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US Lawmakers Reintroduce Crypto Crime Bill to Combat ‘Terrorist Use’

The bill calls for the formation of an “Independent Financial Technology Task Force to Combat Terrorism and Illicit Financing.”

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In brief

  • A bipartisan group of House legislators is looking to combat crypto-financed criminal activity with the reintroduction of the Financial Technology Protection Act.
  • It was introduced by conservative Ted Budd, who represents North Carolina’s 13th congressional district.
  • The bill has passed the House twice before—this is its second reintroduction.

Rep. Ted Budd, who serves North Carolina’s 13th congressional district, has reintroduced his Financial Technology Protection Act, aimed at reducing crypto-financed criminal activity.

Two versions of the bill were introduced twice before, in February 2018 and January 2019. Both passed the House before languishing in the Senate.

The full text of the newest bill isn’t available just yet, but we do have the title, which is somewhat expository:

“To establish an Independent Financial Technology Task Force to Combat Terrorism and Illicit Financing, to provide rewards for information leading to convictions related to terrorist use of digital currencies, to establish a Fintech Leadership in Innovation and Financial Intelligence Program to encourage the development of tools and programs to combat terrorist and illicit use of digital currencies, and for other purposes.”

Reps. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Byron Donalds (R-FL), Warren Davidson (R-OH), and Darren Soto (D-FL) have all co-sponsored the new legislation.

Though data from Chainalysis suggests that illicit transactions make up just over 1% of all crypto activity, crypto-financed crimes remain an issue: yesterday, Chainalysis released research linking a half-million dollar Bitcoin payment to members of the alt-right, some of whom were involved in the Trump-incited capitol riot earlier this month.

On the day of the riot, which resulted in the deaths of five people, Davidson wrote on Twitter that “it was encouraging to see (hundreds of thousands?) of people from all across America who came to have their voices heard.”

Budd’s office also released a statement about the bill’s reintroduction: “As we move into an increasingly digital and technology centered world, criminals and terrorists are using new technologies to wreak havoc on our fellow Americans. My bill will help put a stop to it.”

Budd, Lynch, Davidson, and Soto are all members of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, and have been vocal about crypto-related legislation and regulatory action in the past. 

In December, Budd, Davidson, and Soto signed a letter to the SEC asking for more clarity around which businesses can hold crypto.

And while a pocket of vocal lawmakers continues to propose new laws centered around cryptocurrencies, most of the bills don’t make it very far. Davidson’s Token Taxonomy Act, which was first introduced in 2018 and then reintroduced in 2019, went nowhere, as did last year’s Virtual Currency Tax Fairness Act.

Blockchain

$250M Fund to Invest in Polkadot and Cardano Launched in India

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FD7 Ventures, the cryptocurrency-oriented fund that recently vowed to dispose of its BTC holdings for ADA and DOT, has set up a $250 million micro-fund focusing on investments in teams working on the ecosystems of Polkadot and Cardano.

FD7 Goes to India for DOT and ADA

Based in Dubai, UAE, FD7 is a crypto-oriented investment fund with over $1 billion in assets under management (AUM). The firm recently announced somewhat bold plans to dispose of $750 million of its BTC holdings and allocate the sizeable amount into ADA and DOT.

At the time, the company’s Managing Director blasted the primary cryptocurrency and highlighted the potential for Cardano and Polkadot to further rise in popularity and utilization.

FD7 Ventures doubled-down on its belief in the two projects, according to a more recent press release. It reads that the firm has opened an office in Bangalore, India, with the primary focus of offering financial assistance to Polkadot and Cardano.

To do so, FD7 has established a micro-fund targeting $250 million to invest in teams working on the two projects. The statement described this move as part of the overall “strategic road map to build its presence in Bangalore” and further reaffirm its support for Polkadot and Cardano.

“Positioning our new location where we have in Bangalore gives us a home-field advantage to tap into some of the world’s best future talent in blockchain and cryptocurrency development.” – commented Prakash Chand, Global Managing Director at the company.

The new venture plans to invest $1-5 million across 50 companies yearly, with about “thirty percent of those Polkadot and Cardano ecosystem-based companies receiving secondary investments of $5-20 million.”

NFTs Are the Future

The statement also touched upon the growing craze of non-fungible tokens (NFT) and Polkadot’s role in some particular cases. More specifically, it breached the recent partnership between the famous YouTuber Paul Logan and Bondly, which resulted in an impressive popularity boost.

“Just look at Bondly, which is built on Polkadot. It literally blew up overnight when YouTuber Paul Logan sold more than $5 million worth of NFTs in just 24 hours. This is not just a space to watch but one which is proving its investment-worthiness with almost daily records being set with increase use cases for non-fungible tokens that support cryptographic art, collectibles, gaming, and more.” – said Chand.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/250m-fund-to-invest-in-polkadot-and-cardano-launched-in-india/

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After Cardano: Wolfram Blockchain Labs Teams Up With Tezos

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A few months following a Cardano integration, the DLT project Wolfram Blockchain Labs (WBL) has done the same with Tezos. As a result, developers working on blockchain analytics and computational contracts will be able to employ the Tezos network.

WBL Integrates Tezos

WBL is a provider of distributed ledger technology (DLT) solutions that support the development of a wide variety of smart contracts and decentralized applications. It’s the blockchain subsidiary of Wolfram Research – the creator of Mathematica, Wolfram|Alpha, and the Wolfram Language.

The project announced its latest blockchain partnership in a press release shared with CryptoPotato. It informed that the popular blockchain project Tezos has become the latest to be fully-integrated into WBL’s DLT ecosystem.

Apart from enabling developers working on analytics and computational contracts to utilize the Tezos blockchain, the partnership has also led to the establishment of a designated oracle providing Wolfram Alpha data to smart contract developers.

Furthermore, Tezos has utilized Nomadic Labs’ Mi-Cho-Coq formal verification framework to ensure that the oracle displays the same predictable behavior every time.

The statement also highlighted that products employing the Tezos blockchain will be “much more secure” because of the formal verification. It’s a process that “proves the correctness of properties of a smart contract to help mitigate the risks of bugs and other vulnerabilities.”

“Tezos is an exciting third-generation blockchain that features a number of services and functions that will expand what’s available to our developers. We’re thrilled to work with TQ Tezos on bringing the WBL ecosystem of tools to the Tezos blockchain.” – commented WBL CTO Johan Veerman.

Following Cardano’s Steps

Prior to the Tezos integration, WBL partnered with another popular blockchain project – Cardano. Back in late December 2020, the two parties announced the collaboration, which operates in a somewhat similar way.

WBL began implementing Cardano’s DLT data into Wolfram Alpha, thus enabling developers to integrate external data into smart contracts on the Charles Hoskinson-founded project.

Further plans included the development of dApps to enable blockchain-based commerce and business model transformation and using some Cardano-specific content in an educational course material published by WBL.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/after-cardano-wolfram-blockchain-labs-also-teams-up-with-tezos/

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Twitter to Pull a MicroStrategy and Buy Bitcoin? The Firm Plans a $1.25 Billion Convertible Notes Offering

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The giant social media platform Twitter has announced plans to raise $1.25 billion through a convertible senior notes offering. Although the company breached “corporate purposes” as the main reason, cryptocurrency proponents speculated if the firm could pull a MicroStrategy and allocate the funds in BTC.

Twitter to Raise $1.25B

According to a press release from earlier today, Twitter will offer a $1.25 billion aggregate principal amount of convertible senior notes due in 2026. The endeavor will take place in a private placement to qualified institutional buyers.

The statement described the notes as “unsecured, senior obligations of Twitter,” whose interest will be “payable semi-annually in arrears.” The company will be able to convert the notes into cash, shares of its common stock, or a combination of the two options. Upon the pricing of the offering, the firm will determine the interest rate, initial conversion rate, and “other terms of the notes.”

The company said that it would use this considerable amount for “general corporate purposes, including capital expenditures, working capital, and potential acquisitions.”

Maybe Bitcoin?

Although Twitter hasn’t revealed anything specific in connection to bitcoin, the ever-vigilant crypto community saw an opportunity to debate whether the firm might allocate some, if not all, of that amount into BTC.

Proponents, such as Anthony Pompliano, were quick to react and draw a comparison between a similar endeavor undertaken on two occasions by the business intelligence giant – MicroStrategy. Michael Saylor’s company raised over $1.6 billion in total from convertible senior notes offerings and allocated all funds in the primary cryptocurrency.

Keeping in mind that Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, is a long-time BTC proponent with multiple pro-bitcoin-related projects, similarly to Saylor, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if the social media giant indeed heads down that road. The other firm that Dorsey runs as CEO, Square, has already made two investments in BTC as the second one, worth $170 million, came less than a month ago.

Moreover, Twitter’s CFO, Ned Segal, hinted recently that the company could be looking into putting the cryptocurrency on its balance sheet.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/twitter-to-pull-a-microstrategy-and-buy-bitcoin-the-firm-plans-a-1-25-billion-convertible-notes-offering/

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