After a week of positive developments and rallying crypto prices, the market closed at $6,600 mark.
The main bitcoin-negative news this week was the announcement by U.S. Department of Justice that Russian intelligence offers, who allegedly tampered with the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign by hacking the DNC and the Clinton campaign, were using bitcoin (BTC) to fund their operations.
In a time where bitcoin is increasingly becoming recognized as a viable alternative investment as well as a payment method, this news has the potential to undermine the digital currency’s acceptance among regulators and lawmakers in the U.S.
Despite the price of bitcoin dropping following this news, the altcoin market had a better week thanks to leading bitcoin exchange Coinbase. BAT, XLM, ADA, ZEC, and 0x received substantial boosts on the weekend after Coinbase announced that it is “exploring the addition of [these digital assets] and will be working with local banks and regulators to add them in as many jurisdictions as possible.”
The “Coinbase Effect”, which helped to boost the price of ether (ETH) and litecoin (LTC) when they were added to the exchange’s asset list, is expected to help the future value of these assets as a listing on one of the most popular crypto purchasing platforms has the potential to attract entirely new investors to these tokens.
Russian Intelligence Officers Face Criminal Charges after Using Bitcoin to Infiltrate Hillary Clinton’s Election
On July 13, 2018, an 11-count federal indictment was filed against twelve Russian military intelligence officers allegedly infiltrating Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016. The accused used cryptocurrencies to finance their operations and avoid the strict financial scrutiny that accompanies fiat operations.
Digital Trends reported the misuse of cryptocurrencies by Russian intelligence officials to publicize stolen election documents and release sensitive data of the Democratic National Community (DNC), ensuring their true identities remained hidden.
According to the indictment, the group registered a “dcleaks.com” domain a month before starting their operations and utilized a virtual server to host information, utilizing cryptocurrencies to purchase the services. Additionally, the group made use of a URL-shortening account to “spear phish” the chairman and “campaign-related individuals” of Clinton’s political run.
More to the point, the bitcoin mined by the Russian Assailants was used to “to pay a Romanian company to register the domain dcleaks.com through a payment processing company located in the United States,” according to the Grand Jury of Washington D.C.’s indictment. The actual server was hosted by in Malaysia.
Web browser Opera has added a built-in cryptocurrency wallet functionality to its latest version of Opera for Android. With the appendage, users will no longer have to rely on third-party extensions to make crypto payments.
In a private beta version for Android, the Norwegian software company Opera is rolling out a browser-based crypto wallet dubbed Opera Crypto. For now, interested users are required to sign up with Opera to access the private beta version. Transactions using the Opera Crypto wallet are secured with Android’s secure system lock. Users are not required to add any extension or application to make payments.
In a press note, Charles Hamel, product lead on Opera Crypto stated:
“Having a Crypto Wallet in the browser brings the cash experience to the world of online payments. Paying with the Crypto Wallet is like sending digital cash straight from your phone, and we’ve just made it easier.”
A rampant epidemic of cryptocurrency fraud plaguing Twitter for the past several months has now drawn the attention of Elon Musk. Musk took to Twitter on July 8, 2018, to speak out against the scam after he found himself in the whole mess.
from him on his Twitter account.
Even Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, responded to Musk’s tweet, although Buterin’s tweet was an expression of disappointment that Musk’s first tweet about Ethereum was about the scambots and not the platform itself.
On July 10, 2018, Swiss cryptocurrency company TokenPay, in partnership with the Litecoin Foundation, acquired a 9.9 percent stake in Germany’s WEGBank AG with an option to purchase 90 percent of the latter’s business following relevant regulatory approvals.
Announced on TokenPay’s blog, the blockchain development company detailed salient points of the noteworthy deal, singling out Litecoin’s “high-level blockchain mechanization capabilities” as a beneficial feature.
As per details, the acquired stake was wholly transferred to the Litecoin Foundation in exchange for technological expertise and compendious marketing efforts to directly augment TokenPay’s broader cryptocurrency business.
The partnership aims to explore several aspects of retail-driven cryptocurrencies, which have previously gone unnoticed by blockchain analysts, as claimed. The blog indicates TokenPay was on track to purchase WEGBank’s business in totality, save for a German banking law that entails mandatory regulatory approval for buying more than 9.9 percent of an established bank.
The rules, gathered under the title the “Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive,” were first published in the EU’s Official Journal. The new regulations aim to bring more transparency on who the actual owners of companies are and to address the risks of terrorist financing, the EU Commission noted.
Among other things, the Directive’s goal is to enhance the powers of EU Financial Intelligence Units and increase transparency on who owns companies and trusts through establishing beneficial ownership registers. It also aims to counteract the risks associated with the use of cryptocurrencies for terrorist financing and limit the use of prepaid cards.
Another aim is to upgrade the safeguards for financial transactions to and from high-risk third countries, enhance the access of FIU to information such as centralized bank account registers.
Finally, the Directive’s goal is to ensure centralized national bank and payment account registers or central data retrieval system in al EU Member States.
The new rules introduce limiting the use of anonymous payments, which most definitely includes cryptocurrency exchange platforms. Cryptocurrency exchanges and wallet providers will now be required to submit procedures such as identity verification of their customers.
Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, is set to launch a regulated bank that will be owned by crypto investors. According to a statement released on July 12, 2018, the new bank will be named ‘Founders Bank’, and Binance has said that its stake in the venture is five percent.
Long renowned for being a paradisaic European holiday spot, Malta is gaining traction as a crypto-friendly jurisdiction. BTCManager earlier reported that some crypto startups from across Europe have relocated to Malta as a result of its positive attitude to regulating crypto trading.
A unique approach to blockchain-related legislation is responsible for this atmosphere. The island country passed three bills in July 2018 aimed at encouraging an influx of blockchain capital and crypto startups. In a statement, Binance praised the laws, saying that they foster a welcoming environment and remove regulatory grey areas in the Maltese digital assets space.
Silvio Schembri, junior minister for financial services, digital economy and innovation within the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta noted they “are honored to be chosen as the location of the first global community-owned bank.”
Taiwan-based technology company Green World Fintech Service announced that it is set to launch Taiwanese Dollar-backed stablecoin dubbed Taiwan Digital Token (TWDT). The stablecoin will be based on the Ethereum blockchain network And will be pegged with the Taiwanese dollar on a one-to-one basis.
Green World plans to counter money laundering through this coin. It will do this by using banks and in-person point of sale terminals. Customers will send the money to a bank account either in person or through a regular bank transfer. After, the identity of a person is established; the tokens will be released into the customer’s wallet which will prevent money laundering.
The company’s press release stated:
“This means that each tradable TWDT-ETH represents an NT$1 (1:1 reserve ratio) in the Trust Bank account, and the system is committed to the total use of TWDT-ETH on the market at any point in time. It is equal to the balance of the trust bank, and the balance of the trust bank account is regularly announced, and professional accountants are accepted for financial visas.”