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Privacy at Stake: 96% Of Information Requests to Coinbase Came From US Federal Agencies

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Coinbase has released its recent Transparency Report, and the results are not at all encouraging for privacy advocates and believers in an “anti-establishment” philosophy of cryptocurrencies.

According to the company, out of 1914 requests for information it received, 1848 of them corresponded to subpoenas and interactions made by criminal investigation agencies, and only 66 came from civil or administrative agencies.

Type of Information Requests sent by Law Enforcement Agencies to Coinbase. Image: Coinbase
Type of Information Requests sent by Law Enforcement Agencies to Coinbase. Image: Coinbase

Coinbase Unveils An Unsurprising Report

Such statistics from Coinbase are not strange. The company has consistently expressed its willingness to cooperate with U.S. law enforcement agencies, having contracts and good relations with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

This number far exceeds the 710 requests received by Kraken during 2019. This exchange is also based in the United States and discloses data on requests made by authorities. This year, Kraken reported that the authorities developed an increasing interest in crypto, raising the number of information requests by almost 50%.

The team at Coinbase said they have no problem disclosing information to the authorities as long as legal procedures are followed. Still, they also emphasized that customer privacy is also considered. In any case of conflict of interest, they could act in favor of their customers.

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As a financial institution with a duty to detect and prevent prohibited activity on its platform, we respect the legitimate interests of government authorities in pursuing bad actors who abuse others and our platform. Yet, we will not hesitate to push back where appropriate.

However, it is important to consider that both Coinbase and Kraken were ranked among the top cryptocurrency exchanges of 2020 by CryptoCompare. The fact that they are registered in the US, have strong AML/KYC policies, and comply with US law, is a major point when it comes to assessing how safe and trustworthy a crypto exchange platform is.

Another highlight of the report is the most interested agencies in tracking cryptocurrencies across the crime world. According to Coinbase, 30.5% of the requests came from the FBI, Homeland Security followed by 16.5%, several local entities with 16.2%, and finally the DEA with 9.3%.

Running An International Business Comes With a Cost

Agencies with direct competence in the economic area had a minimal relationship with Coinbase. The SEC presented 2.6%, the CFTC 0.6%, and the IRS administrative area a little more than 2.2% (in contrast to the 6% of the area that is dedicated to criminal investigations).

US Law Enforcement Information Request, by Agency. Image: Coinbase
US Law Enforcement Information Request, by Agency. Image: Coinbase

Outside of the United States, Coinbase also collaborates with many governments. America has 1113 of the 1914 applications, while the rest of the countries have very little interest in this world. The U.K. sent 443 requests, and Germany 116, the rest of the countries did not reach the 50 interactions with the exchange.

Countries with information requests registered by Coinbase. Image: Coinbase
Countries with information requests registered by Coinbase. Image: Coinbase

The Coinbase report shows that the United States is increasingly interested in regulating cryptocurrencies to the fullest extent. From trying to force encryption service providers to work on solutions to allow law enforcement agencies to access private citizen data to paying companies to develop methods to track down privacy-focused blockchains, such as Monero or Zcash.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/coinbase-releases-transpareny-report-2020/

Blockchain

Crypto staking services provider Figment raises $2.5 million in Series A funding

Figment Networks, a crypto staking infrastructure provider, has secured $2.5 million in Series A funding.

The post Crypto staking services provider Figment raises $2.5 million in Series A funding appeared first on The Block.

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First Mover: Bitcoin Falls as Covid Surges, ECB’s Lagarde Steps Up, US GDP Hits 33%

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Bitcoin was lower for a second day, even as traditional markets showed signs of stabilization following Wednesday’s sell-off. 

Cryptocurrency analysts looked for solace in bitcoin‘s October-to-date return, still at an impressive 22%, during a month when the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of U.S. stocks has declined by 2.7%.

“The sell-off in equities and gold due to rising Covid infections and restrictive lockdowns had only a limited impact on the digital asset,” Lennard Neo, head of research for the cryptocurrency-focused firm Stack Funds, wrote Thursday in a report

In traditional markets, European stocks rose as traders awaited a decision from the European Central Bank, headed by President Christine Lagarde, on whether further monetary support is needed amid a resurgence in coronavirus cases. 

U.S. equity futures pointed toward a higher open, as a key government report showed that the world’s largest economy grew at a 33% in the third quarter – a somewhat context-less data point that’s likely to do little beyond serving as an easy talking point for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign

Market Moves

Just as bitcoin bulls were starting to salivate over the cryptocurrency’s powerful rally over the past week toward $14,000, a sell-off in traditional markets has dragged prices back down.

Investors globally were rattled by reports of a resurgence in coronavirus cases. German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that the country would implement tough new business restrictions, and French President Emmanuel Macron announced plans to impose a national lockdown. 

Such restrictions could crimp economic growth, theoretically a deflationary development, which could reduce demand for bitcoin in the short term as a hedge against higher consumer prices. There’s also the possibility that some investors, seeing further turmoil ahead, decided to bulk up on cash. One of the easiest things to sell is bitcoin, which is still up 84% year-to-date, even after Wednesday’s sell-off.  

“It seems the pressure was too much,” Mati Greenspan, founder of the foreign-exchange and cryptocurrency research firm Quantum Economics, told clients Wednesday. 

As detailed in First Mover on Wednesday, analysts relying on price-chart patterns have identified few points of resistance along bitcoin’s path from the hitherto-rarely-breached $14,000 psychological level to the all-time-high around $20,000, reached in 2017.   

According to Greenspan, “$14,000 is a huge psychological barrier, and I would be delightedly flabbergasted if we were able to pass through it without first seeing a significant pullback.”

options-chart-skew

Probability (left axis) of bitcoin being above $X (bottom axis) at maturity, implied from options market.
Source: Skew.

And as reported Thursday by CoinDesk’s Omkar Godbole, bitcoin options traders are assigning a low probability that the cryptocurrency will end 2020 above $20,000.

The implied chances of prices above that level currently stand around 6%, according to the cryptocurrency data firm Skew. 

“A below-10% probability of record highs by the year end means the market is unconcerned with that outcome,” Vishal Shah, an options trader and founder of Polychain Capital-backed derivatives exchange Alpha5 told Godbole in a Telegram chat.  

Despite the sincerest wishes of bitcoin bulls, it would take a rally of more than 60% in the next eight weeks for prices to set a new record. It wouldn’t be unprecedented: There have been eight times in the 11-year old cryptocurrency’s recorded history where prices have rallied more than 50% or more in a two-month span. 

It could be that traders are just being realistic. 

“The options market is seemingly not getting carried away with the recent strong price momentum,” Sui Chung, CEO of CF Benchmarks, said in a statement to CoinDesk. “If we extrapolate bitcoin’s price action and volatility of the past 90 days till December expiry, then bitcoin appears set to end the year between $14,000 to $15,000.”

Read More: Bitcoin’s Options Market Sees Just 6% Chance of $20K Before Year’s End

Bitcoin Watch

godbole-oct-29

Bitcoin daily price chart showing resistance and support levels.
Source: TradingView

Bitcoin’s price rally has paused, with the top cryptocurrency by market value near $13,100, having reached 16-month highs above $13,800 during Wednesday’s Asian trading hours.

Investors are rotating money out of stocks and into safe havens like the U.S. dollar and treasuries on concerns that Germany and France’s new lockdown restrictions would torpedo Eurozone’s fragile economic recovery.

Not just bitcoin, but almost every asset denominated in U.S. dollars has taken a beating in the past 24 hours or so. Markets saw similar but more violent action in March when recession fears triggered a global dash for cash.

Should the virus figures continue to rise, risk aversion will likely intensify, fueling a more profound decline in the cryptocurrency. However, it’s possible that investors could buy the dips, with rising institutional adoption boosting the cryptocurrency’s long-term prospects.

Besides, stock markets will likely stabilize, helping bitcoin regain poise if the ECB announces more monetary stimulus later Thursday. While the central bank is expected to maintain the status quo, it could lay the groundwork for additional stimulus in December. Earlier this month, Goldman Sachs said that the central bank could boost its pandemic bond-buying program by 400 billion euros ($470 billion) in December to counter deflationary pressures.

From a technical analysis standpoint, the immediate bias will remain bullish as long as prices are held above $12,500. On the higher side, the June 2019 high of $13,880 is the level to beat for the bulls.

– Omkar Godbole 

Token Watch

Bitcoin (BTC): Winklevosses’ Gemini cryptocurrency exchange allows purchasing and trading with euros

Ripple (XRP): San Francisco-based payments firm plans to invest in blockchain money-transfer app MoneyTap, a joint venture with Japan’s SBI Holdings. 

Crypto.com Coin (CRO): Cryptocurrency-focused credit-card lender expands in Latin American market, hires former Visa exec Filomena Ruffa as general manager.

What’s Hot

Fidelity’s digital-asset division expands crypto custody service to Asia (CoinDesk)

Blockchain pioneer Caitlin Long’s Avanti wins approval from Wyoming regulators for new banking charter (CoinDesk

Bank of Canada Governor Macklem says digital currency initiative is progressing beyond proof-of-concept stage toward launchable product (CoinDesk

FTX crypto exchange launches bitcoin pairs for tokenized versions of top stocks Amazon, Apple, Tesla (CoinDesk

Coinbase crypto exchange to launch Visa debit card in U.S. early next year (CoinDesk

Former regulator who oversaw New York State’s BitLicense development and more recently led New York Stock Exchange’s regulatory division will now join crypto-friendly venture-capital firm  Andreesen Horowitz (CoinDesk

Analogs

The latest on the economy and traditional finance

Federal Reserve might be running low on ammunition to juice market and the economy (CNBC)

Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO who also oversees payments-firm-turned-cryptocurrency-investor Square, grilled by U.S. Senator Ted Cruz over tweet platform’s content controls (WSJ)  

Lenders now telling U.S. mall owners to pay up on past-due mortgage bills (WSJ)   

Chinese Communist Party set to detail 15-year economic growth plan (Bloomberg

Tweet of the Day

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Source: https://www.coindesk.com/first-mover-bitcoin-coronavirus-ecb-lagarde-us-gdp

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Binance exchange partner Simplex rolls out Tether to euro offramp

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Simplex, a major crypto-to-fiat payments provider, is adding another fiat offramp to enable its partner exchanges like Binance and Huob to sell major stablecoin Tether (USDT) to the euro.

According to an Oct. 29 announcement, Simplex has rolled out new Tether (USDT) offramps across its partner network including major exchanges like Binance, OKEx and Huobi.

A Simplex representative told Cointelegraph that the latest development marks the first time when the sell option is enabled for Tether on Simplex, stating:

“USDT has been available to purchase through our partner network for a while but ‘cashing out’ and selling directly in this currency were not […] But the sell option right now is only to euro, but buy is enabled with 50 fiat currencies.”

With the new crypto-to-fiat offramp, Simplex’s partner companies can immediately add the new feature for their users worldwide, the firm’s executives said. “Simplex enables anyone to sell USDT and convert it into euro — using our bank account via our partner network users can transfer those funds anywhere in the world,” the spokesperson noted.

To date, Simplex’s partner network includes over 200 services including crypto exchanges, brokers and wallets. Alongside centralized crypto platforms, Simplex’s partner network also includes companies like MakerDAO — a major player in decentralized finance, or DeFi.

The world’s largest stablecoin, USDT surged almost 300% in 2020 in terms of market capitalization, starting the year with a market cap of $4 billion and rising up to nearly $16 billion in October. According to an recent report by Bloomberg, Tether could surpass Ether’s (ETH) market cap by the end of 2021, becoming the second-largest crypto after Bitcoin (BTC).

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/binance-exchange-partner-simplex-rolls-out-tether-to-euro-offramp

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