A few weeks ago, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced an enforcement action against two Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).
The ICOs were Paragon and Airfox. Both companies would have to be compliant with the securities regulations in the United States
At close of FY 2018, we brought over a dozen standalone enforcement actions involving digital assets and ICOs. https://t.co/1uQ6udWD1d
— SEC_News (@SEC_News) November 14, 2018
These companies will have to pay a penalty of $250,000 and they will also have to repay millions of dollars in ICO revenues to investors.
Dan Morehead, the CEO of Pantera Capital, and Joey Krug, the company’s co-chief investment officer, wrote in a newsletter on Thursday that around 25% of ICOs that raised funds could be violating U.S. Securities laws and might have to return funds to investors.
Several ICOs did not register with the SEC and followed securities laws in the US.
“While we believe the vast majority of the projects in our portfolio should not be affected, approximately 25 percent of our fund’s capital is invested in projects with liquid tokens that sold to U.S. investors without using regulation D or regulation S.”
If those projects are then considered securities, the position taken by the SEC would affect them in a negative way.
Back in 2017 and the beginning of 2018, the number of ICO projects in the market expanded exponentially. The industry was growing with the market but it has been lately affected by falling prices in virtual currencies. At the same time, regulatory agencies are trying to regulate the space and improve the market.
Some of the ICOs that launched during that time were frauds and some others were just fake and tried to scam investors. This is why regulatory agencies started to pay closer attention to the market and try to regulate them.
During the last few months, the number of ICOs have been reduced and the funds gathered as well. The uncertainty in the regulatory environment and falling prices in the space have affected the whole ecosystem.
Bitcoin Educator Andreas Antonopoulos Gives a Digital Deep Dive on Blockchain Transactions
One of the ways by which the crypto industry can make significant process is through the education of those who make use of crypto and those who simply observe the industry.
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He recently uploaded a video in which he touched the process of manual construction of transactions that have multiple inputs in response to a question posed by a user about whether the process will be done by a blockchain or not. Antonopoulos explained that the process is done by a wallet and not a blockchain.“You can conduct the process with a variety of wallets that allow you to construct transactions. With multiple inputs. Electrum wallets and other web-based wallets are good examples of platforms that give you the liberty to control transactions. Just to clarify, the process is done by the wallets and not by the blockchain,” Antonopoulos said.
He also pointed out that the construction wallet is based on an algorithm and if more than one payment is needed due to small amounts the wallet will construct the transactions with payments. This process, he explained, is called coin selection and helps in the movement of various transactions.
Also, he touched on the concept of change on the blockchain and pointed out that bitcoin transaction outputs have two states in which the exist which are spent or unspent and that there is no concept of a half-spent transaction.
While this was very helpful for users, some controversy was caused when Antonopoulospointed out that the scalability problem that bitcoin struggles with will always exist and that solving one issue will inevitably bring up more.
“..and you can’t, in the beginning, solves the problem for the end there is no end and also if you prematurely optimize if you try to solve scale problems for a scale that doesn’t yet exist you shift the problem somewhere else in the case of cryptocurrencies,” he said.
The Need for an Education
While Antonopoulos might have caused some controversy, it cannot be denied that his efforts to educate the public on blockchain and crypto are highly needed, especially seeing as many of the problems faced by users can put down to a lack of education about how blockchain works.
An example of this can be seen in security as a research piece that was published recently pointed out that over 700 crypto wallets were broken into by the researchers merely guessing the passphrases which were usually weak and repetitive phrases.
In such a case, education about how wallets, blockchain, and crypto work could go a long way to prevent such issues, ensuring Industries safer for all.
Russian Opposition Leader Raises $3 Million in Bitcoin Donations
Bitcoin has become a significant funding source for one of Russia’s leading political dissidents.
Alexei Navalny, a politician believed by many to be President Vladimir Putin’s main opponent, has attracted more than 591 BTC in donations over the last three years, worth about $3 million at current prices, public blockchain data shows.
The donations became a flashpoint this week when a pro-Putin television network questioned their timing.
Navalny’s investigative center, the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), regularly publishes exposés of government officials, including prime minister Dimitri Medvedev and attorney general Yuri Chaika.
On Monday, an anonymous Telegram channel, “FBK Staffer’s Confession,” noted that the Navalny organization’s wallet received several large donations a few days before FBK published one such investigation, insinuating it was a paid hit piece. The claim was covered in Russian media, including the pro-Putin Tsargrad TV.
When contacted by Russian news publication Znak, FBK’s chief of staff Leonid Volkov denied any connection between the transactions and its investigations, saying the anonymous blogger “dragged the non-existent facts together in by the head and shoulders.”
“You can say that each time Encke’s Comet approaches the Earth it coincides with a big war: 1914 (First World War), 1941 (World War II) and 2014 (War on Eastern Ukraine). But its rotation period is three years, and it approached the Earth many times when there were no big wars.”
The Navalny wallet (3QzYvaRFY6bakFBW4YBRrzmwzTnfZcaA6E, listed on the donations page of his website) received its first bitcoin in December 2016 and since then has seen more than 2,000 transactions, including withdrawals, according to blockchain data.
Most transactions were worth from a fraction of a bitcoin to several bitcoins. From time to time, larger transactions occurred, bringing in up to 20 BTC at once.
Yet Navalny’s political movement, which also accepts donations via bank transfers and PayPal, is not the only dissenting voice in Russia to take cryptocurrency.
Investigative outlets including Zona.Media and The Insider, as well as internet freedom movement Roskomsvoboda, accept donations in bitcoin or ether. However, their wallets have accumulated only small amounts of crypto, no more than 2 BTC each.
Bitfury, Swiss Investment Firm Launch Regulated Bitcoin Mining Fund
Blockchain technology firm Bitfury and Switzerland-based investment firm Final Frontier have jointly launched a regulated bitcoin mining fund.
The fund is targeted at institutional and professional investors to give them “convenient access” to bitcoin mining, Bitfury announced in a blog post Wednesday.
Traditionally, there have been “technological, logistical, financial and execution risk challenges” with access to bitcoin mining, the firm said, adding that the fund aims to address those challenges with an offering that has now been authorized by a European financial watchdog. Which particular regulator was not specified, however.
The fund will invest in turnkey assets consisting of mining sites with some of the “lowest electricity and operating costs globally,” scouted and operated by Bitfury, which specializes in manufacturing cryptocurrency mining infrastructure and also mines itself.
Claiming that the fund has been launched at an “advantageous” time for investors, Final Frontier co-founder, Imraan Moola, said:
“With the bitcoin price down significantly from its all-time high, yet institutional interest growing every day, now may be an opportune time to consider investing in bitcoin mining.”
Bitfury’s executive vice-chairman George Kikvadze said that the fund will help investors “strengthen” their portfolios and bring bitcoin closer to mainstream adoption.
Earlier this year, Bitfury partnered with South Korean R&D firm Commons Foundation to jointly launch a network of bitcoin mining operations in Paraguay.
Bitfury is also reportedly considering an initial public offering (IPO) in Amsterdam, London or Hong Kong, possibly to be held this year. The firm raised $80 million in November, in a round led by venture capital firm Korelya Capital, with Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital, Macquarie Capital and Dentsu Inc. also participating.