Cryptocurrency news roundup, March 2, 2018

This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments.

New developments:

G20 calls for cryptocurrency regulation suggestions by July, puts off crackdown

During this year’s G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the world’s economic leaders revealed that they prefer to refer to cryptocurrencies as “crypto-assets,” and implied a crackdown on cryptocurrencies is out of the picture, although cryptos could have financial stability implications. The G20 communique, according to CCN, reads:

  • “Crypto-assets lack the key attributes of sovereign currencies. At some point they could have financial stability implications. We commit to implement the FATF [Financial Action Task Force] standards as they apply to crypto-assets, look forward to the FATF review of those standards, and call on the FATF to advance global implementation. We call on international standard-setting bodies (SSBs) to continue their monitoring of crypto-assets and their risks, according to their mandates, and assess multilateral responses as needed.”

The document revealed that cryptocurrency regulation suggestions are coming in July 2018, although some nations revealed they’ll regulate the space earlier than that.

Snowden papers show the NSA has been tracking Bitcoin users

According to The Intercept, documents from National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden show that the agency has been monitoring the Bitcoin blockchain, and made an effort to “track down senders and receivers of Bitcoin,” as one of the agency’s top priorities was to undermine the pseudonymity of the cryptocurrency’s users. So much so, that it analyzed global internet traffic and scrapped software to do so.

The NSA’s mission, dubbed Oakstar, seemingly didn’t just target Bitcoin users in general, as it was described as “looking at organized crime and cyber targets that utilize online e-currency services to move and launder money. These illicit finance networks provide user access to international monetary systems while providing a high degree of anonymity.”

The agency reportedly used a tool dubbed MONKEYROCKET, described as a “non-Western internet anonymization service,” to track down Bitcoin users. It pretended to be a VPN-like tool, that in fact siphoned data to the NSA.

Social media giant Snapchat bans ICO ads

According to Cheddar, social media giant Snapchat recently banned initial coin offering (ICO) ads, a policy that the company has reportedly been quietly implementing since February. Reports suggest the company will still allow other cryptocurrency-related ads, unlike other platforms like Facebook and Google, who revealed they were banning all cryptocurrency-related ads.

Twitter to ban cryptocurrency, ICO-related ads in two weeks

While Snapchat is seemingly just banning ICO ads, microblogging platform Twitter is reportedly planning to ban all cryptocurrency-related ads, according to a report published by Sky News. The move will also ban ads from legitimate cryptocurrency businesses, and could be enforced in two weeks. The ban may be part of the microblogging platform’s response to scammers impersonating popular Twitter users to trick them into sending them cryptocurrencies. When confronted with the scammer situation, the company’s CEO Jack Dorsey claimed they were “on it.”

World affairs:

US President Donald Trump bans US citizens from purchasing Venezuela’s Petro

In what can be seen as the first crypto-related executive action taken by a US president, Donald Trump issued an executive order banning US citizens and residents from purchasing Venezuela’s oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro (PTR). The White House revealed that the move is made “in light of recent actions taken by the Maduro regime to attempt to circumvent US sanctions by issuing a digital currency.”

The executive order reads:

  • “All transactions related to, provision of financing for, and other dealings in, by a United States person or within the United States, any digital currency, digital coin, or digital token, that was issued by, for, or on behalf of the Government of Venezuela on or after January 9, 2018, are prohibited as of the effective date of this order.

Japanese cryptocurrency users lost $6 million to hacks last year, report claims

According to a report published by Japanese news source Nikkei, the country’s National Police Agency (NPA) released statistics tracking cryptocurrency thefts. The data reportedly shows that at least 149 hacking incidents merged last year, and 16 cryptocurrency exchanges were affected. A total of 85 BTC, along with various altcoins, were stolen among the various thefts.

A total of $6 million were stolen from Japanese cryptocurrency users. Out of all the theft cases, a total of 122 didn’t incorporate extra levels of security such as two-factor authentication (2FA).

Financial:

Bitcoin at $8,890 as cryptocurrency market turns green

This week, the cryptocurrency ecosystem seemingly started to recover from its months-long bear market as the world’s economic leaders revealed, during the G20 summit, that they weren’t going to crackdown on cryptocurrencies, but would instead seek to regulate them. While the bullish movement was short, the market is once again seemingly recovering, as Bitcoin, the flagship cryptocurrency, is currently up by 5.28 percent. One Bitcoin is currently trading at $8,890, and its market cap is of $150 billion.