Bank of Thailand says a growing number of companies are asking for payments in cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin and ether. The central bank reiterates its stance on crypto and warns of the risks of using them as a means of payment.
The Bank of Thailand (BOT), the country’s central bank, issued a warning notice titled “Caution on Using Digital Assets as Means of Payment for Goods and Services” on Thursday.
The notice explains that some enterprises have recently begun soliciting payments for goods and services in cryptocurrencies, naming bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) as examples.
The Thai central bank reiterated its stance that digital assets are not legal tender and it does not support their use as a means of payment for goods and services. The bank detailed that using cryptocurrencies as a means of payment leads to risks for both buyers and sellers, “such as price volatility, cyber theft, and money laundering.”
Thailand’s central bank clarified:
Should the use of digital assets as a means of payment for goods and services become widespread, the BOT will coordinate with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other related agencies to take the necessary measures to ensure that they do not pose extensive risks to the general public or the economic and financial system.
The Thai SEC recently banned regulated crypto exchanges from providing services related to meme cryptocurrencies, fan tokens, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
The security regulator also filed a criminal complaint against Binance for illegally operating a crypto exchange business in the country.
What do you think about Thailand’s crypto warning? Let us know in the comments section below.
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has located a massive coin minting facility that was illegally connected to the power grid in Vinnytsia. Law enforcement officials claim it’s the largest underground crypto mining farm they have found so far.
Ukraine Seizes Thousands of Video Game Consoles Mining Crypto With Stolen Electricity
Ukraine’s main law enforcement authority, SBU, announced this week it exposed a large-scale electricity theft in the city of Vinnytsia, in west-central Ukraine. The stolen power was used to mint digital coins in what officials described as the country’s largest illegal crypto farm uncovered to this day.
The mining facility was set up by residents of Vinnytsia and the capital Kyiv in a former warehouse of JSC Vinnytsiaoblenerho, the agency said in a press release published on its website. They were able to conceal the theft from the distribution company using electricity meters that did not show the true energy consumption.
During the searches at the crypto farm and its operators’ residences, law enforcement seized almost 5,000 units of mining hardware, including 3,800 game consoles, over 500 video cards, and 50 processors. Agents confiscated documentation on electricity consumption as well as notebooks, phones, and flash drives, the announcement detailed.
The operation has been carried out by the SBU Department for Counterintelligence Protection of State Economic Interests together with the regional SBU Office in Vinnytsia and the Main National Police Investigation Department, under the supervision of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office.
Illegal Mining Farm in Vinnytsia Steals up to $250,000 of Electricity
Preliminary estimates released by Ukrainian authorities suggest the illegal mining operation is responsible for losses of electricity in the range of 5 to 7 million hryvnia, or between approximately $183,000 and $256,000, at the time of writing. The excessive consumption could have caused power surges and outages in the surrounding areas, officials added.
The SBU has initiated criminal proceedings for unauthorized use of electricity. Investigators are now working to identify all people behind the illegal crypto mining activities and trying to verify if JSC Vinnytsiaoblenerho employees are also involved.
The news from Vinnytsia comes after last week’s Ukrainian law enforcement shut down of an illegal mining farm in Chernihiv Oblast. The facility was powered by stolen electricity from the local electrical network. During a raid of rented warehouses, authorities seized 150 mining rigs that had burned energy for $110,000. In early June, the SBU uncovered a crypto farm with 350 mining rigs that were illegally connected to the power grid in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast and had used over $70,000 worth of electricity.
Do you think Ukraine is undertaking a coordinated crackdown on illegal cryptocurrency mining? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.
During the last week, crypto enthusiasts and traders have been discussing the stock-to-flow (S2F) bitcoin price model created by the pseudonymous crypto analyst “Plan B.” Despite Plan B’s worst and best case scenario calls on June 20, a touch over a week later the analyst said the “next 6 months will be make or break for S2F.” Currently, the S2F model has seemingly run off course and resembles the levels it saw in January 2019.
S2F Skepticism and the ‘Make or Break’ S2F Timespan
There’s some skepticism toward Plan B’s infamous stock-to-flow (S2F) bitcoin price model ever since the closing price in June recorded below the S2F’s projected course. The model’s creator, however, would not necessarily use the terms “off course” but “just touching lower bands.”
Plan B recently explained his “worst case scenario for 2021,” where he predicts prices to end up being around “Aug>47K, Sep>43K, Oct>63K, Nov>98K, Dec>135K.” However, on June 1, Plan B noted that the price was currently below the S2F trajectory.
“June closing price $35,037 .. as far below S2F model as in Jan 2019. Next 6 months will be make or break for S2F (again),” Plan B said.
My on-chain data (color overlay in the chart below) tells me this bull is not over and 64K was not the top. That is in line with s2f(x) model. Also my floor indicator (not based on s2f) says we will not go below 47k Aug close. pic.twitter.com/K6Hfjdp26x
“Hard to take bitcoin seriously when the mass media is spouting out articles about dogecoin and shiba inu. We are going to $10,000,” an individual responded to Plan B’s “make or break” tweet. Another individual replied to Plan B’s assessment with more optimism.
“Even in the bear market of 2019 BTC tripled in a few months…… 100K is secured, [a] very low target in current bull market.” Plan B responded to the individuals “very low target” tweet and said:
Indeed. And I must say [the] 2019 bear market (when I published S2F model btw) felt much much worse than [the] current ‘China ban’ dip.
Bubbles Bursting or Buying Opportunities? Crypto Community Sentiment Toward S2F Still Undecided
Others believe bitcoin (BTC) prices are a bargain right now and a chance of a lifetime purchasing opportunity. Lex Moskovski, chief investment officer at Moskovski Capital shared this type of assessment on Saturday.
“Negative Stock-To-Flow deflection is the highest it’s ever been in the whole bitcoin history,” Moskovski said. “This is a great buying opportunity, if you’re a believer in this model.” Still, even after Moskovski’s positive sentiment, a few skeptics think that the bubble has burst.
“I would like to believe any bullish Glassnode indicator, however, the increasingly overwhelming reality is that the bubble is bursting once again,” the person said in response to Moskovski’s tweet. “Retail is gone, many have probably again forgot that crypto even exists.”
Another person asked Moskovski when Plan B would stop standing behind the price model. “I wonder what deflection it will take for Plan B to admit the model is nonsense,” the individual remarked.
After a few reports that came out about Plan B’s S2F bitcoin price model, one article leveraged the term “off course.” The pseudonymous crypto analyst disagreed with the terminology that was used in a specific article’s headline.
“Nah,” Plab B tweeted in response to the headline. “S2F model is not “off course” .. just touching lower bands (just like Jan 2019 and Mar 2020).”
What do you think about Plan B’s price model touching lower bands and his recent “make or break” tweet? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
On Friday, the public interest law firm New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) filed an opening brief in the cryptocurrency case of James Harper v. Charles P. Rettig. The NCLA argues that Harper’s Fourth and Fifth Amendment constitutional rights were violated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The U.S. tax agency is accused of obtaining Harper’s information from crypto asset exchanges without valid subpoenas or statutory limitations.
IRS Accused of Accessing American Citizens’ Private Information Without Following Statutory Limitations on Power to Issue Subpoenas
The NCLA has revealed it filed an opening brief in the case James Harper v. Charles P. Rettig in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The NCLA is a nonpartisan nonprofit civil rights entity and public interest law firm that aims to protect constitutional freedoms from violations by the government.
The case involves a man named James Harper who has brought litigation against the IRS, the 49th commissioner of the U.S. tax agency Charles Rettig, and 10 “John Doe IRS agents.” The NCLA and Harper argue that the IRS took Harper’s financial information without “reasonable suspicion and without a judicial warrant.”
“Harper has plausibly pled that [the] IRS violated his constitutional and statutory rights,” the civil rights organization’s opening brief details.
It all started in 2019 when the IRS sent Harper a letter stating that he did not “properly report” his “transactions involving virtual currency.” The IRS also published a press release that summer that revealed 10,000 American cryptocurrency owners received a letter from the tax agency. The letters were sent to taxpayers who have “participated in virtual currency transactions or otherwise did not report past transactions properly,” the IRS noted.
“Taxpayers should take these letters very seriously,” IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig emphasized in the press release.
The NCLA and Harper are hoping the Appellant Court allows an oral argument of the case. The civil liberties law firm wholeheartedly believes this case affects the plaintiff’s constitutional rights. “This case presents important legal questions about whether the sovereign immunity of the United States bars suits challenging the government’s illegal information-gathering practices and whether injunctive or declaratory relief is available in such situations,” the NCLA’s opening brief stresses.
Caleb Kruckenberg, a litigation counsel member of the NCLA, said that he believes the First Circuit can fix this situation. “Earlier this year, the Supreme Court held that the IRS cannot block lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of its behavior by hiding behind the Anti-Injunction Act,” Kruckenberg said in a statement to Bitcoin.com News. “Unfortunately, that decision came out after the district court allowed the IRS to abuse the law in just that way. According to the Supreme Court, though, this case is a ‘cinch,’ and the First Circuit should swiftly reinstate this lawsuit.”
The IRS is using very advanced investigation techniques:
They have information that leads them to believe I may have crypto-currency. Say it ain’t so! Such sleuthing. WOW.
PS. I reported and paid all my taxes properly. They’re casting a very wide net blindly. Cheap and easy. pic.twitter.com/NnpEq84B6q
NCLA litigation counsel member, Adi Dynar, says the IRS does not have a sufficient reason to “claim that the information it possesses” can be obtained without due process. Dynar says that if the IRS took proper procedures then it could result in the assessment or collection of taxes. “But the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution do not contain an IRS exception,” Dynar said in a statement. The NCLA’s opening brief describes how the IRS violated Harper’s rights and obtained his financial information from third parties.
“[The] IRS’s actions violated core constitutional protections under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments,” the NCLA opening brief details. “Assuming the IRS took his information from one or more exchanges, Mr. Harper’s contracts recognized that his data is his property, not that of the exchanges, and supplied him with a reasonable expectation of privacy in his personal information. The contracts made clear that he did not voluntarily surrender his Fourth Amendment rights by doing business with them. The IRS seized his information without due process.” The NCLA further added:
IRS did not provide Mr. Harper with any notice or opportunity to contest its lawless information gathering. That lack of process violates the Fifth Amendment’s due-process guarantee. IRS’s third-party collection of Mr. Harper’s information is also a Fourth Amendment trespass against Mr. Harper because it seized his personal papers without a warrant. The IRS also failed to protect Mr. Harper’s statutory rights when it obtained his personal papers from third parties.
The NCLA’s brief notes that the IRS should have its interest aligned with Harper’s rights and the tax agency should have obtained the records in compliance with the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. “The Court should conclude that the district court has subject-matter jurisdiction and that Mr. Harper has stated a claim upon which relief can be granted,” the NCLA’s opening brief concludes.
What do you think about the case against the IRS? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Crypto startup Bullish has announced its plan to go public on the NYSE as it gets ready to launch a cryptocurrency exchange. The Bullish exchange aims to be a “revolutionary, regulated cryptocurrency exchange that offers deep, predictable liquidity for investors to generate yield from their digital assets.”
Bullish to List on NYSE
Bullish announced its plan to go public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Friday through a merger with Far Peak Acquisition Corporation (NYSE: FPAC). Far Peak is a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). Bullish, which debuted in May, detailed:
Bullish plans to launch a revolutionary, regulated cryptocurrency exchange that offers deep, predictable liquidity for investors to generate yield from their digital assets.
Bullish exchange is operated by Bullish (GI) Ltd. and Jefferies LLC is acting as its exclusive financial advisor and capital markets advisor. Far Peak CEO Thomas W. Farley, a former NYSE president, will become the CEO of Bullish and Block.one CEO Brendan Blumer will be appointed its chairman.
The combined business of Bullish and Far Peak has a pro forma equity value at signing of approximately $9 billion at $10 per share, according to the announcement.
The two companies’ boards of directors have approved the proposed transaction, which is expected to close by the end of the year. However, it is still subject to approval by Far Peak stockholders and other customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.
The announcement adds:
In the coming weeks, Bullish exchange will run a private pilot program leading up to its public launch anticipated later in 2021.
Bullish is backed by well-known venture capitalists and investors, including Peter Thiel’s Thiel Capital and Founders Fund, Alan Howard, Louis Bacon, Richard Li, Christian Angermayer’s Apeiron Investment Group, Galaxy Digital, and global investment bank Nomura.
Farley commented, “With the increased interest from institutional players and sophisticated traders, it is critical to iterate on the existing exchange infrastructures we see today,” elaborating:
We’re only in the first or second inning of the cryptocurrency market and I’m thrilled to be joining the Bullish team as we revolutionize the future of digital assets through cutting edge financial technologies.
What do you think about Bullish crypto exchange going public? Let us know in the comments section below.
The British man who accidentally threw away a computer with 7,500 bitcoins on its hard drive has come up with a new plan to retrieve his lost coins from the city landfill. “We estimate there are between 300,000 – 400,000 tons of waste to look through,” he said.
Man on Mission to Retrieve 7,500 Lost Bitcoins
James Howells, an IT engineer who accidentally threw away the hard drive of an old computer containing 7,500 bitcoins back in 2013, has not given up his quest to retrieve his coins. The 35-year-old from the city of Newport in the U.K. has shared with The Sun publication his 12-month plan to search the city landfill using x-ray scanning devices and AI technology.
Noting that “This would be a proper search – not just somebody going in with a bucket and spade,” the British man affirmed:
We have a system with multiple conveyor-belts, x-ray scanning devices and an AI scanning device that would be trained to recognise items that are a similar size and density to the hard drive.
“This would be a delicate search because we wouldn’t want to damage the hard drive in the process – you can’t just use a claw grabber,” he emphasized. “We’ve spoken to excavation experts and proper engineers to make sure it was all being done correctly as well as in a way that was safe for the environment.”
Howells added that over the past four or five months, he had been “talking to some of the best data recovery experts in the world to make sure we can get it off the hard drive.”
The search will be costly but Howell said that his plan is backed by a very rich hedge fund willing to cover the cost of the search and the equipment involved in exchange for the lion’s share of his fortune.
Howells believes that his hard drive is in a 200-meter squared area and could be 15 meters deep based on aerial photographs of the site. The IT engineer said:
We estimate there is between 300,000 – 400,000 tonnes of waste to look through.
Despite having a plan, Howells said that the Newport City Council would not let him search the landfill, even after he offered them £55 million ($76 million).
The Newport City Council explained that “The cost of digging up the landfill, storing and treating the waste could run into millions of pounds – without any guarantee of either finding it or it still being in working order.” Moreover, the council stated that “excavation is not possible under our licensing permit and excavation itself would have a huge environmental impact on the surrounding area.”
At the time of writing, 7,500 bitcoins are worth about $246 million according to data from Bitcoin.com Markets.
Do you think James Howells will recover his bitcoins? Let us know in the comments section below.
Tiktok has banned its users from promoting all financial products and services including those related to cryptocurrency. The company also prohibits ads relating to cryptocurrency.
Tiktok Prohibits Users From Posting Content Promoting Cryptocurrencies
Social media platform Tiktok has banned content promoting cryptocurrencies and related products and services. The company’s “Branded Content Policy” states:
All financial services and products are prohibited, including but not limited to … cryptocurrency.
Among the list of other prohibited products and services listed as examples are lending and management of money assets, loans and credit cards, trading platforms, cryptocurrency, foreign exchange, pyramid schemes, and investment services.
Under Tiktok’s advertising policies, the company also prohibits ads relating to cryptocurrency. In most countries, including the U.S. and the U.K., Tiktok bans “Ads promoting virtual currencies/cryptocurrencies (e.g. bitcoin and ethereum), as well as cryptocurrency trading platforms and advisory services are prohibited.” In South Korea, cryptocurrency advisory services are also prohibited.
According to the Financial Times, Tiktok’s move came after individuals were warned about taking financial information from Tiktok over concerns it could be misleading and hurt young savers.
Martin Bamford, head of client education at Informed Choice, believes that Tiktok’s ban is the platform “clamping down on directly or indirectly sponsored content which leads to an affiliate link, for example, to sign up to a trading platform and get free stocks.” He opined:
We see a huge amount of this branded content on Tiktok, usually from poorly informed commentators, who lure in followers with promises of riches, but in reality are making their money off people signing up via affiliate links.
Many people have been using Tiktok to promote cryptocurrencies, including the popular meme-crypto dogecoin (DOGE). Some Tiktok videos have even pumped the prices of various cryptocurrencies.
What do you think about Tiktok banning content promoting cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.
Riot Blockchain, a Nasdaq-listed mining company, reported Thursday on its Bitcoin production last month. The company’s numbers jumped a little more than 400% year-on-year, as a result of the increase in mining power. The recent mining crackdown in China is also helping companies like Riot to keep growing. The company plans to continue increasing its mining resources after acquiring 43,500 miners from Bitmain.
Riot Blockchain Ramps Up Production
Riot Blockchain, an American Bitcoin mining company, delivered its Production and Operations updates for June on Thursday. The company reported growth on the bitcoin mined of more than 400% year-on-year. It produced 243 bitcoin this June, a big increase from the 48 bitcoin mined in the same month last year. The company has produced 1,167 bitcoin this year. These numbers represent an increase of 130% compared to last year.
There is a key fact that allows Riot Blockchain to achieve these results: The Chinese mining exodus. Caused by the regulatory crackdown in China, the decrease of hash power securing the network created a profit opportunity for some companies. The recent difficulty adjustment, one of the biggest drops in Bitcoin history, seems to be creating unique opportunities to get into bitcoin mining.
This situation is expected to continue for some time till Chinese mines manage to relocate. A report from Hashrate Index predicts that between 30% and 40% of this hashrate will travel to the U.S. However, these relocations may face delays of up to one year considering the logistics that surround Bitcoin mining.
Expansion Plans in Motion
Riot Blockchain is already on its way to expanding mining operations. Earlier this year, the company announced the purchase of more than 42,000 S19j Antminers from Bitmain for $138.5 million. This deal secures more mining muscle for Riot starting from next November. Also, the company acquired Whinstone in May, one of the biggest bitcoin mining operation data centers in Texas. This acquisition allows it to secure a working location and energy for the acquired miners.
At the time of writing, Riot Blockchain stock sits at $32.83. Bitcoin currently trades at $33.8K.
What do you think about Riot Blockchain’s recent spike in bitcoin production? Tell us in the comment section below.
Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz has ordered the seizure of cryptocurrency funds raised by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas. His department has reportedly started taking control over digital wallets used by the terrorist group to collect crypto donations from abroad.
Defense Ministry of Israel Targets Crypto Addresses Used by Hamas
Minister Gantz approved the seizure of the wallets on June 30, the Times of Israel reported on Friday. The National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing (NBCTF) published a list of targeted addresses and wallet details used by Hamas to raise funds in bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies. They were identified during a joint operation with the Ministry of Defense.
The publication adds that the stockpiles of cryptocurrency were being managed from the Gaza Strip, which is under the control of Hamas. The wallets were employed by the Palestinian organization in its efforts to collect money from foreign sources following the 11-day conflict with Israel in May. The seizure has affected the Al Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing.
According to a blog post by blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis, the investigation focused largely on analysis of open-source intelligence such as social media posts and blockchain data. The blockchain analysis reveals the movement of donation funds to exchanges. Chainalysis published a graph showing bitcoin transactions carried out by addresses listed by the NBCTF, many of which have been attributed to individuals involved in donation campaigns.
“The orange hexagons represent deposit addresses hosted by a large, mainstream cryptocurrency exchange and controlled by individuals named in the NBCTF announcement,” explains Chainalysis. “On the graph, we see how funds moved to those exchange addresses from Hamas donation addresses, often passing first through intermediary wallets, high-risk cryptocurrency exchanges, and money services businesses (MSBs),” the company detailed.
According to the report, two addresses named in the announcement received funds from addresses associated with the Idlib office of Bitcoin Transfer, a Syrian cryptocurrency exchange connected to terrorism financing cases. A third address received funds from a Middle East-based MSB that had previously received funds from the Ibn Taymiyya Media Center (ITMC), another organization linked to terrorism financing.
Besides BTC, the ministry intercepted payments in ETH, XRP, USDT, and DOGE, the Times of Israel claims. The crypto cash has been seized in accordance with Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Law from 2016. In a statement released by the defense department, Benny Gantz was quoted as saying:
The intelligence, technological and legal tools that enable us to get our hands on terrorists’ money around the world constitute an operational breakthrough.
Seizure of Hamas’ Funds Proves Bitcoin Is ‘Safe’ Currency
According to Noa Mashiah, CEO of the Israeli Bitcoin Association, “the seizure and forfeiture of Hamas’s donations proves that Bitcoin is a safe currency.” He elaborated that “criminals who make use of this financial system will find out the hard way that the open transaction log, the blockchain, will expose them and allow law enforcement agencies to act against them.”
The executive said that the news of the confiscation marks “a significant improvement over the anti-money laundering ban and also over international bank accounts hidden behind a bank secrecy wall.” He insisted that the operation proves regulators in Israel should “adopt and use” bitcoin “as it makes it possible to expose the bad and do good with the good.”
“Once you go beyond the boundaries of the blockchain to the worlds of trading platforms, you immediately lose anonymity and then, as in the present case, states and law enforcement agencies are able to locate and freeze the currencies of criminal and terrorist organizations,” added Omri Segev Moyal, CEO of cybersecurity firm Profero. He also noted that “when the network is completely exposed, you can very accurately track the trajectory of the coins and locate their final destination.”
Hamas called on its supporters to send bitcoin in 2019, when the Islamist movement needed the money to deal with its financial problems. A few months later, the terrorist group established an experimental program to collect money via an elaborate system designed to facilitate international cryptocurrency donations.
What do you think about Israel’s seizure of cryptocurrency funds raised by Hamas? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.
The Chinese government is taking its digital yuan test one step further. Now, 10 million users will be able to test and use the currency after applying to join a whitelist in selected state banks. This new phase of the test aims to detect possible problems in a more broad testing environment. China is preparing its user base and its digital yuan technology to be used in the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics.
Digital Yuan Whitelist Open
The government of China is expanding the testing of its CDBC. According to reports from an officer of the People’s Bank of China, it opened a whitelist to further experiment with the digital yuan. Citizens interested in being part of this initiative can request their inclusion in this new trial phase at selected state banks. More than ten million citizens are already on this whitelist, said Fan Yifei, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China.
However, the extent of this test and how the digital yuan will be distributed have not been clarified. While the digital yuan has been tested in several cities, its acceptance is still far from being ubiquitous. China is ramping up the volume of users and currency in these tests, intending for the digital yuan to be used in the next Winter Olympics. Fan Yifei stated:
We have the confidence to continue increasing the scope of the trials.
Testing Ramps Up
This whitelist program is just the latest of the stages that the People’s Bank of China has executed. Earlier last month, Beijing and Shanghai started giving away red envelopes of digital yuan to their citizens. These two cities will give out more than 500,000 red envelopes. However, these tests might not be getting all the attention the government wants. According to some reports, people are hesitant to switch from known payment methods to the digital yuan.
As a consequence, the government of China is moving to clean house. A ban on cryptocurrency mining and trading is now in effect in several key provinces. Yunan, Sichuan, Qinghai, and Inner Mongolia have ousted miners from their territories. This gave rise to a mining exodus that is affecting the operation of the Bitcoin blockchain.
Also, the government has acted against established companies involved in the cryptocurrency business. This is the case of Beijing Qudao Cultural Development, a company that was shut down for its alleged participation in providing software to facilitate cryptocurrency transactions.
What do you think about the expansion of the digital yuan tests? Tell us in the comments section below.