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How compliance software detects fraud and money laundering involving crypto

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The crypto industry has boomed over the past 12 months. While 2019 began with a total market cap of $200 billion, the explosion in Bitcoin’s value resulted in this figure surging fivefold as 2020 began — and according to CoinMarketCap, the digital assets space was collectively worth $1 trillion at one point.

However, as the crypto sector continues to grow and flourish, so too does crypto-related crime. Virtual assets worth $3.8 billion were lost to fraud in 2019. This figure rose to almost $4.9 billion in 2020.

Fraud, money laundering and the financing of terrorism are not issues that are exclusive to the cryptocurrency sector — and every financial system on Earth has had to take action to ensure its infrastructure isn’t used for illicit purposes. But now, regulators around the world are stepping up their efforts to clamp down on criminal activity — and this has the potential to affect operations for crypto service providers, many of whom are still behind the curve.

Mainstream media coverage of digital assets has increased dramatically in recent months, with countless column inches devoted to BTC’s current bull run. This increased exposure also results in newfound scrutiny, especially when exchanges fall victim to high-profile hacks. Thankfully, there are ways for crypto businesses to take action, to protect their operations, and to work in the interests of their consumers in the process.

Achieving compliance

Amid the fractured landscape of regulatory developments for crypto, one of the most important sets of guidelines has come from the Financial Action Task Force, which has 39 members including the European Commission, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The FATF recently unveiled a series of red flag indicators that suggest potentially suspicious activity is taking place — or possible attempts by entities to evade law enforcement. For example, the size and frequency of transactions could set off alarm bells for compliance officers, especially if such repeated payments are made that fall just underneath the threshold for reporting.

Other issues may arise where deposits are made using bank accounts that use a different name to the one registered with a crypto exchange, where mixers and tumblers are used to obfuscate the origins of BTC payments, or where potentially suspicious IP addresses are used.

At first, it might seem like a nightmare for virtual asset service providers to introduce safeguards that quickly detect when these red flag indicators emerge. In a competitive marketplace, some will be concerned about the costs associated with stopping high-risk transactions in their tracks — as well as the disruption that their operations could face if legitimate activity is mistaken for something more sinister.

But platforms do exist that can monitor new transactions in real time — instantaneously assigning a risk score to each and every transaction. This is by no means a straightforward task, as the high volume of transactions running through blockchains daily means that analysis needs to take place continuously and without interruption.

The speed with which bad actors can execute transactions also means that compliance systems need to be fast acting — identifying centers of suspicious activity, and creating meaningful connections to other wallets where potentially illegally acquired funds are distributed. Past data may also be used to anticipate future events, meaning that exchanges can receive a warning that potentially risky activity is about to happen — even if a transaction hasn’t been confirmed yet.

The benefits associated with this type of software aren’t hypothetical. In late September, KuCoin announced that close to $280 million was stolen from its exchange as a result of a security breach. Analytics tools enabled the company to track down and freeze these funds so they couldn’t be laundered further — and 84% of the assets taken were later recovered.

Taking action

The technical nature of blockchain — along with the prevalence of crypto scams — has caused a significant image problem for Bitcoin in society. But despite missteps in the first decade of its existence, aspects of blockchain design champion transparency and security — meaning it can offer far greater levels of protection than older financial systems. If $500,000 in banknotes are stolen from a bank vault, the funds could end up being far harder to track down than if the same amount was taken in BTC from an exchange that has safeguards in place.

Crystal Blockchain says its analytics platform enables compliance officers and anti-fraud departments to stop illicit activity in its tracks — and monitoring can either be performed manually or automatically as settings are configurable by the user.

This is achieved by understanding the provenance of funds being sent over the blockchain, their connections, their flow paths, and by alerting crypto service providers if these assets are stolen or fraudulent. Addresses and bank cards can be linked to fraud, extortion, ransomware and darknet marketplaces. Businesses can also be alerted when entities are attempting to deposit to or withdraw funds from accounts and exchanges that have little or no due diligence procedures in place.

Institutional adoption of cryptocurrencies is happening at a staggering rate — and as we head into 2021 and beyond, Wall Street is ramping up efforts to ensure it has the infrastructure required for traders to gain exposure to digital assets. But this comes with an expectation of a mature marketplace, meaning crypto service providers need to take the necessary actions to ensure they aren’t operating in the Wild West any more.

Marina Khaustova, the CEO of Crystal Blockchain, told Cointelegraph: “The crypto industry is relatively young, and as the technology develops it also brings with it unique compliance requirements. We need to combine the best practices of the more mature financial industries with the knowledge amassed by crypto market experts to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism. By assisting with fraud identification and suspicious activity monitoring on the blockchain, Crystal aims to improve safety and trust in the global financial markets.”

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/how-compliance-software-detects-fraud-and-money-laundering-involving-crypto

Blockchain

CoinShares Launches a $75 Million Physically-Backed Ethereum (ETH) ETP

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A month after launching a Bitcoin ETP on Switzerland’s SIX Exchange, CoinShares has released a physically-backed exchange-traded product following the performance of the second-largest cryptocurrency – Ethereum. 

  • Describing itself as “Europe’s largest digital asset investment house,” CoinShares is a cryptocurrency-oriented manager with over $4 billion in AUM. The company, headquartered in London, announced the launch of its latest crypto product – a new physically-backed ETP tracking the performance of Ethereum. 
  • Called CoinShares Physical Ethereum, the product is already listed on the regulated SIX Swiss Exchange under the ticker ETHE and has a base fee of 1.25%. According to the company, the cost is “lower than the industry standard” of 2%. 
  • The statement explained that each unit of ETHE is backed with 0.03 Ether tokens at launch. Thus, it provides investors with “passive exposure to Ethereum’s native asset with the convenience of an ETP.” 
  • “In the early days of 2021, we have seen a continuation of last year’s demand in digital assets from institutions. We have also seen an increase in investor interest in Ethereum. We are encouraged by our client’s trust in our team to guide them in their journey through the digital asset ecosystem, and for many, Ethereum is an important part of that journey.” – commented Chief Revenue Officer Frank Spiteri. 

  • It’s worth noting that this is the company’s second similar product tracking the performance of a crypto asset launched this year. Somewhat expectedly, the first one, released in mid-January, follows the largest digital asset by market cap – Bitcoin. 
  • CryptoPotato reported upon its launch that it started with AUM of $200 million, and each unit is backed by 0.001 BTC. 
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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/coinshares-launches-a-75-million-physically-backed-ethereum-etp/

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Blockchain

Chainlink Price Analysis: 27 February

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Disclaimer: The findings of the following analysis are the sole opinions of the writer and should not be taken as investment advice

Bearish sentiment has been the norm over the past few days, with the same being the case at press time for altcoins such as Chainlink. LINK has seen its price hike by around 164 percent since the start of the year. Over the last 7 days, however, with sellers dominating the market, LINK lost close to 28 percent of its value. While there have been some signs of recovery on the price charts, traders cannot discount the possibility of a further dip soon.

At the time of writing, LINK was trading at $25.5 with a market cap of close to $10.5 billion, making it the ninth-largest cryptocurrency according to CoinMarketCap’s list.

Chainlink 1-day Chart

Source: LINK/USD, TradingView

Chainlink’s price surged within an ascending channel formation over the last two months and as expected, the breakout was bearish for the coin. Additionally, Bitcoin also fell over the past week, adding to LINK’s price woes.

At press time, while LINK had strong resistance around the $35.1-price range, it was testing the support at $23.9, just like it has over the past few days. If this support level fails, it is quite likely that LINK will head towards the next support at $19, creating an opportunity for traders to open short positions.

Rationale

The technical indicators for LINK were quite bearish at press time and one can expect a further price drop for the coin in the coming days. At the time, the RSI indicator was quite far away from the overbought zone and was close to the oversold zone, indicating the absence of a buyer-dominated market.

If the RSI drops even further, LINK’s downtrend will continue. The MACD indicator also painted a similar picture after having seen the Signal line go past the MACD line, resulting in a bearish crossover.

Important levels to watch out for 

Resistance: $35.1

Support: $23.9, $19

Entry: $24.7

Take Profit: $19.4

Stop Loss: $34.4

Risk/Reward: 0.56

Conclusion

Chainlink saw its price surge on the charts over the past two months. However, the sentiment has since changed quite significantly and the coin seemed to be firmly in the grip of the bears. The altcoin may see a further price drop in the coming week if the press time support level fails. Such a scenario will result in LINK’s price going below the $20-mark, presenting an opportunity for short positions in the market.


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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/chainlink-price-analysis-27-february

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Blockchain

Bitcoin Cash, Huobi Token, Zcash Price Analysis: 27 February

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Bitcoin Cash retained the 10th spot on the crypto-rankings, despite being severely impacted by the recent correction in the broader market. Huobi Token flashed bullish signals, but a break above its press time resistance was unlikely. Finally, Zcash was projected to trade within a fixed channel since volatility was low in the market.

Bitcoin Cash [BCH]

Source: BCH/USD, TradingView

Weekly losses on Bitcoin Cash‘s charts amounted to 34% as a correction in the broader market had a negative effect on the crypto-asset. This period also saw $3 billion erode from BCH’s total value as it held on to the number 10th spot in the crypto-rankings by a bare margin, with a market cap of $9.18 billion. At the time of writing, BCH’s price was floating just above its $464-support, while the indicators gave mixed signals on BCH’s future trajectory.

The RSI pointed lower from under the 40-mark and reflected the weakness in price. On the other hand, the MACD moved above the Signal line while the histogram registered rising bullish momentum. With the crypto-market awaiting strong cues, we can expect BCH to remain above its press time support level. If the aforementioned level fails, the next line of defense would be at $421.5.

Huobi Token [HT]

Source: HT/USD, TradingView

The ADX indicator showed that Huobi Token’s uptrend was weakening after the price snapped an all-time high exactly a week ago. In fact, the losses amounted to over 30% following the broader sell-off in the crypto-market. At the time of writing, the altcoin’s price had bounced back from the $15.4-support after the bulls stepped in.

The MACD closed in on a bullish crossover, while the red bars on the histogram moved towards the half-line on the histogram. Either way, its gains would be capped at the immediate resistance and a hike to record levels seemed unlikely over the coming trading sessions.

Zcash [ZEC]

Source: ZEC/USD, TradingView

The Bollinger Bands on Zcash’s hourly charts were compressed as volatility remained low after the price bounced back from its $114.7-support. Weak trading volumes and buying pressure worked against a bullish outcome even though the price looked to breach the $124.75-resistance.

The Awesome Oscillator switched to red from green as momentum moved back and forth over the last few sessions. Moving forward, expect Zcash to remain within its current channel as it awaits stronger signals from the broader market for a definitive move on the charts.


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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/bitcoin-cash-huobi-token-zcash-price-analysis-27-february

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