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Regulation News

So What’s Next For YouTubers After the Crypto-Related Content Ban?

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So What’s Next For YouTubers After the Crypto-Related Content Ban?

On Dec. 23, thousands of YouTubers received emails from the video giant notifying them that their crypto-related videos had suddenly been deleted from the platform.

The ban, which lasted about four days before YouTube began reinstating videos, impacted YouTubers whose channels reached thousands of subscribers, as well as those with smaller audiences.

Unsurprisingly, many of the YouTubers impacted have now turned to decentralized video platforms to share their content. Creating engaging and informative blockchain and cryptocurrency videos has become a source of income for many of these individuals, which is why it’s important for them to have a reliable outlet to utilize.

CEO and Founder of LBRY, Jeremy Kauffman, stated “Following the YouTube ban, access over the last 24 hours to LBRY has increased nearly 100% day-over-day.”

LBRY, a decentralized content sharing and publishing platform created in 2016, uses blockchain technology to allow content creators to store and download content in a peer-to-peer manner.

LBRY is also entirely open-source, meaning developers can contribute to the code that powers the platform. “I deeply believe in free speech, open source, and personal choice. LBRY is a reflection of all of those values,” said Kauffman.

Moreover, unlike YouTube, which has stringent content policies in place, Kauffman explained that LBRY doesn’t have strict policies regarding what users share and publish.

“LBRY as a protocol doesn’t have policies on these things, just like HTTP or SMTP doesn’t have a policy on these things. However, as a U.S. company, we do have a content policy for what is allowed to be stored on our servers.”

Kauffman also noted that YouTube has recently been the platform’s “number one supporter,” as many YouTubers have migrated over to LBRY as the video giant continues to “enforce rules, arbitrary, ban or demonetize people for flimsy reasons, etc.” He further explained:

“Building a business or a following on YouTube is building on quicksand. YouTube regularly censors and bans creators, with capricious and arbitrary rules enforcement.”

YouTuber Omar Bham stated that he has been recommending LBRY since YouTube’s crypto-content ban:

“As far as decentralized platforms, I’ve been recommending LBRY. The syncing process is simple, rewards can be claimed for all sorts of actions, and data syncs itself without any input from me. That will remain the case for any future uploads – they automatically end up on LBRY as a backup. This is powerful, as I don’t need to worry about YouTube one day removing all my videos permanently. They’ll live on.”

While this may be the case, Kaufmann pointed out that speed is a challenge the platform has been experiencing, as blockchains are notoriously slow databases. He noted that LBRY has since built additional tools to both query and serve information much faster.

In addition to LBRY, Steemit, a blockchain-based blogging and social media website launched in 2016, has also caught the attention of many YouTubers. The platform has over 1 million registered users and uses the cryptocurrency STEEM to reward its users for publishing content.

Unlike LBRY, which is focused specifically on digital media, Steemit functions more like a decentralized version of Reddit, providing users with an entire social network. Although it may be different from YouTube, video sharing platform DTube is a decentralized video platform built on top of the STEEM blockchain that resembles YouTube in appearance.

Like other decentralized video platforms, DTube has no central servers — all the content is stored on the STEEM blockchain. As a result, video content on DTube is almost impossible to tamper with.

Internet attorney and anti-bullying activist, Andrew Rossow, stated that while a platforms such as DTube and LBRY seems to be very promising, it’s also important to consider certain grey areas that decentralized platforms might not address.

“Having a blockchain-enabled social media platform that is censorship-resistant is good — but, keeping in mind certain protections with respect to intellectual property, phishing, scams, and other grey areas need to be considered.”

But, is YouTube being responsible?

 Ironically, YouTube’s chief executive,  Susan Wojcicki, recently announced her goals for the platform in April, saying, “My top priority is responsibility.”

 While this may be the case, YouTube has removed more than 100,000 videos and 17,000 channels since the company implemented changes to its content policies in June of this year.

According to a blog post, YouTube has been deleting violative content, highlighting authoritative content, reducing the spread of borderline content and rewarding trusted creators. Unfortunately, the platform has been removing more and more content that they personally think violates these policies — and cryptocurrency and blockchain have fallen into this category.

Is it legal to remove content without notifying creators?

Regarding the legality of removing content without notifying creators — or providing a valid reason as to why the content is being deleted —  founder of Royse Law Firm and continuing studies instructor at Stanford University, Roger Royse, stated that it becomes a legal matter depending on the platform’s terms of service:

“As a legal matter, it all depends on what their terms of service allow. The large platforms are in a tough spot because there is so much legislative scrutiny on both their policies, as well as crypto. The SEC and other agencies have been notoriously hostile to crypto related businesses and they may view this as one more way for platforms to be regulated”.

 Rossow also noted that although what YouTube has done may be legal, it’s not justifiable:

“Arguably, YouTube as a content provider has the authority and right to remove content that it feels violates its Terms of Service, and in so-doing, has the right to remove videos, even if it involves digital money or cryptocurrency.”

 Yet according to Rossow, the problem for both content creators and YouTube is identifying and discerning what is “commercially viable” and what is “educational. He explained:

“The crypto videos that were recently removed did not involve violent or political content, or content harmful to children. Even applying the FTC’s recent guidelines with respect to COPPA compliance didn’t seem to be in much disarray. This incident, I would say is isolated and gives all content creators a reason to panic simply due to YouTube’s ignorance.”

Altcoin News

TON Devs Worldwide Working Together To Intervene In SEC Case Against Telegram

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TON Devs Worldwide Working Together To Intervene In SEC Case Against Telegram
TON Devs Worldwide Working Together To Intervene In SEC Case Against Telegram

A group of international Telegram Open Network (TON) contributors has submitted a court document criticizing United States regulators’ line of attack against the project. The group has formed a non-profit association, “The TON Community Foundation,” and collectively submitted the brief on Feb. 14 in the form of an amicus curiae.

 An amicus curiae is a brief that offers expertise or insight into a given case on behalf of an entity that is not formally a party to the case itself — i.e. an entity that is neither a plaintiff, defendant, nor legal counsel for either side. The court can decide whether or not to take the brief into account at its discretion.

In their filing, the contributors state that the foundation has been formed to represent a “professional community of active participants in the TON project in whose interest it is to see the TON blockchain mainnet launched as soon as possible.” The foundation comprises 20 teams in the TON global community, designated as “independent specialists with extensive blockchain experience who are involved in the actual work on the TON blockchain and who write its code, protocol, smart contracts, tools, and applications.” These 20 teams ostensibly represent over 2,000 computer scientists, engineers, programmers, and entrepreneurs — based in China, Russia, France, and Spain, among other countries.

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The foundation writes that the unanimous position of the TON dev community is that the TON blockchain is fully operational, has “state-of-the-art prelaunch security” and a developed suite of services. They contend it would, in its current state, be ready for launch as a mainnet in a “matter of seconds.” The brief focuses on particular arguments that were presented by Brown University Professor Maurice Herlihy in his review of TON for the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. 

Following Telegram’s wildly successful $1.7 billion initial coin offering for TON in 2018, the SEC had launched an investigation into the project in 2019, claiming the entity had not registered with the commission for its ICO and the network’s “Gram” tokens. The Herlihy report was submitted as evidence on behalf of the SEC in late December 2019. In its brief, the foundation argues that the court should decline the SEC’s impulse to place the industry under an “innovation-suffocating regime,” it contends. It argues that other successful blockchains — such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Tezos — would never have launched had they been subjected to Professor Herlihy’s “academic scrutiny” and his “unrealistic standards of pre-launch performance, security, and maturity.” Moreover, despite Professor Herlihy serving as the SEC’s blockchain expert, the foundation claims he has mischaracterized the TON network in his report. It notes that he uses a blockchain definition from 2010 that has since become obsolete, which fails to account for smart contract functionality as one of the technology’s core parameters. 

What makes the TON blockchain unique, the brief outlines, is that literally “everything in its network is based on interaction with smart contracts” and “all Grams will be located in smart contracts,” so that, “in a way, TON is a smart contract platform more than a cryptocurrency one.” The rest of the foundation’s arguments against Professor Herlihy’s report provide a detailed overview of the state of the network’s services, readiness for launch, protocol, code, and security audit results.

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Regulation News

Russian Central Bank Says Crypto Transactions Are Linked With Money Laundering

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Russian Central Bank Says Crypto Transactions Are Linked With Money Laundering
Russian Central Bank Says Crypto Transactions Are Linked With Money Laundering

The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) published a new set of rules for suspicious transactions, Russian finance publication RBC reported on Feb. 17. The update broadly categorizes any cryptocurrency-linked transaction as a potential money laundering risk. The bank issued an update to directive 375-P, which lists all signs of suspicious activity that may be linked to money laundering. This is the first such update since 2012, when the initial regulations were introduced. The manual was developed in collaboration with the Federal Service for Financial Monitoring (Rosfinmonitoring). 

A central bank representative explained that this was done to “add new schemes of conducting unusual operations, with consideration to the modern developments in financial markets.” The head of the central bank had previously stated that the number of possible risk factors should be decreased. Like in other countries, if a bank or another financial service provider identifies certain transactions as suspicious, they may freeze the suspect’s account or shut it down completely in severe cases.

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Though the list may have been consolidated, the regulators added a broad clause that considers any cryptocurrency-linked activity as a potential risk. Within the same framework, cash operations require several caveats to be considered suspicious. For example, if a physical person regularly cashes out most of the money received from a legal entity. For cryptocurrencies, any activity that can be identified as buying or selling them will be considered a money laundering risk. 

This generally involves deposits and withdrawals from known exchanges. This move comes as Russian legislators still continue making amendments to the digital financial asset law, which was proposed in early 2018. The regulators’ stance toward cryptocurrency seems to have taken a turn for the worse recently, as nationwide bans on their use for payment are being considered.

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Bitcoin News

Chinese Quarantines Cash To Stop Coronavirus – Bitcoin Not An Issue

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Chinese Quarantines Cash To Stop Coronavirus - Bitcoin Not An Issue
Chinese Quarantines Cash To Stop Coronavirus - Bitcoin Not An Issue

It has been reported that China has started a quarantine of its used banknotes to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Meanwhile, the crypto community began to pick up on the news commenting that the use of Bitcoin as a means of payment should fix the issue.

Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, recorded a dramatic spike of almost 15,000 new cases and 242 new deaths in just 24 hours after provincial authorities changed their method for diagnosing cases on Feb 13. Dovey Wan, founding partner of Primitive Crypto claimed on twitter earlier today that the government is underreporting the numbers. BBC’s recent report informed of 2,009 new cases and 142 more deaths. According to the official figures, the total number of infected in the nation is above 68,000, and the death toll is at 1,665.

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Chinese crypto mining facilities allegedly being shut appears to have had little to no impact on Bitcoin (BTC) network hash rate. The network appears to be performing stronger than ever with hash rates continuing to rise. Mati Greenspan, the founder of Quantum Economics,said that it is hard to estimate the impact on the market right now, “How it will affect Bitcoin’s price, I really couldn’t tell you. At the moment, I don’t feel like it is.” Meanwhile a spokesperson for mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain said that they are seeing no impact at all.

While the crypto community is speculating on twitter whether Bitcoin could have been the answer to the spread of the virus through banknotes, a Coronavirus based ERC-20 corona-coin (NCOV) has been launched according to a Reddit post. According to the website, its aim is to spread awareness about the outbreak.

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