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Employees of an LA Fitness in New Jersey wrongly accused a black member and his guest of not paying to work out and called police, prompting an apology from the company. A spokeswoman for Fitness International, parent company of LA Fitness, told the AP that three employees directly involved in…
Former Los Angeles Times Editor in Chief Lewis D’Vorkin was fired by Tronc Inc. on Thursday and several dozen other employees of the company were laid off.
D’Vorkin was the chief content officer of Tribune Interactive, a newly formed digital business unit of The Times’ parent company. The reason…
Embattled blood testing firm Theranos Inc. reportedly has laid off at least 100 employees, a move that reduces its headcount to two dozen or fewer.
Citing unnamed sources, the Wall Street Journal reported that the layoffs at the Newark, Calif., company were a desperate attempt to preserve cash…
Two founders of Backpage.com and five others who work for the classified advertising site have been indicted on federal charges in what authorities say was a scheme to knowingly facilitate prostitution by running ads for sexual services and using foreign banks to hide revenues, the AP reports. A 93-count…
Three-quarters of employees surveyed at Disney’s Anaheim resort say they can’t afford basic living expensesMarch 1, 2018 | dailybusinessnews
Only weeks after Walt Disney Co. reported better-than-expected profit, a survey at the company’s Anaheim theme parks found that 73% of employees questioned don’t earn enough to pay for such expenses as rent, food and gas.
The online survey, funded by labor groups pushing for higher wages for workers…
While private businesses all over the world struggle with employees so much as possessing cryptocurrency, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has reportedly given the full go-ahead to its employees trading crypto.
Also read: How To Regain Control From Nanny Zuck
CFTC Allows Employees to Trade Cryptocurrency
Robert Schmidt reports that bitcoin futures regulator CFTC now allows “workers [to] trade digital tokens as long as they don’t buy them on margin or have inside information gleaned from their jobs,” though futures products of a similar nature are prohibited.
Last December, the CFTC welcomed bitcoin futures market makers such as Chicago Board Options Exchange (Cboe) and Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) to begin the groundbreaking process of introducing the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, bitcoin, to mainstream investors.
Mr. Schmidt sources CFTC’s Daniel J. Davis, appointed last Spring by Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo. At his ascension to the CFTC General Counsel position, Mr. Davis reminded “Congress has entrusted the Commission with key responsibilities and I intend to assist the Commission with the various legal issues it must address in fulfilling those responsibilities.” A memo by Mr. Davis mere weeks ago reportedly addressed “numerous inquiries” from employees about their ability to dabble in cryptocurrencies.
Mr. Giancarlo around the same time became something of a folk hero within the ecosystem for his feeling responses at, of all places, a US Senate Committee on Banking public hearing. He was paired with his compadre bigwig of the SEC, but it was Mr. Giancarlo who stole the show, asking lawmakers take into consideration the next generation’s affinity for decentralized currency. Evidently that view flows to those under his employ.
Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing
Bloomberg quotes St. Mary’s School of Law professor Angela Walch as finding the whole idea “actually mind-boggling that they are allowing investing in this at all. It could absolutely skew their regulatory decisions.” The Chairman’s spokeswoman, however, clarified, “The chairman has made it clear that staff members who own Bitcoin should not participate in matters related to Bitcoin, as it presents a conflict of interest.”
Mr. Davis’ memorandum to CFTC employees is reported to read as, “In this environment, the situation is ripe for the public to question the personal ethics of employees engaging in cryptocurrency transactions. Please keep in mind that you must endeavor to avoid any actions creating the appearance that you are violating the law or government and commission ethical standards.”
Interestingly, Mr. Schmidt notes, “The Securities and Exchange Commission also allows its workers to invest in digital currencies, with some exceptions similar to the CFTC. However, the SEC has less responsibility for overseeing the crypto markets.”
Whatever the case, it goes to the broader issue of a major importance in politics: optics. It does look bad to have regulators eating at the same table they oversee. On the other hand, it might give individual financial cops better insight into the nature of these markets and the productive power of cryptocurrency in general.
Do you have a problem with CFTC employees trading in crypto? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Pixabay, CFTC.
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A search was underway in the Atlanta area to find an employee of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who went home sick more than a week ago and has been missing ever since.
The Ministry of Finance in Kazakhstan has announced measures to improve security and oversight in its IT department after catching four employees mining cryptocurrencies on its servers. Joking that the miners have taken over the central bank’s main duty – money emission, a deputy called for crypto regulations. The National Bank is actually working on proposals to regulate the crypto sector.
State Computers Used to Mint Digital Coins
IT specialists working for the Finance Ministry in four different regions of Kazakhstan have been implicated in using government hardware to mine cryptocurrencies. They were employed by local offices of the ministry’s Department of State Revenue, investigators said, quoted by Tengrinews. The miners have been exploiting the servers of the tax authority and the most powerful personal computers available to employees.
“They have secretly installed mining software, which significantly decreased the speed of information processing and slowed down government computers”, Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee (KNB) said in a press release. “These programs have been added to the exceptions lists of antivirus applications”, the agency explained.
“Criminal investigations have been launched against four employees of different regional divisions. KNB is in charge but we have started an internal inquiry, as well”, said Ardak Tangebaev, head of the Department of State Revenue. “We are going to tighten control over our IT departments”, he added.
The employees have been charged with “impeding the work of information systems and telecommunications networks” and “creation, use or distribution of malicious computer programs and software products”. It is quite obvious that the current articles of the penal code do not specifically cover crypto-related crime.
“Mining Under Your Nose”
Kazakhstan’s financial authorities have been criticized for slowing down the introduction of regulations in the cryptocurrency sector. A deputy joked that the IT workers at the Finance Ministry have taken over one of the main responsibilities of the National Bank – emitting money. “They are mining under your nose and prosecutors have no idea about what charges to raise”, Gleb Shchegelskiy said, calling for crypto regulations in Kazakhstan.
The central bank is actually working on a set of legislative proposals. New restrictions on operations with cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, and their exchange with the local fiat tenge are to be imposed soon, according to NBK’s chairman Daniyar Akishev. “The situation indicates a necessity to toughen the requirements for the use of cryptocurrencies. We believe it is expedient to introduce legal restrictions”, he said, quoted by Kaztag.
The measures are expected to affect cryptocurrency transactions and payments. Akishev added that the “appropriate amendments” are currently being prepared. Like many of his colleagues around the world, he warned Kazakhs about the risks of investing in cryptocurrencies.
A Look on the Bright Sight
Despite all that, Kazakhstan remains a country with long-standing ambitions to become a crypto hub in the region. Last year Astana announced intentions to create “the most favorable business climate” for fintech companies with a “highly progressive regulatory framework”. In 2018 the country’s leadership called for the launch of a “democratic, transparent and global cryptocurrency… backed by assets”. Kazakhstan’s financial authorities, however, are still struggling to grasp the realities of a rapidly developing crypto industry, justifying the latest criticism.
More than 1,000 investors, miners, startups and representatives of the blockchain industry took part in Cryptoconference-2018 in Almaty last week and shared their expectations for the near future. “If 2017 was the year of ICOs, 2018 will be the year of regulation”, Streamity’s representative Sergey Kolomiets told Tengrinews. The president of the Kazakhstani Association of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies, Eset Butin, confirmed his prediction: “I think China is never doing anything just like that. In 2018 the PRC will decide about the crypto sector”. Participants in a panel discussion on the regulatory challenges in the Commonwealth of Independent States agreed that the industry needs regulations, not restrictions.
Do you think government institutions will one day use the excess capacity of their servers to mine cryptocurrencies? Tell us in the comments section below.
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Russia’s largest bank, the state-controlled Sberbank, has reiterated that it is not mining cryptocurrencies. However, the bank says that it has often caught its employees crypto mining using the bank’s equipment.
Sberbank Claims It’s Not Mining Crypto
The state-controlled Sberbank is the largest bank in Russia and the third largest in Europe. The bank is in possession of a large quantity of graphics cards that can be used for cryptocurrency mining. The bank’s senior vice president, Alexander Vedyakhin, apologized publicly in November of last year for causing a shortage of these cards in the Russian market, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported.
Since admitting to scooping up most of the graphics cards on the domestic market, Sberbank has maintained that it is not mining cryptocurrencies with them. Instead, Vedyakhin claimed these cards are for the bank’s “laboratory for the development of artificial intelligence,” Tass quoted him.
On Wednesday, Chairman of the bank’s Board, Herman Gref, reiterated at the “Leaders of Russia” forum that Sberbank is not mining cryptocurrencies on a corporate level. However, the publication quoted him proclaiming:
We bought [graphics] cards of a slightly different configuration. Sberbank is not engaged in mining, but we often catch employees who are engaged in mining on the bank’s equipment.
Gref elaborated that he believes the bank is not interested in mining because it is a “primitive business,” adding that “I can tell you a dozen other investment objects with higher yields,” RBC detailed.
Sberbank’s Engagement with Cryptocurrencies
At the end of January, Sberbank announced that its subsidiary in Switzerland will start offering cryptocurrency trading. This Swiss part of the plan is to “avoid violating domestic rules,” Reuters explained. Meanwhile, Russian regulators are working on finalizing the legal framework for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs).
In addition, the bank opened a blockchain laboratory last month for researching the latest technology in this area. “The laboratory will cooperate with start-ups, associations and various communities,” RBC conveyed, adding that the bank will introduce “educational programs in this area.”
Gref also recently stated that he “opposes the ban on cryptocurrency and calls for tolerance and patience in their regulation,” Tass described and quoted him saying:
Before trying to regulate, you do not need to rush, but you do need to maintain a normal background around the technologies of blockchain and cryptocurrency.
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