US Regulators Have Imposed $2.5 Billion Penalties on Crypto Firms and Individuals

US Regulators Have Imposed $2.5 Billion Penalties on Crypto Firms and Individuals

A new report shows that U.S. regulators have imposed fines and penalties totaling $2.5 billion on crypto firms and individuals so far. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has imposed the most fines, followed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is the latest government agency to come after crypto firms.

$2.5 Billion in Fines and Penalties

Blockchain analytics firm Elliptic released a report Monday outlining “crypto enforcement actions by U.S. regulators.” The report explains: “Contrary to the widely-held belief that the cryptoasset industry is unregulated, US regulators are increasingly imposing significant financial penalties on crypto businesses – for fraud, breaches of AML regulations, offering unregistered securities and sanctions violations.”

Elliptic analyzed enforcement actions by U.S. regulators since the birth of Bitcoin in 2009 and found that “$2.5 billion in penalties have been imposed against firms and individuals dealing in crypto,” the report details.

The agency which imposed the most crypto-related penalties is the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Crypto firms and individuals have been asked to pay $1.69 billion by the SEC so far, $1.38 billion of which relate to unregistered security offerings.

US Regulators Have Imposed $2.5 Billion Penalties on Crypto Firms and Individuals

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) came second with enforcement actions totaling $624 million. The third is the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a unit of the U.S. Treasury Department, with $183 million.

The fourth is the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the latest government agency to take action against crypto businesses. The OFAC has imposed $606K on crypto entities in total. Among companies fined by the OFAC were Bitgo and Bitpay; both allegedly allowed their users to bypass U.S. sanctions.

The largest enforcement action to date was in 2020 against Telegram Group Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary Ton Issuer Inc., the report notes. The SEC alleged that Telegram’s tokens, called “grams,” were unregistered securities offering. The defendants agreed to return more than $1.2 billion to investors and pay an $18.5 million civil penalty.

The report concludes:

Our analysis of cryptoasset-related enforcement actions in the US, demonstrates that crypto is far from being the ‘wild west’ of finance. Regulators have successfully used existing laws to halt and penalise illicit activity that has exploited cryptoassets.

What do you think about all these enforcement actions by U.S. regulators against crypto firms and individuals? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, Elliptic

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is 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 this article.

50,000 electric vehicle charging stations in Europe to offer crypto payments

What can I do to prevent this in the future?

If you are on a personal connection, like at home, you can run an anti-virus scan on your device to make sure it is not infected with malware.

If you are at an office or shared network, you can ask the network administrator to run a scan across the network looking for misconfigured or infected devices.

Andreessen Horowitz Says Crypto Is ‘the Future of Finance’ — Launches $2.2 Billion Crypto Venture Fund

Andreessen Horowitz Says Crypto Is ‘the Future of Finance’ — Launches $2.2 Billion Crypto Venture Fund

Andreessen Horowitz, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm founded by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, has announced the launch of a $2.2 billion crypto fund. The firm is “radically optimistic about crypto’s potential to restore trust and enable new kinds of governance.”

Andreessen Horowitz Launches $2.2 Billion Crypto Fund

Andreessen Horowitz announced the launch of a new $2.2 billion crypto venture fund Thursday. The Silicon Valley venture capital firm, also known as “a16z,” was founded by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz in 2009.

Chris Dixon, Katie Haun, and Ali Yahya, partners on the crypto team at Andreessen Horowitz, explained the new fund in a blog post titled “Crypto Fund III.” They wrote:

The size of this fund speaks to the size of the opportunity before us: crypto is not only the future of finance but, as with the internet in the early days, is poised to transform all aspects of our lives.

“This fund allows us to find the next generation of visionary crypto founders, and invest in the most exciting areas of crypto,” the a16z partners explained. “We invest in all stages, from early seed-stage projects to fully developed later-stage networks.”

Haun told CNBC Thursday that the fund is not a hedge fund but a venture fund. She clarified that the fund invests in tokens and protocols as well as businesses.

The company’s first crypto-focused fund was launched three years ago during a crypto winter when the value of bitcoin plunged roughly 80% from its 2017 highs.

The partners further detailed:

We believe that the next wave of computing innovation will be driven by crypto. We are radically optimistic about crypto’s potential to restore trust and enable new kinds of governance where communities collectively make important decisions about how networks evolve, what behaviors are permitted, and how economic benefits are distributed.

“That’s why today we’re pleased to announce a new $2.2 billion fund to continue investing in crypto networks and the founders and teams building in this space,” the partners emphasized.

What do you think about venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz launching a $2.2 billion crypto fund? Let us know in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is 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 this article.

Are The Tables Turning? Litecoin Transactions Compared To Bitcoin Are 75% And Growing

Data compiled by @MASTERBTCLTC shows the number of Litecoin transactions is just under 75% of that of the number of Bitcoin transactions.

Litecoin transactions are 75% of the total bitcoin transactions.

When will litecoin transactions flip bitcoin transactions?

Sometime in 2021 I predict.

227k BTC vs 168k LTC transactions.”

More significantly, @MASTERBTCLTC suggests this could be the start of an uptrend leading to a flippening in transaction count sometime this year.

Litecoin vs. Bitcoin transactions

Source: @MASTERBTCLTC on Twitter.com

Considering wider factors, including the environmental argument against proof-of-work tokens, what can we deduce from this trend?

The Difference Between Litecoin and Bitcoin

Even though Litecoin is a Bitcoin fork, it differs in terms of its hashing algorithm, supply, and block transaction times.

Litecoin has a 2.5 minute block confirmation time versus 10 minutes for Bitcoin. This focus on speed and low transaction fees make it more suitable for microtransactions and point of sale payments.

Currently, average LTC transaction fees are coming in around $0.0104. In comparison, the average BTC transaction fee is $8.131.

However, the fundamental difference between the two lies in Litecoin’s use of the newer Scrypt Proof-of-Work (PoW) algorithm over Bitcoin’s SHA-256.

Cryptocurrency mining can happen using a CPU, GPU, or ASIC miner. ASIC miners can generate more hashes (tries) per second to match the target data string and “win” the block. Therefore ASIC miners have a distinct advantage over other mining methods.

But Scrypt was chosen by Litecoin developers because it is less responsive to ASIC mining. Although Scrypt ASIC miners have since come onto the market, a significant portion of Litecoin mining still occurs using CPUs and GPUs. This makes mining Litecoin more accessible for everyday people.

What’s Behind This Trend?

Much has been said about the environmental damage caused by Bitcoin mining in recent weeks. Although Litecoin and Bitcoin employ computationally intensive proof-of-work algorithms, Litecoin’s Scrypt model relies more heavily on memory than out and out processing power.

The upshot to this reduces the advantage of ASICs and increases network participation and energy efficiency. Hence some would argue that Litecoin is a greener token.

Research compiled by TRG Datacenters showed that Litecoin consumed 18.522 kilowatt-hours per transaction. Unsurprisingly, Bitcoin came bottom of the list, consuming 707 kilowatt-hours per transaction.

Interestingly, Dogecoin, which also uses a Scrypt algorithm, consumed just 0.12 kilowatt-hours per transaction.

At the present time, it’s too speculative to state that crypto users are increasingly turning to Litecoin for green reasons.

But at the same time, the three months of data compiled by @MASTERBTCLTC shows a definite downtrend, of lower highs, in usage for Bitcoin.

Taken in conjunction with Litecoin’s rising transaction count this week, this may suggest users increasingly see Bitcoin primarily as a store of value, rather than a coin to make payment transactions with.

Litecoin daily chart YTD

Source: LTCUSD on TradingView.com

Ethereum 2.0 Contract Reaches 100,000 ETH Milestone

A recent post on CryptoQuant by TemptingBeef has confirmed that the number of staked Ethereum on the ETH 2.0 deposit contract has now exceeded 100,000. This means that the number of staked ETH is now more than 5% of the amount of Ethereum that is currently in circulation.

Chart of staked Ethereum reaching 100k

Chart showing the amount of staked ETH over time | Source: TemptingBeef on CryptoQuant

ETH 2.0 has been in the pipeline for a number of years now. Hopes were that an Ethereum proof of stake would be unveiled in 2020. But developers want to make sure that the network was completely safe before they rolled it out. Users wait in anticipation for the announcement of release dates as it looks like the release will be delayed again due to it not being ready yet.

People Are The Reason For The Delays

According to Ethereum’s founder Vitalik Buterin, the biggest problem causing the delays with ETH 2.0 has not been technical problems of any kind. But have been the people working on it.

The CEO pointed out that the project is ravaged by internal conflicts. Leading to delays in finishing up the project.

Related Reading | Cardano Founder: Ethereum Will Overtake Bitcoin

The ETH 2.0 is a response to the growing criticism of the power consumption of the proof of work systems used by coins like bitcoin, with the blockchain requiring miners’ computers to solve complex mathematical problems to approve transactions. This requires high computing power from computers. Which translates to high energy consumptions by the mining operations.

Ethereum 2.0 is going to reduce network fees and increase transaction speeds. This will be done by providing scalability to the Ethereum network. It is also expected to use 99.95% less energy than proof of work protocols like the bitcoin blockchain.

This is a staggering number when compared to the amount of energy that mining currently uses. It is estimated that bitcoin currently uses more energy annually than entire countries like the Netherlands and Argentina.

It is no surprise then that there is a rush to find more energy-efficient ways to mine cryptocurrencies. Mining activities are a big concern when it comes to the pollution created by fossil fuel-based energy consumption.

Ethereum chart from TradingView.com

Ethereum trading below $2,000 as ETH 2.0 hits milestone | Source: ETHUSD on TradingView.com

The anticipated move from PoW to PoF with ETH 2.0 has been further delayed to 2022. Expectations were that the transition would be done this year. As was announced back in 2020. But it seems that investors will just have to wait another year for the move.

Benefits Of Ethereum 2.0

Ethereum 2.0 is going to eliminate the bottlenecks that are currently present in the network. Things like high gas fees during high traffic hours will be eliminated. Transactions will be faster regardless of how congested the network is. And faster transaction speeds means fewer network congestions.

It will also increase the security in the network. Providing more scalability and throughput.

But the primary advantages lie in the energy efficiency of the network.

The first part of the ETH 2.0 is the Beacon Chain, which is currently live now. This is what allows users to stake their coins for new ETH rewards.

Related Reading | Ethereum to $20,000? Factors Behind The Bold Call

The Merge will come after this. This is when the main net merges with the Beacon Chain. This is estimated to happen in 2021. But for now, there are no definite dates given for when this will happen.

Finally will come the shard chains. It will enable Ethereum to process more transactions. And it also increases the capacity of the network to store data.

Shard chains will gain more features as time goes on. These features will be rolled out in multiple stages.

As for holders of Ethereum, rest assured that their coins will be safe in the move from ETH 1.0 to ETH 2.0. All of the data history, transaction records, and asset ownership of ETH coins will remain. Just that new transactions will be carried out on the new network.

Featured image from Bitcoin Market Journal, charts from CryptoQuant, TradingView.com

Old Doge, New Tricks: Is This Still The Year Of The Doge?

It is safe to say that Doge has had an interesting year in 2021. The coin that everyone thought was down and out came back to be one of the top-gaining coins of the current bull market. Sure, the price increase had everything to do with Elon Musk shilling it on Twitter. But Dogecoin has had a tremendous run regardless.

The price of the coin remained flat for the better part of three years. Trading at under a cent. To everyone, Doge had seen its end. There were barely any talks about Doge in the market at all. With people focusing their attention on better-known coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum. That was until billionaire Elon Musk turned his attention on Doge.

The Rise Of Doge

Back in January, a tweet from Musk that simply said Doge went viral. Mere minutes later, the price of the coin had gone up. With the price increase, came investors FOMO-ing into the market.

Related Reading | By The Numbers: DOGE Achieves The Impossible, New ATH with BTC Pair

Amidst the frenzy, there were speculations that this was simply a pump and dump scheme that would burst as soon as it started. But that would not be the case.

With every tweet about Doge from Musk, the coin price just went up. People faithfully followed the billionaire’s tweeting patterns to buy and sell the coin. Soon, a coin that was trading at less than a cent a couple of days before was trading at 80 cents. More than 10,000 percent gains from its low.

Debates were started about the legality of the shilling. But it didn’t seem that Elon had broken any laws.

Doge price chart, showing the rise of dogecoin

Dogecoin recovers after crash | Source: DOGEUSD on TradingView.com

This gave the rise to meme coins. An ode to meme stocks. A phenomenon that started with GameStop on Reddit.

Investments in meme coins are made based on the social media buzz behind that coin. And what better buzz than the one created by one of the richest men on the planet.

Subsequent Crash And Recovery

Over the past five months, Doge has had its ups and downs. Mostly following the price of bitcoin as altcoins are wont to do. But it is no secret that the buzz has started to die down.

With a lot of investors buying at the top or near the top, the subsequent crash has left a lot of investors in losses. The “Dogefather,” as Musk is fondly called, seems to have abandoned the coin.

There has not been a tweet from Musk regarding Doge since April. And without him, the coin has been in a continuous downtrend. Investors in the coin have suffered massive losses in the market.

Related Reading | Down But Not Out, Dogecoin Stages 50% Recovery From Tuesday’s Low

People are calling for the “Dogefather” to help save the coin. But it would seem help is not forthcoming.

The coin crashed to 16 cents. A price point the coin had not been in since April. But the coin made a great recovery. Going up 40% in one day. A lot of Doge enthusiasts are still holding out hope that coin will replicate the massive run in January.

Despite people believing the bubble would burst on Doge and it would come crashing down, the coin has held its own in the market. Currently trading at 24 cents as at the time of this writing.

Featured image from FullyCrypto, chart from TradingView.com

Sushi to Launch Full Product Suite on Harmony

Sushi to Launch Full Product Suite on Harmony

Since deploying natively on Harmony’s blockchain in May, Sushi is now deepening its collaboration with Harmony after revealing plans to bring its full decentralized finance (defi) product stack onto the blockchain with accompanying incentives designed to drive greater participation. Meanwhile, decentralized exchange (dex) competition continues to swell.

Partnership Expansion Accompanies $4 Million in Incentive Campaigns

On Thursday, Harmony, a proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain network focused on cross-chain transactability, unveiled a decision to broaden the partnership agreement with Sushi, a community-driven defi platform offering a full stack of decentralized finance services.

After deploying Sushiswap on Harmony back in May, the freshly strengthened collaboration paves the way for Sushi to deploy the remainder of its product suite onto the effective proof-of-stake (EPoS) blockchain.

Sushiswap is the second runner-up in the space with an 11% share of dex trade volume, according to today’s Dune Analytics seven-day stats. The leading dex is Uniswap with 61% of the seven-day volume. Based on the most recent data, while Sushiswap’s seven-day volume is $2,079,972,559, Uniswap is well ahead with $10,793,064,634.

Additionally, up and coming players like Curve and 0x Native are racing to close the gap, with Curve at $1,427,401,281 seven-day volume and Ox showing $1,091,283,123 in seven-day trade volume.

Corresponding with the second anniversary of Harmony’s mainnet launch, the expanded partnership aims to strengthen the protocol’s cross-chain defi capabilities, while leveraging Harmony’s 2-second transaction speeds and low transaction costs.

The Sushi full-stack deployment will be accompanied by two incentive campaigns. This includes a $2 million liquidity mining campaign to encourage yield farming with $1 million of ONE and $1 million 1Sushi token rewards.

Kashi, a lending decentralized app (dapp) built on top of Sushi’s Bento Box, is also natively deploying on Harmony. The lending and margin trading platform will be the destination for another $2 million incentive program that will contain $1 million One and $1 million 1Sushi tokens. Bento Box, a vault for asset deposits, will not be deploying on Harmony. However, the stored assets will be accessible for dapps built on top of it.

Addressing Defi’s Deficiencies

As defi protocols seek to avoid the high costs and low throughput associated with Ethereum, the race is on to deploy on competing networks and solutions.

Sushi operates in an ocean of defi solutions and is far from the only platform making a move to new horizons, echoed by Aave and Curve’s adoption of Polygon. Sushiswap is also on Polygon, highlighting the platform’s rapid adoption.

Polkadot is also attracting defi’s attention as an alternative to the scalability and cost limitations of Ethereum. Acala, which aims to be the Ethereum-compatible defi hub on Polkadot, has seen its own Karura platform win the first parachain auction on Kusama, Polkadot’s canary network, potentially shifting the ultra-competitive defi landscape in yet another direction.

With the costs and difficulties of switching between blockchain networks continuing to fall, it remains to be seen whether Ethereum’s upcoming shift to proof-of-stake will be able to stave off the migration of platforms seeking better conditions elsewhere.

What do you think of the Sushi and Harmony’s Collaboration? Let us know in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is 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 this article.

Famed Dogecoin Investors to Keep HODLing $DOGE After Losing Millionaire Status

Glauber Contessoto, a Dogecoin investor famous for investing his $250,000 life savings in the meme-inspired cryptocurrency in early February to become a millionaire, says he will keep HODLing onto his DOGE even after losing the millionaire status he acquired.

Contessoto’s DOGE portfolio reportedly rose to surpass $2 billion when the cryptocurrency was trading at a $0.74 all-time high last month, but according to CNBC is now worth about $830,000, after falling by more than $167,000 in a single day.

The Dogecoin investor confessed that he would be worried “if bitcoin and ethereum weren’t also hit,” but as these were he will keep on holding onto his funds even after losing his millionaire status. Contessoto invested in DOGE when the cryptocurrency was trading at about 4.5 cents.

Since then DOGE moved up partly thanks to celebrities like Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Kiss singer Gene Simmons, billionaire Mark Cuban, Snoop Dogg, and others who kept tweeting jokes about it, spurring interest and fueling its growth.

It’s now trading at $0.23 after crashing from its $0.74 all-time high. Year-to-date, the cryptocurrency is up over 4,000%.

DOGEUSDT Chart via TradingView

Dogecoin was created back in 2013 as a joke. The cryptocurrency’s community is well-known for taking on philanthropic projects, which included helping charitable organizations. It made headlines in 2014 after raising more than $25,000 worth of DOGE to let the Jamaican bobsleigh team attend the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Contessoto hasn’t lost faith in his investment and even bought more DOGE during its dips. He remains bullish on the cryptocurrency as when he decided to invest in it he “planned it being for at least a year.” He added:

Whatever happens in the short-term doesn’t matter to me because I’m looking to ‘hodl’ dogecoin for years to come. I’m truly not worried at the end of the day.

The former Dogecoin millionaire is planning to stick to his original plan, he tells CNBC. The plan will see him sell 10% of his holdings once his portfolio has a $10 million value, while the rest is to remain invested.

Per his words, people get “caught up in the short-term and don’t have the patience to see the investment all the way through.” He added that volatility comes “with the territory,” and investors who aren’t able to “stomach the fluctuations” are “maybe not cut out for crypto.”

As reported Billy Markus, one of the co-creators of the meme-inspired cryptocurrency Dogecoin (DOGE), has on social media revealed that “after 8 years of vowing never to buy crypto again” he decided to invest in the cryptocurrency he helped create.

DISCLAIMER
The views and opinions expressed by the author, or any people mentioned in this article, are for informational purposes only, and they do not constitute financial, investment, or other advice. Investing in or trading cryptoassets comes with a risk of financial loss.

IMAGE CREDIT
Featured image via Unsplash