In what is one of the most ironic posts in recent crypto history, we present this from The Block:
Cryptocurrency exchange Liqui shuts down due to lack of liquidity
Liqui, a cryptocurrency exchange that has been operating since 2016, announced today that it is shutting down, citing a lack of liquidity as the primary reason. According to Liqui's announcement, the exchange "is no longer able to provide liquidity for the users left" and "do not see any economic point in providing you [users] with our services." Liqui users will have 30 days to withdraw their assets from the exchange. Liqui's announcement comes after a string of asset delistings, leading some traders to believe the exchange was attempting an exit scam.
Read on for more Good, Bad, and Ugly…
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The Good, Bad, and the Ugly
U.S. Congressmen Introduce Two New Crypto Bills
Two Congressmen have introduced new bipartisan legislation to help prevent alleged crypto price manipulation and promote the US as the leader of tech innovation.
In a joint statement, Democrat Rep. Darren Soto of Florida and Republican Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina expressed their belief in the “profound potential” of blockchain technology as “a driver of economic growth.”
“We must ensure that the United States is at the forefront of protecting consumers and the financial well-being of virtual currency investors, while also promoting an environment of innovation to maximize the potential of these technological advances,” Soto and Budd explain. According to them, these bills will “provide data on how Congress can best mitigate these risks while propelling development that benefits our economy.”
The Virtual Currency Consumer Protection Act of 2018 asks the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to explain how price manipulation occurs and to recommend ways to prevent it. The U.S. Virtual Currency Market and Regulatory Competitiveness Act of 2018 directs the CFTC to take a look at crypto regulations in other countries and to recommend improvements to the U.S. crypto market. Both bills will now go before the House of Representatives.
It’s not the first time the two Reps. worked together. Back in September, a group of 15 congressmen including Budd and Soto, issued a letter addressed to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Jay Clayton, asking him to clarify when initial coin offerings (ICOs) are considered sales of securities.
EU Increasingly Turns Pro-Blockchain: “Mediterranean Seven” and “Blockchain for Europe” Association Launch
When all eyes were turned on the Bitcoin melt-down that reached $3,288 on Friday evening, this week brought some much-needed blockchain cheer to the tech sector in Europe.
Seven southern European Union member states — Malta, France, Italy, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, and Greece — have signed a declaration calling for the promotion of distributed ledger technology’s (DLT) in the region. The group dubbed the “Mediterranean seven” will work to implement the blockchain in education, transport, mobility, shipping, Land Registry, customers, company registry, and healthcare.
Back in April, twenty-one EU Member States and Norway agreed to sign a similar document. They created the European Blockchain Partnership (EBP) and a European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI). Both initiatives aim to support the delivery of virtual services across borders and ensure the highest standards of security and privacy. Since then, five more EU Member States have joined in.
This week revealed another pro-blockchain initiative in EU. Four companies — Ripple, EMURGO, Fetch, and NEM — have formed the “Blockchain for Europe” Association, which will act as a lobbying group for European blockchain organizations. Its responsibilities will include raising awareness about the benefits of the DLT and advocating for future “smart” regulation.
U.S. SEC Issues Cease & Desist Order and $50,000 Penalty against Crypto Assets Fund
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a cease and desist order against CoinAlpha Advisors LLC, a Delaware-based digital assets fund. In addition, the company got slapped with a fine of $50,000.
According to the official SEC document, CoinAlpha filed for a “Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities” a month after it was set up, but the request was denied. The company acted as an unregistered securities dealer. It managed to raise over $600,000 from twenty-two investors spread across multiple U.S. states, in exchange for a limited partnership interest in their crypto-focused investment fund.
Bitmain, Bitcoin.com, and Kraken Sued for Alleged Manipulation during Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork
The drama surrounding the Bitcoin Cash split isn’t over. A groundbreaking suit spearheaded by United American Corporation (UnitedCorp) is taking a legal aim at Bitmain and its cofounder Jihan Wu; Bitcoin.com and its CEO, Roger Ver; Kraken and its CEO, Jesse Powell.
UnitedCorp believes that the listed parties engaged in unfair methods of competition and actively worked to centralize the Bitcoin Cash network during and after the Nov. 15 hard fork.
“It is clear that’s what supposed to be a democratic process was not; it was hijacked by the ABC camp,” Lawry Trevor-Deutsch, VP of Corporate Affairs at UnitedCorp told MarketWatch.
According to the lawsuit, this “tight-knit network of individuals and organizations” manipulated the market. As a result, they hijacked the Bitcoin Cash network, centralized the market, and violated “all accepted standards, protocols, and the course of conduct associated with Bitcoin since its inception.”
U.S. SEC Delays Bitcoin ETF Decisions, Changes Deadline to Late February
The U.S. SEC has postponed its decision to approve or disapprove the VanEck/SolidX Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). According to the official statement published by the agency, the new deadline has been shifted to February 27, 2019. The SEC believes that a longer period would give it the time needed to review and consider the proposed rule change.
Back in August 2018, the SEC rejected nine ETF proposals from ProShares, Direxion, and GraniteShares. Despite this fact and the postponement, Gabor Gurbacs, the director of Digital Asset Strategy at VanEck, continues to remain “cautiously optimistic.” He told Cheddar:
“It’s fairly certain to us that America wants a Bitcoin ETF. We think that we’ve met all market structure obstacles and requirements on pricing, custody, valuation, and safekeeping, so we are cautiously optimistic.”
G20 Leaders Call for Global Cryptocurrency Taxation System
After their meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the G20 leaders declared commitment to regulate cryptocurrencies. According to El Periodico, the final text of the G20 document calls for an "open and resistant" financial system. It also emphasizes the need to regulate digital assets to combat money laundering and corruption.
“We will regulate crypto-assets for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism in line with FATF [Financial Action Task Force] standards and we will consider other responses as needed,” Section 25 of the official declaration reads.
Additionally, the countries pledged to work on monitoring the increasingly digital global economy and to address the impacts it has on the international tax system.