How Crypto Compliance Requests Strip User Privacy

Crypto Card Compliance Requests Risk Stripping User Privacy

Money transmitting services that enable users to switch from crypto to fiat are a valuable resource. There’s still a shortage of cryptocurrency off-ramps, and thus reliable services that offer a reasonable exchange rate are to be cherished. But the convenience that crypto debit cards and other crypto-fiat exchanging services offer comes at a high price in terms of privacy. In addition to KYC enforced upon signing up, users are often forced to “prove” their funds are clean, leaving them with a dilemma: consent to deep privacy invasions or have their account suspended.

Also read: 8 Crypto Debit Cards You Can Use Around the World Right Now

The High Cost of Compliance

Money transmitting services, especially those that facilitate switching between crypto and fiat, are obliged to comply with strict anti-money laundering laws (AML) that include enforcing KYC and reporting suspicious transactions. Many cryptocurrency users loathe these acronyms, but accept them as a necessary evil to be able to switch between the fiat and crypto worlds at will.

But as users of services such as Revolut and Wirex are discovering, the probing questions don’t always end upon sign-up. Should the customer trigger an origin of funds and wealth investigation, they will be obliged to lay bare deeply personal information pertaining to their financial and employment history or risk having their account suspended. Wirex’s own origin of funds document explains in no uncertain terms:

Wirex Ltd (Wirex) is required by law to comply with strict anti-money laundering regulations (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements in a bid to prevent criminals and terrorists from using its financial products/services and move around their money. Wirex is also required to understand the purpose and intended nature of the business relationship; this includes understanding where the customer’s funds and wealth come from.

After a number of Wirex users complained of receiving such a document, news.Bitcoin.com spoke to the company to ascertain more about its AML and KYC policy.

How Crypto Compliance Requests Strip User Privacy

Wirex Explains Its Hands Are Tied

Michael Moore is the Chief Compliance Officer for Wirex, whose Visa cards have proven popular with cryptocurrency users throughout Europe. The company has an e-money license, he explained, which is different to a banking license. An e-money license mandates less invasive information compared to opening a bank account, but that doesn’t preclude follow-up questions further down the line.

Moore explained that as a UK regulated entity, Wirex is obliged to submit a source of wealth questionnaire to customers when certain individual triggers are met. While unable to disclose the exact threshold at which this might occur, he explained that there “could be a variety of different different scenarios. It could be one of transactions … it could be based on turnover, and it could be just an ongoing review of a specific customer based on the length of time that they’ve been with us.”

Moore confirmed that, like many crypto exchange services, Wirex uses blockchain monitoring software that can flag when cryptocurrency has potentially been used in illegal activity such as a narcotics transaction on the darknet. He conceded, however, that blockchain analysis tools can’t generally prove that coins have been used to purchase illegal items – only that they may have emanated from a darknet marketplace. As such, any transactions flagged by the software would be assessed by Wirex on a case-by-case basis.

Proof of Funds or GTFO

The average Wirex customer will not be engaged in darknet activity, but they may have concerns about succumbing to enhanced scrutiny through regular crypto-fiat exchange. “We’re trying to find the right balance with regards to what information we have to take [from the customer],” said Michael Moore, “and obviously, the information is based upon regulatory requirements.” He noted that the service Wirex is offering is “relatively unique in the marketplace at the moment,” and in order to be able to maintain business, the company is obliged to satisfy certain requirements from a regulatory standpoint.

When asked whether there was a good chance that most Wirex users would be asked to complete a source of funds questionnaire at some stage, Moore conceded that was likely. He did point out, however, that any such check would not be triggered at random, but rather in response to a specific event. A customer would typically be notified once they were within a few percentage points of hitting a certain limit, which would give them the opportunity to close their account, should they balk at completing a compliance request.

How Crypto Compliance Requests Strip User Privacy

Wirex’ origin of funds questionnaire requests customer documents that might include a payslip, a letter from their employer confirming their salary, audited accounts and, if the funds were received as a gift, a letter from the donor explaining the reason for the gift and the source of the donor’s wealth. When asked whether customers who earn their salary in cryptocurrency might be able to submit a blockchain transaction as proof of earnings, Moore explained that Wirex is conscious of the needs of the crypto space and that there are documented processes and controls that would take such individuals’ circumstances into account.

Revolut and Others Operate a Similar Policy

Wirex’s policy is little different from that of other crypto-fiat services. Revolut, for example, is another popular Visa card, although unlike Wirex, it doesn’t permit customers to deposit crypto: they can only store, spend and convert cryptocurrency they’ve bought directly in-app. Eric Wu, Head of Compliance Technology at Revolut, told news.Bitcoin.com that the company follows a model-driven internal policy for compliance. “Crypto is of a higher money laundering risk than other flows,” he asserted, adding:

Revolut must have what’s called a “risk-based approach” to anti money laundering and terrorist financing. This means that it’s probably not a good idea to equate the risk inherent to £10 spent at Sainsbury to £10 spent on crypto. In this case, we create a per-transaction risk score. These build up over time for different customers depending on how they transact with us. That means that every user has their own unique transaction threshold.

Like Michael Moore, Wu pointed out that “the requesting of source of funds and source of wealth is a standard across the industry.” Cryptocurrency users dislike enhanced KYC and AML, especially when the burden of proof lies on them to prove their funds are clean. If they wish to continue using crypto-fiat changing services, however, they’re left with little choice. Visa card providers such as Revolut and Wirex are circumspect about the conditions that might one day trigger an investigation. By all accounts, though, it appears that for many customers, that day won’t be a case of “if” but “when.”

Have you ever been subjected to enhanced KYC and AML by a crypto-fiat service? If so, did you comply or did you take your business elsewhere? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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‘Bitcoin Killer’ Onecoin Is Ashes But Investigations Continue to This Day

The So-Called 'Bitcoin Killer' Onecoin is Left in Ashes, But Investigations Still Continue

Back in 2014, a group led by a woman named Ruja Ignatova created a Ponzi scheme called Onecoin which, together with the organization Onelife, defrauded billions from 3 million people. At peak popularity, the group declared that Onecoin would be a “Bitcoin killer” but the pyramid scheme is now in ashes and many of its founders are in hiding after being charged with fraud and money laundering.

Also read: Buyer Beware! The Definitive OneCoin Ponzi Exposé

The Fall of Onecoin and the $4B Global Pyramid Scheme

In 2019, many Onecoin affiliates are being charged with crimes by law enforcement agencies from multiple nation states after the Ponzi scheme crumbled to pieces. On Feb. 17, Florida-based attorney Mark Scott was arrested for being a suspect in the $4 billion dollar pyramid operation. Allegedly Scott laundered $400 million that was tied to the Onelife association and operations. U.S.-based federal investigators say that Scott moved the money through hedge funds set up in the Cayman Islands and then sent a great portion of the funds to elite Onecoin members. Last August, Scott was indicted by a federal grand jury on money laundering charges stemming from Onecoin and on the same day a warrant was also issued for his arrest.

'Bitcoin Killer' Onecoin Is Ashes But Investigations Continue to This Day
Since 2014, Onecoin proponents have claimed the Ponzi scheme was a real cryptocurrency with a blockchain and it would be considered the “Bitcoin killer.”

Onecoin’s leader Ruja Ignatova who started the project in 2014 has been reported as missing for well over a year. Ignatova and high up associates made off with billions when reports detailed back in January 2017 that affiliate withdrawals exceeded new investments. Not too long after, the official Onecoin ‘exchange’ closed its doors. Before Ignatova went into hiding, investigative journalists noted she bought a yacht worth $15 million for traveling and a mansion in the Bulgarian seaside town of Sozopol for $2.5 million. The newly purchased home has custom-made furniture imported from Germany, a private beach, vineyard, and a large playground.

Even though it is was publicly known that Ignatova bought these luxury items in the tourist town of Sozopol, Bulgarian law enforcement has not been investigating the founder’s purchases. Although police in Sofia did raid the Onecoin offices last January as part of a global law enforcement effort to take down the “centralized cryptocurrency pyramid scheme” that defrauded over 3 million individuals. The offices of “One Network Services” and approximately 14 other related firms were searched and evidence was seized.

'Bitcoin Killer' Onecoin Is Ashes But Investigations Continue to This Day
Ruja Ignatova is a gypsy who has always been on the move. Ignatova has been missing in action for well over a year after she purchased a $15 million dollar yacht and a vacation home in Bulgaria.

Onecoin Leaders on the Run and Global Investigations

Even though Onecoin operations have slowed to a grinding halt and many leaders have fled, the official takedown could still last for years according to Gerald Rubsam, a general prosecutor based in Bielefeld, Germany. Onecoin is being investigated by German law enforcement, but also by authorities in Britain, Ireland, Ukraine, the Baltic States, Italy, U.S., Canada, and other regions. “[Our] investigation is being conducted against eight suspects, mainly employees of one of the companies of the Onecoin group registered in Germany,” explained Rubsam last October. The Bielefeld prosecutor further detailed that law enforcement cannot find Onecoin’s leader.

“We have no information on where Ruja Ignatova is currently at the moment,” Rubsam noted.

'Bitcoin Killer' Onecoin Is Ashes But Investigations Continue to This Day
Bulgarian police images from the Onecoin raid. 

Bulgarian prosecutors have admitted that Onecoin operations were not totally shut down when they raided the offices in Sofia. This is because Onecoin Ltd. is officially registered in the United Arab Emirates and a small group of founding individuals from various countries. Since the beginning of this blatant scamcoin, news.Bitcoin.com has reported and investigated Onecoin many times and well known bitcoin proponents have been adamant in fighting this fraudulent Ponzi. Our investigative report and interview called “Buyer Beware! The Definitive Onecoin Ponzi Exposé” has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times and translated into various languages.

'Bitcoin Killer' Onecoin Is Ashes But Investigations Continue to This Day
Onecoin “Dealshaker” paperwork found during the Onecoin raid on Jan. 18, 2018.

The reason most bitcoiners wanted Onecoin exposed is because the scheme was never a real cryptocurrency and didn’t even operate on a blockchain. However, in the long run, it seems most law enforcement agencies have discovered the difference between legitimate cryptocurrencies and this fraudulent pyramid scheme. Even though the project is in ruins today with 3 million victims and many high up leaders on the run, it will still take years to clean up the mess.

What do you think about the Onecoin scam and its leaders on the run from law enforcement? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.  


Image credits: Shutterstock, and Pixabay.


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CME Group’s Bitcoin Futures See a Surge of Institutional Interest

CME Group's Bitcoin Futures Sees a Surge of Institutional Interest in 2019

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME Group) has seen a big spike in bitcoin futures volumes according to an internal investors email sent to clients on Feb. 19. CME Group’s note explains that last Tuesday’s BTC-based futures volumes touched a new record with 18,338 contracts traded and the firm says increased volumes may be due to gradually rising institutional interest.

Also Read: This ‘Faketoshi’ Signature Tool Lets Anyone Become Satoshi Nakamoto

Bitcoin Futures Volumes Spike in 2019

Cryptocurrency derivatives kicked into high gear in 2017 when two of the largest FX exchanges in the world, Cboe and CME Group, launched their bitcoin futures products. Initially, interest in these markets was high, but a few months later crypto derivatives volumes on these exchanges started to wane. Then in the summer of 2018, futures contracts from the two regulated exchanges began to rise again and interest in these products started to increase significantly. Last December, futures volumes were lower and spectators saw some signs of backwardation which means the derivatives predictions on the price of BTC are significantly lower than the prices on global spot exchanges. However, there was a shift in 2019 as prices returned to normalcy between both futures and spot values and volumes increased in January.

“Futures products from traditionally regulated exchanges (CME and CBOE) represented 11.7% of the Bitcoin to USD futures market in January, up from 6.36% in December,” explains Cryptocompare’s January exchange research.

CME Group's Bitcoin Futures Sees a Surge of Institutional Interest
Perpetual Bitcoin swaps (extended bets with leverage) still outshine regulated Bitcoin futures markets on Cboe and CME Group’s platforms.

Cryptocompare’s data shows that CME Group has seen more volume than Cboe in January but non-traditional futures trading platforms stole the show last month. Research reveals that Bitflyer FX traded the most BTC derivatives products in January with a daily average transactional value of $1.13 billion. The analysis also highlights the perpetual futures volume last month offered by Bitmex which was roughly $665 million. Now, as February comes to an end, CME Group’s recent internal email to investors indicates this month has seen an appreciable jump in interest.

“Yesterday [Feb 19] set a new record with 18,338 contracts traded,” the executive’s note explained. “This is equivalent to 91,690 bitcoin or $360 million.”

The note continued:

Q1 2019 is off to a strong start, average daily volume (ADV) has improved to 4,630 contracts (23,150 equivalent bitcoin), up ~13% from Q4 2018 while open interest rose to 4,076 contracts, an improvement of 21.5% over Q4 2018.

CME Group's Bitcoin Futures Sees a Surge of Institutional Interest
CME Group is seeing interest from large open interest holders (LOIHs).

Large Open Interest Holders Seek Bitcoin Futures

CME Group’s volume statistics show a gradual rise in the last two months compared to the slight slump in Q4 2018. Moreover, last Tuesday’s futures spike also took place on Cboe’s exchange as the XBT futures daily market statistics show a higher than usual 4,945 contracts. The spike is a big jump from the typical daily average of 700-1500 Cboe-based XBT contract volumes. CME Group’s investors note details that the February rise in volume stems from large open interest holders (LOIHs).

“Institutional interest has gradually risen and the number of LOIHs has been holding steady around 43 holders since November,” the CME Group representative detailed. “A LOIH is an entity that holds at least 25 BTC contracts.”

Over the last year, derivatives and perpetual bitcoin swaps have continued to show growth and spontaneous surges in trading activity. Traditional bitcoin futures products seem to be gaining interest from institutional buyers while leveraged bets with no specific expiration dates continue to see swathes of retail investors playing the market. Even though CME Group, Cboe, and Ledger X products are doing well, they are a long way from matching the volumes executed through perpetual bitcoin swap markets managed by Bitmex, Bitflyer, Bitfinex, Deribit, Crypto Facilities, and Okex.

What do you think about the rise in CME Group’s Bitcoin futures volumes? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, CME Group, Pixabay, and Crypto Compare. 


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Cryptocurrency Exchange Exmo Opens Branch in Turkey

Cryptocurrency Exchange Exmo Opens Branch in Turkey

Digital asset exchange Exmo, a leading crypto trading platform in Eastern Europe, has recently registered a subsidiary in Turkey. The company is setting up an office in Istanbul, the financial capital of the country situated on the Bosphorus.

Also read: Lithuania Central Bank’s Policy Update Opens the Door for Crypto Payments

Traders Offered Pairs With the Turkish Lira

The decision to establish the branch is part of Exmo’s launch in Turkey and indicates the growing significance of the Turkish crypto market in the region. The cryptocurrency exchange already has offices in the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Cryptocurrency Exchange Exmo Opens Branch in Turkey

The move comes after Exmo presented a Turkish language version of its website and introduced support for the Turkish lira (TRY). Trading pairs between the local fiat currency and major digital coins such as bitcoin core (BTC), ethereum (ETH), ripple (XRP), and stellar (XLM) are now available.

In an announcement published on its website and social media, the exchange noted that it’s currently finalizing formal procedures to open an account in a Turkish bank. That means a bank transfer payment option will be available to users in the near future.

Commenting on the new developments during the Blockchain Economy Istanbul Summit, chief executive officer of Exmo, Sergey Zhdanov, stated:

The Turkish market has become an incredibly pleasant discovery for us. The numbers of traders from the eastern region undoubtedly pleases us. So, we have decided not to stop here and open a representative office in Istanbul in order to have even more opportunities in this region.

Cryptocurrencies Popular in Inflation-hit Turkey

Exmo, which was founded in 2013, is based in London, Kiev, Barcelona, Moscow, and now Istanbul. It’s often referred to as the largest cryptocurrency trading platform in Eastern Europe. The exchange reports having a total of 1.6 million users and 50,000 active daily traders.

The platform offers more than 120 trading pairs and has become popular in the region with its support for six fiat currencies including the Russian ruble, the Ukrainian hryvnia and the Polish zloty. According to the company, its average daily trading volume is around $30 million. At the time of writing, Exmo is the 65th crypto exchange listed on Coinmarketcap with a 24-hour volume of close to $18 million.

Turkey is one of those inflation-hit countries where cryptocurrencies have been steadily gaining popularity due to the depreciation of the national fiat currency. Trading volumes on the country’s major crypto exchanges spiked last summer when the Turkish currency saw a big drop against the U.S. dollar.

Cryptocurrency Exchange Exmo Opens Branch in Turkey

At press time, TRY is trading at approximately $0.18, compared to 26 cents a year ago. In August 2018 its price bottomed at a little over $0.14. That’s when Turkish crypto exchanges registered their highest trading volumes.

Back then, one of the leading local platforms, Btcturk, saw a 350 percent increase in just 24 hours, as news.Bitcoin.com reported. It currently has over $4 million in daily trading volume. Other popular crypto exchanges in Turkey that Exmo has to compete against include Paribu, Koinim, and Koineks, all of which trade a wide variety of digital coins.

BTC trade with the Turkish lira on the peer-to-peer exchange Localbitcoins peaked during the week of Nov. 25, 2018, when according to Coindance the volume reached almost 2.5 million Turkish lira (over $525,000 in today’s prices).

Do you think Turkey will establish itself as a major crypto market in the region? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Big Banks Money Laundering: UBS Fined $4.2 Billion, Danske Shuts Down in 4 Countries

Big Banks Money Laundering: UBS Fined $4.2 Billion, Danske Shuts Down in 4 Countries

Money laundering scandals involving some of the world’s largest banks have grown this week. Switzerland’s largest bank, UBS, has been fined 3.7 billion euros (~$4.2 billion) for money laundering. Amid a $226 billion scandal, Estonian authorities have ordered Denmark’s largest bank to terminate its operations in the country. Danske Bank is also shutting down in three other countries including Russia.

Also read: SEC Chair Explains Key Upgrades Needed for Bitcoin ETF Approval

UBS Convicted in France

On Wednesday, Reuters reported that a “French court finds UBS criminally responsible of money laundering.” The Associated Press elaborated:

The Paris court convicted Zurich-based UBS AG on Wednesday of aggravated money laundering of the proceeds of tax fraud and illegal bank soliciting, issuing what French media called a record fine.

Big Banks Money Laundering: UBS Fined $4.2 Billion, Danske Shuts Down in 4 Countries

The French prosecutors allege that the bank sent its bankers to sporting events and concerts to solicit clients and then laundered the proceeds. “The assets illegally concealed by French clients in Switzerland in 2004-2012 allegedly amounted to some 10 billion euros ($10.75 billion),” the news outlet wrote.

The publication added that the court “ordered exceptional criminal fines of 3.7 billion euros ($4.2 billion) for UBS’ Swiss head office and 15 million euros ($17 million) for its French subsidiary and civil damages of 800 million euros ($907 million). Five former UBS executives were also given fines and suspended prison sentences.” Overall, the bank has been ordered to pay fines totaling 4.5 billion euros.

Big Banks Money Laundering: UBS Fined $4.2 Billion, Danske Shuts Down in 4 Countries

Noting that UBS has contested any criminal wrongdoing and would appeal against the verdict, the BBC quoted the prosecutors telling the court:

UBS was ‘systematic’ in its support of tax-evading customers and that the laundering of proceeds from the tax fraud was done on an ‘industrial’ scale.

Danske Bank Kicked Out of Estonia

On Tuesday, Denmark’s largest bank, Danske Bank, was ordered by Estonian authorities to shut down its operations in the country within eight months, Reuters reported. Kilvar Kessler, the head of Estonia’s banking regulator Finantsinspektsioon, said that the bank could be fined up to 10 percent of its turnover if it does not comply with the ruling. Responding to the order, the bank announced:

The Estonian Financial Supervision Authority (the Estonian FSA) has ordered Danske Bank to cease banking operations in Estonia, which Danske Bank has agreed to do.

Big Banks Money Laundering: UBS Fined $4.2 Billion, Danske Shuts Down in 4 Countries

Danske Bank has been at the center of one of the largest money laundering scandals to date. Its investigation involves over 200 billion euros (~$226 billion) in suspicious payments that allegedly flowed through its Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015. The scandal led to the ousting of the bank’s CEO, Thomas F. Borgen, who resigned on Sept. 19. In December last year, Reuters reported that Estonia arrested 10 of the local branch’s employees in connection with the charges.

Furthermore, the bank announced that it is closing down all offices in Latvia, Lithuania and Russia, claiming that this decision is in line with the bank’s “strategy of focusing on its Nordic core markets.” The bank wrote:

Danske Bank has for some time considered the future of its remaining activities in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as the activities in Russia. Danske Bank has now decided to close down all of these activities.

In addition to being investigated in Denmark and Estonia, Danske Bank is also under investigation in Britain, France and the U.S. The bank explained that it was placed under formal investigation in France on Feb. 7 for alleged “money laundering related to certain transactions in the terminated portfolio of non-resident customers of Danske Bank’s branch in Estonia in the period from 2007 to 2014.”

Swedbank Also Being Investigated

One of Sweden’s largest banks, Swedbank, is the most recent bank to be investigated in connection with Danske Bank. Estonia’s state prosecutor confirmed on Wednesday that it is investigating allegations linking Swedbank to suspicious transactions in the country involving Danske Bank, Reuters detailed.

Big Banks Money Laundering: UBS Fined $4.2 Billion, Danske Shuts Down in 4 Countries

According to Swedish television SVT, the bank “may have been used for extensive, systematic money laundering for nearly a decade.” The media outlet claimed to have analyzed a large number of classified documents exposing Danske Bank’s dealings with Swedbank, its website details. “There were a large number of transactions between the banks’ clients between 2007 and 2015,” SVT wrote and further alleged:

50 of Swedbank’s customers that show several risk indicators of suspected money laundering have funneled a total of USD 5.8 billion through the bank … Of this, USD 26 million is linked to the Russian tax fraud.

Reuters then cited SVT claiming that “The investigation covers more than 1,000 of Swedbank’s clients in high-risk countries who are known from the money laundering scandal in Danske Bank.” The publication quoted Swedbank CEO Birgitte Bonnesen admitting that she could not guarantee that her bank had been able to pick up all suspicious transactions, conceding: “Was there any risk that a payment in 2007 slipped through? Yes, there is a risk.”

What do you think of these money laundering scandals involving some of the world’s largest banks? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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How to Use Cryptocurrency to Send Money Abroad

A Beginner's Guide To Getting Started With Sending Money Abroad Using Crypto

The global remittance industry is huge. World Bank data shows that over $148 billion was sent abroad from the U.S. alone in 2017. As people leave nations gripped by hyperinflation, or simply move to look for better opportunities abroad, sending cash back home becomes a necessity. As the people in Venezuela are discovering, this can be cheaper, faster and simpler with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Here are four ways to send money abroad using crypto. 

Also read: Everything You Should Know About Bitcoin Address Formats 

Crypto Remittance for the Masses

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general can get money from sender to receiver extremely quickly and at low cost. If you’re new to decentralized peer-to-peer currency, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with how it works. From there, one can choose which cryptocurrency you intend to use as a conduit for the fiat cash. Bitcoin core (BTC) and bitcoin cash (BCH) are popular, though ripple (XRP) and ethereum (ETH) are other options you may wish to consider.

After selecting your desired cryptocurrency, the next step is to choose a wallet which can store it. Cryptocurrency wallets are essentially software programs that store your public and private keys and interface with various blockchains, allowing you to monitor your balance, send and receive money, and conduct other operations. There are different wallets to choose from: a desktop wallet, which would be downloaded and installed on your computer; an online wallet which runs from the cloud; or a mobile wallet, by far the most popular option as they can be used anywhere while on the go. Other options include hardware wallets which store a user’s private keys on a device like a USB, and paper wallets, which refer to a physical copy or printout of your public and private keys. Both are easy to use and provide a very high level of security. More information on choosing the best wallet can be found here. Now let’s move on and examine four methods of sending cash abroad using cryptocurrency.

Localbitcoins.com

By far the simplest method for beginners, buying BTC on Localbitcoins and then using it to send cash abroad is extremely popular in developing nations in particular. You simply need to open an account, search for people selling BTC in your country and go ahead and make a bank transfer to the seller. The platform is very secure and uses an escrow mechanism to hold funds, which means the coins can’t be released until both parties agree.

How to Use Cryptocurrency to Send Money Abroad

Once the buyer has the BTC they wish to send abroad, they can send it to their contact’s crypto wallet, where they can then sell it, or perform the same process on Localbitcoins.com but in reverse. So, if a person wanting to send money from the U.S. to Venezuela wishes to use this method, they would find a buyer in Venezuela after having bought BTC in the U.S., then sell the BTC and receive fiat cash into a Venezuelan bank account. Look for a good fiat to BTC rate while using this method, as you will find many buyers and sellers on Localbitcoins.com with different rates.

Airtm

Another increasingly popular platform for sending money abroad using cryptocurrency is Airtm. A digital wallet connected to banks and blockchains, Airtm makes sending money abroad via cryptocurrency very simple. As well as BTC and BCH, the platform supports a number of other currencies including ETH, XRP and monero (XMR). Opening an account is easy and Airtm provides a mid-market cryptocurrency exchange rate. There is a crypto dashboard on the website where you can see your total balance in USD equivalent inclusive of all your cryptocurrency balances. From there, you can buy and sell crypto and send it to other Airtm addresses. Recipients can then convert straight to fiat and withdraw.

How to Use Cryptocurrency to Send Money Abroad

Bitcoin ATMS

Bitcoin ATMs (BATMs) are fast popping up everywhere, with over 4,000 scattered around the globe. They quickly allow users to get their hands on crypto or fiat cash. And as a way for sending money abroad, they are a gem. You need only find a BATM, buy BTC or other crypto, send to the recipient in another country and then the recipient can sell the crypto for cash at a BATM. The recipient doesn’t even need to know about cryptocurrency – they can simply make and send a photo of the QR code and the sender can use this bitcoin address directly, which can then be taken out of a BATM as cash. BATMs tend to charge a higher commission than other services mentioned here, it should be noted, so their convenience comes at a price.

How to Use Cryptocurrency to Send Money Abroad

Bloom Solutions

A newer method of sending cash abroad is via Bloom Solutions. Founded by Luis Buenaventura, Bloom aims to reinvent the remittances industry using BTC. By focusing solely on cryptocurrency as a mechanism for cross-border money transfer, Bloom allows users to sign up, and when your credentials have been approved, a rate for using the service is given. You can then deposit funds into your Bloom account and Bloom takes care of it being sent abroad by sending it to a bank account or cash pick-up point. An email or SMS will confirm the completion of the transaction. Based in the Philippines, the service has been praised for its ability to help the unbanked receive remittances.

What do you think about these methods of sending bitcoin abroad? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Airtm and Localbitcoins.com. 


At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even lookup the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.

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In the Daily: Sirin Labs Smartphone, Middle East Cbx Exchange, IPC’s Connexus Cloud

In the Daily: Sirin Labs’ Smartphone, Middle East’s Cbx Exchange, IPC's Connexus Cloud

In this edition of The Daily we cover a number of cryptocurrency-related business collaborations from around the world. These include Sirin Labs and Simplex, Middle East-focused crypto exchange Cbx, and Heliocor, IPC and ICE Data Services. Additionally covered is an update from the FBI which is conducting an investigation into Bitconnect.

Also Read: Coinflex Launches Physically Delivered Cryptocurrency Futures Exchange

Sirin Labs Smartphone to Integrate Simplex

Sirin Labs, creators of the cryptocurrency-focused Finney smartphone, have announced a partnership with online payment processing solutions provider Simplex. With the integration of Simplex’s escrow service for fiat-to-crypto transactions, the phone’s users will be able to buy crypto with fiat directly through its wallet application. Founded in 2014, Simplex is headquartered in Israel, with subsidiaries in the U.K., U.S., and Lithuania. The service processes credit card payments for some of the largest crypto exchanges, wallets, and platforms around the world.

In the Daily: Sirin Labs Smartphone, Middle East Cbx Exchange, IPC's Connexus Cloud

“The growing portfolio of our partners and integrations is aimed to assure our community that their crypto experience through FINNEY is constantly evolving,” said Sirin Labs CEO Zvika Landau. “Simplex shares the same vision of bridging the gap between crypto and the mass market. This integration marks that first step in making crypto more accessible to novice users, as well as simplifies trading for our seasoned crypto community.”

Middle East’s Cbx Exchange Partners With Heliocor

Heliocor, a regulation technology company from London, has announced a strategic partnership with Cbx, a global cryptocurrency trading platform based in the Middle East with independent operating teams in UAE, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, and London. The deal is meant to enable enhanced due diligence of both institutional investors and retail investors in the Middle East. Heliocor offers a GDPR compliant cross regulation onboarding application that is now integrated into the Cbx trading platform, allowing the exchange to apply Know your Client (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) checks on its clients.

In the Daily: Sirin Labs Smartphone, Middle East Cbx Exchange, IPC's Connexus Cloud

Vikas Tripathi, Managing Director of Heliocor, commented: “Several companies from blockchain and cryptocurrency have engaged with us to help them overcome their ever-changing regulation challenges. We believe that cryptocurrency markets will form a key market for our technology, allowing us to apply our deep regulation and compliance knowledge in banking and financial institutions to further engage with the blockchain industry. We are delighted to be working with CBX to provide them with an enhanced due diligence capability and adding confidence to their users as they access the crypto market.”

IPC’s Connexus Cloud to Add ICE Crypto Data Feed

IPC, a provider of networking solutions for the financial markets, has announced it will include cryptocurrency data feed on its cloud platform from ICE Data Services, which is part of Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE: ICE). The Connexus Cloud connects 6,400 capital market participants across 750 cities in 60 countries including sell-side and buy-side firms such as inter-dealer brokers, liquidity venues, and clearing/settlement firms. Customers using the ICE Cryptocurrency Data Feed will be able to access real-time and historical data for over 60 digital assets, including BCH and BTC, from more than 30 trading venues.

In the Daily: Sirin Labs Smartphone, Middle East Cbx Exchange, IPC's Connexus Cloud

“The cryptocurrency market continues to make inroads with global investors, who rely on timely and robust pricing data to help with their critical investment decisions,” said Mike Smith, Director Global Exchange Relations Management at IPC. “With the vast ICE Cryptocurrency Data Feed now accessible by Connexus Cloud users, we continue to bring customers the vital information needed in this emerging and growing market.”

FBI Is Looking for Bitconnect Victims

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is seeking potential victims who invested in Bitconnect (BCC). The agency asks anyone who invested in it to voluntarily complete a questionnaire on their website which will be used in the federal assessment of this matter. Based on the answers provided, the FBI may contact respondents for additional information.

In the Daily: Sirin Labs Smartphone, Middle East Cbx Exchange, IPC's Connexus Cloud

The FBI announcement recounts that Bitconnect guaranteed investors up to a 10 percent total return per month, following a tiered investment system based on the sum of an investor’s initial deposit. In December 2017, BCC boasted a market cap of over $2.5 billion but the price crashed in January 2018 after U.S. securities regulators warned investors of the Ponzi-type nature of the scheme. “This led to Bitconnect completely shutting down its exchange for BCC, eliminating the market for the cryptocurrency and stranding investors with near-worthless cryptocurrency,” explains the FBI.

What do you think about today’s news tidbits? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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PR: KuCoin Launches Platform 2.0 With Advanced API and Various Order Types

KuCoin Launches Platform 2.0 With Advanced API and Various Order Types

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

KuCoin, one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges, has officially launched KuCoin Platform 2.0. In addition to brand-new interfaces for the KuCoin website, iOS and Android Apps, Platform 2.0 brings plenty of new features like a new WebSocket API, Stop Orders, Device Trust System, and SNS push notifications. KuCoin 2.0 is much more than a single exchange, it is a dynamic, secure and malleable trading platform that is able to provide stable and efficient services to KuCoin’s 5 million global users.

“This upgrade is another milestone after our $20 million round A funding from IDG Capital, Matrix Partners, and NGC,” said Michael Gan, CEO at KuCoin. “As the ‘People’s Exchange’, we always listen to our users and have gained a number of insights during the R&D of Platform 2.0. The long-awaited multiple order types will better satisfy our investors’ trading needs. Meanwhile, the advanced WebSocket API and Rest API will contribute to improving our liquidity and market depth. We are confident that these features will make KuCoin a better place to trade.”

KuCoin Platform 2.0

Advanced Brand New API – KuCoin’s APIs are designed to offer an easy and efficient way to develop a secure and programmatic trading strategy. LEVEL 2 and LEVEL 3 data has also been added.

Various Order Types – KuCoin now offers users a suite of order types to give traders the tools they need for every scenario. These include Limit, Stop, Market, Post Only, Iceberg etc.

Reliable Security Solutions – Multiple security mechanisms to protect users’ information and funds are our first priority. With the update, KuCoin now supports SMS authentication, a device trust system, and protective walls to reinforce user information and assets.

More Attractive Fee Program – KuCoin will now be launching a new Tiered Trading Fee Discount Program, developing separate trading fees for Takers and Makers, creating high liquidity, and effectively reducing trading fees, all while improving transaction efficiency.

More Convenient Self-service Management Features – Platform 2.0 has added support for internal transfers, self-service unbinding, self-service freezing/unfreezing of accounts, and other user self-service functionality to greatly improve service efficiency.

Efficient Notification Module – The KuCoin WebSocket feed, together with newly added App and SMS push notifications, will let you easily gain access to real-time market data.

KCS Surged 40%

After announcing the news of the impending release of KuCoin’s Platform 2.0 upgrade on February 17th, KuCoin Shares (KCS) have gone up more than 17%, reaching $0.42. Soon after the completion of the upgrade, the token rallied to over $0.52, jumping almost 40% in three days.

Similar to Binance’s BNB, KCS is the native token of the KuCoin Exchange. By staking the coin, holders can receive a pro rata share of 50% of all trading fees accrued by the platform, known as the KCS bonus. Also, according to KuCoin’s new tiered trading fee discount program, holding KCS will bring trading fees down to as low as 0.0125% for makers and 0.03% for takers. Investors who own more than 110,000 KCS could even get access to DMA and Colocation services.

Michael Gan commented: “The price of KCS can partly reflect the public’s expectations for KuCoin’s future. Our Platform 2.0 brings many features that target institutional investors, and their attendance will contribute a lot to our market depth and trading volume alike. Meanwhile, another focus for us is to expand the use cases of KCS in the real world. One good example of this is that we recently worked with ETHLend to allow our users to get a crypto loan with KCS.”

+++

About KuCoin
The KuCoin Exchange opened for cryptocurrency trading in September 2017 and has enjoyed steady growth into 2018. The KuCoin exchange puts a high priority on the quality of the projects listed based on a well-trained research department that scours the blockchain industry for the highest quality projects. KuCoin provides an exchange service for users to conduct digital asset transactions securely and efficiently. Over time, KuCoin aims to provide long-lasting, increased value to its more than five million registered users, in over 100 countries. In November 2018 ‘The People’s Exchange’ officially partnered with IDG Capital, Matrix Partners, and Neo Global Capital.

Press Contacts

KuCoin:
media@kucoin.com

Supporting Link
https://www.kucoin.com/

This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

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Samsung Launches Galaxy Series Preloaded With Cryptocurrency Wallet

Samsung Launches Galaxy Series Preloaded With Cryptocurrency Wallet

On Wednesday, Feb. 20, the mobile phone manufacturing giant Samsung Electronics released its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S10. Crypto enthusiasts will be pleased to hear that the new phone comes with the company’s proprietary Samsung Knox security system which stores blockchain-based private keys.

Also Read: This ‘Faketoshi’ Signature Tool Lets Anyone Become Satoshi Nakamoto

Galaxy S10 Houses Private Keys

The relationship between Samsung and cryptocurrencies is official as the firm has released its latest Galaxy series that comes with a security system specifically designed to house digital currencies. This Wednesday, the South Korean electronics manufacturer announced the launch of the new Galaxy S10s which will be available in stores and online on March 8 throughout select markets. The smartphone is the first HDR10+ certified device, offers access to next-generation Wi-Fi 6 and features an Exynos 9820 chip. But cryptocurrency enthusiasts will be very pleased to hear that the phone will come with pre-installed hardware called Samsung Knox which is aimed at protecting blockchain assets.

“The Galaxy S10 is built with defense-grade Samsung Knox, as well as secure storage backed by hardware, which houses your private keys for blockchain-enabled mobile services,” explains the firm’s announcement.

Samsung Launches Galaxy Series Preloaded With Cryptocurrency Wallet
Samsung Galaxy S10 series. The company has also introduced a foldable phone which will likely support Samsung’s Knox security.

Samsung had tried to keep the cryptocurrency focused hardware system under the radar for months, but had problems with leaks. For instance, on Dec. 19, a Norwegian television station unintentionally aired the smartphone’s first commercial. Then on Jan. 27, leaked photos had shown images of the ‘Samsung Blockchain Keystore,’ which reportedly will start off by supporting ethereum (ETH) and bitcoin core (BTC). Samsung had previously filed for a smartphone crypto wallet trademark on Dec. 28, 2018. The “Samsung Crypto Wallet,” trademark UK00003363431 explains the wallet is meant for smartphones, tablets, portable computers, and other types of devices. The software is for “use as a cryptocurrency wallet for cryptocurrency transfers and payments using distributed ledger technology,” the trademark details.

Samsung Launches Galaxy Series Preloaded With Cryptocurrency Wallet
Leaked photographs of Samsung’s Blockchain Keystore.

Samsung Follows the Blockchain Phone Trend

The company’s trademark Samsung Knox mobile security solution is meant for securing important data like passwords and private keys. The Knox website emphasizes that individuals and organizations use smartphones every day for banking and accessing business information. Knox is meant to protect that data if it falls into the wrong hands the company claims. Interestingly, Samsung’s security software has a white paper that says Knox is used widely throughout industries such as government, finance and healthcare.

Samsung’s entry into the blockchain space follows the smartphone giant HTC and the first cryptocurrency-centric smartphone called Exodus. Then there’s Sirin Labs’ Finney phone being sold at the company’s flagship store in London for $999. Samsung also released the Galaxy Fold this week which may have the built-in Samsung Blockchain Keystore and can fold in half.

What do you think about the new Galaxy series which houses private keys for blockchain-enabled mobile services? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Samsung, and Twitter. 


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