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Finnish Customs No Sure What To Do with 15M Euro Seized in Bitcoin

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Finnish Customs No Sure What To Do with 15M Euro Seized in Bitcoin
Finnish Customs No Sure What To Do with 15M Euro Seized in Bitcoin

While some governments are selling bitcoins (BTC) confiscated through law enforcement actions, Finland is yet to decide what to do with its seized BTC. Finnish Customs, operating under the Ministry of Finance, has reportedly been deliberating about what to do with 1,666 bitcoins seized from drug criminals years ago. As reported by Finland’s national public broadcasting firm on Feb. 25, the Finnish Customs service doesn’t want to auction the confiscated Bitcoin because the cryptocurrency could be returned to the hands of criminals.

According to the report, at the time of the seizure the amount of confiscated Bitcoin was worth less than 700,000 euros, or roughly $760,000. As of press time, 1,666 BTC is worth nearly 15 million euros — or more than $15.5 million, according to data from Coin360. The authority was reportedly initially planning to auction the funds back in 2018, but eventually ended up with hodling the crypto, citing Anti-Money Laundering (AML) concerns. Pekka Pylkkänen, head of finance at the Finnish Customs service, said that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are primarily used for illicit practices:

“From our point of view, the problems are specifically related to the risk of money laundering. The buyers of cybercurrency rarely use them for normal endeavours.”

Apart from holding over $15 million in Bitcoin, Finnish Customs also holds a number of seized altcoins worth of millions of euros, the report notes. 

Whatever the reason behind Finnish Customs’ decision to hodl the confiscated crypto, the authority is apparently not alone in thinking that Bitcoin and other cryptos might be more dangerous than cash in terms of money laundering. In July 2019, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin voiced an extremely sceptical opinion of Bitcoin, arguing that cash is not laundered in the same way as Bitcoin. Meanwhile, other countries over the world do not appear so concerned about taking profits from hodling Bitcoin.

On Feb. 18, the United States Marshals Service sold another batch of Bitcoin confiscated during its enforcement operations. According to data compiled by well-known crypto industry figure Jameson Lopp, the U.S. Marshals has missed out on over $1.7 billion by selling seized Bitcoin too early. The agency has confiscated and sold 185,230 bitcoins, according to Lopp’s data.

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California Governor Mentions Bitcoin in Speech About ‘Extraordinarily Bad People’

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California Governor Mentions Bitcoin in Speech About ‘Extraordinarily Bad People’
California Governor Mentions Bitcoin in Speech About ‘Extraordinarily Bad People’

California Governor Gavin Newsom warned the public against Bitcoin (BTC) fraudsters during his live speech about the coronavirus outbreak. On March 26, Newsom mentioned the leading cryptocurrency as part of his official speech about what measures had been taken by the state to prevent the further spread of the virus in California. Newsom went on raising the public’s awareness and understanding that “extraordinary people, who do extraordinary bad things,” are apparently taking advantage of the pandemic, and further explained:

“That doesn’t just include an interface with the government, but people claiming that we need to send the equivalent of Bitcoin in advance to get some materials before they can send them. Questionable activities like that.”

Newsom thus joined the ranks of other global authorities, who are concerned of cryptocurrency fraudsters trying to capitalize on the widespread coronavirus fears. More recently, the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission cautioned the public that scammers commonly use major news events like the spread of COVID-19 in order to add credibility to their scam schemes or manipulate emotions. The United Kingdom police also issued a warning against COVID-19 scammers, after it identified 21 cases of fraud involving the virus, earlier in March. Some online perpetrators are even impersonating the World Health Organization in an attempt to steal cryptocurrency donations to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

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U.S. Government Extends Daily Trillion Dollar Repo Making Crypto Market Smaller

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U.S. Government Extends Daily Trillion Dollar Repo Making Crypto Market Smaller
U.S. Government Extends Daily Trillion Dollar Repo Making Crypto Market Smaller

The U.S. government has extended its daily trillion-dollar repo mission until the end of March, making the entire crypto market cap seem even smaller by comparison. “The Federal Reserve Bank of New York announced it will further extend its daily repurchase agreement operations (also known as ‘repo’) to $1 trillion for the rest of March,” CNBC said in a March 20 news update. “Repos are when banks submit high-quality collateral, such as Treasurys, in exchange for reserves from the Fed,” the news outlet explained. “Banks then use the money to fund their short-term operations.”

After multiple days of falling stocks, the U.S. Federal Reserve injected $168 billion into the financial system. Wilshire Phoenix CEO Bill Herrmann, in a recent interview, said this was “like throwing pennies at a freight train and expecting it to stop.” He added, “It may sound crazy, but I think it takes $700bn to over a $1tn to stabilize the markets.” On March 17, the Fed announced the injection of $1 trillion per day for the entire week. Today’s news stretches that time horizon until April. Morgan Creek Digital co-founder Anthony Pompliano’s thoughts on the matter suggest that the government will once again extend these operations from here. On March 20, Pompliano tweeted:

“Remember when the Fed said they were only doing $1 trillion in daily repos for this week? Many of you said it would be a few days and over. I disagreed. They just announced they’ll do it through the rest of the month now. Who wants to bet it doesn’t stop there?”

At the height of crypto market euphoria in January 2018, the market cap of the entire crypto space hit approximately $800,000,000. The Fed will inject more than this amount every day for the rest of March. Bitcoin has held relatively solid in price during these unstable times, even amid traditional markets falling. Time will tell whether crypto’s largest asset has decoupled from other markets again, as well as what the effect of these cash injections on the crypto space will be.

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Genesis Mining Says If The Economic Crisis Deepens Bitcoin Will Become The New Gold

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Genesis Mining Says If The Economic Crisis Deepens Bitcoin Will Become The New Gold
Genesis Mining Says If The Economic Crisis Deepens Bitcoin Will Become The New Gold

Philip Salter, head of operations at Genesis Mining, believes that economic meltdown may lead to a growing value for Bitcoin as a hedge against the banks. In the last couple of weeks, there has been a lot of turmoil in the Bitcoin world. There was a rapid decline in hashrate, followed by an even more precipitous price drop. This was particularly troublesome in view of the impending halving. Phil Salter who is a prominent voice in the mining space, spoke on whether miners played a major role in the recent market decline, Salter observed:

“It’s no different from traditional markets, you have to sell everything to keep the operations going, to pay off your debts. As a miner you have bills to pay, you have to pay for electricity, for operations; and your expenses are in dollars, so as the price of bitcoin is dropping, it means you have to sell more of your inventory just to keep going.”

Up to a point, it’s a snowball effect — as price falls, miners are forced to sell more of their inventory, and as they are selling more — the surplus in supply drags the price further down.  However, there is a point when for a given miner, it makes more sense to shut off electricity and halt production until markets begin to recover.

One of Bitcoin’s most popular narratives has always tried to portray it as the new gold. However, Bitcoin has been breaking away from that narrative by following the trajectory of the traditional markets. Whether this latest reversal will continue largely depends on the severity of the crisis, Salter believes:

“If this economic crisis is contained, then it will not have major implications for Bitcoin. However, if there is a real collapse, then the interest in Bitcoin will explode. It will go back to being seen as a hedge against the banking system. The more skepticism people will have in the old economy, the more they will flock to Bitcoin.”

With the third Bitcoin having just 53 days away, things are about to get even more interesting.

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