Industry Report: News Surrounding Bitfinex Gets Weirder
News surrounding Bitfinex gets hairier, some warring views surface on bitcoin and its functions, and Colombia’s first digital exchange closes its doors. Want to catch up on the latest digital currency news? Take a look at the stories below.
Following a $72 million dollar hack that occurred just a few days ago, news surrounding Hong Kong-based bitcoin exchange Bitfinex is getting mysterious. The company’s elusive CEO Raphael Nicolle has allegedly been part of several Ponzi schemes — some of which he funded, and one he may have tried to start on his own.
Since 2012, Nicolle has purportedly backed several plans by bitcoin schemer Trendon Shavers, who was recently sentenced to 18 months in prison for questionable digital currency tactics. Many are now wondering if perhaps Nicolle and his fellow staff members at Bitfinex may have been involved in the hack themselves, as several staff profiles have ultimately disappeared or been deleted. It is unclear if an investigation has been launched.
In the meantime, the alleged hacker behind the Bitfinex attack is announcing a special giveaway of approximately 1,000 bitcoins. Individuals are warned that the situation wreaks of money-laundering, and are respectively being told to steer clear.
Continuing the long war over what Bitcoin is and what it should be, both sides are being witnessed at different ends of the globe. In Florida, for example, a judge has recently declared that bitcoin is “not real money,” and therefore not subject to licensing requirements. The decision stems from a money-laundering case against Michel Espinoza, who was arrested for attempting to sell $1,500 in bitcoins to an undercover agent. The case has ultimately been dismissed.
4,000 miles away, the UK Gambling Commission has stated both bitcoin and digital currencies alike to be “cash” that licensees can accept as payment methods. Acceptance will begin on gambling platforms October 31, and usage throughout the country is expected to increase tenfold.
Colombia is saying goodbye to its first digital currency exchange. Colbitex, which opened its doors for business only two months ago, is ceasing its operations following complaints from Colombian authorities.
“Bitcoin is a non-backed asset. It has not been recognized as a legal currency in Colombia,” one such complaint states. “None of the exchanges or transactional services related to Bitcoin are properly regulated by Colombian laws.”
The majority of financial regulators in Latin America see bitcoin as lacking security and posing threats to personal privacy.
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Image courtesy of Bitfinex.