A report on Tether published by Bitmex Research shows that while it ‘possibly’ has enough fiat reserves, it is at risk of a shutdown by regulatory bodies.
Bitmex Research released an in-depth report on Tether today, Feb. 19, detailing the reasons why Tether is most likely backed by sufficient fiat reserves after all, and what problems with regulatory bodies Tether will most likely encounter in the future.
Tether is a digital token backed by fiat currency, supposedly pegged 1:1 with the US dollar. Due to Tether’s lack of enough publically released bank audits, there are rumors that Tether does not actually have enough fiat in reserves to redeem all Tether tokens with US dollars if the need would arise.
The Bitmex report attempts to refute those rumors by showing a possible correlation between the rising cash reserves of the International Financial Entities (IFE) banking category in Puerto Rico, under a section entitled “The lack of transparency may not indicate fraud.”
Cointelegraph recently reported that Puerto Rico may be emerging as a “crypto tax paradise.”
The Bitmex reports puts forward Puerto-Rican-based Noble Bank as a possible candidate for holding Tether’s cash reserves, mainly because it is the one of the two full-reserve banks in Puerto Rico that publicly operates with crypto.
However, there is no way yet to know for certain where Tether’s cash reserves are located despite the Bitmex report, for although their website’s “Transparency” page lists their current balances and claims they are “regularly audited” and “fully transparent,” the company actually dissolved ties with their New York-based auditor in January before releasing any full audits publicly.
The report also covers the Nov. 2017 hack of around $31 mln from Tether, which led to the company, in essence, demanding users upgrade their software in order initiate a hard fork and freeze the stolen funds.
The Bitmex report writes that this “demonstrated that Tether is effectively in complete control of the ledger, as they can force a hard fork at will and reverse any transaction — although there may not have been any doubt about Tether’s control beforehand.”
The report then questions why Tether “bothers to put the database on the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains at all,” arguing that it would be actually more cost-efficient for Tether to not pay miner fees and create its own public database.
The report also brings up the subpoenas delivered to Tether and the Bitfinex exchange in Dec. 2017, after which relationship between the two companies was officially disclosed, i.e. that they have an almost identical management team.
Bitfinex’s involvement with Tether had publicly been questioned by critics, most famously anonymous blogger Bitfinex’ed, who saw the arrangement as suspicious in part due to the fact that no third-party audit has yet been released of Tether’s reserves.
In response to the vitriol against Bitfinex posted online by Bitfinex’ed, the exchange has vowed to pursue legal action.
Bitmex’s research report writes that this relationship between Bitfinex and Tether actually was relatively public even before the temporarily-posted disclosure on Tether’s “About Us” page, citing Tether founder Craig Sellars’ Linkedin, which lists both companies.
The report ends with a listing of case studies of various online money-sending services that have been shut down by regulators over the years due to violations of money-laundering restrictions. This correlation drawn between these now-defunct services and Tether leads Bitmex to conclude that Tether “may also attract criminals and ultimately suffer the same fate.”
Bitmex has two concrete takeaways from their research into Tether, which it also recommends that investors do not hold onto long term:
“1. Reform the system to include KYC/AML procedures that allow the operator to easily block transactions or freeze funds. In order to do this […] Tether would just be turning into a traditional (or full reserve) bank.
2. Continue as is and risk being be shut down by the authorities at some point.”
The world’s largest provider of Bitcoin ATMs, intends to lead the way in more sustainable coin generating methods and make it easier for traders to exchange their crypto for fiat.
Mining equipment is available to buy from consumer to professional level, and each of these technologies brings a significant energy cost. In Iceland, the volume of energy used for Bitcoin mining will soon likely exceed the volume used to power its houses, Cointelegraph recently reported. Cointed, the world’s largest provider of Bitcoin ATMs, aims to lead the way in more sustainable coin generating methods.
Bridging the gap between crypto and the real world
By harnessing hydro and wind power, Cointed has pioneered ‘green mining’ with their machines in Austria and Sweden. These mining machines are custom-made and specifically designed for optimum cooling, in order to minimize maintenance (the fans typically found in GPUs have been replaced with heat sinks). The customer then fully owns the hardware. According to the company, by proving it is possible to run these machines solely on renewable energy without losing performance, Cointed have set a precedent for the rest of the crypto world that will hopefully see others follow suit.
This company does not solely provide ATMs (70 machines across four European countries) and mining equipment, however. Cointed claim to be ‘bridging the gap between crypto and the real world,’ making it much easier for traders to exchange their crypto for flat cash. Users can utilize the Cointed site to buy and exchange multiple crypto, at significantly lower prices and with significantly higher levels of security than other providers. The Cointed white paper also states that they provide payment solutions that can be ‘integrated into online shops’ are creating specialized crypto bank cards that will soon be accepted as readily as typical Visa debit cards, and that Cointed is ‘in the final stages of acquiring a banking license.’
Openness and transparency
Detailed information on the workings of Cointed and their roadmap are publicly available in their transparency report. Customers can find all they need to know about Cointed’s business model and team, and how operations are split between multiple countries (Hong Kong, Switzerland, Austria, Turkey, Sweden and more all play a role). The above report is personally introduced by the main team behind Cointed: Wolfgang Thaler, Christopher Rieder, Charlie Aho and Daniil Orlov. Between them, they have decades of IT and crypto expertise, that should ensure smooth running and exciting developments for Cointed going forward.
The Cointed token (CTD) ICO is running for a further two weeks (closes end of February 2017). Aches Wong and Jerry Ng Chien run CTD; another team with extensive crypto experience and knowledge, who can help steer the value of these tokens in the right direction.
Following the ICO, along with the installation of several more ATMs, Cointed plan to successfully apply to become part of the Mastercard and Visa membership.
Cointed already has 15,000 active users of their currency exchange system. It is specifically designed to be user-friendly for even the most inexperienced traders, allowing for a customizable interface depending on the client’s preferences.
Another appealing feature of Cointed is the ability granted to its users to vote on their business decisions. Any CTD token holders (no matter how small the value of their stake) with a verified account will be eligible to vote (on issues such as which cryptocurrency we will next be available on the platform), improving the democracy and transparency of the organization overall.’
Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.
A bipartisan group of US lawmakers is calling for the regulation of cryptocurrencies, prompted by the ‘increasing risks’ they see in the growing popularity of crypto globally.
A bipartisan movement of US lawmakers are considering forming new legislation to regulate cryptocurrencies, prompted by the increasing interest – and therefore risk – in cryptocurrency worldwide, according to Reuters.
There is currently no singular body in charge of overseeing cryptocurrencies in the US– the responsibility is instead divided between individual states, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Treasury Department, and the Federal Reserve.
The SEC and the CFTC did hold a joint hearing on Feb. 6 on their roles in cryptocurrencies, Blockchain technologies, and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). The general conclusion was that the two bodies would work together to create a regulatory framework, with the strictest regulations for ICOs and the most loose for Blockchain and digital ledger technology.
The hearing also concluded that cryptocurrencies will need protective regulation against market manipulation and fraud.
Republican Senator Mike Rounds, a Senate Banking Committee member, was prompted to insert himself into the crypto regulation debate due to the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies:
“Six months ago, we didn’t see this explosion. The marketplace has changed.”
Rounds told Reuters, that while there is, “no question about the fact that there is a need for a regulatory framework,” he sees a chance for crypto to be regulated as both a commodity and a security.
The global debate over whether cryptocurrencies and ICOs should be regulated as securities has already led to some concrete legislation. On Feb. 17, the Swiss Financial Authority released a set of guidelines to help determine if an ICO and its tokens should be regulated under securities legislation. The US has yet to release a similar document.
Two days ago, on Feb. 16, special assistant to the president and White House cybersecurity coordinator Rob Joyce told CNBC that general regulation of cryptocurrencies is something not yet “close,” as they were still in the “studying and understanding” stage of regulation.
However, Reuters reports that US lawmakers are beginning to ask for legislation that would put digital currencies under SEC’s investor protection rules for securities, this new desire prompted by the steady growth of the crypto markets.
Republican Representative Bill Huizenga, chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets – which will soon hold hearings on this topic – told Reuters that the “SEC is properly the lead on the issue.”
Democrat Carolyn Maloney, a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, agrees with Huizenga’s perspective that the SEC should be the regulatory crypto body, telling Reuters that, “a lot of people don’t realize there’s nothing backing these virtual currencies.”
Even “free-marketer” Republicans like Dave Brat, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, are prepared to back regulatory legislation:
“If it’s a currency that could destabilize the whole economy, you’re going to have that conversation.”
In spite of this beginning of calls for regulation, lawmakers will still protect revolutionary technological innovations like Blockchain, Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, told Reuters:
“The goal here is to have rules of the road that protect consumers without trying to squash innovation.”
A report released today from S&P Global rating details the possibilities for the future of cryptocurrency, claiming that retail investors will be most affected if a crash takes place.
S&P Global Ratings released a report Monday, Feb. 19, entitled the “The Future Of Banking: Cryptocurrencies Will Need Some Rules To Change The Game,” that details the possible outcomes for the global financial markets in relation to the actions of the crypto markets.
Even though an early February crash of both the traditional markets and the crypto markets appeared to show synchronicity, Mohamed Damak, S&P Global Ratings financial services senior director, doesn’t see this correlation as meaningful, CNBC reports:
"For now, a meaningful drop in cryptocurrencies' market value would be just a ripple across the financial services industry, still too small to disturb stability or affect the creditworthiness of banks we rate.”
According to S&P’s report, retail investors, as opposed to banks, would be hit the hardest in the event of a crypto crash:
"We expect rated banks to be largely insulated, given that their direct or indirect exposure to cryptocurrencies appears to remain limited."
Damak also stressed the importance of regulation in the crypto sphere moving forward:
"We believe that the future success of cryptocurrencies will largely depend on the coordinated approach of global regulators and policymakers to regulate and enhance market participants' confidence in these instruments.”
The report noted that Blockchain technology could lead to a “positive” disruption of the global financial markets.
Large companies across the globe are already beginning to experiment with Blockchain — Chinese PC company Lenovo recently filed a patent for a Blockchain-based document verification system, and the first major agricultural trade using Blockchain technology was completed in January by sending a shipment of soybeans from America to China.
South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges will hand over tax on almost $650 mln in revenues by the end of April.
The Upbit exchange generated more than half of South Korea’s $648 mln cryptocurrency exchange revenues in 2017, new government figures claim.
According to data released by lawmaker Park Kwang-on and reported by local news media outlet Yonhap News Sunday, total revenues for Korea’s burgeoning exchange sector ballooned 8025% compared to 2016, when it amounted to just $7.5 mln.
Exchanges enjoyed a lively and competitive market for most of last year, before the South Korean government began threatening restrictions and even an outright ban on cryptocurrency trading beginning in December.
As the environment begins to settle and regulations become enacted, the aftermath of new tax obligations for exchanges for 2017’s bumper year continues.
In January, lawmakers demanded exchanges pay both corporate tax and a local income tax amounting to just over 24% of revenues earned during the period in question.
Upbit appears in line to take the biggest hit with its 52.9% market share in 2017, with Bithumb, Coinone and Korbit following in second, third and fourth places respectively.
Bithumb, which hit the headlines last year due to security lapses and this month for its prestigious partnership with online shopping mall WeMakePrice, accrued 317.7 bln won ($297 mln) in commissions.
According to government directives, all due payments must occur by the end of March for the corporate tax and the end of April for the local income tax.