CoinDesk Takes Consensus 2020 Virtual

With the COVID-19 pandemic worsening throughout the world, CoinDesk is taking immediate action on Consensus 2020. As the organizers of Consensus and Blockchain Week NYC, our goal has always been to bring the community together to educate, grow, and create meaningful connections in a safe location. It is no longer possible to do that in a physical location.  Nonetheless, we are seizing an opportunity to make the most of this otherwise extremely difficult situation. Consensus 2020 will now be a completely virtual experience, where attendees from all over the world…

In Echo of 2008, Fed Pledges $1.5 Trillion Injection to Aid Reeling Markets

U.S. central bankers pledged Thursday to inject some $1.5 trillion into the financial system in an effort to calm panicky markets after the spreading coronavirus triggered steep price declines on everything from stocks to bitcoin. The move by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York comes as investors in traditional Wall Street markets have rushed to snap up U.S. Treasury bonds, historically viewed as a “safe haven” asset in times of turmoil. The flight to safety has pushed down the 10-year note’s yield, which moves in the opposite direction from…

Down 26%: Bitcoin Sees Worst Sell-Off in 7 Years as Coronavirus Spurs Flight to Safety

Bitcoin (BTC) suffered its biggest drop in seven years, as fears over the spreading coronavirus triggered a new wave of selling in everything from stocks and junk bonds to cryptocurrencies. This came despite a new European Central Bank pledge to pump more cash into panicky markets.   Prices for the largest cryptocurrency by market value plunged 26 percent to $5,863 as of 13:54 UTC (9:54 a.m. Eastern time). The move wiped out bitcoin’s gains for the year, dropping prices to the lowest level since May 2019. At least for now, it…

US Homeland Security Charges LocalBitcoins Seller on Money Laundering Charges

Washington state resident Kenneth Warren Rhule has been charged with laundering over $140,000 in bitcoin after agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) made a series of undercover cash-for-crypto deals with the 26-year-old. Rhule faces multiple counts of operating an unlicensed bitcoin money transmitter business and laundering monetary instruments after allegedly meeting with government agents “posing as criminals” interested in buying untraceable bitcoin for their human trafficking operation. Rhule was a seller on LocalBitcoins, a peer-to-peer trading platform used worldwide. Rhule is said to have closed eight deals with the undercover…

New York Crypto Companies Move to ‘Work From Home’ in Face of Rising COVID-19 Threat

Kadena CEO Will Martino had already been considering abandoning his blockchain development company’s Brooklyn HQ before coronavirus came to New York City. The fast-spreading virus, however, recently convinced him the office had to go. On Feb. 21, he told his team to begin working from home. The New York Metropolitan area’s surging coronavirus count is forcing more of the region’s cryptocurrency and blockchain companies to prepare for an unsavory reality: Their offices may close without warning and their employees may need to begin working remotely. CDC officials say “social distancing”…

Crypto Scams Pose More Risk Than Payments Fraud, Report Suggests

Cryptocurrency scams in 2019 were more risky for U.S. residents than fraud involving romance or payments. That’s the conclusion of a report released last week by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), a nonprofit organization focused on marketplace trust. The report found an average dollar loss in crypto-focused fraud of $3,000 for victims aged between 25 and 44. The relatively high figure was the result of nefarious actors taking advantage of those who lacked foundational knowledge of digital assets, BBB said. Thirty-two percent of scams involved the exchange of cryptocurrencies for…

Europe’s New AML Rules Made Crypto More Attractive to Institutions, Says Boerse Stuttgart Exec

The fifth anti-money laundering directive (AMLD5) has unexpectedly increased institutional interest in cryptocurrencies, according to an executive at the crypto trading subsidiary of Boerse Stuttgart. Speaking at the CryptoCompare London conference Tuesday, Boerse Stuttgart’s chief digital officer, Dr. Ulli Spankowski, admitted he had been “surprised” by the positive effect 5AMLD had on attracting traditional financial institutions into cryptocurrencies. “I actually didn’t think anything would happen because banks and other financial institutions could already do crypto custody [and] could do crypto trading,” Spankowski said. But since the law came into force…

Bitcoiners in Europe Reflect on Economic Shocks as Coronavirus Spreads

With assets from oil barrels to bitcoin being pulverized by the coronavirus slowdown, people worldwide are reevaluating their plans for crypto gatherings, especially in geographies where anti-COVID-19 measures are increasingly serious.  In Milan, Italy, which was officially placed in lockdown by the Italian government on Sunday, bitcoin entrepreneur and meetup organizer Mir Liponi is facing more pressing concerns than her hobbyist meetup of 1,800 members. Weddings and funerals are forbidden, she told CoinDesk. Most grocery shopping is done online, which leads to delayed deliveries. “Authorities told us we will always…

Bithumb Taps Chainalysis for FATF-Grade Crypto Investigation Tool

Cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb is clamping down on suspicious transactions less than a week after South Korea, its home country, moved to enact tough new laws for the virtual asset space. Bithumb announced Tuesday it had deployed Chainalysis’ “Reactor” investigations tool to get ahead of illicit activity. Reactor, used in many cryptocurrency law enforcement actions, will help the exchange’s compliance officers police their network, according to a press release. The announcement follows the South Korean National Assembly’s early March vote to amend the Special Financial Transactions Information Act, which, once signed…

This Is What a Productive Congressional Blockchain Hearing Looks Like

For once, U.S. lawmakers had an informative conversation about blockchain technology without posturing.  It was a sharp contrast from past Capitol Hill proceedings, when lawmakers took their entire allotted time to compare Libra to terrorist attacks or ask pointed questions about how Silicon Valley is biased toward one partisan slant or another. Rather, the small-business hearing saw only detailed questions about the legal or practical implications of blockchain and distributed ledger technology. The specific question at hand was how small businesses might be able to use blockchain technology for data…