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A new committee appointed by law firms Miller Thomson and Cox & Palmer will provide guidance in representing affected clients of major Canadian cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX. The development was announced in a court notice on March 19.

In the filing, Miller Thompson reveals that it has established the Official Committee of Affected Users of now-shuttered QuadrigaCX, comprising of seven users affected by the shutdown of the trading platform following the sudden death of its co-founder, Gerald Cotten, last December.

At the time, the exchange reported that it was not able to access its cold wallet holdings, as Cotten had purportedly been the sole person with access to wallets’ keys. With the allegedly inaccessible crypto accounting for the vast majority of the exchange’s assets, QuadrigaCX now owes over $198.4 million to an estimated 115,000 users.

The newly formed committee is set to help the law firms represent all affected users in the court proceedings against QuadrigaCX. The committee can reportedly “retain advisors, experts and consultants to provide advice to and to assist the Official Committee of Affected Users and Representative Council in the exercise of their duties in relation to the Purpose.”

The committee members have varying fields of expertise and include such industry players as Eric Bachour, a creditor of now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange Mt. Gox, and Magdalena Gronowska, who has advisory experience in economic policy development for the Government of Ontario.

Miller Thomson and Cox & Palmer were appointed as QuadrigaCX’s legal representatives in February by a decision rendered by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, Justice Michael Wood. The representative council was set to be responsible for “managing communications with users; acting as user liaison for the monitor [Ernst & Young]; advocating for user interests before the court; identify[ing] potential conflicting interest amongst users; and advocating for user privacy.”

As Cointelegraph reported yesterday, QuadrigaCX’s co-founder Michael Patryn was reportedly involved in multiple criminal activities in the past. Patryn and his partner, Lovie Horner, remain two of QuadrigaCX’s largest shareholders, although he has not had any involvement in the company’s operations since 2016 due to a fundamental disagreement with Cotten.



North Korean political dissident group Cheollima Civil Defence (CCD) is selling Ethereum-based (ETH) visas for entering the country once it is supposedly liberated.

The CCD’s website advertises a “Limited issuance of 200,000 anonymous blockchain visas to visit Free Joseon (previously North Korea) upon liberation” Free Joseon is seemingly a reference to the Joseon Kingdom, a five century long dynasty that was succeeded by the Korean Empire. The visas are emitted in the form of non-fungible ERC-721 tokens dubbed G-VISA on the Ethereum blockchain. The price, for the first one thousand visas, will be 1 ETH.

Per the announcement, the issuance will begin on Sunday, March 24 and all the visas will expire on March 1, 2029, and can only be used once for a stay of 45 days at most. One person can purchase unlimited visas and enter the country multiple times, while being subject to relevant customs and port of entry restrictions.

The website also explains that “each G-VISA is assigned an incrementing ID Number in the order it was purchased,” so no specific number can be requested or changed. CCD states that while ideally the visas could be used to visit a free North Korea:

“Ownership of one or more G-VISAs should be considered a contribution to the movement and should not be used for speculative or fiduciary purposes.”

While discouraging speculation, CCD also points out that G-VISAs may be available on ERC-721 marketplaces such as OpenSea, and recommends to look there for preferred issuance IDs. Notably, while the issuance of the visas will supposedly start on March 24, there are already 5 G-VISAs listed on OpenSea and the page dedicated to the token on Ethereum block explorer Etherscan reveals that already 7 of them exist.

The Bitcoin (BTC) address dedicated to donations has received over 14 BTC so far, ($56,000 at press time) while the Ethereum donation address only received one-hundredth of an ETH at press time.

Cable news network CNN attributed a recent attack on the North Korean embassy in Madrid, to CCD. Armed assailants reportedly restrained staff members before stealing a variety of items and fleeing the premises.

As Cointelegraph recently reported, North Korea has allegedly amassed $670 million in fiat and cryptocurrencies by conducting hacking attacks.



The legislative body of the Swiss government, the Federal Assembly, has approved a motion to instruct the Federal Council to adapt existing legislation for cryptocurrency regulation. Coitelegraph auf Deutsch reported on the development on March 20.

The motion introduced by Liberal assemblyman Giovanni Merlini intends to instruct the Federal Council to adapt existing provisions on procedural instruments of judicial and administrative authorities, so that they can also be applied to cryptocurrencies. The Council approved the motion introduced with 99 to 83 votes in favor and 10 abstensions.

The move aims to close perceived gaps in protecting cryptocurrency users from illicit activities like extortion and money laundering. The legislation is set to determine how to stifle cryptocurrency-associated risks, as well as whether entities operating crypto trading platforms should be equated with financial intermediaries, and thus be subject to financial market supervision.

Following the approval, Swiss finance minister Ueli Maurer reportedly stated that the proposed developments exceeded the scope of the planned regulation.

Last December, Maurer indicated that instead of a specific blockchain or cryptocurrency legal framework, Switzerland should tweak existing laws to allow for the new technology and its financial application.

Earlier in March, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS), a Swiss-based international banking authority, warned that the robust growth of the crypto industry could potentially “raise financial stability concerns and increase risks faced by banks.” The BCBS also argued that crypto assets are “unsafe to rely on” as a medium of exchange or store of value — two of the main functions of money — implying that “cryptocurrency” is a misnomer.



Ethereum is most likely not a security under existing United States laws, as previously said by U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Division of Corporate Finance head William Hinman.

«Based on my understanding of the present state of Ether, the Ethereum network and its decentralized structure, current offers and sales of Ether are not securities transactions,” Hinman said on June 14, 2018.

But, while the statement of SEC Chairman Jay Clayton released on March 12 is certainly positive for the cryptocurrency sector, it did not directly confirm that Ethereum is not a security.

Indirect comment on Ethereum

In a letter, Clayton said that he agrees with Hinman’s explanation when a cryptocurrency transaction does not represent an investment contract or the transfer of a security.

“I agree with Director Hinman’s explanation of how a digital asset transaction may no longer represent an investment contract. If, for example, purchasers would no longer reasonably expect a person or group to carry out the essential managerial or entrepreneurial efforts. Under those circumstances, the digital asset may not represent an investment contract under the Howey framework.”

However, according to Marco Santori, the president of, one of the largest cryptocurrency wallet operators in the global market, the statement by Clayton does not directly confirm the regulatory nature of Ethereum to Congress.

Clayton said that he agrees with Hinman’s explanation on the point in which a token can no longer be accurately characterized as a security but did not directly and conclusively state that Ethereum is not a security under existing laws, Santori explained:

“Clayton didn’t say that ‘Ether is no longer a security.’ He said he agreed with Hinman’s explanation of when a token is no longer a security. Hinman can say stuff like that but for the Chairman to say it in a letter to Congress is another matter entirely. It would be construed as binding, and the SEC isn’t trying to have that.”

Although Santori said that he does not think Ethereum is a security — and so did other industry executives and regulators, including Hinman — there is a gap between an SEC official offering his thoughts on the regulatory nature of the SEC and the chairman of the commission stating it to Congress.

“Okay but is Ether a security? No, I don’t think it is,” Santori said.

Does it change the ICO market?

In recent years, the initial coin market (ICO) market has adopted the Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT) contract to target accredited investors over anonymous or unaccredited investors.

As such, most SAFT contracts, which are considered an issuance of security, do not allow investors based in the U.S. to participate in token sales, due to the ambiguity surrounding ICO regulation.

More importantly, unless it obtains the approval of the SEC, an ICO project prefers to not risk being classified as a security within the U.S. and run into conflict with U.S. regulators rather than target U.S.-based investors.

Santori emphasized that the SEC Chairman did not endorse the SAFT framework in any manner nor reject Ethereum as a security:

“Did Clayton endorse the SAFT framework? Lolno [sic]. Nor did he say that Ether is not a security. Words have meaning, though, and so does diction. It’s tough to ignore these letters and everything that goes into them. Best predictive value we have, for now.”

Clayton’s recent statement, which could be viewed as a positive step toward cryptocurrency and ICO regulation, does not provide enough clarity on the regulatory nature of most tokens and does not definitively show that Ethereum is not a security.

Why governments will likely back away from characterizing Ethereum as a security

As SEC official Hinman said last year, the definition of a token as a security will continue to be a case-by-case scenario that could differ based on time frames. The official noted that systems that directly rely on central actors or a centralized institution for success are considered securities.

Even if an ICO or a token sale starts off as a non-security, if the token begins to rely on a central institution, Hinman suggested that securities laws could be applied.

“Over time, there may be other sufficiently decentralized networks and systems where regulating the tokens or coins that function on them as securities may not be required. And of course there will continue to be systems that rely on central actors whose efforts are a key to the success of the enterprise. In those cases, application of the securities laws protects the investors who purchase the tokens or coins.”

Cryptocurrencies and public blockchain networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum are unlikely to be considered securities because there always have been open-source developer communities working to improve and develop the codebases of the two crypto assets.

But, once a token or a blockchain project begins to rely on a central group of developers or authorities, it could run into the risk of being described as a security in the U.S.

Characterizing Ethereum as a security could be detrimental to the growth of the global blockchain sector. Most blockchain projects and tokens are based on Ethereum in the form of ERC-20 tokens and utilize the smart contract standard to execute transactions and process information.

As such, industry executives do not expect the regulators in the U.S. or other key governments to consider Ethereum as a security.

How is the overall regulatory landscape in the U.S.?

With companies the likes of Gemini putting in the efforts of maintaining strictly regulated cryptocurrency trading platforms that are compliant with both federal and state-specific regulations, the infrastructure of the U.S. cryptocurrency market is strengthening at a rapid pace.

However, it is not likely to see an ICO-supportive and token-sale-adopting market in the U.S. anytime soon. Similar to Japan, where ICOs to the public are banned but are set to be opened to institutional investors and potentially accredited investors, the SEC is expected to continue encouraging blockchain projects to cooperate with the agency by receiving an approval.

In December 2018, as Cointelegraph reported, Chairman Clayton said that ICOs could be an effective way for entrepreneurs and teams to raise capital, but it has to be done in the right way — i.e., following the securities laws of the U.S.

“I believe that ICOs can be effective ways for entrepreneurs and others to raise capital. However, the novel technological nature of an ICO does not change the fundamental point that, when a security is being offered, our securities laws must be followed.”

The state of the ICO market in the U.S. remains more or less similar to the time before Clayton released his statement and the securities laws remain ambiguous for projects.

Could it change at all?

The SEC is an enforcement agency that interprets the existing securities laws in the U.S. If changes are made to the securities laws, it may alter the way the SEC characterizes tokens and cryptocurrencies in general.

In late 2018, a bipartisan bill entitled “Token Taxonomy Act of 2018” was introduced, which proposed the exclusion of cryptocurrencies from the securities laws because of the limit in which the laws govern or characterize cryptocurrencies:

“Direct the Securities and Exchange Commission to enact certain regulatory changes regarding digital units secured through public key cryptography, to adjust taxation of virtual currencies held in individual retirement accounts, to create a tax exemption for exchanges of one virtual currency for another, to create a de minimis exemption from taxation for gains realized from the sale or exchange of virtual currency for other than cash, and for other purposes.”

The time frame for a vote on the the bipartisan bill still remains unclear, and it remains highly unlikely that changes will be made to the existing securities laws in the U.S. in the near-term.

In the foreseeable future, the SEC is expected to go over ICOs and token sales in a case-by-case basis, evaluating whether certain tokens or crypto assets represent potential security transactions within the regulatory framework of the U.S.



Institutional crypto trading, portfolio and risk management platform Caspian announced that it has integrated its platform with cryptocurrency futures and options trading exchange Deribit. The news was revealed in a press release from Caspian published on March 20.

Per the announcement, Deribit has been added to Caspian’s ecosystem of over 30 cryptocurrency exchanges and liquidity providers. The company also claims that the move renders it the first institutional platform to offer both options and futures trading in the crypto asset class.

The post also notes that Caspian’s platform includes an order and execution management system, portfolio management system and risk management system and connects into major crypto exchanges and over-the-counter brokers. Lastly, the announcement also points out that Deribit supports up to 100x leverage.

As Cointelegraph reported in December last year, Malta-based major cryptocurrency exchange OKEx also launched a crypto derivative product with support for up to 100x leverage.

In February, digital asset management fund Grayscale Investments claimed in a report that institutional investors provide 66 percent of capital inflow into crypto. The same month, Liechtenstein-based Bank Frick announced that it is launching a competing institutional cryptocurrency trading platform subsidiary, DLT Markets.



Альфа-банк и кипрская Redeliaco Holdings Ltd, кредиторы обанкротившейся инжиниринговой компании «Группа E4», требуют привлечь к солидарной ответственности на 33,6 млрд рублей экс-министра по делам «Открытого правительства» Михаила Абызова и двух других лиц, контролировавших компанию — бывшего президента «Группы E4» Андрея Малышева и экс-супругу Абызова Екатерину Сиротенко, сообщает «РИА Новости». Суд рассмотрит заявление 10 апреля.

Заявление о привлечении Абызова, Малышева и Сиротенко (ее, как пишет «РИА Новости», называли конечным бенефициаром «Группы E4» после того, как Абызов стал министров) к субсидиарной ответственности поступило в Альфа-банка в декабре, от Redeliaco Holdings Ltd — в феврале, Арбитражный суд Москвы 20 марта решил объединить их для совместного рассмотрения. 

Состояние Михаила Абызова, по подсчетам Forbes, составляет $600 млн, его основной актив — группа RU-COM, в которую входят электроэнергетические («Сибэко», «Элсиб») и сельскохозяйственные («Копитания») компании. В 2012-2018 годах он был министром («без портфеля») по координации деятельности «Открытого правительства».

«Группа Е4», созданная в 2006 году Михаилом Абызовым, работала в сфере инжиниринга в электроэнергетике, строительства энергоблоков, причем была на этом рынке одним из крупнейших игроков (с долей 20%). Потом, из-за девальвации рубля и повышения кредитных ставок, компания столкнулась с трудностями в обслуживании кредитов и в конце 2014 года перестала по ним платить, ей пришлось расторгнуть несколько крупных контрактов.

До июня 2015 года владельцем компании была кипрская Eforg Asset Management Limited, бенефициаром которой являлся Абызов (после того, как он стал министром, Абызов передал «Группу E4» в доверительное управление RU-COM). После этого было объявлено, что 100% компании выкупили частные инвесторы, в том числе бывший сотрудник «Велес капитала» Сергей Судаков. В октябре 2016 года суд признал «Группу E4» банкротом по заявлению ЗАО «Аксиома права», задолженность перед которым составляла 2 млн рублей. Конкурсный управляющий группы Иван Вышегородцев говорил в 2017 году, что в реестр требований кредиторов включены требования к компании более чем на 30 млрд рублей.



Илья Сачков встречался с президентом Владимиром Путиным три раза, но после последнего визита в Кремль у него из социальных сетей стали удаляться друзья. Совладелец Group-IB говорит, что если у инженера есть возможность показать свой продукт президенту, то он это сделает, но одобрение его не волнует. К слову, даже родителям Ильи не нравилось то, чем он занимается. Кроме того, в интервью Сачков подробно объяснил, чем Group-IB круче «Лаборатории Касперского». Другие темы беседы с Forbes: нелюбовь предпринимателя к Лужкову и Батуриной, супергеройские амбиции бизнесменов в России и прямая линия с Дмитрием Медведевым. Мы вспомнили рекламную кампанию Group-IB с бездомными и узнали, что она значила.


CoinMarketCap announced that it will launch two cryptocurrency benchmark indices on Nasdaq Global Index Data Service, Bloomberg Terminal, Thomson Reuters Eikon and Börse Stuttgart. The news was revealed in a post on the crypto data firm’s blog, published on March 20.

The two indices are calculated and administered by German index provider Solactive, the post notes.

Per the announcement, the indices will cover the top 200 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, one including Bitcoin (BTC) and one without it. The latter benchmark will be called CMC Crypto 200 ex BTC Index (CMC200EX), while the one including Bitcoin is called CMC Crypto 200 Index (CMC200). Both the indexes will be rebalanced on the last day of each calendar quarter, the firm reports.

CMC200EX has been reportedly created “to track the performance of the market without the influence of Bitcoin,” since the leading coin is responsible for about half of the total market cap of all cryptocurrencies.

According to the post, Solactive is also the company behind the CBOE Bitcoin Futures index, which was launched in December 2017, and administers over three thousand custom indices.

Solactive’s head of sales, Fabian Colin, is quoted in the announcement as stating that access to CoinMarketCap’s data grants them the ability to develop custom indices for customers. He also notes that “conversations have already started” in that regard.

As Cointelegraph reported in mid-February, Nasdaq launched two new indices tracking the “spot or reference rate for the price” of Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH). The indices were created by crypto asset market data company Brave New Coin.

Previously, in November last year, investment management firm VanEck’s subsidiary MV Index Solutions launched its own Bitcoin index based on three major over-the-counter (OTC) desks.

As reported this week, CBOE announced that it will not add a new Bitcoin futures contract in March, stating that it “is assessing its approach with respect to how it plans to continue to offer digital asset derivatives for trading.”



Владимир Путин на встрече с британскими бизнесменами заявил, что они могли бы поучаствовать в реализации национальных проектов России. «В рамках национальных проектов в России планируется вложить сотни миллиардов долларов в развитие наиболее важных секторов экономики и социальной сферы. Я не оговорился, речь идет о вложениях именно сотен миллиардов долларов, и здесь, уверен, что и ваши компании могли бы поучаствовать в этой работе, рынок достаточно большой», — сказал президент.

На встрече с Путиным присутствовали главный исполнительный директор сырьевого трейдера Glencore Айван Глазенберг, главный исполнительный директор BP Роберт Дадли, глава фармацевтической компании AstraZeneca Паскаль Сорио, глава производителя электрогенераторов Aggreko Крис Уэстон, глава нефтетрейдера Vitol Иан Тейлор.

Реализация нацпроектов «будет иметь комплексный, как мы рассчитываем, синергетический эффект для динамичного роста всей страны, откроет значительные возможности для бизнеса, в том числе и для британских деловых кругов», — добавил Путин.

Согласно опубликованным правительством параметров нацпроектов, в течение шести лет на них потратят 25,7 трлн рублей (13,2 трлн рублей из этих расходов покроет федеральный бюджет). Самые затратные нацпроекты — развитие магистральной инфраструктуры (6,35 трлн рублей),  «Безопасные и качественные автодороги» (4,78 трлн руб.), «Экология» (4,04 трлн рублей) и «Демография» (3,11 трлн рублей).



Cybersecurity solutions provider Kudelski Security has entered a strategic partnership with smart contracts auditing firm Hosho in order to provide greater security for blockchain ecosystems. The news was announced in a press release from Kudelski on March 19.

As Cointelegraph auf Deutsch previously reported, Kudelski Security — a Swiss-born, stalwart tech security solutions provider whose multinational operations run from locations across Europe and the United States — launched a Blockchain Security Center (BSC) this January.

Kudelski, which has expertise in the field of applied cryptography, says it established the partnership with Las Vegas-based Hosho in order to extend the capabilities of the BSC and combine the companies’ respective skill sets. The goal of the partnership is to provide more robust security solutions to enterprises and public sector organizations that use blockchain technology.

The press release cites research from Hosho that claims that over $2 billion was lost or stolen from blockchain companies in 2018 due to security vulnerabilities. Hosho’s auditing of the smart contract sector has purportedly found that over one in four have “critical vulnerabilities and three in five have at least one security issue.”

Kudelski states that the combined resources of the new partnership will allow a wide gamut of entities to design, build and operate secure blockchain applications and ultimately realize greater value from their investments, with lesser risk.

Hartej Sawhney, co-founder and president of Hosho, has given a statement claiming that:

“It [the partnership] is the first time a blockchain cybersecurity leader has joined forces with a publicly traded cybersecurity company. Enterprises are rapidly investing into incorporating decentralized ledger technologies into their legacy systems. Companies such as Kudelski, with 30 plus years of experience in cybersecurity, IoT, and public access solutions, are needed to meet the [ sector’s] increasingly complex demands.”

As reported, Hosho was recently prompted to lay off 80 percent of its staff, claiming that the increased use of automated tooling made auditing work from a large number of engineers unnecessary. Sawhney told Cointelegraph at the time that a downturn in the number of smart contracts audits amid the protracted crypto bear market was another key factor in the move.


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