Crypto Roundup #10

Libra’s Partners Get Cold Feet, Telegram in Court, and Chainalysis Saves the Day

Crypto Roundup 10

The word “stagnation” is non-existent in the crypto dictionary. On the other hand, the crypto industry jargon keeps expanding the Oxford English Dictionary. Back in 2013, the word “Bitcoin” was officially recognized and further defined as a digital currency in which transactions can be performed without the need for a central bank. The following year the word “cryptocurrency” made an entry.

Finally, on the 9th of October, it was announced that “Satoshi” will be included as well, describing it as the smallest monetary unit of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, named after famous Bitcoin creator(s) Satoshi Nakamoto.

As you may conclude, crypto is simultaneously advancing on all fronts, battling for its rights.

It is safe to say that the price of BTC has been strolling through the side trend for quite some time now. It has tucked itself between the newly formed support line at around USD 7700 and the resistance at USD 8800.

Breaking either one of these two thresholds will set us on a new trend path. Regardless of what the “bulls” and “bears” are rooting for, this might be considered a good period for the accumulation of BTC coins. However, if the market continues to dive deeper, getting hold of ANCT might be the right move!

Be that as it may, let’s see what the tides have washed ashore the past week for display on Anchor’s Weekly Crypto Roundup in our jubilar 10th edition.

Libra Project Under Heightened Pressure

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Facebook’s representatives have been facing all kinds of scrutiny when it comes to regulations of their long-revealed project. From senators to congressmen, they all attempted to grasp the concept of Libra, wanting to know how the team will execute the project and function under the hood, and above all, what sort of impact it will have on the social-political-monetary system worldwide.

The road has been pretty bumpy for the tech goliath so far, but now they have stumbled upon larger hurdles.

As a result of the tension that several legislative bodies have created through their activities with the aim to uphold at least some control over the way the Libra project was unfolding, several major players have decided to back down, not being able to cope with the ongoing stress.

The first company to withdraw was PayPal and others followed shortly after. Several days after Paypal’s withdrawal, Visa, MasterCard, Mercado Pago, Stripe, and eBay all reported, during a time span of a couple of hours, that they were walking away from the initial agreement. On the 14th of October, Bookings Holdings decided to disassociate as well and join the skeptical camp of Libra’s initial backers.

Although this must have been a pretty heavy blow for Facebook, rumors suggest that they are already on the hunt for new partnerships to fill the gap.

The companies that have left the project have indicated they wished to remain on good terms. Some have even shared official statements emphasizing their belief in the future endeavors and the core vision of the project and were willing to consider collaboration at a later stage.

What could have caused this change of heart, however?

Browsing through various crypto fora during the past few weeks, I’ve noticed that some people accuse Libra of lack of transparency and clarity when it comes to management, and speculate that this was the primary reason behind the withdrawals.

In contrast, some people are of the opinion that political interference is the main reason behind the mess.

It turns out, actually, that certain high-ranking government officials might have something to do with Libra’s meltdown.

A few days ago, a peculiar letter surfaced on the internet.

In a letter to the CEOs of the companies that have now withdrawn from the project, Democratic Party senators Brian Schatz and Sherrod Brown urged them to reconsider their involvement with Libra.

And here’s a significant quote from that letter: “If you take this on, you can expect a high level of scrutiny from regulators, not only on Libra-related payment activities but on all payment activities.”

Depending on the particular tone you associated with this sentence, you could experience it as a piece of friendly advice or a veiled threat.

Both senators asserted that criminal and terrorist funding, factors that they claim are inherent to cryptocurrencies, could compromise the stability of the global financial structure.

It’s true that many perceive Libra as force majeure that poses a significant risk to the current financial mechanism, but keep in mind that there are also people who envision a different outcome and fully support its development.

Brian Armstrong, CEO and co-founder of crypto exchange Coinbase is among them. He firmly believes that the U.S. state is considerably lagging behind in terms of involvement in commitment to crypto and blockchain, and needs to step up if they want to be on the competitive edge of the ever-wider specter of innovation in this field, that is impacting global economic growth on so many levels.

Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, is also among those who have defended Libra to an extent. He recently said that a digital payment revolution was advancing and with that in mind, payment systems should embrace these changes and adapt to technological progress if they wished to remain competitive. He did point out, nevertheless, that stern standards had to be implemented and prioritized.  

What is certain is that Facebook itself is not backing down.

Although the project is still considered to be in its early stage, many anticipate that the upcoming months will play a crucial role in determining the direction of the development.

Telegram In Trouble

Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

In Anchor’s Weekly Crypto Roundup 9, we talked about Telegram’s milestone and some regulatory concerns that haven’t shed much light on its current state of governance.

Drumroll please…

Fast forward a week and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sends a subpoena to offshore entities – Telegram and its subsidiary, TON.

They have been charged with holding an unregistered token sale.

As specified in the document that will serve as the main evidence, Telegram allegedly managed to sell Grams (GRM), their native token, for a staggering 1.7 billion dollars during a two-phase ICO. Subsequently, an order was issued for TON to halt all of its operations.

This is a drastic setback since the launch of TON was supposed to take place on October 3rd, 2019, following the conclusion of the ICO, among the most successful ones held to date.

However, the first red flag appeared a few months ago when Gram Asia, one of the largest investors in the first phase of the Telegram ICO, decided to sell their Gram tokens through the Liquid exchange to interested parties, at a price that was three times the original value. This was against the terms and conditions which were outlined to all the buyers.

Telegram had a quick response and a counter-argument to the motion put forward by SEC, expressing disappointment with the SEC decision and pointing out that they had been attempting to work out administrative and legal issues with the regulatory body for the past year and a half.

The court hearing is scheduled to begin in less than two weeks, on [date].

In defense of Telegram, SEC has been accused many times of not being sufficiently informed when it comes to cryptocurrencies and as such can’t be considered a relevant body to draft the guidelines for the industry. 

Once again, the lack of knowledge and insufficient or partial information may once again prove to be a bottleneck in front of the blockchain momentum, with potential consequences for the industry as a whole.

The existing legal framework may not be up to standard at the moment, but it’s all we have and we must learn how to keep within its boundaries while educating its institutions and broadening its scope and applications.

Stablecoins Continue Taking Flak

Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

Over and over, we’ve been hearing the stories of how stablecoins could obstruct national economies. This time Financial Stability Board (FSB) has decided to step in.

FSB Chairman Randal K. Quarles addressed all G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in a letter,  stating that the G7 task unit had been working around the clock in order to provide a detailed estimate on the auspiciousness and challenges that global stablecoins bring.

The letter did not specify any particular stablecoin but expressed concern about the kind of influence and large-scale effect non-sovereign currencies could have on the global economy.

There’s no denying that data privacy and protection, AML/CFT and KYC compliance, tax evasion, fair competition, and market integrity are just some of the issues that cannot be overlooked.

At first, the G20 leaders did not interpret crypto assets as a dangerous model, but now it looks as if there is a change of heart.

Even though FSB’s mission is far from accomplished, it appears that the implementation is well underway.

Chainalysis, The First Line Of Defense

Chainalysis Logo

On October 16th, 2019, the Department of Justice announced that it had managed to bring down the largest child pornography website in the world.

Users from all over the world, 38 countries to be more precise, have been arrested and brought to justice.

In the process, approximately two dozen adolescents were rescued.

If you’re still confused what this atrocious act has to do with crypto or blockchain, hold on… 

Chainalysis is a well-established blockchain analysis company that began its operations in 2014, with the aim to assist law enforcement, government agencies, financial institutions, cryptocurrency corporations, and others, by combating illicit cyber activities.

They finally earned a great deal of credit and a place under the spotlight of global public attention. If it hadn’t been for them, who knows how long it would’ve taken the police to wrap this case up and classify it as solved.

Welcome To Video, a child pornography website, operating from South Korea, embedded the option on their page that allowed their customers to purchase their services for BTC.

And that was their demise…

There is a misconception going around that Bitcoin is anonymous. It is in fact pseudonymous. What does this mean?

Well, it is very well known that Bitcoin is an open network with a transparent ledger. That stipulates that anyone can access it and look into various events.

Although the true identity of the user is represented in the form of a long string of numbers and letters combined, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it cannot be revealed.

One of the ways to achieve this would be to somehow track the IP address. Another would be to inquire from a certain exchange to grant access to its KYC protocol.

As data shows, they have been receiving constant payments from several crypto exchanges, thus leaving trails, and that’s exactly what gave them away. The tools that were provided by Chainalysis effectively sped up the process of tracking down these obnoxious villains.

We are certain that we speak on behalf of the entire planet when we express our gratitude to Chainalysis for their contribution. As long as they continue to thrive in their field, the world can most definitely hope for a brighter future.

Final Thoughts

Despite all the ups and downs, which are quite typical and natural in every field, the crypto domain continues to expand.

Grayscale, a fund renowned for investing in digital assets, published a report that corroborates this. According to their research and figures, their clients invested a record high of USD 250 million into digital assets in Q3 2019. That’s literally 300% growth YoY..

How’s that for a number?

Bear in mind that it was institutional investors who were responsible for this massive inflow.

Some consider this to be a clear sign that you should diversify your portfolio with cryptocurrencies.

Ok folks. That would be all for this edition of the Crypto Roundup. See you all next week and do bring your friends so that we can spread the news, awareness, and benefits of crypto together.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not legal, accounting, or financial advice. I am not a lawyer, accountant, or financial advisor. I am not registered as an investment adviser with any federal or state regulatory agency. The Information should not be construed as investment or trading advice and is not meant to be a solicitation or recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any cryptocurrencies.