25-year-old Serbian and Italian citizen Martin Marisch was arrested at San Francisco International Airport on August 8 and charged with an alleged hack of Electronic Art’s gaming servers that resulted in the theft of roughly $324,000 of EA’s in-game currency. On Thursday, a federal court judged ruled that he could be released to a halfway house while awaiting trial, if he paid $750,000 bail using Bitcoin or some other form of cryptocurrency.
On Friday, The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published an updated warning on its website about the danger of cryptocurrency investment scams, advising consumers to be skeptical of online ads that promise “high returns on investments in cryptocurrencies.” The warning also reminded consumers that the FCA has no regulatory authority over cryptocurrencies.
California resident Michael Terpin has filed a lawsuit against telecommunications firm AT&T, alleging that the company’s negligence caused him to suffer cryptocurrency losses totaling about $24 million. He filed the complaint in a Los Angeles District Court on Wednesday, according to a report from CNBC that noted the full scope of damages sought by the plaintiff:
In a recent interview with Bloomberg at the Players Technology Summit in San Francisco, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said that Bitcoin adoption and use is growing every year. However, he suggested that real mass adoption of Bitcoin as a payment solution is going to take time. Armstrong compared the industry’s growth with that of the internet nearly two decades ago:
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of investor Education and Advocacy recently published a new Investor Alert focused on risks associated with unregulated self-directed Individual Retirement Accounts. The alert advised investors to be cautious when dealing with this type of IRA, citing “unique risks” that include potential investment in digital assets like cryptocurrency:
In an August 12 announcement, Saudi Arabia’s Standing Committee for Awareness on Dealing in Unauthorized Securities Activities in the Foreign Exchange Market declared digital currency trading to be illegal “inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” The committee statement cited issues with security, regulatory concerns, and market risks as reasons for its warning:
In an op-ed published this week, noted economist and American Institute for Economic Research Editorial Director Jeffrey A. Tucker suggested that governments and central banks should maintain a hands-off approach to cryptocurrency and other innovations.
Golden Gate Ventures has announced that it plans to launch a $10 million cryptocurrency and blockchain startup investment fund, according to TechCrunch and other media outlets. The Singapore company’s new fund will be called LuneX Ventures and will focus investments on “early-stage” cryptocurrency exchanges, security firms, and similar digital currency and blockchain-related projects.
Polls are often maligned by those who dislike their results, but few can argue with their important role in providing a snapshot into people’s current attitudes, priorities, and opinions. A recent survey conducted by Gem and Harris Insights polled more than 2,000 American adults to gauge their interest in digital currencies like Bitcoin.
During an appearance on CNBC’s Fast Money on Wednesday, Pantera Capital CEO Dan Morehead suggested that Bitcoin investors have been too focused on attempts to gain approval for a Bitcoin ETF. Morehead said that those investors have been overreacting to news that the SEC has postponed a decision on the proposed VanEck and SolidX ETF. He also predicted that it may be a “long time until an ETF is approved.”
Swiss private bank Maerki Baumann is now offering banking services to blockchain and digital currency companies, according to International Investment. The decision comes as a number of cryptocurrency firms have moved to jurisdictions outside Switzerland, sparking concern from Swiss regulators.
For some time now, critics of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have argued that the technology is almost exclusively used for criminal activities. However, analysis by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) indicates that the opposite is now true. DEA special agent Lilita Infante has suggested that as much as 90% of cryptocurrency activity is driven by speculators engaged in legal trading of digital currencies, according to a new report from Bloomberg.
China’s Legal Weekly has reported that a Chinese OKCoin customer has filed suit against the cryptocurrency exchange, alleging that it failed to allow him to withdraw the Bitcoin Cash he was entitled to after the 2017 Bitcoin hard fork. He is seeking $25,000 from the exchange, as well as additional compensation to cover losses sustained by his inability to liquidate his Bitcoin Cash at its higher price point last December.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is reportedly looking into cryptocurrency deals at brokerages, according to a report from Bloomberg. The regulatory agency is seeking answers to questions about brokerage business practices involving trading fees, financing, and ICOs.
Cryptocurrency enthusiasts could soon be able to pay for Starbucks offerings using Bitcoin, according to a report from CNBC. The coffee icon has partnered with Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Microsoft, and others to collaborate on a new global digital assets platform that will facilitate consumer cryptocurrency transactions.
Coinbase customers in the UK will now be allowed to purchase digital currency on the exchange using the British Pound, instead of being forced to rely on the euro for those transactions. The change was announced by Coinbase in a blog post on Wednesday.
Investment banking firm UBS may not be completely dismissing Bitcoin’s potential to eventually become a viable form of payment, but it clearly believes that the world’s most well-known digital currency is not yet ready to play a mainstream role as real money.
North Carolina’s election officials have determined that candidates for state offices will not be permitted to accept cryptocurrency donations for their campaigns, according to News & Observer. The decision was made in response to an inquiry from Republican Emmanuel Wilder who had the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement to provide formal guidance on the issue.
Two weeks ago, a Greek court ruled in favor of a French request to extradite Alexander Vinnik, the former Bitcoin exchange operator who has been accused of various fraudulent activities by France, the United States, and Russia. On Monday, a panel of senior judges in Thessaloniki approved a new Russian extradition request for the suspect.
Cryptocurrency exchange Blocktrade.com is now open for beta testing, becoming the first fully-regulated digital currency exchange, according to Forbes. The new exchange will offer trading for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple, with plans to list “Crypto Traded Indices™. Security Tokens, and Tokenised Assets” later in the year.