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Regulation

Spanish Bitcoin ATM Owners Are Not Following EU’s AML Regulations

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Spanish Bitcoin ATM

Spanish Bitcoin ATM owners reportedly are not obliged by the strict AML regulations which leave the door open for massive money laundering schemes. In the altcoin news today we read more about the Spanish Guardia Civil report on the regulation of the sector.

The reports that reached our website show that the special police in Spain took down a criminal organization that used the Bitcoin ATMs to launder money on behalf of narco-traffickers. The Crime-as-a-Service money laundering scheme managed to make up to $9 million before it was taken down. The gang hired two crypto ATMs and then installed them in Madrid. The machines were promoted as devices that anyone can use in order to buy and sell cryptocurrencies.

However, the gang used false identities for the registering process in order to load the devices with crypto and then they withdraw money from different bank accounts and send It to Bitcoin exchanges. This scheme provided them with the cover they needed to make huge transactions without raising suspicion. Once they obtained the cryptocurrencies, they then sent them to drug traffickers in Colombia. The two bitcoin ATMs were seized as well as four cold and 20 hot wallets.

The Spanish bitcoin ATM owners took advantage of the poor regulation of the crypto sector in the country. The use of ATMs to launder money is not restricted to Spain only. Other countries have the same issue as well including the UK and Canada.  The policymakers around the world are raising the caution against the risk that the cryptocurrencies carry with regards to money laundering.

According to CipherTrace, the crypto analytics company as we previously mentioned in the latest cryptocurrency news, criminals managed to launder around 380,000 bitcoins between the birth of Bitcoin and 2018. Currently, Bitcoin is worth about $4.4 billion. Most of the Bitcoin was laundered through unregistered crypto exchanges and they usually end up in countries with weak regulations and security protocols. This is one of the reasons why the policymakers are trying to figure out a new regulatory framework that will apply throughout the sector without choking it and making the investors run away.

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Regulation

US Secretary Of State: Crypto Should Be Regulated Like SWIFT Transactions

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The US Secretary Of State recently voiced his opinion on cryptocurrency, suggesting regulation of digital currencies in the same way as SWIFT (financial) transactions. Also known as Michael Pompeo, the expert spoke in an interview with CNBC's Squawk Box show on Tuesday. During the interview, Pompeo was asked on the best way to regulate Facebook's Libra or Bitcoin. As the US Secretary Of State said:
“My sense is this: We should use the same framework that we use to regulate all other electronic financial transactions today. That’s essentially what these are. These are monies moving through markets, or in some case dis-intermediated transactions.”
His statement is all over the latest cryptocurrency news. Michael Pompeo is now seen as one of the optimists for cryptocurrencies. As he said, the same rules that apply to transactions “flowing through SWIFT or flowing though our financial institutions ought to apply to those transactions as well." He also agreed that it will be difficult to establish a regulation like this. The interview covered a range of issues. From the state-run propaganda farms using Twitter and Facebook to the Hong Kong protests, the Trump adviser and US Secretary of State addressed the use of pseudonymous cryptocurrencies in the funding of terrorism and money laundering. He also argued that if such private transactions became a norm, it would “decrease the security for the world if that’s the direction we travel.” The US Secretary of State agreed that being able to track the flows of money around the world has helped a lot over the years. As he said:
“This has helped keep the entire world secure and to fight terrorism and other nefarious activity … We need to preserve a financial system, a global financial system, that protects that,” Pompeo said.
Many best cryptocurrency news sites took a new idea from this interview - and showed the US Secretary of State also agrees with the interviewers who joked that all money laundering until now has been conducted with fiat currency. For those of you who don't follow our Bitcoin and altcoin news, the regulation of cryptocurrencies in the United States shows that it is legal to use Bitcoin (BTC) in the country - but the payments are subject to taxes and reporting requirements - just like any other cryptocurrency - through ledgers which are used to keep track of the existence of BTC.  
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Regulation

ICO Rating Charged For $268,998 Following Violation Of Anti-Touting Provisions

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The United States Securities and Exchange Commission, better known as SEC, has recently charged the Russian analytical agency ICO Rating for $268,998 because of a violation of the anti-touting provisions. According to an official announcement, the agency was charged with these numbers because of multiple violations. The announcement sees SEC claiming that ICO Rating violated the anti-touting provisions of Section 17(b) of the Securities Act established in 1933 - mostly by failing to disclose payments that it received from the initial coin offering (ICO) issuers that it rated and published on the platform. According to Melissa Hodgman who is an Associate Director at SEC's Enforcement Division, ICO Rating violated the rules. In the latest cryptocurrency news and updates, she explained:
“The securities laws require promoters, including both people and entities, to disclose compensation they receive for touting investments so that potential investors are aware they are viewing a paid promotional item. [...] This requirement applies regardless of whether the securities being touted are issued using traditional certificates or on the blockchain.”
Without admitting or denying the findings by the SEC, ICO Rating agreed to cease and desist from committing any future violations in the realm of these provisions. The agency also paid disgorgement and prejudgment interest of $106,998 and a civil penalty of $162,000. In August this year, many best cryptocurrency news sites reported that the SEC reached a $7 million dollar settlement with PlexCorps and its owner Dominique Lacroix, as well as the business partner Sabrina Paradis-Royer and the company itself over an allegedly fraudulent ICO. Unlike the ICO Rating case, this was a more complicated lawsuit. This month, the New England based firm SimplyVital Health Inc. also settled with SEC over an alleged sum of $6.3 million used for an unregistered ICO. The company did not confirm or deny the allegations that it violated certain aspects of the 1933 Securities Act - but was featured in the altcoin news for agreeing on a cease and desist order that was levied by the SEC. As it stands, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is getting stricter towards ICO companies and potentially fraudulent initial coin offerings (ICOs). The agency penalized several big projects so far and it seems like it won't stop doing the same in the future.
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Regulation

Israel Bitcoin Association Wants Local Banks To Disclose Crypto Policies

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The latest cryptocurrency news show that Bitcoiners in Israel are prepared to change a lot of things in their country. According to the Israel Bitcoin Association which is a nonprofit promoting the use of Bitcoin (BTC) and crypto, a freedom of information petition was filed with a Jerusalem court - seeking to require local banks to disclose their policies on money originating from cryptocurrencies. The news first appeared in the local news daily outlet Globes on August 19. As many best cryptocurrency news sites then showed, state banks are required to report reasons for refusing transactions to the central bank of the country, the Bank of Israel. This is why the association previously reached out to the bank, asking for clarification on cryptocurrency policies of commercial banks - but was refused. The association chairman Meni Rosenfeld then told Globes that the Bank of Israel refused the request on the grounds that these were "industry secrets." This is why the Israel Bitcoin Association moved forward with a legal petition to make the disclosure mandatory. As the legal adviser Jonathan Klinger said:
"Under the Banking (Licensing) Law, it is the duty of a bank to state to the Bank of Israel the policy under which it refuses to conduct transactions. We therefore contacted the Bank of Israel and asked for this information, but the Bank of Israel did not agree to disclose this policy to us. We therefore decided to petition the court to force the Bank of Israel to provide us with a copy of the policy submitted to it by the banks.”
Israeli banks have been denying the Israel Bitcoin Association the ability to open accounts in the country, even though the association does not buy or sell cryptocurrency. This, as the report shows, is likely due to the association's name which includes the word Bitcoin. So far, many other traders and crypto related businesses have struggled with difficulties making deposits and remaining tax compliant because of the crypto-averse banking policies in Israel. According to some reports in the altcoin news, cryptocurrency traders in Israel cannot pay taxes and are unable to make deposits of funds obtained through cryptocurrencies.
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Regulation

BitMEX Discounts Services For Three Countries Due To CFTC Probe

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BitMEX discounts services in three countries where it actually has offices during the CFTC probe and we find out more about it in the latest cryptocurrency news today. BitMEX stated in a statement that they had issued limited access to users that reside in the Seychelles, Bermuda and Hong Kong and the company stated that it had decided to go ahead with the decision to make sure there is continued compliance. BitMEX explained that it was restricting access to the bitcoin derivatives and exchange services in regions that hosted the headquarters and staffs. Bermuda, Hong Kong, and Seychelles will be added to the list of jurisdiction already restricted from accessing the platform and according to the statement of BitMEX we can read that:
 “This change will have no financial impact on the business and will affect very few people. The BitMEX team will be reaching out to those who are affected.’’
After the announcement, the services of the exchange will not be unavailable for the citizens of eleven regions which also include Canada, Cuba, Crimea, Iran, North Korea, and Sudan. BitMEX discounts the services and banned the users to access the exchange one month after the founder of the exchange and CEO Arthur Hayes debated the renowned economist and skeptic Nouriel Roubini. The debate saw Roubini accusing the BitMEX CEO of running a total scam under the name of BitMEX. He also noted that the exchange officials participated in a line of illegal activities which include insider trading. Roubini:
‘’The guy is a thug that is a public danger to thousands of small clueless investors who have lost their shirt because of his scam. BitMEX should be prosecuted for fraud and banned fully.’’
The debate didn’t end well for the exchange in many ways. The exchange founded itself during a fresh controversy later when Bloomberg reported that the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission began investigating the exchange for illegally offering crypto derivatives services to the US citizens but then BitEX denied the accusations stating that it does not comment on ‘’any media reports about inquiries or investigations by government agencies or regulators.’’ Many traders believed that BitMEX is trying to impress the regulators by keeping local citizens away from the risks of the leveraged bitcoin trading services or simply that the exchange is trying to prove the executives not to trade on the platform. Nevertheless, the services remained geo-blocked which means that the users in the banned regions can still access them without the private network services as noted n the coming altcoin news reports.
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