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Crypto Currency

JP Morgan CEO: “Regret Calling Bitcoin Fraud”



(Via Zerohedge)

In an interview with FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo, Dimon repented, softening the comments he made in a September banking conference, saying “I regret making them.”

While Dimon said that he personally is still “not interested in the subject at all” he conceded that blockchain “is real.” Dimon also softened his tone on initial coin offerings, saying that ICOs need to be reviewed “individually”.

“The blockchain is real. You can have crypto yen and dollars and stuff like that. ICO’s you have to look at individually”, Dimon told Bartiromo.

“The bitcoin to me was always what the governments are gonna feel about bitcoin as it gets really big, and I just have a different opinion than other people. I’m not interested that much in the subject at all.”

Until today’s recantation, Dimon was one of the highest-profile bitcoin skeptics on Wall Street. His remarks in September were met with anger from many in the cryptocurrencies community, but also echoed by other top executives, including Larry Fink, chairman and chief executive of BlackRock.

Since then, the acceptance of bitcoin has moved to the institutional arena with both the cboe and CME launching bitcoin futures, while Goldman is preparing a cryptocurrency trading desk. It was only a matter of time before Dimon realized all the potential lost revenue, and rushed back in to avoid losing even more market share.

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Crypto Currency

Porn-Focused Crypto-Currency CEO Dashes With Millions of Dollars; Investors Furious



(Via Zeorhedge)

The burgeoning market for initial coin offerings is rife with fraud and abuse thanks to unscrupulous people like the creator of FMtokens, a coin designed as a means for paying performers for live webcam chats. The New York Post reported Monday that investors in FMtokens – which purportedly raised just shy of $5 million – are complaining that the company’s shadowy CEO, Jonatha Lucas, has absconded with their money while refusing to deliver the promised tokens.

Lucas aimed to raise as much as $25 million, according to an investment plan.

A cryptocurrency built for watching live-streaming porn is turning out to be a buzz-kill.

Four investors in the digital currency, called Fantasy Market, claimed last week that its shadowy CEO disappeared with their money — and has not refunded all their investment despite repeated requests.

The alleged inability of investors to trade out of the Fantasy Market tokens, or FMtokens, could stand as a warning to all investors in the red-hot cryptocoin market.

Jonathan Lucas, the brains behind FMtokens, was aiming to raise as much as $25 million last year, according to Lucas’ white paper — the investment plan circulated among investors.

The tokens were to be used to pay for livestreaming porn.

Small-time investors from around the world have scrambled to invest in the largest digital currencies – like bitcoin, Ethereum and ripple – which have seen astronomical returns.

Circling back to FMtokens, the venture flamed out in November after the NYP questioned Lucas for about an hour about how his ICO would work and about statements he made in the white paper. The CEO insisted he wasn’t trying to scam anybody, and that he was using his real name. Several of the investors who lost their money believe the name John Lucas is an alias.

“Jonathan Lucas (most likely an alias) has scammed us and run off with the cryptocurrency,” one irate investor fumed to The Post, more than two months after investing in Fantasy Market.

According to the Post, it’s unclear how close Lucas got to his $25 million fundraising goal. He told a reporter in November he had raised less than $2 million.

It’s unclear whether the SEC intends to act against Lucas (at this point, he’s probably already fled to some non-extradition country where he can safely deploy his ill-gotten gains). No legal or civil actions have been taken against him at this time. But the agency has been stepping up its enforcement against fraudulent ICOs since it declared in July that all digital tokens should be treated as securities, and that all pertinent laws and regulations would apply. In China, financial authorities have banned ICOs. And other governments have considered acting to suppress the market.

Back in September in private chats seen by The Post to being just 13% away from raising $5 million, which translates to about $4.4 million.

On the company’s website, Lucas posted a message asking out-of-pocket investors to contact the company “in the next 90 days” to secure a refund.

One investor told the post that the company refunded some of the Ethereum he had invested in the project. Instead of returning his initial investment along with the 160% return that’s accrued since he invested in September, the company pocketed the difference.

“[Recently] I wrote threatening to file police and FBI reports,” a second aggrieved investor told The Post. “Within hours they refunded me ethereum with a dollar amount equal to what I had contributed in early September, but since the coin has more than tripled in value since then, they kept the rest of my contribution, essentially stealing quite a lot of money from me.”

Another investor claimed that Lucas appears to be actively trading on cryptocurrency exchanges, possibly with the money stolen from his erstwhile investors.

This is hardly the only example of outright fraud in the ICO space. Tezos, which raised more than $230 million in an ICO over the summer that attracted the interest of several big-name Silicon Valley VC firms, has elicited several investor lawsuits after the company has missed deadlines to deliver the tokens it promised investors during the crowdsale.

According to chat records obtained by the post, Lucas repeatedly assured his investors that FMtokens aren’t a scam.

“I’m not in the business of scamming people, or again, I wouldn’t have used my real name for the project,” Lucas wrote in a Nov. 14 chat.

His behavior would suggest the opposite is true.

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Crypto-Currency Ripple CEO Tied With Mark Zuckerberg For 5th Richest In The World



(Via Zerohedge)

Ripple has surged ahead of Ethereum as the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap…

Bitcoin $246BN
Ripple $143BN
Ethereum $97BN

Leaving Mike Novogratz breathlessly berating the Ripple’s CEO is now the 5th richest man in the world…

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Australia Freezing Bank Account Of Bitcoin Users?



(Via Zerohedge)

Adding to the pressures on bitcoin early this morning, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that bitcoin users across Australia are reporting that their accounts have been abruptly frozen by the country’s “Big Four” banks. And while the banks have remained largely tight-lipped about the closures, many angry account-holders are jumping to conclusions and blaming the banks for punishing them because of their involvement with bitcoin.

Bitcoin investors are claiming Australia’s banks are freezing their accounts and transfers to cryptocurrency exchanges, with a viral tweet slamming the big four and an exchange platform putting a restriction on Australian deposits.

According to the Herald, cryptocurrency trader and Youtuber Alex Saunders called out National Australia Bank, ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking Corporation on Twitter for freezing customer accounts and transfers to four different bitcoin exchanges – CoinJar, CoinSpot, CoinBase and BTC Markets.

In response, some users complained that their activities with the cryptocurrency had still been described as a “security risk” by their financial institutions.

While not every bank had explicit policies governing their relationship with cryptocurrencies, according to the Morning Herald, Commonwealth Bank’s June 2017 terms and conditions for CommBiz accounts specifically excludes this activity, saying it can refuse to process an international money transfer or an international cash management transaction “because the destination account previously has been connected to a fraud or an attempted fraudulent transaction or is an account used to facilitate payments to Bitcoins or similar virtual currency payment services”.

A Commonwealth Bank spokesman said it was receptive to innovation in alternative currencies and payment systems “however, we do not currently use or recommend any existing virtual currencies as we do not believe they have yet met a minimum standard of regulation, reliability, and reputation compared to other currencies that we offer to our customers”.

“Our customers can interact with these currencies as long as they comply with our terms and conditions and all relevant legal obligations,” he said.

One Twitter user, Michaela Juric, who is known on twitter as Bitcoin Babe, said she had business accounts closed by 30 banks and posted a picture of a letter from ANZ, saying it was closing her accounts effective 30 January 2018 in accordance with its terms and conditions.

The bank’s sudden decision to close the accounts of digital currency investors was not totally without warning: CoinSpot said it was putting a “temporary restriction on all forms of AUD deposits” that would remain in place until at least the first week of 2018 as a result of issues with Australian banks.

“We assure you we are just as unhappy with the situation as you, but unfortunately Australian banks have been so far unwilling to work with the digital currency industry which leads to frequent account closures and strict limits on accounts whilst they remain operational, in effect debanking our industry,” it said.

CoinSpot founder Russell Wilson said he was not aware of any new widespread issue, but was “monitoring” the situation.

“We are aware that on occasion banks will freeze payments while they clarify with their customers that the funds were not fraudulently sent from their account, this is standard best practice for the banks and protects everyone,” Mr Wilson said.

Meanwhile, representatives at the major banks offered some version of “no comment” to the Herald.

A Westpac spokeswoman would not comment on specific instances, but said it had controls in place to “actively verify the identity of our customers and monitor the activities of those customers”.

“Where we cannot verify the origin of transfers we may act to ensure we comply with Australia’s anti money laundering obligations,” she said.

A NAB spokeswoman said it was important to note the currencies are currently unregulated.

“While we don’t support unregulated currencies, NAB does not deny the right of individual customers to buy virtual currencies,” she said.

CoinBase, CoinJar and BTC Markets did not respond to request for comment.

While much of the carnage in bitcoin this morning could be attributed to the ongoing rotation into Ripple, it’s important not to ignore the impact of this news. If more banks around the world start closing the bank accounts of bitcoin users and bitcoin-related businesses, it could negatively impact the price as marginal buyers, worried about being shut out of the banking system, go running for the hills.

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