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Bitfinex to Face New York Courts Over Missing $850 Million in Cryptocurrency Funds

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A New York state court ruled that the exchange, and companies connected to it, must face court claims according to Bloomberg. Last year, New York Attorney General Letitia James accused Bitfinex of hiding the loss of more than $850 million in client and corporate funds.

Panama Firm in The Spotlight

The firms in question have made claims that the funds were deposited in a company called Crypto Capital Corp, based in Panama. These were then seized by various governmental authorities and the exchange has been battling to recover them ever since. Last year, the New York Attorney General accused Bitfinex of hiding more than $800 in losses.

Bitfinex was founded in 2012, and became the largest international cryptocurrency exchange after Mt. Gox imploded in 2014. It has been embroiled in controversy surrounding its stablecoin, Tether, and whether it is actually backed by real dollars.

Tether market capitalization has surged this year as its treasury keeps minting more tokens to keep up with demand. So far in 2020, USDT has surged 125% in terms of market capitalization from $4.1 billion to $9.2 billion according to CoinMarketCap.com. It is currently the third-largest cryptocurrency in terms of market cap, and the provider of the majority of liquidity on exchanges around the world.

Crypto Capital Corp has been repeatedly accused of money laundering and spurious activities shuffling Tether around through a number of shell companies.

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The appeals court rejected the argument that Tether is not a security or commodity, and reaffirmed that the court has jurisdiction over its issuer.

Bloomberg added that the court also rejected the argument that since Bitfinex is not based in New York, it shouldn’t be answerable to or have to produce certain documents for New York authorities. It added that traders based in New York had been using Tether. The Attorney General added;

“Today’s decision validates our office’s ability to use its broad and comprehensive investigative powers to protect New Yorkers. Not even virtual currencies are above the law. We are pleased with the court’s decision, and will continue to protect the interest of investors in the marketplace.”

What is Backing Tether?

Bitfinex has been very cagey regarding the true backing behind Tether, changing its statement in 2018 to read;

“Every tether is always 100% backed by our reserves, which include traditional currency and cash equivalents and, from time to time, may include other assets and receivables from loans made by Tether to third parties, which may include affiliated entities (collectively, “reserves”)”

This rather vague declaration only deepens the doubt around the crypto exchange and the world’s largest stablecoin. It seems that the courts, in New York at least, also want some answers.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/bitfinex-to-face-new-york-courts-over-missing-850-million-in-cryptocurrency-funds/

Blockchain

Venezuela May Soon Be Collecting Taxes in Crypto

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The Bolivarian Council of Mayors in Venezuela signed the so-called “National Tax Harmonization Agreement” for 305 municipalities in the country, including the Petro (PTR) as a means to collect payments of taxes and sanctions.

The cryptocurrency is becoming increasingly widely used as the result of a new campaign. 

According to the government, the vice president of Venezuela, Delcy Rodríguez, will be in charge of implementing a single registry of taxpayers through a digital consultation tool.

She will also be in charge of creating an information exchange and monitoring system for companies to record payments in the state cryptocurrency.

In Venezuela, there are 335 mayors, with 91% of them under the mandate of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, PSUV. Only 30 mayors are led by opponents of the regime of Nicolás Maduro. 

The non-Maduro-supported municipal governments are continuing to collect tax payments in the Venezuelan fiat currency, Bolívar, as some do not have the appropriate technology to process Petro payments.

Vice President Rodríguez commented in the announcement:

“It is the simplification of procedures, making the State’s administrative activity at the service of the people more efficient, of the economic sectors that stimulate economic activity in the productive and commercial areas, framed in this week of flexibility that began on Monday.”

The Venezuelan government announced on June 11 that almost 15% of all fuel payments at petrol stations across the country were made using the Petro (PTR). This rise comes during the first week of the new state-backed plan to promote widespread use of the token.

According to reports from local media outlets, 40% of the PTR transactions passed through the foreign petrol stations.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/venezuela-may-soon-be-collecting-taxes-in-crypto

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Animoca Targets Non-Crypto Gamers by Developing Big Brand Games

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While investment is heating up in the blockchain gaming sector, a common criticism of crypto-powered games has been how to secure users from outside of the cryptocurrency space.

Blockchain gaming powerhouse, Animoca Brands, believes that acquiring mainstream games with loyal players and exposing them to the benefits of blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) is the best way to attract new audiences into crypto.

Cointelegraph spoke to Yat Siu, the chief executive of Animoca Brands, to learn about his firm’s strategy for bridging the gap between the mainstream gaming and crypto worlds.

Animoca Brands has quickly emerged as a leading firm within the crypto gaming sector, securing a global licensing agreement with Formula 1 ahead of its F1 Delta Time release, and announcing a $3 million initial exchange offering (IEO) for its title The Sandbox on Binance’s launchpad last week.

Siu described The Sandbox as a prime example of how strategic acquisitions have allowed Animoca to capture non-crypto-native audiences and expose them to blockchain technologies.

“When we do acquisitions, we’re not buying companies that are necessarily blockchain-related,” Siu said. “When we acquired the company Excel, it was a traditional mobile game developer that had the Sandbox game that wasn’t yet fully on blockchain, although they had the vision to go there,” he continued.

“We’re not just acquiring a talented team that could make stuff on blockchain, but we are also acquiring customers that already play the game — and these are gamers that we can transfer over.“

A stake in a game’s success

Siu emphasized that Animoca’s seeks to acquire games that “already have a captive audience that is already generating revenue [and] already loving the product as it is.”

“By giving it the benefits of blockchain technology, those gamers will get an additional benefit that we think is very powerful,” he added.

Siu described blockchain as driving a disruption to the gaming industry akin to the emergence of online gaming, but with very different concepts around “ownership and value.”

“Ownership allows [gamers] to actually have a stake in the success of the game.”

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/animoca-targets-non-crypto-gamers-by-developing-big-brand-games

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Flipstarter Campaign Launched to Create Viral BCH Videos for Normies

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Bitcoin Cash (BCH) advocate and CEO of BitcoinBCH.com, Hayden Otto, has launched a fundraising campaign to create viral videos promoting BCH to mainstream audiences — after failing to win over crypto converts to the cause.

The last video produced by Otto garnered more than 100,000 views across various social platforms. He was also behind a controversial viral video last year showing a Bitcoin double spending exploit of the Binance-backed TravelbyBit payment network

The campaign aims to raise 650 BCH (nearly $180,000) and has garnered 192.52 BCH (roughly $53,000) in donations already in the first 48 hours.

The campaign is hosted on Flipstarter, a BCH-powered fundraising platform that has facilitated more than 2,900 BCH worth of contributions toward various initiatives in support of  Bitcoin Cash development.

The funds will be used to create videos with a budget of either $5,000 or $10,000 each to be posted to Youtube, Lbry.io, and Bitchute, alongside other “alternative streaming sites.” 

Fund marketing, not development

Otto told Cointelegraph he decided to start the campaign after noting several BCH supporters “saying that they would prefer to donate to Bitcoin Cash marketing rather than development.”

Otto has spearheaded numerous marketing initiatives for BCH over the past three years, including “producing video content for online audiences, […] running meetups, or putting up signs/billboards.”

Otto asserted that financial support from the community would allow him to “supercharge” his promotional efforts. 

BitcoinBCH.com’s fleet of promotional vehicles

BitcoinBCH.com’s fleet of promotional vehicles

Otto emphasized the importance of exposing non-crypto-native audiences to Bitcoin Cash, telling Cointelegraph: “One mistake Bitcoin Cash supporters have made is that they have attempted to convert people to Bitcoin Cash that are already involved in cryptocurrency and ingrained in their beliefs.”

“There has been some success with getting this type of person on board […], but the target audience is too small,” he said.

Otto added that many “people who are already involved in crypto […] are price speculators” who desire “to make a quick buck on hype and things that’ll never achieve any real-world adoption.”

“It is far more effective to target individuals and businesses who have not yet experienced cryptocurrency, which is like 99% of the people on the planet.”

The Bitcoin Cash community partnered with rapper Lil Windex to release a music video and single title Bitcoin Ca$h in 2018. The video has more than 1.5 million views on YouTube.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/flipstarter-campaign-launched-to-create-viral-bch-videos-for-normies

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