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Beyond the Law Star Steven Seagal Settles With SEC + More News

Sead Fadilpašić
Last updated: | 5 min read

Crypto Briefs is your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.

Beyond the Law movie poster. Steven Seagal is in the middle.
  • The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) settled charges against actor Steven Seagal (known for Beyond the Law, The Glimmer Man, etc.) for failing to disclose payments he received for promoting an investment in an initial coin offering (ICO) conducted by Bitcoiin2Gen (B2G). The SEC’s order finds that Seagal failed to disclose he was promised USD 250,000 in cash and USD 750,000 worth of B2G tokens in exchange for his promotions, the SEC said. Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, the actor agreed to pay USD 157,000 in disgorgement, which represents his actual promotional payments, plus prejudgment interest, and a USD 157,000 penalty. In addition, Seagal agreed not to promote any securities, digital or otherwise, for three years.
  • A Ukrainian ex-Microsoft worker has been found guilty of stealing USD 10 million in cryptocurrencies from the American tech giant, reports Crypto Feed. The media outlet reports that the man was testing an online sales platform for Microsoft, and was able to access a number of cryptocurrency transactions, skimming off portions into his own cryptocurrency wallet. The company only realized that money was missing several months later.

Mining news

  • Mining hardware giant Bitmain has announced two new Antminers: the new Antminer S19 and S19 Pro, which will come in two variants and are equipped with a new generation custom-built chip from Bitmain. The press release states that the Antminer S19 is equipped with a hash rate of 95 TH/s, while its other variant has a hash rate of 90 TH/s, both variations have a power efficiency of 34.5+/-%5 J/TH. The Antminer S19 Pro features a hash rate of 110 TH/s, while its other variant has a hash rate of 105 TH/s, both variations have an impressive power efficiency of 29.5+/-%5 J/TH.
  • Authorities say that they have discovered a massive underground crypto mining farm in Grozny, Chechnya, reports Regnum. The farm’s mastermind is thought to have been draining energy from the grid to power rigs worth a combined USD 18,260. Police were alerted when residents complained of brownouts and power shortages. The miner faces a five-year prison sentence if convicted.
  • Prosecutors say a government-appointed IT expert mined cryptocurrencies on Ukrainian justice department computers. Per a government-issued report, the expert held a number of “senior positions” in the Kyiv judiciary offices, and is thought to have mined tokens using software installed on state computers in the period January to May 2018. Police believe the man used the funds to set up his own businesses, including an online motorcycle sales platform.

Adoption news

  • Cash App by Square, payments company co-founded and led by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, reported bitcoin revenue of USD 516 million in 2019, compared with USD 166.5 million in 2018.
  • The BRICS New Silk Road Token market capitalization has surpassed the USD 1 billion mark, reports Comnews. The token was co-launched a month ago by financial bodies in the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) who hope to use a shared token in trade deals. Etherscan data shows there are currently only 24 token holders, although the market capitalization for the ERC-20 coin currently stands at over USD 1.1 billion.
  • A South Korean province claims it has set up the nation’s first blockchain-based school meal delivery and ordering platform. Per Boan News, South Jeolla, in the southwest of the country, has successfully piloted the platform at over 110 schools in the province, and will look to roll out full-province coverage by 2020.
  • The Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry says that its tech committee is considering plans to use blockchain technology to rollout WiFi in the country. The initiative, per an official release, would make use of blockchain innovations developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge, and could dramatically reduce the costs of high-speed internet deployment in the country.
  • Distributed public ledger Hedera Hashgraph has announced an integration with the Nano S and Nano X wallets from hardware wallet developer Ledger.

Libra news

  • New York-based crypto startup Tagomi will allegedly become the newest member of the Libra Association, the governing body of Facebook’s Libra coin, reports TechCrunch. It adds that a formal announcement will be out on Friday or next week.

Exchanges news

  • Bitstamp customers can now use bech32 addresses – the latest Bitcoin address format, specifically designed to work with SegWit technology – to make Bitcoin deposits to their accounts. Due to this technical upgrade, new Bitcoin deposit addresses have been generated for all customers, says the exchange.
  • bitFlyer has announced the launch of its Affiliates program across Europe, allowing users to generate additional revenue by promoting the bitFlyer platform across owned blogs, websites and social channels, an emailed press release says.
  • Binance now offers zero-fees when buying crypto with EUR, GBP and AUD via Banxa, an internationally compliant digital banking infrastructure provider. Banxa is offering a permanent fee reduction to 0% for most of its popular payment methods on Binance, says the exchange, for users in Australia, UK, and the European Union.

Career news

  • Bitstamp hired Mary Beth Buchanan as the new Chief Legal Officer and appointed Mike Lempres to Bitstamp USA Board of Directors. Per the announcement, Buchanan previously worked at crypto exchange Kraken as General Counsel. Lempres is an active member of the Board of Directors for Silvergate Bank and Coinbase Custody Trust Company, and is the executive in residence at Andreessen Horowitz.

People in crypto news

  • Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao usurped the richest crypto individuals list as he reportedly has more capital than co-founder of cryptocurrency mining giant Bitmain, Micree Ketuan Zhan – and could possibly be crypto’s richest person. Hurun Global Rich List, an annual ranking of the world’s wealthiest billionaires, listed 2,816 people this year, six of which hail from blockchain and crypto industry. Zhao is on top with USD 2.6 billion, followed by Micree Zhan Ketuan with USD 1.6 billion, then OKCoin’s founder Xu Mingxing (USD 1.4 billion), Ripple’s Chris Larsen (USD 1.3 billion), Huobi’s founder Leon Li (USD 1.1 billion), and Coinbase’s Brian Armstrong (USD 1 billion).

Regulation news

  • The SEC has rejected Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) application by Wilshire Phoenix, stating that the company didn’t provide enough proof that it’s protected against market manipulation so to protect the investors and the public interest. However, Commissioner Hester M. Peirce (aka ‘Crypto Mom’), in her dissent to the rejection, said that in her view Commission is unwilling to approve the listing of any product that would provide American investors access to the market for Bitcoin, but also that “no filing will meet the ever-shifting standards that this Commission insists on applying to Bitcoin-related products — and only to Bitcoin-related products.”