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Executives at Korean Crypto Exchange UPbit Indicted for Fraud

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The executives of UPbit, one of South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, have been formally charged by the country’s prosecutors.

According to a report from CoinDesk Korea on Friday, the Prosecutors’ Office of the southern district of Seoul has indicted three senior staff members, including founder Song Chi-Hyung, on charges of fraud.

The executives are alleged to have made fraudulent transactions between September to December of last year, using a fake corporate account to make bogus orders worth 254 trillion won (or $226.2 billion) to inflate trading volume figures and attract more customers to the exchange.

They are also accused of selling 11,550 bitcoins to customers to reap 150 billion won (or $133.8 million) through rigged transactions.

UPbit, however, denied the allegations in a notice issued Thursday, stating that, “The Company provided liquidity to the Company’s corporate account in order to stabilize the trading market at the beginning of the service opening. This period is from September 24, 2017 to December 11, 2017.” It added that the corporate account does not have a withdrawal function.

The exchange went on to say that has “not benefited or traded” in this process, though it conceded it had made some transactions early for marketing purposes over about two months. They did not affect the market, UPbit claimed, and comprised about 3 percent of the total volume at the time.

Back in March, the prosecutors had also raided the UPbit’s head office in the Gangnam-gu district, by seizing its hard disks and accounting books. At the time, the exchange was suspected of fraud for allegedly selling cryptocurrency to customers that it does not actually hold.

The South Korean government has been increasingly taking action against crypto exchanges since the start of the year. In January, the country’s police and tax office officials raided Bithumb and Coinone exchanges amid an investigation into alleged tax evasion. In March, prosecutors raided three unnamed cryptocurrency exchanges over suspicions that staff embezzled funds from customers’ accounts.

Seoul central court image via Shutterstock 

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Bitcoin Falls Near $9,000 as US Stock Market Sees Gains

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Monday, June 17 — most of the top 20 cryptocurrencies are reporting moderate losses on the day by press time, as bitcoin (BTC) falls Near $9,000 mark again.

Market visualization courtesy of Coin360

Market visualization courtesy of Coin360

Bitcoin is currently down about 3% on the day, trading around $9,045 at press time, according to Coin360. Looking at its weekly chart, the coin is up around 11%.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

As Cointelegraph reported earlier today, bitcoin surpassed one million daily active addresses on June 14, according to blockchain statistics website CoinMetrics.

Ether (ETH) is holding onto its position as the largest altcoin by market cap, which currently stands at $28.2 billion. The second-largest altcoin, Ripple’s XRP, has a market cap of $18.1 billion at press time.

Coin360 data shows that ETH has seen its value decrease by about 2.27% over the last 24 hours. At press time, ETH is trading around $265. On the week, the coin has also gained almost 6.8% of value.

Ether 7-day price chart

Ether 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

XRP is down by just over 0.43% over the last 24 hours and is currently trading at around $0.430. On the week, the coin is up about 6.7%.

XRP 7-day price chart

XRP 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Yesterday news broke that major money transmission network MoneyGram has entered into a strategic partnership with blockchain-based payments firm Ripple.

Among the top 20 cryptocurrencies, the only ones reporting gains are binance coin (BNB), which is over 1% up, and DASH, which is up over 2%.

At press time, the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is $282.8 billion, over 11.6% higher than the value it reported a week ago.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier today, Social media giant Facebook has released the white paper for its long-awaited cryptocurrency and blockchain-based financial infrastructure project.

In traditional markets, the United States stock market is seeing gains so far today, with the S&P 500 up 1.17% and the Nasdaq up 1.73% at press time. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), on the other hand, has lost 0.46% on the day at press time.

Major oil futures and indexes are mixed movements today, with WTI Crude up 3.99%, Brent Crude up 2.43% and Mars US down 0.83% at press time. The OPEC Basket is up 0.57% and the Canadian Crude Index has seen its value increase by 5.57% in the 24 hours by press time, according to OilPrice.





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Facebook Has Yet to Answer US Lawmakers’ Questions About Libra Crypto

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Facebook is still working on its responses to a plethora of consumer protection questions about the Libra cryptocurrency asked by a group of U.S. senators last month.

The Senate Banking Committee wrote an open letter to Facebook at the beginning of May, asking the social media giant a number of questions about Libra, after word of the project leaked out in the press. The questions primarily centered around user privacy and data protection, though a few concerned the cryptocurrency network itself.

After months of speculation and rumors, the company formally unveiled its vision for Libra on Tuesday – but it has not yet submitted a response to the letter.

“We received the letter and are addressing the senators’ questions,” a Facebook spokesperson told CoinDesk Tuesday morning.

Early clues

To be sure, the documentation Facebook published offers a hint of what the answers to some of the committee’s questions might be.

Take, for example, the senators’ first two questions:

  1. How would this new cryptocurrency-based payment system work, and what outreach has there been to financial regulators to ensure it meets all legal and regulatory requirements?
  2. What privacy and consumer protections would users have under the new payment system?

Facebook’s new Libra white paper and supporting documentation outline the mechanism for the basket of fiat currencies and government securities that back the Libra token, as well as the Libra investment token that gives its governance council the ability to monitor and modify the network and its protocols.

Moreover, Facebook said in other documentation that it, or at least its new Calibra subsidiary, would secure money transmitter licenses in various U.S. states that treat cryptocurrencies as money. Calibra has also registered as a money services business (MSB) with the Financial Crime Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. (Though it is a legal requirement for businesses conducting financial transactions, registering as an MSB does not indicate any sort of regulatory approval.)

Calibra says it will also abide by European Union and Financial Action Task Force (FATF) guidelines, as well as the laws of each jurisdiction it provides services in. Facebook has also reportedly held talks with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) about Libra.

The Senators also asked if Facebook shares or sells any consumer information (or information derived from such data) with any unaffiliated third parties. Company literature says that neither Facebook nor Calibra will do so without consent from the customer.

Stay tuned

Still, the senators may want more detailed answers to these questions and others, specifically:

  1. What consumer financial information does Facebook have that it received from a financial company?
  2. To the extent that Facebook has received such information, what does the company do with it and how does it safeguard the data?
  3. Does Facebook have any information bearing on an individual’s (or group of individuals’) creditworthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics or mode of living that is used (either by Facebook or an unaffiliated third party) to establish eligibility for, or marketing of a product or service related to, credit, insurance, employment or housing?
  4. How does Facebook ensure that such information is not used in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act?

The senators’ letter did not give a deadline for Facebook to respond, and it is unclear when the answers will be sent.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg image via Shutterstock

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Facebook’s Libra Could Spark Additional Cryptocurrency Volume

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Binance Research, the research arm of major cryptocurrency exchange Binance, claims that Facebook’s Libra stablecoin could spark additional cryptocurrency volume in a post published on its blog on June 18.

In the announcement concerning the release of the full report, Binance Research claims:

“Libra could spark additional cryptocurrency volume due to increased accessibility from both institutional players and everyday retail users.”

Furthermore, the post also notes that the researchers anticipate that the Libra will have a significant impact on both local and global markets, financial and economic industries, as well as in the cryptocurrency space. This influence will manifest after the 12 to 18 months that Facebook will take to integrate the asset into its services.

Binance Research also expects Libra to reshape the payments industry, be the basis of new financial services, advance greater financial freedom and lower capital restrictions worldwide, and defeat the hegemony of the dollar. The authors of the report also claim that, decentralized or not, Libra is still the first project of its kind:

“Backed by a basket of fiat currency-denominated assets in its initial release, Libra represents a first attempt at creating a world currency, on-chain or not, with everyday usage by billions of individuals and institutions across the globe.”

Lastly, the report notes that regulators and financial institutions could hinder the success of the project. Other decisive factors cited by the researchers are the ability to scale the Libra user base, public trust in the project, the system’s independence on Facebook and ability to provide reliable fiat on- and off-ramp solution.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier, Facebook has released the white paper for its long-awaited cryptocurrency and blockchain-based financial infrastructure project today.

Last week, the news broke that South American online marketplace Mercado Libre is working with Facebook on the social network’s Libra cryptocurrency project.





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