US Homeland Security Charges LocalBitcoins Seller on Money Laundering Charges

Washington state resident Kenneth Warren Rhule has been charged with laundering over $140,000 in bitcoin after agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) made a series of undercover cash-for-crypto deals with the 26-year-old. Rhule faces multiple counts of operating an unlicensed bitcoin money transmitter business and laundering monetary instruments after allegedly meeting with government agents “posing as criminals” interested in buying untraceable bitcoin for their human trafficking operation. Rhule was a seller on LocalBitcoins, a peer-to-peer trading platform used worldwide. Rhule is said to have closed eight deals with the undercover…

Bithumb Taps Chainalysis for FATF-Grade Crypto Investigation Tool

Cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb is clamping down on suspicious transactions less than a week after South Korea, its home country, moved to enact tough new laws for the virtual asset space. Bithumb announced Tuesday it had deployed Chainalysis’ “Reactor” investigations tool to get ahead of illicit activity. Reactor, used in many cryptocurrency law enforcement actions, will help the exchange’s compliance officers police their network, according to a press release. The announcement follows the South Korean National Assembly’s early March vote to amend the Special Financial Transactions Information Act, which, once signed…

Pitch Deck Says Solana Is Courting Dish Network, Kik for Its ‘Web-Scale’ Blockchain

DISH Network, a major U.S. television services provider, and Kin, the payments platform built by Kik, are reportedly looking to tap up-and-coming Solana as the basis for their blockchain networks. According to a Solana pitch deck seen by CoinDesk, which indicates the company is looking to raise at least $2 million and potentially up to $12 million, software engineers at DISH could use Solana’s protocol as the basis for a tokenized 5G network that could be used to hire space on-chain for web-connected devices. DISH is reportedly nearing the final…

Unstoppable Domains Chrome Extension Lets Users Browse Ethereum-Based Sites

Unstoppable Domains, a censorship-resistant web developer, has released a Google Chrome extension in its bid to open up web 3.0. The extension will give users access to .crypto domain names directly from the Chrome browser, currently the most-used web browser. Developed by Unstoppable Domains, .crypto domains are smart contracts on the Ethereum network, meaning to take down a site an attacker would have to take down the overall network. The new tool closely follows Unstoppable Domains’ eponymous browser launch, unveiled at the ETHDenver conference in late February. But the two-year-old…

As Fed Contemplates Coronavirus-Prompted Easing, Bitcoin Traders Bet on Halving

U.S. stocks continue to reel over coronavirus-related fears, and investors are increasingly betting the Federal Reserve will slash interest rates to stabilize the economy and markets. But whether those investors turn to bitcoin (BTC) as a crisis hedge remains to be seen. Such action by the Fed could, in theory, help bitcoin prices since lower rates would likely reduce the appeal of income-yielding assets such as U.S. Treasury bonds, according to analysts tracking the 11-year-old cryptocurrency. So far, the Fed has not said whether it would cut rates, with Chair Jerome…

US House Committee to Hold Hearing on Blockchain Benefits for Small Businesses

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business is set to discuss the benefits blockchain technology can bring to entrepreneurs. Slated for March 4 at 16:30 UTC, the “Building Blocks of Change: The Benefits of Blockchain Technology for Small Businesses” hearing will explore the ways in which some startups are utilizing blockchain technology to boost productivity and increase security. “Blockchain has many other uses, including tracking goods in global supply chains or enabling peer-to-peer transactions between connected devices,” said committee chairwoman Nydia M. Velazquez in a recent notice. Several…

Coronavirus Hits US Stocks, Bitcoin Climbs, Haven Status Unclear

The spreading coronavirus sowed a new bout of fear among investors, triggering a stock market sell-off and flight to safe-haven assets like gold and U.S. Treasury bonds, with 47 countries now reporting infections amid widespread reports of travel cancellations, shipment delays and business interruptions. U.S. stocks fell for the sixth straight day, Treasury yields slid to a record low and gold prices were little changed close to a seven-year high. Bitcoin’s price climbed 1.4 percent to $8,902, rising along with popular cryptocurrencies including ether. Analysts for the Wall Street firm…

Ripple Class-Action Lawsuit Can Proceed, Judge Rules

A lawsuit claiming Ripple violated securities laws will be allowed to move forward – though with a caveat favorable to the San Francisco-based payments firm. In a ruling Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton, of the Northern District of California, allowed a putative class-action lawsuit by retail XRP (XRP) buyers to proceed. Hamilton said the suit can include claims filed under federal law but dismissed some claims filed under California state law. Plaintiffs can refile some of the claims under California law in an amended complaint within 28 days, she…

Singapore’s Court of Appeals Rules Quoine Exchange in Breach of Contract in Landmark Crypto Case

Singapore’s Court of Appeals has ruled against digital currency exchange Quoine on Monday in a landmark case relating to a breach of contract that saw the platform unlawfully reverse seven trades. The Straits Times reports that the case marks the first of its kind in the country’s history regarding a dispute involving cryptocurrency and concludes a legal battle that began almost three years ago. Quoine, the parent company of well-known Japanese trading platform Liquid, now faces settlement proceedings after the court rejected its appeal that it had the right to…

Blockchain Pioneer Caitlin Long to Build Crypto Bank in Wyoming

The U.S. may soon get its first dedicated bank for digital assets. A Wyoming corporation founded by blockchain legislative champion Caitlin Long is preparing to apply for a special purpose depository institution (SPDI) charter with the state’s division of banking. The future bank is called Avanti, which means “forward” in Italian, and will be focused solely on providing regulated services for digital assets, Long announced Monday. The company, formed on Jan. 6, has already raised $1 million in seed funding. Avanti will provide payment, custody, securities and commodities activities for…