Blog

There is a gap in the regulation of crypto-assets that Congress needs to fix. The gap is contributing to fraud and weak investor protection in the distribution and trading of crypto-assets. In “It’s time to strengthen the regulation of crypto-assets,” Timothy G. Massad discusses how better regulation will benefit crypto investors, further the development of new technologies, curtail the use of crypto-assets used for illicit payments, and reduce the risk of cyber attacks, which can result in collateral damage elsewhere in our financial system.

Crypto-assets cut across current jurisdictional boundaries and thus fall into gaps between regulatory authorities. While each of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has some authority over crypto-assets, neither has sufficient jurisdiction, nor do they together.

The hype surrounding Bitcoin and other crypto-assets has contributed to regulatory distraction. Bitcoin’s creators promised it would solve the “trust problem” and reduce our reliance on centralized financial intermediaries. However, it has not reduced our reliance on financial intermediaries or eroded the power of our largest institutions. Indeed, crypto-assets have created new financial intermediaries that are less accountable than the big banks.

New crypto exchanges and trading platforms are not subject to the traditional standards required of securities and derivatives market intermediaries. As a result, investor protection is weak and allegations of fraud and conflicts of interest are frequent.

There are no specific rules to ensure protection of customer assets. One supposed virtue of distributed ledger technology (DLT) is to provide an immutable record of ownership. Yet some platforms do not actually record customer interests on the blockchain and may operate without sufficient assets to cover customer claims. It is like fractional reserve banking without the regulatory framework or insurance that protects depositors. There are no rules regarding how trades are executed.

Crypto exchanges are not required to have systems to prevent fraud and manipulation, nor are there rules to prevent or minimize conflicts of interest. Crypto exchanges can engage in proprietary trading against their customers, something the New York Stock Exchange cannot do. Regulations to minimize operational risk and ensure system safeguards are needed, just as with securities and derivatives intermediaries.

Inadequate regulatory oversight creates broader societal risks with respect to cyber security and illicit payments. Unlike banks and exchanges, crypto intermediaries do not face any specific cyber security requirements, and cyber hacks are common: “Hacking [against crypto institutions] is on the rise because it works.”

Source: The Brookings Institution.

Published in INDUSTRY REPORTS

At the beginning of the year, KPMG surveyed more than 100 of the largest companies and found out which technologies the Russian business is implementing, which budgets of the organization are willing to spend on such projects and how they generally approach the management of digital transformation.

Main conclusions:

63% of respondents indicated that they have developed a digital transformation program, but in reality this more often means a set of short-term pilot projects;

77% of responding companies expect increased operational efficiency and reduced costs through digitization of processes;

The most popular technologies that have already been tested by Russian companies: big data analysis and predictive analytics (68%), chat bots (51%), robotization of office processes (50%);

The position of the CDO (Chief Digital Officer) is only in 16% of companies, the committee on digitalization - in 13%. In most Russian companies, decisions on digitalization projects are made by individual consideration at the top management level;

65% of companies attract startups to implement pilot projects;

In 2019, 36% of companies are ready to invest more than 100 million rubles in the implementation of projects on digitization of processes, while 55% of respondents plan to spend less than 50 million rubles;

51% of companies expect that the investment will pay off in less than 2 years, another 43% expect return on investment within 2-5 years.

Source: KPMG | RU.

Published in INDUSTRY REPORTS

15 January 2019 - Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) are one of the most prominent applications of blockchain for finance, allowing for an innovative and inclusive way of financing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Although the lack of regulatory clarity currently exposes ICO participants to some risks, appropriately regulated and supervised ICOs offer a potential new way to raise capital for projects enabled by Distributed Ledger Technologies and the blockchain.

This report analyses the emergence and potential of ICOs as a financing mechanism for start-ups and SMEs, examines the benefits and challenges of this mechanism for small businesses and investors, and discusses the policy implications of ICO activity for the inclusive financing of SMEs and the real economy...

Source: OECD.

Published in INDUSTRY REPORTS

Released today, Chainalysis latest crypto crime research on $1.6B in hacks, darknet market activity, and Ethereum scams shows how they decoded each type of crime and what it means for AML compliance and investigations.

Crypto crime increased in 2018, but it made up a smaller slice of a much larger market. Indeed, according to they analysis, illicit transactions comprised less than 1% of all economic bitcoin activity in 2018, down from 7% in 2012.

Even so, crime remains a significant problem in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Exchange hacks have generated billions of dollars in criminal proceeds, darknet market activities have netted hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit revenues, and scams targeting individuals have stolen tens of millions of dollars.

Moreover, criminal use of cryptocurrencies has become far more sophisticated. As a result, in this second edition of their Crypto Crime Report, they go deeper in analysis to seek out granular insight into three categories of criminal activity.

Then, they examine the surprising resilience of darknet markets as law enforcement takes aggressive action against them. In a report on the “whack-a-mole” problem with the darknet, they look at how transaction activity briefly subsides then quickly reroutes itself to new platforms when major darknet markets are closed down.

They also examine changing trends in Ethereum scams, where individuals are targeted, as last year’s phishing schemes lose their effectiveness and more complex Ponzi and ICO exit scams emerge to make outsized gains.

Finally, they discuss the role of cryptocurrency in the broader context of money laundering and highlight the importance of different types of services that are used to integrate illicit cryptocurrency into the clean economy...

Source: Chainalysis Research.

Published in INDUSTRY REPORTS
Friday, 08 February 2019 17:33

BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY DIGEST: JANUARY 2019

Mind Smith has prepared an overview of key materials, analytical reports, research, reports and research articles. All the most interesting in the industry for the month...

37 analytical studies and reports, 27 scientific articles, 5 documents of international organizations.

Since 2018, Mind Smith has been implementing strategic blockchain consulting. Helps answer the question about the use of technology blockchain in business, conducts research and strategic sessions for top managers.

The company believes in the blockchain technology, but understand its limitations. For effective implementation of a well-coordinated work of the business and technical team. Mind Smith is ready to go all the way from the search for possible scenarios and the preparation of the concept to the implementation of the pilot and the implementation of the solution in the business.

Download digest.

Published in INDUSTRY REPORTS
Sunday, 13 January 2019 17:43

THE STATE OF EUROPEAN TECH 2018

We are proud to present the single, most comprehensive data-driven analysis on European technology today.

What’s changed for European tech in the past 12 months? It’s been another record year for investment in European tech and the sector is powering growth in Europe’s stagnant economy. Yet not everyone is benefitting from the boom. The gains are not being democratized by investors. Companies need to address diversity and inclusion tools and unlock hidden talent pools.

This is the fourth edition of the State of European Tech report, the single, most comprehensive data-driven story of European technology today. We’ve gathered data from world-class data partners and a survey of 5,000 members of the tech ecosystem, from founders to students, investors to researchers. We’ve tried to tell the most important stories. We cover diversity and inclusion, talent, regulation, investment, research and development, and the great, global disrupters out of Europe...

Source: State of European Tech 2018.

Published in INDUSTRY REPORTS

Paris, 7 December 2018 - The United Kingdom has a well-developed and robust regime to effectively combat money laundering and terrorist financing. However, it needs to strengthen its supervision, and increase the resources of its financial intelligence unit.

The FATF has conducted an assessment of the United Kingdom’s anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing (AML/CFT) system. The assessment is a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of the UK’s measures and their level of compliance with the FATF Recommendations.

The UK is the largest financial services provider in the world. As a result of the exceptionally large volume of funds that flows through its financial sector, the country also faces a significant risk that some of these funds have links to crime and terrorism.  This is reflected in the country’s strong understanding of these risks, as well as national AML/CFT policies, strategies and proactive initiatives to address them.

The UK aggressively pursues money laundering and terrorist financing investigations and prosecutions, achieving 1400 convictions each year for money laundering. UK law enforcement authorities have powerful tools to obtain beneficial ownership and other information, including through effective public-private partnerships, and make good use of this information in their investigations. However, the UK financial intelligence unit needs a substantial increase in its resources and the suspicious activity reporting regime needs to be modernised and reformed.

The country is a global leader in promoting corporate transparency and it is using the results of its risk assessment to further strengthen the reporting and registration of corporate structures. Financial institutions as well as all designated non-financial businesses and professions such as lawyers, accountants and real estate agents are subject to comprehensive AML/CFT requirements. Strong features of the system include the outreach activities conducted by supervisors and the measures to prevent criminals or their associates from being professionally accredited or controlling a financial institution. However, the intensity of supervision is not consistent across all of these sectors and UK needs to ensure that supervision of all entities is fully in line with the significant risks the UK faces.

The UK has been highly effective in investigating, prosecuting and convicting a range of terrorist financing activity and has taken a leading role in designating terrorists at the UN and EU level.  The UK is also promoting global implementation of proliferation-related targeted financial sanctions, as well as achieving a high level of effectiveness in implementing targeted financial sanctions domestically.

The UK’s overall AML/CFT regime is effective in many respects. It needs to address certain areas of weakness, such as supervision and the reporting and investigation of suspicious transactions.  However, the country has demonstrated a robust level of understanding of its risks, a range of proactive measures and initiatives to counter the significant risks identified and plays a leading role in promoting global effective implementation of AML/CFT measures.

FATF adopted this report at its Plenary meeting in October 2018...

Source: FATF-GAFI.ORG - Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Published in INDUSTRY REPORTS
Wednesday, 19 December 2018 16:05

BLOCKCHAIN THREAT REPORT: MCAFEE

Blockchain, a revolutionary basis for decentralized online transactions, carries security risks. Learn about current security problems and specific incidents within blockchain implementations, and the techniques, targets, and malware used for attacks.

What spiked the movement, starting in fall 2017, toward cryptojacking? The first reason is the value of cryptocurrency. If attacker can steal Bitcoins, for example, from a victim’s system, that’s enough. If direct theft is not possible, why not mine coins using a large number of hijacked systems. There’s no need to pay for hardware, electricity, or CPU cycles; it’s an easy way for criminals to earn money. We once thought that CPUs in routers and video-recording devices were useless for mining, but default or missing passwords wipe away this view. If an attacker can hijack enough systems, mining in high volume can be profitable. Not only individuals struggle with protecting against these attacks; companies suffer from them as well...

Source: Securing Tomorrow. Today. | McAfee Blogs.

Published in INDUSTRY REPORTS

CipherTrace Third Quarter Report proves cryptocurrency anti-money laundering laws are effective, and cites $927 million of cryptocurrency stolen during 2018 that needs to be laundered.

Ninety-Seven Percent (97%) of Criminal Bitcoin Flows into Unregulated Cryptocurrency Exchanges According to New Research...

October 10, 2018 – Efforts to enact and enforce strong cryptocurrency Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations are drastically reducing criminal activity on digital currency exchanges, according to new research released today in the CipherTrace 2018 Q3 Cryptocurrency Anti-Money Laundering Report. The study revealed that 97 percent of direct bitcoin payments from criminals went to exchanges in countries with weak anti-money laundering laws.

Nearly five percent of all bitcoin sent to poorly regulated exchanges comes from criminal activity before the money is moved, undetected, into the global financial payments system. In fact, these exchanges have laundered a significant amount of bitcoin, totaling 380,000 BTC or $2.5 billion at today’s prices.

The report covers the latest legislative changes, as governments around the world are ramping up cryptocurrency AML regulation and enforcement, many by the end of this year. For example, US FinCEN recently clarified its stance on regulation, subjecting crypto-to-crypto exchanges to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) rules, focusing on mixing services and enlisting the help of the IRS. The European Commission’s 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD 5) was also entered into force in July and will require G20 nations to comply with strict AML regulations. “Different geographies are competing on regulations and trying to become ‘trusted’ digital currency hubs in order to grow their economies,” added Jevans.

During the first three quarters of this year, the report shows $927 million of cryptocurrency reported as stolen from exchanges. The $166 million in reported thefts since the second quarter report was driven by an emerging trend toward more frequent and smaller cyberattacks by sophisticated thieves. CipherTrace estimates that total stolen cryptocurrency reported is expected to hit well over $1 billion by the end of the year – currency that needs to be laundered.

The CipherTrace 2018 Q3 Cryptocurrency Anti-Money Laundering Report provides an in-depth state-of-the-market look at criminal activity and the status of AML regulations by jurisdiction. The report presents an unprecedented quantitative analysis of 45 million transactions at 20 top cryptocurrency exchanges globally between January 2009 until September 20, 2018, and identifies criminal funds from dark markets, extortion, malware, mixer/tumbler/money laundering sites, ransomware, and terrorist financing.

Source: CipherTrace.

Published in INDUSTRY REPORTS

Summary of the Consultation report on the Blockchain Law in Liechtenstein.

“Blockchain technology” was initially developed for Bitcoin, a private digital monetary system. Blockchain technology functions as a ledger that can securely record financial transactions. The technology can be used for much more than Bitcoin. Blockchain technology has been developed by a number of people and organisations around the world and expanded to other application areas.

Blockchain technology is important because of its ability to record “assets” such as money digitally, preventing these assets from being copied or manipulated and ensuring that they can be transferred securely between different people. The security of such transactions is ensured not by a complex organisation but rather through purely mathematical procedures (e.g. encryption technology, cryptography) and defined rules. Blockchain infrastructure is typically provided online and is available to a broad range of private individuals and companies.

The possibilities presented by blockchain technology are not merely limited to simple transfers of money between private individuals. The technology offers the opportunity for a broad range of financial services. This is noteworthy because it means the creation of digital recording of money or assets and the possibility of conducting transactions with no direct intermediary responsible. Thus, companies offering financial services on blockchain systems use generally available digital infrastructure for assets to provide their services. There are already a number of companies that offer services on the various blockchain systems available today, such as digital wallets, custodial services for crypto-currencies, exchanges for crypto-currencies, and issuing and trading crypto-securities. Blockchain technology is also used for so-called “initial coin offerings” (ICOs), which represents a new way of funding companies or projects. However, it is likely that it will be possible in future to record a much broader range of assets and other rights on blockchain systems and that a number of services related to these rights will be offered. In particular, the low costs for digital transactions will, according to experts, open up new opportunities in fields such as financial services, mobility, energy, industry, media, and many more. These applications are grouped together under what is called the “token economy”.

Because of the rapid pace of development of blockchain technology and its areas of application, it is very important to draft a law abstractly enough to ensure that it remains applicable for subsequent technology generations. That is why the term “transaction systems based on trustworthy technologies (TT systems)” is used for blockchain systems in this Law.

The increasing propagation of blockchain applications has already shown problematic areas, such as open questions related to customer and asset protection as well as the misuse of this technology for money laundering or other criminal purposes. Such issues should be addressed by means of clear regulations. Because blockchain technology is also actively used in Liechtenstein, the government aims to use this Law to clarify the applicable requirements for important activities on blockchain systems in order to improve customer protection and reduce potential reputation risks for Liechtenstein.

In addition, there is currently legal uncertainty regarding business models based on TT systems, which are not subject to financial market legislation, but which involve activities that are very similar to those in the financial sector. With the TTAct, the government aims to define the minimum requirements for these activities on TT systems and have them registered by the FMA.

The legal classification of elements on TT systems is another focus of this draft. With the “token”, the TT-Act introduces a new construct so as to enable the transition of the “real” world to TT systems in a legally secure manner and thus tap the full potential of the token economy. The introduction of the legal construct of the token in Liechtenstein Law makes it necessary to also define other legal aspects, such as ownership, possession and transfer.

To be able to shift the representation of securities from physical certificates to tokens on a TT system, the legal concept of uncertificated rights will be introduced in Liechtenstein Law and, simultaneously, an interface created between securities law and the TT-Act. Uncertificated rights are dematerialised securities which are recorded in a book-entry register rather than being issued as a certificate.

In addition, the TT-Act defines minimum requirements for a TT system in order to increase the efficiency of the token economy by building trust among users.

Because of the enormous potential of the “token economy” for large parts of the economy, the government wants with this Law to increase legal certainty for users and service providers to support the positive development of the token economy in Liechtenstein. By doing so, the government is also responding to the needs of market participants for greater legal certainty in connection with TT systems.

Source: CryptoPlace.li

Page 1 of 2

About SICP

Security Intelligence Cryptocurrencies Platform - Cybersecurity infrastructure of the blockchain and antifraud in the cryptocurrency sphere. SICP - scam, trust, compliance.

Get In Touch

Address: Russia St. Petersburg Marshal Tukhachevsky 22

Phone: +7 (812) 983-0483

Fax: +7 (812) 983-0483

Email: sicp@ueba.su

Website: www.ueba.su

Join Our Community

Sign up to receive email for the latest information.

Search