BTC-e has been closed down by U.S. law enforcement agencies, and the SEC is clamping down on ICOs. Here are the cryptocurrency highlights of week 30:
- The Russian “internationally sought ‘mastermind’ of a crime organisation” accused of laundering more than $4bn in Bitcoin, including funds obtained from the hack of failed Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox, has been arrested in Greece. A US jury indicted Alexander Vinnik on Wednesday after his arrest in a small beachside village in northern Greece on Tuesday. Vinnik was described by the justice department as the operator of BTC-e, which was allegedly used to launder more than $4bn for people involved in crimes ranging from computer hacking to drug trafficking. The indictment also alleges that Vinnik received funds from the Mt. Gox hack, and laundered these funds through various online exchanges.
- On July 28, 2017, the Bitcoin-exchange BTC-e domain was seized by six U.S. law enforcement agencies including the Secret Service. After the news that Alexander Vinnik had been arrested, the future of the site was unclear. Nevertheless, the site had told users that it would be back and fully functional within five to 10 days of the arrest of its infamous leader. The recent seizure of the domain name has given rise to strong concerns that the site will be permanently (or at least indefinitely) closed.
- US regulators said they have jurisdiction over one of the hottest new areas of finance: initial coin offerings (ICOs) of digital currencies. Companies that raise money through the sale of digital assets must adhere to federal securities laws, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said Tuesday. Issuers must register the deals with the government unless they have a valid excuse, as should exchanges that offer trading of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and ether, the regulator said.
- The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has granted LedgerX, LLC registration as a derivatives clearing organization under the Commodity Exchange Act. LedgerX is now authorized to provide clearing services for fully-collateralized digital currency swaps. LedgerX was also approved as a swap execution facility (SEF) on July 6, 2017, making it the first federally regulated SEF allowed to offer clearing services and a trading facility for options based on digital currency for the institutional market.
- Compared to the previous week the price of Bitcoin has increased by more than 30 percent, with the exchange rate currently at about $2,749 per BTC. The price of Ethereum increased by more than eight percent over the same period, taking Ether up to a rate of $199 per ETH. Ethereum Classic lost about twelve percent, with the price decreasing to $13.96 per ETC. Zcash gained 7 percent. One ZEC is now trading at roughly $179 per coin.