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Bitcoin ATM Scam: Victims Being Conned $50,000

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Braybrook

Victims have been conned more than $50,000 in an elaborate Bitcoin ATM phone scam after being threatened with jail if they don’t pay up.

At least four victims, all from Melbourne’s east, have been identified after handing over cash to repay a fake tax debt. The victims are contacted by the scammers and told if they don’t pay their tax debt to a Bitcoin ATM in Braybrook they will be jailed.

The victims then withdrew money from their bank accounts before travelling to the Braybrook Bitcoin ATM. They’re then given a code and instructed to deposit their money into a specific Bitcoin account, only to realise afterwards they were throwing their life savings away.

Victoria Police say they’ve identified a few variations of the con but in most cases, the scammers tell the victims they have spoken to an accountant or to the federal police about the debt.

Police said the scheme targets vulnerable people who they can convince their immigration status is in jeopardy. “We believe that there are a number of victims out there who have not reported the matter for one reason or another, they may be here on visas or they are not aware that authorities would never tell them to deposit money into an ATM,” Acting Detective Sergeant Katherine Lehpamer said.

“Anyone getting a call along these lines should make enquiries with the relevant authority before paying any money or giving any banking or personal details over the phone.”

Bitcoin ATMs, which are very limited in Melbourne, allow customers to exchange cash for the cryptocurrency. Some bitcoin ATMs also allow customers to sell the cryptocurrency for cash.

One Bitcoin is worth more than $9250 Australian dollars.

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Bitmain, Canaan and Ebang IPO Plans Snared by Trump’s Tariffs on Chinese Cryptocurrency Mining Gear

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Cryptocurrency Mining

Chinese cryptocurrency mining hardware maker Bitmain is bracing for harder times as the China-US trade war shifts into high gear, with shipments to one of its overseas markets facing new tariffs since August 23.

That could be a problem for Beijing-headquartered Bitmain, which filed for a Hong Kong stock market listing in September, and is seen as the most exposed among Chinese mining hardware makers to US trade barriers, according to analysts.

The tariff, which affects all Chinese cryptocurrency mining equipment makers exporting to the US, has come a time when other players such as Cannaan and Ebang International have filed applications to list on the Hong Kong bourse.

The office of the United States Trade Representative in June categorised Bitmain’s mining hardware, called Antminer S9, as “electrical machinery apparatus” which is subject to a 2.6 per cent tariff. Previously the goods were classified as “data processing machine”.

The reclassification brought the mining hardware under the list of Chinese goods subject to the additional 25 per cent tariffs, which took effect in August. The outcome is that Chinese cryptocurrency mining gear makers now face tariffs on their US shipments of 27.6 per cent, up from zero previously. In September, Bitmain filed for a Hong Kong listing which would reportedly raise US$3 billion.

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Canadian Cloud Mining Powerhouse Nuvoo Revolutionizes Cloud Mining Industry with a Month-to-Month Contract and 50% Cheaper Rates!

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Cloud Mining

Nuvoo, the largest crypto ecosystem mining company in Canada, is now taking giant strides towards emerging as the world’s leading platform for convenient and profitable cryptocurrency mining. The company has just released a new bitcoin contract that will completely change the game for the industry, with a month-to-month concept based on a 24-month payment for an open-ended contract. 

As one of the world’s most trusted crypto mining companies, Nuvoo proudly announces the release of a new bitcoin contract that promises to have a significant impact in the global crypto space. With these new contracts, backed by the latest ASIC technology, Nuvoo has already started offering a low pricing structure to challenge the likes of Genesis, Hashflare, and other competitors. Nuvoo is pleased to say that their Bitcoin mining rates are currently 50% cheaper, including a lower maintenance fee, compared to Genesis Mining. 

With the launch of this new contract, Nuvoo becomes the first company ever to offer customers the benefit of making payments in up to 24 installments. For example, someone purchasing a $3000 contract from Nuvoo will enjoy the privilege of paying just $125 each month, spread out over 24 months. This creates an opportunity for Nuvoo customers to get larger contracts for lower monthly payments, and it allows the market to grow in a major way. 

Nuvoo1

With a bitcoin mining system that is ideally suited for beginners, Nuvoo offers a smart and easy way for crypto hobbyists to take their first steps into the crypto world. At the same time, their system has been used to great effect by crypto experts and entrepreneurs to operate large-scale mining farms. As part of their rapid diversification drive, Nuvoo will soon be launching their own cryptocurrency exchange.   

“We have the most advanced platform to manage cloud mining activity with the most efficient affiliate plan. The time has come for the world to know that Nuvoo is a far more stable crypto mining platform compared to Genesis, tipped by many to be the world’s largest cloud mining company,” said Mr. LeBlanc, the Founder and CEO, Nuvoo. “Now, with our new bitcoin contract in place, our pricing is around 50% less than the price of Genesis mining and the maintenance fee is lower than any competitors’ as a Canadian mining farm.”

Leveraging the excellent infrastructure and favorable climate in Quebec, Canada, Nuvoo currently owns and operates more than ten world-class datacenters catering to thousands of customers around the world. Crypto enthusiasts have put their trust on Nuvoo because they offer one of the safest and most transparent ecosystems for crypto miners. In order to provide the best contract prices to customers, they never make any profit on mining equipment.  The customers buy fixed Hashpower contracts, provided directly from one of the largest state-of-the-art ASIC mining farms owned and operated by Nuvoo.

Unlike other competitors, Nuvoo emphasizes lower mining costs and the use of greener energy. This is possible because a high percentage of electricity in Quebec is generated from hydroelectric dams. The cooling costs are also lower because the region remains significantly cold for a considerable part of the year. 

Nuvoo attributes their strong position in the market to the company’s special relationship with energy providers and several municipalities in Quebec, all of whom are key players in managing the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in the province. In January of this year, Nuvoo was invited to a special event presented by Hydro-Quebec, as a guest panelist in order to represent the blockchain community.

Bitcoin mining contracts from Nuvoo are open-ended, and payouts are generated on a daily basis with the withdrawal limit set at 0.0020 BTC. To provide miners with an idea of the earning potential of each mining plan, there is also an efficient mining calculator on the company’s website provided by Cryptocompare, a neutral third party. 

Nuvoo and its parent company are about to launch their own exchange, featuring both fiat-to-crypto and crypto-to-crypto solutions. The company is very excited to finally provide a safe trading ecosystem to their clients.

About Nuvoo:  Nuvoo is a cryptocurrency mining powerhouse that focuses on offering cost-effective solutions to cryptocurrency hobbyists and professionals alike. Their philosophy is to enroll the top leaders in the cryptocurrency industry and to make them available to the community. The company specializes in hosting high-density computer hardware requiring substantial access to both power and cooling.

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Michael Novogratz: Bitcoin Rally Likely to Take Place Next Year

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Michael Novogratz
Michael Novogratz

Michael Novogratz, one of the most prominent investors in digital currencies, reiterated that he doesn’t expect big moves in the price of Bitcoin until institutional investors jump in, perhaps in the first half of next year.

“One thing you learn in this process is that everything takes a little longer than you hoped it would,” Novogratz said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “I don’t don’t see us breaking $10,000 by the end of the year.”

Novogratz’s Galaxy Investment Partners will be one of the first customers of a digital asset unit announced Monday by Fidelity Investments during a conference.

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BitPay Launches Stablecoin Settlement

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BitPay

Bitcoin payment processor BitPay has announced that merchants may now accept settlement in USD-pegged cryptocurrency “stablecoins” Gemini Dollar (GUSD) and USD Coin (USDC), providing them with the ability to denominate their operations in cryptocurrency while remaining immune from market volatility.

The Atlanta-based BitPay made the announcement on Monday, explaining that it will allow merchants in 190 countries to accept international payments without relying on costly, time-consuming wire transfers.

“BitPay was founded to make payments faster, more secure, and less expensive using Bitcoin for organizations around the world,” said Stephen Pair, the company’s co-founder and CEO. “The introduction of the USDC and GUSD stable coin offers BitPay customers a new alternative to holding Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash by offering a stable coin option.”

Previously, merchants could receive settlement in bitcoin, bitcoin cash, and — depending on jurisdictional restrictions — physical dollars and euros. All transactions settled in cryptocurrency will be completed the following day.

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Cryptocurrencies are Not Legal Tender in Zambia

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Lusaka
Lusaka

The Bank of Zambia has warned that Cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in Zambia and that all activities related to their buying, trading or usage are performed at owner’s risk.

The Central Bank says it has observed an increasing public interest in cryptocurrencies as evidenced by the growing number of enquiries that BoZ has been receiving on the subject.

In a statement, the Bank of Zambia said while cryptocurrencies have some monetary characteristics, such as, being used as a means of payment on a person to person basis, cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in Zambia.

“In order to safeguard the interests of members of the public and to maintain the integrity of the financial system in Zambia, the BoZ states as follows: 1. Section 30 of the Bank of Zambia Act vests the right to issue notes and coins exclusively in the BoZ. To date, BoZ has not issued any form of cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in the Republic of Zambia; 2. BoZ does not oversee, supervise nor regulate the cryptocurrency landscape. Consequently, any and all activities related to the buying, trading or usage of cryptocurrencies are performed at owner’s risk.”

It adds, “3. The general public should therefore fully understand and be aware of the risks associated with the use of cryptocurrencies. 4. Some of these risks include money laundering, financing activities of terrorism and general consumer protection risks such as fraud and hacking, to which in most cases, no legal recourse would be available to customers due to the unregulated nature of cryptocurrency-related transactions.”

“5. In line with BoZ’s position that regulation should not constrain but enable innovation, BoZ will continue to actively monitor all developments.”

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Chainalysis: Bitcoin’s Largest Holders are a Diverse Group That May be Stabilizing

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Chainalysis

In August 2018, rumors flared about a $2 billion whale, or outsized bitcoin holder, who was suspected of single-handedly setting off a 15% plunge in bitcoin’s value by selling off more than 50,000 coins in a month, according to Bloomberg. The abrupt drop in value—and whispers of its shadowy origins—made bitcoin investors of all sizes wary of a market that might be dominated by a few giant players, who could undermine pricing at any moment.

Intensive analysis of bitcoin’s 32 largest wallets, however, shows these fears to be overblown. Our data demonstrates that Bitcoin whales are a diverse group, and only about a third of them are active traders. And while these trading whales certainly have the capability of executing transactions large enough to move the market, they have, on net, traded against the herd, buying on price declines. They appear, in aggregate, to have stabilized the market during recent price declines, rather than exacerbating price movements. This makes sense since these trading whales are professionals with no vested interest in abruptly tanking the market. When they require liquidity, traders are likely to use OTC trading platforms equipped to manage large transactions with minimal market disruption.

We analyzed the transactional history of the 32 largest bitcoin wallets not on exchanges as of August 2018 to develop a taxonomy of whales. They represent roughly one million bitcoins, or about $6.3 billion dollars. The data revealed four basic types of whales:

Traders: These whales regularly engage with exchanges to buy and sell bitcoin. With nine wallets controlling over 332,000 coins, worth just over $2 billion, whales who actively trade make up the largest category, but only about a third of total whale holdings. Traders are also relatively recent arrivals in the Bitcoin universe: most got into the market in 2017.

Miners/Early Adopters: The second largest group of whales entered the market much earlier, prior to 2017. This group includes 15 investors, also holding a total of 332,000 coins, worth a bit more than $2 billion. Current trading activity for this group is extremely low. Many of them made significant divestments in 2016 and 2017 as the bitcoin price soared and are now, we assume, extremely wealthy.

Lost: Lost whales make up another large part of the pod with five wallets holding over 212,000 coins, worth approximately $1.3 billion. These are wallets where the owner has lost their private keys and can no longer access their bitcoin. By definition, there have been no transactions at all from these whales since 2011. ‍

Criminals: This is the smallest segment amongst the whales with three wallets, over 125,000 coins and just short of $790 million in asset value. Two of these whales are connected with the Silk Road darknet market, while the other appears to be involved in money laundering.

As our taxonomy makes clear, only the traders, representing about one-third of whale assets, are actively buying and selling bitcoin. Early adopters/miners and criminals have been in a holding pattern in recent years and lost bitcoin whales have, by definition, been inactive since 2011 (and, we assume, will remain so indefinitely).

But are these trading whales exacerbating volatility? The data suggests otherwise. During the major price declines of December 2017 and most of 2018, trading whales were actually net purchasers of bitcoin. Although our data doesn’t capture on-exchange transactions, it does measure the net gain or loss of bitcoin in these wallets. That net activity demonstrates that trading whales were not selling off bitcoin in any mass amount, but rather were net receivers of bitcoin from exchanges in late 2016 and 2017. This indicates that trading whales were, in aggregate, buying on declines and, consequently, were a stabilizing, rather than destabilizing factor in the market, as shown in the chart below.

Bitcoin whales will likely continue to be an object of fascination for investors—their great wealth and anonymity make them inherently interesting. To be useful, though, analysis has to go beyond a sort of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous gossip to real data on how these very large bitcoin holders interact with and affect markets. Our research suggests that while Bitcoin whales may be big and somewhat mysterious, they have less of an impact on market prices than many people believe.

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Bitcoin Price Crash: Drops 8% in 20 Minutes

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Bitcoin Price Crash

At 00:55 UTC, just after Wednesday’s close, the cryptocurrency shed $400 over the course of 20 minutes, a move that found it crossing $6,400, for a time the market’s most reliable lower-bound support, for the first time since September 12.

Bitcoin Price

At press time, bitcoin has lost momentum, having stalled briefly at around $6,125, the lowest figure since September 19, before crossing back above $6,200.

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Cryptocurrency Miner Revenues Near $5 Billion

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Cryptocurrency Miner

Cryptocurrency miner revenues in the first 6-months of this year surpassed all earnings of 2017. To date, revenues have exceeded last year by a whopping $1.4Bn. But the record hash rate hit at the end of August saw miners paying retail electricity prices move to unprofitability for the first time in September, Diar estimates show.

Bear market aside, Bitcoin’s price remains over 40% higher than a year ago. And the coinbase reward of 54,000 Bitcoins per month remain up for grabs by Bitcoin miners. The reward and fees for the first three quarters of this year represented $4.7Bn in revenues for miners who are keeping the network secure.

The investment proposition for smaller miners held true throughout most of this year, but has since become questionable on the back of an increase of computing power competing for the coinbase reward (see chart).

China, who has an average cost of $0.08 kw/h at retail, and estimated to be half that at wholesale, is currently one of the handful of countries that would make economic sense to mine for Bitcoins with retail prices. Even then, however, equipment, salaries, rents, overheads could push inexperienced mining operations into the red.

Bitmain, who released new information about their operations to support their upcoming Hong Kong listing revealed a business model that could bring new economic realities – and powers – to the fore.

The company, who runs two of the largest mining pools, as well as a key investor in ViaBTC, is actually banking on the sale of mining equipment – and has been for several years. In the first half of this year, 95% of revenues came from the sale of its miners.

Business then, for Bitmain is good when miners are earning. And according to it’s IPO disclosures, the mining equipment mammoth sells just over half (51.8%) of their miners to international clients. And Bitmain estimates that it has cornered 75% of global market for miners.

While Bitmain has spread its tentacles across the world with operations and warehouses, it also runs 11 mining facilities in China – home to 200k mining units. Should those units represent S9 miners, and be fully deployed to mining Bitcoin alone, this could represent a near 6% of the networks current hash power, that sits just below its all-time high.

With three more mining farms planned to go online in 1Q19 in the United States (Washington State, Texas, and Tennessee) could see Bitmain acting as a swing producer in an effort to keep the network profitable for all miners – including their own operations in the west where operating expenses are likely to run much higher than in their home base.

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SEC Asks for Additional Comment on Rejected Bitcoin ETFs

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Crypto Market

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is asking for further comment on nine different bitcoin exchange-traded fund rule change proposals that are currently under review after initially being rejected.

The SEC had previously rejected the proposals — pursued by ProShares, GraniteShares and Direxion along with market providers NYSE Arca or Cboe — while highlighting issues with the underlying bitcoin futures markets and the risk that the actual spot bitcoin market is at risk of manipulation. A day after the nine rejections, the agency said that its leadership would review those decisions.

In new filings published Thursday, the SEC asked for public comment on all nine proposals, designating October 26 as the due date for any new comments that the general public wishes to make.

“It is further ordered that the order disapproving [the proposed rule changes] shall remain in effect pending the Commission’s review,” wrote assistant secretary Eduardo Aleman.

The SEC is also separately considering a bitcoin ETF proposed by crypto startup SolidX and money management firm VanEck. A decision on that proposal could come as early as December.

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BitMEX Hires Former Hong Kong Markets Watchdog to Oversee Operations

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Crypto Exchange

One of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency trading platforms, the Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange (BitMEX), has recruited a Hong Kong regulatory veteran to work with watchdogs worldwide to develop a proper set of rules to help the industry grow.

BitMEX appointed Angelina Kwan on Tuesday to become its chief operating officer with immediate effective, overseeing the overall development of the company.

Kwan, a certified public accountant, served as managing director and head of regulatory compliance for Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing from January 2015 until the end of August this year. Previously, she was a director at the Securities and Futures Commission between 1998 and 2006, covering enforcement and market supervision.

Between the two regulatory roles, she worked at brokerage firms including Reorient and CLSA.

“I hope my previous experience will help in establishing a constructive dialogue with the various regulatory authorities around the world over the development of regulation in the cryptocurrency industry,” she said in a telephone interview on Tue

BitMEX only handles bitcoin, which since its creation in 2009 has become the best-known of the many cryptocurrencies in the market. It uses encryption and a blockchain transaction database, enabling the fast and anonymous transfer of funds without a centralised payment system.

The platform made headlines after it recently agreed to pay US$600,000 a month to rent office space in Hong Kong’s Cheung Kong Center, a record at HK$225 (US$29) per square foot. BitMEX’s new offices will make it a neighbour of the SFC, which is in the same building.

China and South Korea banned digital coin sales last year while Hong Kong and many other markets are yet to fully regulate cryptocurrency, leaving exchange platforms unburdened by a strict set of rules.

Hong Kong Monetary Authority chief executive Norman Chan Tak-lam last month warned that trading in virtual currencies carries high risks because the de facto central bank does not consider it a “currency”. The SFC, the city’s investment regulator, has warned many times about the dangers of fraud and market manipulation posed by cryptocurrencies.

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