This week in crypto; a look at some of the highlights

Wrapping up the last week of the first month of the year, things continue to look more positive for the cryptocurrency ecosystem. The end result may not be exactly as some had envisioned, but it is becoming more apparent that digital currency is the future of money. As regulators continue to shape the space and financial authorities begin to truly understand the benefits of crypto, 2020 is going to be a major leap forward for how the world views finance.

More central banks around the world are beginning to see the light and the merits of digital currency. A handful of countries have already stepped up and are working on plans to launch their own crypto, and a recent study by the Bank of International Settlements revealed that this is just the beginning. 80% of the central banks surveyed acknowledged that they were, in some fashion, reviewing the possibility of rolling out a state-backed digital currency.

AT&T doesn’t believe it should be held liable in ana ongoing SIM-swapping case. Seth Shapiro lost $1.8 million in crypto after a thief tricked AT&T into believing that Shapiro had switched phones, and the victim is holding the telecommunications company responsible. AT&T filed a motion to dismiss the case last week, asserting that Shapiro had not proven that the company should be held liable. That motion will be heard sometime in mid-February.

Singapore just rolled out an updated Payment Services Act that is designed to provide regulatory coverage for the digital assets. Entities operating in the crypto space are going to be held more accountable for the data they collect and submit to regulators, helping to advance digital currency as a legitimate alternative to convention financial solutions.

Many in the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) community have spoken out against a plan to introduce a tax on miners. The goal of the tariff is to fund development of the BCH fork, which is now being seen as lacking in direction and funding; however, the community is concerned about why miners should cover the costs and what the money would actually be used for. Bitcoin.com founder Roger Ver was initially a supporter of the idea, but has now decided to back down, most likely following the uprising within the community.

Localbitcoins.com has been, almost since its inception, the go-to site for online sales and purchases of crypto assets. Transactions are easy, straightforward and protected, and users could essentially buy or sell with anyone, almost anywhere. However, as the crypto space continues to become more guided, it has had to implement measures that meet with regulatory approval. In what has been assumed to be a response to the Fifth European Anti-Money Laundering Directive, which went into effect on January 10, Localbitcoins.com suddenly, and without notice, starting shutting down user accounts. While the move is understandable, not informing its clients individually of the change is bad business.

A recent ransomware attacked against an unidentified company in the U.K. resulted in a payout of $950,000 in BTC. Digital forensics experts were able to follow the payment transactions and watched as most of the funds landed on the Bitfinex exchange. A judge has now ordered the exchange to freeze those funds, reported to be around $860,000, and to hand over registration details of the account to authorities. This is the latest example of how crypto is not the anonymous industry some have made it out to be.

By now, anyone who sees an ad for Libra tokens should know to run away – and run away fast. However, some scammers still attempt to take advantage of the novices and uneducated, and launched a scheme to sell Libra for crypto. Fortunately, it doesn’t appear that they have had good results, as the wallet address associated with the scam only has two transactions, and the general consensus is that both were from the perpetrator trying to show that activity was happening.

It is beginning to look more and more like Telegram is going to have to kneel in front of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fight over whether or not the messaging company was selling unauthorized securities with its GRAM token appears to be leaning much more heavily in favor of the financial regulator, which is taking advantage of its winning position to lob sarcasm at the company. It recently asserted that Telegram is dancing around regulations and that its GRAM is worth less than donuts.

Alexander Vinnik, one of the most notorious figures in the crypto underground, is in France awaiting trial for having allegedly laundered over $4 billion. He was extradited to the country from Greece this week and has already been brought in front of investigators to submit to an intense interrogation. After he stands trial for his alleged crimes, as well as any sentence, he will reportedly be sent back to Greece to stand trial there, as well. After that, he could be shipped off to the U.S. to answer for his crimes.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

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