US Homeland Security Charges LocalBitcoins Seller on Money Laundering Charges

Washington state resident Kenneth Warren Rhule has been charged with laundering over $140,000 in bitcoin after agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) made a series of undercover cash-for-crypto deals with the 26-year-old. Rhule faces multiple counts of operating an unlicensed bitcoin money transmitter business and laundering monetary instruments after allegedly meeting with government agents “posing as criminals” interested in buying untraceable bitcoin for their human trafficking operation. Rhule was a seller on LocalBitcoins, a peer-to-peer trading platform used worldwide. Rhule is said to have closed eight deals with the undercover…

New Celo Alliance Has Same Aims as Libra – And Some of the Same Partners

The Silicon Valley crypto startup cLabs, focused on mobile payments and the Celo blockchain project, is following another precedent from Facebook’s Libra playbook by launching an industry association through a separate Celo Foundation. Dozens of blockchain companies and investors – including Libra Association members Coinbase, Andreessen Horowitz, Bison Trails and Anchorage – are committing to promote Celo tokens in some fashion by joining this “Alliance for Prosperity.” “The Alliance will use blockchain technology to reimagine the future of money and create inclusive financial tools,” C Labs founder Rene Reinsberg said…

India’s Supreme Court Lifts Banking Ban on Crypto Exchanges

The Supreme Court of India has ruled against a decision imposed by the country’s central bank nearly two years ago that curbed crypto trading in Asia’s third-largest economy. According to a report from Bloomberg, a three-judge bench of the court ruled on Wednesday in favor of petitions by crypto exchanges and startups that opposed the decision made by the Reserve Bank of India in April 2018, which banned domestic financial institutions from providing banking services to crypto exchanges. The central bank’s decision at the time forced crypto exchanges in the…

US House Committee to Hold Hearing on Blockchain Benefits for Small Businesses

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business is set to discuss the benefits blockchain technology can bring to entrepreneurs. Slated for March 4 at 16:30 UTC, the “Building Blocks of Change: The Benefits of Blockchain Technology for Small Businesses” hearing will explore the ways in which some startups are utilizing blockchain technology to boost productivity and increase security. “Blockchain has many other uses, including tracking goods in global supply chains or enabling peer-to-peer transactions between connected devices,” said committee chairwoman Nydia M. Velazquez in a recent notice. Several…

Bitcoin’s Coronavirus Selloff Throws Cold Water on Safe-Haven Argument

As U.S. stocks tumbled on Monday by the most in six months amid renewed coronavirus fears, bitcoin barely budged – at least in terms of the notoriously volatile cryptocurrency’s trading history. Bitcoin (BTC) was down 4.6 percent as of 6:17 p.m. UTC (1:17 p.m. ET) to $9,517. But a decline of that magnitude represents merely the biggest drop since last week; already this year, bitcoin has suffered six other single-day losses of 3 percent or greater. And due to a powerful rally in recent months, the cryptocurrency’s price is still…

Blockchain Can Help UK Savers Recover $48B in Unclaimed Pensions, Says R3

Distributed ledger tech provider R3 says it’s providing pension firms with the technology to build new blockchain-based identity solutions that could help savers reclaim some of the $48 billion in lost U.K. pension pots. According to Abbas Ali, the head of the New York firm’s digital identity unit, pension providers will be releasing their own solutions that leverage the R3 tech throughout 2020. More than 33 million people in the U.K. have a pension. But in a study by advice firm Profile Pensions this year, 24 percent of respondents said…

$10K Proving a Tough Nut to Crack for Bitcoin’s Bulls

View Bitcoin’s immediate outlook remains neutral with a lower-highs setup on 4-hour charts still intact. A sustained break above $10,028 would invalidate that pattern and revive the bullish view, opening the doors for resistance at $10,300 and $10,500. On the downside, key average support at $9,508 is the target for the bears. A violation there would likely bring a deeper drop to $9,075 (Feb. 4 low). Bitcoin retreated after crossing into five figures early on Monday, establishing the psychological level of $10,000 as the resistance to beat for the bulls.…

When Money Becomes Programmable – Part 1

Michael Casey is chief content officer at CoinDesk. The following is part of “The Token Economy,” an essay in Alex Tapscott’s new book “The Financial Services Revolution.” Blockchain technology, and the cryptocurrencies, tokens and other digital assets it has engendered, may be moving us toward a model of programmable money that incorporates an automated internal governance of common resources and encourages collaboration among communities. Digital scarcity, when applied to these tokens, treats our increasingly digitized economy differently from the pre-digital one. It raises the possibility that our money itself becomes…

Riot Blockchain Plans Sale of Crypto Exchange as It Invests More Millions in Bitcoin Mining

Nasdaq-listed Riot Blockchain plans to sell its cryptocurrency exchange RiotX while doubling down on its bitcoin mining businesses.  In an announcement on Thursday, the company said it is considering opportunities to divest itself of the limited assets associated with the exchange, launched in early 2018, due to the regulatory environment, security risks and competition from peers.  “In order to concentrate its focus on cryptocurrency mining, Riot has opted to sunset further development of Riot’s U.S.-based digital currency exchange,” the company said in a statement.  Riot has hired Chicago-based investment bank…

$100K in Early Prizes Looks to Lure the NFT-Curious to Decentraland

Decentraland opened for gameplay on Thursday and anyone who thinks they might like it is better off playing now rather than later, because free stuff. For regular gamers, Decentraland may be a new kind of experience, what they call a “metaverse” where different game properties can meet in a shared virtual world. There’s a potential that it could evolve into a new platform for games and social experiences. And since it’s on the ethereum blockchain, the “stuff” in that world is transferable (and sellable) beyond it. Either way, there’s an…