Author: Dennis Wafula

19 crypto exchanges secure provisional license in Philippines’ economic zone

The number of companies that have been granted provisional licenses by the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), which operates the Philippine government-owned Cagayan Special Economic Zone (CSEZ), has jumped to 19.

Last week, CEZA published a list of firms that have been issued with Financial Technology Solutions and Offshore Virtual Currency (Ftsovc) licenses and the Offshore Virtual Currency (OVC) licenses. The list also contains names of companies who have paid the applicator fees and are still being reviewed.

According to the publication, a total of 19 companies have been awarded the provisional license. Of that number, 17 were issued with provisional principal licenses while two were given provisional regular licenses. Companies holding the provisional principal license can “conduct offshore financial technology solutions business activities and offshore virtual currency exchange activities,” while those with provisional regular license can only offer offshore virtual currency exchange services.

The 17 companies with the Ftsovc provisional principal licenses include Tiger Wheel, Golden Millennial Quickpay, Hong Kong Yuen Shing Hong, Ultra-Precise Investment, Digifin Technologies, Liannet Technology, Rare Earth Asia Technologies Corp., Formosa Financial Holdings, Cr8tiv Solutions Management, Sino-Phil Economic Zone Agency Development, Tanzer Holdings, Asia Premiere International, Ipe Global, Orient Express Global, White Ranch Limited, Dragon Empire Developments, and Galaxy Plus Developments.

The two companies’ awarded with the Ovc licenses were Unicorn Venture Investment Ltd and Cezex Trading Pte. Ltd.

Companies awarded with the principal license for Ftsovc had to pay $360,000 while those awarded with the regular licenses had to pay $85,000, CEZA previously stated. The awarded licenses will be valid for the next six months. Companies that require permanent licenses will have to prove to the authority that they are in compliance with Philippine laws.

While speaking to reporters in July, CEZA Board Secretary Catherine Joy Alameda explained that the licensees must have authorized capital stock of $500,000 with paid-in capital of $200,000. In addition to this, the companies should invest at least $1 million in a period of two years in the country. They should also set up a back office in the Philippines.

In addition to the 19 companies, CEZA publication also included seight companies that are still under review. From the eight, six are being reviewed for provisional principal licenses while two are being reviewed for provisional regular licenses.

In July, CEZA granted provisional licenses to three cryptocurrency exchanges. The authority has been taking measures to create a legal framework in which crypto related business can operate.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Gibraltar licenses first crypto exchange—Coinfloor

UK’s first cryptocurrency exchange, Coinfloor, adds another feather to its cap—it’s become the first crypto exchange to be licensed by Gibraltar’s groundbreaking blockchain legislation.

According to a report in the Financial Times, Coinfloor will be regulated as a distributed ledger technology (DLT) provider under the new license. Coinfloor CEO Obi Nwosu was quoted by the news outlet saying Coinfloor had to undergo various processes before it secured the Gibraltar license.

According to Nwosu, the crypto company was tested on nine principles aimed at determining whether the exchange has sufficient anti-money laundering (AML), and Know Your Customer (KYC) protections in place. Nwosu said Coinfloor had to prove that their security system could stand any kind of cyber attacks that have plagued the cryptocurrency exchange industry over the years.

Nwosu also stated that the licensing process under Gibraltar’s new legislation impressed him, telling FT: “What impressed us was that this [legislation] was in the works for a long time. It’s been well thought out, well considered. They are focusing on quality over quantity.”

Gibraltar has been a haven for many virtual casinos because it offers low taxes for business based in the region. Recently, the British Overseas Territory introduced new rules specifically applying to the blockchain, which it hopes, will increase the success of blockchain-based companies in the region. This legislation was the first of its kind in Europe.

With this and more changes, Gibraltar seems to be creating a crypto-friendly environment like that of Malta. However, since UK is set to leave the EU next spring, there are many uncertainties and the move might affect Gibraltar’s dream of becoming a crypto and blockchain hub.

The new license comes as good news to Coinfloor, which recently laid off around 40 employees as part of the company’s restructuring process. The exchange, which was founded in 2013, made the decision at a time when there were increased difficulties for businesses in the cryptocurrency space following the bear market conditions.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Crypto-mining church in Russia fined for excessive energy use

A Protestant church from the city of Irkutsk in Russia has been court-ordered to pay a fine of 1.1 million rubles ($16,600) after it was discovered to have been consuming large amounts of electricity for its cryptocurrency mining operations.

According to Russian news outlet RT, local utility company Irkutskenergo reported a sudden spike in the electricity consumption of the ‘Grace’ evangelical community in May 2017, reaching 2 million kWh through August. Church trustees told the utility provider that the energy was used for heating as well as to power the printing machine to copy religious materials. Inspectors from Irkutskenergo visited the building rented out to the church, and in it, they discovered a server room on the second floor, which they determined was being used to mine cryptocurrencies.

This resulted in the utility company to charge the church the same rates applicable to corporations and industrial enterprises due to ‘Grace’s’ “excessive power consumption.”

The organization, however, took the matter to court, asking for a refund of the surcharge totalling 1.1 million rubles. However, the Irkutsk Arbitration Court turned down the church’s request and instead, ordered ‘Grace’ to pay up.

In its ruling, the court noted that the energy spike happened during the summer season, and also compared the energy used ‘Grace’ with data from larger temples and printing houses in Russia. Ultimately, the judge ruled that the amount the church paid to the authorities was reasonable.

The eastern parts of Europe have seen significant numbers of home crypto mining in the last few years. This is because the region enjoys preferentially subsidized electricity rates. According to local reports, private residents and other categories of consumers pay 1.22 rubles per kWh ($0.018) during the day and 0.70 rubles ($0.010) at night, so it’s no surprise that enterprising individuals and organizations like ‘Grace’ may have been taking advantage of the cheap electrify to earn extra income.

The recent court ruling, however, could change how authorities in Russia and the surrounding areas will be handle home-based crypto mining activities. Similar to ‘Grace’s’ case, other utility companies could start charging home crypto miners the same electricity rates as those paid by industries and big organizations.

Countries with favorable electricity prices have had to take a stand to control crypto mining activities and electricity consumption. Many have taken action against miners for stealing electricity. Recently, a miner in China was charged with mining cryptocurrency using stolen electricity. The court sentenced him to three years and six months in prison for his actions.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Bithumb launches crypto indices as new partner gets onboard

Bithumb, South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trade volume, is on a roll lately.

This week, the exchange opened Bithumb Crypto Index (BTCI), which contains two separate indices—Bithumb Market Index (BTMI) and Bithumb Altcoin Market Index (BTAI), news.bitcoin.com first reported.

Bithumb began calculating BTCI last July 1. BTMI tracks all coins listed on the crypto platform with a goal of providing “an overall view of the price changes in the cryptocurrency market,” while BTAI tracks “all non-bitcoin cryptocurrencies” on the platform to give “a view of the price changes in the cryptocurrency excluding bitcoin.” The index is calculated in real time and is updated every 10 seconds, according to Bithumb.

Like Bithumb, Upbit—the largest crypto exchange in South Korea in terms of the number of cryptocurrency listed—also launched two indices: Upbit Market Index (UBMI) and Upbit Altcoin Index (UBAI). From the two indices, Upbit has over 20 sub-indices grouped into either market, theme or strategy.

Upbit was quoted by Business Korea saying, “The index is designed to help investors grasp the movements of the cryptocurrency market at a quick glance.”

Singapore consortium bets big on Bithumb

In addition to launching an index, Bithumb also found itself a new investor.

On Friday, Yonhap reported that the BTC Holdings Company, which has held 75.99% stake in Bithumb, has signed a deal to sell 50% plus 1 share for KRW400 billion ($354 million) to Singaporean blockchain consortium BK Global. This effectively makes BK Global the majority owner of the South Korean crypto exchange.

Once the deal is complete, Bithumb will be valued at more than KRW1 trillion, or around $880 million.

BK Global is described as a Singapore-based medical group that operates plastic surgery and aesthetic clinics in South Korea and Singapore. Its chairperson, Kim Byung-gun, is a “plastic surgeon and blockchain platform investor,” according to Reuters.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Crypto in Africa: Paxful looking at cryptocurrency’s potential in East Africa

Paxful, a peer-to-peer marketplace, is reportedly looking at the cryptocurrency market’s growth potential in East Africa. The startup has already set up shop in Rwanda, ventured into Kenya, and has grown over the last three years into a global peer-to-peer crypto marketplace. It reportedly handles $15 million in crypto transactions, BTC in particular, per week from across the world. This rapid expansion has solidified its place among major reputable crypto players and offers enhancements in both security and efficiency.

Paxful has over 1 million active monthly users from around the world. This is because it has partnered with popular payment platforms such as PayPal, Western Union, Amazon Gift Cards and iTunes Gift cards.

Paxful’s entry into the East African scene is at a time when crypto penetration in Africa is at an all-time high. According to recent studies, one in three Kenyans owns a crypto wallet. Additionally, Kenya’s M-PESA system, a mobile phone-based money transfer and micro-financing service, recently announced the launch of its own crypto device. This will make it convenient for Kenyans to buy and sell cryptos on peer-to-peer marketplaces.

A tokenization drive has been initiated in Rwanda to help steer the crypto market. It has helped connect buyers and sellers to easily trade cryptocurrencies like BTC. This has been aided by the fact that the platform has no buyer fee and a minimal 1% seller fee in online shopping, which has attracted the attention of many online shoppers.

In Rwanda, Paxful is engaged in a project called #BuiltWithBitcoin in conjunction with the non-profit organization Zam Zam Water. The project aims to a school for 6- to 15-year-olds. Previously, the charity initiative funded launched a school in Bugesera in the Nyamata Sector for 3- to 6-year-olds. The aim is to promote charity within the crypto community and to improve and change lives for a better world, according to Paxful CEO Ray Youssef.

The developments in Rwanda and Kenya reflect the growing demand for investing in crypto in East Africa. In Kenya, for instance, more and more people are becoming more confident in dealing with cryptocurrency despite it being new and coming with a learning curve. Most people have come to accept its plethora of benefits. It offers massive wealth distribution globally as well, and presents financial freedom to individuals.

Crypto ventures have the potential to be the initiator of many emerging fundamentals of economic growth in the East African region if the right balance is found.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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1Broker reopens platform to allow withdrawals

1Broker, a BTC futures trading firm, announced that it would be reopening withdrawals as of Thursday. The announcement comes several weeks after the firm was accused of acting as an unregistered security-based swap dealer, as well as for allegedly violating money-laundering and wire fraud laws.

1Broker started having issues when the U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) filed charges in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against its CEO, Patrick Brunner, and its parent company, 1Pool, for not complying with the law. According to reports, an agent went undercover and made a few transactions on the platform, in violation with established regulations, including proper Know Your Customer processes as stated by the law.

1Broker reopened its platform in a read-only mode earlier this month. During this time, the platform announced that they are seeking legal counsel to help them work out the issues and to resume operations.

Many of its clients are happy with the latest announcement from 1Broker. Initially, when the domain was seized, the trading platform claimed to have enough funds to cover all withdrawals request by the customers and claimed it was waiting on approval from the authorities in order to process the transactions. Customers were allowed to start withdrawing at 12:00 UTC on Oct. 11.

Authorities are still seeking a permanent injunction against Brunner and 1Pool. They are also seeking to have the two pay monetary penalties.

1Broker, in its announcement, did not state if and when they will reactivate their operations and it is unclear when the authorities will allow the company to resume them. According to 1Pool, the platform has been running smooth and has created a respected working relationship with its customers. It stated that the company has been complying with established laws and hopes to clear the misunderstanding soon.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Thai authorities revoke passport of suspect in $24M crypto scam

A suspect involved in a Thailand cryptocurrency scam is unable to return home after the Foreign Ministry of Thailand revoked his passport, Bangkok Post  reported. This has prevented him to return home to face charges.

Prinya Jaravijit is now illegally staying in the United States, after the Thai government agency revoked his passport. According to the report, Jaravijit is allegedly the mastermind behind a big cryptocurrency scam that defrauded a Finnish investor out of $24 million in 2017.

Police claimed that Jaravijit had worked together with members of his family to defraud Aarni Otava Saarima and his business partner. The suspects had lured the two into investing BTC in a fake investment scheme. It is believed that the scammers used three gambling companies to operate the scheme, which was allegedly perpetrated using a crypto token called Dragon Coin.

The alleged scammers took the investors to a Macau-based casino for the transaction, claiming that the casino was accepting these tokens. The investors transferred the agreed amount of BTC to the suspected scammers’ wallets; however, they began to worry when they did not receive returns for their money. They also did not get any shareholder papers or proof of investments in Dragon Coin. The Finnish investor decided to report the matter to the authorities in January.

When the case was reported, Jaravijit was in the United States. Authorities asked him to surrender, giving him until September 17 to comply with the order. However, Jaravijit failed to do so, causing authorities to revoke his passport. Reports showed that he will soon be extradited to Thailand in order to face the charges against him.

According to reports, the Thai Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) confiscated funds worth $6.4 million from Jaravijit’s family and other people who were suspected to be involved in the matter this past Tuesday. The family and the accomplices will be charged next week with money laundering.

Other people believed to be part of the operation include an investor, Prasit Srisuwan, and a businessman, Chakrit Ahmed. The two have reportedly agreed on a compensation plan with the Finnish investor.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Crypto exchange Binance delists 4 altcoins

In an effort to protect its users, cryptocurrency exchange Binance announced that it would delisting four cryptocurrency tokens from its platform, effective Oct. 12.

On its website, Binance said it has decided to delist Bytecoin (BCN), ChatCoin (CHAT), Iconomi (ICN), and Triggers (TRIG). Though the altcoins will be officially delisted on Friday at 10 a.m. UTC, customers still have until Nov. 12 to withdraw these coins and tokens from the crypto exchange.

According to Binance, the four coins failed to “maintain a high standard of quality.” The crypto exchange took into consideration several factors, which resulted in the removal of the digital assets. These include the team’s commitment to the project, quality and level of development activity, network or smart contract stability, level of public communication and activity, responsiveness to Binance’s periodic due diligence, evidence of unethical or fraudulent conduct, and contribution to a healthy and sustainable crypto ecosystem.

“Going forward, we remain committed to protecting our users and all Binance stakeholders and will continue to perform periodic reviews of all listed coins and tokens,” the crypto exchange stated.

Since the announcement, the prices of the currencies have dropped drastically. BCN, in particular, saw its prices drop by over 15%.

The news comes on the heels of Binance’s announcement that it would be donating all the fees it collects from listing new cryptocurrencies to charities. The new policy is expected to take effect immediately, and the crypto exchange hopes the donation will be used for “greater good.”

Binance said it “will continue to use the same high standard for the listing review process,” noting that “a large donation does not guarantee or in any way influence the outcome of our listing review process.” The new policy applies to any new applications, as well as those that have already been submitting and which are waiting for approval.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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South Korea’s Cashierest hit with lawsuit over price pumping schemes

A cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea has been sued over its alleged price-pumping schemes that involves token issuance. According to ZDnet Korea, Aone, a South Korean law firm, filed a complaint against Cashierest operator Newlink Co. Ltd., claiming that the exchange’s token violated the capital markets laws in the country.

The lawsuit, filed last Oct. 5, alleged that Cashierest engaged in “criminal pumping, the so-called ‘cage pumping,’ which induces price increases while restricting the withdrawa” of its dividend coin called CAP,” according to the news outlet. Aside from paying dividends, CAP also offers rebates on transaction fees.

Aone claimed the crypto exchange was involved in two illegal acts: the first was “violation of the securities issuance procedure,” under Article 119 of South Korea’s Capital Markets Act. The second was violation Article 178, which prohibits unfair trading.

The token in question was first issued in August. CAP has three features—dividents, referral mining, and trade mining. Its whitepaper claimed that CAP investors “can receive 100% of profits of Cashierest’s exchange charges,” while charges issued with each currency (KRW, BTC, ETH, and TUSD) will be 100% refunded in applicable currency.

On its website, Cashierest explained that CAP “pays the first dividend in KRW,” and that 100% of Cashierest transaction fee revenue” will be paid “in proportion to the customer’s CAP reserves by two snapshots a month.”

Aone claimed these, along with the other features listed on the Cashierest website, violate South Korean laws.

It seems Cashierest is not the only exchange involved in these illegal activities. According to Money Today, the law firm also plans to extend the lawsuit to include other exchanges such as Coinzest, Bithumb, and Coinbit.

Early this year, Cashierest made headlines after it was revealed that its users were allowed to withdraw up to five times their coin holdings due to a system glitch.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Use Bitcoin BCH to buy automotive parts at Newparts

Newparts, an online automotive parts store, has extended its payment platform to accept cryptocurrency payments. On October 8, the company announced that it has started supporting Bitcoin Cash (BCH) payments as part of its bid to open its store “to customers around the world.”

Dano Ramovich, CEO of Newparts, accepting cryptocurrencies will help expand their operation to international markets. To enable crypto payments, the company has partnered up with e-commerce platform Shopping Cart Elite.

With the new payment system, Newparts hopes to have faster and affordable transactions, which, in turn, will attract new clients to its operations. Newparts has joined a list of many companies who have opened up their payment systems to allow cryptocurrency payments, especially Bitcoin BCH. Other cryptos accepted on the platform include BTC, BTC Gold, XRP, ETH, LTC and Zcoin.

Allowing crypto payments will also help Newparts customers save money. According to the auto parts retailer, customers will now pay small fees from each transaction, making it cheaper to buy any auto parts they need. Cryptocurrency holders around the globe now have an opportunity to access a wide range of auto parts.

In the last five years, cryptocurrencies have become the alternative money to make any transaction. People prefer using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin BCH due to their cost-effectiveness, security, accessibility, and decentralized nature.

Bitcoin cash, in particular, has been enjoying an increase in popularity and adoption since it was created—essentially a rebirth of Bitcoin on the original chain—in 2017. Many companies have added support for payments in Bitcoin Cash compared to other cryptocurrencies. This is because the cryptocurrency offers reliable, faster and cheap transactions compared to traditional means of sending money. Data available on Coinline, a Bitcoin Cash merchant directory, showed that there are more than 210 points throughout the world are accepting Bitcoin BCH payments, with Australia having the highest concentration of merchants accepting bitcoin cash in the world.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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