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SEC Investigates Salt Lending’s ICO, Huobi Advises Russian Bank on DLT

November 21, 2018 |

SEC Investigates Salt Lending's ICO, Huobi Advises Russian Bank on DLT

In recent regulatory news, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has reportedly launched an investigation into Salt Lending’s 2017 initial coin offering. Separately, the SEC revealed that it has stopped accepting public comments on nine bitcoin exchange-traded funds that it rejected in August, and digital asset exchange Huobi has announced that it is providing cryptocurrency consulting services to a Russian state-owned bank.

Also Read: Indian Government Expects to Finalize Crypto Bill Next Month

Crypto Loan Provider Subpoenaed by SEC

SEC Investigates Salt Lending's ICO, Huobi Advises Russian Bank on DLTCryptocurrency loan platform Salt Lending and former board member Erik Voorhees are under investigation by the SEC, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited “people familiar with the probe.” Voorhees has responded by publishing a separate article that describes the newspaper’s claims as “inaccurate and misleading.”

Salt Lending was reportedly subpoenaed by the SEC in February, with the regulator seeking information regarding the $ 50 million ICO it held in 2017. The report states that the SEC aims to determine whether the ICO constituted an unlicensed securities offering, while also investigating how the proceeds were spent.

Public Comment Closes on Nine Rejected ETFs

SEC Investigates Salt Lending's ICO, Huobi Advises Russian Bank on DLTSeparately, the SEC has revealed that it recently stopped accepting feedback on nine proposed bitcoin ETFs that it rejected on Aug. 22. It said in October that it would review public comments on the proposed funds through early November.

Two of the ETFs in question were filed by Proshares, in partnership with the NYSE Arca exchange. Two others were proposed by Graniteshares, while another five of the rejected ETFs were brought forward by Direxion.

The day after the regulator rejected the ETFs, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce took to Twitter to clarify that it had delegated the assessment of the proposed funds to its staff. She added that the commission would review the decisions made by its staff on the matter. At the time of writing, the SEC had not yet provided any further comment regarding the ETFs, nor had it set a deadline for its deliberations.

Huobi Provides DLT Consulting Services to VEB

SEC Investigates Salt Lending's ICO, Huobi Advises Russian Bank on DLTHuobi has agreed to provide consulting services to Russia’s Vnesheconombank (VEB) relating to distributed ledger technology (DLT), according to Vladimir Demin, the head of VEB’s Center of Digital Transformations. He claimed the state-owned bank had started working on DLT projects that do not involve cryptocurrencies or tokens.

“Using [DLT] only in a non-token way is like jumping halfway over the abyss,” Demin said, adding that VEB has also been talking to the Bank of Russia and State Duma about cryptocurrency regulations. “Huobi came out as the most suitable partner as they are already working with the governments of Australia, Singapore, [and] China.”

Huobi is also reportedly finalizing a contract that will see the company provide training for a DLT program at the Plekhanov University of Economics. Reports about its partnerships in Russia follow the exchange’s launch of a office staffed by 30 people in Moscow earlier this month.

Do you think that the SEC will reconsider its decision regarding the nine rejected ETFs? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock


At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even lookup the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.

The post SEC Investigates Salt Lending’s ICO, Huobi Advises Russian Bank on DLT appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Crypto Detectives Project Rates and Investigates Suspicious ICOs

November 20, 2018 |

Non-Profit Project Investigates and Rates Suspicious ICOs

An online platform created in Russia has set a noble goal of making the cryptocurrency industry safer for investors. The project investigates initial coin offerings (ICOs) that have raised suspicions and performs the due diligence for free. A report about each ICO is then published containing а summary of the findings and a conclusion about the project’s nature.

Also read: Crypto Experts From Sanctioned Countries to Receive Training in Crimea

Coin Offerings Under Surveillance

The Crypto Detectives portal examines the whitepaper and website of a project that’s been included in its “Under Surveillance” list. The established business model, applied marketing strategy and legal structure of the company conducting the token sale is placed under a magnifying glass.

The platform checks the social media accounts and Slack channels used by the startup and verifies whether its team members are real persons. Investigators look for online activity including media appearances and interviews.

Crypto Detectives Project Rates and Investigates Suspicious ICOs

The market segment in which the ICO project is positioned are analyzed with the help of external experts. The final report is also based on a study of the competition in the sector and the economic viability of similar tokens that have been issued by other projects.

Anyone can suggest a new investigation by filling out an online form on the Crypto Detectives’ website, providing their name, phone number and email address, along with a short description of the case and other information relevant to the request.

Red, Yellow and Green Projects

The platform claims it does not conduct its investigations in order to blackmail startups and it does not produce custom-made reports. The authors admit their conclusions reflect their subjective opinions but note they are ready to revise them if provided with information refuting the findings. They also say they are ready to support good projects that plan to conduct ICOs.

Crypto Detectives Project Rates and Investigates Suspicious ICOs

The crypto detectives point out that they care about the interests of investors in the cryptocurrency industry. Through a partnership with another company, LT Solutions, they also offer legal advice to investors and provide legal support to people who have lost money in fraudulent schemes including ICOs, cryptocurrency trading platforms and crypto-lending programs.

The surveyed projects are classified according to the results of the investigations and assigned an alert rating which can be green, yellow or red. A table shows if the crowdfunding is completed or ongoing and provides links to the projects’ websites and whitepapers.

A Couple of Examples

Crypto Detectives has so far investigated and rated over a dozen ICOs. Among them is Wi Fi Global, which has been tagged with a red alert indicating the project is dangerous for potential investors. The business idea behind its token sale has been plagiarized from another Russian project with a similar name – World Wi-Fi. It aims to build a decentralized wifi system that allows users to connect to otherwise locked wifi networks anywhere in the world, free of charge. The expenses will be covered by advertisers, while the owners of the wifi devices will get a share of the revenues for allowing guest users to access the web through an additional secured public network created for them.

Crypto Detectives Project Rates and Investigates Suspicious ICOs

The Wi Fi Global project, however, has been exposed as an outright scam. It turns out neither of the names on its management team belongs to a real individual. The ICO has no reputable advisors and it hasn’t issued the promised ERC20 token, WT. At the same time, its online marketing has been very aggressive, with pages and pages of posts and comments on crypto forums. Crypto Detectives’ conclusion is clear: “Trust us, there is no chance you’ll ever get anything from this project. These are thieves and rogues.”

The Russian detectives have designated another ICO called Bloom as a “green” project. It plans to create a global decentralized credit scoring system with a number of useful applications and features, from credit history manager to credit risk calculator. Three of the project’s four co-founders have been roommates at Stanford and its advisors are legitimate representatives of the industry, including for example Joeu Krug, co-founder of Augur. Bloom is also partnering with other projects like Ethland, Lendoit and Everex.

“Although the project is in its early stage, the ‘dream team’ behind it, and the fact that it’s well elaborated, suggest that it will be successful … Stanford rules,” Crypto Detectives concludes.

What do you think about the Crypto Detectives project? Tell us in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Crypto Detectives.


At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even lookup the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.

The post Crypto Detectives Project Rates and Investigates Suspicious ICOs appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Amazon Investigates Employees Leaking Data for Bribes

September 16, 2018 |

Amazon.com is investigating internal leaks as it fights to root out fake reviews and other seller scams from its website.
WSJ.com: US Business

US Justice Department Investigates Price Manipulation in Bitcoin Market

May 24, 2018 |

US Justice Department Investigates Price Manipulation in Bitcoin Market

Have you ever felt that someone is controlling the crypto markets, increasing prices to lure you in and crash it all as soon as you buy? Well, US authorities have apparently heard your whining because they are now reportedly suspicious manipulation is indeed occurring.

Also Read: Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Main Street Adopts Bitcoin Ahead of Wall Street

Spoofing and Wash Trading

US Justice Department Investigates Price Manipulation in Bitcoin MarketThe US Department of Justice (DOJ) has reportedly launched a criminal investigation to determine if big money traders are manipulating the prices of Bitcoin, Ether and possibly other cryptocurrencies. The illicit trade tactics that the DOJ is looking into include spoofing and wash trading, and federal prosecutors are working in collaboration with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on the investigation, this according to “four people familiar with the matter” cited by Bloomberg.

Spoofing refers to creating false buy orders to attract other traders (usually bots) to get in, with the intention of manipulating the market price in order to make a profit by actually selling. The Dodd-Frank Act defines spoofing as “the illegal practice of bidding or offering with intent to cancel before execution.” Similarly, wash trading is when someone simultaneously sells and buys the same financial instruments to create misleading activity, meant to make it appear as if an asset has more trade volume than it really does.

Why Now?

US Justice Department Investigates Price Manipulation in Bitcoin MarketUS authorities are reportedly concerned that cryptocurrency markets are prone to manipulation for a number of reasons including doubts that all trading venues are on the lookout for fraudsters, massive price swings that make it possible to steer valuations and a lack of strong regulations on crypto exchanges.

While many will surely applaud the DOJ for its diligence in protecting crypto investors, skeptics might wonder if US authorities are not doing this also in an effort to further cool the market down by frightening investors. They are not generally known to be welcoming toward the field, and only recently it was revealed that American regulators also took part in a crackdown on what they call “fraudulent ICOs and crypto-asset investment products.”

Are cryptocurrency prices manipulated and is it the US DOJ’s job to investigate these global markets at all? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Do you agree with us that Bitcoin is the best invention since sliced bread? Thought so. That’s why we are building this online universe revolving around anything and everything Bitcoin. We have a store. And a forum. And a casino, a pool and real-time price statistics.

The post US Justice Department Investigates Price Manipulation in Bitcoin Market appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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L.A. Times suspends Beijing bureau chief while it investigates sexual misconduct allegation

May 16, 2018 |

The Los Angeles Times suspended Beijing Bureau Chief Jonathan Kaiman on Tuesday and has launched an investigation into an allegation of sexual misconduct.

On Monday, former Beijing-based journalist Felicia Sonmez sent a letter to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China detailing “problematic…


L.A. Times – Business

White House Investigates Pruitt’s $43K Phone Booth

April 19, 2018 |

Scott Pruitt’s week isn’t getting any easier: White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said Wednesday that he is planning to investigate the embattled EPA chief’s activities, which include allegedly violating the law by spending $ 43,000 in taxpayer funds on a soundproof phone booth for his office, Politico reports. “We…
Newser

Secret Service investigates red paint splashed on Trump International Golf Club sign in Florida

April 1, 2018 |

Red paint was splashed across the sign outside President Donald Trump’s golf club near his Florida estate.
FOX News

Nike Investigates Workplace Complaints, Says No. 2 Executive Resigns

March 16, 2018 |

Nike Inc. said that it had received complaints about workplace behavior and that its No. 2 executive has resigned, setting off a management shuffle at the sportswear giant.
WSJ.com: US Business

Vietnam Investigates Merchants for Accepting Bitcoin Despite Warnings

December 25, 2017 |

Vietnam Investigates Merchants for Accepting Bitcoin Despite Warnings

Vietnamese authorities have announced that they are investigating establishments that accept bitcoin for payments. This follows reports that restaurants and cafes are still accepting the digital currency despite the government warning that bitcoin is not a legal means of payment in Vietnam.

Also read: South Korea Clarifies Position After Reports of Possible Ban on All Crypto Transactions

Investigating Bitcoin-Accepting Merchants

Vietnam Investigates Merchants for Accepting Bitcoin Despite WarningsDespite the State Bank of Vietnam warning that bitcoin is not a legal means of payment, the digital currency is still being used to pay for goods and services in the country, Vnexpress reported last week.

Citing that several coffee shops and restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City are still accepting bitcoin for payments, the publication quoted an official of the central bank saying:

Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City will be working with the country’s central bank to ‘handle violations’ at several restaurants and coffee shops in the city that have been accepting bitcoin as payment… We have also asked the city’s police department to work with us.

In October, news.Bitcoin.com reported on the Vietnamese central bank announcing that it had completed the legal framework for digital currencies in Vietnam. While bitcoin itself is not banned, using it as a means of payment in the country could result in a fine between 150 million to 200 million dong (~USD8,800). “From January 1, 2018, the act of issuing, supplying or using illegal means of payment may be subject to prosecution in accordance with the provisions of Article 206 of the Penal Code 2015,” according to the bank’s announcement.

Bitcoin Uses Continue

Vietnam Investigates Merchants for Accepting Bitcoin Despite Warnings
Coffee shop with “Bitcoin Payments Are Not Accepted” sign.

A survey by Infonet found 4 bitcoin ATMs (BTMs) in Vietnam, 24h newspaper reported. All of them are located in Ho Chi Minh City and are also listed on the BTM tracking website Coinatmradar.

One machine is located inside a coffee shop at the corner of Ly Tu Trong – Cach Mang Thang Tam in District 1. The establishment revealed to the publication, “Every day there are dozens of visitors buying bitcoin through the machine located in the store.” Both the number of customers using the BTM and the number paying with bitcoin at the store are growing, the publication noted, adding that:

At some cafes in the center of District 1, despite the [sign saying] “Bitcoin Payments Are Not Accepted,” they are in demand from customers (Vietnamese and foreigners), [and] the staff is still handling [it].

Growing Number of Market Participants and Miners

According to Bitcoin Vietnam’s Nguyen Viet Bach, the number of bitcoin market participants in the country has increased from 30,000 in 2016 to 60,000 this year, Soha reported.

In addition, the Ho Chi Minh City Customs Bureau has received applications to import 1,478 mining rigs during the 10 months ending in October. “Even a high-end jewelry company located in Ho Chi Minh City has filed the import declaration for 100 Bitmain mining rigs from China with an estimated total value of $ 129,000,” the publication wrote.

Do you think the government will be able to stop people from paying with bitcoin at stores? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Vietnamnet.


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The post Vietnam Investigates Merchants for Accepting Bitcoin Despite Warnings appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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