SEC lands 700K victory in another ICO court case

SEC lands $700K victory in another ICO court case

Another ICO case comes to a close.

Image courtesy of CoinTelegraph

            DEC 11, 2020

After years of legal action from United States governing bodies, Blockvest, a 2018 initial coin offering, or ICO, has received its final orders.

“The SEC, as a government agency, seeks a permanent injunction, disgorgement of funds received from Defendants’ illegal conduct, and civil penalties,” said a court document filed on Thursday. The court case takes aim at both Blockvest, and its founder, Reginald Buddy Ringgold III, also known as Rasool Abdul Rahim El.

The Securities and Exchange Commission put the brakes on Blockvest in October 2018. The following two years saw a number of legal dealings and developments. Today’s news brings the saga to a close.

The SEC’s rationale for permanent injunction claims Blockvest and Ringgold knew their actions were wrong, but proceeded with the ICO anyway, covering up what they could during legal proceedings. Ringgold had not registered the token sale with the SEC but claimed otherwise:

“Defendants misrepresented that the initial coin offering was ‘registered’ with and ‘approved’ by the SEC and used SEC’s logo,” the document detailed.

The defendants also falsely claimed connections to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or CFTC, and the National Futures Association, or NFA.

Additionally, the document lists other offenses, such as inventing:

“A fictitious regulatory agency, the Blockchain Exchange Commission (‘BEC’), creating its own fake government seal, logo, and mission statement that are nearly identical to the SEC’s seal, logo, mission statement as well as using the same address as the SEC’s headquarters.”

Blockvest and Ringgold must pay multiple sums of compensation, including refunding the capital that participants put toward in the offering. Disgorgement payments, interest and civil penalties come out to a cost of $696,097.90, as per the document. The defendants must also abide by a number of restraints and conditions.

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Bitcoin Will Gain From The Growing Distrust In Traditional Asset Classes: Morgan Stanley Analyst

Bitcoin Will Gain From The Growing Distrust In Traditional Asset Classes: Morgan Stanley Analyst

By Brenda Ngari – December 10, 2020

The United States dollar has been the world’s premier reserve currency for a century now, but bitcoin has the potential to dethrone the greenback in the long-run and end its long-lived dominance. This is according to an analyst at the U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley.

Ruchir Sharma, the head of emerging markets and chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley is of the opinion that the increasing distrust in legacy finance will put an end to the dollar’s supremacy as the reserve currency and bitcoin could stand to benefit from this lack of faith.

Will The Heightened Distrust In Traditional Finance Usher In A New Wave Of Bitcoin Interest?

Sharma posited that over the course of the dollar’s reign as a reserve currency, other notable national currencies like the Chinese yuan and the euro have terribly failed to garner the trust of people across the globe, according to a report by The Financial Times on Wednesday. This underlines the lack of a successor for the greenback.

The analyst believes decentralized alternatives like bitcoin are likely to oust the dollar. Bitcoin has emerged as the best-performing asset this year, leaving other asset classes like stocks, fixed return bonds, other currencies, and precious metals in the dust. In particular, bitcoin has posted a spectacular run since March despite the COVID-19 pandemic and central banks around the world going on a money-printing rampage.

Sharma explained:

“The dollar’s reign is likely to end when the rest of the world starts losing confidence that the US can keep paying its bills. […] Money printing is likely to continue, even when the pandemic passes. Trusted or not, Bitcoin will gain from widening distrust in the traditional alternatives.”

Despite its wild volatility, bitcoin is still regarded as one of the best hedges against currency devaluation and economic uncertainty. And with trust in traditional systems dwindling, it will come as no surprise if more people turn to the flagship cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin Is On Course To Replace The Dollar As A Medium Of Exchange

The Morgan Stanley strategist went on to note that bitcoin’s adoption is growing significantly as the asset’s use cases expand. For instance, he posits that payment giant PayPal and its subsidiary Venmo recently started storing bitcoin and they are now planning to start accepting the cryptocurrency as payment beginning from next year.

Moreover, he states that the bellwether cryptocurrency is making progress on its goal to overtake the dollar and become the go-to medium of exchange. Sharma then warned central banks around the world to be more cautious of their fiscal and monetary policies if they wish to remain kings of the hill.

He stated:

“Bitcoin’s surge may still prove to be a bubble, but even if it pops, this year’s rush to cryptocurrencies should serve as a warning to government money printers everywhere, particularly in the U.S. Do not assume that your traditional currencies are the only stores of value, or mediums of exchange, that people will ever trust.”

Notably, several public corporations have poured money into bitcoin in recent months, strengthening the crypto’s appeal as an inflation hedge and reserve asset.

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The views expressed in the article are wholly those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, ZyCrypto. This article is not meant to give financial advice. Please carry out your own research before investing in any of the various cryptocurrencies available.

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Standard Chartered Partners Northern Trust To Launch Crypto Custody

Standard Chartered Partners Northern Trust To Launch Crypto Custody

By RTTNews Staff Writer | Published: 12/9/2020 9:20 AM ET

British bank Standard Chartered's innovation unit SC Ventures is partnering U.S.-based financial services firm Northern Trust Corp. to launch institutional-grade custody for cryptocurrencies in 2021. The cryptocurrency custodian for institutional investors will be called "Zodia Custody."

The Zodia crypto custody platform is expected to begin operations in London in 2021, subject to registration with the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), all applicable regulatory filings and customary closing conditions. The platform has already initiated the process of registering.

At launch, Zodia will provide custody services for the most-traded cryptocurrency assets – Bitcoin, Ethereum, followed by XRP, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash. These assets account for about 80 percent of the total assets traded on the top cryptocurrency exchanges.

Standard Chartered said institutional investors account for only 9 percent of investments in cryptocurrencies at present. The roll out of custody service is a result of increasing interest from them.

Zodia is designed to enable institutions to invest in the emerging cryptocurrency assets that are transforming how financial markets operate, including transaction and settlement activities. It combines the traditional custody principles and expertise of a bank with the agility of a fintech company to meet the high standards and expectations of institutional investors.

According to Research and Markets' Cryptocurrency Market Report of April 2020, cryptocurrencies already represent 0.3 percent of the world's currency and bank deposits and are forecast to continue growing with a CAGR of 32 percent from 2019 to 2024.

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Bitstamp apologizes after posting report calling XRP toxic waste’

Bitstamp apologizes after posting report calling XRP ‘toxic waste’

Bitstamp now regrets posting Messari's 134-page report yesterday that included coarse language and colorful descriptions of certain tokens.

Image courtesy of CoinTelegraph

            DEC 09, 2020

Digital asset exchange Bitstamp has apologized for sharing a crypto market report that it claims does not reflect the firm’s “views or values.”

In a tweet from Bitstamp posted today, the exchange issued an apology for posting research firm Messari’s “Crypto Theses for 2021” report from founder and CEO Ryan Selkis. The report refers to XRP as “toxic waste,” with Selkis calling Bitcoin (BTC) forks, Stellar Lumens (XLM) and Litecoin (LTC) “piles of s—.” The report said:

“These are toxic assets propped up by regulatory capture, and they go against everything that got me into crypto."

Bitstamp has removed the original tweet it posted following the report’s publication on Dec. 8, and referred to parts of the “language and content” in the report as inconsistent with the firm’s values. The firm added that it believed some aspects were disrespectful towards “part of the community.”

2/3 We did not complete a thorough enough review of the 130+ page report before it was published. This is on us, we should have done better.

— Bitstamp (@Bitstamp) December 9, 2020

In response, the Messari CEO said on Twitter he was going for a humorous tone to keep readers engaged — the report is 134 pages long. However, he doubled down on his XRP views, referring to the token as “snake oil” and adding it was unlikely he would change his opinion in the future.

Members of the XRP army were generally supportive of Bitstamp’s statement, calling it a “quick and thoughtful reaction.” The exchange may have been responding to Selkis’ views on XRP, or the seemingly unprofessional language peppered throughout the report — the Messari CEO used “f—” five times, and “s—” nine times.

“Bitstamp may have expected a more cerebral ‘Pro’ piece from our analysts vs. the yearly [company] hot takes,” said Selkis. “I don't blame them for being caught off guard.”

In last year’s “Crypto Theses for 2020” Selkis said he hated XRP but did not label the token as toxic. In fact, he said at the time that XRP had “tremendous and surprising staying power.”

At least one crypto figure stepped in to defend the Messari CEO. Samson Mow, the chief strategy officer at Blockstream. A well known Bitcoin maximalist and opponent of “shitcoins” he argued Selkis “did nothing wrong.”

But Bitstamp’s decision to cancel Selkis was supported by other Twitter users.

“Impressed to see you acknowledge customers' opinions on these matters Bitstamp,” said Shane Schofield. “Would hope, as a sponsor of Messari, you could remind them that everyone has biases.”

This is not the first time the Messari CEO has been on the receiving end of attacks by the XRP army. Last January, he allegedly received threatening phone calls after the firm published a critical analysis of XRP.

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Original article posted on the site, by Turner Wright.

Article re-posted on Markethive by Jeffrey Sloe

Fidelity unlocks Bitcoin as collateral for borrowing on BlockFi

Fidelity unlocks Bitcoin as collateral for borrowing on BlockFi

Depositors using Fidelity Digital Assets custody will be able to access liquidity via BlockFi.

Image courtesy of CoinTelegraph

            DEC 09, 2020

Fidelity Digital Assets, the crypto arm of the asset management conglomerate, will allow institutional customers to pledge their Bitcoin (BTC) as collateral for cash loans.

As reported Wednesday by Bloomberg, the firm partnered with crypto lender BlockFi to disburse the loans. Institutional clients of Fidelity’s custodial solution will be able to draw cash loans from their stored Bitcoin without having to move it, provided they have an account with BlockFi.

The target customers of this feature are primarily hedge funds, miners and over-the-counter trading desks. Overcollateralized lending is generally used to access liquidity without losing a long position on the asset used as collateral. The cash can be used to enter leveraged positions and build hedged strategies or to pay for business expenses.

In a conversation with Cointelegraph, a Fidelity spokesperson said that the offering comes as part of a "demand for increased capital efficiency" among its customers. "Our full-service offering that includes custody and trading will continue to help institutions enable capital efficiency, while prioritizing asset safety and stillness," they said

The loan-to-value ratio will be set to 60%, meaning that each $1,000 in collateral can back at most $600 in borrowed money. Nonetheless, that parameter could change according to the specific customer's needs. Fidelity clarified that it does not play any role in setting loan terms, limiting its contribution in the tri-party agreement to the safekeeping of the Bitcoin.

Fidelity Digital Assets has provided Bitcoin custodial services since October 2019. More recently, it also began offering its services to the Asian market.

BlockFi is a major cryptocurrency lender, offering interest on deposits sent to the platform. While it is a retail-centric company when it comes to collecting deposits, that money is primarily lent out to other institutions. The company recently launched a Visa debit card with Bitcoin rewards.

Update, 16:30 UTC: Added commentary from a Fidelity spokesperson.

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Why XRP has the potential to exceed Ethereum in the next rally

Why XRP has the potential to exceed Ethereum in the next rally

By Erie Maxwell – December 8, 2020

XRP could have been considered a dormant cryptocurrency for the past two years after its all-time high at $3.3 in January 2018. The digital asset had a massive consolidation period losing close to 97% of its value and trending downwards for most of the time.

Every single market push was lower for XRP and every crash was stronger. Things didn’t look good at all for its price which continued tanking while most of the market was recovering. It wasn’t until November 16 that XRP finally had its breakout from a low of $0.26 to $0.495 in just one week and saw a ton of continuation on the next week peaking at $0.78.

The comparison chart between XRP and ETH clearly shows how XRP’s price peak was far more pronounced followed by a massive crash. Around November, XRP breaks the correlation with Ethereum and outperforms the digital asset by 2x.

XRP will face very little resistance to the upside

Because of the massive crash from its all-time high, XRP bears didn’t leave many resistance levels on the way down. The most recent 200% rally has taken out several critical resistance points on the weekly chart since September 2018.

The only potential risk for the bulls is the possibility of forming a double top as the peak of $0.78 is just below the high of September 17, 2018, at $0.791.

A breakout above this level would quickly drive XRP price towards the next significant resistance level at $0.966 which seems to be the last one before a new all-time high.

Additionally, it seems that the number of XRP whales holding at least 10,000,000 ($6,117,000) or more coins has increased significantly over the past two weeks and has been in an uptrend since October, showing that large investors are highly interested in the digital asset and increasing the buying pressure. 

It also seems that XRP’s dominance is finally breaking out from a massive trendline formed all the way at the top. Do you think this will be enough for XRP to hit a new all-time high and perhaps beat Ethereum?

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The views expressed in the article are wholly those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, ZyCrypto. This article is not meant to give financial advice. Please carry out your own research before investing in any of the various cryptocurrencies available.

The original article written by Erie Maxwell and posted on

Article reposted on Markethive by Jeffrey Sloe

Coinbase Joins Square-led Crypto Patent Alliance As Founding Board Member

Coinbase Joins Square-led Crypto Patent Alliance As Founding Board Member

By RTTNews Staff Writer | Published: 12/8/2020 9:27 AM ET

U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has joined the cryptocurrency patent alliance established by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey headed financial services company Square, Inc. as a founding board member.

The Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance, or COPA, was established in September to enable open access to patents covering foundational technologies in the cryptocurrency sector. This was seen to be necessary for the crypto community to grow, freely innovate, and build new and better products.

Coinbase will join Square to carry COPA's mission forward, educate the community and drive membership, and establish and administer COPA's policies.

COPA seeks to democratize patents for everyone, empowering even small companies with tools and leverage to defend themselves. There is an invitation for all in the crypto community to join the alliance to address patent lockup concerns.

COPA is a non-profit community of like-minded people and companies formed to encourage the adoption and advancement of cryptocurrency technologies and to remove patents as a barrier to growth and innovation.

COPA employs a dual approach by asking its members to pledge never to use their crypto patents against anyone, except for defensive reasons, effectively making these patents freely available for all to use.

A shared patent library will be created by COPA where members pool all of their crypto patents together to form a collective shield of patents, allowing members to use each others' patents to deter and defend against patent aggressors and trolls.

Since establishing COPA, 18 companies have joined it and taken the pledge. Apart from Square and Coinbase, other members include SatoshiLabs, Kraken, Blockstream, Transparent Systems, Protocol Labs, Blockstack, Foundation Devices,, Blockchain Commons, Carnes Validadas, Request Network, Horizontal Systems, VerifyChain, Cloudeya Ltd., Mercury Cash, and Bithyve.

As more members join and declare that they will not offensively assert their patents against others, the overall incidence and threat of patent litigation will come down.

Patents are generally used for offensive and misguided purposes and threaten the growth and adoption of emerging technologies such as cryptocurrencies. The "patent lockup" of foundational cryptocurrency technologies by a select few will also stifle innovation and deter mass-adoption.

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Article written by an RTT News Staff Writer, and posted on the RTT website.

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US gov is Bitcoin’s last remaining adversary says Messari founder

US gov is Bitcoin’s last remaining adversary, says Messari founder

Bitcoin may have experienced the perfect storm for success, but action by the United States government may remain a threat.

Image courtesy of CoinTelegraph

            DEC 08, 2020

Ryan Selkis, co-founder of data and research company Messari, recently released his 2021 crypto sector thesis, examining the state of the industry as well as forecasting what lies ahead. Selkis explains in this report that the U.S. government is one remaining adversary he feels BTC must win over.

“The ‘final boss’ to beat is the state,” Selkis wrote in his report, released on Tuesday. “For the U.S., bitcoin presents a tool to undermine international sanctions, and 80% of mining capacity now sits behind enemy lines in China, Russia, and Iran,” he noted. “Will a Biden administration like BTC? TBD.”

Bitcoin has trudged through its fair share of governmental adversity in the 12 years since its inception. With its status as a commodity, Bitcoin’s reputation is somewhat solidified. Concerns of a U.S. government ban have still arisen, but the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s acting leader, Brian Brooks, recently explained that his unit views Bitcoin favorably.

Still, the government changed its tune on gold in 1933, confiscating the precious metal from citizens en masse. Even though the U.S. government may find it difficult to confiscate Bitcoin functionally, banning the asset could still hurt its price and associated cash on-ramps.

On the bullish side of the table, Selkis gave a nod to Bitcoin’s resilience. “Bitcoin is an unseizable form of private money that’s proven very hard to kill,” he wrote. “It’s outperformed every major asset class over every relevant time period in its history, and it’s got perfect macro tailwinds and momentum,” he said, adding:

“It’s getting ‘safe’ to purchase from a legal and reputational standpoint as a professional money manager, and its supply will inflate less than the Fed’s target rate no matter what happens next year. When you look at BTC vs. gold, and its growth vs. global M1, M2, and central-bank balance sheets, it’s a compelling investment.”

Bitcoin’s price has flourished in 2020 amid massive U.S. money printing efforts and economic uncertainties. A number of large mainstream players, such as Microstrategy and Paul Tudor Jones, have allocated large sums of money to Bitcoin this year as well, padding the asset’s credibility.

Bitcoin topped near $20,000 in December 2017, only to fall below $5,000 multiple times in the years following. This year, Bitcoin broke its previous all-time high, showing a refusal to die, something big mainstream players like, according to Selkis’ interview with Anthony Pompliano, published on Tuesday.

“Smart money investors knew about Bitcoin back in 2017,” Selkis said, subsequently explaining Bitcoin’s mainstream attention back then, as well as its boom, bust, and boom again over the past three years. “I think a lot of them have appreciation for things that don’t die,” he explained.

Mainstream giants, such as Amazon and eBay, have also shown great resilience through the years, rising from the ashes after the dot-com bubble popped in the early 2000s.

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Original article posted on the site, by Benjamin Pirus.

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Gallup Poll: Americans’ Mental Health Ratings Hit New Low

Gallup Poll: Americans' Mental Health Ratings Hit New Low


By Lynn Allison | Monday, 07 December 2020 11:44 AM

According to a new Gallup poll, America’s mental health has deteriorated to the worst point it has been in two decades.

Only 34% of U.S. adults say their mental health is excellent, down from 43% last year. Experts said that while our mental health has suffered this year likely due to the coronavirus, our physical health hasn’t changed substantially, according to the latest numbers.

However, the 9-point decline in mental health ratings has healthcare officials worried.

“The latest weakening in positive ratings, from a Nov. 5-9 poll, are undoubtedly influenced by the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to profoundly disrupt people’s lives, but may also reflect views of the election and the state of race relations, both of which were on America’s minds this year,” said the Gallup report.

Gallup has conducted the November Health and Healthcare survey annually since 2001, asking Americans to rate their mental or emotional well-being as excellent, good, only fair, or poor. Usually, the readings for excellent and good range from 81% to 89% until this year, when it fell to 76%.

Women, Republicans, independents, and those who do not attend regular religious services had the largest drop in positive ratings, along with white adults, singles, older adults, and lower-income Americans. Democrats and frequent churchgoers had the least change in mental wellness, according to the poll.

The poll, conducted Nov. 5-9, surveyed a random sample of 1,018 adults nationwide. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, acknowledges that the pervasive climate of anxiety, stress, and isolation caused by COVID-19 is harmful to mental health and offers these tips:

  1. Maintain a routine. If you are not used to working from home, create a teleworking routine that helps you get into the right mindset. Designate a work area and stick to regular working hours. Make sure you shower and dress in the morning and wear casual work clothes — not sweats — to signal the start of the workday.
  2. Take reasonable precautions, but don’t go overboard. Follow reliable sources of information, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to keep you up to date on health precautions you should be taking. This is important, says NAMI, if you suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or health anxiety. In other words, if the CDC recommends washing your hands for 20 seconds, don’t make it a minute.
  3. Find ways to get motivated. If you are prone to depression and are finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning, focus on accomplishing chores or start a project. Exercise is a good mood booster and there are thousands of workout videos online to help you get started.
  4. Stick to consistent mealtimes. Avoid stress-snacking and eat regular meals to maintain mental and physical equilibrium. Try to eat healthy foods, however, but a freshly baked cookie now and then might just be the comfort food you need right now.

For more tips, check out the NAMI website.

© 2020 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

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Fear Among Big Investors May Support Bitcoin’s Polarizing Rally

Fear Among Big Investors May Support Bitcoin's Polarizing Rally

(Jakub Jirsak/Dreamstime

Sunday, 06 December 2020 08:36 PM

The financial industry was something of a curious onlooker during Bitcoin’s furious, retail-led rally past $19,000 in 2017. There are signs the sector is playing more of role in the cryptocurrency’s latest surge.

Licensed crypto exchanges, Bitcoin funds and a regulated futures market give the likes of trend-following quant funds, asset managers and family offices avenues for investment that didn’t exist a few years ago. Mix in this year’s 170% jump in Bitcoin’s price amid a once-in-a-generation pandemic, and it becomes clearer why more institutions might size up the volatile asset.

“The multitude of regulated crypto exchanges and custodians has eliminated the ‘career risk’ for institutional investors,” PwC’s Hong Kong-based Global Crypto Leader Henri Arslanian said in an interview. “In 2017, there was retail FOMO. The question is whether we will see institutional FOMO in 2021.”

Bitcoin began December by hitting a record just shy of $20,000. Proponents argue it’s muscling in on gold as a portfolio diversifier, as stimulus injections to counter the economic damage from the pandemic weaken the dollar. Critics see pure gambling by retail investors and speculative pros in a scandal-prone sector, and anticipate a bust like the one after the peak three years ago.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. strategists point to the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust — which invests in the digital coin and tracks its price — as a potential window into wider crypto ardor beyond the retail demand from Millennials.

The trust’s “exponential” growth suggests longer-term investors like asset managers and family offices may have been playing a bigger role in recent weeks, compared with trend-following commodity trading advisors, a team led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou wrote in a Nov. 27 note.

The Grayscale vehicle’s assets have swollen to more than $10 billion from $2 billion at the start of December last year, its website and factsheets show. It drew almost $720 million of inflows in the third quarter, according to an investment report, which said institutions — dominated by hedge funds — accounted for 81% of the money coming into the firm’s digital-asset funds.

Guggenheim Partners LLC last month reserved the right for its $5.3 billion Macro Opportunities Fund to invest in the Grayscale trust.

“Institutional investors are keen on portfolio construction in the wake of Covid, and the ways they need to reposition themselves given how governments have injected stimulus into the system,” Michael Sonnenshein, managing director of Grayscale Investments in New York, said in an interview, adding the size of investment allocations is growing.

Over the summer, Fidelity Investments announced the launch of a passively managed Bitcoin fund aimed at qualified purchasers through family offices, registered investment advisers and other institutions. Public companies Square Inc. and MicroStrategy Inc. recently invested in the coin. Investment managers Paul Tudor Jones and Stan Druckenmiller have backed the digital asset as a hedge against potential inflationary pressure, though price increases remain subdued.

Strategists have started to expand or initiate coverage of Bitcoin, sensing more demand for crypto analysis in the financial industry.

One example is U.S. brokerage BTIG LLC, whose chief equity and derivatives strategist Julian Emanuel wrote last month that cryptocurrency will come of age in part due to the policy response to the economic hit from the pandemic.

Digital assets remain a fringe market for the approximately $52 trillion of funds managed by institutional investors. After all, total crypto market capitalization is just $580 billion, according to data tracker CoinMarketCap. Moreover, potential obstacles remain, such as the fact that Bitcoin ownership is concentrated among a few large holders often referred to as whales.

Still, PwC’s Arslanian expects increased pressure on asset managers to consider Bitcoin as investors become more comfortable with it. “The question investors will ask fund managers will gradually switch from ‘why did you invest in crypto?’ to ‘why have you not yet invested in crypto?’” he said.

© Copyright 2020 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

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