2020 has gotten off to a busy start in the cryptocurrency space, with a lot of activity seen across the globe. With the first full week of the year now almost over, everyone is settling into their routines and looking for new steps in the continued advancement of crypto and blockchain. As usual, this week has seen both positive and negative events, but they are all helping to shape Bitcoin’s future.
Fintech company Longfin became one of the first companies of the new year to fall under the guillotine of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm had already been targeted by the commission for its shady practices, but its CEO, Venkata S. Meenavalli, will now have to pay fines worth $400,000 as he continues to be investigated for his prior misguided business management skills. He is also permanently forbidden from holding a position with any public company.
Crypto hardware wallet Ledger found itself defending against malware using its name when a crypto enthusiast suddenly lost around $19,500 in Zcash. The user had inadvertently downloaded from Google Play a Chrome browser extension reportedly published by Ledger, but which was actually a crypto-stealing app. There hasn’t been any word on whether or not he was able to recuperate his losses, but it’s a reminder that due diligence is paramount when it comes to protecting financial data.
In its annual report on transparency and company activity, crypto exchange Kraken revealed that law enforcement departments from across the globe are contacting the company in record numbers while looking for it to reveal personal details on specific platform users. In 2018, the exchange received 475 requests and 710 were submitted last year. Most—61%—came from U.S. law enforcement, although this was lower than the 66% seen a year earlier.
The U.S. SEC is planning on continuing its scrutiny of crypto activity this year, but it may be ready to do so in a more amicable manner. The commission’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations revealed that it is going to be looking at the space, but in ways more aligned with it being a legitimate financial sector and less as only a haven for black markets, drug deals and scams.
That revelation came just after the SEC was denied a request seeking bank records from Telegram. As it continues to fight the social media platform for allegedly selling securities illegally in conjunction with the GRAM cryptocurrency and the Telegram Open Network, the SEC wanted the company to hand over its financials; however, a New York district court judge denied the request, but only temporarily. Telegram is still required to show certain financial details, as long as the release of the data complies with foreign data privacy laws.
An exchange out of Singapore is causing a lot of grief for its users. COSS has suspended trading, explaining that the platform has to undergo maintenance. However, as has been seen in the past, the “maintenance” excuse has been used to cover up everything from hacks to exit scams. Perhaps COSS will be the exception, not the rule.
The crackdown on illegal crypto operations continues. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) shut down a crypto scheme led by Benjamin Reynolds. Reynolds was behind Control-Finance before it suddenly disappeared along with its founder and the CFTC is now trying to locate him. It has put a call out to international sources to help in the hunt, but nothing has yet turned up.
Another fraudulent operation has been broken up, as well. Dunamiscoins is found in Uganda and the company’s executives are now on trial for running a complete scam. After operating for almost two years, the firm shut down last December, and prosecutors are looking to hold the individuals accountable for their illegal activity.
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