SEC Suspends Trading of Three Companies With Ties to Cryptocurrency

SEC Suspends Trading of Three Companies With Ties to Cryptocurrency

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has suspended trading in the stocks of three companies with ties to cryptocurrency. One of the three is also planning an initial coin offering. The SEC says it is concerned about the nature of the companies’ business operations and the value of their assets.

Also read: Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies

SEC Suspends Trading of Three Stocks

The SEC has “suspended trading in three companies amid questions surrounding similar statements they made about the acquisition of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology-related assets,” the agency announced on Thursday. They are Cherubim Interests, PDX Partners, and Victura Construction Group. The three stocks are traded over-the-counter, with a market capitalization of less than $5 million each, according to Factset. The suspension is temporary, beginning on February 16 and ending on March 2.

SEC Suspends Trading of Three Companies With Ties to CryptocurrencyThe agency stated that the three companies issued press releases claiming that they have “acquired AAA-rated assets from a subsidiary of a private equity investor in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, among other things.” However, the SEC says there are questions regarding the nature of the companies’ business operations and the value of their assets.

In addition, Cherubim Interests also announced that it will launch an initial coin offering (ICO). The trading suspension of this company’s shares is also due to its delinquency in filing annual and quarterly reports with the Commission.

Acquisitions and ICO

The three companies’ press releases list the same chief executive officer, Patrick J. Johnson, “who played for the Oregon Ducks and the Baltimore Ravens in the NFL,” wrote the Oregonian.

SEC Suspends Trading of Three Companies With Ties to CryptocurrencyJohnson told the publication that PDX Partners makes iPhone apps, adding that last month the company “acquired $350 million in assets belonging to a private equity firm called NVC Fund Holding Trust, whose portfolio includes ‘cryptocurrency and business financial services’.”

Cherubim Interests and Victura Construction Group have also made similar acquisitions. Furthermore, the former announced on January 3 that it has “executed a financing commitment of $100,000,000 to launch [an] initial coin offering for The Self Sustaining Intentional Communities Coin (Symbol SJT),” adding that “The sale of the coins will generate the capital to create self-sustaining intentional communities across the US and across 57 nations.”

Regulators’ Warnings

In August of last year, the SEC issued an Investor Alert about public companies making ICO-related claims. “The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is warning investors about potential scams involving stock of companies claiming to be related to, or asserting they are engaging in, Initial Coin Offerings (or ICOs),” the agency wrote, adding that “Fraudsters often try to use the lure of new and emerging technologies to convince potential victims to invest their money in scams.”

The SEC’s action against the three companies come at the same time another US regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), issued a warning about dump-and-pump schemes involving “thinly traded or new ‘alternative’ virtual currencies, digital coins or tokens.”

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


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and SEC.


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PR: World Blockchain Forum Brings Global Blockchain Elite to Dubai

World Blockchain Forum Dubai

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

Dubai, UAE

Following the historic response to sister event The North American Bitcoin Conference, held in Miami earlier this year, Keynote has released details of their World Blockchain Forum in Dubai, 16th and 17th April.

Known as a global centre for innovation and investment opportunity, Dubai provides an inspirational backdrop for the 3rd annual World Blockchain Forum. Visionary leaders, economic pioneers and enterprising investors from around the world will come together for one of the most exclusive events on the global blockchain calendar.

As the longest-running crypto-technology conference in Dubai, WBF will delve into the innovative possibilities of blockchain technology, the impact of cryptocurrencies on global financial markets and the shifting landscape of ICOs.

With more than 500 Bitcoin and blockchain innovators and investors expected to attend, WBF – Dubai builds on the success of similar events in London, Los Angeles and Chicago as part of the World Blockchain Forum. The two-day event focuses on the future of finance and investment, successful past and future ICOs, regulation & governance, and considers how decentralization continues to disrupt the banking sector.

“We are thrilled to host another meeting of brilliant minds in the heart of the UAE and look forward to welcoming leaders of the crypto community from around the globe. Since 2015 we have been committed to bringing more companies and dedicating more resources to the UAE, to bring His Highness Sheikh Hamdan’s blockchain strategy and vision to life,” said Moe Levin, Founder and CEO of Keynote.

World Blockchain Forum Program Details
Held at the stunning Madinat Jumeirah overlooking the Gulf, this year’s internationally-acclaimed event speakers look at the ways in which vanguards, executives, and entrepreneurs can innovate the future of a new world economy.

Past WBF Speakers include:
Vitalik Buterin – Co-founder, Ethereum
H.E. DR. Aisha Bin Bishr – Director General at Smart Dubai
Patrick Byrne – CEO, Overstock & t0
Star Xu, CEO – OKCoin
Roger Ver – CEO, Bitcoin.com
Eva Kaili – Greece, Member of European Parliament
Charlie Shrem – Bitcoin Pioneer
Gabriel Abed – Founder, Bitt
Ola Oudin – CEO, BitOasis
Gabriel Kurman – Co-founder, RSK Labs
Ryan Taylor- CEO, Dash Core
Jason King – Co-founder, Academy
Moe Levin – Founder, Keynote
Ruslan Gavrilyuk – Co-founder, Taas.fund

For a full list of speakers visit: https://dubai.keynote.ae/speakers/
Tickets can be purchased at: dubai.keynote.ae/tickets/

About Keynote
Keynote was launched in 2012 by blockchain strategist Moe Levin. For further information and details about Keynote and the WBF – Dubai event, visit dubai.keynote.ae

For media inquiries, please contact Amandah Hendricks, Keynote’s Chief of Communications at amandah@keynote.ae

Contact Email Address
amandah@keynote.ae
Supporting Link
dubai.keynote.ae

This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. 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 content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

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Japanese Crypto Associations Merging to Restore Trust Across the Industry

Japanese Crypto Associations Merging to Restore Trust Across the Industry

Japan’s two cryptocurrency associations have reportedly decided to merge in order to restore trust in the industry and accelerate self-imposed rules. Once approved by the Japanese financial regulator, the new organization will have the power to set penalties for breaches of self-regulation.

Also read: Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies

Two Crypto Associations Merging

Japan currently has two cryptocurrency industry associations: the Japan Blockchain Association (JBA) and the Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association (JCBA). The former is headed by Bitflyer CEO, Yuzo Kano, and has a total of 88 members, while the latter has a total of 154 members, according to Minkabu publication.

Japanese Crypto Associations Merging to Restore Trust Across the IndustryThe two organizations have reportedly been in talks to merge after the hack of one of the country’s largest exchanges, Coincheck, where 58 billion yen worth on the cryptocurrency NEM were stolen. They “are hurried to restore trust in the industry,” Forbes Japan reported.

They “will be integrated to establish a new self-regulating organization,” to focus on areas such as safety management system and compensation of customer assets, the news outlet added. In addition, the new entity will also focus on the reliability of crypto exchanges that have already been approved by the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA). Currently, there are 16 approved exchanges and 16 under review, including Coincheck.

On Thursday, Nikkei reported:

Two cryptocurrency industry groups in Japan [JBA and JCBA] have agreed to merge in an effort to accelerate the establishment of voluntary regulations and regain public trust in the aftermath of a massive virtual currency heist.

Set to launch on April 1, “The new organization’s chairman will likely be JCBA Chairman Taizen Okuyama, president of Money Partners Group,” the news outlet detailed, adding that Kano is “expected to become the self-regulatory body’s vice chairman.”

Commenting on the news of its merger with the JBA, the JCBA issued a statement on Thursday, stating that no details have been decided at this time.

Accelerating Self-Regulations

Japanese Crypto Associations Merging to Restore Trust Across the IndustryThe new entity will need the approval of the FSA. Under Japan’s revised payment services law which went into effect in April of last year, cryptocurrency operators are allowed to form a self-regulatory organization. They can “set industry rules, conduct investigations on members, and impose punishment,” the Japan Times elaborated.

However, the FSA previously “refused to allow two self-regulatory bodies, urging the industry to create a unified organization by merging the JBA and the JCBA,” Nikkei explained on Thursday, adding that:

Once the new body is approved by the agency, it will gain the power to set penalties for breaches of its self-imposed rules. This should also help address calls by banks and other businesses in the conventional financial industry for virtual currency businesses to establish a robust self-regulatory regime.

Do you think the merger will help the crypto industry gain more of the public’s trust? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Bank of Thailand Bans Banks From Cryptocurrency Activities

Bank of Thailand Bans Banks From Five Cryptocurrency Activities

The Thai central bank has prohibited financial institutions in the country from five key cryptocurrency activities, including banning customers from buying cryptocurrencies with credit cards.

Also read: Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies

Banks Banned From 5 Crypto Activities

Bank of Thailand Bans Banks From Five Cryptocurrency ActivitiesThe Bank of Thailand (BOT) issued a circular on Monday asking “financial institutions not to get involved in cryptocurrency transactions for fear of possible problems from the unregulated trading,” Reuters translated.

Mr. Wisit Santiprabop, the central bank’s governor, signed the circular which outlines five key cryptocurrency activities banks are banned from:

Investing or trading in cryptocurrency, exchanging cryptocurrencies, creating platforms for cryptocurrency trading, allowing clients to use credit cards to buy cryptocurrencies, and from advising customers on cryptocurrency investing or trading.

Bank of Thailand Bans Banks From Five Cryptocurrency Activities
Circular explaining five crypto activities banks are banned from.

The central bank stated that “cryptocurrencies were not legal tender in Thailand,” the publication conveyed, adding that “it was worried that they may be used in illegal activities such as money laundering or supporting terrorism.”

Recently, the Thai government announced that it will not ban cryptocurrencies and is developing a regulatory framework for them.

Banks Complying

Bank of Thailand Bans Banks From Five Cryptocurrency ActivitiesMs. Prasanee Auiyamaphan, a Bangkok Bank Executive Assistant, was quoted by Voice TV saying that the bank has “no policy to provide [crypto] exchange services,” emphasizing that cryptocurrencies cannot be exchanged for cash at her bank.

Bank of Thailand Bans Banks From Five Cryptocurrency ActivitiesMr. Thana Thienachariya, Senior Executive VP and Chief Marketing Officer at Siam Commercial Bank said that its subsidiary, Digital Ventures Co. Ltd., has previously formed a strategic alliance with Ripple to offer a payment service between Japan and Thailand. He added that his bank will be discussing this issue with the central bank.

Bank of Thailand Bans Banks From Five Cryptocurrency ActivitiesMr. Thakorn Piyapan, Head of Krungsri Consumer Group and an executive of Digital Banking and Innovation at Bank of Ayudhya said, “although the bank will use the transfer service across the country through Ripple,” it is cooperating with the BOT and “does not provide any [cryptocurrency] services at all.”

He explained that there are some areas that banks need to examine before being able to comply. For example, to prevent customers from buying cryptocurrencies using credit cards, he elaborated:

In Thailand, people are buying digital currency. So the bank is asking for time to check the type of transactions that customers [make when they] swipe cards that are associated with digital currency. If applicable, the bank may have to suspend the service.

Recently, banks in the US and well as the UK have also banned their credit card customers from buying cryptocurrencies.

As for cryptocurrency traders, Poramin Insom, managing director of the Thai crypto exchange TDAX, said that “there is no impact on people who are investors of cryptocurrencies,” the news outlet quoted him. However, he explained, “TDAX is affected by this announcement, which makes the process of opening an account with the bank take longer. Bank of Thailand requests more documents.”

What do you think of the Bank of Thailand’s action? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bangkok Bank, SCB, Krungsri, and Bank of Thailand.


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The IRS Takes Its Tax Evasion Hunt to the Blockchain

The IRS Takes Its Tax Evasion Hunt to the Blockchain

As the adage goes, there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. For any U.S. bitcoiners considering wriggling out of the latter, that task just got a little harder. The country’s Internal Revenue Service has revealed that it’s bolstering its armory to make it easier to track down crypto tax evaders. It’s now assembled a crack team of blockchain forensic experts to help claim its pound of flesh.

Also read: Bitfury as Big Brother: Mining Company Tracks Bitcoiners

The Taxman Tools Up

U.S. citizens have known for some time that the IRS has been shining its spotlight on the crypto space. The first flickers emerged over a year ago, after the tax body subpoenaed Coinbase for its user data in a case that wound up in the courts before the IRS ultimately prevailed, securing the details of over 15,000 exchange customers. That spotlight has gotten discernibly brighter now that the IRS has successfully enlisted heavyweights with the tools and skills to pry into blockchain activity.

The IRS Takes Its Tax Evasion Hunt to the Blockchain
Don Fort

In an interview, IRS chief Don Fort revealed how the Criminal Investigation Division, which he heads, has added 10 new investigators. “It’s possible to use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the same fashion as foreign bank accounts to facilitate tax evasion,” he said. Bloomberg reports how the Criminal Investigation Division has actually lost key staffers since 2011 on account of budget cuts. The recruitment of 10 new staffers will see the division returned to full strength, complete with its own crew of blockchain experts.

Forensic Tools for a Digital Age

The range of blockchain tools available to U.S. investigators is getting more numerous and sophisticated. Companies such as Bitfury have earned ire from the crypto community for their willingness to work hand in glove with law enforcement to scrutinize blockchain activity, clustering related addresses together and highlighting suspicious activity. The company’s advisor, Jason Weinstein, a former DOJ investigator, crowed: “Having a traceable public ledger of every bitcoin transaction ever conducted allows law enforcement to ‘follow the money’ in a way that would never be possible with cash.”

The IRS Takes Its Tax Evasion Hunt to the BlockchainMost countries expect their citizens to pay take on cryptocurrency, so it is not atypical for an agency such as the IRS to take a proactive stance on bitcoin. U.S. agencies are famed for their unparalleled investigative powers, though, and tentacles that extend way beyond home turf. In fact, the IRS recently wrapped up a successful investigation into U.S. assets concealed in Swiss bank accounts. If it has reason to believe citizens within its jurisdiction are hiding their cryptocurrency in overseas exchanges, it will have no qualms about following suit.

When it comes to taxation, U.S. bitcoiners can roughly be split into three groups: those (begrudgingly) intending to pay, those hoping the IRS will spare them on account of having bigger fish to fry, and those willing to do whatever it takes not to pay, even if that means moving to Puerto Rico. While the IRS lacks the resources to pursue every U.S. citizen with a stake in cryptocurrency, the tide is evidently turning. The days of wide scale cryptocurrency tax avoidance are surely numbered.

Do you think the IRS will start coming after U.S. bitcoiners in bulk, or is it simply trying to scare crypto holders into paying tax? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, IRS, and LinkedIn.


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