Recapping the biggest news stories of the week. If you’ve missed the top stories of this week, this post provides a comprehensive look at the stories that made headlines. A lot has happened in the cryptocurrency and blockchain world, FTC has warned about bitcoin blackmail scam, BitMEX has signed a lease to rent one of the world’s most expensive office spaces, U.S. SEC has rejected three Bitcoin ETF Proposals, Steve Wozniak aims to get involved in crypto startup and much more. Here’s an overview of some of this week’s most interesting news and articles:
FTC, the Federal Trade Commission, an independent agency of the United States government has warned cryptocurrency investors and enthusiasts about bitcoin blackmail scam. According to FTC, a bitcoin blackmail scam is targeting various people in USA. This scam targets people in the form of an unidentified letter holding proofs of disloyalty against the victim. In the letter, the scammer wants money in exchange for not disclosing this information to the victim’s spouse, relatives and friends. Scammers are sending letters to men, asking payments in the form of cryptocurrency bitcoin in exchange for not disclosing anything about their alleged affairs. The letter also describes how to use bitcoin to make the payment. The blackmail scam is not unknown. It has many forms and will continue to change as scammers change their strategies to remain successful.
BitMEX, one of the world’s largest Bitcoin mercantile exchanges has announced that they have signed a lease to rent one of the world’s most expensive office spaces at the Cheung Kong Center in Hong Kong. The company will occupy the 45th floor of the Cheung Kong Center. BitMEX’s old office was located at a logistics and warehouse district on the other side of Victoria Harbor. Rent in the old building was HK$25 (US$3.18) per square foot per month, while the rent in the new building is nearly ten times that – at HK$225 (US$28.66) ( per square foot per month. Since the average floor size of the Cheung Kong center is between 20,000 – 22,000 square feet, this means that BitMEX will be paying up to HK$4,950,000, or US$630,581 per month in rent. The world-renowned Cheung Kong Center the is owned and managed by its 49%-owned associated company Hutchison Whampoa Limited (HWL), while other tenants are various big companies such as Allianz, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital, BlackRock, Bloomberg, Goldman Sachs, Jefferies, McKinsey & Co., PricewaterhouseCoopers, Royal Bank of Canada, RBS, Och-Ziff Capital Management, and the Securities and Futures Commission.
Three bitcoin ETF proposals submitted by Bethsada, Maryland based ProShares, New York, New York based Granite Shares and Milwaukee, Wisconsin based Direxion were rejected by the SEC. ProShares and Granite Shares were both trying to register two products known as Bitcoin ETF and Short Bitcoin ETF while Direxion submitted five products related to price movement of Bitcoin. There were two for going short, Daily Bitcoin 1X and 2X Bear Shares, and two for going long, Daily Bitcoin 1.25X, 1.5X and 2X Bull Shares. GraniteShares Bitcoin ETF was planned for the Cboe Exchange, while the ProShares and Bull Shares proposals were planned for the NYSE Arca exchange platform. SEC rejected these proposals because of the uncertainty behind cryptocurrency assets and their major concern is not over the security of the individual coins themselves, but rather the value they hold.
Four cryptocurrency exchanges – Bittrex, bitFlyer USA, Bitstamp and Gemini are teaming up to form a new self-regulatory organization (SRO) dubbed the Virtual Commodity Association in order to help formulate new industry standards. To execute and maintain industry standards, the Virtual Commodity Association (VCA) will make use of a Board structure which would have a specified number of independent directors. The primary function of the Board will be to ease the goals and mission of the VCA including the issuance of reports regarding the standards set forth by the VCA. Consumer protection and forging better relationships with governmental regulators is main for the industry and these members believe that the new group can achieve just that.
Steve Wozniak, an American inventor, programmer, philanthropist, and technology entrepreneur who co-founded Apple is all set to get involved in crypto startup blockchain project. At the ChainXchange conference, Steve Wozniak disclosed in an interview that he is planning to get involved in a blockchain startup. Steve Wozniak was early investors in Bitcoin and Ethereum in its early days, although he stopped investing in crypto in early 2018. He also explained that Ethereum and bitcoin are two great things. According to him, the use of Ethereum is just like Apple, with thousands of companies creating and developing their own applications on the platform. Ethereum gives the platform and tools for a blockchain application of your own and more and more people are using Ethereum platform to create various applications. He also stated that Bitcoin is still digital gold.