Debit card ATM network in the US now selling crypto

Hundreds of thousands of US residents just got access to cryptocurrencies, right at their fingertips. According to an press release by cryptocurrency company LibertyX, the firm has entered into a partnership with Genmega, a fiat ATM supplier in the US, to facilitate crypto purchases using debit cards directly through the ATMs. It’s the first time in the US that such an initiative has been undertaken.

Genmega currently has around 100,000 ATMs spread out across the country. With a simple software upgrade, the machines can now be configured with an option that allows a user to purchase Bitcoin Core (BTC) directly from the ATM and have the currency sent immediately to the user’s cryptocurrency wallet.

The move will be an important advance for cryptocurrency adoption, giving easy access to digital currency to both veterans and new enthusiasts. It will also help provide an additional revenue stream for the ATM operators. According to Wes Dunn, Genmega’s Senior VP, “ATM operators are always looking for ways to grow volume and transactions. We are excited to work with LibertyX on this new initiative that will drive additional foot-traffic to merchant locations and provide added revenue to our operators ‒ ensuring they stay ahead of the market and bring added value to consumers.”

Virtually everyone knows how to operate an ATM. The LibertyX cryptocurrency interface will make BTC purchases as simple as making a cash withdrawal. Chris Yim, LibertyX co-founder and CEO, said that this was the goal all along. He explained, “We have been working tirelessly to make it easier to buy cryptocurrencies for the last five years and now are bringing simplicity, convenience and trust to the cryptocurrency purchasing experience through the timeless ATM.”

The inclusion of cryptocurrencies in traditional cash ATMs is a huge step forward for the cryptocurrency space. Not only does it show that crypto is gaining in popularity, but it indicates the ease with which businesses can begin to interact with digital currency. Following on the success of the crypto integration into ATMs, the next logical step would be to have more point-of-sale systems and retail money outlets embrace the future, as well.

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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3 more ICOs shut down by North Dakota securities watchdog

A North Dakota security watchdog is keeping tight reins on initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the U.S. state. Last Thursday, the commissioner of the North Dakota Securities Department (NDSD), Karen Tyler, issued a cease and desist order against three firms that were discovered to be involved in promoting fraudulent securities and illegal business practices related to ICOs in the state. The North Dakota financial regulator carried out an investigation, Operation Cryptosweep, to identify ICOs and cryptocurrency-related investments that pose a risk to North Dakota investors.

The investigation revealed that the companies involved—Crystal Token, Advertiza Holdings (Pty) Ltd., and Life Cross Coin aka LifecrosscoinGmbH—were selling securities without obtaining a license. Also, the companies were accused of using fraudulent statements on their websites whereby they all claimed to give high returns without any proof of how they would achieve them. Crystal Token was not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and so the firm could not offer securities in the state, according to the NDSD. Equally, Advertiza claimed to offer securities which promised high returns through its virtual currency called “Tizacoin” (TIZA), while Cross Coin was found to have used a Berlin IP address that was already linked to ransomware and trojans. Generally, the investigation found out that the firms could be harmful to investors, according to the state regulator.

This was not the first time the department took action against ICOs in the state. Last month, the NDSD issued cease-and-desist orders against three other companies: BitConnect, Magma Foundation and the Pension Rewards Platform. Tyler said about the orders, “The continued exploitation of the cryptocurrency ecosystem by financial criminals is a significant threat to Main Street investors.”

The commissioner noted, “In formulaic fashion, financial criminals are cashing in on the hype and excitement around blockchain, crypto assets, and ICOs – investors should be exceedingly cautious when considering a related investment.”

Regulators are putting up more frameworks to protect investors. The SEC has announced that it will sue crypto companies offering pump-and-dump schemes, as well as ICO projects who have false SEC approvals.

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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ICO falsely claiming SEC approval faces lawsuit

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has won the backing of a U.S. court to halt an initial coin offering (ICO) that has been making wild claims about its regulatory status.

In the latest example of the SEC ramping up efforts against scam coins and ICOs, the commission petitioned a court to secure an emergency order against Blockvest LLC and its founder, Reginald Buddy Ringgold III.

The order concerns pre-ICO sales being promoted by the firm, which had been found to be claiming registered status and approval from the SEC—claims which were in fact untrue. This allegedly also included the use of SEC graphics and logos, ostensibly to convince investors on a false prospectus.

In a statement, the regulator said using the SEC seal without permission is in itself a violation of federal law.

“Blockvest and Ringgold, who also goes by the name Rasool Abdul Rahim El, were using the SEC seal without permission, a violation of federal law, and falsely claiming their crypto fund was ‘licensed and regulated,’” according to the SEC.

The SEC complaint also claimed Ringgold promoted the ICO with a fake agency he created called the “Blockchain Exchange Commission,” using a graphic similar to the SEC’s seal and the same address as SEC headquarters.”

In response, a district court in California issued the order, which grants the SEC the powers to freeze company assets, while making several other provisions for emergency relief.

Robert A. Cohen of the SEC’s Enforcement Division Cyber Unit said, “We allege that this ICO is using both the SEC seal and a made-up crypto regulatory authority to trick investors into believing the ICO was approved by regulators…The SEC does not endorse investment products and investors should be highly skeptical of any claims suggesting otherwise.”

The case is the latest example of the SEC clamping down on misleading and fraudulent ICOs, with several similar enforcement actions initiating and concluding in recent weeks. With regulators now increasingly determined to tackle this dubious corner of the crypto sector, it looks like time is running out for promoters of dodgy ICOs.

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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SEC wants subpoena enforced in $100M Cherubim ICO probe

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is taking steps to enforce a subpoena against an investment company and its sole trustee, over allegations of their fraudulent involvement in a $100-million initial coin offering (ICO).

In a statement published this week, the securities regulator said it was asking a district court to assist in enforcement action, as it continues to examine whether Jeffre James and Saint James Holding and Investment Company was involved in a “pump and dump” scheme around shares in Cherubim Interests, Inc.

The commission said it had reason to suspect Cherubim had misled investors around the SJTCoin. In particular, they suggest false public statements had been used to generate significant demand pressures in the market for Cherubim shares, which were later exploited by the Saint James and their trustee.

SEC said following its ongoing investigation, it has reason to believe that in a bid to “pump” its stock price, Cherubim issued false public statements in January 2018 claiming that the company had executed a $100,000,000 financing commitment to launch an ICO for St. James Trust.

“After Cherubim’s stock price and trading volume increased on this news, certain individuals associated with the company may have ‘dumped’ their overvalued Cherubim stock for significant profits,” according to the regulator.

Despite being personally served with court documents, neither James nor Saint James have responded to date. As a result, the SEC has now progressed matters through the courts, in a bid to obtain the requested documents from both parties.

The SEC said it is seeking “an order from the court compelling James and St. James Trust to produce all responsive documents.” The court must now decide whether to compel the parties to cooperate, in submitted the documents requested under the subpoena.

The news is in line with the SEC’s warning issued back in August 2017 that it would pursue those using ICOs to defraud and scam unsuspecting crypto investors.

It marks the latest high profile case involving the SEC, as the regulator continues to make its presence felt around dubious investments and outright scams blighting the cryptocurrency sector.

It remains to be seen whether Saint James, or Jeffre James himself, will now step up their cooperation with the authorities investigating the issue.

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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No, really: Cryptocurrencies are commodities in US

For years, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has been clear on its stance—cryptocurrencies are commodities, just like oil and corn. And if that message isn’t clear enough, there are now a couple of federal judges confirming that yes, digital tokens are indeed commodities subject to the authority of the U.S. regulator.

Chris Giancarlo, chairman of CFTC, noted that Federal Judge Rya Zobel has ruled that the U.S. derivatives watchdog has the “authority to prosecute fraud and manipulation in the crypto space.” This is in connection with the case of My Big Coin Pay, which had argued that virtual currencies were not commodities—as they were commonly defined—hence, the CFTC has no jurisdiction in their case against My Big Coin Pay’s operator, Randall Crater.

However, the Massachusetts judge backed the CFTC in its interpretation of virtual currencies as commodities, and in the process, dismissed My Big Coin Pay’s petition to have the case set aside.

In her ruling, Zobel referred to the Bfxna Inc. dba Bitfinex case of June 2016. In this case, the CFTC had fined Bitfinex $75,000 at the time for failing to register as a futures commission merchant and offering illegal off-exchange financed retail commodity transactions. According to Zobel, this case shows the clear definition of cryptocurrencies as commodities.

Zobel’s ruling comes on the heels of another court order in August, which also recognized CFTC’s authority over digital currencies.

The case was against Patrick Kerry McDonnell, operator of Cabbage Tech Corp. or Coin Drop Markets. CFTC accused McDonnell of fraud in connection with virtual currencies, claiming the man had been introducing himself as an expert offering crypto investment advice, only to disappear with investors’ money.

McDonnell’s case fanned the flame of which U.S. agency has jurisdiction over cryptocurrencies. Because cryptocurrencies are still relatively new, legislation does not cover them yet, so there was a question whether the CFTC could “exercise its jurisdiction over fraud that does not directly involve the sale of futures or derivative contracts.” U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York Judge Jack B. Weinstein ruled in favor of the CFTC, saying cryptocurrencies are considered as commodities and the CFTC therefore has the authority to regulate them.

Zobel also cited the 2015 Coinflip case, which was essentially the first case where cryptocurrency has been properly defined as commodities by the U.S. regulator. According to the CFTC, the then-San Francisco-based crypto exchange facilitated commodity options-related transactions without complying with the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and the CFTC regulations. Because crypto options are deemed as “commodities,” CFTC said the company should have been properly registered and will be subjected to laws governing swaps.

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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Mt. Gox users want California judge to stay lawsuit until February 2019

One judge in the United States has already ruled that investors who lost money in the Mt. Gox hack won’t find any recourse on U.S. soil. This hasn’t stopped others from trying, though, and a case in California is now waiting to be heard by a federal judge to determine if victims of the failed exchange can seek financial relief. However, investors are now asking the court to stay the case until next February.

Reuters reported that the plaintiffs in the case, which was launched by Joseph Lack, and Mt. Gox financial partner Mizuho Bank have asked the judge to put the case at the bottom of the pending cases stack. They want to wait until at least February 28, 2019, in order to give everyone time to find out if the current payout schedule offered by the exchange’s trustee, Nobuaki Kobayashi, is going to be fulfilled in its entirety or only partially. Once all parties are able to understand better the schedule, they say that they will be in a better position to inform the court how to proceed.

Kobayashi announced last month that he had sold a significant amount of Bitcoin Core (BTC) to raise $617 million in order to make restitution. The amount is expected to be able to cover all of the losses and not just provide partial compensation, as had previously been expected.

The trustee added that the Mt. Gox estate also has under its control another 137,000 BTC. According to current conversion rates, this equates to around $896.6 million. When the purported hack took place in 2014, an estimated $450 million was allegedly stolen.

Lack introduced the lawsuit following a loss of $40,000 that he had given to Mizuho Bank as a deposit to be applied to his account with Mt. Gox in 2014. That deposit was never entered into his account and he never recovered his money. The timing of the deposit coincided with the issues seen on the exchange, which abruptly shut down on February 7, 2014.

Mizuho has already made attempts to have the lawsuit thrown out. It claimed two months ago in a court appeal that the money transfers it received on behalf of customers in California were only “passive” and that it was not liable for anything that had transpired. The courts tossed the appeal, calling them unconvincing.

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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Poloniex ends margin trading, lending services for US customers

Cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex is removing margin trading and lending products for its customers in the United States, effective “by the end of the year.”

In a blog post last Oct. 3, the company announced it is also delisting three digital assets as part of its “ongoing commitment to ensure that Poloniex complies with regulatory requirements in every jurisdiction,” although it did not specify which regulation it’s referring to.

Additionally, Poloniex reported that by October 10, they will delist three cryptocurrencies—Synereo, Expanse and Gnosis. Because of this, customers are advised to stop trading the coins and withdraw any remaining balance until November 9 at 12 p.m. ET.

Established in 2014, U.S.-based Poloniex was acquired in 2018 by Dublin-based payments technology firm Circle for $400 million. It is currently ranked 38th by the adjusted trading value.

Poloniex came under scrutiny in July when its users took to social media and its support center to report that they had been locked out of their accounts. This called for intervention from the Delaware Department of Justice (DoJ), which initiated an investigation in July. Users had reportedly been receiving emails from Poloniex requiring them to verify their accounts within 14 days failure to which they would be frozen. This was to be done through a policy calling for people to update their IDs.

In May, CoinGeek.com reported that customers of Poloniex have been complaining of frozen accounts. Complaints have been piling up on Reddit and other social networks that a number of Poloniex’s legacy users have not been able to access their accounts or even successfully go through the verification process.

This isn’t the first time that regulation has prompted Poloniex to halt its services in the United States. In 2017, the exchange pulled out of the Washington State due to the state’s “impractical financial services regulatory framework.”

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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McAfee-linked MGT Capital Investments faces lawsuit over pump-and-dump scheme

Shareholders of crypto mining and investing firm MGT Capital Investments, which has previous ties to John McAfee, have filed a class-action lawsuit against the company over allegations of a pump-and-dump scheme that manipulated the price of MGT shares.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) probe into a stock-pumping scheme involving a group of 10 investors and corporate executives, including former MGT Capital CEO Robert Ladd, former Riot Blockchain CEO John O’Rourke, and billionaire Phillip Frost.

John McAfee, who served as executive chairman and CEO of MGT Capital until his resignation in August 2017, was not named in the SEC investigation. However, he was named a defendant in the class-action lawsuit filed by Rosen Law Firm on behalf of current and former MGT shareholders.

According to the lawsuit, the defendants failed to disclose that they “were engaged in a pump-and-dump scheme to artificially inflate MGT Capital’s stock price,” that the “illicit scheme caused MGT Capital to make false and misleading statements, which would result in governmental scrutiny, including from the SEC,” that “the illicit scheme would ultimately cause MGT Capital’s stock to become delisted from” the New York Stock Exchange, which means that their statements regarding MGT Capital’s business prospects “were materially false and misleading and/or lacked a reasonable basis at all relevant times.”

The suit is asking the court to order MGT Capital to pay damages to the shareholders who were affected by the alleged manipulation of MGT shares, as well as cover the plaintiff’s court costs, and award further relief to aggrieved parties.

Recently, CoinGeek reported that McAfee has ceased promoting ICOs due to threats from the SEC.

Though not explicitly named in the SEC order, the complaint indicated that the defendants used dishonest promotion and manipulative stock trading to drive up the price of MGT shares, enabling them to net more than $9.4 million in just two weeks. However, MGT tells CCN that the firm has the ‘utmost confidence’ that the suit is without merit and that it will be dismissed.

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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‘Railroaded’ debuts marking Ross Ulbricht’s 5 years behind bars

The alleged founder of dark web marketplace Silk Road has marked five years in prison, after being handed a double life sentence with no chance of parole.

Ross Ulbricht began his sentence on October 1, 2013, after being charged with a litany of offences relating to the marketplace, which was predominantly used for illegal transactions, including alleged drug trafficking on an industrial scale.

The marketplace, which was predominantly powered by BTC transactions, was taken down by authorities in the same month, the first of several similar markets to have been tackled by the FBI and other law enforcement authorities.

FreeRoss.org, a campaign group led by Ulbricht’s family and supporters, have launched a new project to raise awareness of the case. “Railroaded” is a six-part series that seeks “to accurately present the available evidence surrounding the creation, investigation and shutdown of Silk Road, and the prosecution of Ross Ulbricht.”

On the website, the group stated, “October 1 marks five years that Ross has been imprisoned…On this unhappy anniversary, we’re launching a new project revealing many surprising details about Ross’ case, unknown to most people. You can read or listen to the first episode now. There are six weekly episodes that will take you through the labyrinthine maze of this outrageous case, so stay tuned.”

A spokesperson from the group said Ross’s sentence was disproportionate, particularly in light of his personal character.

“Although five years in prison would harden many, it is not true of Ross. Throughout his long ordeal he has remained a positive force and is liked by inmates, guards and prison staff alike. True to his values of peace and non-violence, Ross recently refused to take part in an assault on another inmate,” according to the group. “This defiance made him a target and he was put in solitary protective custody, where he is today. He could have avoided this hardship but wasn’t willing to hurt someone else. Yet the judge ruled that Ross was so dangerous that she condemned him to die in prison.”

Ulbricht’s case was appealed as far as the U.S. Supreme Court, which ultimately rejected his petition. Family and supporters have since raised a petition, securing over 85,000 signatures calling for President Trump to extend clemency to Ross in the circumstances.

As of today, Ulbricht remains in prison, as he begins the sixth year of his double life term.

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 looking to get back into the game after US ban

Cryptocurrency futures broker 1Broker was recently shut down by US regulators. Both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) went after the company for allowing US investors to trade on the platform in violation of current laws. The closure of the company left an unknown number of US investors in a bad position, as they haven’t had access to their funds. 1Broker is currently working to resolve the issue and has announced that it will allow US customers to have a “window” into its world while the company seeks clarity.

The company hopes to have a “read-only” version of the site up and running by today. This will allow users to see their balances and transaction histories, but not allow them to make any trades or withdrawals.

1Broker asserted, “Currently, our top priority is to allow customer withdrawals. The company holds enough funds to cover all withdrawal requests, of course. Before we can take the required steps to do that, we have to seek permission from the authorities.”

1Broker is run by Marshall Islands-based 1Pool. All information related to the ban is being channeled through the 1Pool.ltd website, since 1Broker’s site has been seized by regulators. 1Pool explains on its site, “On September 28th 2018, our domain 1broker.com was closed by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This means that the trading panel is not accessible anymore – funds, servers and databases are not affected. Currently, our top priority is to allow customer withdrawals. The company holds enough funds to cover all withdrawal requests, of course. Before we can take the required steps to do that, we have to seek permission from the authorities. During this whole process, we are supported by our lawyers and we will regularly post updates here. Please note that all emails sent to @1broker.com addresses are not received by us – you can use support@1fox.com to contact us. All updates regarding the activation of withdrawals will be posted here – please do not contact us for questions related to this topic. Please expect delays of up to 5 days until we respond, due to the high amount of inquiries.”

In an email to CoinDesk, 1Pool CEO Patrick Brunner stated that the company is working as quickly as possible to be able to allow users to withdraw their funds. He added, “Unfortunately, such matters take some time – from our point of view, we are ready to process withdrawals right now.”

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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