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It turns out Jennifer Lopez’s love does cost a thing, MILLIONS in fact, because we’ve learned the singer is raking in an insane amount of cash for quick appearances at private Qatar-related events. Sources with knowledge of the deals…
A Chinese-owned pork producer will sell at least $ 240,000 worth of ham products to the federal government as part of the Trump administration’s farm bailout program, the administration said Wednesday.
U.S. pork producer Smithfield, which is owned by the Chinese conglomerate WH Group, will sell…
Malta’s Pilatus Bank has been shut down by the European Central Bank (ECB). Its banking license was revoked after its chairman was charged in the U.S. with money laundering and organizing a scheme to evade U.S. sanctions. The bank had also been accused by a murdered journalist of processing corrupt payments. EU authorities now want new powers to crack down on money laundering.
Pilatus Bank’s License Revoked
Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) announced on Monday that the ECB has withdrawn the banking license of Pilatus Bank which has been operating in Malta for four years.
The Financial Times elaborated:
The move comes several months after U.S. authorities charged the bank’s Iranian-born owner and former chairman Seyed Ali Sadr Hasheminejad with organising a scheme to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran by illegally funnelling more than $ 115 million from Venezuela to Iranian-controlled companies.
“The bank was charged in the United States over money laundering and bank fraud,” Reuters added.
Although Seyed Ali Sadr Hasheminejad pleaded not guilty and has been released on bail, MFSA removed him from his roles at the bank and froze the bank’s assets. In June, the regulator recommended revoking the bank’s license but faced numerous legal hurdles. On Monday, MFSA said that “the ECB had acted on its request to close the bank,” the Guardian wrote.
Pilatus Bank, which caters to wealthy clients, reported 308 million euros ($ 351.64 million) of assets in 2016, according to the bank’s annual report. Last year, it opened a branch in London after obtaining a U.K. banking license. The bank “was known to have held accounts for a senior official in the government of the Maltese prime minister, Joseph Muscat, and members of Azerbaijan’s ruling family,” the Financial Times detailed.
Murdered Journalist’s Case
Pilatus Bank had also been accused of “processing corrupt payments for senior Azeri and Maltese figures” by Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, Reuters described.
Caruana Galizia was killed by a car bomb in Malta a year ago. However, there has been no proven link between her murder and her story about the bank, the publication conveyed. Nonetheless, the event prompted the EU to begin investigating the bank in October last year.
“Three men suspected of killing her – brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio and their friend Vince Muscat – were arrested during a police operation in December 2017,” the BBC added.
Maltese Authorities Investigated
The ECB launched two investigations of how Malta dealt with Pilatus Bank last year, Reuters detailed. The first focused on MFSA but the case was closed in September “in part due to the vagueness of EU regulation,” European Banking Authority Chairman Andrea Enria told EU lawmakers.
The second investigation focused on the Maltese Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU), the country’s anti-money laundering agency. Enria emphasized that this investigation has uncovered “serious shortcomings that the body did not remedy,” the publication noted. A senior EU official explained:
The European Commission reached preliminary agreement on Monday on new actions against the FIAU over its handling of the Pilatus case, which will force Malta to improve the way its anti-money laundering body operates.
Citing that U.S. authorities played a big role in uncovering alleged illicit banking activities in several European cases, the Guardian reported that “EU authorities want new powers to crack down on money laundering after a string of scandals in Estonia, Latvia and Malta.”
What do you think of the ECB shutting down Pilatus Bank? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Lovin Malta, FIAU, MFSA, and Pilatus Bank.
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The post ECB Shuts Down Maltese Bank Over Schemes to Launder Money and Evade US Sanctions appeared first on Bitcoin News.
On Oct. 31, 2008, at 2:10 p.m. EDT, the creator of the Bitcoin network, Satoshi Nakamoto, announced the publication of the protocol’s whitepaper using a Vistomail email address. It’s now been 10 years to the day since Satoshi’s idea was first revealed to the world — an idea that unleashed the first pure peer-to-peer version of electronic cash.
The Bitcoin Whitepaper:
Eight Pages of Pure Innovation
The Bitcoin whitepaper is an essential read for anyone who wants to understand the innovation behind the first cryptocurrency network to be powered by a secure proof-of-work (PoW) system. There is nothing quite like Satoshi’s whitepaper or the Bitcoin network itself, even though a myriad of similar protocols and whitepapers have popped up over the past decade. Rather than having a centralized third party, Satoshi’s paper describes a “system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust.”
“A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution,” he said to anyone who would listen on a cryptography mailing list.
Staving Off the Byzantine General
However, unlike the droves of theoretical papers written about online currencies before Bitcoin, the original whitepaper captured the essence of the entire network, well before it launched on Jan. 3, 2009. Since then we have seen this grand digital asset experiment play out, as the technology has gained value and mainstream attention over the years.
We’ve seen the power of Nakamoto consensus create a computational system that has shielded any attempts at a “Byzantine Generals’ attack” for 10 years. “The network timestamps transactions by hashing them into an ongoing chain of hash-based proof-of-work, forming a record that cannot be changed without redoing the proof-of-work,” Satoshi said in the renowned document.
He also reassured the reader by stating:
The system is secure as long as honest nodes collectively control more CPU power than any cooperating group of attacker nodes.
The Bitcoin whitepaper has since changed the lives of many people. For the first time, internet-based commerce did not have to rely on financial institutions to process electronic payments. Many bitcoiners will tell you it’s been a long run, with many market fiascos and interesting developments along the way. But even after 10 years, they will also assure you that we are still at the beginning of the financial revolution ignited by the technology we all love.
Birth of a Network
Despite the warnings of financial bigwigs like Warren Buffet over the years, as well as countless horrible economists, Bitcoin is definitely still alive and well. For example, Alejandro de la Torres, the vice president of business operations at BTC.com, holds a very different opinion about the technology than the likes of traditional bankers such as Jamie Dimon. The BTC.com executive believes that Satoshi’s protocol is one of the most revolutionary computational consensus models that society has seen to date.
“Bitcoin’s PoW algorithm has proven to be the most successful consensus model, and I believe it is the best way forward for decentralized consensus systems. It provides a strong economic incentive for miners, while automatically adjusting difficulty to maintain long-term mining incentives,” he recently explained to news.Bitcoin.com.
After 10 years, the whitepaper has shown us that the protocol is robust and the system continues to grow stronger as each day passes. Seven days after publishing the whitepaper, Satoshi said society “would not find a solution to political problems in cryptography.” However, that week the creator did stress on the cryptography mailing that Bitcoin could still win a “major battle,” while gaining a “new territory of freedom for several years.”
Bitcoin.com keeps an archived version of the Satoshi Nakamoto whitepaper here.
What do you think about the Bitcoin whitepaper? How did you feel when you read Satoshi’s words for the first time? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments sections below.
Images via Shutterstock, Jamie Redman, and Pixabay.
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The post Ten Years Ago Today, the Whitepaper Changed the Way We Look at Money appeared first on Bitcoin News.
Backed by a private-equity firm, a large bail-bond company in San Diego is financing a campaign to repeal California’s landmark criminal justice reform.
The new law would abolish the state’s bail-bond companies, and in response, a handful in the industry has raised more than $ 2.5 million to push…
In the immediate aftermath of the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, two Muslim nonprofit groups set out to raise $ 25,000 for victims on the crowdfunding site LaunchGood . They passed that goal within six hours, reports the Times of Israel . In fact, as of Monday morning, the groups CelebrateMercy and MPower…
Some tin-foil hat conspiracy theorists believe government devised and built bitcoin as weaponized money to enslave the people. They think Big Brother made the technology to subjugate everyone, and that politicians are somehow benefiting from the technology. In an odd twist of logic, these people believe bitcoin represents a state-sponsored tool for control.
Bitcoin Was Built by Crypto-Anarchists
Government did not create bitcoin as weaponized money. The opposite is true. Crypto-anarchists constructed bitcoin to undermine and destabilize governments. The exact creator of bitcoin is unknown. The individual’s pseudonym is Satoshi Nakamoto but it could also be a group of people. No one knows.
However, we are intimately acquainted with the people who fleshed out the original blueprint for bitcoin. Cypherpunks like David Chaum, Timothy May, Eric Hughes, and Whitfield Diffie are responsible for declaring the vision for crypto. None of these people cared for governments. They were mainly anarchists who wanted to use dissident tech to uphold freedom, privacy, and anonymity.
In A Cypherpunk’s Manifesto, written in 1993, Eric Hughes said, “We the Cypherpunks are dedicated to building anonymous systems. We are defending our privacy with cryptography, with anonymous mail forwarding systems, with digital signatures, and with electronic money.”
Hughes continued: “Cypherpunks write code. We know that someone has to write software to defend privacy, and since we can’t get privacy unless we all do, we’re going to write it. We publish our code so that our fellow Cypherpunks may practice and play with it. Our code is free for all to use, worldwide. We don’t much care if you don’t approve of the software we write. We know that software can’t be destroyed and that a widely dispersed system can’t be shut down.”
Characteristics of Bitcoin
The characteristics of bitcoin are imbued with the aforesaid cypherpunk features.
The fact governments cannot manipulate the circulating supply of bitcoin means they can’t defraud people through arbitrary hyperinflation. The fact bitcoin is peer-to-peer and censorship-resistant implies governments can’t freeze accounts, halt transactions, or steal money. These features attest to the purpose of the tech.
Bitcoin’s characteristics are not something governments would purposely build into a currency to control people. Its features are antithetical to control. Why would government make a decentralized currency that does not support its agenda?
Governments Could Be Co-Opting Bitcoin
However, there is a major caveat. Governments did not build bitcoin or develop its features, but they may be trying to co-opt it. For instance, Bitcoin Core developers have neutered many of bitcoin’s anti-government features. They have striped away bitcoin’s digital signature architecture, and failed to scale the block size of bitcoin, turning it into a milquetoast technology.
The Core development team and the company Blockstream initiated this questionable maneuver. Some people believe they are being funded by “globalists” and other big government cronies.
One article claimed, “Blockstream is now controlled by the Bilderberg Group – seriously! AXA Strategic Ventures, co-lead investor for Blockstream’s $ 55 million financing round, is the investment arm of French insurance giant AXA Group – whose CEO Henri de Castries has been chairman of the Bilderberg Group since 2012.”
Jeff Berwick also commented on this issue in an older Dollar Vigilante article called “Bitcoin War Begins – Bitcoin Cash Rises 50% While Bitcoin Drops $ 1,000 In 24 Hours,” writing:
Who owns Blockstream? Well, one of the main shareholders is insurance giant AXA. CEO and Chairman of both the Bilderberg Group and AXA are the same person, Henri de Castries. Yes, essentially, the person most in control of bitcoin development is the Chairman of Bilderberg; the place that I have gone for the last three years to expose from the outside! And, even one time, briefly, from the inside.
I am not making any statements regarding the veracity of the above claims, as they hint at conspiracy themselves. What matters is that bitcoin’s cypherpunk features have been eroded for the purpose of control. Fact: central bankers put money into bitcoin. Then the code began to change, making transaction fees soar and confirmation times slow to a snail’s pace in late 2017.
Satoshi’s Vision: Bitcoin Cash to the Rescue
I still believe freedom-lovers can win. No one can stop the signal. The genie is out of the bottle and there is now a competing market of alternative coins. People can choose the money they love. This means Fedcoin is just another token in a vast market of currencies, and no one will consciously use coins that are inefficient or engender slavery.
The more honest version of bitcoin — bitcoin cash — is now widely available for use. It is Satoshi Nakamoto’s original vision. It has expanded block size and super low fees. If cryptocurrency connoisseurs are going to succeed in their mission to thwart government, tools like bitcoin cash are going to be what they use to win. These are the crypto-anarchist tools that the early cypherpunks envisioned.
So no. Government certainly did not build bitcoin. But if the community forgets its cypherpunk origins, politicians may subvert the tech and use it against us. Eternal vigilance in this ecosystem is mandatory for the preservation of privacy and freedom.
Who do you think created bitcoin? Did the cypherpunks or government build it?
Images courtesy of Shutterstock
OP-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support views, opinions or conclusions drawn in this post. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.
The post Weaponized Money: Thoughts on the Creation and Control of Bitcoin appeared first on Bitcoin News.
Emma, a London-based startup firm specializing in money management services, has launched cryptocurrency exchange integration for its new app. The platform, which the company describes as a kind of “financial advocate” service, is designed to help millennials gain a better understanding of their finances.
New ‘Emerging Asset Class’
Emma has integrated several cryptocurrency exchanges into the app, including Coinbase, Bittrex, Binance, Bitstamp, Kraken and Bitfinex. With its latest development, users can view all of their cryptocurrency investments from multiple exchanges in real time using a single interface. The free app also allows U.K. consumers to look at aggregated information from their credit cards and bank statements, in addition to the cryptocurrencies and tokens they hold.
“Emma was built to empower millions of individuals to live a better and more fulfilling financial life. Cryptocurrency is the next emerging asset class and we are thrilled to welcome it as part of our family of integrations. Our users can now manage and track their crypto holdings alongside more traditional finances to make wiser and more transparent decisions,” said Emma CEO Edoardo Moreni. “For Emma, this is one of the first steps toward a world where account aggregation doesn’t just refer to banking products, but opens the doors to several financial services.”
Consumer-Focused Banking Experience
Emma launched in January of this year, backed by a team of finance and technology experts. In July, the company raised £500,000 in a seed round led by Kima Ventures, one of the first investors in Transferwise. Aglaé Ventures — the early stage program of French investment firm Groupe Arnault, which has previously invested in Netflix and Airbnb — also participated in the seed round.
Emma is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority in the U.K. under the Payment Services Regulations 2017. With its new app, the company aims to build a mobile-only banking solution (iOS and Android) to help young consumers avoid overdrafts, cancel subscriptions, track their debts and save money. It said it is trying to provide a more consumer-focused banking experience that will improve the financial lives of its users, by serving as a sort of one-stop shop for all of their financial information.
As a U.K. resident, do you look forward to managing your cryptocurrency portfolio with Emma’s new app? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Emma.
Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi’s Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com.
The post Emma Integrates Crypto Exchanges into Money Management App appeared first on Bitcoin News.
A French court has reportedly rejected a request by the largest Swiss bank to drop money laundering charge against it. UBS Group and a number of its executives are accused of tax fraud and money laundering. If found guilty, the bank could be fined up to 5 billion euros or $ 5.8 billion. Its executives could also face jail time.
UBS Wants Money Laundering Charge Dropped
The tax fraud and money laundering trial in France of UBS Group AG and its executives began last week after seven years of investigation.
The largest bank in Switzerland with offices in over 50 countries has asked for the French constitutional court to “drop money laundering charges and limit proceedings to complicity in tax fraud, which carries lighter penalties,” Reuters reported Thursday. However, the court rejected this request, noting that the bank’s arguments were “devoid of seriousness,” the news outlet detailed, elaborating:
UBS Group AG, its French unit and six executives and former executives face charges of aggravated tax fraud and money laundering in an investigation into allegations they helped wealthy clients avoid taxes in France.
Up to 5 Billion Euros Fine Plus Damages
During the investigation, UBS Group turned down the authorities’ settlement offer of 1.1 billion euros, the publication conveyed. “The amount corresponded to what the Swiss bank had already paid as a court bond, according to judicial sources.” The news outlet further described:
If found guilty of money laundering, UBS could be fined up to 5 billion euros ($ 5.8 billion). French criminal law lets judges enforce fines as high as half the amount laundered and in this case prosecutors estimate that up to 10.6 billion euros was denied to the French tax authorities.
According to Reuters, the bank could also face damages awarded to the French tax authorities for the missing revenue and the executives risk jail time.
The whistleblower told the publication that he hoped for a stiff penalty for Switzerland’s largest bank, stating that “If they set an example with UBS, most other banks will be scared.”
In 2009, UBS went through a similar trial in the U.S. and paid $ 780 million in settlement. In 2014, the bank was on trial in Germany and paid 300 million euros in fines.
Recently, a number of other megabanks have been under fire for alleged money laundering activities. Denmark’s largest bank, Danske Bank, allegedly engaged in money laundering through its Estonian branch that could total 200 billion euros. The probe into Danske Bank has also implicated Citigroup and Deutsche Bank. Last month, Netherland’s largest retail bank, ING Group, was fined $ 900 million for money laundering. News.Bitcoin.com also recently reported that Nordic region’s largest bank, Nordea, was suspected of money laundering.
What do you think of the French court refusing to drop money laundering charge against UBS and its executives? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and UBS.
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The post Court Refuses to Drop Money Laundering Charge Against UBS, $ 5.8 Billion Fine Looms appeared first on Bitcoin News.
West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin tried to secure a personal “Governor’s Helicopter” during his time as the state’s governor using funding from a prescription drug settlement that was intended to combat illegal drug use.