its founder unaccounted for and a Tokyo office empty bar a handful of ... Mizuho Bank, one of Japan's largest lenders, has became ensnared in North American legal fallout from Mt. Gox, once the world's biggest bitcoin exchange, which collapsed last month after losing ... Mt. Gox, once the world's largest bitcoin exchange, received U.S. bankruptcy protection on Monday to temporarily halt U.S. legal action against the Japanese company by traders who allege the operation was a fraud. Judge Harlin Hale in Dallas granted temporary bankruptcy protection to Mt. Gox, which Mizuho held non-bitcoin currency on behalf of Tokyo-based Mt. Gox and its customers, according to the amended U.S. complaint by Gregory Greene, an Illinois resident who has said he lost $25,000 ... Mt. Gox, once the world's largest bitcoin exchange, files for bankruptcy in Dallas, a move that will temporarily put U.S. legal action on hold against the company.
New Bitcoin Record, Mt Gox Delays, China Mining Madness & IMF Boosting Global Economy
TOKYO — Experts are warning of a possible market crash as a now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange is set to finally payout its creditors. Subscribe to TomoNews... And people seriously forfeit 500% gains to try to catch 10% moves with shorts” I’m not much of a technical trader, but ever I have noticed that the pullbacks of the current bull run of Bitcoin ... Movies & Shows News Live ... trustee of the now-defunct Japanese bitcoin exchange Mt Gox. The SEC said in a statement Wednesday that online platforms trading digital assets that are considered ... Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Matt Miller reports on Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox's cash withdrawal woes on Bloomberg Television's "In The Loop." (Source: Bloomberg) Over the last 5 years of Bitcoin’s explosive growth, adopters of the technology have witnessed giant leaps forward in security as well as giant breaches that have caused the destruction of large ...