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Cryptocurrency And Blockchain News Update 21st October 2019

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New York Court Postpones SEC Hearing About Telegram

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has postponed the hearing regarding the Securities and Exchange Commission’s injunction filing against Telegram Open Network (TON) and its Gram token to Feb. 18–19, 2020. Recently, the SEC has claimed that not only did Telegram violate the U.S. securities laws during its initial coin offering (ICO), but it also is seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent Telegram from further violations.

Tron CEO – Says He is Not Investing in Poloniex

Tron founder and CEO Justin Sun seemed to have refuted recent reports suggesting that he is leading an investment group behind the acquisition of cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex. In a recent statement Sun has claimed that he is “not buying anything,” noting that he is an investor and disclosing some of his crypto assets

Ethereum Based Token Created As An Incentive For Workers

Enterprise Ethereum Alliance has created a token system to encourage the active contribution of member organizations and their employees to the cooperative.  The tokens are powered by the EEA’s Off-chain Trusted Compute Specification and is said to be trustworthy enough for use both within and between different companies. The system was first demonstrated at the Devcon5 conference at the start of October in Osaka as part of an experiment conducted inside the EEA.

Bittrex Is Closing Operations In 31 Countries

Bittrex International, The Malta-based international unit of United States’ crypto exchange Bittrex, will cease operations in Venezuela and 30 other countries.  In an email to Venezuelan customers, Bittrex International announced that the exchange will halt account and trading access to users on Oct. 29, asking them to withdraw their funds with the exchange before that date.  But Venezuela is not the only country that is going to be parting ways with the exchange. Bittrex will be halting the service for, Afghanistan, Egypt, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Uganda and Yemen, and others.

HTC Creates A Phone That Can Run A Bitcoin Node

The Taiwanese electronics giant HTC has launched its new smartphone which is called the Exodus 1s, This device enables users to run a full Bitcoin node on mobile. The phone was launched at a Lightning Conference in Berlin on Oct. 19 and started selling the first devices during the even using the Lightning payment network.

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Crypto Expert Says There Is 60 Percent Chance of Bitcoin Miner Capitulation

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Crypto Expert Says There Is 60 Percent Chance of Bitcoin Miner Capitulation

Cryptocurrency analyst Charles Edwards has estimated that there is a 60 percent chance that another miner capitulation, the dramatic drop of Bitcoin’s hash rate, will take place soon. Miners have to decide whether they want to call it quits or run their operations at a loss in order not to miss out on a potential bull run.

In his Medium article, Edwards opined that there was an intrinsic link between hash rate and price. The new price bottom tends to coincide with miners leaving the Bitcoin network en masse. Hence, buying new coins when the hash rate reaches a local low could be an excellent opportunity to generate big returns (as the table below shows).

Potential returns

Hash rate is not as volatile as price. The biggest drop that has been recorded since 2010 is only 53 percent (a world of difference compared to Bitcoin’s record-holding 93 percent drop).

Bitcoin’s mining difficulty, which gauges the amount of computational power that is required for solving one BTC block, declined by seven percent on Nov. 7. However, Dutch permabull “Plan B” predicted that the next adjustment would be positive for Bitcoin based on its growing hash rate.

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Bitcoin ATMs Top 6,000 Worldwide

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Bitcoin ATMs Top 6,000 Worldwide

There are now more than 6,000 bitcoin and crypto ATMs available to users worldwide.

According to data compiled by CoinATMRadar, there have been 6,003 crypto-based ATMs installed worldwide as of Nov. 17.

The United States continues to lead the rest of the world in bitcoin ATMs, with more than 3,900 machines installed. Canada has the second most 653, followed by the United Kingdom with 272 crypto ATM installations.

As previously reported, bitcoin ATMs have experienced a resurgence in growth throughout 2019, alongside the rising price of crypto-assets. In September, the total number of crypto ATMs worldwide topped 5,500, marking a 500 percent increase in installations since 2016.

Compared to traditional exchanges, ATMs charge higher fees on transactions that can reach as much as 15%. However, they also provide a convenient, physical kiosk for the transfer of bitcoin to fiat, and vice-versa, in addition to buying and selling crypto-assets.

Many members of the crypto community have looked at the rise in ATMs as a positive indicator of growing demand.

 

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Russian Intelligence Agency FSB Linked to $450 Million in Missing Bitcoin

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Russian Intelligence Agency FSB Linked to $450 Million in Missing Bitcoin

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has been linked to the disappearance of $450 million in bitcoin from the controversial crypto exchange World Exchange Services (WEX).

Controversial Exchange WEX/BTC-e

In late 2018, Russian-based crypto exchange WEX collapsed amidst accusations of money-laundering the disappearance of hundreds of millions of dollars in bitcoin and other crypto assets. According to a BBC report published Nov. 15, the Russian FSB intelligence agency may have played a role in misappropriating the lost funds.

WEX was previously known as BTC-e before being shut down in 2017 by international authorities for its alleged involvement in money-laundering activities. Alexander Vinnik, the exchange’s alleged operator, was arrested at the time and accused of laundering more than $4 billion in cryptocurrency since the exchange’s launch in 2011.

A PwC report earlier in the year said,

WEX is most notably known for its alleged involvement in the laundering of some $4 billion, transferring of funds to facilitate operations of the threat actor tracked by PwC as Blue Athena, and being responsible for cashing out 95% of all ransomware payments made since 2014.

FSB Crypto Fund

According to the BBC report, WEX/BTC-e co-founder Alexey Bilyuchenko says he was forced to hand over information about customer’s digital wallets to members of the FSB in 2018, which the intelligence agency allegedly used to obtain more than $450 million in user funds.

The BBC claims to have obtained audio recordings from individuals discussing the importance of bringing WEX under FSB control, including one man the BBC identifies as Konstantin Malofeev, a pro-Kremlin Russian billionaire currently under U.S. sanctions.

Bilyuchenko reportedly received multiple calls threatening to close the WEX exchange if he did not comply. According to the report, the WEX co-founder was taken to FSB offices in Moscow over the course of three days in April 2018, where he handed over flash drives containing details on accessing exchange user funds.

Bilyuchenko says he was told that WEX client money would be transferred to the “FSB Russia Fund.” Several months after handing over the data, WEX froze customer funds and withdrawals, before completely shutting down in late 2018.

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