The US Government’s Mixed Signals on Digital Currency Privacy

To look at the U.S. government, it is the best of times and the worst of times for personal financial privacy.  On the one hand, in comments before the Senate Financial Services Committee, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said his agency’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, is planning stricter regulations on anti-money laundering and crypto.  At the same time, the CEO of DropBit was arrested on money laundering charges around a bitcoin (BTC) mixing service he allegedly ran between 2014 and 2017. In this new enforcement regime, one of the government’s…

Binance Hires Ex-Uber Product Lead as VP of Global Expansion

A former Uber staffer has joined Binance to help the crypto exchange expand into new markets. Matt Shroder was announced as Binance’s “VP of Global Expansion Operations” on Thursday. He was previously Uber’s “Global Head of Product Operations.” Shroder’s new role will include helping the exchange scale its operations and services, especially in emerging markets. Speaking to CoinDesk, Shroder said he would build on Binance’s market-leading position by helping the exchange “develop more at a local level and differentiate products to further meet the needs of the diverse consumer base.”…

Wells Fargo Invests $5M in Startup Connecting Crypto Exchanges and Banks

Banking giant Wells Fargo is backing blockchain forensics firm Elliptic. Announced Thursday, the fresh $5 million from Wells Fargo Strategic Capital (WFSC) brings Elliptic’s Series B up to a total of $28 million. The investment is partly geared toward a recently launched product that helps crypto exchanges win banking relationships, Elliptic said. The product, Elliptic Discovery, provides a bill of health for over 200 crypto exchanges worldwide, covering everything from how they conduct know-your-customer (KYC) checks to whether they’re regulated in the first place. “Previously, a bank just didn’t know…

$400 Drop: Bitcoin Faces Correction After Rejection at Price Hurdle

Bitcoin could be staring deeper losses, having faced rejection at key price hurdle on Thursday. The top cryptocurrency by market value was seeing bids around $10,400 during the Asian trading hours. Buying interest weakened after the cryptocurrency failed to stay above Wednesday’s high of $10,500 and prices fell sharply to $10,077 around 08:30 UTC. Bitcoin is currently trading near $10,200, representing a 1 percent drop on a 24-hour basis, according to CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index. Overall, the trend remains bullish, with prices still up 42 percent on a year-to-date basis…

Could a Digital Dollar Compete on Privacy? Fed Chairman Powell Hints It Might

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has given advocates of financial privacy a glimmer of hope – and hinted at how the U.S. might competitively position a future digitized dollar. In testimony before Congress this week, Powell was asked whether the Fed had any “visibility” into China’s progress developing a central bank digital currency (CBDC). “Yes, we certainly have that,” Powell said. “But they’re in a completely different institutional context. For example, the idea of having a ledger where you know everybody’s payments, that’s not something that would be particularly attractive…

Options Protocol Brings ‘Insurance’ to DeFi Deposits on Compound

Trustless insurance has arrived on decentralized finance (DeFi). At least on the Compound protocol, the collateralized lending platform that runs on ethereum.  The new product, from a company called Opyn, allows people to take out options on stablecoin deposits, allowing users to hedge against the risk of a catastrophic event wiping out Compound’s books. “You can make a claim at any time. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone,” Zubin Koticha, one of the three co-founders behind the new product, told CoinDesk. The decentralized web may have reduced the…

US Military Contractor BAE Systems Wants to Hire ‘Cryptocurrency Exploiters’

One of the world’s largest defense contractors is seeking “cryptocurrency exploiters” to support a client based in Washington, D.C. Advertised on LinkedIn, the Virginia-based arm of BAE Systems is searching for candidates who can “demonstrate proficiency in cryptocurrency” and can move to the U.S. capital to “support a client’s operational requirements.” Successful candidates will either have to be a certified bitcoin professional or expert (CBP/X) – industry-standard certifications – or have a “substantive understanding” of cryptocurrencies. That will include expertise in elliptic curve algorithms and zero-knowledge proofs, as well as…

Tether Stablecoin Taps Chainalysis for Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Tools

Stablecoin issuer Tether is partnering with blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis to bolster its anti-money laundering tools. The companies announced Wednesday that Tether would apply Chainalysis’ “Know Your Transaction” tool for token issuers, allowing the stablecoin firm to monitor activity and “quickly understand the risk profile of each token holder,” according to a press release. USDT, the dollar-pegged stablecoin issued by Tether, is currently live on the omni, ethereum, EOS, liquid, tron and algorand blockchains. The company has also issued tokens pegged to gold (XAUT), the euro (EURT) and offshore Chinese…

Bitcoin Hits 5-Month High Following Fed Chair Powell’s Privacy Praise

Bitcoin’s (BTC) price is trending solidly back above the 5-digit figure mark. At around 15:00 UTC on Feb. 11, the price of BTC rose back above $10,000 from around $9,850 to $10,351 within an hour after succumbing to a small sell-off beneath the $10,000 level on Feb 10, CoinDesk BPI data shows. The peak figure represents BTC’s highest point in over five months and offers a shift in trend from bearish-to-bullish in the mid-term as it continues to print new highs in 2020. The recent rise in BTC’s price comes…

Top Bitcoin Developers Face Off in a Lightning-Powered Boxing Match

Wasabi Wallet developer nopara73 and BTCPay lead developer Nicolas Dorier faced off in a digital boxing match at bitcoin developer conference Advancing Bitcoin in London. In a video game from bitcoin startup Zebedee, the two developers played digital versions of themselves kicking and punching each other on a screen in front of a crowd of conference-goers. Beyond yielding a few laughs, the esports smackdown was meant to highlight the power of bitcoin’s lightning network – since the cutting-edge payments system is fast, cheap and lets users send tiny payments, even a…