California Bill Aims to Recognize Blockchain Records

California Bill Aims to Recognize Blockchain Records

The state of California has introduced a new bill that aims to recognize blockchain transactions, digital signatures, and smart contracts as a legal form of record. Assemblyman Ian Calderon introduced Assembly Bill 2658 on February 20 in order to re-define laws that apply to electronic records that take place within the state.  

Also read: Indians Look to Buy Bitcoin Overseas as Regulations Tighten

California State Assembly Person Introduces Blockchain Record Keeping Bill  

California Bill Aims to Recognize Blockchain RecordsAn American lawmaker serving in the California State Assembly in the 57th district, Ian Calderon, wants blockchain records, and smart contracts to be covered under California law. Calderon, a Democrat from the Gateway Cities region, believes these types of records and definitions should be included the California court system. Essentially the bill proposes that records or signatures will not be able to be denied because they are presented in electronic form.

“A record that is secured through blockchain technology is an electronic record,” Assembly Bill 2658 explains.           

A signature that is secured through blockchain technology is an ‘electronic signature’ and also updates the term ‘contract’ to account for smart contracts, or self-executing pieces of code that trigger when certain conditions (like a reaching a particular block number on a blockchain) are met.

Assembly Bill 2658 Will Also Cover Blockchain Storage

California Bill Aims to Recognize Blockchain Records
California’s 57th district democrat, Ian Calderon.

The California State Assembly bill will have to be approved by other state lawmakers alongside Governor Jerry Brown’s signature in order for it to become law. Calderon’s proposal aims to define blockchain storage recorded by blockchain technology as well. However, U.S. agencies can suspend a business licensee that provides electronic records if they failed to comply with certain sections of U.S. money transmission laws.

California’s State Assembly bill is very similar to bills introduced in Arizona, Vermont, and Florida. These three states also have lawmakers proposing new definitions and laws that recognize blockchain transactions, digital signatures, and smart contracts. If Assembly Bill 2658 pushes through California’s legislature and Governor Jerry Brown’s desk then the law will stay in place until January 1, 2021.

What do you think about the proposed bill that’s making its way towards California legislature? Do you think most U.S. states will follow this path? Let us know what you think in the comments below.  


Images via Shutterstock, Ian Calderon’s Assembly office, and the California State Assembly.


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Four Arrested Following Taiwanese Crypto Robbery

Four Arrested Following Taiwanese Crypto Robbery

Taiwanese police have arrested four men after a bitcoin robbery worth five million Taiwanese dollars (approximately $170,000 USD). The case has been described as the first of its kind in Taiwan by authorities.

Also Read: Bungling Bitcoin Thieves Foiled by Quick-Witted Trader 

Taiwanese Trader Loses 18 Bitcoins in Robbery

Four Arrested Following Taiwanese Crypto RobberyA bitcoin trader with the surname of Tai has become the victim of Taiwan’s first crypto robbery.

Taiwanese Police have stated that three men in their early 20s arrange to meet Mr. Tai in the city of Taichung under the pretext that they were wanting to purchase bitcoins from him. Once Mr. Tai had evidenced that he possessed 18 bitcoin using his phone, the assailants assaulted him and his friend, before taking his and phone transferring 18 bitcoins from his wallet. Taiching city police also stated that the suspects forced Mr. Tai to drink Kaoliang, a strong Taiwanese liquor, in an attempt to have the incident dismissed a drunken argument.

The police arrested one man at the scene of the crime after receiving a call about the incident. The official police statement said that “The police saw bloodstains at the scene…after further investigation, it was discovered to be a bitcoin virtual currency robbery,” adding that case comprised “the first domestic case of bitcoin robbery.”

Incidences of Crypto Robberies on Increase

Four Arrested Following First Taiwanese Crypto RobberyThe two other suspected assailants were arrested later, one of whom was found hiding on the outlying island of Kinmen. The fourth individual, surnamed Shih, was later detained and is accused of being the mastermind behind the robbery.

Last month, three men armed with handguns attempted to rob the office of an Ottawa-based bitcoin exchange, Canadian Bitcoins. Four employees were bound, however an unseen fifth employee was able to contact police, who were able to thwart the robbery. A Russian man holidaying in Phuket, Thailand was also the victim of a crypto robbery last month, after being blindfolded and forced to transfer approximately $100,000 worth of bitcoin to his assailants.

As a cryptocurrency investor, what security precautions do you take? Share your strategies in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock


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Ross Ulbricht Denied Post-Conviction Relief Extension

Ross Ulbricht Denied Post-Conviction Relief Extension

The man convicted of creating the Silk Road marketplace, Ross Ulbricht, has lost yet another appeal to extend his “post-conviction relief.” Judge Katherine Forrest, the judge who sentenced Ulbricht to a double life sentence in 2015, denied the legal team’s attempt to renew the case even if additional circumstantial evidence is found in the future.

Also read: 30 People Who Were Really Wrong About Bitcoin

The Judge Who Sentenced Ross Ulbricht Throws Down the Hammer Once Again

Ross Ulbricht Denied Post-Conviction Relief Extension
Ross Ulbricht.

This month the Judge who handed down two-lifetime prison sentences to Ross Ulbricht denied yet another appeal from within this ongoing court battle. Ulbricht was convicted in February 2015 for creating and running the underground online marketplace the Silk Road from 2011 to 2013. He is currently serving a double life sentence without the chance of parole for money laundering, conspiracy, computer hacking, and narcotics traffic. Over the past few years, Ulbricht’s family members and his legal team have been trying to appeal the sentence with many attempts to re-open the case. The last undertaking took place last year in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the panel of Judges denied the appeal.

Motion Denied

Now, according to court documents obtained by the Ars Technica columnist Cyrus Farivar, three years later Judge Katherine Forrest is throwing her judgment down again towards the convicted Silk Road creator. Ulbricht’s new lawyer, Paul Grant, tried to extend the fixed three year period with a motion called “Rule 33.” This means that when Ulbricht was sentenced three years ago, there would be a period of time that could be extended if circumstantial evidence was found.

“The motion to extend time for a Rule 33 motion is DENIED,” Judge Forrest explains in her recent notes. “A Rule 33 motion is not an opportunity to relitigate that which has been litigated, or to engage in a fishing expedition for new evidence.”

The Court appreciates that Mr. Grant was not involved in the trial, but the transcript reveals that the very evidence to which he now points (that the FBI was monitoring the defendant’s online movements) was explicitly known at the trial.

Ross Ulbricht Denied Post-Conviction Relief Extension
Judge Forrest’s notes denying the Rule 33 motion.

Petitioning the Highest Court System

The denial is not Ulbricht’s last chance as he still has a petition with the Supreme Court that was filed late last year. Justices from the high court will hear a response from federal prosecutors in a few weeks, and they will deliberate on whether or not the case should be renewed. The Petition for Writ of Certiorari is asking the Supreme court Justices to “review and reconsider the lower courts’ decisions, based on constitutional violations in the investigation and at sentencing.”  

On February 5, 2018, twenty-one organizations recorded five amicus briefs endorsing the Supreme Court petition. Groups in the amicus briefs include the American Black Cross, the Downsize DC Foundation, the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, the Drug Policy Alliance, the Cato Institute and more.       

What do you think about Judge Forrest’s decision to deny Ross Ulbricht an extension? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Images via Pixabay, Freeross.org, and documents obtained by Cyrus Farivar. 


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Tim Draper on Bitcoin: “Why Would I Sell the Future for the Past?”

Tim Draper on Bitcoin: “Why Would I Sell the Future for the Past?”

One of the most intriguing things about the cryptocurrency space is the diverse, eclectic, and often eccentric characters it attracts. Everyone from Wall Street brokers to cypherpunks and from industrialists to anarchists can be found staking their claim in the fledgling crypto economy and saying their piece. In a recent interview, venture capitalist Tim Draper was on fine form, producing a number of memorable quotes which encapsulate the bullish mood permeating the cryptoverse once more.

Also read: Kathleen Breitman: Tezos Will “Go Rogue” and Launch Soon

Hodling the Future in Place of the Past

“I think bitcoin is the future currency,” opined Tim Draper on Thursday. In a typically upbeat interview, the entrepreneur, whose net worth has been placed at $1 billion, had a lot of nice things to say about bitcoin. In the most quoted segment of his Bloomberg interview, Draper reasoned, ““People ask me, ‘Are you going to sell your bitcoin [for fiat]?’ and I say, ‘Why would I sell the future for the past?’” This augments previous remarks when Draper was quoted as saying: “I don’t know why anyone would want to go back to fiat when crypto is distributed, secure and global, while fiat is subject to the whims of political forces”.

Tim Draper on Bitcoin: “Why Would I Sell the Future for the Past?”While bitcoin’s status as a pure currency is a matter of some debate, it and the crypto assets it shares a space with are forming a new class of wealth storage and money transfer that offers a viable alternative to the status quo. Like most business moguls who are heavily invested in crypto – Michael Novogratz; the Winklevoss twins – Draper is very bullish about where bitcoin is going. The 59-year-old made his money at Draper Fisher Jurvetson, the venture capital firm famed for its investment in billion-dollar startups.

Fortune Favors the Brave

More than 30 years since Draper founded his company, which oversees assets of $5 billion, he’s reinvented himself as a crypto entrepreneur willing to put his money where his mouth is. An entrant in Forbes’ recent Crypto Rich List, Draper made much of his crypto wealth through having the perspicacity to snap up the Silk Road bitcoins auctioned by U.S. Marshals in 2014. He was fortunate, of course, to have the capital and the accreditation required to acquire those 32,000 bitcoins, which now look like a snip at $18 million.

Tim Draper on Bitcoin: “Why Would I Sell the Future for the Past?”For all the success that foray brought him, Draper’s immersement in all things crypto hasn’t been without its controversies. A high profile backer of Tezos, he’s been forced on the defensive as delays have dragged on and the lawsuits have piled up. One of the biggest bones of contention with the Tezos affair is the extent to which bitcoin has since grown in value. This has benefited Tezos but has done nothing for the investors who parted with their BTC last year on the promise of XTZ tokens.

When questioned about bitcoin’s volatility on Bloomberg, Draper brushed aside suggestions that this was a turn-off for “regular people”. Instead, he chose to focus on the confidence he has in bitcoin, averring: “My bitcoin is more secure than my dollars in the banks…my bitcoin is very secure”. While some entrepreneurs, most notably Steve Wozniak, have conceded that the rough and tumble of the cryptocurrency markets is not for them, Tim Draper seems to be enjoying the ride, and has no intention of selling “the future for the past”.

Do you think Tim Draper is correct to call bitcoin the currency of the future? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Wikipedia.


Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that enables near-instant, low-cost payments to anyone, anywhere in the world. Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority: transaction management and money issuance are carried out collectively by the network. Read all about it at wiki.Bitcoin.com.

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Pewdiepie Pokes Fun at Youtubers Who Shilled Bitconnect

Pewdiepie Pokes Fun at Youtubers Who Shilled Bitconnect

Pewdiepie may be late to the Bitconnect bashing party, but he’s made up for it in a searing 15-minute sketch. “Finally I can quit making Youtube videos, this is the answer BITCONEEEEEECT!” the world’s most popular Youtuber cries to his 60 million subscribers. In “How I Made My Millions! (and so can you)”, Pewdiepie also takes aim at the Youtubers who were responsible for promoting the cryptocurrency.

Also read: Bitconnect Shuts Down Its Exchange Citing a String of Excuses

Bitconnect Gets the Pewdiepie Treatment

“It’s a great meme,” begins Pewdiepie, acknowledging Carlos’ Bitconnect scream that has been parodied and remixed countless times. Mocking Bitconnect has been fashionable for some time now, and as Pewdiepie concedes he’s “the last one to the meme”. The sketch opens with a montage of various Youtubers who were pivotal in driving Bitconnect’s pyramid scheme. When the house of cards collapsed, the videos were hastily deleted but not before they had been saved and re-uploaded by users, because the internet never forgets.

“The thing about cryptocurrency is everyone’s just shilling it for their own benefit so who can you really trust?” ponders Pewdiepie before proposing his own Brofist Coin. There’s not much to be gleaned from Pewdiepie’s latest video in terms of how the Bitconnect scam unfolded; the Swedish vlogger is more interested in goofing around and interspersing clips of Carlos with his own attempts at the Bitconnect scream. He does succeed in pointing out the ridiculousness of the scheme, however, and expresses incredulity that people were seduced by it.

Pewdiepie Pokes Fun at Youtubers Who Shilled Bitconnect

Too Little, Too Late

It’s a shame Pewdiepie hadn’t caught on to Bitconnect earlier. If he had, his influence may have helped steer some people away from it. For the millions who watch Pewdiepie’s channel, this introduction to cryptocurrency will not have been a particularly positive one; they’re not to know that most cryptocurrencies are nothing like Bitconnect. The crypto Youtube community could use its own Pewdiepie to make light of the more ridiculous aspects of the space and point out suspected scams. Pewdiepie isn’t the most intellectual of Youtubers, but he’s the perfect buffoon for highlighting the buffoonery of Bitconnect and all who sailed on her.

Who are your favorite crypto Youtubers and what do you make of Pewdiepie’s Bitconnect sketch? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and Youtube.


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This Week in Bitcoin: Hip Hop and You Don’t Stop

This Week in Bitcoin: Hip Hop and You Don’t Stop

For the first time in forever – okay, a month – bitcoin is looking bullish again. Not wreck-a-china-shop bullish, but enough for us to focus on things other than price action. Things like hip-hoppers whose love affair with bitcoin is blossoming. And cult-like altcoin fanatics whose taste for the Kool-Aid is strengthening. Like a glutinous Chinese soup, we’ve got a little bit of everything stirred into This Week in Bitcoin.

Also read: American ATM Network Athena Bitcoin Adds Bitcoin Cash Support

The Rich Get Richer

If there’s one thing the 65% market dip has been good for, it’s helping bitcoin whales get richer still. You speculate, they accumulate, and the gap between the rich and the poor widens. Ridiculous wealth has its downsides though, like fending off increased scrutiny from the taxman. If U.S investors thought they had things bad with the IRS sniffing around on the blockchain, they should spare a thought for their Japanese counterparts, who are stung by capital gains tax on crypto trading profits of as much as 55%.

This Week in Bitcoin: Hip Hop and You Don’t Stop

Hip-hop Heavyweights Re Up On Crypto

Nas, Snoop Dogg, and Jay-Z are all indirectly invested in crypto thanks to their backing of Robinhood, the trading app which is about to add the option to purchase cryptocurrency. Rappers have the hots for crypto, despite it being the sort of wealth you can’t wear around your neck – not until someone creates a diamond encrusted Ledger at least. Not to forget 50 Cent with his reported bitcoin millions, and Wu Tang Clan, who’ve been repping bitcoin since before crypto was cool, and were sighted at Anarchapulco this week.

Someone else taking a keen interest in bitcoin this week was Ellen Degeneres. Regardless of whether her crypto skit on The Ellen Degeneres Show contributed to bitcoin’s rise is debatable, but it can’t have done any harm. Not everyone has been as kind to bitcoin lately though; Berkshire Hathaway’s vice chairman, Charlie Munger, described it as “Disgusting, detestable, noxious poison” which sounds like the bitcoin slogan we’ve all been waiting for. Can we make this a meme?

This Week in Bitcoin: Hip Hop and You Don’t Stop

Fork On or Fork Off?

More forks are on their way to an increasingly ambivalent community. Litecoin Cash has arrived, and been disowned by Charlie Lee, but is trading on Yobit, where it will likely live out its days. United Bitcoin is definitely happening, and it may be the most controversial fork yet. In comparison, Bitcoin Private – while not without its controversies – looks almost sensible in comparison.

Speaking of forks, the pitchforks were out this week for Andreas Brekken, who had the temerity to write a scathing piece on IOTA. IOTA baiting is all the rage right now, and regardless of whether it’s justified, it’s a sport that Twitter has taken to with aplomb. For so long as the IOTA community remains touchy, haters will prod and poke at them. IOTA is a loose tooth that mischievous bitcoiners can’t resist wobbling.

This Week in Bitcoin: Hip Hop and You Don’t Stop
Arguing with altcoin fanatics is a hazardous pastime.

10 Ways to Lose Your Crypto

As the saying goes “A fool and his money are easily parted”. While investing in Ponzi schemes falls firmly into the foolish category, it’s also possible to lose your crypto without doing a thing wrong. Sergey Medvedev probably did do a few things wrong to amass his $800 million bitcoin fortune, and duly parted with it once U.S. agents orchestrated his Thai arrest on carding charges. If you lost your crypto due to bad code, on the other hand, that’s not your fault, even if that’s of little consolation.

On the topic of code, despite bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies being open source, some developers are reluctant to share their blockchain innovations with the masses, preferring to protect them under patent law. Turns out there’s been a whole lotta cryptocurrency patents filed in the last 18 months, most of which seem to have come courtesy of Craig Wright – according to Craig Wright.

These might look like identical patents filed by Wright’s company on the same date under the same name, but each one is totally unique.

This Week in Bitcoin: Hip Hop and You Don’t Stop
Meet Etherlambos, the latest Crypto Kitties copycat.

This is the part where we acknowledge that we’ve ran out of space and time to cover the rest of this week’s top stories, so here goes: we’ve ran out of space and time to cover the rest of this week’s top stories. Which is a shame cos it would have been nice to talk about the Russian engineers arrested for mining crypto on a government supercomputer, blockchain trading game Etherlambos, and why you can’t judge a coin by its market cap. Catch more insights and entertainment in the This Week in Bitcoin podcast with Matt Aaron. See you next week for more sensible chuckles from the disgusting, detestable, noxious, poisonous world of bitcoin.

What was your favorite story from this week in bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and Twitter.


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Bitcoin Puzzle Games Are Growing in Popularity

Bitcoin Puzzle Games Are Growing in Popularity

In many respects, Bitcoin is the ultimate puzzle. Armchair sleuthers have expended countless hours trying to deduce the identity of its pseudonymous creator, and miners have expended countless more trying to puzzle the nonce required to solve each block and claim the 12.5 BTC reward attached. It seems logical that a new wave of puzzle games should be developed with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as their prize.

Also read: The Solution to the World’s Toughest Bitcoin Puzzle Is as Clever as Its Creator

The Bitcoin Enigma Intensifies

Montecrypto: The Bitcoin Enigma is a new game that follows on the heels of The Legend of Satoshi Nakamoto. That latter game was conceived in 2015 but gained new attention two weeks ago after the fiendishly complex artwork-based game was finally solved. It netted its solver $50,000 worth of bitcoin, plus additional bitcoin cash and other forked coins. The Bitcoin Enigma, a new series of 24 puzzles, has ‘just’ 1 BTC as its prize, but that’s more than enough to incentivize a new wave of sleuths to attempt to fathom its mysteries.

Bitcoin Puzzle Games Are Growing in Popularity
An image from the Montecrypto puzzle game

Developed by Gem Rose Collective and launching on February 20, the game enables players to “Leave hints along the way or slow others down by leading them to dead-ends”. Screenshots give Montecrypto: The Bitcoin Enigma the air of an RPG, complete with moody depictions of grand, faded buildings and a dizzying maze of stairways and passages. The most interesting aspect of the game is not its visuals, but its theory. Players must decide whether to work together to solve the 24 puzzles or go it alone, seeking to thwart rivals by laying a trail of breadcrumbs leading them away.

Bitcoin Puzzle Games Are Growing in Popularity

Game for a Puzzle

In terms of game theory, Montecrypto bears some similarities to Neon District, developed by the same artist who created The Legend of Satoshi Nakamoto puzzle art. Its chief developer speaks of taking “shared inspiration comes from the cypherpunk ethos…playful applications of cryptography, a love of creating and solving puzzles using steganography, the hacker mentality…cyberpunk and steampunk genres, classic card and role-playing games, and our childhood pastimes of night-owl gaming and coding”.

While Neon District is an ethereum-based game, which can be played using the Metamask browser wallet, Montecrypto is more like a lotto game in that it costs $1.99 to enter. Rather than random luck, however, success comes down to skill, including degrees of cunning, strategy, and puzzle-solving. Players who believe they have what it takes to solve the challenge may wish to inspect the project’s FAQ page, and from there visit its Github, where one of the first clues is believed to lie.

Like Satoshi Nakamoto, the game’s developers have elected to keep their identities under wraps for now, but state: “As huge fans of treasure hunts we took inspiration from riddles like la chorette d’or (the golden owl), a statue of the owl was buried in 1993 at the same time a series of clues was published, and still nobody has solved the clues to find the owl and claim the 15kg (33lb) statue made of gold and silver.”

Bitcoin Puzzle Games Are Growing in Popularity
Montecrypto: The Bitcoin Enigma

It all sounds very intriguing. The only downside of course is that to find out whether the prize is genuine, contestants must stump up the $1.99 necessary to take part. Aspiring sleuths may conclude that’s a risk they’re willing to take.

What would your strategy be for trying to solve a puzzle game like this – go it alone or team up and share the spoils? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Neon District, and Gem Rose Collective.


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Coincheck Produces Recovery Plan While Investors Flock to Withdraw Funds

Coincheck Produces Recovery Plan While Investors Flock to Withdraw Funds

Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck has submitted a report to the country’s financial authority outlining measures it will take following the hack that lost 58 billion yen worth of the cryptocurrency NEM from its platform. However, customers rush to withdraw 40.1 billion yen of their funds so far as the exchange resumes yen withdrawal service.

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

Coincheck’s Improvement Plans

Coincheck has submitted a report to the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) as mandated under the Order to Improve Business Operations. The order was handed to the exchange by the FSA following the hack that resulted in the loss of 58 billion yen (~USD$544 million) worth of NEM from its platform.

Coincheck Produces Recovery Plan While Investors Flock to Withdraw FundsIn its report, Coincheck explains key areas of improvement to the agency. Specifically, the exchange detailed four of its plans: “1) investigating the facts and causes surrounding this case, 2) [providing] proper support for our customers, 3) strengthening current measures to manage system risk, 4) creating new measures for system risk management and preventing similar events in the future in addition to making it clear where the responsibility lies for different risks.”

“We plan to continue making meaningful improvements to our system,” the exchange noted, adding:

We are continuing to confirm and improve the security of our systems in order to resume transfers of other cryptocurrencies and begin reparation payments as soon as possible.

Coincheck already provided a preliminary report to the FSA immediately following the hack. The agency then conducted an on-site inspection of the exchange as well as extended the inspections to all other exchanges in Japan.

Customers Rush to Withdraw Funds

Coincheck Produces Recovery Plan While Investors Flock to Withdraw FundsOn February 13, Coincheck resumed Japanese yen withdrawals as previously promised and successfully processed 40.1 billion yen (~$376 million), the exchange confirmed.

Yusuke Otsuka, Coincheck COO, said at a news conference that “the exchange would be able to meet future withdrawal requests,” but “declined to comment on the total amount of customers’ yen still stored at the exchange,” Reuters reported. He insisted:

We have the funds, but we are making individual checks so there are no problems (with repayments).

The exchange has also promised to repay its 260,000 affected customers but has yet to decide on the timeframe. The FSA also has not confirmed that the exchange possesses enough funds to make the repayments.

Meanwhile, seven cryptocurrency traders filed a lawsuit against Coincheck on Thursday at the Tokyo District Court. The plaintiff’s lawyer Hiromu Mochizuki told Reuters that the suit seeks “to allow withdrawals to private wallets…outside the hacked exchange.” He was further quoted by AFP that “Plaintiffs are demanding Coincheck return their cryptocurrencies – 13 different kinds including NEM.”

Do you think Coincheck will be able to repay its customers and regain their trust? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Cnet, and Coincheck.


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Report Claims Litecoin is the Second Most Adopted Currency on Dark Marketplaces

A recent study has revealed Litecoin to be the second most adopted means of payment among dark marketplaces. The study also indicated a significant increase in adoption of Monero among English-speaking platforms.

Also Read: South Korean Prosecutor Fights to Confiscate Bitcoins from Criminal Proceeds

Dark Marketplaces Increase Altcoin Adoption

LTC is Second Most Popular Currency Among Dark MarketplacesThe study, conducted by Recorded Future, involved the analysis of 150 leading dark web “message boards, marketplaces, and illicit services” in order to ascertain the scale of alternative cryptocurrency adoption on the part of criminal entities in response to rising bitcoin fees.

Recorded Future states that “The meteoric rise in popularity of bitcoin among household users, speculators, and institutional investors […] since mid-2017” placed “an enormous load on the blockchain network, resulting in larger payment fees.”

Litecoin Is Second Most Dominant Dark Web Currency

LTC is Second Most Popular Currency Among Dark MarketplacesThe study revealed Litecoin to be the second most dominant currency among dark marketplaces – with LTC payment systems being implemented on 30% of the platforms analyzed in the study.

Despite the Recorded Future claiming to have identified an increasing number of “members of the cybercriminal underground” expressing a “growing dissatisfaction with bitcoin as a payment vehicle” as early as “mid-2016”, 100% of the platforms had integrated BTC payment systems.

Popularity of XMR Grows Among English-Speaking Dark Marketplaces

LTC is Second Most Popular Currency Among Dark MarketplacesThe study revealed a significant growth in the popularity of XMR on English-speaking platforms not matched by their Eastern European counterparts.

Among English-speaking platforms, Monero was found to be the second most popular means of payment – with XMR payments being integrated onto 15% of platforms. LTC was identified as the third most adopted payment channel among English-speaking marketplaces with 11%, followed by DASH and ETH with 9% each.

On Eastern European platforms, Litecoin was the second most popular means of payment, with 35% of dark markets implementing LTC payment integration. DASH was the third most adopted, with 24% of platforms integrating DASH payments, followed by BCH with 15%, ETH with 9%, ZEC with 4%, and XMR with 3%.

What is your reaction to Recorded Future’s finding? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Recorded Future


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U.S. Corporate Customers Barred From Bitfinex’s Margin Markets

U.S. Corporate Customers Barred From Bitfinex’s Margin Markets?

Multiple concerned U.S. corporate customers of Bitfinex have posted on Reddit after discovering that they were unable to access the exchange’s margin trading services. Although Bitfinex has previously indicated that it would no longer allow U.S individuals to access the exchange’s services, Bitfinex’s support portal currently states that the restrictions do not affect U.S. corporate customers.

Also Read: U.S. Regulators Send Tether and Bitfinex Subpoenas

Bitfinex Restricts U.S. Corporate Account Holders From Accessing Margin Markets

U.S. Corporate Customers Barred From Bitfinex’s Margin Markets?In recent days, several Redditors claiming to be U.S.-based corporate customers of Bitfinex have complained that they have suddenly found themselves unable to access the exchange’s margin services.

Last year, Bitfinex announced that it would terminate its services to U.S. retail customers in November. However, the company assured corporate customers that “the restriction affects individuals accounts only” – as currently stated by the FAQ section of Bitfinex’s support portal.

Margin Traders Left Unable to Close Positions

U.S. Corporate Customers Barred From Bitfinex’s Margin Markets?One Redditor posted “We’ve had a corporate account with Bitfinex since early 2017 and [are] approved for both exchange, margin, and funding. […] We’ve been making 6-figure trades on margin and currently have 2 margin positions open. On Feb 7th, […] we were locked out of margin trading. No explanation or warning of why our account can’t trade on margin. Worst yet, we can’t manage our margin positions. Not good in this very volatile market. We’ve received a couple of liquidation warning emails as the market dived down yesterday. We sent a support ticket […] and probably over 7 emails. No response from Bitfinex. It appears that they haven’t even opened any of the emails.”

Later that day, a Bitfinex representative called “bill_bfx” contacted the Redditor, stating that the issue had been “forwarded to the team to resolve for you.” Bill_bfx stated that “a US corporate customer […] should not be using margin trading,” however, noted that “if you have open positions it is not acceptable to block you from closing them.”

The Redditor acknowledged the response and stated he would update the thread if his issue was resolved. As of this writing, no indication has been made that the situation has been resolved, despite bill_bfx responding to the Redditor four days ago.

Corporate Customers Seemingly Caught Unaware

U.S. Corporate Customers Barred From Bitfinex’s Margin Markets?Another Redditor posted “I’ve been lending on Bitfinex for a while. Earlier today, the API responded that US users are no longer allowed to take or lend any currency denomination […] I understand that US retail customers cannot use it but I believe the policy did not apply to corporate customers. Has there been a recent change in policy? Will it be permanent or is this a temporary measure?”

As of this writing, the second Redditor has not received a response from Bitfinex, despite directly questioning bill_bfx about the matter on a different thread. Though Bill_bfx did not respond to the Redditor’s query, however, a day later, Bill_bfx did find time to post a sarcastic response to a trollish comment on the same thread.

Do you think that more exchanges will move to restrict access from U.S. customers? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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