According to a filing with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) — the regulatory agency in charge of enforcing election laws — Coinbase’s PAC received no funds nor made any disbursements, and is seeking to terminate the PAC.
Per FEC regulations, a PAC must file a termination report in order to cease operations once it no longer intends to make or receive contributions or expenditures.
In the U.S., PACs are independent organizations, often representing different business, labor, or policy interests, that collect and donate money to political campaigns for or against candidates, legislation, or ballot initiatives.
Following the 2010 Supreme Court case of Citizens United v. FEC, PACs became the subject of some controversy and criticism, as some see them as means for corporate or union donors to put their thumbs on the electoral scale. PACs are forbidden from coordinating directly with the campaigns they support, but in some cases, coordination has occurred.
Coinbase formed its PAC in July of last year, and in September, it became a founding member of the Blockchain Association. The Blockchain Association is purportedly the first lobby group in Washington D.C. to exclusively represent the interests of the blockchain industry. Other members of the lobby group include technology startup Protocol Labs, as well as the Digital Currency Group and Polychain Capital.
In an apparent first, the United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has given a penalty to a California resident who has been accused of wilfully violating money transmission laws as a peer-to-peer virtual currency exchanger. The department noted that the move marks its first such enforcement action, thus setting a precedent. The defendant — Eric Powers of Kern County, California — has been fined $35,000 and debarred from future work that qualifies as a money services business. The fine came from the determination that Powers violated his reporting obligations under the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act.
Craig Wright, the chief scientist at nChain and founder of bitcoin SV (BSV), filed a libel claim in the United Kingdom against cryptocurrency podcaster Peter McCormack. McCormack had previously accused Wright of fraud and falsely claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of bitcoin (BTC). In response, Wright’s claim allegedly requests over $130,000 in damages, as well as legal costs and court fees. Earlier this week, Binance, ShapeShift and Kraken decided to delist BSV amid Wright’s continued claims to be Satoshi, as well as his bounty offering in the search for the identity of the anonymous Twitter user behind the Lightning Torch.
Cédric O, France’s Minister of State for the Digital Sector, said this week that he is open to accepting cryptocurrency donations for the reconstruction of the Notre Dame Cathedral, which experienced a debilitating fire last week. The donations for the medieval cathedral’s reconstruction have already reached over $1 billion, while not yet allowing for donations in crypto. The official fundraising site is linked to four approved organizations, with Cédric O noting that the government is open to discussion on how to accept crypto to drive up the fundraising.
Both BlockShow, an international blockchain event powered by Cointelegraph, and major crypto exchange Binance have launched crypto donation campaigns for the renovations.
Financial news outlet Forbes released their “Blockchain’s Billion Dollar Babies,” a list of companies implementing blockchain technology that have minimum revenues or valuations of $1 billion. The list includes both companies in the crypto and blockchain development spaces, as well as larger companies in the traditional markets, such as banks and clearing houses, food companies and supply chain management firms. The list contains such household names as Amazon, Walmart, Facebook, ING, Mastercard, Microsoft and Nestle, as well as U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, European mining and hardware firm Bitfury, and blockchain-based financial services network and XRP token creator Ripple.
Switzerland-based food giant Nestlé, French supermarket chain Carrefour and IBM have partnered in order to use IBM’s blockchain tech to track French instant mashed potatoes. Shoppers will be able to use their smartphones in Carrefour stores to scan the packs of Mousline instant mashed potatoes with a QR code and be able to see data on the potatoes, including the varieties of potatoes used, the date and place of manufacture, and their journey to the store. In general, around 5 million different food items already employ blockchain in their supply chain in some form.
Winners and Losers
At the end of the week, bitcoin is up, trading at around $5,348, ether at around $173 and XRP at $0.32. Total market cap is around $180 billion.
The top three altcoin gainers of the week are fivebalance, atlantis blue digital token and segwit2x. The top three altcoin losers of the week are cointogo, ezoow and robocalls.
For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.
Most Memorable Quotations
“We have no idea what the extent of the malfeasance is on centralized exchanges. If we extrapolate from what we’ve seen on DEXes, it could well be on the order of billions of dollars.”
“From day one, I’ve maintained the allegations are bogus, and they are of course. After their attorney was sanctioned and they were ordered to pay my legal fees twice, we recently reached a confidential resolution, and I’m dismissed from the case.”
Charlie Shrem, in regard to the court case with the Winklevoss twins
“The digitalization will also create much needed synergies among the government organizations for ensuring friction-less service delivery and improving ease of doing business in the country.”
This week, following crypto exchange Binance’s announcement that they were delisting bitcoin SV, anonymous exchange ShapeShift has also delisted the currency, as well as Kraken. ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees posted on Twitter that the exchange stands with the sentiments of Binance and CZ, the CEO, in their decision to delist BSV following controversial claims from BSV founder Craig Wright over his alleged identity as Satoshi Nakamoto, as well as his public bounty to unveil the identity of anonymous Twitter user @hodlonaut. Shortly after, a community poll from Kraken led the exchange to also delist the altcoin.
Unocoin, an Indiancryptocurrency exchange, has reportedly let go of half its staff, leaving the company with 14 workers. Unocoin cited regulatory uncertainty in the industry, noting that it made the decision concerning staff reduction ahead of an Indian Supreme Court hearing on cryptocurrency’s legal status in India, set for July. Since the peak of the business, Unocoin has allegedly fired 80% of its staff, and the business operations are reportedly running off of capital reserves as executives await news about the future. The crypto industry in India is in the process of fighting the country’s previous negative ruling on crypto dealings, in the form of a lengthy Supreme Court process.
A group of individuals have been indicted by the Manhattan district attorney for allegedly selling drugs and laundering millions of dollars with bitcoin (BTC). According to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., with help from the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, Chester Anderson and his criminal accomplices, Jarrette Codd and Ronald Maccarty, allegedly operated dark web stores that sold and shipped hundreds of thousands of tablets of counterfeit drugs. According to the press release, the defendants laundered a reported $2.3 million in bitcoin by using preloaded debit cards and withdrawing cash at automated teller machines.
In Cointelegraph’s first-ever movie review, Emmy-award winning screenwriter Edward Zuckerman takes a look at the “Crypto” movie, finding (spoiler!) little to do with cryptocurrencies and a lot more to do with the Russian mob.
BSV has been on the periphery of crypto news this week.
Bitcoin SV (BSV) — the altcoin that emerged during the bitcoin cash (BCH) hard fork last November and which took the moniker “Satoshi’s vision” — has been on the periphery of crypto news this week. BSV is famously backed by Craig Wright, an Australian entrepreneur, chief scientist at his startup called nChain and self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto.
After Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrencies, decided to delist BSV amid Wright’s campaign to deanonymize one of his critics, other major platforms — including ShapeShift and Kraken — followed suit.
As a result, the price of BSV tanked. Meanwhile, Wright and his team have purportedly served some of their critics with court documents, demanding public apologies.
#WeAreAllHodlonaut: How Wright has enraged the crypto community
The delisting marathon was preceded by Craig Wright’s run-in with an anonymous Twitter personality nicknamed Hodlonaut, who also organized the Lightning Torch campaign. According to crypto news outlet Coingeek (founded by billionaire Calvin Ayre, who has been vocal about his support for BSV), Hodlonaut targeted the Australian businessman with offensive tweets, calling him “a very sad and pathetic scammer. Clearly mentally ill,” and allegedly participating in the creation of the #CraigWrightIsAFraud hashtag.
While Craig Wright has repeatedly claimed that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, much of the cryptocurrency community seems skeptical about those statements, widely referring to Wright as “faketoshi.” Back in December 2015, Wired and Gizmodo reported that the Australian computer scientist might be the creator of bitcoin (BTC), but a substantial part of the evidence presented in the reports — both of which cited an anonymous source who had contacted them voluntarily — was soon proved false. Wired subsequently assumed that Wright “was likely pulling an elaborate hoax or con” to present himself as Satoshi to the public.
On April 11, Coingeek went as far as to set a $5,000 bounty in BSV for information regarding the true identity of Hodlnaut, while also demanding that the Twitter user should publicly apologize to Wright both on the social media platform and during an open court hearing. The article contained informal language, alleged pictures of Hodlonaut, his or her approximate location, and explicitly called for deanonymization:
“Wright is demanding that the individual behind the @Hodlonaut account tweet an apology to him, make a statement in open court apologizing to Wright and acknowledge the falsity of the allegations made against Wright. Instead, Hodlonaut seems to have hidden under his mother’s skirt and is nowhere to be found.”
Hodlonaut has since deleted his or her Twitter account. In response, the cryptocurrency community on Twitter began trending a #WeAreAllHodlonaut hashtag to show support. Moreover, an eponymous website was created to crowdfund BTC in order to help Hodlonaut fund his or her legal battle with Wright. According to the information posted on the website, the pseudonymous Twitter user had received a letter from Wright’s legal team before erasing his or her online presence. In it, Wright’s lawyers were allegedly threatening to sue Hodlonaut for defamation in a United Kingdom court (as per Wright’s LinkedIn profile, the Australian entrepreneur currently resides in London. According to earlier reports, he lived in Sydney, and local police had raided his house).
As of press time, more than $28,700 has been raised via weareallhodlonaut.com, which is more than 140% of the initial goal of $20,000. The website states that Hodlonaut personally controls the funds from this campaign and that any excess contributions will be sent to Bitcoin Venezuela, the same charity-focused organization that received donations from the Lightning Torch campaign.
Cointelegraph has reached out to Preston Byrne, an attorney at Byrne & Storm and who claims be to handling Hodlonaut’s case pro bono, but he declined to comment.
Notably, earlier in March of this year, not long before erasing his presence on Twitter himself, Wright tweeted that he will be “taking action aggressively to remove any site that is in error or makes false claims,” referring to people calling him a fraud, among other things.
“You do not have a right to lies under ‘free speech’ nor harassment, nor libel and slander,” he wrote. “If an error is reported in a malicious context concerning me, expect to be living in a barrel when we finish with you.”
Peter McCormack, the host of the podcast “What Bitcoin Did,” is another person who has reportedly been approached by Wright’s legal team. According to McCormack’s tweets, after he tagged Calvin Ayre’s account to declare that Wright is a fraud and provided his personal address in Bedford, U.K. for legal correspondence, he allegedly received a letter from SCA Ontier LLP, a London-based law firm. In it, like in the case of Hodlonaut, he was asked to publicly apologize to Wright both on Twitter and in court.
Moreover, Wright’s attorney reportedly stated that his client “has not fraudulently claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto” since his client allegedly is Satoshi Nakamoto. The statement further claims that Wright wrote bitcoin’s original white paper, sent the first bitcoin transaction and played an integral role in the network’s development.
McCormack then shared what he calls his “formal response,” where he declined to apologize to Wright and asked him to provide evidence that would confirm that he is Satoshi Nakamoto. On April 18, McCormack was allegedly served with a service claim for 100,000 British pounds (around $130,000).
Seamus Andrew, managing partner at SCA ONTIER LLP, has verified to Cointelegraph that his firm represents Craig Wright and that they are in the process of taking legal action, but did not specify whether or not they were suing McCormack or Hodlonaut.
“I confirm that we act for Craig Wright, and that we are in the process of bringing legal proceedings against certain individuals and entities who have defamed our client,” Andrew said via email.
Cointelegraph has requested for a comment from McCormack to clarify the details of his case, however, as of press time, he has not replied.
Binance, ShapeShit, Kraken and other platforms have delisted BSV
The situation escalated on April 11, when Changpeng Zhao, founder and CEO of Binace — currently the world’s fourth-largest crypto exchange by adjusted daily trade volume — warned that he would delist BSV (which trades under the ticker BCHSV on the platform) if the creator of the altcoin — i.e., Craig Wright — does not correct his behavior. The tweet seemed like a reaction to Wright’s action against Hodlnaut:
“Craig Wright is not Satoshi. Anymore of this sh!t, we delist!”
The community reacted to Zhao’s warning by asking various exchanges to delist BSV and by kick-starting a #DelistBSV hashtag.
On April 15, Binance officially announced that it will delist BSV. Specifically, the exchange stated that, as of April 22, it will delist the altcoin and cease trading all of its trading pairs. In the accompanying statement, Binance explained that it regularly reviews assets listed on its platform “to ensure that it [the asset] continues to meet the high level of standard we expect.” The firm went on to explain that it only delists a coin after a second in-depth review, noting, “We believe this best protects all of our users.”
Thus, the exchange listed the responsiveness to its due diligence requests, the level and quality of the coin’s development, as well as “evidence of unethical / fraudulent conduct” among the factors that it takes into account before delisting a cryptocurrency.
Later, on April 15, anonymous exchange ShapeShift and crypto data supplier and cryptocurrency wallet Blockchain.com also announced they were dropping BSV. On Twitter, ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees confirmed that the company came to a decision to stop listing the altcoin for reasons similar to those of Binance:
“We stand with @binance and CZ’s sentiments. We’ve decided to delist Bitcoin SV #BSV from @ShapeShift_io within 48 hrs.”
Other crypto platforms took a slightly different approach, letting their users decide whether to delist or keep BSV via Twitter polls. For instance, instant crypto exchange service ChangeNow wrote:
“As a service strongly disagree with Craig Stephen Wright’s policies and business decisions – everything, really.
However, we believe that the @BitcoinSVNode community should not suffer because of some decisions one man made.
BSV price had tanked as much as 20% following the series of delisting announcements, according to data obtained from CoinMarketCap, but currently shows signs of a slight recovery. As of press time, it is trading around $60, gaining back around 5% during the past few days.
Notably, the delisting announcements drew a negative response from some community members. “I have no love for bsv but I also take no joy in seeing a biased, bot infested platform like twitter being used to shut coins down with the impression they are democratic votes on a unbiased platform,” a Redditor wrote on the r/btc subreddit.
“Delisting bitcoin SV from some of the popular exchanges certainly was harmful to the project,” Matthew Greenspan, eToro senior market analyst, told Cointelegraph over Skype after a warning that it was difficult for him to comment on the case since he knew Hodlonaut and participated in the Lightning Torch experiment.
“I would say it was a slap to bitcoin SV and its founders. […] Some of their opinions and threats have been extremely unpopular in the crypto community,” he said. “Now it will be harder for people to buy and sell it [BSV], and it will be harder for it to gain real liquidity in the market.” Greenspan also added that the results of the polls held by Kraken and other crypto platforms are “self-evident.”
Wright’s company, nChain, which designed bitcoin SV and is responsible for its technical development, has denounced the #DelistBSV campaign. “The sudden delisting of Bitcoin SV by some exchange is absolutely unjustifiable and sets a terrible precedent for the cryptocurrency industry,” Jimmy Nguyen, the chairman of nChain, told Cointelegraph.
According to Nguyen, the BSV network became much stronger after Binance, Kraken and other exchanges listed it on their platforms after November’s hard fork of the BCH network. Since then, more mining pools, wallets, applications and services have begun working with BSV, nChain’s chairman added, while the daily average block size of BSV was increased as well, showing technical development of the altcoin. “Therefore, there is even more reason to list BSV, not delist it,” Nguyen argued.
“The delisting decision is driven by personal dislike of Craig Wright and retaliation for steps Craig has taken to pursue personal legal rights against people he believes are defaming him,” Nguyen said. That, according to him, is a menacing sign for the community:
“A dangerous precedent has been set if an exchange uses its CEO’s personal dislike of a coin’s individual supporter as the reason to make delisting decisions. What if one day Vitalik Buterin took personal actions that offended an exchange CEO? Should that be the basis to delist Ethereum?” Nguyen asked. “Whether you agree with Craig Wright’s personal legal actions or not, Craig’s invoking of legal remedies are for a court of law to decide — not crypto exchanges.”
The nChain chairman also criticized the idea of using Twitter polls to decide whether to delist BSV, calling it “ridiculous.” He went on, saying:
“It’s not hard to imagine the Twitter polls are just providing cover for a delisting decision already made. Twitter polls are not even limited to the exchanges’ customers, can be easily manipulated by bots and multiple anonymous accounts, and create the climate for mob rule. I expect regulators around the world to take a critical look at this Twitter poll charade.”
When asked whether he condones Wright’s behavior, Nguyen repiled:
“Like every person, Craig is entitled to invoke whatever legal rights are available to him, and let the legal system decide. He is defending himself after years of cyber bullying. Craig now simply wants a court of law, rather than the Twitter-sphere or exchange CEOs, to decide.”
Alternative measures: Some platforms kept BSV or even delisted BCH instead for political reasons
Some crypto platforms deliberately chose not to follow suit and left BSV on their platforms. Thus, on April 16, OKEx, a massive cryptocurrency exchange that is currently ranked the number one exchange on CoinMarketCap based on adjusted trading volume, announced that it decided not to delist Wright’s controversial cryptocurrency after conducting “a rigorous review on BSV in terms of technology development, liquidity, and compliance.” The exchange wrote:
“As a neutral platform, OKEx respects the efforts of all dedicated teams in advancing the technology of Bitcoin and has no inclination to certain technical directions.”
Japanese financial services giant SBI Holdings went even further and declared it will delist BCH from its virtual currency exchange in June 2019. BSV, in turn, seems to remain listed on the SBI Virtual Currencies platform.
“If so [SBI Holdings delisting BCH while keeping BSV], it would be quite funny for them to delist Bitcoin Cash ABC [BCH] due to the possibility of a 51% attack and not to delist other coins,” market analyst Matthew Greenspan told Cointelegraph. “If you look at crypto51.app it shows you that a possibility of a 51% attack and Bitcoin Cash ABC is very low on that list, even lower than Ethereum… and Bitcoin SV is at the 5%.”
Notably, as Cointelegraph Japan reported, Yoshitaka Kitao, CEO and representative director of SBI Holdings, has a connection with the BSV founder, with Wright having revealed their close relationship in a tweet in January, demonstrating that he and Kitao spent time together and claiming that he treats Kitao as “a friend and man I respect a lot.”
Regardless of what happens next, the latest BSV drama has showcased the power that the community has over the market. Greenspan agrees with that statement. “Historically, we can see that community has an incredible influence over the technology and the paths that crypto takes,” he said. “Satoshi Nakamoto also predicted this as he spoke about hard forks and splits of the network. His sentiment was basically that the stronger fork or network will always survive whereas the lesser fork will be in deep trouble and we can see that clearly here.”
Mithril has adopted the Binance Chain, the mainnet of the leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance.
Decentralized social media platform Mithril (MITH) has adopted the Binance Chain, the mainnet of the leading cryptocurrency exchangeBinance. The development was announced by Mithril in a blog post published on April 18.
With the step, Mithril — a social media platform that rewards content creators with its native token MITH — becomes the purported first to shift to the Binanche Chain, with MITH token migrating from ERC-20 to BEP2. At Mithril, users gain MITH through Mithril mining, while managing their assets on the company’s platform VAULT.
Binance users will be able to withdraw MITH to BEP2 wallets following the completion of the initial migration of ERC-20-based MITH to BEP2. The development will purportedly not have an impact on ERC-20 versions of MITH held in private ethereum (ETH) wallets.
Binance launched Binance Chain yesterday, April 18, and expects to execute the swap of its native token Binance Coin (BNB) on April 23. The exchange initially revealed its plans to launch its own blockchain in December 2018, intending to build a basis for issuing new cryptocurrencies and initial coin offering (ICO) tokens.
Along with the launch of Binance Chain, the exchange provided details for the conversion of ERC-20 BNB tokens into native Binance Chain-based BNB (BEP2) coins. As such, Binance emphasized it will not support the withdrawal of ERC-20 BNB tokens after April 23.
Donald Tapscott, executive chairman of the Blockchain Research Institute, has said that Chinese renminbi will become a crypto.
Donald Tapscott, executive chairman of the Blockchain Research Institute, stated that the official Chinese currency, the renminbi (RMB), will become a cryptocurrency, in an interview with Bloomberg on April 17.
In the interview, Tapscott revealed that he had recently been at a meeting with the vice-chairman of the Communist Party in China, who recalled that President Xi Jinping thinks that blockchain is one of the most important technologies for the future of the country.
Speaking about the government’s ban on cryptocurrency exchanges, Tapscott outlined that China is considering to ban cryptocurrency mining as well, and added:
“It’s not really necessary to do that [to ban exchanges and mining] because in 20 years we are not going to be using bitcoin in China. Chinese people will use the RMB, only the RMB will become a cryptocurrency. The central bank of China will turn it into a digital currency.”
When asked if decentralized exchanges can operate in China — which has previously banned initial coin offerings (ICOs) — Tapscott said that they could, although the government has a serious stance towards curtailing digital currencies.
Tapscott suggested that decentralized exchanges will eventually dominate centralized ones thanks to their purported ability to transparency and identify “bad behavior.” All assets, including traditional ones like securities, will purportedly be on decentralized exchanges, said Tapscott.
Chinese authorities have long been discussing possible ban of cryptocurrency mining. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has reportedly included crypto mining as part of its draft for a revised list of industrial activities the agency intends to shut down because they “lacked safe production conditions, seriously wasted resources, polluted the environment,” among other issues.
However the country remains a major player in the bitcoin market, with most of the largest bitcoin mining pools controlled by local organizations. By mid-2018, crypto mining operator Bitmain reportedly operated as many as 11 mining farms in China, and hence would be largely affected by the NDRC’s reported plans.
As for blockchain, China is reportedly leading the world in the number of blockchain projects currently underway in the country. There are 263 blockchain-related projects in China, accounting for 25% of the global total.
Last month, a multi-year project called the “Implementation Plan for the Promotion of Transportation Infrastructure Development” was unveiled in Jiangsu Province. Per the plan, blockchain will be one of the technologies local authorities use in overhauling local transport infrastructure.