Twitter Pledges Action on Crypto Scams After Account Bans
Social media giant Twitter appears to be cracking down on cryptocurrency scam accounts – but several members of the crypto Twitter community have been caught in the fray.
Responding to a tweet by Cornell professor Emin Gün Sirer, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey wrote that “we are on it.” Yet the statement drew some swift critiques given that, in recent days, a number of accounts – including the support team for cryptocurrency exchange Kraken – reported that they had seen their accounts restricted despite trying to warn others about copycat accounts that mimic well-known industry members.
Kraken’s loss, at least, was temporary, with the ban eventually being lifted, according to subsequent tweets, after Dorsey’s account became the target of community ire.
But other influencers such as Brooke Maller, aka @bitcoinmom, haven’t been so lucky. As Mallers explained, her account appeared to have been shadow banned – a method by which an account is rendered unviewable by others despite the user in question not knowing that they’ve been hidden – prompting comments from other users.
She told to CoinDesk:
“People just started DMing me that they couldn’t see my tweets in threads. It would say ‘tweet unavailable.’ Others said they aren’t getting notifications when I tweet. But no word from Twitter. There is some really weird shit going on for crypto Twitter people right now. A rash of permanent bans and suspensions.”
Neeraj Agrawal, director of communications at the Washington, DC.-based think tank Coin Center, also reported having trouble with his account, although it appears to have been reinstated. Several Twitter users who use and promote Ripple’s XRP token have also tweeted about shadow bans through their networks.
The issue of copying verified Twitter accounts to trick cryptocurrency users has become increasingly prevalent.
Many of the threads in question begin with an influencer posting a tweet, after which a similarly designed account will tweet out some offer of free cryptocurrency – provided that an initial amount is sent to a listed address.
In order to make the posts seem more legitimate, other spam accounts will then post supportive messages, claiming that they have already received payouts.
More recent post activity indicates that those behind the spam accounts are using shortened links to hide wallet addresses, indicating that Twitter’s anti-spam efforts are sweeping for that type of information.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment
Written by CoinDesk.com
Grayscale Launches Crypto Investment Trusts for BCH, ETH, XRP, and LTC
Grayscale’s Four New Crypto Trusts
Grayscale Investments announced on Tuesday the launch of four new investment products: Bitcoin Cash Investment Trust, Ethereum Investment Trust, Litecoin Investment Trust, and XRP Investment Trust. Michael Sonnenshein, the company’s managing director, commented:
We remain focused on product creation and will continue to launch more single-asset and diversified products to provide exposure where investors are looking for it.
In an interview with Bloomberg, he reiterated that “There will be more offerings coming from the Grayscale family this year,” adding that some will focus on single currencies while others may hold several coins.
Established in 2013 by Digital Currency Group, Grayscale Investments had $2.1 billion in assets under management as of February 28. Prior to today’s announcement, the company was already managing three other cryptocurrency trusts: Bitcoin Investment Trust, Ethereum Classic Investment Trust, and Zcash Investment Trust.
Furthermore, Grayscale announced the launch of its Digital Large Cap Fund last month which invests in BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, and LTC. The company’s founder and CEO, Barry Silbert, commented at the time, “We’re excited to further expand the universe of Grayscale’s product offerings as interest in the digital currency asset class continues to grow.”
Investing in Grayscale’s Crypto Trusts
Each Grayscale trust’s investment objective is for its shares to reflect the value of the cryptocurrency it holds, “as determined by reference to the Tradeblock index for each digital asset at 4:00 p.m. New York time, less each Trust’s expenses and other liabilities,” the company explained.
According to Grayscale’s website, each of the four new trusts has an annual fee of 2.5%. At inception, the BCH trust has $6.26 million in asset under management, the ETH trust $30.73 million, the LTC trust $495,519, and the XRP trust $490,487.
These trusts are private placements, available only to accredited investors, as defined by Rule 501(a) of Regulation D of the U.S. Securities Act, Grayscale detailed, adding that they do not currently operate a redemption program.” In accordance with Rule 144 under the same act, the company further noted that:
Each Trust’s shares are subject to a one-year holding period…before they can be resold without restriction.
Written by Bitcoin.com
Ex-CFTC Chief: Even Republicans Are Pushing for Crypto Regulation
Bitcoin seems to be testing politicians across all aisles.
In fact, even members of the U.S. political party known for its broad opposition to regulation have been embracing the idea the market needs greater oversight, according to former Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) commissioner Bart Chilton.
And Chilton has the experience that would make him a credible source.
In his role at the CFTC, Chilton was known for his aggressive stance against fraud and was among the first regulators to openly talk about the potential need to regulate bitcoin. Indeed, as far back as 2013, Chilton had begun considering the need for government oversight of cryptocurrency. As a possible nod to Chilton’s concerns, just a year after his final term ended, the CFTC officially deemed bitcoin a commodity.
While regulatory guidance is typically viewed by many in the cryptocurrency industry as a negative, the technology’s status as a commodity helped set the stage for the regulated bitcoin futures that would give the cryptocurrency more mainstream appeal.
And now, Chilton, a Democrat, is watching as the GOP is coming around to his viewpoint on crypto regulation. Case in point, just a few months after U.S. Representative Ron Paul (Texas, R) told state regulators to “stay out” of cryptocurrency, other Republicans, including South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds, began publicly espousing the benefits of regulation in this area.
In an in-depth interview with CoinDesk, Chilton discussed how the value of bitcoin and the cryptocurrency markets, in general, is influencing this ideological shift.
“The value gets so large that there might be a contagion into the largest financial institutions,” Chilton said. “And all of a sudden people’s bank accounts get wiped out because of the fear of missing out, and they invest their retirements when they shouldn’t.”
“Maybe it’s stupid, but that starts to make people say, ‘This could have a larger impact on the investors.'”
The magic number
At the top of Chilton’s list of reasons why Republicans are worried about cryptocurrency now is a single number: $20,000. It was that price, which bitcoin flirted with in December, that Chilton believes made Republicans do a double-take.
Before then, according to Chilton, most political leaders viewed cryptocurrency as a periphery concern, overshadowed by other more pressing matters.
“These congressman and senators have 300 issues they have to worry about. They’re dealing with infrastructure and the budget deficit and agriculture — a zillion things — the FCC and trade and war and oh my gosh,” Chilton said, adding:
“I think when bitcoin hit $20,000 and as it was going up, people started saying, ‘Something is happening here, and we’ve got to pay attention.'”
As the market frenzy drove bitcoin’s market value up above $300 billion, Chilton said politicians, for the first time, began to imagine — and worry about — an economy if the price never came down. And he describes how elected officials then began scrambling to learn about bitcoin and the broader cryptocurrency space from any source they could, including each other, culminating in the first-ever Senate hearing on cryptocurrencies in February.
What Chilton said was most remarkable about the event was that normally, speakers and other members of the audience only stay through a small portion of the proceeding, but during the cryptocurrency hearing, the majority of people stayed through the entire thing.
And two weeks later, Republican’s tone around regulation began shifting.
For instance, Reuters reported that Republican Congressmen Bill Huizenga of Michigan, Tom MacArthur of New Jersey and Dave Brat of Virginia joined Senator Rounds — also an influential Senate Banking Committee member — in support of crypto regulation.
Referring to Senator Rounds, Chilton said, “It was significant because this is a guy who is a free market Republican.”
Who’s regulating who?
However, as Republicans increasingly seem interested in abandoning their position on regulation when it comes to cryptocurrency, uncertainty remains about what rule-making for the industry will look like.
In bitcoin’s early days, enthusiasts were keen to describe the cryptocurrency as unregulated and unregulatable, and in certain ways, they could be right. But increasingly, it’s become popular for legislators, regulators and industry stakeholders to point to existing regulations for traditional products as a means by which to regulate at least the companies that provide consumer-facing services.
Still, what has become clear, especially after the Senate hearing, is that there’s still confusion over which government agency has enforcement powers over this new industry.
Either way, though, Chilton argues that regardless how that all shakes out, the best path forward for cryptocurrency startups is being very open with regulators and doing their best to comply with any rules they think do apply to their business model.
In an effort to help, Chilton became an adviser of ethereum startup Omega One, which is building a compliant cryptocurrency exchange. The company is part of a new wave of startups taking preemptive action in an effort to satisfy regulatory concerns.
Speaking to his approval of those startups’ decisions, Chilton concluded:
“I always thought it’s better to work with the government and fine-tune where they are to move forward, than to just hope something happens, and then you’re over-regulated.”
Written by CoinDesk.com
Wyoming ‘Utility Token’ Bill Heads to Governor
Wyoming’s state legislature has cleared a bill that would exempt certain types of crypto assets from securities laws.
The bill passed by a vote of 27-3, public records show, with no senators abstaining. The final vote on the bill was originally expected to take place last week but it was postponed last-minute amid further deliberations. Still, the measure now heads to Governor Matt Mead for final approval.
In that time, however, lawmakers finished work on measures to exempt cryptocurrencies from the state’s money transmission laws and approve the use of blockchain-based records for corporations.
According to data from LegiScan, the ICO exemption measure moved relatively quickly through the Senate, having received committee approval in the past few days and passage via a second chamber reading on March 1.
As previously reported, lawmakers in the state want to put in place carveouts for certain parties – namely developers – involved in the creation of so-called “utility tokens.” Unlike tokens that are a clear investment vehicle, the exemption would apply to those that “has not been marketed by the developer or seller as an investment” and “is exchangeable for goods and services.”
The bill is the first of its kind that would legally define how certain types of cryptographic tokens are treated. Thus far, the measure seems set for complete passage, as evidenced by its unanimous passage in the Wyoming House of Representatives in February.
Another bitcoin-friendly bill is also moving steadily through the Wyoming legislature, having moved largely in tandem with the ICO bill. HB19 – which was also unanimously passed in the House – exempts cryptocurrencies from the state’s money transmission laws.