Bitcoin Daily: FinCEN Penalizes P2P Currency Exchanger; Binance Announces Its Own Blockchain

Bitcoin Daily

A new report has found that ransomware payments increased nearly 90 percent in the first quarter of the year over the previous quarter.

According to ransomware support firm Coveware, the first quarter of 2019 saw the average daily ransom being paid to attackers increase to $12,762 from $6,733 in Q4 2018. Researchers said that a boost in expensive infections is responsible for the jump, with bitcoin the most popular payment method for ransomware. In fact, 98 percent of attackers ask for it as payment.

“Dharma/Crysis continued to be the most prevalent ransomware in Q1 of 2019, but Ryuk gained significant market share,” the report added.

In other news, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced that it has assessed its first civil money penalty against a peer-to-peer exchanger of convertible virtual currency.

Eric Powers was penalized for violating the Bank Secrecy Act’s (BSA) registration, program, and reporting requirements by failing to register as a money services business (MSB), not having written compliance policies or procedures in place, and failing to report suspicious transactions and currency transactions.

“Obligations under the BSA apply to money transmitters regardless of their size,” FinCEN Director Kenneth A. Blanco said in a press release. “It should not come as a surprise that we will take enforcement action based on what we have publicly stated since our March 2013 Guidance — that exchangers of convertible virtual currency, such as Mr. Powers, are money transmitters and must register as MSBs. In fact, there were indications that Mr. Powers specifically was aware of these obligations, but willfully failed to honor them. Such failures put our financial system and national security at risk and jeopardize the safety and well-being of our people, as well as undercut responsible innovation in the financial services space.”

In addition to paying a $35,000 fine, Powers agreed to an industry bar that would prohibit him from providing money transmission services or engaging in a similar activity.

Proof of Capital has launched its own $50 million blockchain fund, aiming to build an internet ecosystem that results in the worldwide adoption of the blockchain technology.

“The architecture and security of Web 3.0 needs close collaboration between both hardware and software builders, with HTC’s Exodus taking a leading role — starting with a Secure Enclave within the phone,” cofounder Phil Chen said in a statement, according to Venture Beat. “Proof of Capital will work closely with HTC to define the standards and interactions for this new internet and bring mobile and hardware know-how for our portfolio companies. Blockchain will redefine computing and create a new framework based on trust, privacy, security, and identity.”

And Binance has launched its own digital ledger, Binance Chain, which will allow crypto startups to issue coins directly on the company’s platform.
In addition, the ledger will serve as the foundation of the company’s planned decentralized exchange. The exchange’s coin, BNB, will also move off the Ethereum network to the new blockchain.
“The launch of Binance Chain is one of the most important crypto events of the year,” Kyle Samani, co-founder of crypto hedge fund Multicoin Capital Management in Austin, Texas, said in an email, according to Bloomberg.