Bitcoin Daily: OCC Grants Crypto Firm Anchorage Conditional Digital Banking License; Crypto Exchange RG Coins Owner Arrested For Money Laundering

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The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) granted digital asset platform Anchorage Trust Company a digital banking license, according to a press release Wednesday (Jan. 13). With the national trust bank charter, South Dakota-based Anchorage will become Anchorage Digital Bank, National Association.

The OCC conditionally approved the charter, meaning Anchorage had to agree to comply with certain capital and liquidity requirements, as well as the OCC’s risk management rules, the release stated.

“The benefit of having a federally chartered bank is that it preempts all the state laws,” Anchorage President Diogo Mónica told CoinDesk. “The clarity of being regulated by the oldest regulator for banks in the United States … sends a very clear message.”

In other news, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) sentenced the owner of Bulgarian crypto exchange RG Coins to 121 months in prison for money laundering, according to a press release.

Rossen Iossifov was sentenced “for conspiracy to commit a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) offense and conspiracy to commit money laundering,” the release stated.

Iossifov and his co-conspirators ran advertisements online, targeting U.S. consumers, for nonexistent, high-end goods, such as cars, according to the release. After receiving payments, the conspirators would convert them to cryptocurrency and send that to money launderers abroad, like Iossifov. The scheme defrauded at least 900 Americans.

Iossifov laundered about $5 million in cryptocurrency over three years for several of the cybercriminals, who were part of the crime group Alexandria (Romania) Online Auction Fraud (AOAF) Network, the release stated. He received over $184,000 in payment.

Seventeen members of the AOAF Network, including Iossifov, have been convicted. Seven others have been sentenced, according to the release.

Meanwhile, Coinbase apologized in a blog post to EU and U.K. users who have recently been unable to access accounts or process some transactions.

The exchange cited two causes for the issues: a surge of new customers over the past two months of bitcoin’s price rally, and regulatory changes which have required Coinbase to collect new information from some customers and place holds on their accounts until finished.

“We cannot compromise on our regulatory obligations…,” Coinbase said in the post. “But we can do a better job in communicating requirements like this to our customers. We will also continue to develop simpler ways for customers to provide the information we need and to navigate our platform and support them when they need additional help.”

Coinbase said its mobile app will now notify users of missing information and provide a way to update their accounts. It also added that it will launch new solutions soon for account lockout recovery.