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FBI and Homeland Security Agents Raid Tech Campus Over Unauthorized Crypto Trading

January 7, 2019 |

FBI and Homeland Security Agents Raid Tech Campus Over Unauthorized Crypto Trading

U.S. federal law enforcement authorities are among the most active criminal agencies globally against cryptocurrency infractions. A new example of this is that FBI and Homeland Security agents have reportedly raided a technology campus over unauthorized cryptocurrency trading.

Also Read: Epic Founder Addresses Fortnite Crypto Rumors, Robinhood Recruiting in London

Unauthorized Crypto Trading

FBI and Homeland Security Agents Raid Tech Campus Over Unauthorized Crypto TradingAccording to several media reports from Grand Rapids, Michigan, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have raided a not-for-profit technological education group in the city, on Dec. 21, 2018.

The head of the organization, the National Science Institute (originally named “The Geek Group”), now claims that the reason for the raid is that he was commercially trading in the cryptocurrency markets without the government’s authorization, according to a recent local TV report (video embedded below). Chris Boden reportedly said he thinks he might be sent to federal prison and needs over $ 100,000 for legal expenses. “I did a stupid thing, I made a bad decision, so I’m going to pay for it.” Boden is recorded saying.

On Saturday, Boden announced a “Going Out Of Business” sale on Facebook. “Everything goes. We have to completely liquidate all of our assets to close down the nonprofit. There will be nothing left. The proceeds will go towards paying off our gigantic mountain of debt.” Regarding the case he only provided this message: “On the advice of legal council I will not comment further on the Government’s ongoing investigation.”

FBI, HSI Among Most Active in the World

This case is only the latest example of U.S. authorities being among the most active globally against cryptocurrency infractions. Recently, Kraken released statistics about the global breakdown of its subpoenas from authorities during 2018. While the exchange reports that just about 20 percent of its clients come from the U.S., the country represented the absolute majority of requests for information it had to handle from all over the world. Following the United States’ 315 subpoenas in 2018 was the U.K. with just 61. In fact, the FBI alone issued more requests than all U.K. authorities, a total of 67. HSI was even more of a burden on the exchange with 91 information requests.

Is taxpayers’ money being put to good use with federal agents sent to tackle unauthorized crypto trading? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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The post FBI and Homeland Security Agents Raid Tech Campus Over Unauthorized Crypto Trading appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Thai SEC Warns Against 14 Unauthorized Cryptocurrency Operators

November 26, 2018 |

Thai SEC Warns Against 14 Unauthorized Cryptocurrency Operators

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned the public against 14 websites whose operators have been soliciting customers to buy and sell cryptocurrencies and related products. The regulator says these operators are not authorized to conduct crypto business in the country. Currently, only seven companies are temporarily approved for crypto operations.

Also read: Indian Supreme Court Moves Crypto Hearing, Community Calls for Positive Regulations

Unlicensed Operators

Thai SEC Warns Against 14 Unauthorized Cryptocurrency OperatorsThe Thai SEC issued a warning on Friday against 14 websites whose operators have not been approved to conduct cryptocurrency business in Thailand.

The commission explained that it has received complaints about these businesses which have been encouraging the public to buy and sell cryptocurrencies through social media. The regulator further warned the public to take caution when solicited to purchase or sell digital assets by unauthorized individuals.

The 14 websites named by the Thai SEC are payniex.com, misterchanger.com, thaiexchanger.com, egtexchange.com, digicardshop.com, superrichexchanger.com, emoneythai.com, i-exch.com, exchangercoin.com, gamershoppings.com, ecurrencyplus.com, ecurrencythailand.com, lnwexchanger.com, and R Exchange’s Facebook page. Some of these websites have removed their crypto offerings after the commission’s warning.

Thai SEC Warns Against 14 Unauthorized Cryptocurrency Operators

One of the operators on the list, R Exchange, announced on Nov. 18 that its kiosk at Bangkok’s main airport, Suvarnabhumi, had begun offering the exchange of seven cryptocurrencies — BTC, BCH, ETH, ETC, LTC, XRP, and XLM. Its announcement also states that a withholding tax of 15 percent will apply.

Only Seven Operators Allowed

According to Thailand’s cryptocurrency regulations which went into effect in May, companies wanting to conduct crypto business in the country must obtain approval from the Thai SEC, the country’s main crypto regulator.

Thai SEC Warns Against 14 Unauthorized Cryptocurrency OperatorsThe commission reiterated that no digital asset operator or issuer has been granted full approval. Seven companies, however, have been temporarily approved while their applications are being reviewed. According to the regulator’s website, six of them are crypto exchanges: Bitcoin Co. Ltd. (Bx), Bitkub Online Co. Ltd., Cash2coins, Satang Corporation (Tdax), Coin Asset Co. Ltd., and Southeast Asia Digital Exchange Co. Ltd. (Seadex). One company, Coins Th, has been temporarily approved as a crypto dealer.

Thai SEC Warns Against 14 Unauthorized Cryptocurrency OperatorsTdax rebranded as Satang Pro on Sept. 28. The company is currently working on launching a new wallet and “the first digital asset payment platform in Thailand that allows the customers to buy, sell, pay for utility services, and top-up their mobile phones and gift cards,” its website details.

Coin Asset completed its first annual meetup event called Cax Swag on Nov. 11. At the event, founder Sivanus Yamdee unveiled the exchange’s own token as well as its plan to expand globally.

Thai SEC Warns Against 14 Unauthorized Cryptocurrency OperatorsBitkub also plans to issue its own token. The CEO of Bitkub Capital Group Holdings, Jirayut Srupsrisopa, said early this month that the exchange plans to increase the number of supported coins to 20 by the end of the year, the Nation reported. The exchange also began offering the trading of USDT against the Thai baht on Nov. 19.

Earlier this month, the Thai SEC warned against a few companies promoting their crypto exchange businesses in the country without approval including South Korean exchanges Q Exchange and Coin25. The agency has also issued warnings against nine unauthorized tokens.

What do you think of the rising number of unlicensed crypto operators in Thailand? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Thai SEC, Bitkub, Satang Pro, R Exchange, and Facebook.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Thai SEC Warns Against 14 Unauthorized Cryptocurrency Operators appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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South Korea Cracks Down on Unauthorized Cryptocurrency Funds

October 30, 2018 |

South Korea Cracks Down on Unauthorized Cryptocurrency Funds

South Korean financial regulators are cracking down on unauthorized cryptocurrency funds. In particular, one crypto fund launched by a local exchange is reportedly being investigated. The exchange claims no wrongdoing as its token activities were carried out overseas, but has promptly canceled its plan to launch a second fund.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Unauthorized Crypto Funds

South Korea Cracks Down on Unauthorized Cryptocurrency FundsSouth Korea’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) and the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) have warned investors of unauthorized cryptocurrency funds. The warning followed the launch of a financial product where “cryptocurrencies collected from some investors are managed through initial coin offerings (ICO), and profits are distributed at their expiration dates,” Business Korea described.

The regulators specifically referred to the fund launched last month by crypto exchange Zeniex called “ZXG Crypto Fund No. 1,” which is “the first virtual currency fund in Korea,” the publication detailed, noting:

The virtual currency fund has never been registered with the Financial Supervisory Service … None of the management company, sales company and the trustee have been approved by the Financial Services Commission.

Maeil business newspaper reported on Tuesday that “The financial authorities have handed over the circumstantial data for the investigation to the prosecution.”

South Korea Cracks Down on Unauthorized Cryptocurrency FundsZeniex explained that while funding was made through its platform, “the actual recruitment and token issuance were made by overseas management companies,” the news outlet conveyed. Noting that less than 1 billion won ($ 878,080) has been raised, the company believes that there was no reporting obligation. An official of the exchange was quoted asserting:

An indirect investment in a virtual currency fund is an attractive tool to raise market soundness … It’s unfortunate that innovative attempts will not continue until the government’s guidelines are set.

The South Korean government banned ICOs in September last year but has yet to introduce guidelines for them. A number of proposals have been submitted to the National Assembly and the government is expected to announce its ICO stance in November.

Zeniex’s Funds and Capital Markets Law

South Korea Cracks Down on Unauthorized Cryptocurrency FundsBusiness Korea explained that under the Korean Capital Markets Act, all investment funds must be registered with the FSS.

In addition, “Public offering funds that collect funds from general investors must file securities reports,” and “an asset management company that manages a fund and the fund sales company that sells it have to obtain necessary financial approval,” the publication detailed.

The company must also “honor regulations on business practices such as the maintenance of minimum capital for soundness and the prevention of conflicts of interest and [has] a duty to explain to investors.”

As for Zeniex’s fund, an FSS official was quoted by Maeil saying, “It is the interpretation of the authorities that the fund must follow the investor protection system set out in the capital markets law as long as it is sold to domestic financial consumers.” However, the official admitted:

There is no way to check whether the platform is operating as claimed by Zeniex, because the financial authorities have no regulatory authority at present.

Zeniex had planned to launch its second fund this month. However, the company issued a statement on Monday stating that “The authorities are concerned that there is room for illegality,” adding that it “will completely cancel the launch of the second product because it could lead to misunderstandings of investors and regulators.” Local media then reported on Tuesday that Zeniex has canceled the launch of its second fund.

What do you think of South Korean regulators cracking down on unauthorized crypto funds? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Zeniex.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post South Korea Cracks Down on Unauthorized Cryptocurrency Funds appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Thai SEC Warns About 9 Unauthorized Tokens

October 29, 2018 |

Thai SEC Warns About 9 Unauthorized Tokens

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned about nine unauthorized tokens and initial coin offerings. These have neither been approved by the authorities nor met the necessary requirements. In addition, the regulator is also reportedly considering allowing asset management companies to launch cryptocurrency funds.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

SEC’s Warning

Thai SEC Warns About 9 Unauthorized TokensThe Thai SEC warned the public on Friday about nine tokens and initial coin offerings (ICOs) that have not applied for approval. However, the authority has found posts on social media, such as on Facebook and Youtube, publicly promoting and soliciting investments in them.

The nine consist of five tokens and four ICOs. According to the Thai SEC’s website, the tokens are Every coin, Orientum coin, Onecoin and OFC coin, Tripxchain coin, and TUC coin. The four ICOs are those issued by G2S Expert, Singhcom Enterprise, Adventure Hostel Bangkok, and Kidstocurrency.

The regulator has warned anyone who may come across them to take caution due to their high investment risks, stating:

Currently, no digital asset issuer has been approved and no one has filed an application for a license [to issue tokens] with the SEC. Therefore, [the SEC is warning] investors to take caution when being solicited or receiving information about investments in digital assets.

The Thai SEC specifically noted five key risks associated with the above nine tokens and ICOs. Firstly, they have not applied for approval or been approved by the commission. Secondly, they have not been evaluated by any SEC-licensed ICO portals. In addition, they may not provide adequate disclosure for investors. Next, their issuers and promoters have not been licensed to carry out digital asset-related activities. Lastly, they may not be liquid and may not be easily converted to cash, the commission detailed.

Thai SEC Warns About 9 Unauthorized TokensIn August, the Thai SEC warned about a company called DB Hold Plc that had been soliciting investments in its token without approval. The regulator subsequently ordered the company to cease all token issuance and promotional activities. Local companies that launched their ICOs before the country’s regulations took effect, such as Jmart Plc, are allowed to continue their token activities without gaining approval.

Crypto Asset Funds

Thai SEC Warns About 9 Unauthorized TokensWith the rising interest in cryptocurrencies in Thailand and abroad, the SEC is also “considering allowing asset management companies to launch digital asset funds to meet growing investment demand for digital assets,” the Bangkok Post reported on Oct. 22.

While the publication emphasized that no proposal has been submitted to the commission, SEC deputy secretary-general Tipsuda Thavaramara was quoted describing:

We have to consider this carefully because it is a new type of investment asset … If something goes wrong, there will be a huge impact on the mutual fund industry.

Thai SEC Warns About 9 Unauthorized TokensAccording to the news outlet, the Association of Thai Securities Companies said that many securities firms are interested in starting crypto businesses such as exchanges, brokers, dealers, and ICO portals. One of the largest asset management companies in Thailand, SCB Asset Management Co. Ltd., an affiliate of Siam Commercial Bank, revealed in February its desire to launch a cryptocurrency fund that invests in bitcoin futures.

Currently, six cryptocurrency exchanges have been temporarily granted approval by the Thai SEC to operate in the country while their applications are being reviewed. They are Bx, Bitkub, Cash2coin, Tdax, Coin Asset, and Seadex.

In addition, two dealers were temporarily approved: Coins Th and Thaiwm. However, the latter has withdrawn its application and ceased crypto-related operations since Sept. 28.

What do you think of the Thai SEC’s warning? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Thai SEC.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Thai SEC Warns About 9 Unauthorized Tokens appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Wells Fargo agrees to $65-million settlement with New York over unauthorized accounts scandal

October 24, 2018 |

Wells Fargo & Co. will pay a $ 65-million penalty to New York state related to cross-selling practices that led employees to create millions of accounts without customer authorization.

The bank failed to disclose to investors that the success of its cross-selling — the pitching of additional financial…


L.A. Times – Business

France Warns of Several Unauthorized Cryptocurrency Platforms

June 20, 2018 |

France Warns of Several Unauthorized Cryptocurrency Platforms

France’s financial markets regulator has issued a new warning against unauthorized platforms offering cryptocurrency investments. The regulator has added four websites to its list of blacklisted domains offering crypto investments without authorization.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

French Regulator’s Warning

France Warns of Several Unauthorized Cryptocurrency PlatformsThe French financial markets regulator, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), on Monday warned “the public against several companies proposing atypical investments without being authorized to do so.”

The AMF is an independent public authority responsible for ensuring that savings invested in financial products are protected. According to Law no. 2016-1691 on transparency, no investment offer can be directly marketed in France without a registration number or prior approval by the AMF.

France Warns of Several Unauthorized Cryptocurrency PlatformsAlongside Monday’s warning, the regulator also published a list of four “new unauthorized websites offering atypical investments.” The four websites are bitoraxe.com, solutioncrypto.com, solution-crypto.com, and connect-coin.fr. At the time of this writing, connect-coin.fr is already offline. The other three are still live but solution-crypto.com redirects all traffic to solutioncrypto.com.

The AMF previously published a list of 15 websites offering crypto investments without authorization. The regulator maintains three lists of unauthorized websites – one for forex products, one for binary options, and one for other goods including diamonds, wines, and cryptocurrencies. The agency started keeping track of blacklisted sites in July last year and began including crypto sites in December.

AMF Concerned About Crypto

The AMF has been tracking losses in cryptocurrencies through its Epargne Info-services center, which receives investment complaints and claims. During the AMF’s annual report presentation last month, Chairman Robert Ophèle said:

During the first four months of the year, out of the more than 4,000 requests processed by our Epargne Info-services center, 700 concerned crypto-assets with nearly 250 claims or reports reporting more than € 9 million (~US$ 10.43 million) in losses.

He added that cryptocurrencies have taken over binary options and highly leveraged contracts for difference (CFDs) as the most pressing problem.

France is currently creating a legal framework for initial coin offerings (ICOs), which is expected to be finalized next year. The agency started clamping down on bitcoin derivatives in February. In April, the country slashed the tax rate on crypto capital gains from 45% to 19%.

What do you think of the AMF warning investors of these unauthorized platforms? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and AMF.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post France Warns of Several Unauthorized Cryptocurrency Platforms appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Regulator to face questions over unauthorized accounts in banking industry

June 13, 2018 |

The nation’s top bank regulator has found evidence that institutions other than Wells Fargo & Co. may have created accounts without customers’ authorization — and a prominent Democrat wants the regulator to name names.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, the ranking Democrat on the Senate banking committee,…


L.A. Times – Business

Wells Fargo not the only bank to have created unauthorized accounts — but regulator won’t identify others

June 9, 2018 |

A federal bank regulator that has fined Wells Fargo more than $ 500 million over its creation of unauthorized accounts and other consumer abuses has found evidence of sales practice problems at other large and midsize banks — but is refusing to name those institutions.

The Office of the Comptroller…


L.A. Times – Business

Singapore Warns Eight Unauthorized Token Exchanges

May 25, 2018 |

Singapore Warns Eight Unauthorized Token Exchanges

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has warned eight digital token exchanges operating in the country over unauthorized securities trading. The regulator also stopped an initial coin offering, prompting its issuer to return all funds received from Singapore-based investors.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Eight Token Exchanges Warned

Singapore Warns Eight Unauthorized Token ExchangesSingapore’s central bank and financial regulator, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), announced on Thursday that it has “warned eight digital token exchanges in Singapore not to facilitate trading in digital tokens that are securities or futures contracts without MAS’ authorisation.” Without naming the eight platforms, the announcement states that under the Securities and Futures Act (SFA):

If the digital tokens constitute securities or futures contracts, the exchanges must immediately cease the trading of such digital tokens until they have been authorised as an approved exchange or recognised market operator by MAS

Singapore Warns Eight Unauthorized Token ExchangesHowever, MAS did not indicate that these platforms are engaged in suspicious activities or that there are complaints about them, unlike a few other regulators that recently issued warnings about exchange platforms.

This week, the Ontario Securities Commission issued a warning on five unlicensed crypto firms it had received complaints about. In March, French regulator Autorité des Marchés Financiers warned of 15 unauthorized crypto investment platforms and Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority started publishing a list of crypto platforms showing signs of fraud.

ICO Issuer Warned Amid Growing Market

In addition, MAS “also warned an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) issuer to stop the offering of its digital tokens in Singapore.” According to the announcement, MAS has assessed that this issuer’s “tokens represented equity ownership in a company and therefore would be considered as securities under the SFA.” Citing that the tokens are offered “without a MAS-registered prospectus, which is a SFA requirement,” the regulator revealed:

The [ICO] issuer has ceased the offer and has taken remedial actions to comply with MAS’ regulations. It has also returned all funds received from Singapore-based investors.

However, the central bank “declined to name the ICO and it is not clear how much was taken from investors or when the offering was issued,” the Strait Times reported on Thursday.

Singapore Warns Eight Unauthorized Token ExchangesRecently, news.Bitcoin.com reported that Singapore has emerged as a mecca for token sales, especially for companies from China and South Korea where ICOs are banned. Earlier this month, digital asset banknote manufacturer Tangem launched smart bitcoin banknotes at the Megafash Suntec City store in Singapore.

Lee Boon Ngiap, MAS’ Assistant Managing Director (Capital Markets), confirmed that “the number of digital token exchanges and digital token offerings in Singapore has been increasing.” He clarified:

We do not see a need to restrict them if they are bona fide businesses. But if any digital token exchange, issuer or intermediary breaches our securities laws, MAS will take firm action.

What do you think of MAS’ warnings? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Financial Tribune, and MAS.


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The post Singapore Warns Eight Unauthorized Token Exchanges appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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England: Unauthorized Crypto Futures and ICOs are Criminal Offences

April 7, 2018 |

England: Unauthorized Crypto Futures, ICOs are Criminal Offences

In a statement released 6 April 2018, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) of England attempted to clarify its jurisdiction in the ever-booming cryptocurrency industry. While acknowledging cryptos are “not currently” regulated by the bureau, crypto futures, contracts for difference (CFDs), options, and initial coin offerings (ICOs) do indeed fall under their purview. Furthermore, crypto firms running afoul of necessary FCA authorization are committing “a criminal offence.”

Also read: India Searches for Ethereum Over Bitcoin

England’s FCA Warns Crypto Firms About Unauthorized Trading

“We are aware of a growing number of UK firms offering so-called cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency-related assets,” the FCA statement on the requirement for firms offering cryptocurrency derivatives to be authorised began. “As indicated in our Feedback Statement on [distributed ledger technology], cryptocurrencies are not currently regulated by the FCA provided they are not part of other regulated products or services.”

“Cryptocurrency derivatives are, however, capable of being financial instruments,” the FCA continued, and “although we do not consider cryptocurrencies to be currencies or commodities for regulatory purposes, [firms] conducting regulated activities in cryptocurrency derivatives must […] comply with all applicable rules in the FCA’s Handbook and any relevant provisions in directly applicable European Union regulations.”

England: Unauthorized Crypto Futures, ICOs are Criminal OffencesRegulated “activities in relation to derivatives that reference either cryptocurrencies or tokens issued through an initial coin offering (ICO), will require authorisation by the FCA.” That would include three principal areas: “cryptocurrency futures – a derivative contract in which each party agrees to exchange cryptocurrency at a future date and at a price agreed by both parties; cryptocurrency contracts for differences (CFDs) – a cash-settled derivative contract in which the parties to the contract seek to secure a profit or avoid a loss by agreeing to exchange the difference in price between the value of the cryptocurrency CFD contract at its outset and at its termination; [and] cryptocurrency options – a contract which grants the beneficiary the right to acquire or dispose of cryptocurrencies. Firms unsure about their status are encouraged “to seek expert advice if you have any remaining questions.”

The FCA issued a previous warning regarding crypto CFDs. It was “aimed at retail investors who may be considering or soliciting cryptocurrency CFDs (contracts for difference). The U.K. regulator emphasized the risks associated with the price volatility, charges and funding costs, leveraged trading products, and price transparency,” News.Bitcoin.com reported back in November of last year.

England: Unauthorized Crypto Futures, ICOs are Criminal Offences

Times Have Changed

Just prior to that warning, however, the agency seemed to be championing crypto when it accused financial institutions of withholding financial services from distributed ledger technology (DLT) start-ups on a wholesale basis. Times have changed.

“It is firms’ responsibility,” the FCA concluded, “to ensure that they have the appropriate authorisation and permission to carry on regulated activity. If your firm is not authorised by the FCA and is offering products or services requiring authorisation it is a criminal offence.”

Is licensing a positive or negative step for crypto? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock. 


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The post England: Unauthorized Crypto Futures and ICOs are Criminal Offences appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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