American Companies Can Now Settle Payroll Taxes In Cryptocurrency via Bitwage

International cryptocurrency payroll service provider Bitwage has announced that it has partnered with Texas-based Simply Efficient HR. The move will allow companies to pay W2 employee and payroll taxes in all 50 U.S. states, plus Puerto Rico, using BTC and ETH.

 

Bitwage and Simply Efficient Join Forces

With Bitwage’s solution now out of beta, American employees are able to choose any percentage of their wage to be in USD or cryptocurrency. To participate, a company needs to sign up to Bitwage, reach out to support for Payroll & HR services to receive personalized account management from the Simply Efficient HR team, and then add the account on Bitwage. Simply Efficient HR invoices companies through Bitwage for USD needed to fund payroll taxes and employee payrolls and the company accepts invoice and fund payrolls in BTC or ETH.

CEO of Bitwage Jonathan Chester commented: “As the leader in cryptocurrency payroll solutions, we are excited to continue to push the adoption of real use-cases within the industry. Together with Simplexity, we hope to close the financial loop within the cryptocurrency industry and continue to make bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies a part of everyday life.”

American Companies Can Now Settle Payroll Taxes In Cryptocurrency via Bitwage

Bridging the Gap to the Traditional Financial System

The partnership has been live in beta mode since November, with its first customer the peer-to-peer exchange Paxful. “Bitwage bridges the gap between bitcoin and the traditional finance system,” Hayel Abbassi, Paxful Controller, said. “As a company that earns 100% of revenue in bitcoin, we are always looking for service providers who will accept digital currency. Paxful has a significantly sized team in the states and we need to pay them as employees on payroll, not as contractors. Bitwage has recently formed a partnership with a traditional payroll company who integrates into their platform to provide these services. Paxful simply sends bitcoin to an address, and our employees receive net checks with the proper federal and state taxes withheld.”

American Companies Can Now Settle Payroll Taxes In Cryptocurrency via Bitwage
W2 Tax Form

According to the announcement, U.S. Bitwage clients are also able to pay for benefits such as health insurance, as well as HR compliance services. Companies around the world are able to use their crypto holdings to pay local vendors in the U.S., E.U., U.K., Brazil, Philippines, India, Mexico, Argentina and other regions.


Source
Author: Avi Mizrahi 
Image Credit
Image Credit
Image Credit

Prolonged Government Shutdown Hangs Over Wall Street; How Will This Affect Crypto?

The debate over President Trump’s border wall has unveiled new partisan dysfunction in Washington as the United States on Saturday faced its third government shutdown in a year. The partial shutdown, which risks extending into the holidays, presents fresh headaches for Wall Street following the worst weekly selloff in a decade. For cryptocurrency investors, the power of holding non-correlated assets could become apparent in the near future.

For more context behind the latest developments on Wall Street and in crypto-land, read Hacked.com’s Week in Review.

US Government Grinds to a Halt

A Senate impasse over the funding of President Trump’s $5.7 billion border wall triggered a partial government shutdown on Saturday, with both parties blaming each other for the lack of resolve. President Trump has referred to it as a “Democrat shutdown” that “could be a long stay,” referring to a prolonged interruption of federal government functions. Democrats, meanwhile, accused Trump of throwing another “temper tantrum.”

Trump, who has put his Christmas holiday on hold, tweeted Saturday morning that his administration was negotiating with Democrats over a new budget deal that includes the “desperately needed Border Security” wall.

Funding for the wall was approved on Thursday in the House of Representatives but was struck down in the Senate by a united Democrat front.

Investors on Edge

The impasse couldn’t have come at a worse time for stock traders, who have seen their yearly gains wither away in the last three months. Stocks are now trading at their lowest level in 16 months, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average recording its worst weekly slide in a decade. On Friday, the Nasdaq Composite Index fell to the bears for the first time since 2009, a dramatic role reversal from the tech-induced bull market that characterized the post-crisis era.

Signs of a looming government shutdown Friday wreaked havoc on Wall Street, and a prolonged impasse could have adverse effects on what’s left of the bull market for the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average. Investors’ collective angst is well documented by the CBOE VIX, which tracks expected volatility over the next 30 days. The so-called “fear index” settled above 30 on Friday for the first time since February and is on track for a yearly gain of 173%.

Influence over Crypto

The possibility of an extended government shutdown could impact the cryptocurrency market both directly and indirectly. For starters, it threatens to further delay the proposed launch of Bakkt, Intercontinental Exchange’s forthcoming crypto trading platform. Bakkt still requires key approvals from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), a federal body that is affected by the Senate impasse. As it currently stands, Bakkt is unlikely to get the approvals needed to launch by the proposed date of Jan. 24. Although the initial delay is unrelated to the government shutdown, a failure to agree on a new budget will certainly affect the CFTC’s timeline.

Once launched, Bakkt could have a dramatic influence on bitcoin futures. Read more.

In terms of indirect consequences, politically-inspired volatility on Wall Street could play into the hands of bitcoin and other digital currencies that have previously enjoyed safe-haven status among investors. Cryptos may have struggled to demonstrate their utility as spending instruments, but until now have been an excellent store of value. The value of safe-haven investments in the current climate is demonstrated by gold‘s recent six-month peak. That being said, the key selling point here is whether you believe bitcoin has reached bottom or, at the very least, is approaching the final stage of the bear market.

Or it could be that bitcoin continues to establish itself as a non-correlated asset that trades independently of broader market moves. We’ve spotted some elements of correlation recently, but otherwise, bitcoin is generally not closely influenced by stocks, monetary policy, and economic data (it is influenced by FUD/FOMO, but we don’t watch the economic calendar to play BTC).

In any case, a prolonged bear market in stocks, should it materialize, could finally test the hypotheses of bitcoin’s most ardent backers: that it is a superior store of value, better suited for periods of volatility and destined to compete with fiat on a global scale.


Source
Author: Sam Bourgi
Image Credit

New US Chief of Staff: Bitcoin is Good, ‘Not Manipulable by Any Government’

This week, following the scheduled leave of John F. Kelly, United States President Donald Trump has chosen the pro-Bitcoin Mick Mulvaney to serve as the acting White House Chief of Staff beginning 2019.

According to the Washington Post columnist Matt O’Brien, Mulvaney has been vocal about his support of Bitcoin (BTC) and in a speech covered by Mother Jones praised the decentralized nature of Bitcoin as a consensus currency.

In 2016, Mulvaney reportedly said that the Federal Reserve “effectively devalued the dollar” and emphasized that the exercise of such control is not possible with a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin that is “not manipulable by any government.”

Is it Good For Bitcoin?

Having a high profile official and an influential member of the Trump administration is certainly positive for the long-term growth of the asset class.

While the neutral stance of Mulvaney towards the cryptocurrency sector could affect the mindset of regulators and lawmakers in the U.S. to a certain extent, it realistically cannot have a short-term impact on the roadmap implemented by commissions like the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

The presence of pro-Bitcoin and crypto officials in the U.S. government, however, could encourage other government officials to evaluate cryptocurrencies in a neutral way and analyze the benefits that the decentralized financial systems can bring.

In Sept. 2017, the central bank of Finland, for instance, released a research discussion that explicitly described the inefficiency of regulating blockchain protocols. The research concluded that Bitcoin is not and cannot be regulated because the protocol operates under strict rules implemented by the community sustained by miners, developers, and node operators.

The paper read:

“Bitcoin is not regulated. It cannot be regulated. There is no need to regulate it because as a system it is committed to the protocol as is and the transaction fees it charges the users are determined by the users independently of the miners’ efforts. Bitcoin’s design as an economic system is revolutionary and therefore would merit an economist’s attention and scrutiny even if it had not been functional. Its apparent functionality and usefulness should further encourage economists to study this marvelous structure.”

As seen in the paper of the central bank of Finland, it is possible for a central bank or a government to analyze the structure of Bitcoin in a neutral manner and create practical regulatory frameworks around it without restricting the growth of companies in the industry.

Currently, in regards to Bitcoin and even Ethereum, the SEC has clarified that Bitcoin is not considered a security under existing laws, essentially approving the infrastructure surrounding it.

Over the past several months, the SEC in the U.S. and other authorities in the global market have been primarily working on the integration of strict Know Your Customer (KYC) policies to eliminate money laundering in the cryptocurrency market.

Neutral Evaluation

The existence of a high ranking government official in the U.S. government that understands the purpose of digital currencies could have a long-lasting effect on the cryptocurrency industry and could encourage others to evaluate the asset class under a different light.

However, as the New York Post reported on Dec. 16, Mulvaney once described President Trump as “a terrible human being,” triggering political analysts to question how long the new chief of staff can remain in office.


Source
Author: Joseph Young
Image Credit

Tokens Continue to Take a Hit: is SEC Preparing to Target Crypto Projects?

The price of Bitcoin has dropped by 10 percent over the last 24 hours following a severe sell-off. Yet, several low market cap crypto and tokens have plunged by twice that amount, posting losses in the range of 20 percent.

ERC20 tokens launched on top of the Ethereum blockchain network have performed especially poorly against both Bitcoin and the US dollar over the past several days.

Waltonchain, Lisk, ICON, Ontology, Golem, VeChain, WanChain, and many other tokens backed by active developer and investor communities declined substantially in the last week. Even Basic Attention Token (BAT) and 0x (ZRX), which experienced strong short-term upward movements prior to the Coinbase listing, dropped by more than 36 percent.

Is the US Going After ICO Projects?

The listing of BAT and ZRX by Coinbase confirmed that the two tokens are not considered securities under existing regulations set forth by local financial authorities in the US. Coinbase was cautious in listing tokens on its platform because in an event wherein the tokens listed by the exchange are identified as securities, Coinbase could be targeted by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the distribution of unregistered securities.

It is possible, as government enforcement defense and securities litigation attorney at Kobre & Kim, Jake Chervinsky, said, the SEC is preparing to take down many cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offering (ICO) projects, with many pending cases in the hands of the commission.

“Most enforcement actions are kept confidential until they’re resolved to protect both the defendant (from bad press) & the government (from losses & inconsistencies). That’s why this case was settled before it was announced. On that point, remember all those subpoenas the SEC sent out earlier this year? Just because you haven’t heard about them recently doesn’t mean there aren’t dozens of investigations going on behind the scenes. Sooner or later, the floodgates will open,” Chervinsky said.

In an official announcement, the SEC disclosed that EtherDelta co-founder Zachary Coburn agreed to pay $300,000 in disgorgement plus $13,000 in prejudgment interest and a $75,000 penalty, showing that the case was settled between Coburn and the SEC prior to the release of the statement.

At the Investment Adviser Association conference in Washington, D.C., Stephanie Avakian, co-director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, confirmed that dozens of investigations into ICOs are underway and expects to see more in the future.

“We are very active, and I would just expect to see more and more,” she said, according to Bloomberg.

ICO Projects on Thin Ice

In the upcoming months, the cryptocurrency space is expected to see several pending cases against cryptocurrency exchanges and ICOs brought up by the SEC. The regulatory uncertainty in the ICO market surrounding tokens could lead to a decline in confidence from investors towards small market cap cryptocurrencies.

EtherDelta co-founder Zachary Coburn and the exchange were charged with the distribution of unregistered securities, which suggests that the SEC has cooperated with Coburn to understand the nature of several, if not dozens, of tokens considered securities under US regulations.

The drop in confidence from investors and the market could lead to a bleed out for tokens until the SEC provides a clear guideline to provide clarity in the space.


Source
Author:  Joseph Young
Image Credit

Bitcoin Accepted Here: Major US Museum Now Takes Crypto Payments

Great Lakes Science Center, a large museum and educational facility in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, will begin accepting Bitcoin as a payment method beginning November 13.

Kirsten Ellenbogen, the CEO of Great Lakes Science Center, said that the institution decided to accept crypto to facilitate the growth of the local blockchain ecosystem.

“There is a lot of excitement around the conference. Accepting bitcoin is just a small part of the momentum to grow a blockchain ecosystem in Cleveland,” Ellenbogen said.

The integration of crypto by Great Lakes Science Center comes after Hublot, a Swiss luxury watchmaker, successfully integrated Bitcoin to sell 210 pieces of its limited edition Bitcoin-themed sports watch for $25,000 per piece, generating $5.25 million in revenue purely through sales conducted using BTC.

Third Museum in the US to Accept Bitcoin

Museum of the Coastal Bend in Texas and St. Petersburg Museum of History in Florida have been accepting BTC for quite some time, and Great Lakes Science Center is officially the third museum in the US to accept cryptocurrencies as a payment method.

In 2013, Museum of the Coastal Bend first integrated Bitcoin, as CCN reported. At the time, a museum spokesperson said:

“I have to admit, I’m skeptical that anyone will visit and use BTC. But it doesn’t cost us anything to try, and it’s pretty cool to say that we’re the first. Also, admission is pay-what-you-want, in case anyone was wondering how many of their hard-earned BTC they would need to spend here.”

Fast forward five years, Bitcoin has become a major store of value worth over $110 billion that is acknowledged as a proper asset by large-scale institutions like ICE, Fidelity, Nasdaq, and the New York Stock Exchange.

Great Lakes Science Center

According to Ellenbogen, visitors can purchase admission tickets using cryptocurrencies and visit the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Glenn Visitor Center. The newly launched mobile app utilizes augmented and virtual reality to provide a new experience to visitors.

“Last year we launched our mobile app that uses augmented and virtual reality to allow guests to experiment with flames in space and test spacecraft designs re-entering Earth’s atmosphere when they visit the NASA Glenn Visitor Center, and now they’ll be able to use their phone to pay for their admission using Bitcoin.”

The integration of Bitcoin is the second major initiative of the institution following the launch of a new mobile application that utilizes augmented and virtual reality to allow visitors to better experience, study, and evaluate the work NASA is leading.

Cryptocurrency Integration is a New Trend

As seen by the successful initiative of Hublot and Great Lakes Science Center, the integration of major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin has become a new trend in the global market.

The international user base of Bitcoin, as well as a rapidly growing number of cryptocurrency-using millennials, frequently seek for ways to transact using digital assets at stores and merchants, and the integration of Bitcoin, which does not cost anything for the merchants, has become an efficient way of targeting consumers in the cryptocurrency market.


Source
Author: Joseph Young
Image Credit

California: Midterms See Largest US State Elect Pro-Bitcoin Governor

Gavin Newsom is considered to be “pro-bitcoin.” Certainly, he’s willing to accept BTC for campaign contributions. He also has a record of being pro-technology in general, believing the government should be “performance-based” and that “government information and services at every level should be thoroughly ‘digitized,’ enabling citizens to conduct business with public agencies online.”

California’s New Governor Has Accepted Bitcoin Donations

Most importantly, he’s now the governor of California. This means that one of the most influential people in the most populated state with the largest technology sector in the United States is friendly to the cause of bitcoin. This alone is cause to celebrate, maybe, but it doesn’t mean the Democratic politician is necessarily all in for the various stances that many — though not all — cryptonaughts hold: the right to privacy, low if any taxes, and so forth.

It’s no secret that California, particularly Northern California, is home to some of the largest technological and financial technology innovation companies in the world. Coinbase, based in San Francisco, is probably relieved to have a Bitcoiner in the governor’s mansion. The California BitLicense proposal died in the legislature in January, and with a pro-bitcoin governor now holding sway, it’d be harder to get restrictive bills signed into law.

Freedom to participate and innovate is crucial for the growth of a crypto economy, and while other states may be focused on collecting fees and restricting the activities of crypto exchanges and other types of crypto businesses, California is still free from overly restrictive laws like the BitLicense in New York.

Colorado Also Gets Bitcoiner in the Governor’s Mansion

Jared Polis, newly elected governor of Colorado, has frequently spoken of the benefits of the blockchain. He specifically advocates making Colorado a “safe harbor” for bitcoin companies:

“Similar to Wyoming, I will work alongside the legislature to create a statewide safe harbor designed to exempt cryptocurrencies from state money transmissions laws, and I will work to establish legislation that protects “open blockchain tokens” or cryptocurrencies that are exchangeable for goods and services. These moves could allow our state to attract innovative companies and allow them to engage freely in them – as issuers, exchanges, wallet providers – without the licensing requirements of the multitude of securities and currency laws. Colorado can pave the way into the future and implement safeguards here at home with the hope that the federal government can catch up to our progress. These ideas, while bold, will put Colorado on the map for fostering new technology and experimenting with the best way to implement safeguards here at home and across the nation.”

Polis was the first US representative to ever accept bitcoin as a campaign contribution. He didn’t spend long in Congress before vying for the governor’s seat, and now he’s won, meaning that Bitcoiners in Colorado may find themselves in a specifically friendly environment to begin doing various types of blockchain business – legally, with limited interference at the behest of the government.


Source
Author: P. H. Madore
Image Credit

U.S. Investors Divided on Outlook for Cryptocurrency: Survey

Americans are split almost evenly on the topic of whether or not cryptocurrency represents a promising investment class with a bright future.

A new Clovr research report sampling over 1,000 American adults found that roughly even segments of the U.S. population have strongly positive and apprehensive, bordering on hostile, views toward crypto assets, even as the total percentage of the population that is aware of cryptocurrencies continues to grow steadily. The report gathered responses to a number of questions from 1,004 Americans aged between 18 and 80 via Amazon‘s Mechanical Turk platform. The average age of survey respondents was 36.05, with a standard deviation of 11.86 years.

The survey shows that crypto awareness is longer a small niche, with 76 percent of the people surveyed professing their knowledge about it, and a further 20 percent indicating that they “sort of” know what cryptocurrency is. While these figures look good, a cursory dive into the data shows that the 76 percent drops to 62 percent when asked if they would be comfortable to explain what cryptocurrency is to others.

According to the survey, 69.8 percent of people expressed uncertainty about the cryptocurrency market while 28.1 percent are hopeful about crypto adoption and positive movement in the market. While 31.5 percent are excited about its usage, another 32.9 percent are confused, which is an almost even split.

Source: Clovr

A possible reason for this could be the fact that many people first experienced cryptocurrency as a speculative asset during last year’s record-breaking bull run, which made some see crypto as a means to get rich quickly. The bear market of 2018 soon followed, however, and burnt many fair-weather investors, coloring its perception by the general public. This is also reflected in the reasons given for investing or not investing in cryptocurrency, with 51.6 percent of respondents saying they would invest because of the possibility of outsized investment returns and 58.1 percent saying they would not invest because the crypto asset class is too risky.

The report also shows that crypto investment still remains an overwhelmingly male-dominated activity, with 43 percent of surveyed men having invested in a cryptocurrency before, against 23 percent of women. Unsurprisingly, millennials also led the generational statistics of cryptocurrency investors, with 41 percent of surveyed millennials responding affirmatively to the question, compared to 24 percent of Gen X respondents and 18 percent of baby boomers.

The main takeaway from the survey is that the subject of cryptocurrencies is still one of uncertainty and ignorance among many Americans, with many people possessing little more than a superficial understanding of what cryptocurrencies are.

The full Clovr report is available here.


Source
Author: David Hundeyin
Image Credit

North Korea is Using Cryptocurrency to Evade U.S. Sanctions: Experts

Two Washington-based financial experts say that North Korea is increasingly using cryptocurrency to evade U.S. Sanctions.

According to Lourdes Miranda, a financial crimes investigator specialized in intelligence collection and analysis, and Ross Delston, an expert witness who specializes in anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism, Pyongyang is creating its own cryptocurrency and is likely also using popular cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

Cryptocurrencies are being preferred by international criminals and for terrorist financing, and the country of North Korea is no exception, the duo said in a written statement to Asia Times. They said:

“Crypto-currencies have the added advantage to the DPRK of giving them more ways to circumvent US sanctions.”

They added, “They can do so by using multiple international exchangers, mixing and shifting services – mirroring the money laundering cycle – to exploit international financial institutions that have correspondent banking relationships with the United States.”

According to Priscilla Moriuchi, a former NSA cybersecurity official, North Korea is earning around $15 million to $200 million by mining and selling cryptocurrencies. Speaking to The Hill earlier this year, Moriuchi said:

“North Korea has pursued other avenues for obtaining cryptocurrencies as well, including mining of both bitcoin and Monero, ransom paid in bitcoin from the global WannaCry attack in May and even commissioning a cryptocurrency class for North Korean students in November.”

Source: Shutterstock

Now, per the Asia Times report, Miranda and Delston stated that North Korea could use the most popular cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, or the country’s government could create its own.

“Having their own crypto-currency would also facilitate their ability to open online accounts under the guise of a non-adversarial nation using anonymous communication to conceal the user’s locations and usage on the internet,” they stated.

The researchers also said that the country would create its own blockchain in order to alter their public record of transactions to show that these transactions are coming from legitimate sources. Further, the country would create its own cryptocurrency wallet services.

Explaining about the making of successful exchange of crypto into fiat currencies — all the while undetected — the pair said that North Korean-mined cryptocurrencies would be laundered onto European exchanges, enabling the rogue nation to obtain USD “with none of those pesky sanctions attached.” The investigators are not sure about the current scale of North Korea’s crypto-currency operation.

As CCN reported, America’s rivals including Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela have recently turned to cryptocurrencies in order to counter economic pressure from the U.S. and its allies.

For example, the petro, an oil-backed cryptocurrency announced by Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro, was banned in the United States. Earlier in May, President Trump issued an executive order banning American citizens from buying, trading, or dealing with the petro cryptocurrency “in light of recent actions taken by the Maduro regime to attempt to circumvent U.S. sanctions by issuing a digital currency.”

Also, Iran has recently revealed the details of its national cryptocurrency in response to U.S.-led economic sanctions. Iran’s future cryptocurrency is allegedly backed by the fiat Rial and is developed on the Linux Foundation-led open-source Hyperledger Fabric technology, the report said.


Source
Author: Sujha Sundararajan 
Image Credit

CHINA, RUSSIA, USA IN RACE TO USE BLOCKCHAIN FOR MILITARY OPERATIONS

A number of defense officials and armed forces across the globe are starting to look into blockchain’s potential in areas related to military activity.


Militaries across the world are always looking for cutting-edge technologies to get a leg up on the competition. Blockchain is certainly not escaping scrutiny.

Officials inside of defense agencies are particularly interested the technology’s distributed consensus and anonymity capabilities.

NATO has been looking into blockchain’s use cases in regards to military logistics and procurement, and are also studying how it could mesh together with other cutting-edge concepts like the IoT.

So far, the United States, Russia, and China seem to express the most interest in researching how blockchain can be used for purposes related to the military, general national defense, and for cyber-related endeavors.

A CHANGING MILITARY LANDSCAPE

In the United States, entities related to the military have been looking into blockchain for a while. The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, Section 1646 calls for the assessment of blockchain for military employment purposes.

Recently, the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command said they were looking into blockchain to help keep tabs on aviation parts, which could help lower the costs of operating and maintaining military aircraft.

Others speculate the technology could be rolled out by the Department of Defense (DoD) to manage nearly $100 billion dollars’ worth of inventory.

A Government Accountability Office report from 2015 specifically highlighted issues with the DoD’s systems for tracking and delivering supplies, something which blockchain has partially helped solve in other (non-military) areas, like the palm oil industry.

Besides the United States, Russian military officials have also been exploring use cases for blockchain.

Russian news sources in June wrote about the creation of a military research lab inside of the country dedicated to studying how blockchain can be used to detect and possibly counter cyber attacks.

About two months later, Russian news outlet TASS reported on how blockchain might find its way into the Russian Defense Ministry if they manage to:

Quickly introduce Russian cryptographic algorithms into the international standard of blockchain.

THE RISE OF BLOCKCHAIN IN CHINA

Chinese officials are well-known for their ‘Blockchain not Bitcoin’ mantra, having gone to great efforts to stifle the cryptocurrency market while keeping a more optimistic eye on blockchain.

So far, the number of authoritative material linking Chinese military officials with blockchain-related research is slim, but there have been some articles pointing out why officials should pay attention to the technology.

One, published in 2016, advocated for blockchain to be used by Chinese defense and security officials for a variety of tasks, including for the storage of weapons lifecycle information and for general logistical improvements.

One of the article’s researchers, Dr. Zhu Qichao, is a Director at the National University of Defense Technology and a colonel in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

Writing in RealClear Defense, Wilson VornDick ruminated on the possibility of how blockchain could also be used in China to

Secure sources of public opinion, ostensibly to the detriment of any adversarial counter-information operations.

He specifically noted how “public opinion warfare” is in line with the nation’s Three Warfare strategy. (The other two are legal warfare and psychological warfare).

A 2017 article found in PLA Daily also suggested the idea of blockchain being used in areas related to public opinion warfare.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Shutterstock


 

Source
Author: KEVIN O’BRIEN
Image Credit

U.S. Judge Rules That ICOs are Covered by Securities Laws

A U.S. District Judge in Brooklyn has delivered a landmark judgement with far-reaching implications for the initial coin offering (ICO) market. Judge Raymond Dearie of the U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York today ruled that U.S. securities laws cover ICO token sales.

The ruling came in a case against a fraudulent ICO promoter Maksim Zaslavskiy, whom prosecutors are looking to bring up on fraud charges for defrauding investors of more than $300,000 from a scam ICO called REcoin.

REcoin ICO Scam

In Sept. 2017, CCN reported that the SEC charged Zaslavskiy and two of his companies with defrauding investors through a number of ICO scams including REcoin. REcoin was marketed to investors as being backed by real estate and diamond assets which in actual fact did not exist.

In a pioneering ruling, Judge Dearie refused to dismiss the case against Zaslavskiy, whose lawyers earlier pled for dismissal on the basis that the ICOs in question were currencies and not securities, placing them outside the jurisdiction of the SEC Act.

An excerpt from today’s hearing file reads:

“He [Zaslavskiy] argues that the securities laws are  unconstitutionality vague as applied. The Government, meanwhile, asserts that the investments made in REcoin and Diamond were “investment contracts,” and thus “securities,” […] and that these laws are not unconstitutionally vague.”

Judge Dearie’s ruling on this matter was that an ICO is indeed a security for the purposes of federal criminal law, which is what prosecutors have argued since last year.

Implications of Dearie’s Ruling

The SEC claims the REcoin ICO scammed investors out of $300,000.

Dearie has become the first judge to deliver a ruling that places ICOs firmly within the jurisdiction of securities regulators, and this could potentially have important implications for the ICO market by creating a precedent for future cases.

While the CFTC has had some successes tackling fraudulent crypto offerings within its space, the SEC — which has long said that it has jurisdiction over most ICOs — had not yet established this authority in court.

An excerpt from Judge Dearie’s ruling reads:

“Zaslavskiy’s contrary characterizations are plainly insufficient to by pass regulatory and criminal enforcement of the securities laws. Because the indictment is sufficient under the Constitution and the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and because the law under which Zaslavskiy is charged is not unconstitutionally vague as applied, Zaslavskiy’s motion is denied. The case will proceed to trial.”

While the ruling comes as a boost for prosecutors, the it is by no means a final word on the matter. In his comments, Judge Dearie noted that the ultimate decision rests with a jury and that Zaslavskiy’s lawyers can in fact still present the argument contesting the jurisdiction of securities laws to the jury.


Source
Author: David Hundeyin
Front Image Credit