An article that was published not too long ago states that a judge working in a court in Colombia recently presided over the first legal hearing that was conducted in the metaverse. According to the court, the proceedings seemed “more authentic than a video conversation.”
According to a report that was made public by Reuters on the 24th of February, on the 15th of February, the Magdalena Administrative Court of Colombia held a court case in the metaverse, which comprised participants involved in a traffic dispute.
The complaint that was launched against the police lasted for two hours, was brought forward by a regional transport union, and will “partially” continue in the metaverse. It is not out of the question that the verdict will also be arrived at in the metaverse.
A virtual courtroom was occupied by the avatars of the participants, and the magistrate, Maria Quinones Triana, wore black robes that were suitable for the proceedings.
It has been said that Columbia is one of the first countries in the world to experiment with having judicial proceedings take place in the metaverse. According to a remark that Reuters obtained from Quinones, he described the encounter as feeling “more authentic than a video conversation.”
This comes as a result of a recent study that was carried out and published by CoinWire on January 16th, which indicated that 69% of respondents think that the metaverse will ultimately affect social behaviors as a result of new ways used for leisure and activities. This comes as a result of the fact that 69% of respondents think that the metaverse will ultimately affect social behaviors as a result of new ways used for leisure and activities.
If this is taken into account, then, in Hackl’s opinion, “how we socialize will be deeply impacted by the metaverse.”
Experiences in the metaverse were available for guests to partake in at the World Economic Forum that took place in January of this year. Participants at the conference were offered the chance to take part in the “Global Collaboration Village,” which was the name given to the forum’s very own 3D immersive digital sessions. These sessions were available to them throughout the conference.
A recent report from Reuters is yet again indicting Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency trading platform.
The report said the exchange permitted Iranian users to trade on its platform after the United States reimposed sanctions on the country back in 2018.
According to the authors of the report, as many as 7 Iranians have confirmed that they maintained the use of the Binance platform from the time of the sanction back in August-November 2018 until September last year. Many of those who spoke to Reuters acknowledge the ease of use of the Binance platform which further offers very robust liquidity for a wide range of crypto assets.
Back in 2015, Iran inked a nuclear pact with world dealers making the US and other Western allies taper down some of their sanctions on the country at the time. The US reimposed the sanctions when the withdrawal of the US by former President Donald Trump from the Iranian peace deal. The setback of these sanctions fueled a massive decline in the Iranian economy, and an attractive basis for traders to rely on cryptocurrencies, through the Binance exchange.
Access to the Binance platform by the Iranian traders was cut off around last year September. However, the trading platform according to lawyers who spoke to Reuters stands a risk of being investigated by the US government. Although there is a point of whether the usage of the exchange was primarily focused on users using the trading platform to circumvent the sanctions, a trend that can tell if Binance will go scot-free.
Binance is always in the cross-hairs with the media when it comes to its operational ethics. Reuters has been particularly interested in Binance, as the renowned media outfit said back in June, this year that Binance was used as a conduit for money laundering and has facilitated as much as $2.4 billion in transactions.
Binance has denied these claims as well as other claims flying around with a confirmation that the exchange is renewing its approaches to maintain a healthy relationship with regulators. This is seen in the series of approvals to operate in key economies the firm has received, the latest of which is Spain.
Binance trading platform denied all allegations of facilitating around $2.4 billion in illicit funds from world-acclaimed criminal organizations like Lazarus Group and Hydra.
Previously, Reuters reported indicating the crypto exchange that involves illicit activities. However, the exchange has denied any wrongdoing from the report, criticizing the coverage was based on cherry-picked facts and that the journalists from Reuters failed to conduct comprehensive interviews with the relevant personnel to come to their conclusions.
Binance has often been ranked as the biggest trading platform in terms of trading volume, generally known as a hub for retail and corporate investors. The exchange has also claimed it has a very proactive Anti-Money Laundering policy many times. This provision detects illicit transactions it is being accused of facilitating by Reuters.
Binance reiterated it has continued to work with regulators to fish out illicit activities. The exchange said illicit transactions in the crypto ecosystem pale when compared to the broader financial ecosystem, but journalists hardly pick up these salient facts.
“Of all transactions made with cryptocurrencies in 2021, 0.15% were associated with some type of illicit activity,” the exchange wrote, “The UN estimates that between 2% to 5% of traditional fiat (cash), about $800 billion to $2 trillion in current US dollars, was associated with some illicit activity. Crypto is incredibly transparent, infinitely more so than the traditional cash economy, and this is well-documented.”
In bolstering the claims of Binance, CEO, Changpeng Zhao announced earlier in April that it was able to recoup as much as $5.8 million in funds linked to Lazarus Group and the Axie Infinity’s Ronin Bridge attack that saw about $620 million pulled from the protocol. Binance is often a subject of controversial media reports, making this Reuter’s buzz not surprising.
Binance exchange has responded to allegations by Reuters that its Russian subsidiary has close ties to the country’s financial regulator called Rosfinmonitoring.
In the Reuters report, it was alleged that Binance shared its user data with Rosfinmonitoring in a bid to track down donations made to the opposition leader, Alexei Navalny.
Binance categorically called the Reuters report a “false narrative” and provided a context in which its relationship with Rosfin was no different from those it had with other regulators in other countries.
Binance said the allegations that it shares user’s data with the law enforcement agencies are misconstrued and that as a business operating in Russia, it is obligated to respond to any request from a regulator requiring it to provide any information regarding its operations, provided it is within the confines of the law.
With Binance disagreeing with the Reuters publication, the exchange said it would be filing an official complaint based on the media platform’s own editorial code.
“Reuters, one of the most esteemed and trusted news agencies, published this article that completely contradicts the reputation this outlet has built over the years and is not representative of our experience working with countless other journalists in their organisation, ” the exchange wrote. To this end, we will be writing a formal complaint to Reuters under their own editorial code..”
Binance unequivocally stated that it is not assisting the Russian government in its effort to crack down on Alexei Navalny and that it is the only exchange to have implemented the latest sanctions levied on Russia by the European Union Council with the newly introduced restrictions as reported by Blockchain.News.
In its bid to foster transparency, Binance published the email trail of conversations between its head of Eastern Europe and Russia, Gleb Kostarev, and the Reuters journalists detailing the exchange of information that led to the allegation publication.
Binance is always in the cross-hairs with media firms. Back in October 2020, Forbes published an allegation that Binance.US was established in order to distract regulators in a bid to evade its tax obligations. The exchange came out to deny the report as well.
In a report published on Friday, Reuters laid out the findings of its investigation into the regulatory compliance practices of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume.
The authors suggest the existence of a recurring pattern whereby the company’s CEO Changpeng Zhao, while proclaiming its openness to government oversight, ran an organization that systematically denied regulators’ requests for financial and corporate structure information and shirked proper client background checks.
The reported findings are based on the accounts of Binance’s former senior employees and advisers, as well as the review of documents such as internal correspondence and confidential messages between several national regulators and the company. According to the document, several high-ranking employees have repeatedly raised concerns of weak Know Your Customer/Anti-Money Laundering (KYC/AML) standards at the company but were ignored by the CEO.
Additionally, the company reportedly acted against the recommendations of its own compliance department when it continued onboarding new customers from seven countries designated to be of extreme money-laundering risk.
The big-picture takeaway that the authors of the report offered is that the described pattern of behavior allowed Binance to maintain ambiguous jurisdictional affiliation and opaque corporate structure while offering financial products that would normally require regulatory approval or licensing in many of its countries of operation.
In response to Reuters’ inquiry, the company spokesperson said that the report’s findings were based on outdated or outright incorrect information. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao later commented via Twitter saying:
FUD. Journalists talking to people who were let go from Binance and partners that didn’t work out trying to smear us. We are focused on anti-money laundering, transparent and welcome regulation. Action speaks louder than words. Thank you for your unwavering support!
— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) January 21, 2022
As Cointelegraph reported, despite ongoing investigations into suspicious activity on its platform in several jurisdictions, Binance continues expanding into new markets, with the most recent move tied to a possible deployment in Thailand.
The biggest property developer in China, Evergrande, seems to be on the verge of collapse. They apparently owe $300B. Is bankruptcy on the table? There’s a better question, though. Is Evergrande the only company in the sector with these kinds of debts? Or is Evergrande just a symptom of a widespread disease? And, how does this relate to Bitcoin? Do we present a valid case or are we reaching? Is this “China’s Lehman moment,” as the following Bitcoin analyst suggests?
Related Reading | New To Bitcoin? Learn To Trade Crypto With The NewsBTC Trading Course
What we know for sure is that “China’s major banks have been notified by the housing authority that Evergrande Group won’t be able to pay loan interest due Sept. 20,“ according to Reuters. Plan B’s comment sets the tone, and the video shows the intensity of the situation:
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China’s Lehman moment. The money printing will be massive, I repeat MASSIVE! This is good for #bitcoin https://t.co/lAdSMhnk3L
— PlanB (@100trillionUSD) September 15, 2021
Check yesterday’s date. Well, on September 15th, 2008, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. Let’squote Investopediafor a quick recapitulation.
“At the time of its collapse, Lehman was the fourth-largest investment bank in the United States with 25,000 employees worldwide. It had $639 billion in assets and $613 billion in liabilities. The bank became a symbol of the excesses of the 2007-08 Financial Crisis, engulfed by the subprime meltdown that swept through financial markets and cost an estimated $10 trillion in lost economic output.”
Is China living through a similar situation right this minute?
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How Did China Evergrande Get Here?
A few days ago, on September 13th, theSouth China Morning Postseemed cautiously optimistic about the situation. They explained the root of the issue:
“Reports about missed payments to contractors, attempts to reschedule payments on wealth management products, and failure to sell assets have prompted Chinese regulators and the central bank to intervene to prevent a shock to the financial system.”
At the time, the big news was that they hired “Houlihan Lokey and Hong Kong-based investment bank Admiralty Harbour Capital to assess its capital structure, evaluate the liquidity and explore ways to ease its current liquidity crunch.” And you know what that meant:
“Hiring such financial advisers means Evergrande has come to a serious stage of listing what it owns, what it owes and what are the best plans” to extricate itself, said Lung Siu-fung, an analyst with CCB International.
The writing was on the wall.
Evergrande price chart on HKEX | Source: 3333 on TradingView.com
Where Are We Now? Is China Really In Trouble?
Apparently, China Evergrande was caught in a loop. The company was pre-selling apartments and using that money to fund other projects, in which they also pre-sold the apartments and the cycle started again. Evergrande bonds are suspended, and there’s a chance they’re worthless. The stock is near its all-time low, it has lost nearly 80% of its value this year.
Completing the story,CNBC informs:
“The company warned investors twice in as many weeks that it could default. On Tuesday, Evergrande said it’s at risk of a cross default, which means such risks could spill into other related sectors.
Evergrande said Tuesday its property sales would continue to deteriorate significantly this month, adding to its severe cash flow problems.”
Is there a possibility that Evergrande’s problems are the symptom of a widespread disease? That’s the $1M question. Is the real state sector really in trouble? For that answer, we have to go toZeroHedge’s report:
“Country Garden, the nation’s largest developer by sales, plunged 16% in the past two days, while Gemdale slumped 12% as a gauge of property shares in Shanghai tumbled almost 5% in the period, with valuations firmly below book value. Following the news, Guangzhou R&F Properties drops 10.8% to the lowest since Dec. 2008 while Greentown China -9.1%. At this point, one can safely call it a crisis.”
How Does Evergrande Relate To Bitcoin?
China’s Bitcoin policy doesn’t make sense. Regulating themselves out of the leadership position in the most important industry of our times is a hard pill to swallow. There has to be something else going on. We at NewsBTC have been on the case. We exploredthe Digital Yuan CBDCangle. We looked at ads sellingsmall hydropower stations. We discoveredChina’s dominance over the Bitcoin hashratewas waning before the ban. And we detailedthe so-called new “China Model.”
The guaranteed outcome of fractional reserve banking: Impairment of promises. It’s just a matter of when and at what magnitude. The impairment of credit will cascade to other balance sheets unless central planners debase the currency via QE, UBI, and/or debt forgiveness. BRRRRR
— Preston Pysh (@PrestonPysh) September 15, 2021
Under Plan B’s original tweet, two comments attract attention. Investor and podcaster Preston Pysh feels that the situation is “The guaranteed outcome of fractional reserve banking: Impairment of promises. It’s just a matter of when and at what magnitude.” And the person behindDocumenting Bitcoin goes conspiratorialand says, “They knew this was coming. Perhaps this is why they “banned” bitcoin.” That, as you might imagine, opens a huge can of worms.
Related Reading | Since China’s Mining Ban, Bitcoin Hashrate Has Recovered by 68% And Counting
Full of confidence, Plan B responds, “Yes, and they closed the exits, typical they always do that.” Bad for the people in China but, in general, bullish for Bitcoin. To recap: the government saw this coming from a distance. They knew the crisis was going to repeatedly hit the country and banned Bitcoin mining to scare the population into not buying the hardest asset ever created. Bitcoin, the true hedge against the collapse of every economy. In any case, the Chinese government will probably try to print its way out of this one. And somehow it’s going to use this crisis to unveil their Digital Yuan CBDC.
Does the theory sound coherent to you? Or is there even more to this story?
Featured Image by Li Yang on Unsplash - Charts by TradingView
The mystery of the Chivo wallet persists. And Bitso comes into the picture as part of a more credible report confirmed through official channels. It seems like NewsBTC was right to doubt Forbes’s article aboutBitGo being behind the Chivowallet. ThisReuters report, on the other hand, comes with specific information and quotes confirming the news. For example:
“We are looking forward to working with El Salvador in an initiative that will transform payment structures and increase financial inclusion in the country,” said Santiago Alvarado, vice-president of Bitso for Business.
Related Reading | Bitcoin Price Bloodbath: Is El Salvador A “Sell The News” Event?
Even that could be considered evasive, it doesn’t refer to the Chivo wallet specifically. This chunky bit of information, on the other hand, leaves little to the imagination.
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“Bitso said it will work with Silvergate Bank, a U.S. federally-regulated and California state-chartered bank, to facilitate transactions in U.S. dollars.”
The language suggests they’re talking business.
El Salvador made history by becoming the first country to make Bitcoin legal tender, and today, we’re proud to announce that Bitso is committed to building and developing El Salvador’s vision of Bitcoin by being the core crypto-service provider for Chivo.
Let’s #MakeCryptoUseful https://t.co/2rrTNDdXab
— Bitso (@Bitso) September 7, 2021
If Bitso Is Behind The Wallet, What’s The Deal With BitGo?
On the other hand, in the BitGo report, the language suggested otherwise. The quote from BitGo’s CEO was non-comital and it all sounded like a paid press release. NewsBTC questioned:
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“The most worrying sentence, however, is “Forbes has learned El Salvador appears to have tapped…” They’re not committing to anything here. It “appears” this way, but nothing is certain.”
However, could both companies be involved? Reuters says Bitso will be “the core service provider for Chivo.” Forbes said that BitGo would “provide Chivo’s wallet infrastructure and security platform.” Are both of these statements contradictory? Or are both of these giant companies behind the controversial Chivo wallet?
A funny detail is that Bitso’s name was present in theleak of the Chivo wallet’s architecturethat our sister site Bitcoinist reported on. BitGo’s name wasn’t. And Athena was at the center of the whole operation. Still, it’s a funny detail.
One thing’s for sure, Strike seems to be completely out of the picture. In a recent Twitter thread, Strike’s CEO Jack Mallers clearly said “Strike has no business relationship with Chivo wallet or any of their ATMs.”
All that was needed was interoperability with the #Bitcoin network.
Strike has no business relationship with @chivowallet or any of their ATMs.
We simply both integrated and operate on top of the same, singular, payment standard that is #Bitcoin and the Lightning Network.
— Jack Mallers (@jackmallers) September 7, 2021
Mallers seems to be perfectly fine with the situation. “With the Bitcoin network, there is one singular, open standard for the world,” he says later on in the thread.
BTC price chart for 09/10/2021 on Bittrex | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com
Remittances Are The Key
In the days prior to the Bitcoin Law coming into effect, Bitcoinist quoted the executive president of theCentral American Bank for Economic Integration, Dante Mossi. He said their eyes were on remittances and that:
“Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are the countries that would have the most to gain if the adoption of bitcoin lowered the cost of sending remittances.” All countries in his organization’s area of influence.
Instead of focusing on how much Salvadorans are going to get back, a recent report abouthow much Western Union is going to lose with El Salvador’sBitcoin move recently made the news. About it, Bitcoinist said:
“With bitcoin though, the middleman, in this case, Western Union and the likes, are completely removed from the process. The funds sent go directly to the recipient without the need for a processing fee to a third party. It is estimated that these remittance companies are set to lose about $400 million a year when remittances are routed through bitcoin instead.”
Related Reading | Bitso Raises Over US$1.85m to Boost Mexican Bitcoin Remittance
As it turns out, remittances are Bitso ’s specialty. The company processed “more than $1.2 billion in remittances between the United States and Mexico in 2020.” In the article, Reuters quotes Santiago Alvarado again:
“As the leading crypto exchange in the region, we are thrilled to bring our experience in remittances and in secure and low-friction financial services to Salvadorans.”
So, this all makes sense. Still, the mystery of the Chivo wallet persists.
Featured Image by Thomas Jarrand on Unsplash - Charts by TradingView
Major global interdealer broker TP ICAP is launching a cryptocurrency trading platform with Fidelity Investments and British banking giant Standard Chartered.
TP ICAP’s upcoming crypto exchange is scheduled for launch in the second half of 2021 and will initially offer trading exclusively for Bitcoin (BTC), the world’s largest cryptocurrency, Reuters reported Tuesday. Other digital assets like Ether (ETH) will be added at a later stage.
Unlike the majority of typical crypto exchanges, TP ICAP’s crypto trading platform will offer post-trade infrastructure with a network of digital asset custodians as well as separate execution and settlement, intending to cut credit risks. The platform will use Standard Chartered’s digital assets custody unit known as Zodia custody, an institutional-grade crypto custody solution launched in December 2020. Amsterdam-based market maker Flow Traders will provide liquidity to the platform.
According to the report, the platform is awaiting approval from the United Kingdom’s financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority. Neither Standard Chartered nor Fidelity Investments have invested in the platform, ICAP told reporters.
Duncan Trenholme, ICAP’s co-head of digital assets, said that investor demand for crypto as a new asset class has exploded over the past six to eight months. “In most of our conversations with clients, they want a separation of custodial roles from execution capabilities which is opposite to the models that exist currently,” he noted.
Related:Standard Chartered plans European crypto exchange after HSBC says ‘no’ to industry
TP ICAP has been actively moving into crypto in recent years, introducing a number of crypto-related services. In June 2019, ICAP entered the crypto derivatives market, allowing its customers to buy or sell Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s Bitcoin futures. The company was also planning to add support for Bitcoin forward contracts settlement.
The Minister of Finance of India, Nirmala Sitharaman, has given a ray of hope for the Indian cryptocurrency community, as more fear, uncertainty and doubt circulate regarding a supposedly impending ban on digital assets.
In a March 13 interview with India Today, Sitharaman emphasized that the ministry does not plan to shut off India innovations associated with Bitcoin (BTC) and its underlying blockchain technology.
“From our side, we are very clear that we are not shutting all options off. We will allow certain windows for people use, so that experiments on the blockchain, bitcoins or cryptocurrency. […] and fintech, which depend on such experiments, will have that window available for them. We are not going to shut it off,” she said.
Sitharaman said that the ministry is finalizing a Cabinet note on crypto as India continues formulating its official stance on the asset class. “It is nearing completion, and then it will be taken to the Cabinet. The Supreme Court had commented on cryptocurrency. We are very clear that the Reserve Bank of India will take a call on an official cryptocurrency,” she said.
After India’s supreme court lifted a crypto banking ban one year ago, reports of a new ban started circulating in early 2021. In February, another anonymous Indian official claimed that the government was about to introduce a complete ban on crypto, giving investors up to six months to liquidate their holdings.
On Sunday, Reuters published a report citing an anonymous senior government official who claimed that India is preparing to enforce a blanket ban on crypto and impose major penalties on rule-breakers. As part of an alleged bill, India is planning to criminalize “possession, issuance, mining, trading and transferring crypto-assets,” the source claimed.
Despite reports of a ban from anonymous sources continuing to surface, Sitharaman said in early March that the ministry wants to form a “calibrated” stance on digital assets.
Nischal Shetty, the founder of local crypto exchange WazirX, seemed optimistic about Sitharaman’s comments in a tweet, stating that it is time for the Indian crypto community to build.
There you go! #Bitcoin crypto will NOT be shut off.
CBDC does not mean shutting off other Crypto assets & utilities.
India, your time is here. Time to BUIDL and win
Thank you @nsitharaman ji, you’ve brought joy to this sector#IndiaWantsCryptopic.twitter.com/mySjPkoyt0
— Nischal (WazirX) ⚡️ (@NischalShetty) March 14, 2021
The RBI and the Ministry of Finance did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.