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Russia May Block Facebook, Telegram over Crypto Concerns + More News

Sead Fadilpašić
Last updated: | 6 min read

Crypto Briefs is your daily bite-sized digest of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related news – keeping you up-to-date with under the radar crypto news from around the world.

Source: iStock/blinow61

Corporcoins news

  • Vladimir Putin’s IT advisor Dmitry Peskov has stated that Russia will block Facebook and Telegram if their Libra and Gram tokens “run out of control,” and suggested that the USA may follow suit. LetKnowNews quotes Peskov as saying, “If Libra [or the Gram] operate unchecked, the likelihood of a shutdown scenario will increase significantly not only in Russia, but in every country.” Peskov added that when it comes to regulation, “everything depends” not on the Russian government, but on American authorities.
  • The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that it has moved its hearing with Telegram about the latter’s TON blockchain network and Gram cryptocurrency to February 18-19 next year. Per scans of court papers filed by the SEC, Telegram is barred from releasing the token in the lead-up to the hearing. As previously reported, Telegram has already told TON investors that it wants to delay the rollout until April 2020.
  • Russian billionaire Oleg Tinkov, the CEO of Tinkoff Bank, says that Facebook’s Libra and Telegram’s TON are both poised to fail – and says that their demise will be the death knell for cryptocurrencies. In a long, strongly worded Facebook post, Tinkov wrote that “anarchic” elements like cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology and smart contracts were “no match” for the “good old social contract.”

Security news

  • There is allegedly a simple attack that could disrupt the Bitcoin Lightning Network. According to the paper authored by researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Vienna, because each lightning network payment is passed across a network of nodes so to reach its destination, a denial-of-service (DoS) attack – which is currently simple to execute – could theoretically be used to attack one of those nodes and slow down or stop a large percentage of payments on the network, which is a major flaw in the current network.

Trading news

  • Binance is adding support for fiat trading, and the first currency will be Russian rubles. “In about two weeks or so, we should have support for Russian rubles trading directly,” said CEO Changpeng Zhao during the Open Innovations conference in Moscow. “So you [will be able to] buy cryptocurrencies on using rubles.” Meanwhile, EUR and GBP pairs were added to Binance’s API calls last week.
  • Cryptocurrency exchange bitFlyer has announced the launch of the bitFlyer app in Europe and the U.S., which is available on iOS and Android. The press release says that the app will allow users to buy and sell Bitcoin (BTC),Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Monacoin (MONA) and Lisk (LSK).
  • Bison, a crypto app by Germany’s second-largest stock exchange, Boerse Stuttgart Group, launched 24-hour cryptocurrency trading. According to the press release, Bison, which was launched some eight months ago and currently has about 60,000 active users, now offers free-of-charge 24/7 trading in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and XRP.

Company news

  • Japanese rail operator Kintetsu has teamed up with an R&D unit of financial giant Mitsubishi to pilot a mobile phone-based, QR code-enabled stablecoin. The project will allow rail passengers to pay for their tickets using the blockchain-powered token. The pilot project will allow token holders to pay for tickets and at 15 stores operated by Kintetsu in the Mie Prefecture from November to January 2020, reports Nikkei.
  • The Kakao Group’s Ground X blockchain subsidiary has announced that eight new partners have joined its Klaytn platform. Fn News reports that the new partners are: gaming enterprise TuneToken, logistics company Dkargo, travel Splyt, rewards platform Liter, healthcare service Loon, art platform StartNet, lifestyle company Valor Index and credit platform MyCreditChain.
  • Utah County plans to allow disable voters to use a blockchain-based mobile app to vote in November, and one city hopes to use app for all of its citizens, who are mostly young, tech-savvy millennials, Computerworld reported.
  • In their Q3 2019 XRP Markets Report, Ripple shared that:

– The company “significantly reduced” their XRP sales, and total XRP sales in Q3 were USD 66.24 million compared to USD 251.51 million in Q2, which is a 73.7% decrease in sales in XRP quarter on quarter, as measured in USD.
– Overall market capitalization of digital assets decreased in Q3, with the overall market cap losing 30.4%. XRP price declined 35.4% quarter on quarter.
– Ripple decided to pause programmatic sales altogether, and focus our over-the-counter (OTC) sales “on a few strategic partners, who are building XRP utility and liquidity in regions that are strategically important to our growing global business, including EMEA and Asia.”
– Ripple’s XRP distribution rate since the beginning of the quarter has been lower compared to the inflation rates of ETH and LTC, and similar to BTC.
– 3 billion XRP were released out of cryptographic escrow, with 2.30 billion XRP returned to escrow.
– XRP is listed on over 140 exchanges worldwide.

  • The parent company of cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, iFinex Inc., has filed an application for discovery in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Southern California on October 18, 2019. According to the court filings, Bitfinex claims that the discovery concerns its attempts to recover USD 880 million of funds that it entrusted to Global Trade Solutions AG, aka Crypto Capital, and which the company allegedly wasn’t able to access from December 2018 at least. On its side, Crypto Capital claims that its bank accounts in Poland, Portugal, the UK and the U.S. have been seized or frozen by government agencies. The exchange, however, requested a subpoena for taking the deposition testimony of Rondell “Rhon” Clyde Monroe, a former vice president of TCA Bancorp, who is allegedly in possession of information and documents relevant to the case. Bitfinex claims that Monroe and TCA Bancorp also hold USD 306 million of Bitfinex funds.

Regulation news

  • Yulia Kurkina, the director-general of the Eurasian Center for Innovation and the Digital Economy, has stated that CIS nations are likely to hold fire on cryptocurrency and blockchain regulations for the foreseeable future. At a summit in St Petersburg, Russia, Kurkina stated, according to EA Daily, that CIS states would likely prefer to sit and wait to see what other countries are doing and look for a good example to follow instead of issuing pre-emptive regulations.
  • Companies planning to use the security token method (STO) method for issuing tokens qualified as transferable securities or other financial instruments will have to comply with EU and national legislation regulating capital-raising activities, the Bank of Lithuania said in its Guidelines on STO. A case-by-case approach might be required to determine the nature of STOs and their legal classification within the Lithuanian and EU law in some specific cases, it added.

Investment news

  • South Korean blockchain real estate startup Kasa says that it has raised USD 6 million in investment. Per Fn News, the company says its major investors include the likes of the Kakao Group, Shinhan Bank and Woomi Construction.
  • MediaLab, a holding company and owner of brands like Whisper and Datpiff, announced that they’ve finalized an agreement with Kik Interactive to acquire the Kik Messenger app. “Kik is here to stay,” says the new owner, adding that they will be working on improving the app and expanding Kik integration. As reported, Kik Interactive decided to shut down the app in September.

Mining news

  • Mining hardware giant, Bitmain, has announced the launch of its 50MW mining farm in Rockdale, Texas, which can expand to a capacity of more than 300MW. “We are excited to launch this facility, which is significant to Bitmain’s global expansion plans,” said Clinton Brown, Rockdale Lead Project Manager for Bitmain. “The stable and efficient energy resources in Texas are fundamental to the inevitable scale of growth for the cryptocurrency mining industry.”