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Proposal Compels Your Bank To Report Any Transaction From $250.00 or More (#GotBitcoin?)

Proposal Would Broaden Transactions Recorded Under Anti-Money-Laundering Rule. Proposal Compels Your Bank To Report Any Transaction From $250.00 or More (#GotBitcoin?)

FinCEN and the Fed suggest lowering the bar to $250 from $3,000 on international transactions for which sender and receiver details are transmitted.

A proposed anti-money-laundering rule change would lower the threshold for when information on senders and receivers of international financial transfers is collected and passed along to other financial institutions, potentially adding more of a compliance burden on banks that process such payments.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and the Federal Reserve Board are seeking comments on an amendment that would require financial institutions to collect, retain and transmit certain information related to international transfers and transmittals of funds above $250.

Currently under the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act, banks and nonbank financial institutions obtain, preserve and pass on such details for domestic and international transactions of $3,000 or more, including identity and account information of the sender and recipient, to other financial institutions along the payment chain.

The so-called travel rule regulations are intended to help law enforcement and regulators later investigate and prosecute illicit activities by preserving an information trail.

FinCEN and the Federal Reserve Board, in the proposal published Tuesday on the Federal Register, suggest keeping the threshold for domestic transactions at $3,000.

The proposal also clarified that the rule also applies to transactions involving virtual or digital currencies that meet the relevant threshold.

The regulators said they found that lower-denomination, cross-border wire transfers below the $3,000 threshold were being used to facilitate terrorist financing, narcotics trafficking and other illicit activities. The agencies said they based their proposal partially on a data analysis of roughly 2,000 suspicious activity reports, or SARs, filed by financial institutions to FinCEN between 2016 and 2019 that were related to potential terrorist financing fund transfers.

FinCEN found that about 99% of the underlying transactions of these SARs began or ended outside the U.S. and that the mean and median dollar values of the funds mentioned in the SARs were about $509 and $255, respectively, according to the proposal.

“Some financial institutions may not recognize or retain records for all suspicious activity below the $3,000 threshold or the suspicious pattern may not become clear until the records are aggregated,” the agencies said in the proposal. “This could inhibit law enforcement from promptly investigating and mapping illicit networks.”

The proposed rule change, for which the agencies are asking the public to submit comments until Nov. 27, would increase the compliance burden for banks and may be met with resistance from the industry, observers said.

“This puts a significant burden on banks, and it would require money to adjust [the banks’] reporting system,” Rick McDonell, executive director of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists, or Acams, said.

Banks potentially could pass along these costs to their clients, making small-value wire transfers more expensive, said Judith Alison Lee, a partner at law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. The proposed change “is going to be really expensive for the banks, and would increase their compliance costs,” she said.

A spokesperson for the American Bankers Association said the association is planning to submit a comment on the proposed rule.

However, the agencies said the proposed change shouldn’t have a big impact on the cost and efficiency of the payment system. The agencies said some financial institutions were already collecting information on some of the transactions under the current threshold to report suspicious transactions to FinCEN, or just to keep a single set of processes for all transactions.

U.S. Banks Handled Trillions Of Dollars In “Suspicious” Transactions, Report Says

Originally submitted to the US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the reports were passed on to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

Analysis by the ICIJ found that between 1999 and 2017 banks flagged transactions worth trillions in SARs submitted to FinCEN.

Seeing SARs

SARs are made by banks concerning suspicious or potentially suspicious activity. SARs can be submitted for a range of reasons.

These could include an account holder moving large sums of money, a client moving money offshore, or a transaction that doesn’t make sense.

SARs must include subject account information, suspicious activity information, details on the submitting bank, and a narrative explaining the filing.

Banks are obligated to file a report within 30 days. Often this timeline is missed, especially when new information on old transactions come to light. Failing to file a report to a regulator can result in penalty fines.

Banks submit a wave of SARs every day to regulators. The 2,100 files listed in the FinCEN leak account for less than 0.02% of the 12 million reports sent by banks between 2011 and 2017.

Regulators usually guard SAR information closely. If a SAR leads to a field investigation, an account may be frozen, and the bank placed under a gag order.

Alternatively, the account may be left open so as not to tip off the holder that something is amiss.

Who’s In The Leak?

The FinCEN files contain reports submitted by almost 90 banks and financial institutions. Of those 90, seven banks reported SARs totalling more than $1 billion. The top ten banks listed in the leaks are:

  • Deutsche Bank – $1.3 trillion
  • JPMorgan Chase – $514 billion
  • Standard Chartered – $166 billion
  • Bank of New York Mellon – $64 billion
  • Barclays – $21 billion
  • HSBC – $4.4 billion
  • Bank of China – $1.3 billion
  • Bank of America – $384 million
  • Citibank – $251 million
  • Wells Fargo – $57 million

Among the pile of leaked SARs are individual reports of money laundering and suspicious transactions flagged by bank staff.

Deutsche Bank, fined numerous times by US and EU agencies for AML failures, accounts of more than half of suspicious payments in the leak.

Buzzfeed News and the ICIJ found the German bank pushed money through accounts belonging to criminals, drug traffickers, and terrorists.

HSBC reported that millions of dollars in stolen money had moved around its accounts, even after watchdogs warned it about a ponzi scheme.

Barclays Bank allowed a Russian billionaire Arkady Rotenberg to avoid sanctions preventing him from using financial services in the West.

Standard Chartered reported the movement of cash between Arab Bank accounts used for funding international terrorism.

JP Morgan filed SARs showing that more than $1 billion filtered through a London-based account. According to the ICIJ report, the bank did not know who owned the account. It later discovered it may have belonged to someone on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.

More than 250 SARs reference accounts located in the US, and more 200 in Russia. 45 reports focused on UK accounts.

According to Buzzfeed News, 25 people named in the SARs have appeared on the Forbes list of billionaires.

FinCEN lists the UK as a “higher risk jurisdiction”. More than 3,000 UK companies appear in the leaked files, higher than any other country.

Last week the UK government announced it would be reforming its registry of companies to try and clamp down on money laundering and fraud.

What About FinCEN?

FinCEN’s SAR database is available to more than 450 law enforcement and regulatory agencies in the US. More than 13,000 users use the system millions of times every year.

FinCEN has refused to comment on the contents of the leaks. According to the ICIJ the regulator failed to answer “a series of questions”.

At the start of September the agency posted a notice on its website regarding the imminent reports.

“FinCEN is aware that various media outlets intend to publish a series of articles based on unlawfully disclosed SARs as well as other sensitive government documents, from several years ago,” it wrote.

“The unauthorised disclosure of SARs is a crime that can impact the national security of the United States, compromise law enforcement investigations, and threaten the safety and security of the institutions and individuals who file such reports.”

At the end of last week the regulator announced that it is seeking public comment on improving the US’s existing anti-money laundering (AML) legislation.

According to US Treasury figures, the number of people working at FinCEN has shrunk by more than 10% since 2010.

Jamal Al-Hindi, acting director of FinCEN in 2017, testified that year to congress that the department faced hiring issues.

Historical Issues

The FinCEN leaks concern suspicious transactions flagged between 1999 and 2017. The European Union’s fourth and fifth anti-money laundering directives (4AMLD & 5AMLD) have come into force since.

4AMLD required member states to create central registers containing information on universal beneficial ownership (UBO).

UBO registers require information on the ownership structure of major corporations and trust structures.

UBO registers must be made available to competent authorities, EU financial intelligence units, banks, and lawyers conducting due diligence.

5AMLD cited gaps in the transparency of financial transactions, especially concerning offshore intermediary entities.

It seeks to bring additional transparency by granting the public right of access to information on beneficial owners of firms operating in the EU.

5AMLD also requires member stats to publish periodic risk assessment reports, refocusing due diligence away from individual entities and towards national authorities.

“Mind blowing”

The entire financial system is built upon trust,” says Gilbert Verdian, founder of Quant and former member of the Federal Reserve’s Secure Payments Task Force.

“It is mind-blowing that these documents reveal some of our leading financial institutions have not only known about, but actively facilitated criminal activity.

“The system needs a reboot, this time to embed high grade trust in every process and transaction which automates these complex decisions.

“The system needs to decentralise and automate trust, removing the ability for people to circumnavigate regulations and allowing for a larger frontier of parties to face and address risk head on, rather than dealing with it in isolation.”

A congressional investigation into the 2016 U.S. presidential election has unearthed evidence that major banks processed $2 trillion in transactions despite suspecting they were connected to illegal activity.

So-called suspicious activity reports, filed by banks with government regulators, indicate the banks were concerned the transactions would help suspected terrorists, drug dealers, corrupt foreign officials and other bad actors move trillions of dollars around the world, as well as perpetuate investment frauds.

The private reports, which covered 1999 through 2017, were obtained by BuzzFeed News and shared with the nonprofit International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The two organizations published their investigations into the documents over the weekend, but did not publish the complete reports. Both also declined to make public most of the information contained in the reports, including the customers who the banks suspected of illegal activity.

Corporate watchdogs said the reports show that the U.S. government and banks need to do more to combat money laundering.
Profiting from “dangerous players”

In its report, BuzzFeed said the documents show “how the giants of Western banking move trillions of dollars in suspicious transactions, enriching themselves and their shareholders while facilitating the work of terrorists, kleptocrats and drug kingpins.”

The ICIJ said the private filings with regulators show that some of the largest U.S. banks “kept profiting from powerful and dangerous players even after U.S. authorities fined these financial institutions for earlier failures to stem flows of dirty money.”

“Nearly every national security and public safety threat that we face — from terror financing and sanctions evasion to the opioid crisis and human trafficking — is either motivated or facilitated by money,” said Clark Gascoigne, interim executive director of the FACT Coalition, a nonprofit focused on financial misconduct, in a statement. “It’s time to overhaul our anti-money laundering system and prioritize the fight against illicit finance.”

The probe detailed a number of questionable transactions, including $50 million in payments processed over a decade by JPMorgan for Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort. JPMorgan also flagged regulators about transactions it processed for Jho Low, the fugitive financier accused of stealing billions from Malaysia’s investment development fund.

“We report suspicious activity to the government so that law enforcement can combat financial crime, and have thousands of people and hundreds of millions of dollars dedicated to this important work,” JPMorgan spokeswoman Patricia Wexler said in a statement. “We have played a leadership role in anti-money laundering reform that will modernize how the government and law enforcement combat money laundering, terrorism financing and other financial crimes.”

Feds Calls Disclosure Of Bank Reports A “Crime”

A statement from the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network said the suspicious activity reports, known as SARs, had been “unlawfully disclosed” to BuzzFeed and the ICIJ. It called the disclosure of the reports “a crime that can impact the national security of the United States, compromise law enforcement investigations, and threaten the safety and security of the institutions and individuals who file such reports.” The agency said it had referred the matter for investigation to the Department of Justice.

Greg Baer who is the head of trade group Bank Policy Institute said in a statement that the fact that it was the banks that reported the suspicious activity proves they were not hiding anything from regulators. He also said that banks are often asked by law enforcement to keep accounts that have engaged in suspicious activities open so that they can be tracked.

“It does not make sense,” Baer said in a statement. “Clearly, there is more to this story, but unfortunately the reporting failed to unearth it.”

Banks in the U.S. are required to monitor their customers’ transactions for evidence of potential misdeeds, flagging when money is being transferred in large amounts between two parties that don’t obviously have a business connection.

When the bank’s internal investigators see those types of transactions, they are required to notify the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a government agency set up to fight money laundering. The suspicious activity reports reflect the concerns of the banks’ risk managers and aren’t proof that any laws were broken.

Such reports are private documents that cannot be obtained under Freedom of Information Act requests. Banks also do not disclose them. According to BuzzFeed, congressional committees looking into issues having to do with the 2016 presidential election got access to thousands of the secret reports.

BuzzFeed’s report indicates that a source, or sources, close to those investigations leaked the documents to the news organization, including more than 2,100 suspicious activity reports filed by banks and other financial firms over an 18-year period.

Deutsche Bank’s Involvement

The reports are only a fraction of the suspicious activity reports filed by banks over that time period. More than half of the reports obtained by BuzzFeed were filed or relate to Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest financial institution and one of the biggest lenders to President Donald Trump.

In a statement, Deutsche Bank said the ICIJ report touched on “historic issues” that are “well known to our regulators.”

“To the extent that information referenced by the ICIJ is derived from SARs, it should be noted that this is information that is pro-actively identified and submitted by banks to governments pursuant to the law. SARs are alerts of potential issues, not proven facts.”

Updated: 11-16-2020

Why FinCEN Wants Details On All Cross-Border Transactions Over $250

U.S. regulators are discussing the “why” of a new proposal that has crypto fans concerned.

Speaking Monday at the V20 Virtual Asset Service Providers Summit, Carole House, cyber and emerging tech policy specialist at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), said criminals are conducting cross-border payments using smaller amounts of cryptocurrency – hence FinCEN’s proposed lowering of the “Travel Rule” threshold.

According to the rule change proposal submitted last month, FinCEN and the Federal Reserve would modify the thresholds at which banks must collect and store fund transfer information, reducing it from $3,000 to $250 for any transfers – in crypto or fiat – that go outside the U.S.

It’s part of a general broadening of terms, said House, adding that lowering reporting thresholds for international transactions will help law enforcement and other national security authorities.

“Criminals are using smaller value transfers and virtual currencies to facilitate terrorism financing, narcotics trafficking and other illicit activities, like cybercrime,” House told V20 delegates. “So we strongly urge you to provide FinCEN with your comments on the NPRM [Notice of Proposed Rulemaking] by Nov. 27.”

FATF Chance

The Travel Rule aims to prevent money laundering by identifying the originator and beneficiary of a transaction when funds of over a certain amount are transferred. Applying this rule to the pseudonymous architecture of crypto is a challenge being worked through by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in collaboration with local regulators and the digital asset industry.

According to FinCEN’s analysis of 2,000 suspicious transaction reports (SARs) filed between 2016 and 2019, the mean and median dollar value was $509 and $255, respectively. Almost all the transactions began or ended outside the U.S.

In response to the NPRM, Washington, D.C.-based digital asset think tank Coin Center questioned the changes to the threshold for Travel Rule obligations in terms of a proper cost-benefit analysis being absent. Such analysis should take into consideration not just the direct cost to regulated entities but the cost to individuals and society, it said.

There’s been considerable concern from small and mid-sized firms about the cost of compliance generally, and particularly when it comes to things like Travel Rule, which came up during the V20 Q&A.

Addressing the cost-of-compliance question, FATF Executive Secretary David Lewis told V20 delegates the cost of not complying was far greater.

“If you want this industry to have a good reputation and to continue to operate out in the open, then it’s the central prerequisite ultimately,” Lewis said. “The cost of non-compliance will only ever have short-term benefits, you might say, and would be very short-sighted for companies that want to continue to operate in this space and don’t want to give their industry a bad name.”

Lewis pointed out that in about 20 countries there are some 1,130 VASPs (the FATF shorthand for businesses dealing in cryptocurrencies) already registered in compliance with FATF recommendations.

Crypto Outreach

Aside from the rule change consultation, FinCEN’s House urged industry players to get in touch, even mentioning that the regulator’s door is open to innovators from the recent wave of decentralized finance (DeFi).

“We want to hear from the industry as we are examining all the different technologies and business models operating in this space, whether it’s decentralized exchanges or related applications,” said House, adding:

“Please reach out to FinCEN and meet with us in innovation hours, let us know if there are specific pilot programs where you need accepted relief from certain regulatory obligations or just letting us know the efficacy of certain types of innovative technologies. That’s a huge priority for us.”

Given that much of DeFi involves interacting with a smart contract (rather than an identifiable entity, or at least at a remove from its creator), FATF was asked about its specific position on the $13.6 billion sector. To which, Sandra Garcia, co-chair of FATF’s virtual asset contact group, sounded a cautionary note.

“What we’re looking at when we sort of dissect a lot of these new innovations is that somewhere you do actually have some sort of central administrator or someone who holds the private keys that we think falls within the definitions of the FATF,” Garcia said.

Updated: 11-23-2020

Crypto Users Speak Out On Proposed Change To FinCEN Travel Rule

“This proposal, if adopted, would prove to be an invasion of privacy.”

Since the U.S. Federal Reserve and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network opened a proposed rule to acquire more information on smaller international transactions, many crypto users have labeled the measure as an invasion of privacy.

On Oct. 23, the regulatory agencies published a notice of a proposal to modify a long-standing rule in which financial institutions in the United States are required to exchange client information for all international transactions greater than $3,000.

The proposal — which includes “transactions involving convertible virtual currencies and digital assets with legal tender status” — would lower this monetary threshold to $250. In order to comply with the changes, crypto exchanges would seemingly need to store a great deal of personal information from users.

The Fed opened the proposal for public comment, and many crypto users have been quick to voice their dissent. Some cited concerns that the proposal would prove to be antithetical to the nature of crypto. One anonymous person commented that “the whole point of Bitcoin is to remain decentralized and unregulated — by creating rules, laws, and regulations, you are defeating the purpose of its use.”

At least one advocacy group is encouraging U.S. citizens to speak out against the rule change. Fight for the Future, a digital rights group based in Massachusetts, today claimed to have 3,000 people submit comments to the Fed and FinCEN to “stop attacking crypto and our privacy rights.”

Privacy was at the top of the list for one person in the public comments, seemingly concerned with how crypto exchanges would handle the burden of securing personal data.

“This proposal, if adopted, would prove to be an invasion of privacy,” said Kyle Cribbins from Dallas. “In terms of digital assets, crypto exchanges are not held accountable in the same way that other financial institutions are, and have a track record of bad operational security when it comes to securely storing client information.”

The claim has some merit. A hacker reportedly stole data from thousands of customers at crypto hardware wallet manufacturer Ledger earlier this year. In May, crypto lending provider BlockFi reported it suffered a data breach compromising the physical addresses of some wealthy clients.

“At a time when many countries and institutions are pushing for the outright end of physical cash, it is not at all appropriate to increase restrictions that make it more difficult for Americans to transact in and transfer [convertible virtual currencies],” said Grant Dever regarding the proposed rule.

“America needs to be a leader in these technologies and increasing the burdens on entrepreneurs through this type of restriction is counter-productive and will leave us vulnerable to technological advances by rival nations.”

Public comments for the FinCEN and Fed rule will close this week.

Updated: 1-15-2021

Crypto Anti-Terrorism Bill Introduced In The US House of Representatives

A bipartisan group of representatives has introduced a bill to the House that seeks to create a task force focused on combating terrorist financing via cryptocurrencies.

U.S. Representative Ted Budd (R-NC) has sponsored a new piece of legislation aimed at creating an agency tasked with combating the use of cryptocurrencies in terrorist financing.

The bill — H.R. 296 — is co-sponsored by Reps. Warren Davidson (R-OH), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Byron Donalds (R-FL), and Darren Soto (D-FL) and was introduced on Wednesday.

Apart from creating the task force, the bill also seeks to:

“Provide rewards for information leading to convictions related to terrorist use of digital currencies, to establish a Fintech Leadership in Innovation and Financial Intelligence Program to encourage the development of tools and programs to combat terrorist and illicit use of digital currencies, and for other purposes.”

Following the introduction, the bill was referred to the Committee on Financial Services and the Committee on the Budget for preliminary deliberations. Rep. Budd is a known supporter of crypto and blockchain in Congress.

In 2019, Rep. Budd championed the call for greater clarity in the country’s crypto tax laws. He also introduced a couple of bills to the house aimed at improving the regulatory standard of the industry in the U.S.

While Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism continue to be a major anti-crypto talking point for several government agencies, cryptocurrency forensic data points to limited adoption of virtual currencies by terrorist organizations. Back in May 2020, blockchain intelligence outfit Chainalysis debunked claims that ISIS owned about $300 million in Bitcoin.

However, the U.S. Justice Department has reportedly seized crypto funds allegedly belonging to ISIS and Al-Qaeda terrorist networks. In June 2020, reports also emerged that ISIS-affiliated media platforms were collecting donations in Monero, a popular privacy coin.

Meanwhile, Chainalysis has published a report stating that some participants in the recent riot at the U.S. Capitol received large Bitcoin donations from a French computer programmer a month before the incident. According to the crypto forensics firm, the donor, now deceased, had a history of supporting causes that espoused far-right political and social ideologies.

U.S. law enforcement officials are reportedly investigating the possible links between the donations and the planning of the riot.

Updated: 1-5-2021

Crypto Anti-Terrorism Bill Introduced In The US House of Representatives

A bipartisan group of representatives has introduced a bill to the House that seeks to create a task force focused on combating terrorist financing via cryptocurrencies.

U.S. Representative Ted Budd (R-NC) has sponsored a new piece of legislation aimed at creating an agency tasked with combating the use of cryptocurrencies in terrorist financing.

The bill — H.R. 296 — is co-sponsored by Reps. Warren Davidson (R-OH), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Byron Donalds (R-FL), and Darren Soto (D-FL) and was introduced on Wednesday.

Apart from creating the task force, the bill also seeks to:

“Provide rewards for information leading to convictions related to terrorist use of digital currencies, to establish a Fintech Leadership in Innovation and Financial Intelligence Program to encourage the development of tools and programs to combat terrorist and illicit use of digital currencies, and for other purposes.”

Following the introduction, the bill was referred to the Committee on Financial Services and the Committee on the Budget for preliminary deliberations. Rep. Budd is a known supporter of crypto and blockchain in Congress.

In 2019, Rep. Budd championed the call for greater clarity in the country’s crypto tax laws. He also introduced a couple of bills to the house aimed at improving the regulatory standard of the industry in the U.S.

While Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism continue to be a major anti-crypto talking point for several government agencies, cryptocurrency forensic data points to limited adoption of virtual currencies by terrorist organizations. Back in May 2020, blockchain intelligence outfit Chainalysis debunked claims that ISIS owned about $300 million in Bitcoin.

However, the U.S. Justice Department has reportedly seized crypto funds allegedly belonging to ISIS and Al-Qaeda terrorist networks. In June 2020, reports also emerged that ISIS-affiliated media platforms were collecting donations in Monero, a popular privacy coin.

Meanwhile, Chainalysis has published a report stating that some participants in the recent riot at the U.S. Capitol received large Bitcoin donations from a French computer programmer a month before the incident. According to the crypto forensics firm, the donor, now deceased, had a history of supporting causes that espoused far-right political and social ideologies.

U.S. law enforcement officials are reportedly investigating the possible links between the donations and the planning of the riot.

Updated: 2-18-2021

‘Evil VASP’ Simulation Preps Crypto Exchanges For FATF Travel Rule

Backed by CipherTrace, TRISA looks to get virtual asset service providers (VASPs) ready for new anti-money laundering rules.

Getting crypto exchanges across the world to plug into each other and share sensitive customer data is proving to be a complex problem.

Nonetheless, firms have to show real progress on this by June of this year, according to new anti-money laundering (AML) rules from global AML watchdog the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Announced Thursday, the Travel Rule Information Sharing Alliance (TRISA), one of the better-known solutions being proposed, is launching a testnet that includes a directory of virtual asset service providers (VASPs) and scenario testing for inevitable contact with non-compliant firms.

The FATF rules require crypto companies to share personally identifiable information (PII) for transactions over a certain amount. While a global cohort of compliance-minded exchanges will begin implementing the new rules later this year, there will be many stragglers including smaller firms in far-flung jurisdictions.

This is expected to create a so-called “sunrise problem,” as some parts of the crypto world become regulated ahead of others.

The TRISA testnet begins to address that looming challenge by including a dummy version of an “evil VASP” that will provide false authentication, attempt to steal data and so on.

There are two compliant VASPs as well as the non-compliant exchange on the testnet, explained John Jefferies, co-chairman of TRISA.

“The evil VASP isn’t part of TRISA and it will try and trick people into sharing information,” said Jefferies. “So what we are building out gives firms the opportunity to test out domains and do interoperability testing from a security dimension and messaging dimension.”

TRISA is backed by blockchain analytics company CipherTrace and has support from the likes of Paxful’s Lana Schwartzman, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP attorney Carol Van Cleef, and Thomas Hardjono of MIT Connection Science & Engineering.

The solution leverages battle-tested certificate authority infrastructure that allows VASPs to mutually authenticate one another, Jefferies explained. Post-testnet, TRISA will be issuing know-your-VASP certificates, validated by a registration authority.

“The cool thing about having a proper certificate authority is that it has the concept of revocation,” said Jefferies. “So if a VASP turns evil – say they pull some sort of exit or fraud or their licenses are revoked – that public key infrastructure that sets up the relationship can also take it back if the whole community has to stop communicating with a VASP, at least for a little while.”

Updated: 2-26-2021

FATF Updates Guidance On Crypto Service Providers, Calls For Public Comments

The Financial Action Task Force is looking to adapt its guidance standards for stablecoins and crypto peer-to-peer transactions.

The Financial Action Task Force says it is set to publish an update to its guidelines on cryptocurrencies and virtual asset service providers; a catch-all term including exchanges, wallet providers, and custody platforms, among others.

This updated document will also be made available for public consultation from key stakeholders.

According to a circular issued by the FATF on Thursday, the decision to update its guidance on VASPs was the result of the organization’s three-day plenary session.

As part of its announcement, the intergovernmental that focuses on policies aimed at combating money laundering and terrorist financing revealed that the updated guidelines will be published in the first week of March.

The new guideline will be an update to the June 2019 document that introduced the travel rule compliance for VASPs. The FATF travel rule requires all VASPs to share transaction data for both senders and recipients on their platform.

In its 12-month review document published in June 2020, the FATF remarked that some progress had been made in implementing the crypto travel rule. A previous report issued in March 2020 identified United States-based VASPs as largely compliant.

Indeed, as previously reported by Cointelegraph, Asian countries are reportedly leading the way in implementing the FATF travel rule with exchanges in Singapore and South Korea said to show the highest level of compliance.

The upcoming updated FATF guideline for cryptocurrencies and VASPs will also cover stablecoins and crypto peer-to-peer transactions.

According to the FATF communique, feedback from the public consultation will form part of its final guidance on cryptos and VASPs to be approved in June 2021.

While the FATF maintains the need for risk-based supervision of cryptos and VASPs with respect to Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorist Financing, it is important to note that illicit cryptocurrency transactions continue to decline.

In its 2020 crypto crime report, blockchain intelligence firm Chainalysis revealed that crime-related transactions only accounted for 0.34% of all cryptocurrency activity for the year.

Indeed, both the proportion and actual dollar value of crypto crimes declined between 2019 and 2020.

Updated: 4-9-2021

Terrorists Still Raise Money Through Crypto, But The Impact Is Limited

Evidence suggests crypto’s role in terrorism remains relatively minor: “It has not yet become a primary means of terror financing.”

We’re living today “amidst an explosion of risk related to fraud, money laundering, terrorist financing, and data privacy,” said United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in February — and she specifically cited cryptocurrencies as a “tool to finance terrorism.”

Yellen appeared to be flagging an important new turn in the war against terror, and it begged some questions: Is crypto in the hands of terrorists a real, present danger to governments and society? If so, should the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry be worried?

Recent evidence suggests that crypto’s role as an enabler of terrorism globally remains relatively minor. “Cryptocurrencies have been used in several terror finance cases, but it has not yet become a primary means of terror financing,” Matthew Levitt, director of the Jeanette and Eli Reinhard Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Cointelegraph.

Gina Pieters, assistant teaching professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago, told Cointelegraph: “Her [Yellen’s] statement is factually true — it is a tool.” But Yellen also chose her words carefully.

“She did not say it was a major tool — she specifically said it was a growing one. And that is also true, as cryptocurrencies grow they will be used in more criminal activities.”

Increasing Apprehensions About Crypto?

Dave Jevans, CEO of CipherTrace, expressed some unease about the treasury secretary’s remarks. “If leaders like Janet Yellen set a fearful attitude toward cryptocurrencies associated with criminality, regulators could take harsh action to impose more strict rules on cryptocurrency transactions that may not be warranted,” he told Cointelegraph, adding: “Such action, like the blanket cryptocurrency ban in India, would greatly inhibit mass adoption and innovation in the space.”

“I think she wanted to raise the issue and put it on people’s radar,” remarked Levitt, who added that misuse of cryptocurrencies looms as more of a geopolitical concern with regard to states trying to evade Western political sanctions — like Russia, Iran or Venezuela — than with would-be terrorists.

Still, it doesn’t take much money to finance a terrorist act, so any help that Bitcoin (BTC) or other cryptocurrencies provide to terrorist groups that are trying to obscure their funding sources remains a worry. For that reason, Jesse Spiro, chief of government affairs at Chainalysis, told Cointelegraph that Yellen wasn’t exactly exaggerating the threat.

That said, “Terrorism financing represents an incredibly small portion of cryptocurrency transactions.” In 2020, Chainalysis traced just 37.35 Bitcoin that went toward terrorism financing, or “a mere 0.00324 per cent of the overall illicit activity,” he said.

Crypto Becoming More Important For Terror Groups?

In August 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice seized the cryptocurrency accounts of three Middle East-based terrorist financing operations. This was the “largest ever seizure of terrorist organizations’ cryptocurrency accounts,” according to the DoJ.

“It is a fact that jihadi groups, led by ISIS and Al-Qaeda, have been using cryptocurrency for years,” Steven Stalinsky, executive director at the Middle East Media Research Institute, told Cointelegraph. “Following the fall of ISIS’s caliphate, it quickly became even more important for them.”

In its daily monitoring of jihadi groups online, MEMRI sees groups and individuals discussing the use of different cryptocurrencies, “But this use has not recently developed to the extreme proportions that it could have and still might,” said Stalinsky. “Any arrests and public news of jihadis using cryptocurrency has so far led to the companies acting to shut down these and related accounts, and this seems to be creating a balance to curb the problem.”

A 2019 Rand Corporation study noted that “No current cryptocurrency can address all of the terrorist organizations’ financial needs” — which include anonymity, usability, security, reliability and acceptance — but cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, “particularly with improved usability, could be appealing to use in fundraising, and some evidence is emerging that terrorist organizations might be using cryptocurrencies for this purpose.” It is critical for such groups to be able to receive money from donors, beyond the gaze of governments.

In an intelligence brief, Chainalysis noted that advertisements and messages from BitcoinTransfer, a Syrian-based cryptocurrency exchange that has been publicly cited as being run by jihadis, “often emphasize security and anonymity, as well as its ability to facilitate transfers from European countries without submitting identification documents or ‘exposing your friend or family to danger.’”

Bitcoin, the world’s oldest and largest blockchain network, isn’t really anonymous, as Al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups discovered with the DoJ’s August 2020 takedown. Internal Revenue Service, Homeland Security Investigations and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents tracked and seized all 150 crypto accounts that laundered funds to and from the al-Qassam Brigades’ accounts, for instance.

The group had advertised that its Bitcoin donations were untraceable and would be used for militant activities.
Ditching BTC for Monero and Zcash?

Perhaps as a result of the disruption to the three cyber-enabled jihadi campaigns, reports have surfaced recently that terrorist groups are moving from BTC to other cryptocurrencies, including privacy coins like Monero (XMR) and Zcash (ZEC), that are more difficult to trace.

“BTC has always been the most popular and is the most well known,” Stalinsky told Cointelegraph, but others, including Monero and Zcash, are also being used by terror groups. Jevans added:

“Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are still easier to trace than cash, but privacy coins […] certainly make the jobs of law enforcement more challenging.”

Still, privacy coins, even if they are better at obfuscating transactions, “haven’t been adopted to the extent that one may expect,” Spiro told Cointelegraph. This is mainly because they lack liquidity.

In 2020, several crypto exchanges, under pressure from regulators, began delisting privacy coins, so accessibility has become an issue for aspiring terrorists. “Cryptocurrency is only useful if you can buy and sell goods and services or cash out into fiat, and that is much more difficult with privacy coins,” explained Spiro.

Upsurge In Western Countries

If one accepts that crypto use isn’t exploding among terrorist groups, is it at least growing? “Cryptocurrency adoption is growing everywhere, including among domestic and international terrorist groups,” answered Jevans, while Spiro highlighted: “We have seen evidence of them using cryptocurrency to pay for online infrastructure that facilitates recruitment and propaganda.”

The MEMRI Domestic Terrorism Threat Monitor, which focuses on terrorist groups in the U.S. and other Western countries, has seen an upsurge in the use of and references to cryptocurrencies — “very much like what happened with jihadis a few years ago,” said Stalinsky. He added:

“[U.S.] Domestic terrorist groups follow closely what jihadi groups have done online, whether in migrating to other platforms, using encryption technology, or using and promoting cryptocurrency.”

Stalinsky continued: “After the events of January 6, when the U.S. Capitol building was stormed by extremist groups, there is more pressure to go after these groups’ fundraising online. A year ago it was common to see many of these individuals, groups, and organizations openly using mainstream banking platforms, from major credit card companies to regular banks, Apple Pay, PayPal, and other platforms.”

But they have now been largely forced off these platforms, he added, and need to raise funds — “whether for recruitment, solicitation of support, or sales of merchandise such as books and clothing lines — through cryptocurrency wallets, which they are all using and promoting.” Bitcoin remains the favored cryptocurrency among these groups, though Monero is also popular, he said.

When asked about the particular attraction that cryptocurrencies hold for terrorists, Pieters answered: “It is the ability to move a large value of funds without physical transportation, along with the relative speed and low risk compared to other digital alternatives.”

Should the blockchain industry itself be worried about such nefarious uses of cryptocurrencies? After all, it could further blacken the industry’s image, undoing progress toward bringing blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies into the economic and societal mainstream. According to Spiro:

“Bad actors are often early adopters of new technologies, and cryptocurrency is no exception. The difference with crypto, though, is that it can actually be harnessed by law enforcement to follow the money.”

Cryptocurrencies are widely thought to be anonymous and untraceable, but they actually “operate on public, transparent blockchains,” Spiro continued. “We’ve found that once lawmakers, regulators, and law enforcement agencies understand this, they find that crypto can actually help, not harm, their missions to weed out illicit activity.”

Antonio Fatás, professor of economics at INSEAD, told Cointelegraph that in recent decades, many Western nations have put in place strict regulations to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.

“Cryptocurrencies have been left out of these regulations partly because they were small, partly because it is not always easy to implement this regulation to decentralized forms of money.” But it is now clear that this exclusion will not be allowed much longer, said Fatás. Industry players will need to comply.

All in all, any funds that go toward funding terrorism on a blockchain network should be of concern to government and society, as well as the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry, even if the gross amounts still aren’t large.

There is a silver lining in all this, though. “The good news is that cryptocurrency is inherently transparent,” said Spiro, whose firm, Chainalysis, assisted the DoJ in disrupting the previously mentioned Middle Eastern terror-financing operations in August 2020. “With the right tools, law enforcement can trace that activity,” he concluded.

Updated: 6-24-2021

What Crypto Firms Can Expect From Friday’s FATF Plenary Meeting

Regulatory insiders say the sheer volume of crypto feedback means updated guidance from the FATF could be delayed.

There’s a lot at stake this week as crypto comes further within the creep of global regulations.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental anti-money laundering (AML) body, wraps its second annual review of progress made by member countries to implement a cryptocurrency compliance framework.

It’s been over two years since the FATF recommended bringing cryptocurrency firms (virtual asset service providers, or VASPs, in FATF parlance) within its regulatory framework. This has created challenges for the industry and regulators alike, particularly around areas like the Travel Rule, where third-party VASPs must exchange personally identifiable information (PII) about customers along with transactions.

To further complicate matters, the FATF’s proposed regulations have been forced to expand in step with crypto innovation to accommodate rapidly evolving areas like decentralized finance (DeFi) and stablecoins.

Since the last plenary meeting in March 2021, when FATF issued draft guidance, there has been an overwhelming response from the industry. In short, many in the space are worried regulators will take too broad an approach, particularly when it comes to things like DeFi.

Indeed there has been such an enthusiastic response from the industry, that some are predicting the FATF will likely kick the can down the road to its next plenary meeting in four months’ time, regulatory insiders told CoinDesk.

Malta Gets Gray-Listed

A FATF-related headline grabber this week concerned Malta, which is being added to the AML watchdog’s gray list, essentially classing the jurisdiction as high-risk because of AML failings.

Malta is a popular hub with crypto exchanges and service providers, with Binance at one point saying it had chosen the island for its headquarters. There is no connection as yet between the FATF gray-listing of Malta and crypto. Binance was bounced from Malta in 2020.

“It’s not surprising given the amount of focus there has been on money laundering issues in Malta from the EU and elsewhere,” said Jones. “I wouldn’t necessarily think that crypto is front and center, but it will unfortunately class Malta as riskier and require more due diligence.”

Wright pointed out that Malta was one of the first countries to provide a regulatory regime for cryptocurrency.

Updated: 6-26-2021

US Crypto Giants Build First Version of FATF-Compliant ‘Travel Rule’ Tool

BitGo, Coinbase, Gemini, Kraken and Fidelity are putting an anti-money laundering solution up for consideration.

A group of the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchanges and custodians have been tackling the challenges of bringing digital assets in line with anti-money laundering (AML) rules as they exist in traditional finance.

Now they say they have an answer.

One hurdle is how to share customers’ personally identifiable information (PII) when regulated firms move cryptocurrency around, a Financial Action Task Force (FATF) provision known as the “Travel Rule.”

BitGo and Fidelity are also members of the Travel Rule Protocol (TRP), an institutional crypto group that also includes big banks like ING and Standard Chartered.

A demonstration of version 1.0 of the Travel Rule solution built by the U.S. virtual asset service providers (VASPs) is immaculately timed: This week, global AML watchdog the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) completed a review of progress made by the crypto industry across various jurisdictions, calling out the majority of countries for lagging behind when it comes to complying with the Travel Rule.

“The USTRWG is a great example of the crypto industry coming together to problem-solve and develop an innovative solution to comply with regulatory requirements that were not built for crypto,” Gemini’s chief compliance officer, Elena Hughes, said via email. “This thoughtful approach to compliance underscores Gemini’s ethos of building trust in this ecosystem.”

The fruits of the USTRWG’s labors will now be leveraged by many other VASPs, including the 30 or so members of the working group, said Chris Metcalfe, engineering manager at BitGo.

How It Works

The first transactions sent among the five VASPs are using dummy PII, just to test that the plumbing works. (PII such as the beneficiary’s and sender’s name and date of birth “travel” with the crypto transaction. The message payload is set out using the Inter-VASP Messaging Standard, or IVMS 101.)

The U.S. Travel Rule Group expects to begin sending transactions accompanied by real customer PII by the end of Q4, said Metcalfe, adding that a system of VASP address attestation is yet to be baked into version 1.5 of the group’s travel rule solution.

“This notion of proof of address ownership is a key component we are still working on,” said Metcalfe in an interview, adding:

“It’s something VASPs require before being comfortable sending real PII. So instead of just saying, ‘Hey, that’s my address,’ there is a digital signature that proves ownership of an address, so now the sender can feel confident transferring the PII knowing it’s going to the intended party.”

For now, the U.S. Travel Rule Group is solving bite-sized chunks of crypto’s global AML problem, and as such, the version 1.5 to emerge towards the end of this year will only support transactions in Bitcoin and Ethereum.

“Initially, we’ve decided to narrow the scope to just solve for just those two protocols. Then we will expand to include ERC-20 tokens, and later other protocols,” Metcalfe said.

One-Year Milestone

This first milestone will hopefully be well received by the FATF, and it also shows rapid progress, particularly given it involved a concerted approach among a group of firms that are normally locked in stiff competition with one another.

“This isn’t something we can all agree on overnight,” said Metcalfe. “But we went from just a design on PDF a year ago, to the beginnings of a working solution. This kind of progress in one year shows an incredible amount of coordination and effort put in by a number of parties.”

Coinbase said “substantial progress” had been made towards launching an industry driven Travel Rule compliance solution by the coalition of U.S. VASPs.

“Our solution is tailored to the industry’s needs and places a very strong emphasis on data privacy and security, while enabling participants to send the required Travel Rule data to the correct counterparty,” a Coinbase spokesperson said via Telegram. “The significant resources and planning that this coalition of VASPs has devoted to developing this solution demonstrates our strong commitment to compliance.”

Updated: 6-30-2021

FATF Report On Extreme Right Financing Highlights Cryptocurrency Use

“Some [extreme right wing] groups have used so called ‘privacy coins,’” the FATF report states.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global anti-money laundering watchdog, has released a report on the ways extreme right-wing groups are financed, which includes a section on cryptocurrency.

The FATF’s report, titled “Ethnically or Racially Motivated Terrorism Financing,” points out that virtual assets like bitcoin have been used by extremists who have been gradually shut out of traditional payment platforms, in the same way extreme right wing (ERW) groups have been blocked from social media.

The report highlights that some ERW groups have switched to “so called ‘privacy coins,’ i.e. VAs [virtual assets] that allow a user to maintain total anonymity when making blockchain transactions.”

It’s worth noting that the blockchains underpinning virtual assets, even end-to-end encrypted varieties, leave some form of record of transactions – as opposed to cash, the preferred medium of exchange for criminals and terrorists.

It’s also worth noting that other unconventional funding vehicles merit scrutiny:

“There has been plenty of interest in VAs from different ERW groups and individuals looking for anonymity, especially after being removed from mainstream payment platforms,” the report states, adding:

“ERW actors that feel more security-conscious and desire a greater level of secrecy, often choose VAs. However, notably there is limited information on the volume of funds being transferred in this way.

The FATF report goes on to list examples, such as one far-right organization in South Africa that created its own stablecoin that operates on a 1:1 ratio with the South African rand (ZAR).

“The stablecoin, managed by an application styled PayApp, enables the group to use digital money as cash,” said the FATF report. “The transactional data lasts 24 hours and thereafter is untraceable.”

FATF said bank statement analysis on the South African extremist group showed that the organization raised ZAR 268,000 ($17,469) in funds.

Other examples included Scandinavian ERW group Nordisk Styrke, which only gives cryptocurrency addresses on the organization’s donations page.

A financial investigation into the terror attack perpetrated by the Christchurch mosque shooter in New Zealand in March 2019 found that he had made use of virtual assets to transfer funds, the FATF report said.

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Israeli Startup That Allows Offline Crypto Transactions Secures $4M (#GotBitcoin?)

[PSA] Non-genuine Trezor One Devices Spotted (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Stronger Than Ever But No One Seems To Care: Google Trends (#GotBitcoin?)

First-Ever SEC-Qualified Token Offering In US Raises $23 Million (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Prove A Whole Blockchain With One Math Problem – Really

Crypto Mining Supply Fails To Meet Market Demand In Q2: TokenInsight

$2 Billion Lost In Mt. Gox Bitcoin Hack Can Be Recovered, Lawyer Claims (#GotBitcoin?)

Fed Chair Says Agency Monitoring Crypto But Not Developing Its Own (#GotBitcoin?)

Wesley Snipes Is Launching A Tokenized $25 Million Movie Fund (#GotBitcoin?)

Mystery 94K BTC Transaction Becomes Richest Non-Exchange Address (#GotBitcoin?)

A Crypto Fix For A Broken International Monetary System (#GotBitcoin?)

Four Out Of Five Top Bitcoin QR Code Generators Are Scams: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

Waves Platform And The Abyss To Jointly Launch Blockchain-Based Games Marketplace (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitmain Ramps Up Power And Efficiency With New Bitcoin Mining Machine (#GotBitcoin?)

Ledger Live Now Supports Over 1,250 Ethereum-Based ERC-20 Tokens (#GotBitcoin?)

Miss Finland: Bitcoin’s Risk Keeps Most Women Away From Cryptocurrency (#GotBitcoin?)

Artist Akon Loves BTC And Says, “It’s Controlled By The People” (#GotBitcoin?)

Ledger Live Now Supports Over 1,250 Ethereum-Based ERC-20 Tokens (#GotBitcoin?)

Co-Founder Of LinkedIn Presents Crypto Rap Video: Hamilton Vs. Satoshi (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Insurance Market To Grow, Lloyd’s Of London And Aon To Lead (#GotBitcoin?)

No ‘AltSeason’ Until Bitcoin Breaks $20K, Says Hedge Fund Manager (#GotBitcoin?)

NSA Working To Develop Quantum-Resistant Cryptocurrency: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

Custody Provider Legacy Trust Launches Crypto Pension Plan (#GotBitcoin?)

Vaneck, SolidX To Offer Limited Bitcoin ETF For Institutions Via Exemption (#GotBitcoin?)

Russell Okung: From NFL Superstar To Bitcoin Educator In 2 Years (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Miners Made $14 Billion To Date Securing The Network (#GotBitcoin?)

Why Does Amazon Want To Hire Blockchain Experts For Its Ads Division?

Argentina’s Economy Is In A Technical Default (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockchain-Based Fractional Ownership Used To Sell High-End Art (#GotBitcoin?)

Portugal Tax Authority: Bitcoin Trading And Payments Are Tax-Free (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin ‘Failed Safe Haven Test’ After 7% Drop, Peter Schiff Gloats (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Dev Reveals Multisig UI Teaser For Hardware Wallets, Full Nodes (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Price: $10K Holds For Now As 50% Of CME Futures Set To Expire (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Realized Market Cap Hits $100 Billion For The First Time (#GotBitcoin?)

Stablecoins Begin To Look Beyond The Dollar (#GotBitcoin?)

Bank Of England Governor: Libra-Like Currency Could Replace US Dollar (#GotBitcoin?)

Binance Reveals ‘Venus’ — Its Own Project To Rival Facebook’s Libra (#GotBitcoin?)

The Real Benefits Of Blockchain Are Here. They’re Being Ignored (#GotBitcoin?)

CommBank Develops Blockchain Market To Boost Biodiversity (#GotBitcoin?)

SEC Approves Blockchain Tech Startup Securitize To Record Stock Transfers (#GotBitcoin?)

SegWit Creator Introduces New Language For Bitcoin Smart Contracts (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Earn Bitcoin Rewards For Postmates Purchases (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Price ‘Will Struggle’ In Big Financial Crisis, Says Investor (#GotBitcoin?)

Fidelity Charitable Received Over $100M In Crypto Donations Since 2015 (#GotBitcoin?)

Would Blockchain Better Protect User Data Than FaceApp? Experts Answer (#GotBitcoin?)

Just The Existence Of Bitcoin Impacts Monetary Policy (#GotBitcoin?)

What Are The Biggest Alleged Crypto Heists And How Much Was Stolen? (#GotBitcoin?)

IRS To Cryptocurrency Owners: Come Clean, Or Else!

Coinbase Accidentally Saves Unencrypted Passwords Of 3,420 Customers (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Is A ‘Chaos Hedge, Or Schmuck Insurance‘ (#GotBitcoin?)

Bakkt Announces September 23 Launch Of Futures And Custody

Coinbase CEO: Institutions Depositing $200-400M Into Crypto Per Week (#GotBitcoin?)

Researchers Find Monero Mining Malware That Hides From Task Manager (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Dusting Attack Affects Nearly 300,000 Addresses (#GotBitcoin?)

A Case For Bitcoin As Recession Hedge In A Diversified Investment Portfolio (#GotBitcoin?)

SEC Guidance Gives Ammo To Lawsuit Claiming XRP Is Unregistered Security (#GotBitcoin?)

15 Countries To Develop Crypto Transaction Tracking System: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

US Department Of Commerce Offering 6-Figure Salary To Crypto Expert (#GotBitcoin?)

Mastercard Is Building A Team To Develop Crypto, Wallet Projects (#GotBitcoin?)

Canadian Bitcoin Educator Scams The Scammer And Donates Proceeds (#GotBitcoin?)

Amazon Wants To Build A Blockchain For Ads, New Job Listing Shows (#GotBitcoin?)

Shield Bitcoin Wallets From Theft Via Time Delay (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockstream Launches Bitcoin Mining Farm With Fidelity As Early Customer (#GotBitcoin?)

Commerzbank Tests Blockchain Machine To Machine Payments With Daimler (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Historical Returns Look Very Attractive As Online Banks Lower Payouts On Savings Accounts (#GotBitcoin?)

Man Takes Bitcoin Miner Seller To Tribunal Over Electricity Bill And Wins (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Computing Power Sets Record As Over 100K New Miners Go Online (#GotBitcoin?)

Walmart Coin And Libra Perform Major Public Relations For Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Judge Says Buying Bitcoin Via Credit Card Not Necessarily A Cash Advance (#GotBitcoin?)

Poll: If You’re A Stockowner Or Crypto-Currency Holder. What Will You Do When The Recession Comes?

1 In 5 Crypto Holders Are Women, New Report Reveals (#GotBitcoin?)

Beating Bakkt, Ledgerx Is First To Launch ‘Physical’ Bitcoin Futures In Us (#GotBitcoin?)

Facebook Warns Investors That Libra Stablecoin May Never Launch (#GotBitcoin?)

Government Money Printing Is ‘Rocket Fuel’ For Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin-Friendly Square Cash App Stock Price Up 56% In 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

Safeway Shoppers Can Now Get Bitcoin Back As Change At 894 US Stores (#GotBitcoin?)

TD Ameritrade CEO: There’s ‘Heightened Interest Again’ With Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Venezuela Sets New Bitcoin Volume Record Thanks To 10,000,000% Inflation (#GotBitcoin?)

Newegg Adds Bitcoin Payment Option To 73 More Countries (#GotBitcoin?)

China’s Schizophrenic Relationship With Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

More Companies Build Products Around Crypto Hardware Wallets (#GotBitcoin?)

Bakkt Is Scheduled To Start Testing Its Bitcoin Futures Contracts Today (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Network Now 8 Times More Powerful Than It Was At $20K Price (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Exchange BitMEX Under Investigation By CFTC: Bloomberg (#GotBitcoin?)

“Bitcoin An ‘Unstoppable Force,” Says US Congressman At Crypto Hearing (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Network Is Moving $3 Billion Daily, Up 210% Since April (#GotBitcoin?)

Cryptocurrency Startups Get Partial Green Light From Washington

Fundstrat’s Tom Lee: Bitcoin Pullback Is Healthy, Fewer Searches Аre Good (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Lightning Nodes Are Snatching Funds From Bad Actors (#GotBitcoin?)

The Provident Bank Now Offers Deposit Services For Crypto-Related Entities (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Could Help Stop News Censorship From Space (#GotBitcoin?)

US Sanctions On Iran Crypto Mining — Inevitable Or Impossible? (#GotBitcoin?)

US Lawmaker Reintroduces ‘Safe Harbor’ Crypto Tax Bill In Congress (#GotBitcoin?)

EU Central Bank Won’t Add Bitcoin To Reserves — Says It’s Not A Currency (#GotBitcoin?)

The Miami Dolphins Now Accept Bitcoin And Litecoin Crypt-Currency Payments (#GotBitcoin?)

Trump Bashes Bitcoin And Alt-Right Is Mad As Hell (#GotBitcoin?)

Goldman Sachs Ramps Up Development Of New Secret Crypto Project (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockchain And AI Bond, Explained (#GotBitcoin?)

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Outperformed Indexes In First Half Of 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

XRP Is The Worst Performing Major Crypto Of 2019 (GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Back Near $12K As BTC Shorters Lose $44 Million In One Morning (#GotBitcoin?)

As Deutsche Bank Axes 18K Jobs, Bitcoin Offers A ‘Plan ฿”: VanEck Exec (#GotBitcoin?)

Argentina Drives Global LocalBitcoins Volume To Highest Since November (#GotBitcoin?)

‘I Would Buy’ Bitcoin If Growth Continues — Investment Legend Mobius (#GotBitcoin?)

Lawmakers Push For New Bitcoin Rules (#GotBitcoin?)

Facebook’s Libra Is Bad For African Americans (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Firm Charity Announces Alliance To Support Feminine Health (#GotBitcoin?)

Canadian Startup Wants To Upgrade Millions Of ATMs To Sell Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Trump Says US ‘Should Match’ China’s Money Printing Game (#GotBitcoin?)

Casa Launches Lightning Node Mobile App For Bitcoin Newbies (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Rally Fuels Market In Crypto Derivatives (#GotBitcoin?)

World’s First Zero-Fiat ‘Bitcoin Bond’ Now Available On Bloomberg Terminal (#GotBitcoin?)

Buying Bitcoin Has Been Profitable 98.2% Of The Days Since Creation (#GotBitcoin?)

Another Crypto Exchange Receives License For Crypto Futures

From ‘Ponzi’ To ‘We’re Working On It’ — BIS Chief Reverses Stance On Crypto (#GotBitcoin?)

These Are The Cities Googling ‘Bitcoin’ As Interest Hits 17-Month High (#GotBitcoin?)

Venezuelan Explains How Bitcoin Saves His Family (#GotBitcoin?)

Quantum Computing Vs. Blockchain: Impact On Cryptography

This Fund Is Riding Bitcoin To Top (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Surge Leaves Smaller Digital Currencies In The Dust (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Exchange Hits $1 Trillion In Trading Volume (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Breaks $200 Billion Market Cap For The First Time In 17 Months (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Make State Tax Payments In Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Religious Organizations Make Ideal Places To Mine Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Goldman Sacs And JP Morgan Chase Finally Concede To Crypto-Currencies (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Heading For Fifth Month Of Gains Despite Price Correction (#GotBitcoin?)

Breez Reveals Lightning-Powered Bitcoin Payments App For IPhone (#GotBitcoin?)

Big Four Auditing Firm PwC Releases Cryptocurrency Auditing Software (#GotBitcoin?)

Amazon-Owned Twitch Quietly Brings Back Bitcoin Payments (#GotBitcoin?)

JPMorgan Will Pilot ‘JPM Coin’ Stablecoin By End Of 2019: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

Is There A Big Short In Bitcoin? (#GotBitcoin?)

Coinbase Hit With Outage As Bitcoin Price Drops $1.8K In 15 Minutes

Samourai Wallet Releases Privacy-Enhancing CoinJoin Feature (#GotBitcoin?)

There Are Now More Than 5,000 Bitcoin ATMs Around The World (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Get Bitcoin Rewards When Booking At Hotels.Com (#GotBitcoin?)

North America’s Largest Solar Bitcoin Mining Farm Coming To California (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin On Track For Best Second Quarter Price Gain On Record (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Hash Rate Climbs To New Record High Boosting Network Security (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Exceeds 1Million Active Addresses While Coinbase Custodies $1.3B In Assets

Why Bitcoin’s Price Suddenly Surged Back $5K (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Lightning Comes To Apple Smartwatches With New App (#GotBitcoin?)

E-Trade To Offer Crypto Trading (#GotBitcoin)

US Rapper Lil Pump Starts Accepting Bitcoin Via Lightning Network On Merchandise Store (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitfinex Used Tether Reserves To Mask Missing $850 Million, Probe Finds (#GotBitcoin?)

21-Year-Old Jailed For 10 Years After Stealing $7.5M In Crypto By Hacking Cell Phones (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Shop With Bitcoin On Amazon Using Lightning (#GotBitcoin?)

Afghanistan, Tunisia To Issue Sovereign Bonds In Bitcoin, Bright Future Ahead (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Faithful Say Blockchain Can Remake Securities Market Machinery (#GotBitcoin?)

Disney In Talks To Acquire The Owner Of Crypto Exchanges Bitstamp And Korbit (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Exchange Gemini Rolls Out Native Wallet Support For SegWit Bitcoin Addresses (#GotBitcoin?)

Binance Delists Bitcoin SV, CEO Calls Craig Wright A ‘Fraud’ (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Outperforms Nasdaq 100, S&P 500, Grows Whopping 37% In 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Passes A Milestone 400 Million Transactions (#GotBitcoin?)

Future Returns: Why Investors May Want To Consider Bitcoin Now (#GotBitcoin?)

Next Bitcoin Core Release To Finally Connect Hardware Wallets To Full Nodes (#GotBitcoin?)

Major Crypto-Currency Exchanges Use Lloyd’s Of London, A Registered Insurance Broker (#GotBitcoin?)

How Bitcoin Can Prevent Fraud And Chargebacks (#GotBitcoin?)

Why Bitcoin’s Price Suddenly Surged Back $5K (#GotBitcoin?)

Zebpay Becomes First Exchange To Add Lightning Payments For All Users (#GotBitcoin?)

Coinbase’s New Customer Incentive: Interest Payments, With A Crypto Twist (#GotBitcoin?)

The Best Bitcoin Debit (Cashback) Cards Of 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

Real Estate Brokerages Now Accepting Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Ernst & Young Introduces Tax Tool For Reporting Cryptocurrencies (#GotBitcoin?)

How Will Bitcoin Behave During A Recession? (#GotBitcoin?)

Investors Run Out of Options As Bitcoin, Stocks, Bonds, Oil Cave To Recession Fears (#GotBitcoin?)

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