01-28-2018: Tether (USDT) Ends Relationship With Friedman LLP

Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck announced that it would reimburse roughly $425 million to the 260,000 users who were impacted by the recent hack. 58 billion yen worth just over $533 million USD of NEM coins were stolen last week, which forced the crypto exchange to shut down all withdrawals except for bitcoins. On the official Coincheck blog, the exchange notes: “In moving towards reopening our services, we are putting all of our efforts towards discovering the cause of the illicit transfer and overhauling and strengthening our security measures while simultaneously continuing in our efforts to register with the Financial Services Agency as a Virtual Currency Exchange Service Provider” (bitcoinist).

Velix.ID — a RegTech Blockchain startup, working in the Identity Verification Space — is partnering with Cryptocurrency Exchanges in India to improve upon the existing KYC processes. Initial cryptocurrency exchanges to confirm the partnership with Velix.ID are Coinsecure & Bitxoxo, two of the largest Bitcoin exchanges in India. The current procedures of KYC are a cause of major concern for both the cryptocurrency exchanges and their customers causing a significant business loss for the exchanges. There are multiple faults in the contemporary KYC methods that make the process of signing up on the exchanges very inefficient, which are time consuming and result in loss of customer acquisition (bitcoinist).

Tether, the issuer of the dollar-pegged cryptocurrency USDT, said its relationship with audit firm Friedman LLP has ended. The statement, provided Saturday evening by a company spokesperson confirms suspicions and is likely to raise new questions about the company’s finances. Friedman had been working on an audit of Tether, which has close ties to the cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex. Critics of the two companies, most prominently the blogger who goes by the handle Bitfinex’d, have claimed that Tether had been printing tokens out of thin air to drive up the price of bitcoin on the exchange. It is not clear from the spokesperson’s emailed statement who broke up with whom (coindesk).

South Korea’s new rules carry important implications for user privacy and will unite cryptocurrency investors, cryptocurrency exchanges, and banks alike via strict account verification reform. South Korean monetary regulators will begin – as of January 30, 2018 – to utilize and enforce what is being referred to as a “real name” verification system. This tool is intended to help rein in growing concern by South Korean officials that cryptocurrency trading within their borders was beginning to surge beyond their control, potentially endangering the enforceability of anti-money-laundering (AML) legislation. The “real name system” represents a crackdown on bank accounts that are registered under fake names and which link to cryptocurrency exchange accounts (ethnews).

And lastly, Portugal’s Central Bank Director Hélder Rosalino said that he didn’t consider cryptocurrency a currency or legal tender and hinted that the Central Bank of Portugal has a similar position. His views are in line with many countries around the world, including the US where “a cryptocurrency does not have legal tender status in any jurisdiction.” The Finance Minister of Portugal Mario Centano, who is also the president of the Eurogroup,  said last December that he is looking to European regulatory guidance concerning cryptocurrencies since they are “overseeing the general picture.” The Eurogroup is a group of nineteen finance ministers of EU countries, who meet once a month to talk about major economic and monetary policies that are implemented across the EU. Finance ministers from France, Germany and the UK have proposed that cryptocurrency regulation should be coordinated at a global level with discussions taking center stage at the next upcoming G20 meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina (cointelegraph).

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