Bitcoin [BTC] fraudster in Canada asked to forfeit $1.14 million obtained using dark web

The hacks and fraudulent activities seem to happen in tandem with the developments and updates from the world of cryptocurrencies. On April 3, Superior Court Justice of Canada Jane Kelly ordered that 281.41 Bitcoin [BTC] worth $1.9 million be forfeited to the Ministry of Attorney General after it was proven that Mathew Phan used the cryptoverse for nefarious purposes. Phan, who was a Canada based drug dealer used Bitcoin to fund his pipeline of drugs and arsenal of guns.
During the verdict, Justice Jane Smith had stated:
“There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that Mr. Phan was using the dark markets to purchase illegal items such as firearms and silencers. It is clear from the evidence found during searches, particularly of his condominium unit, that he was conducting a large sales operation of illegal narcotics.”
She also added:
“It is a reasonable inference to draw that payment for such illegal narcotics sales was made using Bitcoin that was found in the digital wallet on Mr. Phan’s computer using the online marketplaces Evolution and Agora, which are used to buy and sell contraband.”
Mathew Phan was in the news earlier when he defended the court’s allegations by stating that he should be allowed to keep the fortune because he had made it off Bitcoin trading. At the time, the Mathew Phan case was the first Bitcoin seizure crime that had occurred in Canada. Back in December 2018, Phan had admitted to owning illegal substances like cocaine, PCP and ketamine, a supply provided by his stint on the dark web.
The dark web has been a playground for illegal activities for a long time and with the introduction of the cryptocurrencies, it has become even more prevalent. In November 2018, Gal Vallerius aka Oxymonster was sentenced to 20 years in prison for money laundering, conspiracy, and distributing drugs. A statement during the trial said:
“By virtue of the size and scope of the marketplace … it was the intent of the operators and vendors on Dream Market to distribute more than 450 kilos of cocaine, 90 kilos of heroin and 45 kilos of methamphetamine.”
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Source: AMB Crypto

Possible Bitcoin [BTC] scam: BCSC warns Canadian Bitcoin exchange promising unrealistic investment returns

Canada’s regulatory agency, the British Columbia Securities Commission [BCSC], issued a warning against a suspicious trading platform, Canada Bitcoin Exchange Inc. [CBE]. The platform was offering excessively attractive investment plans with exponential gains, and subsequently came under the BCSC’s radar recently.
Source: Canada Bitcoin Exchange
The investment returns for all the four plans listed on the website were based on High Yielding Investment Programs [HYIP], which offered extraordinarily high investment returns. The exchange purported 3,586% returns in 48 hours and 7,985% returns in a mere 24 hours. The platform accepted payment mainly in Bitcoin [BTC], implying that recovering the assets would be very difficult in case of fraud.
Canada’s financial watchdogs confirmed that the suspicious entity was not registered to trade in British Columbia. The Commission further urged people to exercise caution while dealing with platforms similar to the one in question.
Another interesting aspect about the platform’s website was that apart from a basic Customer Support section, there was no mention of any licenses granted by any recognized regulatory body. Following the discovery, the BCSC reportedly found out that CBE was an unregulated organization.
Despite many in the online crypto community speculating that CBE might be a scam or a fraudulent organization, it is still not evident whether the platform did dupe investors. Two blockchains associated with the Bitcoin address provided on CBE’s website were identified on the Bitcoin block explorer service, Both these aforementioned addresses had recorded zero transactions.
For the BCH address,

According to domain search portal Who.Is, and newsBTC, the exchange was registered under the domain, NameSilo, LLC. It was further reported that the account was created after 1 August, 2017.
Source: Who.Is
Off late, crypto-platforms and exchanges have flocked to places with crypto-friendly regulations such as Malta and Switzerland, following the massive scrutiny and institutional challenges and warnings associated with trading in the US and Canada.
In the past three months alone, around 40 regulatory bodies in the US and Canada have issued cautionary alerts, urging investors to do their homework before dealing with any crypto-platform.
NASAA [North American Securities Administrators Association] President and Alabama Securities Commission Director, Joseph P Borg, had this to say in August 2018,
“State and provincial securities regulators are committing significant regulatory resources to protect investors from financial harm involving fraudulent ICOs and cryptocurrency-related investment products and also are raising awareness among industry participants of their regulatory responsibilities.”
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Source: AMB Crypto

QuadrigaCX Prompts Regulators to Move: Will Canada Clampdown on Crypto?

The QuadrigaCX debacle that has gripped the crypto space so far this year has evidently not gone unnoticed by Canadian financial regulators. In a consultation paper, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) appealed for the input of various crypto market participants to help with a proposed regulatory framework to address investor protection in the space.
The paper seeks input on areas including custody, asset verification, price determination, and market surveillance. All comments regarding the paper must be submitted by May 15.
CSA and IIROC Seek Input on Crypto Regulatory Framework
Canadian regulators have been spurred into action following the recent QuadrigaCX case in which the CEO of a Canada-based crypto exchange supposedly died with the only access to the company’s funds in cold storage. After various twists and turns in the narrative, including allegations of “fake death mafias” and the missing crypto never being there to begin with, those QuadrigaCX customers that have lost out due to the fiasco are still no closer to having their money returned.
Presumably in response to this (or at least accelerated by it), IIROC and the CSA published a joint consultation paper earlier today seeking members of the cryptocurrency community to comment on a range of issues that would potentially impact upon how the space is eventually regulated.
The paper goes by the catchy title of: “Joint Canadian Securities Administrators/Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada Consultation Paper 21-402 Proposed Framework for Crypto-Asset Trading Platforms”. It proposes that crypto exchanges be required to be registered as marketplaces, investment dealers, or both. This will depend on the nature of assets traded at the platform, as well as other considerations.
In a summary of the paper, CSA Chair and President and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financier, Louis Morisset, is reported to have said:
“Platforms have told us that a tailored regulatory framework is welcome as they seek to build consumer confidence and expand their businesses across Canada and globally.”
The CEO and President of IIROC, Andrew J. Kriegler added:
“The emergence of digital and crypto assets continues to be a growing area of interest for regulators, investors and marketplaces – and, together, securities regulators are taking steps to deepen our understanding of this area.”
He went on to state that it was important to adapt to technological innovations such as cryptocurrency and that regulations should be tailored to “unique business models”. Yet he asserted that maintaining investor protection was also paramount to the role of regulators.
The paper goes on to state that both the CSA and IIROC are keen to work with international regulators and welcome discourse on a variety of different approaches.
From the wording on the crypto consultation paper, despite the fact that hundreds of millions of dollars are currently in limbo thanks to the mismanagement of QuadrigaCX’s custody solution, it still seems that Canada’s lawmakers are keen to nurture the ever-growing digital asset industry, rather than clampdown hard on it. The kind of tailor-made regulatory approach that it calls for is certainly encouraging for the future of the space.
Related Reading: After QuadrigaCX Fiasco, Another Shady Bitcoin Exchange Surfaces in Canada
Featured Image from Shutterstock.
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Source: New

Calgary Police Seek Information About Suspects in $145k Bitcoin ATM Scam

An unnamed Bitcoin ATM provider serving the Canadian market was scammed last year across a number of the nation’s cities. Police are now seeking information regarding four suspects believed to be involved in the fraud.
The four men are believed to have taken around US$145,000 from the machines over the course of 10 days in 2018. According to reports, this was made possible by quickly cancelling transactions before the Bitcoin ATMs targeted could process them.
Four Suspects Hit Bitcoin ATMs Over 10 Days Across Multiple Cities
Calgary police are looking for help identifying four individuals suspected of being involved in the defrauding of a series of Bitcoin ATMs across cities in Canada. The four suspects are believed to have made a total of 112 fraudulent transactions in Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Sherwood Park, and other locations. The total amount generated by the scam is just over US$145,000.
The dates of all the transactions fall between September 16, 2018, and September 26, 2018. According to a report in Canadian news publication CBC, just less than half the attacks on Bitcoin ATMs took place in Calgary.
A Bitcoin ATM is the general name given to a machine, often found in a place of business, that accepts fiat deposits in exchange for Bitcoin. In many but not all cases, users can also sell Bitcoin to the machine in exchange for local currency. The popularity of Bitcoin ATMs has exploded in recent years with many more units appearing worldwide – particularly in large US cities.
The four suspects in the Canadian Bitcoin ATM scam are believed to have figured out of a way to cancel transactions before they were fully processed by the provider of the units. This essentially gave them the value of the deposit in both crypto and fiat.
CCTV footage of the four suspects has been provided by Calgary police, with assistance from authorities in Ontario and Manitoba. The pictures were published in CBC, along with a statement from the Calgary police that speculated that the four suspects have “deep knowledge or interest in cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, and/or blockchain technology.”
Below is an image of each of the four suspects:
Each of the four suspects in the Bitcoin ATM fraud is believed to have targeted a different area.
According to reports, each of the four suspected of defrauding Canadian Bitcoin ATMs targeted a different area. The left-most individual in the above image is believed to have focused on Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Hamilton. The next two are thought to have targeted Calgary and Winnipeg respectively. Finally, the right-most face belongs to the individual suspected of defrauding Bitcoin ATMs in Sherwood Park.
The Calgary Police Service is being assisted in its investigation by authorities from Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg, and Halton. The CPS requests that anyone with any information that could lead to the identification of one or more of the individuals pictured above contact the force’s non-emergency phone number on +1-403-266-1234, or to submit information through Calgary Crime Stoppers. 
Related Reading: Are Bitcoin ATMs Driving Adoption, Criminality, or Consumerism?
Featured Images from CPS and Shutterstock.
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Source: New

Bitcoin [BTC] and other cryptocurrencies to come under audits by Canada Revenue Agency

The issues of regulations have been a major hurdle for the cryptocurrency market, a point that has been brought up by many proponents of the cryptosphere.
New reports have come to light suggesting that the Canada Revenue Agency [CRA] is looking into the trade of Bitcoin [BTC] and other cryptocurrencies which can be subject to audits. The users under CRA’s radar were sent detailed and comprehensive questionnaires aimed at getting complete details of each individual transaction.
The CRA is not the first body to raise concerns about such transactions as the United States Internal Revenue Service [IRS] had previously called out Coinbase on the alleged selling of large amounts of user data to other parties.
The movement to put Bitcoin and other digital assets under the umbrella of audits and other financial procedures in Canada caught the eye of many in the cryptocurrency community. The CRA stated,
“The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) understands that a vast majority of middle-class Canadians pay their fair share, but it remains committed to ensuring that without exception, every taxpayer abides by the same tax laws. As a world-class tax administration, the CRA is also committed to adapting its administration to keep pace with evolving global services and products, and making key investments to effectively address the new ways of doing business in the global economy.”
This was followed by,
“In order to make good on these commitments, the CRA established a dedicated cryptocurrency unit in 2017 to build intelligence, and conduct audits focused on risks related to cryptocurrencies. This unit has enhanced the CRA’s ability to monitor and enforce compliance in areas of emerging risk, including the cryptocurrency space. There are currently over 60 active audits related to cryptocurrency.”
The CRA also revealed that its efforts at making the cryptocurrency space safer came from its own Underground Economy Strategy. The UES works with a mission to monitor new business models and emerging markets.
Some of the CRA’s questions included, “Do you use any cryptocurrency mixing services and tumblers?” and “Can you please provide us with the tracing history along with all the cryptocurrency addresses you mixed?”
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Source: AMB Crypto

Court Grants Quadriga Deadline Extension, $145M in Crypto Still in Limbo

A Halifax court has granted an extension to QuadrigaCX’s creditor protection deadline. The story of the now-defunct crypto exchange that has most gripped the space so far in 2019 is therefore set to continue.
According to court documents, QuadrigaCX’s CEO, Gerard Cotten, died with the only knowledge of how to access the firm’s crypto cold storage solution. There is an estimated $145 million missing, a large potion of which is owed to the exchange’s customers.
Quadriga Given a Month and a Half to Find Missing Crypto
Much talked-about digital asset exchange platform QuadrigaCX has been granted an additional 45 days worth of creditor protection. The decision was made by a Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice, Michael Wood, earlier today.
Wood also approved the motion to allow for the appointment of a chief restructuring officer to oversee the now-insolvent firm. However, the Justice was keen to point out that said officer would need to be monitored by a court-appointed delegate to ensure that professional fees did not run up too high. This monitor is also to have access to transnational data stored with Amazon Web Services, which may help in finding the missing funds.
The decision to extend the creditor protection afforded to Quadriga may well be a response to the recent report by “Big Four” auditing firm, Ernst & Young. It states that the company had successfully identified six of the supposed cold storage wallets used by Quadriga yet they were largely empty. In fact, apart from one single payment of $500,000 into them, there have been no deposits made in any since April 2018.
According to Toronto-based news publication The Star, of the US$145 million total missing, over US$52 million is owed to Quadriga customers.
Quadriga users leaving funds on the exchange stand to lose out.
This has caused various theories to abound about the whereabouts of the money, particularly given some of the circumstances surrounding Cotten’s death. Firstly, the Quadriga CEO died in a part of India known for having “fake death mafias” – organised gangs who will take care of all the paper work needed to make someone vanish administratively. Many have therefore accused the late Cotten of exit scamming his way out of Quadriga.
More recently, allegations have been made that the funds are in fact sitting on several large exchanges, including: Poloniex, Kraken, and Bitfinex. Research leading to this conclusion was published on the Zerononcense Blog.
However, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell refuted this narrative, whilst also reminding those who have lost funds thanks to the Quadriga missing keys debacle that the best chance of them getting their money back was if the money was indeed resting in a couple of exchange accounts.
Powell has himself been particularly active in the hunt for the Quadriga millions. The CEO even pledged to gift $100,000 in either cryptocurrency or fiat to whoever could give meaningful information leading to the recovery of the missing money.
Related Reading: QuadrigaCX Imbroglio Continues: Cotten Mentioned Bitcoin Key Loss In 2014
Featured Images from Shutterstock.
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Source: New

Canada’s Crypto Market in Trouble, QuadrigaCX Fiasco and Coinsquare Staff Layoff

It has become abundantly apparent that the Bitcoin crash-induced crypto winter hasn’t managed to seduce bears. The crash in the broader cryptocurrency market, which sent investors running en-masse, has resulted in a number of layoffs at this (not so) budding sector’s most preeminent firms.
Coinsquare, a leading exchange headquartered just north of the U.S., is the most recent notable company to have commenced layoffs, as the wrecking ball — the tumbling Bitcoin price — has struck with no holds barred.
Coinsquare Cuts 30% Of Staff As Bitcoin Rut Hits Home
It seems that the deep freeze that the U.S. midwest has found itself in has spread north. According to an exclusive from Canadian media outlet BetaKit, which has focused its reporting on fintech, the Toronto-based Coinsquare laid off a good portion of its staffers on January 31st.
Citing sources with familiarity with the unfortunate debacle, the company purged 40 employees across the board, bringing its cumulative headcount down to ~150. This represents a 27% reduction in total staffers.
Interestingly, even key members of the Coinsquare team — C-suite members — were also shown the door. Robert Mueller, the chief operating officer of the upstart, and chief of finance Ken Tsang were two executives, both hired at the peak of 2017’s parabolic rally, purportedly were handed exit slips. Speaking on the matter of this recent purge, chief executive Cole Diamond did his best to back his company’s sudden shift in strategy.

Diamond remarked that the current market conditions, which he deemed are the “most volatile that you or I have ever seen,” has forced Coinsquare to make some tough choices, specifically to protect their hegemony in the Canadian crypto ecosystem. In fact, the Canadian entrepreneur explained that Coinsquare needs to be “prudent” in the way it uses its capital, as it needs to stay afloat to fulfill its long-term goal of creating an institution that “has a real chance at changing the world.”
According to BetaKit, this is the second time that Coinsquare has employed the use of layoffs amid dreary market conditions to extend financial runways in a bid to bolster the company bottom line. The last layoff came in July of last year, which saw a relatively mere 20 employees lose their stints at the company.
Yet, it hasn’t been all doom and gloom for the now unemployed talent at Coinsquare. In a gesture of goodwill and human decency, Martin Hauck, Coinsquare’s head of talent, recently took to LinkedIn to express his condolences, while announcing a plan to get those recently laid off a chance at a fresh start. Hauck explaining that he’s grateful for what the Coinsquare team has accomplished, added that he intends to see other companies, whether they are situated in the crypto, blockchain, or fintech industries, pick up the lost sheep of Coinsquare.
Regardless, this dramatic layoff couldn’t seemingly come at a worse time for Coinsquare. Per previous reports from NewsBTC, the company forayed into Europe in December, offering the whole kit and caboodle, including support for the trading of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, XRP, and other notable cryptocurrencies, in 25 E.U. nations.

Coinsquare, a Canadian crypto exchange, is entering the European market to help businesses in the flowering industry with fiat pairs, including Ripple-to-fiat. @newsbtc Read more here:
— Skrumble Network (@SkrumbleNetwork) August 25, 2018

This came as the company also joined hands with DLTa21, a so-called “global blockchain investment bank,” to make move to prop up infrastructure in the heavily-contested Japanese market. Per BetaKit, at this time, the company also made a number of key acquisitions, utilizing funding from an array of funding rounds it secured in 2017 and early-2018.
The Tumultuous Canadian Crypto Environment
Coinsquare’s recent internal overhaul comes amid what can only be described as dismal times for QuadrigaCX, another preeminent Bitcoin trading medium that has shivered in the extended crypto winter. After Jennifer Robertson, the wife of exchange chief Gerald Cotten, revealed that her partner purportedly died in India, the exchange went offline, citing maintenance. Eventually, it was revealed that the company purportedly lost access to its holdings, as Cotten was the only employee to have access to the cryptocurrency stored by QuadrigaCX.
However, in an odd turn of events, CryptoMedication, a blockchain researcher, claims that QuadrigaCX never lost access to its Bitcoin holdings, along with the fact that that the lost sum of 26,500 BTC cited in an affidavit likely isn’t accurate. No conclusive figures could be pinned, but the researcher also divulged that Quadriga enlisted the use of fractional reserves to service its customers, using client deposits to issue withdrawals.
Related Reading: QuadrigaCX Never Held $100M In Bitcoin, Says Crypto Researcher
Upstarts Stuck In Crypto Deep Freeze
As hinted at earlier, Coinsquare is the most recent crypto-centric firm to have laid off a mass of its employees.
Bitmain, a Beijing-headquartered Bitcoin mining powerhouse, purportedly began to recently drop much of its mining division (not ASIC manufacturing), with some reports even claiming that the company also lost one of its co-chief executives. Huobi, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, has also begun a drastic purge, with the company’s head honcho telling outlets that 100 positions had been purged.
The crypto winter is in full swing
More recently, ShapeShift, the company behind the exchange that shares its name, CoinCap, and KeepKey, laid off 37 employees — one-third of its staffers — in an evident bid to extend the potency of its war chest. Blockfolio, BlockEx, Steemit, SpankChain, and ETCDEV are among other notable industry participants to have either folded or laid off employees to extend their financial runway.
Although all this may seem disconcerting, one insider claims that all this is mandated, as Bitcoin won’t run without these foreboding occurrences. Travis Kling, the chief investment officer of Ikigai, recently noted that if Bitcoin is to run again, the current set of layoffs, exchange collapses, developer ragequits, ICO treasury sell-offs, stringent regulatory measures, and cries that “crypto is dead” will just be the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Featured Image from Shutterstock
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Source: New

Bitcoin Bomb Threats Strike Hong Kong After Debacle In U.S., Canada

Over the past 72 hours, bomb threats attempting to extort Bitcoin (BTC) from business owners and governmental agencies have taken the world by storm, affecting thousands across Canada, the U.S., and New Zealand. Although the threats have begun to recede from the limelight in the western world, the issue may only be getting started across the Pacific Ocean in Asia.
Hong Kong Targeted By Bitcoin Bomb Threat
According to an exclusive report from the South China Morning Post (SCMP), an English news outlet centered around Asia’s happenings, bomb threats requesting BTC have arrived in the inboxes of a number of Hong Kong firms. As Michael Gazeley, CEO of Network Box, burned the candle on both ends on Friday, he purportedly saw a foreboding message land in his business email, telling the SCMP that he was “shocked.” This message was, of course, a threat from an anonymous group(s) asking for $20,000 U.S. worth of cryptocurrency in an apparent shakedown.
If the specified sum, dubbed a “security fee” by the group(s), wasn’t sent to the sender’s address, the terrorists claimed that they would bomb Network Box’s offices. In an interview with the outlet, Gazeley, obviously perturbed by the occurrence noted:
“This looks like the third wave of blackmail emails plaguing the world in the past few years… I have never seen something like this, which sounds like cyberterrorism, in my 20-year career in cybersecurity.”
Yet, the cybersecurity expert went on to add that he was 99.999 percent confident that the message wasn’t worth its water, so to speak. Gazeley drew attention to the layout, language, and the poor grammar contained within the email — accentuating that this message is nothing more than a poor attempt at a money grab scheme.
Hong Kong authorities have yet to comment on this odd Bitcoin-related case, so it remains to be seen how many businesses came under fire. Yet, a representative from the IT branch of Hong Kong’s legislative council lambasted this new scam format, stating that “scammers need to be smarter,” making it clear that such a form of extortion is ineffective and baseless.
Canada, U.S. Also Hit With Issue
This news comes just days after this same issue struck businesses throughout North America. As reported by NewsBTC previously, on Thursday, a number of places of work, public places, stores, and pertinent landmarks were targeted by the same scam outlined above. Although police departments, namely New York’s, have made it clear that such emails hold no credence, a number of firms purportedly closed up shop as a preemptive security measure.
A number of subway stations in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, purportedly shut down operations due to the threat. A community hospital in Hillsboro also decided to temporarily shutter its operations. Per The Verge, even Infinity Ward, the development company behind Call of Duty, had also made a conscious decision to evacuate its headquarters. Seeing that no explosions have occurred at locations targeted, it can be assumed that these threats have lacked legitimacy since day one.
Featured Image from Shutterstock
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Source: New

BitPay Implements First Major PoS Solution in Canada

A Canadian luxury fine jewelry brand is now accepting Bitcoin as a means of payment at eight stores across the country. Birks Group partnered with BitPay to process all Bitcoin transactions made by customers.
Canadian Luxury Jewelry Brand Partners With BitPay to Accept Bitcoin
Leading the luxury jewelry retail sector in Canada since 1879, Birks Group is now at the forefront of the digital revolution by adding bitcoin as a payment option for customers of the brand. Transactions made through BitPay’s processing system are faster and easier than legacy fiat systems, said Jean-Christophe Bédos, President and Chief Executive Officer of Birks Group.
“It is of great significance to Birks Group to launch BitPay. As an internationally growing brand, we believe that BitPay will benefit our customers as we look to align ourselves with these innovative capabilities that are on the forefront of technology.”
BitPay is a market leader in bringing brick and mortar merchants ahead of the curve and closer to the future. Founded in 2011 in Atlanta, the global bitcoin payment service will provide Birks Group with a full array of options for accepting blockchain payments, from direct point-of-sale integrations to web and mobile-based apps, said Sonny Singh, Chief Commercial Officer of BitPay.
“Birks Group has a large number of international shoppers so allowing them to pay in bitcoin makes perfect sense. Accepting bitcoin helps Birks Group to cater to their high-end international clients and get new customers while providing an innovative and safe payment option.”
The jewelry retailer will accept bitcoin payments in 8 select stores, making it the first major implementation of BitPay’s point-of-sale solution in Canada. Bitcoin payments allow for large transactions, which has attracted the world of luxury brands. Amsterdam-based high-end jeweler Ace Jewelers Group partnered with BitPay back in 2016, becoming Europe’s first jeweler to accept Bitcoin.
The luxury real estate business has also adhered to bitcoin payments. An example of this is the acquisition of a Miami home for 455 BTC, worth 6 million dollars at the time, earlier in 2018. The purchase was the most expensive Bitcoin to Bitcoin real estate transaction to date.
BitPay’s Sonny Singh has recently told Bloomberg’s Emily Chang that Bitcoin may surge towards the $15,000-$20,000 area over the next year on the back of institutionals and the their blockchain-powered products to be launched in 2019. Singh singled out Fidelity, Bakkt, Square, and Blackrock, as potential drivers of the next Bitcoin bullish run.
The Bitcoin payments giant has offices in North America, Europe, and South America and has raised over $70 million from leading investors. The firm, however, has recently faced a potentially alarming threat in the form of malicious code. The malware was deployed on versions 5.0.2 through 5.1.0 of its Copay and BitPay apps.
BitPay is investigating whether Copay users suffered from any attack purported the malicious code. In the meantime, the firm recommended users to move funds to new wallets immediately as private keys could be compromised.
Image from Shutterstock
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Source: New

Bitcoin Fund Approved, Canadians can now Invest via Retirement & Tax-free Savings Accounts

SEC is still working things out while Canada has already done it by approving the first and only regulated bitcoin trust fund the status of a Mutual fund that enables accredited investors to make an investment in Bitcoin through their retirement savings plan and tax-free savings accounts among others.
Canada’s first & only regulated Bitcoin fund granted mutual fund status
Canada has left the SEC behind as it approves a Bitcoin Fund and granted it with the mutual fund trust status. According to the official announcement by the First Block Capital Inc., the FBC Bitcoin Trust has become the first and only regulated Bitcoin Trust eligible for accredited investors.
This allows the unit holders to put their units in a self-directed registered account like a tax-free savings account (TFSA) and registered retirement savings plan (RRSP). This trust is available for purchase on NEO Connect under the FBCBT ticker.
In the same manner, as the ETFs are bought and sold FBC Bitcoin Trust is purchased and redeemed by NEO Connect. The platform has removed the 30-day redemption clause and now enables daily settlements.
Sean Clark, the co-founder, and CEO of First Block Capital which is actually the first dedicated and fully registered crypto and blockchain investment company with PM, EMD, and IFM licenses said:
“Since inception, First Block Capital has been committed to providing investors with regulated, titled and auditable exposure to investment vehicles based on blockchain and cryptocurrency. Our team is extremely proud to maintain our market-leading position and will continue to execute our vision of creating a fleet of investible products dedicated to space.”
Also, read: Winklevoss’s NYDFS Licensed Stable Coin “Gemini Dollar” may Pull Strings on Notorious Tether
Making it easy for accredited investors to invest
As per this trust, the qualified investors are allowed the exposure to the Bitcoin but without having to actually acquire, store, and manage the underlying Bitcoin.
Under the Tax Act, if the trust units exceed 150 unit holders within a year of its launch, it is considered a mutual fund trust. The announcement further talks about the Bitcoin trust being the first and only OSC (Ontario Securities Commission) and BCSC (British Columbia Securities Commission) approved product of its kind in the country. This is while offering the exclusive opportunity to hold units of BTC investment in their Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP) and Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSA).
Marc van der Chijs, the co-founder and CIO of First Block stated:
“With this accomplishment, we continue to push Canada forward as a world leader in regulated blockchain and cryptocurrency investment vehicles. Our goal is to make investments in the digital currency asset class more accessible and we are one step closer to achieving this goal by allowing unitholders to place units in government-sponsored tax efficient vehicles, and by providing daily liquidity through NEO Connect, a fund distribution platform with a rapidly growing dealer network.”
Moreover, First Block is extremely optimistic as it anticipates a majority of their investors will begin moving the units within the first month itself.
People are excited about this news as one Redditor shared,
“That is a pretty significant development. Obviously only really relevant for Canada, but it does make it less risky for the SEC (for them) to approve an ETF.”
Another one shared,
“Tax-free exposure to Bitcoin gains is a really great step. Hopefully, Canadian banks can further improve their acceptance of Bitcoin. It might be nice to start with NOT locking out accounts found transacting with crypto-currencies. This would help incentivize Canadians to invest in Bitcoin. Of course, any real investor in Bitcoin holds their own keys, rather than just trusting some bankster.”
While “How will the US react if Canada keeps improving its acceptance of Bitcoin to the point where USD$ devalues relative to CAD$?” are contemplating others.
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Source: CoinGape

Bitcoin is Right on Track, Market Heading to $10 Trillion in 15 Years – Global Invt. Bank Analyst

Bitcoin might have taken a serious decline but the analyst of the global investment bank is still strong on the Bitcoin ecosystem to hit $10 trillion in 10-15 years. He emphasizes that Goldman postponing Bitcoin trading desk is of no concern, institutional investor interest is already here as the market is expecting two things in near-term.
Bitcoin down in short-term, the long-term still up for $10 trillion
The market might have taken a serious dump in the past 24-hours breaking below the $6,500 at $6,424, down by over 12 percent. This has the entire crypto market crash from $238 billion yesterday to today’s $202 billion, the loss of $36 billion.
Goldman Sachs postponing Bitcoin trading desk plans might have further triggered the drop along with millions of worth of bitcoin being sold in the market that has the sellers dominating the trading space. Though it has been expected by the experts that Bitcoin will see a more downward momentum, one analyst remains essentially bullish.
Mitch Stevens, a research analyst at RBC Capital markets, a global investment bank and part of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) recently shared his bullish views on the crypto market. Earlier this year, he had said,
“By utilizing decentralized computing and open source software, we see a multi-trillion dollar market emerging.”  
He had estimated a $10 trillion market in the next 10-15 years while experiencing a lot of ups and downs on the way. The estimate came from “taking a third of the roughly $30 trillion in assets held in offshore funds and gold, as investors embrace digital currencies as a new store of value.”
Goldman Sachs news is of no concern
This time, Stevens reaffirmed on his analysis despite Goldman Sachs postponing the Bitcoin trading desk. In his interview with CNBC, he shared how Goldman’s decision in no way means institutional investors are getting cold feet about Bitcoin, explaining:
“So, I don’t think it is a big concern… All the institutional investors I speak with that have been involved for the last five years or so, they are still involved in the space… they still track it very closely.”
He also shared how Goldman Sachs is already involved in the crypto market and is further working on moving forward:
“So, what I think Goldman is having a hard time with is they can’t really find a way to get Institutional investors to invest. So, specifically, they are invested in Circle, which is essentially a competitor to Coinbase… So, they are already able to get trading flows on the retail side. What they are realizing now is probably the next step to get institutional money, waiting for a Bitcoin ETF to get approved.”
Also, read: Credible Names Being Involved Could get BitcoinETF an Approval Feels Experts
Everything is on track, Bitcoin has a long way to go
As for his $10 trillion market cap for the bitcoin ecosystem, he is very much standing strong on it replying with a simple “NO” to if he has even changed his calculations according to the developments and price fluctuations of the market.
Talking about the short term, he mentioned things that are the focus in near term:
“It’s venture capital, you look at 10-15 years. But if you look at near-term dynamics as to why the trade was negative this year, waiting for two things, looking for an ETF to get approved, in order to get it approved, the only underlying Bitcoin. The last time 9 ETF that were denied didn’t actually own any bitcoin in their base of future pricings like Gold ETN.”
He further added:
“There’s one more negative thing that needs to happen that all the funds that raised money in q4 last year, at the highs of the cryptocurrency hedge fund, they’ll probably start shutting down.”
He concluded with “from technical perspective everything is on track” which is given for the crypto ecosystem as prices fluctuate quite constantly.
The post Bitcoin is Right on Track, Market Heading to $10 Trillion in 15 Years – Global Invt. Bank Analyst appeared first on Coingape.
Source: CoinGape

Bitcoin [BTC] Predominantly Used as an Investment Vehicle: Report Reveals

Bitcoin awareness is rising in Canada as reported by the Bank of Canada which is primarily being used for investment purpose instead of a payment method. In South Africa, Bitcoin awareness takes flight while FOMO is persistent in both the countries.

Bitcoin awareness takes the front seat

Bitcoin (BTC) is now about 9 years old and the awareness about this digital asset is finally growing at a decent pace. According to the report by the Bank of Canada, it conducted the Bitcoin Omnibus Survey (BTCOS) to understand the adoption and usage of Bitcoin by Canadians and if it will affect the financial system.

According to the 2016 survey, the awareness has increased from 64 to 85 percent. As for the ownership, it has increased from 2.9 to 5 percent. The survey revealed that in 2016, Bitcoin was owned for transactional purposes as interest for a new technology arises among the people.

However, in 2017, investment was the focus and about only half of Bitcoin owners used it to buy goods or services.

A more detailed table in the report evaluates that in terms of gender, the awareness has risen the most in females from 54 to 80 while bitcoin ownership has risen in males from 4.2 to 8.1.

Governor Stephen S. Poloz has been quoted as saying in part, in the paper,

“To begin with basics, the term ‘cryptocurrency’ is a misnomer—‘crypto,’ yes, but ‘currency,’ no. For something to be considered a currency, it must act as a reliable store of value, and you should be able to spend it easily. These instruments possess neither of these characteristics, so they do not constitute ‘money.’”

Also, read: Bitcoin Fraud Got Real for the US Govt., New Task Force Might Boost Investor Confidence

Bitcoin FOMO persistent

On another backdrop, in South Africa, the report reveals that the majority i.e. 60 percent of the people doesn’t know about Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Whereas, about 19 percent have heard of them in passing while only 4 percent have a deep knowledge of them.

However, the interesting point here is that despite the downward trend in the Bitcoin price, a majority of the respondents which is about 71 percent believed by investing in bitcoin, one can make huge amounts of money.

Bitcoin FOMO is certainly among the South African people as 38 percent wished they had invested. Whereas, around 43 percent sees it as a bad news while 52 percent doesn’t know how exactly it works.

The recent report gives the clear indication that Bitcoin has been seen as an investment option rather than as a payment form. Given the fact that crypto market has a high volatility that means the possibility of high gains and equally high losses, it has become a favorite among speculators. Also, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies still need improvements in the areas of scalability, fees involved and transaction processing time.

As the Bitcoin awareness and adoption rises, it might also lead to its other uses except for just an investment vehicle.


The post Bitcoin [BTC] Predominantly Used as an Investment Vehicle: Report Reveals appeared first on Coingape.

Source: CoinGape

Tether Adds Former Bank of Montreal AML Manager as Chief Compliance Officer

Tether Ltd., the company behind the stablecoin UDST, announced today that it has appointed Leonardo Real, the former AML quality control manager at the Bank of Montreal, as Chief Compliance Officer (CCO). Tether appoints former AML Quality Control Manager at Bank of Montreal as Chief Compliance Officer. — Tether (@Tether_to) July 12, 2018 According to the announcement, Leonardo Real is […]
Source: Sludge Feed