Regulations Round-Up: 21-Year-Old Arrested, Coinbase Files for Patent
In recent news pertaining to cryptocurrency regulations, Alibaba and Tencent are collaborating with Chinese authorities to monitor and prevent peer-to-peer cryptocurrency trading via their respective mobile payments platforms, a 21-year-old has been indicted for operating an unlicensed cryptocurrency exchange, and Coinbase has filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a mechanism designed to increase the security of BTC transactions.
Alibaba and Tencent Collaborate With Chinese Authorities to Crack Down on Crypto Trading
Ant Financial’s Alipay – the mobile payment app owned by multi-national e-commerce giant Alibaba – has revealed that it is cooperating with Chinese authorities to scrutinize and crack down on peer-to-peer cryptocurrency trading.
A spokesperson for Ant Financial stated: “Alipay has always adhered to the principle of not providing services to virtual currency transactions. We will continue to closely monitor over-the-counter trading activities on a daily basis. Once we find any suspicious crypto-related transactions, we will take appropriate measures immediately, including but not limited to: suspension of fund transfer functionality of any Alipay accounts used by companies for crypto-related transactions.”
On Friday, Tencent, the developers of social media and mobile payment app Wechat, also announced that the company would seek to crack down on the use of its Wechat Pay platform for the purposes of transmitting cryptocurrencies.
21-Year-Old Arrested for Running Unlicensed Exchange
Jacob Campos, a 21-year-old man from Mexico, is facing 31 charges in the United States for operating an unlicensed “no questions asked” BTC exchange.
According to his indictment, Mr. Campos “did knowingly, conduct, control, manage, supervise, direct and own at least part of a money transmitting business affecting interstate and foreign commerce which failed to comply with the money transmitting business registration requirement. […] From on or about January 2015 to on or about April 2016, within the Southern District of California and elsewhere, defendant Jacob Burrell Campos […] did knowingly and willfully fail to develop, implement and maintain an effective anti-money laundering program, including the development of internal policies, procedures and controls, reasonably designed to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities, as part of a pattern of illegal activity involving more than $100,000 in a twelve-month period.”
The indictment adds that “From on or about December 2016, to on or about March 2018, […] defendant Jaco Burrell Campos did combine, conspire, confederate and agree with others known and unknown to the Grand Jury to commit an offense against the United States, that is to structure and assist in the structuring the importation of monetary instruments for the purpose of evading the reporting requirements of” U.S. regulations.
Prosecutors estimate that Mr. Campos conducted 971 transactions on behalf of 900 different customers. Mr. Campos is currently being held without bail as he awaits trial and faces charges of running an unlicensed money transmitting business, conspiracy to structure monetary transactions, and failing to maintain an anti-money laundering program, in addition to 28 charges of money laundering.
Coinbase Files for Mechanism Designed to Bolster Security of BTC Transactions
Earlier this month, major U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a mechanism intended to increase the security of BTC transactions.
The patent filing asserts that “It may be a security concern for users that the private keys of their Bitcoin addresses may be stolen from their wallets. Existing systems do not provide a solution for maintaining security over private keys while still allowing the users to check out on a merchant page and making payments using their wallets.”
The patent seeks to allow customers to encrypt their passphrases transactions into a “master key” to create an additional layer of protection against theft. With each transaction, the master key is deleted, with a new master key being created for each individual transaction. The filing states: “It may be a security concern for users that the private keys of their Bitcoin addresses may be stolen from their wallets. Existing systems do not provide a solution for maintaining security over private keys while still allowing the users to check out on a merchant page and making payments using their wallets.”
What is your response to Tencent and Alibaba’s efforts to combat peer-to-peer trading on their mobile payments platforms? Join the discussion in the comments section below!
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