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USING BLOCKCHAIN TO EVADE SANCTIONS IN NORTH KOREA
On the Friday after Thanksgiving, the DOJ announced the arrest of Virgil Griffith, a U.S. citizen accused of presenting on using cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to evade sanctions at the Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference in April, even though the U.S. Department of State had denied Griffith permission to travel to North Korea.
With this case, the Department of Justice appears to be signaling the level of concern law enforcement now has with respect to the power of cryptocurrency and blockchain to disrupt the effectiveness of U.S. sanctions as a foreign policy tool.
Bitcoin saw an 8% spike on Wednesday, climbing to around $7,768 in less than half an hour before giving up almost all of those gains later that day. The price has swung wildly over the last few months, with many pointing to low trading volumes as the reason for the increased volatility.
Plus, unusual moves in the bitcoin futures market have some experts suggesting that the price could be headed higher next year. Between November 29 and December 2, the premium on bitcoin futures increased more than 30% while the bitcoin price dropped by 6%.
CRYPTO’S VALACHI PAPERS
The underworld of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has its own Valachi-style papers (named for the first Mobster to testify against the mafia), which detail how criminals laundered a record $3.7 billion so far this year, but with a blockchain twist.
Major companies like Scotiabank, cryptocurrency exchanges Binance and Bitfinex and blockchain investigation firms Chainalysis and Bitfury Crystal assembled a team of compliance officers to compile the results of their investigations into a secretive report.
The report details 86 indicators of suspicious activity, which reveal everything from how politicians can accidentally divulge information about their illicit behavior on a blockchain, to how perpetrators use anonymous email servers to obscure their identities, to how funds move from exchanges and other platforms to the Darknet.
Bitcoin mining giant Bitfury has taken another step in its transformation into an enterprise blockchain software developer with the release of a bitcoin-secured blockchain for large corporations.
Plus, a look back at 2019’s developments in enterprise blockchain, from JPMorgan Chase to HSBC to Visa.
If Bitcoin Looks Like It Isn’t Trading, It’s Because It Isn’t [Wall Street Journal]
No Libra-style digital currencies without rules, say EU finance ministers [TechCrunch]
Mnuchin, Powell See No Need for Fed to Issue Digital FX [Bloomberg]