US Fed Asks Binance To Submit Documents Related To Its Money Laundering Probe

US Federal prosecutors have asked cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, to reveal internal records and communications involving its CEO Changpeng Zhao related to its money-laundering probe, Reuters reported.

The Justice Department has asked the exchange to turn over communications between Zhao and other executives regarding the “unlawful transactions” and recuitment of clients in the US.

Four people with knowledge of the probe said the Department’s investigation into Binance’s compliance with US financial crime laws included the December 2020 request, which had not previously been publicised. According to the persons, US officials are looking into whether Binance broke the Bank Secrecy Act. 

If crypto exchanges perform “significant” business in the US, they must register with the Treasury Department and adhere to anti-money laundering regulations. The statute, intended to safeguard the American financial system from criminal financing, allows for a 10-year prison term.

The Department’s letter to Binance made 29 distinct requests for papers related to the company’s management, organisational structure, financial situation, compliance with anti-money laundering and sanctions laws, and US operations since 2017. “Binance is requested to produce all documents and materials that are responsive to this letter in its possession, custody, or control,” it said.

The request indicates the extensive nature of the US inquiry into Binance. Bloomberg, which had revealed about the probe last year, quoted a Binance representative saying at the time: “We take our legal obligations very seriously and engage with authorities and law enforcement in a collaborative fashion.”

US Investigation

The Justice Department has been cracking down on the unregulated crypto market this year, as people lost huge amounts of money after the market crashed. The government is mainly concerned about the money laundering aspect in the cryptocurrency space. It has been observed that cybercriminals were using cryptos to launder the stolen money from hacks and evade the law.

Authorities are clamping down heavily on crypto mixers by sanctioning specific wallet addresses. Criminals were found to be using crypto exchanges and mixers to dodge the authorities’ radar.

In a blog post, CEO Zhao wrote: “We don’t have any legal entities in China”, although Binance started operations in that country. He added that “The greatest challenge that Binance faces today is that we (and every other offshore exchange) have been designated a criminal entity in China.”

Financial regulators in many countries have issued warnings against Binance since last year, alleging it was either serving users without licences or violating anti-money laundering standards. 

The Dutch central bank in July fined Binance over three million Euros for violating the country’s financial laws. A Binance spokeswoman claimed at the time that the fine was a “pivot in our ongoing collaboration” with the central bank.

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This cryptocurrency exchange has sacked 27% of workforce amid market volatility

As this cryptocurrency exchange-turned-investment platform attempts to weather a bout of market volatility and declining asset values, it is laying off nearly a third of its workers.

As a part of cost-cutting measures announced in response to the shaky market climate, Peter Thiel-backed Bitpanda GmbH would trim headcount from over 1,000 to roughly 730. The largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, has lost roughly 70% of its value since hitting an all-time high in November.

“We need to make fundamental changes in how we operate and sharpen our focus by getting back to the basics,” Bitpanda said in a letter to employees posted on its website. The company said it will focus on “safety and compliance, user experience, education and community, while deprioritizing everything else.”

The employment cuts follow similar ones made across the industry, notably at BlockFi Inc., Gemini Trust Co., and Coinbase Global Inc. When the Vienna-based business raised $263 million in August, it included funding from Thiel’s Valar Ventures, billionaire investor Alan Howard, and REDO Ventures, valuing it at $4.1 billion.

In light of the hazy future, Bitpanda stated that it was attempting to maintain its financial stability and wanted to continue being self-funded.

“There’s lots of uncertainty in the financial markets right now and, while we do know that the industry is cyclical, nobody knows when the market sentiment will change.”

According to a blog post published this week, Indian cryptocurrency exchange CoinDCX has banned crypto deposits and withdrawals for a number of users due to compliance, risk, and monitoring needs.

CoinDCX has been bolstering its compliance and risk structure in response to stricter criteria for offering seamless rupee deposits and withdrawals.

“This was done in a series of steps, including improving KYC coverage, enhancing the risk framework for crypto deposit & withdrawal, and integrating with compliance and monitoring tools like Coinfirm, Solidus Labs, Signzy, Digilocker, etc., over the last six months. Over the past month, we have been gradually restricting crypto deposits & withdrawals for multiple users,” it added.

Every user must complete their KYC on CoinDCX’s platform, according to the company’s explanation. Cryptocurrency withdrawals & deposits are still by default disabled for everyone. To enable crypto deposits and withdrawals, one must adhere to an enhanced due diligence procedure. The same policy will be made public in the upcoming 14 days.

The worldwide crypto market slump has left the Indian web3 industry on edge, and businesses are becoming cautious when it comes to hiring. While local cryptocurrency exchanges insist they won’t be laying off employees, unlike US-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, at least four top executives indicated the sector is reevaluating its employment plans for the year.

Executives claim that cryptocurrency companies keep a sizable portion of their treasury in cryptocurrencies, which have lost value as a result of the market slump. Additionally, businesses that rely on venture capital will need to think about their runways during the downturn.

(With agency inputs)

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Bitcoin price plunges to $17k as ethereum, BNB, cardano, solana and ripple also struggle

Bitcoin has pretty much lost all its gains throughout the pandemic and hit a new horror low that will make history.

Cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, ethereum, BNB, cardano and Ripple XRP have faced a tough year, with fluctuating values and more.

And it doesn’t look like the downward trend will turn around any time soon, reports The Sun.

Bitcoin, the world’s top-ranked cryptocurrency, has dropped by nearly 7.5 per cent in the last day.

At the start of last month, bitcoin was trading at US$36,141.33 (A$52,000), according to CoinMarketCap.

But now, a month and a half later, the outlook is even worse.

As of Sunday morning AEDT, bitcoin fell as low as $US17,601.58 (A$25,300) and stayed below $US20,000 according to CoinDesk. It is currently trading at US$18,900 (A$27,200).

That’s a loss of about 15 per cent from Friday, and represents a whopping 74 per cent dip in value since its all-time high in November when it nearly hit US$69,000 (A$99,000) per coin.

In fact, all bitcoin’s gains over the last two years of the pandemic have pretty much been wiped – BTC hasn’t been this low since October 2020.

Other cryptocurrencies were following similar trends, with sellers like ethereum, cardano and solana falling upwards of four per cent in just one day.

Admittedly, the stock market overall is down as investors sell risky assets, and the values are tightly linked, meaning a dip all around.

The latest plunge follows a crypto crash at the start of December, shortly after bitcoin hit a record value of US$69,000 in November.

One trader lost $5 billion after the price of bitcoin plummeted in December, highlighting the risks of investing in crypto.

And in another recent blow to the market, users were unable to access funds due to “unauthorised activity” on some accounts.

Last year users of cryptocurrency exchange Binance were unable to access their cash after suspending UK withdrawals.

And Etoro customers were locked out of their accounts after the service went down during a crypto crash.

To top that off, UK-based cryptocurrency lending company Celsius Network suspended all transactions on Monday as the bloodbath continued. Its 17 million users are still suspended.

Why have crypto markets been down?

Cryptocurrencies have been especially volatile lately and there a few reasons why.

Twitter’s chief financial officer Ned Segal said at the end of last year that investing in crypto “doesn’t make sense right now”, causing concern among Silicon Valley buyers.

China also announced plans to clean up virtual currency mining, according to CNBC.

Many crypto-mining regions in China are now radically reducing operations.

Previous moves by the country to crackdown on mining and trading of crypto has previously sent markets plunging.

Crypto volatility

Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile, meaning their values often make large swings with no notice, as the latest plunge shows.

Investing in cryptocurrency is a very risky business.

You can be left with less money than you put in, and could even lose it all – even if you spend on what appears to be a safe bet.

You might not be able to access your investment if platforms go down and you could be left unable to convert crypto back into cash.

There have also been warnings around scams related to cryptocurrencies, with people losing vast sums of money.

You should never invest in something you don’t understand and you should never put in money that you can’t afford to lose entirely.

This article appeared in The Sun and was reproduced here with permission.

Read related topics:Cryptocurrency

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Cryptocurrency Market Showing Signs Of Recovery Post Freefall

Cryptocurrency Market Showing Signs Of Recovery Post Freefall

After witnessing weeks of slump, the cryptocurrency market is showing signs of recovery

Some investors are now betting that bitcoin is bottoming out, judging by the money heading into listed cryptocurrency funds, which represent just a slice of the market yet are popular among institutional and retail players alike.

Overall flows into such funds turned positive last month, with a weekly average inflow of $66.5 million, a reversal from a dismal April when they saw a weekly average outflow of $49.6 million, according to data provider CryptoCompare.

“It’s largely institutional, and to a degree retail investors, recognizing that the pain is already endured, and we’re closer to the bottom than we are to the top,” said Ben McMillan, chief investment officer of Arizona-based IDX Digital Assets.

“If you’re getting into crypto at these levels, a little near-term volatility could be worth a long-term payoff,” he added. “A lot of institutional investors are starting to look at crypto as a source of longer-term growth potential.”

It’s hard to know whether the tentative flows will last, though, or if the nascent trend will be replicated across the wider market.

Many people will also think twice before piling into the market again, having been mightily clobbered as crypto was buffeted by worries over global monetary tightening and rising inflation. Bitcoin has lost roughly half its value since a November peak, it is down by a third in 2022 and has been languishing at around $30,000 for a month.

The data from funds nonetheless indicate some investors are returning to crypto, albeit into the perceived safety of exchange-traded products (ETP) with their promise of greater liquidity and security.

The assets under management of several bitcoin-futures ETFs have risen in the past week, according to Kraken Intelligence. The assets of the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF’s have grown 6 per cent, while those of the Global X Blockchain & Bitcoin Strategy ETF and VanEck Bitcoin Strategy ETF have climbed over 3 per cent.

By comparison, ProShares’ bitcoin fund saw outflows of over $127 million in April.

The bullish trend has extended into June, with global bitcoin ETP holdings jumping to an all-time high of 205,008 bitcoin in the first two days of the month, Norway-based crypto research firm Arcane Research found.

“This is a promising sign for what’s to come,” said Arcane analyst Vetle Lunde.

In an indication investors are being selective and cautious, only bitcoin funds have received inflows while funds focused on ethereum and other crypto still experienced outflows.


But let’s not forget, while the fortunes of some funds may potentially be turning up, most have posted poor returns this year as the crypto market has tanked.

US digital assets funds have lost 46 per cent on average so far in 2022, posting losses of 22 per cent in May, according to Morningstar.

All listed digital asset investment products tracked by CryptoCompare lost money in May, with the worst performer being Grayscale’s Digital Large Cap Fund product, with a 38.5 per cent fall.

“Bitcoin has been rangebound in concert with the broader market activity of late, investors are looking for a bottom and are uncertain where that is,” said Jack McDonald, CEO of PolySign, which specializes in digital asset custody solutions for institutional investors.

Shares of the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust one of the biggest bitcoin funds with over $19 billion in assets, are trading at a 29 per cent discount to net asset value, around its steepest discount since inception and indicative of low demand for the product.

And despite the pick up in May, many market watchers expect inflows to crypto funds to remain subdued until macroeconomic and regulatory risks become more clear.

“We’re waiting for a high conviction bid to come back into the markets,” added McMillan at IDX. “There’s still a lot of wood to chop on the macro front.”

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Cryptocurrency Platform CoinTracker Enters Indian market

Cryptocurrency Platform CoinTracker Enters Indian market

CoinTracker has announced its foray into the Indian market

New Delhi:

Cryptocurrency portfolio tracking and tax compliance platform CoinTracker on Wednesday announced its foray into the Indian market.

The company’s move also comes against the backdrop of the government mandating a 30 per cent taxation on such transactions with effect from April 1.

Starting today, the crypto tax compliance and portfolio tracking products will be available to all crypto users across India, it said, while announcing the launch of its product in the country.

CoinTracker said users in India can now deal in crypto assets without worrying about the challenges associated with tracking, reconciliation, accounting and compliance.

“It can be challenging for folks to navigate the complexity of buying, holding and transacting with cryptocurrency and nearly impossible to comply with taxes without the right tool. We built CoinTracker to solve this problem seamlessly and are excited to deliver our offering in India.

“We plan to rapidly expand our integrations and partnerships with all the popular exchanges and tax products used in India in the coming months, and ultimately work together to help enable mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency in India,” Jon Lerner, CEO of CoinTracker, said.

The company recently received a $100 million Series A funding which it is using it to build products and expand into regions like India.

Lerner said the company will also expand its employee base in India. With 65 employees globally, Lerner said CoinTracker will recruit over 200 people in a year’s time, of which 10 per cent will be from India.

CoinTracker said the crypto ecosystem has grown from zero to $2 trillion in its first decade and is on a trajectory to surpass $10 trillion in the next decade. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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US Home to Be Sold in Novel Non-Fungible Token Deal

A home along Florida’s Gulf Coast will be auctioned off in the upcoming week as a non-fungible token in what is believed to be among the first such transactions in the US.

Non-fungible tokens — or NFTs — use a version of the encryption technology employed to secure cryptocurrencies to create one-of-a-kind digital objects. The technology provides digital creations a kind of certificate of authenticity, allowing ownership of something that could otherwise be replicated endlessly.

In the case of the four-bedroom home in Gulfport, Florida, a California-based real estate technology company, Propy, will mint the property rights into a digital token and host an online auction, with bids starting at $650,000 (roughly Rs. 4.8 crore).

Minting property rights into an NFT would allow owners to sell a home as quickly as a Venmo transaction, Leslie Alessandra, the home’s current owner, told the Tampa Bay Times.

Christopher Vasilakis, a local real estate and virtual-reality expert, described such a transaction as “essentially just selling a company and a company owns that house.”

There could also be challenges given the volatility of cryptocurrency, and it’s not yet clear if the value of a house tied to an NFT would be affected by the crypto market, Vasilakis said.

Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article.

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