Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman expressed concerns about ICOs, saying they pose “serious risks” for retail investors mainly due to lack of regulation.
Speaking at the Future of Fintech conference in New York on Wednesday, Friedman expressed “real concern” about ICO projects, saying that they can seriously defraud retail investors. Friedman said this is mostly the result of insufficient public information, as well as a lack of transparency, regulation, and accountability.
"To make it no rules at all, when companies can just willy-nilly take people's money and offer no information at all, with no governance, that sounds to me like you're taking advantage of people."
Friedman emphasized that ICO scam victims are usually beginner investors that have almost no access to information. According to Friedman, while the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires firms to provide retail investors with the same data as banks in Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), the ICO processes have “almost no oversight.”
"In ICO space none of that is available, and it's all being bought by retail. ...I have real concern on lack of transparency, oversight, and accountability that these companies have as they're going out to raise capital through an ICO."
Friedman also said that she sympathized with the SEC’s claims that ICOs are securities offerings adding, “ I support the SEC on that."
Recently, CBOE Global Markets President Chris Concannon claimed that the ICO market could soon face a two-fold regulatory “reckoning,” should the SEC classify ICOs as unregistered securities. The first “wave” would come when a slew of ICO projects would be deemed in violation of existing securities laws and investors’ holdings would be “rendered valueless.” Subsequently, said investors would file class actions lawsuits against the ICO operators.
On June 19, crypto evangelist John McAfee announced that he will stop promoting ICO projects due to supposed threats from the SEC. McAfee, who revealed his second run for president in early June, claimed that he charges $105,000 per tweet to promote cryptocurrency projects and products.
The U.S. SEC has received an emergency court order to freeze the assets of Dominic Lacroix, known for violation of securities law in regards to PlexCoin ICO.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has received an additional emergency court order to freeze the assets of Dominic Lacroix, owner of PlexCorps, in an ongoing enforcement action, Crowdfund Insider reported June 20. The SEC had previously sued Lacroix for securities fraud and received an emergency asset freeze order in December, 2017. The order was unsealed June 18.
The SEC alleges that, since December, Lacroix has been using secret accounts, including an account in his brother’s name which he controlled, to dissipate assets obtained from investors with the PlexCoin ICO. The SEC is looking to collect interest, penalties, as well as permanent injunctions, as well as an officer-and-director bar and a bar from offering digital securities.
The SEC’s initial complaint charged Lacroix and his partner, Sabrina Paradis-Royer, with violating securities law in respect to the PlexCoin initial coin offering (ICO) conducted by PlexCorps in August last year.
According to the SEC, PlexCorps promised investors a 1,354 percent return in just 29 days. The ICO reportedly raised $15 million from “thousands of investors.” The SEC described Lacroix as a “recidivist Quebec securities law violator.”
Last month, the SEC obtained a courter order to halt the activities of Titanium Blockchain Infrastructure Services Inc.’s ICO that raised $21 million from investors in the U.S. and Canada. The complaint from the SEC alleged that the company president lied about business relationships with the Federal Reserve and dozens of well known firms such as Boeing, Verizon, PayPal, and Walt Disney.
The three co-founders of cryptocurrency startup Centra Tech were formally indicted in May for running a fraudulent ICO, with charges of securities fraud, wire fraud, and two conspiracy counts. The company raised $32 million from investors in 2017. The defendants had misled investors by falsely claiming that their company had partnered with Visa and MasterCard to issue virtual currency debit cards.
The central bank of Brazil has created a blockchain platform, currently in testing, that would link financial regulators and promote data sharing.
The ledger, called the Information Integration Platform for Regulators (Pier), will be used by regulators to exchange information on general authorization processes of financial institutions, ranging from administrative processes to the conduct of employees. Additional information not related to administrative sanctioning processes can also be shared if mutual interest is shown.
Pier, developed by the Banco Central de Brasil’s IT department (Deinf), will connect the Securities and Exchange Commission of Brazil (CVM), and the National Pension Funds Authority (Previc). The platform is currently in alpha testing, with plans to go live at the end of 2018.
Deputy head of Deinf, Aristides Cavalcante, said in a statement that the impetus to develop a blockchain platform came from the benefits of horizontal information sharing, adding that
“Furthermore, as the blockchain platform records every data request using cryptographic signatures, it is possible to certify at any moment the authorship, and that no entity has tampered with the data, and thus guaranteeing information authenticity."
In April, Cointelegraph published an Expert Take on how a presidential cryptocurrency money laundering scheme has led Brazil to implement more blockchain tech, specifically with the use of documenting funding on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain.
According to Capgemini's World Wealth Report 2018, almost two thirds of surveyed millionaires are interested in investing in cryptocurrencies.
For the report, Capgemini interviewed high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) and asset managers around the world about their interest in cryptocurrencies. According to the report, nearly a third (29 percent) of the surveyed millionaires expressed a high interest and more than a quarter (almost 27 percent) a general interest.
The potential of cryptocurrencies to generate investment returns and store value is a driving interest among HNWIs. More than 70 percent of respondents aged 40 and under attach great importance to having their primary asset managers provide cryptocurrency information, compared with just 13 percent of over-60s.
So far, however, asset managers are still cautious about cryptocurrency and are reluctant to broach the subject with clients. A third (about 35 percent) of HNWI worldwide say they have received information about crypto from their asset managers.
The report notes regional differences in millionaires’ views on crypto investments. While interest in Europe, North America, and Japan is relatively modest, 60 percent of HNWIs from South America show a high level of interest.
Increased client interest in cryptocurrencies has driven some firms in the financial sector to take a friendlier stance toward digital assets. As crypto has grown more popular, Goldman Sachs has softened its position. In 2014, the investment bank said Bitcoin was not a currency and was too risky for investors while in May of this year, the firm announced that they would explore trading cryptocurrencies due to increased client interest.
Today, Goldman Sachs COO David Solomon said that the company is already assisting clients in publicly-traded crypto derivatives such as Bitcoin futures, and that the company is cautiously exploring other forms of crypto derivatives. Solomon said, “We’re listening to our clients and trying to help our clients as they’re exploring those things too.”
Goldman Sachs is considering crypto derivatives in addition to Bitcoin futures.
COO David Solomon stated that the company is already assisting clients in publicly-traded derivatives such as Bitcoin (BTC) futures, and that the company is “very cautiously” considering “some other activities” in the field.
According to Solomon, the purpose of the company is to “evolve its business and adapt to the environment” with respect to cryptocurrencies.
“We are clearing some futures around Bitcoin, talking about doing some other activities there, but it’s going very cautiously. We’re listening to our clients and trying to help our clients as they’re exploring those things too.”
Yesterday, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein confirmed his positive stance on cryptocurrencies, claiming that the adoption of digital coins like Bitcoin could happen similarly to the adoption of paper fiat money, which replaced gold and silver coins.
Goldman Sachs’ stance toward cryptocurrencies has changed as digital assets have grown more popular. In 2014, Goldman Sachs argued that Bitcoin does not qualify as a currency, while three years later, the firm said that it has become more difficult for institutional investors to ignore Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In December of last year, the company was even rumored to be opening its own crypto trading desk.
While the investment group denied the rumors of a trading desk in early 2018, the company’s position toward cryptocurrency has softened. In May, the firm said that crypto is “not fraud” and unveiled plans to begin trading in cryptocurrencies.
Last week, Fundstrat head of research Thomas Lee suggested that the recent decline in Bitcoin was caused by futures expirations. On June 9, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) requested trading data from crypto exchanges Bitstamp, Coinbase, itBit and Kraken as a part of an investigation into whether the platforms were engaged in activities that could constitute price manipulation when formulating the price of Bitcoin futures.
South Korea’s leading crypto exchange Bithumb halt’s services, moves crypto assets to cold storage following $30 million hack.
Initial reports from the Yonhap new agency indicate that over $30 million worth of cryptocurrencies were stolen during a cyber attack on June 19.
Cointelegraph Japan was informed that the hot wallet was hacked during the night and cryptocurrency stolen included Ripple. Once the exchange was made aware of the attack, it froze deposit and withdrawal services. Bithumb has already assured customers affected by the hack will be compensated for their losses.
“We checked that some of cryptocurrencies valued about $30 million was stolen. Those stolen cryptocurrencies will be covered from Bithumb and all of assets are being transferring to cold wallets.”
Furthermore, the exchange began moving all cryptocurrencies into a cold wallet on June 16, in conjunction with a security system check and database upgrade as per its Twitter account:
[Notice for the restart of service]— Bithumb (@BithumbOfficial) June 16, 2018
We are transferring all of asset to the cold wallet to build up the security system and upgrade DB. Starting from 15:00 pm(KST), we will restart our services and notice again as soon as possible. Appreciate for your support.
It is understood that the exchange also moved a large amount of Ether to its cold storage wallet as well.
The country’s Ministry of Science and Technology has already launched an investigation into the incident, according to the Yonhap news agency.
The hack has also prompted the Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA) to get involved in order to figure out how the hack took place, working closely with local police and other agencies. Authorities reportedly sent officers to Bithumb’s headquarters in Seoul to collect data and records from company computers.
This is not the first time that Bithumb has been compromised by a hacker. In July 2017, an employee’s computer was compromised, leading to 30,000 customers’ personal details being stolen.
It’s understood that the data was stolen from the personal computer of the employee, and not the company’s servers. The data did not contain passwords, but it was enough to enable fraudsters to use the information to dupe users.
This led to numerous Bithumb customers falling prey to scam calls and messages asking for account authentication codes. Those that fell for the scam saw funds stolen from their Bithumb accounts.
At this stage, it is not yet clear which specific cryptocurrencies were stolen from the exchange. Ripple tokens have been identified as one of the virtual currencies stolen, but we still don’t know how many of the 37 cryptocurrencies traded on the exchange were taken as well.
Image source: Coinmarketcap
Social media reacted in kind to the confirmation of the hack.
One Twitter user raised concerns after Bithumb deleted its initial tweet which had promised compensation to users affected by the cyber-attack.
Bitrefill CEO Sergej Kotliar noted that Bithumb’s moving of crypto assets to its cold wallet had caused a spike in fees on the Bitcoin mainnet:
Currently big backlogs and high fees on the bitcoin network. Just confirmed that it is Bithumb, cleaning out their hotwallet. pic.twitter.com/21ENfmZj56— Sergej Kotliar (@ziggamon) June 20, 2018
This also seems to be confirmed by transaction fee data from blockchain.info:
Image source: Blockchain.info
As with all cyber attacks, details are always sketchy in the first few hours and days after the event. Bithumb is expected to give clarity on the theft and advise when normal trading, and deposits and withdrawals will resume on the exchange.
The latest situation once again casts a spotlight on South Korea. This latest hack comes just a couple of weeks after fellow South Korean exchange Coinrail was hit by a cyber attack. In that instance, the exchange lost $37 million worth of cryptocurrency to the hack.
Bithumb was only recently cleared of any wrongdoing after a three month long investigation into its practices by South Korean authorities.
The National Tax Service (NTS), Financial Services Commission (FSC) and Korea Financial Intelligence Unit (KFIU) had been investigating the exchange for any illegal activities, from fraudulent business practices to tax evasion.
Having declared a 71-fold increase in profits in a 12 month period, Bithumb was ordered to pay a tax bill of $28 million after the probe.
In the grand scheme of things, this latest Bithumb hack pales in comparison to some of the biggest cryptocurrency hacks in history. What is more, the exchange seems to have moved quickly to protect users funds, and has already promised to refund those who were affected by the theft.
Bithumb’s integrity will be tested in the weeks to come, and the spotlight is firmly on the South Korean exchange.
A new project for a stabilized cryptocurrency that would function ‘like normal money,’ has received backing from Peter Thiel, Coinbase, and 40 others.
A new project for a stabilized cryptocurrency that would function “like normal money,” has received backing from Peter Thiel, Coinbase, Distributed Global, GSR.IO and 40 others, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph June 20.
The developmental-stage stable-value crypto project is dubbed “Reserve,” and closed a collective $5 mln seed round to develop a fully decentralized cryptocurrency that works “by locking up other cryptoassets in a smart contract in order to provide backing to the Reserve token and stabilize its price.”
According to Reserve co-founder Nevin Freeman, the seed funding was intentionally kept “small,” with the round focusing on partnership-building rather than amassing capital.
In response to a question from Cointelegraph, Freeman clarified what distinguishes the Reserve protocol from other stablecoin crypto projects, saying that:
"The key piece of the Reserve approach is to use cryptoassets from outside of our own ecosystem to maintain a peg, especially at the start. The problem with supporting a peg via cryptoassets that are all within a stablecoin's smart contracts is that loss in confidence in that particular stablecoin can spiral out of control. We've worked hard to make that as unlikely as we can."
Reserve considers that a price-stable cryptocurrency would offer a solution for countries where failing fiat currencies and high inflation rates jeopardize citizens’ savings.
While unpegged existing cryptocurrencies can already protect citizens from governments by being decentralized, their price volatility nonetheless limits them from serving most retail uses. In Freeman’s words:
“Put simply: nobody wants to spend a token that may be worth twice as much next month to buy a carton of milk, and nobody wants to store their savings in a token that may be worth nothing in a year.”
The project has notably sought an advising relationship with a financial services consultancy headed by a former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Commissioner, that also includes former officials from the CFTC, Federal Reserve, OCC, and Treasury Department.
Earlier this month at MoneyConf Dublin, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire made a strong case for stablecoins in a “tokenized global economy,” giving the example of debt obligations as a key use case that would require denomination in an asset with a less volatile price baseline.
Unlike Reserve, Circle’s focus is on fiat-stabilized coins - of which Tether (USDT) is the most famous, if controversial, example. Circle recently closed a $110 million fundraising round to partner with mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain on the development of its own US dollar-backed stable coin, reportedly to be released in summer.
Rapper and singer Akon has announced the creation of his own cryptocurrency, the Akoin, to be used in his new crypto city.
Rapper and singer Akon of twelve Billboard Top Ten Hits, including the famous “Smack That,” has announced the creation of his own cryptocurrency for use in his new African “Akon Crypto City,” Page Six reported yesterday, June 19.
During a panel at Cannes Lion, Senegal-descended Akon said that his cryptocurrency, the Akoin, will be available in two weeks for use in the 2,000 acres of land recently given to him by the president of Senegal.
The new Akon Crypto City describes itself as a “100% crypto-based city with Akoin at the center of transactional life [...] blend[ing] leading Smart City planning designs with a blank canvas for cryptonizing our daily human and business exchanges, towards inventing a radical new way of existence.”
Akon, who has already been involved with bringing solar power to Africa through his Lighting Africa project, said that bringing cryptocurrency to Africa can help empower its public:
“I think that blockchain and crypto could be the savior for Africa in many ways because it brings the power back to the people and brings the security back into the currency system and also allows the people to utilize it in ways where they can advance themselves and not allow government to do those things that are keeping them down.”
When asked about the specifics of the technology, Akon demurred, noting, “I come with the concepts and let the geeks figure it out.”
The singer also mentioned the possibility of his running for U.S. president in 2020, imagining a future debate between himself, current president Donald Trump, and rapper Kanye West:
“And the debate stage will be set where it’s all about me. It’s perfect, a masterplan. I’m going to come in with a team so crazy, man, it’s all going down. I’m not holding my tongue. The way I look at it, win or lose, at least I get the movement going, I get the conversation going.”
Both Akon’s cryptocurrency and presidential ambitions mirror those of John McAfee, formerly of McAfee Anti-Virus software and now well-known crypto enthusiast. McAfee announced recently that he would be releasing his own fiat currency backed by crypto, as well as plans to run for president in order to gain a wider platform for promoting cryptocurrency.
Latest technical analysis of top 9 cryptocurrencies from an expert trader.
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.
The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.
Bitcoin’s rolling 30-day annualized volatility has declined to about 61 percent from the highs of over 150 percent in 2017. The Blue Line Futures president believes that this is a sign that selling has exhausted, and cryptocurrencies are in a bottoming process.
We have also held a similar view for the past few days and have therefore been advising the long-term investors to build their portfolio on sharp dips.
Earlier this month, the hacking of the South Korean exchange Coinrail allegedly led to a sharp fall in the cryptocurrency prices. On June 20, Bithumb, the sixth largest crypto exchange by trade volume reported that it had been hacked and with more than $30 million worth of digital currencies stolen. Though this led to a knee-jerk reaction, the damage has been limited, which shows that the selling intensity has reduced.
So, should the traders start buying? Let’s see.
Bitcoin is trying to pull back from the lows. It has major resistance at the downtrend line. The 20-day EMA is also located just above this line at $7,011. If prices turn down from the overhead resistance, a retest of the June 13th lows at $6,277.23 is probable.
If the bulls manage to break out of the 20-day EMA, the BTC/USD pair should rally to $7,700 levels. The 20-day EMA is flattening out, which shows that the selling pressure is waning.
Though the initial risk to reward ratio is not attractive, we recommended a long position in our previous analysis because we believe that Bitcoin will be range bound and from the current levels, the rally can extend to $8,500 and then to $10,000 on the upside.
The traders can go long if prices sustain above $7,050 levels for four hours. The SL can be kept at $6,000.
As the initial risk to reward ratio is not attractive, please use only 40 percent of the usual position size.
Ethereum is showing short-term outperformance as it has continued to move up in the past couple of days. It has broken out of the resistance line of the descending channel and is on the verge of breaking out of the final resistance at the 20-day EMA.
Once the bulls break out and close above the 20-day EMA at $545, the ETH/USD pair should rally to the overhead resistance at $628.99. If the bulls succeed in breaking out of this level, a rally to $700 will be on the cards.
Hence, the traders can initiate long positions once the digital currency sustains above $550 levels for four hours. The stop loss can be placed below the $470 levels. As the sentiment is still negative, please keep the position size small.
Ripple couldn’t break out of the overhead resistance at $0.56270 on June 19. Lack of buying support even at these low levels is a bearish sign.
If the bulls don’t scale above the overhead resistance within a couple of days, the bears will attempt to break down of the $0.45351 levels. If successful, the XRP/USD pair can sink to $0.24, which is the next major support.
Such a fall will dent sentiment, and it will take a long time for the digital currency to recover higher. We shall wait for a buy setup to form before suggesting any trade on it.
Bitcoin Cash is facing resistance at the downtrend line. If prices turn down from here and break below the $817.8709 levels, the fall can extend to the next support zone at $777.5304-$736.0137.
Above the downtrend line, the bulls might hit a roadblock at the 20-day EMA or just above it. However, once the BCH/USD pair sustains above the $1,000 mark, chances of a rally to $1,200 increase.
Hence, we retain our buy recommendation provided in our previous analysis. Please keep the allocation size 40 percent of the average one.
EOS has been trading close to the $10.3384 levels for the past few days. Attempts to break out or break down of this level have failed.
The EOS/USD pair will turn bearish if it breaks below the $9.0887 levels, which can lead to a fall to $8.
On the upside, any attempts to rally will face resistance at the 20-day EMA, the downtrend line, and the 50-day SMA.
Therefore, we shall wait for a new buy setup to form before proposing a trade on it.
Litecoin has not seen a follow-up selling after the breakdown from the bearish descending triangle pattern. Currently, the price is stuck inside a small range of $102.974 on the upside and $90.994 on the downside.
A breakdown of the $90.994 levels can extend the fall to $84.708 and $75.131.
On the other hand, if the bulls succeed in breaking out of the overhead resistance at $107.102, it will confirm that the markets have rejected the lower levels and the digital currency is ready to move up. A failure of a bearish pattern is a bullish sign.
Hence, the traders can go long on the LTC/USD pair if it breaks out and closes (UTC) above the $108 levels with the stops below the recent lows. The target levels on the upside are $127 and $140.
Cardano has been consolidating close to the $0.16 levels for the past six days. It is following a similar trend it had between mid-March to early-April of this year.
The RSI is showing firsts signs of positive divergence. We shall turn bullish if the ADA/USD pair breaks out and sustains above the 20-day EMA for a couple of days.
On the downside, $0.13 is major support, which should attract buying. Any break of this will invalidate our assumption of a range and can lead to a fall to $0.078215.
Stellar has been trading inside a tight range of $0.21529463 on the downside and $0.24588302 on the upside for the past six days. A breakdown from this range will push prices towards the critical support at $0.184.
On the upside, the XLM/USD pair has a slew of resistances close to the $0.25 mark. If the bulls succeed in scaling above this level, a rally to $0.31 is probable.
The traders can buy on a breakout and close (UTC) above the 20-day EMA with the stops below the $0.21 levels. This is a risky trade, hence, please keep the allocation size 40 percent of usual.
IOTA is struggling to move up. The recovery attempt on June 19 could not even reach the overhead resistance at $1.33.
The IOTA/USD pair will slide to the major support at $0.9150 if it breaks below the June 18th lows of $1.0795. We anticipate buying to emerge close to the $0.9150 levels as this level has not been broken since November 27 of last year.
We should wait for a bounce from the lows to sustain before suggesting any long positions because a break of $0.9150 can sink the digital currency to $0.666.
The chairman of a large South Korean gaming firm has said that blockchain will be applied across all industries in the future.
During the 9th Annual Strategy Forum held in Seoul, chairman Bang Joon-hyuk responded to a college student’s question about the future of blockchain and business with an optimistic prediction for blockchain’s use:
"Blockchain with objectivity, reliability and security will be applied to all industries in the future,"
When asked if blockchain’s current popularity was a bubble, the chairman then compared the innovation of blockchain with that of the Internet:
“The Internet was not a bubble. The Internet has made all industries convenient [...] [Blockchain]
is not a bubble because there are people who have invested in bitcoin. It is a bubble for those who do not know, but an opportunity for those who know."
Bang Joon-hyuk continued with his comparison, noting that since blockchain is in its nascency, taking advantage of the technology could bring success similar to the Internet entrepreneurs of the 1980s:
"It seems that this time comes once every ten years [...] now we are expecting blockchain.”
South Korea’s central bank has begun exploring the idea of using blockchain in order to achieve their aim of a cashless society by 2020. Furthermore, the South Korean government announced a new positive direction for their cryptocurrency and blockchain legislation at the end of May, when they announced a plan to make initial coin offerings (ICO) legal again.