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ETX officially announced to change the algorithm, here is a straightforward analysis about the influence
More dispersed computing power, which means that the coins will be further dispersed, and the value will be less controlled and influenced by a few people who controlled many coins. From the above examples of Monero and Monero Classic , we can see that changing the algorithm is a great positive signal for ordinary community users
According to the latest announcement on the official website of Ethereumx·NET (ETX), "Notice about the upcoming change of ETX algorithm and the opening of the testnet '', ETX will change the algorithm within the next 1-2 months. The reason is that the current large computing power miners pose a threat to ETX's long-term ecological planning in the future, because the large computing power mining has caused a very high concentration of chips. This can be seen through the blockchain browser. The future It may take time to balance the number of head coin holders and slowly digest with price space and time. https://preview.redd.it/xtfbx9wbe6b51.png?width=624&format=png&auto=webp&s=386ccbcb51a658db2db07609152406df1c0927e3 Just like Bitcoin, there were only a few people digging with a computer at the beginning. Later, as the market slowly became aware, and then derived the ASIC algorithm mining machine, as the price increased, some head currency holders slowly reduced their holdings, and slowly reduced the threat they posed to Bitcoin. But even so, there are still an unsolved 200,000 bitcoins in MtGox. Some people even predict that when MtGox closes the case, it will be the crash day of Bitcoin. It’s impossible for a new currency to go the way which Bitcoin had passed. The market competition environment today is completely different. There are endless new currencies appearing every day, so at the appropriate time to avoid the risk of expanding and taking the lead is necessary. This may be the reason why the ETX development team decided to change the algorithm. There are many currencies that have changed the algorithm, and most of the results are relatively good. For example, Monero (XMR), Monero should be the most successful currency to resist the ASIC algorithm. In the process of fighting with ASIC repeatedly, without exception, the mining machine manufacturers were expelled from the door, ensuring many communities. But Monroe Classic has retained the ASIC-friendly algorithm because it has not changed the algorithm, and almost no one is interested today. We can get a glimpse of their straightforward price performance in the chart below.
XMC’s price with no algorithm changes, data source Coinmarketcap More decentralized computing power means that the coins are further dispersed, and the value can be less controlled and influenced by a few people. From the examples of Monroe and Monroe Classic above, we can see that changing the algorithm is a great positive signal to the ordinary community users. And the announcement on the official website mentioned that the testnet will be launched before the end of this month, and anyone who’s interested can go to have a look. ETX developers take precautionary measures ahead of time, which is a manifestation of responsibility for all community users. Refer to Ethereumx·NET " Notice about the upcoming change of ETX algorithm and the opening of the testnet " Coinmarketcap Monero: GetMonero *There are risks in the market, this article is not intended as investment advice
An extensive guide for cashing out bitcoin and cryptocurrencies into private banks
Hey guys. Merry Xmas ! I am coming back to you with a follow up post, as I have helped many people cash out this year and I have streamlined the process. After my original post, I received many requests to be more specific and provide more details. I thought that after the amazing rally we have been attending over the last few months, and the volatility of the last few days, it would be interesting to revisit more extensively. The attitude of banks around crypto is changing slowly, but it is still a tough stance. For the first partial cash out I operated around a year ago for a client, it took me months to find a bank. They wouldn’t want to even consider the case and we had to knock at each and every door. Despite all my contacts it was very difficult back in the days. This has changed now, and banks have started to open their doors, but there is a process, a set of best practices and codes one has to follow. I often get requests from crypto guys who are very privacy-oriented, and it takes me months to have them understand that I am bound by Swiss law on banking secrecy, and I am their ally in this onboarding process. It’s funny how I have to convince people that banks are legit, while on the other side, banks ask me to show that crypto millionaires are legit. I have a solid background in both banking and in crypto so I manage to make the bridge, but yeah sometimes it is tough to reconcile the two worlds. I am a crypto enthusiast myself and I can say that after years of work in the banking industry I have grown disillusioned towards banks as well, like many of you. Still an account in a Private bank is convenient and powerful. So let’s get started.
A. What is required to open an account in a Private bank when you made your fortune through crypto.
There are two different aspects to your onboarding in a Swiss Private bank, compliance-wise. *The origin of your crypto wealth *Your background (residence, citizenship and probity) These two aspects must be documented in-depth. How to document your crypto wealth. Each new crypto millionaire has a different story. I may detail a few fun stories later in this post, but at the end of the day, most of crypto rich I have met can be categorized within the following profiles: the miner, the early adopter, the trader, the corporate entity, the black market, the libertarian/OTC buyer. The real question is how you prove your wealth is legit. 1. Context around the original amount/investment Generally speaking, your first crypto purchase may not be documented. But the context around this acquisition can be. I have had many cases where the original amount was bought through Mtgox, and no proof of purchase could be provided, nor could be documented any Mtgox claim. That’s perfectly fine. At some point Mtgox amounted 70% of the bitcoin transactions globally, and people who bought there and managed to withdraw and keep hold of their bitcoins do not have any Mtgox claim. This is absolutely fine. However, if you can show me the record of a wire from your bank to Tisbane (Mtgox's parent company) it's a great way to start. Otherwise, what I am trying to document here is the following: I need context. If you made your first purchase by saving from summer jobs, show me a payroll. Even if it was USD 2k. If you acquired your first bitcoins from mining, show me the bills of your mining equipment from 2012 or if it was through a pool mine, give me your slushpool account ref for instance. If you were given bitcoin against a service you charged, show me an invoice. 2. Tracking your wealth until today and making sense of it. What I have been doing over the last few months was basically educating compliance officers. Thanks God, the blockchain is a global digital ledger! I have been telling my auditors and compliance officers they have the best tool at their disposal to lead a proper investigation. Whether you like it or not, your wealth can be tracked, from address to address. You may have thought all along this was a bad feature, but I am telling you, if you want to cash out, in the context of Private Banking onboarding, tracking your wealth through the block explorer is a boon. We can see the inflows, outflows. We can see the age behind an address. An early adopter who bought 1000 BTC in 2010, and let his bitcoin behind one address and held thus far is legit, whether or not he has a proof of purchase to show. That’s just common sense. My job is to explain that to the banks in a language they understand. Let’s have a look at a few examples and how to document the few profiles I mentioned earlier. The trader. I love traders. These are easy cases. I have a ton of respect for them. Being a trader myself in investment banks for a decade earlier in my career has taught me that controlling one’s emotions and having the discipline to impose oneself some proper risk management system is really really hard. Further, being able to avoid the exchange bankruptcy and hacks throughout crypto history is outstanding. It shows real survival instinct, or just plain blissed ignorance. In any cases traders at exchange are easy cases to corroborate since their whole track record is potentially available. Some traders I have met have automated their trading and have shown me more than 500k trades done over the span of 4 years. Obviously in this kind of scenario I don’t show everything to the bank to avoid information overload, and prefer to do some snacking here and there. My strategy is to show the early trades, the most profitable ones, explain the trading strategy and (partially expose) the situation as of now with id pages of the exchanges and current balance. Many traders have become insensitive to the risk of parking their crypto at exchange as they want to be able to trade or to grasp an occasion any minute, so they generally do not secure a substantial portion on the blockchain which tends to make me very nervous. The early adopter. Provided that he has not mixed his coin, the early adopter or “hodler” is not a difficult case either. Who cares how you bought your first 10k btc if you bought them below 3$ ? Even if you do not have a purchase proof, I would generally manage to find ways. We just have to corroborate the original 30’000 USD investment in this case. I mainly focus on three things here: *proof of early adoption I have managed to educate some banks on a few evidences specifically related to crypto markets. For instance with me, an old bitcointalk account can serve as a proof of early adoption. Even an old reddit post from a few years ago where you say how much you despise this Ripple premined scam can prove to be a treasure readily available to show you were early. *story telling Compliance officers like to know when, why and how. They are human being looking for simple answers to simple questions and they don’t want like to be played fool. Telling the truth, even without a proof can do wonders, and even though bluffing might still work because banks don’t fully understand bitcoin yet, it is a risky strategy that is less and less likely to pay off as they are getting more sophisticated by the day. *micro transaction from an old address you control This is the killer feature. Send a $20 worth transaction from an old address to my company wallet and to one of my partner bank’s wallet and you are all set ! This is gold and considered a very solid piece of evidence. You can also do a microtransaction to your own wallet, but banks generally prefer transfer to their own wallet. Patience with them please. they are still learning. *signature message Why do a micro transaction when you can sign a message and avoid potentially tainting your coins ? *ICO millionaire Some clients made their wealth participating in ETH crowdsale or IOTA ICO. They were very easy to deal with obviously and the account opening was very smooth since we could evidence the GENESIS TxHash flow. The miner Not so easy to proof the wealth is legit in that case. Most early miners never took screenshot of the blocks on bitcoin core, nor did they note down the block number of each block they mined. Until the the Slashdot article from August 2010 anyone could mine on his laptop, let his computer run overnight and wake up to a freshly minted block containing 50 bitcoins back in the days. Not many people were structured enough to store and secure these coins, avoid malwares while syncing the blockchain continuously, let alone document the mined blocks in the process. What was 50 BTC worth really for the early miners ? dust of dollars, games and magic cards… Even miners post 2010 are generally difficult to deal with in terms of compliance onboarding. Many pool mining are long dead. Deepbit is down for instance and the founders are MIA. So my strategy to proof mining activity is as follow: *Focusing on IT background whenever possible. An IT background does help a lot to bring some substance to the fact you had the technical ability to operate a mining rig. *Showing mining equipment receipts. If you mined on your own you must have bought the hardware to do so. For instance mining equipment receipts from butterfly lab from 2012-2013 could help document your case. Similarly, high electricity bill from your household on a consistent basis back in the day could help. I have already unlocked a tricky case in the past with such documents when the bank was doubtful. *Wallet.dat files with block mining transactions from 2011 thereafter This obviously is a fantastic piece of evidence for both you and me if you have an old wallet and if you control an address that received original mined blocks, (even if the wallet is now empty). I will make sure compliance officers understand what it means, and as for the early adopter, you can prove your control over these wallet through a microtransaction. With these kind of addresses, I can show on the block explorer the mined block rewards hitting at regular time interval, and I can even spot when difficulty level increased or when halvening process happened. *Poolmining account. Here again I have educated my partner bank to understand that a slush account opened in 2013 or an OnionTip presence was enough to corroborate mining activity. The block explorer then helps me to do the bridge with your current wallet. *Describing your set up and putting it in context In the history of mining we had CPU, GPU, FPG and ASICs mining. I will describe your technical set up and explain why and how your set up was competitive at that time. The corporate entity Remember 2012 when we were all convinced bitcoin would take over the world, and soon everyone would pay his coffee in bitcoin? How naïve we were to think transaction fees would remain low forever. I don’t blame bitcoin cash supporters; I once shared this dream as well. Remember when we thought global adoption was right around the corner and some brick and mortar would soon accept bitcoin transaction as a common mean of payment? Well, some shop actually did accept payment and held. I had a few cases as such of shops holders, who made it to the multi million mark holding and had invoices or receipts to proof the transactions. If you are organized enough to keep a record for these trades and are willing to cooperate for the documentation, you are making your life easy. The digital advertising business is also a big market for the bitcoin industry, and affiliates partner compensated in btc are common. It is good to show an invoice, it is better to show a contract. If you do not have a contract (which is common since all advertising deals are about ticking a check box on the website to accept terms and conditions), there are ways around that. If you are in that case, pm me. The black market Sorry guys, I can’t do much for you officially. Not that I am judging you. I am a libertarian myself. It’s just already very difficult to onboard legit btc adopters, so the black market is a market I cannot afford to consider. My company is regulated so KYC and compliance are key for me if I want to stay in business. Behind each case I push forward I am risking the credibility and reputation I have built over the years. So I am sorry guys I am not risking it to make an extra buck. Your best hope is that crypto will eventually take over the world and you won’t need to cash out anyway. Or go find a Lithuanian bank that is light on compliance and cooperative. The OTC buyer and the libertarian. Generally a very difficult case. If you bought your stack during your journey in Japan 5 years ago to a guy you never met again; or if you accumulated on https://localbitcoins.com/ and kept no record or lost your account, it is going to be difficult. Not impossible but difficult. We will try to build a case with everything else we have, and I may be able to onboard you. However I am risking a lot here so I need to be 100% confident you are legit, before I defend you. Come & see me in Geneva, and we will talk. I will run forensic services like elliptic, chainalysis, or scorechain on an extract of your wallet. If this scan does not raise too many red flags, then maybe we can work together ! If you mixed your coins all along your crypto history, and shredded your seeds because you were paranoid, or if you made your wealth mining professionally monero over the last 3 years but never opened an account at an exchange. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ I am not a magician and don’t get me wrong, I love monero, it’s not the point. Cashing out ICOs Private companies or foundations who have ran an ICO generally have a very hard time opening a bank account. The few banks that accept such projects would generally look at 4 criteria: *Seriousness of the project Extensive study of the whitepaper to limit the reputation risk *AML of the onboarding process ICOs 1.0 have no chance basically if a background check of the investors has not been conducted *Structure of the moral entity List of signatories, certificate of incumbency, work contract, premises... *Fiscal conformity Did the company informed the authorities and seek a fiscal ruling.
B. The tax issue I am not a tax specialist, but I can say that this year I have seen it all. Again I am not judging. You made $100m hodling, and still wouldn’t pay your taxes ? Your decision.I personally advise everyone to pay their taxes, but also to be generous, to give to charities. I mean you eventually made it. Good for you. What about you contribute to make the world a better place now? I will stop patronizing you. It’s just my 2cts, and it’s your money.
For the record, I am not into the tax avoidance business, so people come to me with a set up and I see if I can make it work within the legal framework imposed to me. First, stop thinking Switzerland is a “offshore heaven” Swiss banks have made deals with many governments for the exchange of fiscal information. If you are a French citizen, resident in France and want to open an account in a Private Bank in Switzerland to cash out your bitcoins, you will get slaughtered (>60%). There are ways around that, and I could refer you to good tax specialists for fiscal optimization, but I cannot organize it myself. It would be illegal for me. Swiss private banks makes it easy for you to keep a good your relation with your retail bank and continue paying your bills without headaches. They are integrated to SEPA, provide ebanking and credit cards. For information, these are the kind of set up some of my clients came up with. It’s all legal; obviously I do not onboard clients that are not tax compliant. Further disclaimer: I did not contribute myself to these set up. Do not ask me to organize it for you. I won’t. EU tricks Swiss lump sum taxation Foreign nationals resident in Switzerland can be taxed on a lump-sum basis if they are not gainfully employed in our country. Under the lump-sum tax regime, foreign nationals taking residence in Switzerland may choose to pay an expense-based tax instead of ordinary income and wealth tax. Attractive cantons for the lump sum taxation are Zug, Vaud, Valais, Grisons, Lucerne and Berne. To make it short, you will be paying somewhere between 200 and 400k a year and all expenses will be deductible. Switzerland has adopted a very friendly attitude towards crypto currency in general. There is a whole crypto valley in Zug now. 30% of ICOs are operated in Switzerland. The reason is that Switzerland has thrived for centuries on banking secrecy, and today with FATCA and exchange of fiscal info with EU, banking secrecy is dead. Regulators in Switzerland have understood that digital ledger technologies were a way to roll over this competitive advantage for the generations to come. Switzerland does not tax capital gains on crypto profits. The Finma has a very pragmatic approach. They have issued guidance- updated guidelines here. They let the business get organized and operate their analysis on a case per case basis. Only after getting a deep understanding of the market will they issue a global fintech license in 2019. This approach is much more realistic than legislations which try to regulate everything beforehand. Italy new tax exemption. It’s a brand new fiscal exemption. Go to Aoste, get residency and you could be taxed a 100k/year for 10years. Yes, really. Portugal What’s crazy in Europe is the lack of fiscal harmonization. Even if no one in Brussels dares admit it, every other country is doing fiscal dumping. Portugal is such a country and has proved very friendly fiscally speaking. I personally have a hard time trusting Europe. I have witnessed what happened in Greece over the last few years. Some of our ultra high net worth clients got stuck with capital controls. I mean no way you got out of crypto to have your funds confiscated at the next financial crisis! Anyway. FYI Malta Generally speaking, if you get a residence somewhere you have to live there for a certain period of time. Being stuck in Italy is no big deal with Schengen Agreement, but in Malta it is a different story. In Malta, the ordinary residence scheme is more attractive than the HNWI residence scheme. Being an individual, you can hold a residence permit under this scheme and pay zero income tax in Malta in a completely legal way. Monaco Not suitable for French citizens, but for other Ultra High Net worth individual, Monaco is worth considering. You need an account at a local bank as a proof of fortune, and this account generally has to be seeded with at least EUR500k. You also need a proof of residence. I do mean UHNI because if you don’t cash out minimum 30m it’s not interesting. Everything is expensive in Monaco. Real Estate is EUR 50k per square meter. A breakfast at Monte Carlo Bay hotel is 70 EUR. Monaco is sunny but sometimes it feels like a golden jail. Do you really want that for your kids? Dubaï
Set up a company in Dubaï, get your resident card.
Spend one day every 6 month there
Be tax free
US tricks Some Private banks in Geneva do have the license to manage the assets of US persons and U.S citizens. However, do not think it is a way to avoid paying taxes in the US. Opening an account at an authorized Swiss Private banks is literally the same tax-wise as opening an account at Fidelity or at Bank of America in the US. The only difference is that you will avoid all the horror stories. Horror stories are all real by the way. In Switzerland, if you build a decent case and answer all the questions and corroborate your case in depth, you will manage to convince compliance officers beforehand. When the money eventually hits your account, it is actually available and not frozen. The IRS and FATCA require to file FBAR if an offshore account is open. However FBAR is a reporting requirement and does not have taxes related to holding an account outside the US. The taxes would be the same if the account was in the US. However penalties for non compliance with FBAR are very large. The tax liability management is actually performed through the management of the assets ( for exemple by maximizing long term capital gains and minimizing short term gains). The case for Porto Rico. Full disclaimer here. I am not encouraging this. Have not collaborated on such tax avoidance schemes. if you are interested I strongly encourage you to seek a tax advisor and get a legal opinion. I am not responsible for anything written below. I am not going to say much because I am so afraid of uncle Sam that I prefer to humbly pass the hot potato to pwc From here all it takes is a good advisor and some creativity to be tax free on your crypto wealth if you are a US person apparently. Please, please please don’t ask me more. And read the disclaimer again. Trust tricks Generally speaking I do not accept fringe fiscal situation because it puts me in a difficult situation to the banks I work with, and it is already difficult enough to defend a legit crypto case. Trust might be a way to optimize your fiscal situation. Belize. Bahamas. Seychelles. Panama, You name it. At the end of the day, what matters for Swiss Banks are the beneficial owner and the settlor. Get a legal opinion, get it done, and when you eventually knock at a private bank’s door, don’t say it was for fiscal avoidance you stupid ! You will get the door smashed upon you. Be smarter. It will work. My advice is just to have it done by a great tax specialist lawyer, even if it costs you some money, as the entity itself needs to be structured in a professional way. Remember that with trust you are dispossessing yourself off your wealth. Not something to be taken lightly. “Anonymous” cash out. Right. I think I am not going into this topic, neither expose the ways to get it done. Pm me for details. I already feel a bit uncomfortable with all the info I have provided. I am just going to mention many people fear that crypto exchange might become reporting entities soon, and rightly so. This might happen anyday. You have been warned. FYI, this only works for non-US and large cash out. The difference between traders an investors. Danmark, Holland and Germany all make a huge difference if you are a passive investor or if you are a trader. ICO is considered investing for instance and is not taxed, while trading might be considered as income and charged aggressively. I would try my best to protect you and put a focus on your investor profile whenever possible, so you don't have to pay 52% tax if you do not have to :D
C. The cash out itself So you have accumulated patiently a good amount of wealth. For some of us who have been involved in crypto since 2010, it took years. Remember when BTC was stuck at 200$ for months? I personally feel like it was yesterday. There is no way you screw up your wealth by cashing out in a hurry or with low security standards. Here is how the cash out takes should place.
Full cash out or partial cash out? People who have been sitting on crypto for long have grown an emotional and irrational link with their coins. They come to me and say, look, I have 50m in crypto but I would like to cash out 500k only. So first let me tell you that as a wealth manager my advice to you is to take some off the table. Doing a partial cash out is absolutely fine. The market is bullish. We are witnessing a redistribution of wealth at a global scale. Bitcoin is the real #occupywallstreet, and every one will discuss crypto at Xmas eve which will make the market even more supportive beginning 2018, especially with all hedge funds entering the scene. If you want to stay exposed to bitcoin and altcoins, and believe these techs will change the world, it’s just natural you want to keep some coins. In the meantime, if you have lived off pizzas over the last years, and have the means to now buy yourself an nice house and have an account at a private bank, then f***ing do it mate ! Buy physical gold with this account, buy real estate, have some cash at hands. Even though US dollar is worthless to your eyes, it’s good and convenient to have some. Also remember your wife deserves it ! And if you have no wife yet and you are socially awkward like the rest of us, then maybe cashing out partially will help your situation ;) What the Private Banks expect. Joke aside, it is important you understand something. If you come around in Zurich to open a bank account and partially cash out, just don’t expect Private Banks will make an exception for you if you are small. You can’t ask them to facilitate your cash out, buy a 1m apartment with the proceeds of the sale, and not leave anything on your current account. It won’t work. Sadly, under 5m you are considered small in private banking. The bank is ok to let you open an account, provided that your kyc and compliance file are validated, but they will also want you to become a client and leave some money there to invest. This might me despicable, but I am just explaining you their rules. If you want to cash out, you should sell enough to be comfortable and have some left. Also expect the account opening to last at least 3-4 week if everything goes well. You can't just open an account overnight. The cash out logistics. Cashing out 1m USD a day in bitcoin or more is not so hard. Let me just tell you this: Even if you get a Tier 4 account with Kraken and ask Alejandro there to raise your limit over $100k per day, Even if you have a bitfinex account and you are willing to expose your wealth there, Even if you have managed to pass all the crazy due diligence at Bitstamp, The amount should be fractioned to avoid risking your full wealth on exchange and getting slaughtered on the price by trading big quantities. Cashing out involves significant risks at all time. There is a security risk of compromising your keys, a counterparty risk, a fat finger risk. Let it be done by professionals. It is worth every single penny. Most importantly, there is a major difference between trading on an exchange and trading OTC. Even though it’s not publicly disclosed some exchange like Kraken do have OTC desks. Trading on an exchange for a large amount will weight on the prices. Bitcoin is a thin market. In my opinion over 30% of the coins are lost in translation forever. Selling $10m on an exchange in a day can weight on the prices more than you’d think. And if you trade on a exchange, everything is shown on record, and you might wipe out the prices because on exchanges like bitstamp or kraken ultimately your counterparties are retail investors and the market depth is not huge. It is a bit better on Bitfinex. It is way better to trade OTC. Accessing the institutional OTC market is not easy, and that is also the reason why you should ask a regulated financial intermediary if we are talking about huge amounts. Last point, always chose EUR as opposed to USD. EU correspondent banks won’t generally block institutional amounts. However we had the cases of USD funds frozen or delayed by weeks. Most well-known OTC desks are Cumberlandmining (ask for Lucas), Genesis (ask for Martin), Bitcoin Suisse AG (ask for Niklas), circletrade, B2C2, or Altcoinomy (ask for Olivier) Very very large whales can also set up escrow accounts for massive block trades. This world, where blocks over 30k BTC are exchanged between 2 parties would deserve a reddit thread of its own. Crazyness all around. Your options: DIY or going through a regulated financial intermediary. Execution trading is a job in itself. You have to be patient, be careful not to wipe out the order book and place limit orders, monitor the market intraday for spikes or opportunities. At big levels, for a large cash out that may take weeks, these kind of details will save you hundred thousands of dollars. I understand crypto holders are suspicious and may prefer to do it by themselves, but there are regulated entities who now offer the services. Besides, being a crypto millionaire is not a guarantee you will get institutional daily withdrawal limits at exchange. You might, but it will take you another round of KYC with them, and surprisingly this round might be even more aggressive that the ones at Private banks since exchange have gone under intense scrutiny by regulators lately. The fees for cashing out through a regulated financial intermediary to help you with your cash out should be around 1-2% flat on the nominal, not more. And for this price you should get the full package: execution/monitoring of the trades AND onboarding in a private bank. If you are asked more, you are being abused. Of course, you also have the option to do it yourself. It is a way more tedious and risky process. Compliance with the exchange, compliance with the private bank, trading BTC/fiat, monitoring the transfers…You will save some money but it will take you some time and stress. Further, if you approach a private bank directly, it will trigger a series of red flag to the banks. As I said in my previous post, they call a direct approach a “walk-in”. They will be more suspicious than if you were introduced by someone and won’t hesitate to show you high fees and load your portfolio with in-house products that earn more money to the banks than to you. Remember also most banks still do not understand crypto so you will have a lot of explanations to provide and you will have to start form scratch with them! The paradox of crypto millionaires Most of my clients who made their wealth through crypto all took massive amount of risks to end up where they are. However, most of them want their bank account to be managed with a low volatility fixed income capital preservation risk profile. This is a paradox I have a hard time to explain and I think it is mainly due to the fact that most are distrustful towards banks and financial markets in general. Many clients who have sold their crypto also have a cash-out blues in the first few months. This is a classic situation. The emotions involved in hodling for so long, the relief that everything has eventually gone well, the life-changing dynamics, the difficulties to find a new motivation in life…All these elements may trigger a post cash-out depression. It is another paradox of the crypto rich who has every card in his hand to be happy, but often feel a bit sad and lonely. Sometimes, even though it’s not my job, I had to do some psychological support. A lot of clients have also become my friends, because we have the same age and went through the same “ordeal”. First world problem I know… Remember, cashing out is not the end. It’s actually the beginning. Don’t look back, don’t regret. Cash out partially, because it does not make sense to cash out in full, regret it and want back in. relax. The race to cash out crypto billionaire and the concept of late exiter. The Winklevoss brothers are obviously the first of a series. There will be crypto billionaires. Many of them. At a certain level you can have a whole family office working for you to manage your assets and take care of your needs . However, let me tell you it’s is not because you made it so big that you should think you are a genius and know everything better than anyone. You should hire professionals to help you. Managing assets require some education around the investment vehicles and risk management strategies. Sorry guys but with all the respect I have for wallstreebet, AMD and YOLO stock picking, some discipline is necessary. The investors who have made money through crypto are generally early adopters. However I have started to see another profile popping up. They are not early adopters. They are late exiters. It is another way but just as efficient. Last week I met the first crypto millionaire I know who first bough bitcoin over 1000$. 55k invested at the beginning of this year. Late adopter & late exiter is a route that can lead to the million. Last remarks. I know banks, bankers, and FIAT currencies are so last century. I know some of you despise them and would like to have them burn to the ground. With compliance officers taking over the business, I would like to start the fire myself sometimes. I hope this extensive guide has helped some of you. I am around if you need more details. I love my job despite all my frustration towards the banking industry because it makes me meet interesting people on a daily basis. I am a crypto enthusiast myself, and I do think this tech is here to stay and will change the world. Banks will have to adapt big time. Things have started to change already; they understand the threat is real. I can feel the generational gap in Geneva, with all these old bankers who don’t get what’s going on. They glaze at the bitcoin chart on CNBC in disbelief and they start to get it. This bitcoin thing is not a joke. Deep inside, as an early adopter who also intends to be a late exiter, as a libertarian myself, it makes me smile with satisfaction. Cheers. @swisspb on telegram
Apologies for typos and grammatical errors; wanted to get this out as soon as possible for those that weren't able to watch the live stream. Cleaned up formatting to make it more readable.
While this isn't a 100% word-for-word transcript, the overtone of the meeting should have been conveyed. SEC and CFTC want protections for consumers, but don't want to outright ban crypto. I was under the impression that both agencies were well-educated, but understaffed. They both want to introduce protections for customers and investors and go after scam artists, but don't want to impose any restrictions or regulations that would be bad for crypto as a whole (both from a security perspective, and a technological innovation perspective). Overall a huge positive.
Touched on the definition, use, history, all-time-high, market cap, negative news
Mentioned that the techonology has positives to transform the financial landscape, transfer risk
Volatility, 1000% rise, 60% fall, compared to DOW Jones
touched on scam artists/hackers, undereducated market participants
mentioned there are regulatory gaps, potentials for abuse
neither SEC/CFTC has authority to police all aspects
mentioned some analogies to the dotcom bubble
may be used to fund illicit activity
says they need to do more to get ahead of the curve
"don't forget your day jobs to pursue and punish misconduct", mentioned the 3 big banks being punished recently
crypto brings us to a new age, but don't overlook the princilpes of going after the bad guys and being tough
estimated highest market cap $700 bn; promising new technology
great efficiencies, including capital markets; seek to WORK WITH those who seek to bring innovation
Crypto currencies - replacement for dollars
widely known introduced as substitutes
make it easier and cheaper ot buy and sell goods
verification and fees/costs eliminated
ICOs - stock offering
stocks and bonds, under a new label
security being offered is a virtual token
"if it functions as a security, it IS a security"
doesn't mean you are investing in blockchain ventures
market have less oversight than traditional securities
if it looks like a stock exchange, don't take comfort
no capital and conduct requirements
many ICOs are conducted illegally
creators not following securities laws
those who try to circumvent the SEC are in their crosshairs
do not have control over the regulation of the markets that exchanges exist in
"do not view this as a request for increased SEC jurisdiction"
"I believe every ICO I have seen is a security"
we are working with the DOJ to enforce laws
story about how his kids recently showed an interest in Bitcoin
"we must foster their interest, but crack down hard on those that abuse"
response should have several elements:
learn as much as we can - Lab CFTC to engage with innovators
put things in perspective - as of this morning, Bitcoin 113 bn market cap. less than the market cap of McDonald's. sometimes compared to gold; value of gold dwarfs Bitcoin at 8 trillion market cap
educate consumers - podcasts, webinars, visits to libraries, outreach to seniors
legal authority - "The CFTC does not regulate the dozens of cryptocurrencies"; through their authority, they have enforcement over spot coin markets; analyze manipulation
tough enforcement - they have already launched civil actions, more will follow overall take: wants to work to foster education but introduce protections
Suggesting that perhaps one or both of SEC/CFTC may or should have full control
we should all come together and have a coordinated plan for dealing with the virtual currency market
far from how the stock market is addressed
asked by Crapo if there needs to be additional measures, responded "we may"
FINCEN has been active with AML/KYC
there isn't a comprehensive structure to deal with this
cross-border and international concerns; what challenges?
international nature means patchwork is not sufficient
FINCEN reports that these currencies are used for
encourages FINCEN to continue pursuing this
Markets have been global
Challenge working with overseas and bringing regulations
Challenge requires a lot of new thinking
Encourage to work together to decide how the regulation should look
ICOs raised $4bn globally
SEC focused to protect investors
not clear how much was raised in the U.S., due to unregulated basis; "significant portion"
cooperation between SEC and CFTC regulating Bitcoin but doesn't mention consumer protection bureau CFPB
we're in the enforcement perspective, i can check on that
report that "SEC has stopped enforcement actions against wall street firms"
"I saw that report"; found it annoying; gestation period is 22-24 months, latency period
we've put out a comprehensive report; i'm happy with that
we're pursuing our securities laws vigorously
troubled by a statement "SEC might lose 100 of its enforcement staff by not hiring those who leave"
how are you going to stay on top of everything else we've talked about as well as virtual currencies
personnel is my biggest challenge at the moment
we have a hiring freeze - natural cost, trouble finding people, etc
would receive the "greatest return for additional bodies"
is that the message that you're not the cop it should be?
not at all
I hope you will ask for money and flexibility
I've been very straight about money and value that can be added
Federal reserve is the biggest bank regulator we have
how are you going to put together a task force to deal with crypto currencies before this gets out of control
treasury secretary has brought us together to talk about this
"the funny thing is, they only work for their purported purpose if they're integrated with the financial service"
we are going to be coordinating responses; needs to be clear as to what we're doing
do you need additional legislation
we may be back to ask for that
virtual; go to a virtual doctor, virtual currency, etc
"i started out with pencil and paper in school"
Lack intrinsic value, lack liquidity
gained money going up, lost money going down
don't know where the floor is
relation between Bitcoin value and the cost of mining
charts plotting the correlation
the floor isn't zero, because there is some cost
"think there is something to the value of the crypto exchange"
"I'm not seeing the benefits manifesting themselves in the market yet"
"I'm interested in protecting the main street investors; they should see that"
in the securities world, there are rules that dictate how much you have to tell someone about what they're investing in
we will give you every tool you need to do your job and to hire every person you need to execute that
(essentially) do you have any cryptologists?
emerging area; could always use more horsepower
hired the industry's first "chief innovation officer"
started Lab CFTC
formed virtual currency task force
brought 3 cases against bitcoin fraudsters
used bypass authority for additional resources (13% over budget)
Bitcoin isn't the only one; there are seemingly new ones every day
are you tracking them all?
is someone looking at the long-term systemic effects
eerily similar to late-90s derivatives
Bitcoin is one of many; important to know that many are fraudulent
"MyBigCoin" which became known as "MyBigCon" - Ponzi scheme; we went after them
relatively small market, but we have to watch it
we have had to watch it because they're integrated with the markets we do oversee
on systemic - agrees with Giancarlo
if people are getting ripped off, that is an issue
"I used a pen and pencil as well"
fascinating to see how things are moving
we keep coming back to dollars and cents
new type of exchange; bartering
could avoid determination of the value of the dollar and cents
how do you tax? how do you recognize income?
seems that have to be filled, but basics that a lot of us don't understand
how do you respond to ICOs?
definition of a security is broad
"when you're offering me something and i give you money and the purpose of me giving you money is to profit from your actions going forward"
is Bitcoin a commodity or a security or is it both?
has characteristics of both
is a "medium of exchange, store of value, or a means of account"
we hear a lot of people holding - "HODL - hold on for dear life"
30 year old niece bought some years ago, is holding on
in this regard, it's a commodity
we are looking for fraud and manipulation so that people like his niece are protected
Jan 26th Bloomberg "SEC weighs a big gift [...] blocking class action lawsuits"
wants to get a straight yes/no - "do you support this enormous change in SEC policy"
bottom line - "I can't dictate whether or not this issue comes to us, but I'm not anxious to see a change in this area"
change can't happen without your approval
I'm only 1 of 5 votes
I'd guess there will be at lest 2 votes against it
It would take a long time
I'll let you get away with that
SEC's mission is to protect; not throw under bus
advisers that put fees, kickbacks for recommending product ahead of interest of clients
I want to know that you will not weaken the protections for retirement savers
that's what I'm trying to do - the relation between a broker and their client is regulated by no less than 5 people (the SEC)
want to make sure you're not jeopardizing investors
insufficient standard, lack of clarity, "the standard is only as good as the remedy available"
what dollars do you actually collect when someone does you harm?
if you want to strengthen it, i'm with you
who pays for frivolous lawsuits?
regulatory arbitrage, hard to trace
South Korea, China
was a largely unregulated space
each country is now taking regulatory measures
there's a lot happening beyond the understanding of your average investor
what do we need to do to combat this?
regulatory arbitrage, price arbitrage
different regional and international market
regulation - i think some time ago there was a perception Bitcoin was off the regulatory grid
enforcement / ICOs - we're using our full authority
we will go after misconduct
pump and dump
unregulated exchange, ability for price manipulation
we've taken 3 cases in the last few weeks, more to come
digging deep, learning a lot, seeing a lot
we are working the beat hard
what about retail investors?
formed partnership with CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)
Bitcoin is one of the most frequently searched term on library computers
enhancing outreach to educate people coming to the library
getting the word out - financial intermediaries
are you protecting retirement investments
seniors seem to be the prey of choice - not just for Bitcoin
we seek to prosecute these predators
article from Kentucky "Bitcoin is my potential pension"
what would you do to protect them?
troubling, which is why we're putting out so much material
"if it sounds too good to be true, it is"
"if you're giving them money, you'd better be prepared to lose it"
disruptive technologies, but you shouldn't bank on it
pumping all of your money into a disruptive technology has a very high probability of not working out
"there will be winners, but there will be many losers"
want to ensure it's not used against terrorist groups and countries like N Korea
working with FBI; will require cooperation among multiple organizations
also has a dark web working group
when was the last time you bought a fund?
a year or two ago, index funds
did you read the fine print?
not cover to cover
so what's the point of all this over-disclosure if nobody's reading it?
why do we want to do the same for Bitcoin?
adequacy of full disclosure
"I don't think the disclosure we have right now works"
good for lawyers / financial advisers, but right now, we over-disclose
how far should we go to protect people from themselves?
how far do you think we ought to go here? should we just go after the shysters and fully disclose?
what is the right way to deal with this new technology?
we want to deal with ICOs; don't want to go too far
our securities laws work pretty well, but disclosure can be improved
we have to have disclosure that works, and helps the helpless people
if we see the same continued growth, we may see the market cap at 20 trillion dollars by 2020
we may see the same transformation take place
we are going to have to wrap our hands around this
not sure what the right answer is, but this could systemically rise to an FSOC-level event
if this does keep going, is this a systemic issue?
want to go back to separating these two things
should regulate ICOs like securities
false disclosure is fraud, period
so much more to be done
Ethereum - creating "file sharing or extra computer time"
are these in your realm?
if it's an ICO that promises to deliver server time, it's a security
worried that we need a much more coordinated effort
could be as transformational as wireless technology
it is important; we are all working to understand our authorities
bitcoin futures are different; fully transparent and regulated, compared to Bitcoin that's opaque and unregulated
ICOs should be taken under our regime
Putting aside Bitcoin and other distributed ledger, what do you think the value is?
Without Bitcoin, there would be nothing. everything grew out of it.
applications range from financial services and banking, to charity dollars are spent, refugee, access to banking for those who don't have it
66 million tons of soybeans were traded using Bitcoin
allow regulators to do really close market surveillance with precision
challenges, but the potential is significant
agree the potential is significant
hope people pursue it vigorously
DOW Jones fell 4.6%; dollar seen 2% inflation or less; Bitcoin seems to be very volatile in comparison
we have seen volatility but in our world, we're used to it
emergence of futures to provide those who are exposed to it
don't really know what's driving the volatility
not related to foreign currencies
must be something different
lot of volatility compared to what they're supposed to be a substitute for
(essentially) so how does that bode to its claim?
it would not be a very effective means of exchange
with the volatility and delays, there's a significant risk
(quick shout out to) rogue nations, hackers, etc
under what circumstances do the SEC and CFTC have a role in regulating this?
fraud and manipulation - will not hesitate to take authority
what about manipulating to avoid U.S. sanctions?
I'll have to look into that
are there gaps that could create vulnerabilities?
part of a virtual currency task force; includes the fed and FINCEN
meeting with FINCEN this week to get some discussion of cooperation started
seen increase in ICOs; investors using digital tokens
grew from $96mil in 2016 to $4bil in 2017
celebrity promotion - Floyd Mayweather, Kardashian, et al
investors may not understand true risk when they see a product promoted by celebrities
we put out an alert that if you promote a security, you are taking on securities law liability
can you walk us through why the SEC is not comfortable with approving ETFs with crypto currencies?
we've made it clear that there are some issues - price discovery, custody, volatility
don't want to approve an ETF product with a cryptocurrency underlier without working out these issues
don't ETFs mitigate those concerns? are crypto currencies different?
MGT act - modernizing government technologies
create a fund for federal agencies to rid themselves of legacy technology
allows access to dollars; move to cloud
i would be delighted that there isn't a SEC/CFTC hack in the papers soon; advise strengthening cyber security
Kodak and Burger King investments
companies are using block chain as an opportunity to pump up stock prices
Long Island Ice Tea - Long Blockchain
nobody should think it's okay to chain your name to something that contains block chain when you have no idea what you're doing
any time there's something new that can raise the value of their stock without the underlying goods being there, it's not good
ICOs misrepresenting their affiliation where there are wild claims
"Our big task is bringing in enforcement cases and letting people see that"
3bn Bitcoin have been hacked, $500bn hack weeks ago, MtGox
what can buyers do to get their money back?
when you engage in investing online with an offshore entity, the chances that we can do anything to get your money back are very low
for the underlying spot markets, we don't have the authority to enforce safeguards and protections; this is a problem
"It's the old axiom "buyer beware"."
(in regards to the stock market) "Is this perhaps more than ordinary correction?"
I asked my staff and the federal government the same question
nothing to indicate any of our systems didn't indicate properly
largest volume since 2016
Neither single stock nor circuit breakers triggered
Nothing that came out of this are concerning
Is it profit taking? Is it a spook?
Interest rates? Fed has info we don't have?
Economy high, unemployment low?
Combination? Can we really say?
I can't really say. Lots of opinions.
Our job is to look at the systemic risks.
I've not seen anything.
"Markets up? More people bought than sold. Market down? More people sold than bought."
Markets are very complex. Fundamentals are sound. Doesn't appear to be any significant breeches.
Some ICOs are legitimate, some are just Ponzi schemes
"It's now so bad that Facebook recently banned all ads for virtual currencies"
How do we make ICOs safer?
Companies raised more than $4bil
How many companies registered with SEC?
Can you say just a word as to why that's so?
the gatekeepers haven't done their job. we've made it clear what the law is.
there are thousands of private placements. we want them to raise capital. but we want them to do it right.
folks somehow got comfortable that this was new and it's okay.
I was holder since 2011. Bought my first coins for few bucks a piece, then watched it climb to $32. Wow, awesome. 600%! Holding. Next bubble will probably be soon. Then I sold half during long period when BTC was around $2 (it lasted many months: long, long stagnation). No bubble in sight, I lost patience. Next bubble came out of nowhere. Re-bought some, but not much. Remember the shock seeing it reaching $100. Then it peaked at $266 and went sharply down. I was holding, and the money started to be serious. MtGox bubble came. I was holding my coins (fortunately not at MtGox) and holding my breath. Wild ride to 4-digits territory. Then MtGox imploded. What I was supposed to do? I was holding. It's temporary I repeated to myself. It will rebound. It will be even more in the future. And it's all my profit melting, my original investment was small, so I'm still good. And I'll be tough! I'll be proud of myself! So I holded, even occasionally tried to buy on the rebounds, countertrend, losing coins and sleep. And it kept going down and down. $800 – "It's just a single exchange bankrupt, don't make it such a big deal!" $700 – "I made lot of money, still!" $600 – "seems like it's reversing, let's go long!" $500 – "but the technology is great I believe it!" $400 – "it's crazy to sell so low!" $300 – "boom or bust, I don't f* care" $200 – "can't go lower, just can't! I don't want to watch the chart, I don't want to think about it, I don't want to calculate how much more I was worth when it was $1150, leave me alone, I'm HOLDING" Then it went down (early 2015) to $160. I said to myself: "OK, that's it. Blood on the street and so on. I don't have guts to buy more, but it's the final act of bear market." And it reversed. Went quite sharply to $315 (100%!). Then, with same pace went down to $200's. I was exhausted but holding. Price was bouncing for long weeks between $200 and $300, then settled in low $200's. "Let's forget it. It's a long term investment. Check back in 5 years!" I was repeating myself. But another voice in my head at the same time was telling me "You could have sold it. Maybe not on the very top. $800 is 4x today price. You fool". In the summer 2015 price started climbing again, reaching $300. Then it begun slow decline. "Correction" I was thinking. "In the worst case we'll be back to $200's". And one day (there was some news I don't even remember what it was) it went down to $160. That was the tipping point. Something broke inside me. I was ashamed of myself. I realized that none of that was true, and there's possibility that it will go down even further. WHY NOT?! I was thinking the same many times before. "It will never go down to $600, $400, $200...". Every single time I was wrong. So it can go to $100. Maybe $50. WHY NOT? And it if goes to $100 from 1000% profit at the peak I would be at the loss. This would be so pathetic. All this because I was holder, I was tough. I had enough reason not to act in the heat of the moment. The drop to $160 was temporary. I was patient, but the decision was made: I was about to sell half of my stash. It would prevent me for losing money on BTC, all what would be left is my profit. So I act as planned. Price was again at $200s, I begun to sell. Price was going back and forth, with slight uptrend, I was selling while it was "high" ("$240! Nice price!") and refraining from selling while it was "low" ("$230. I'll wait"). I was quite proud of myself and my self control. But I couldn't not notice that the price was going upwards. I was selling less and less, slower and slower, because nearly every day the price was bit higher. I sold roughly 40% and I stopped. I think most of you know the rest of the story. Price reached $300 again and this time this level holded. Fast forward, and we're at $1200. Only 60% of my coins survived. Then the downtrend started, and there are clear fundamental reasons for the price to go down: negative ETF decision and block size "debate" (or war). And I don't want to go thru all this again. I don't want to be brave, I don't want to be tough, I don't want to break when price will reach $700, $300 or $100 and sell and regret. If you're holder: please reconsider. Holding will not get you a medal. No one really cares if you're tough. Your health is not worth it. If you consider much lower price a real possibility, sell now and buy later at the lower prices. Or even sell now and but at a slightly higher price, but without the stress. I don't complain I ended with 40% less coins when the price was again above $1000. What I hate is very painful process I went thru. I would gladly trade 10% gain for 50% less pain. And I agree, it's about long term, and maybe one day BTC will be worth $10000. But even if you firmly believe that it will make it, there's one more thing: you have to make it and have some coins at that moment. And be in good shape, to enjoy the profit. Good luck. Update: Some info on my trading strategy in 2016/2017: https://www.reddit.com/BitcoinMarkets/comments/61eu0t/dont_hold_story_of_a_holdedfe7omd/
Hello! My name is Slava Mikhalkin, I am a Project Owner of Crowdsale platform at Platinum, the company that knows how to start any ICO or STO in 2019. If you want to avoid headaches with launching process, we can help you with ICO and STO advertising and promotion. See the full list of our services: Platinum.fund I am also happy to be a part of the UBAI, the first educational institution providing the most effective online education on blockchain! We can teach you how to do ICO/STO in 2019. Today I want to tell you how to sell and transfer cryptocurrencies. Major Exchanges In finance, an exchange is a forum or platform for trading commodities, derivatives, securities or other financial instruments. The principle concern of an exchange is to allow trading between parties to take place in a fair and legally compliant manner, as well as to ensure that pricing information for any instrument traded on the exchange is reliable and coherently delivered to exchange participants. In the cryptocurrency space exchanges are online platforms that allow users to trade cryptocurrencies or digital currencies for fiat money or other cryptocurrencies. They can be centralized exchanges such a Binance, or decentralized exchanges such as IDEX. Most cryptocurrency exchanges allow users to trade different crypto assets with BTC or ETH after having already exchanged fiat currency for one of those cryptocurrencies. Coinbase and Kraken are the main avenue for fiat money to enter into the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Function and History Crypto exchanges can be market-makers that take bid/ask spreads as a commission on the transaction for facilitating the trade, or more often charge a small percentage fee for operating the forum in which the trade was made. Most crypto exchanges operate outside of Western countries, enabling them to avoid stringent financial regulations and the potential for costly and lengthy legal proceedings. These entities will often maintain bank accounts in multiple jurisdictions, allowing the exchange to accept fiat currency and process transactions from customers all over the globe. The concept of a digital asset exchange has been around since the late 2000s and the following initial attempts at running digital asset exchanges foreshadows the trouble involved in attempting to disrupt the operation of the fiat currency baking system. The trading of digital or electronic assets predate Bitcoin’s creation by several years, with the first electronic trading entities running afoul of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in late 2004. Companies such as Goldex, SydneyGoldSales, and Ozzigold, shut down voluntarily after ASIC found that they were operating without an Australian Financial Services License. E-Gold, which exchanged fiat USD for grams of precious metals in digital form, was possibly the first digital currency exchange as we know it, allowing users to make instant transfers to the accounts of other E-Gold members. At its peak in 2006 E-Gold processed $2 billion worth of transactions and boasted a user base of over 5 million people. Popular Exchanges Here we will give a brief overview of the features and operational history of the more popular and higher volume exchanges because these are the platforms to which newer traders will be exposed. These exchanges are recommended to use because they are the industry standard and they inspire the most confidence. Bitfinex Owned and operated by iFinex Inc, the cryptocurrency trading platform Bitfinex was the largest Bitcoin exchange on the planet until late 2017. Headquartered in Hong Kong and based in the US Virgin Island, Bitfinex was one of the first exchanges to offer leveraged trading (“Margin trading allows a trader to open a position with leverage. For example — we opened a margin position with 2X leverage. Our base assets had increased by 10%. Our position yielded 20% because of the 2X leverage. Standard trades are traded with leverage of 1:1”) and also pioneered the use of the somewhat controversial, so-called “stable coin” Tether (USDT). Binance Binance is an international multi-language cryptocurrency exchange that rose from the mid-rank of cryptocurrency exchanges to become the market dominating behemoth we see today. At the height of the late 2017/early 2018 bull run, Binance was adding around 2 million new users per week! The exchange had to temporarily disallow new registrations because its servers simply could not keep up with that volume of business. After the temporary ban on new users was lifted the exchange added 240,000 new accounts within two hours. Have you ever thought whats the role of the cypto exchanges? The answer is simple! There are several different types of exchanges that cater to different needs within the ecosystem, but their functions can be described by one or more of the following: To allow users to convert fiat currency into cryptocurrency. To trade BTC or ETH for alt coins. To facilitate the setting of prices for all crypto assets through an auction market mechanism. Simply put, you can either mine cryptocurrencies or purchase them, and seeing as the mining process requires the purchase of expensive mining equipment, Cryptocurrency exchanges can be loosely grouped into one of the 3 following exchange types, each with a slightly different role or combination of roles. Have you ever thought about what are the types of Crypto exchanges?
Traditional Cryptocurrency Exchange: These are the type that most closely mimic traditional stock exchanges where buyers and sellers trade at the current market price of whichever asset they want, with the exchange acting as the intermediary and charging a small fee for facilitating the trade. Kraken and GDAX are examples of this kind of cryptocurrency exchange. Fully peer-to-peer exchanges that operate without a middleman include EtherDelta, and IDEX, which are also examples of decentralized exchanges.
Cryptocurrency Brokers: These are website or app based exchanges that act like a Travelex or other bureau-de-change. They allow customers to buy or sell crypto assets at a price set by the broker (usually market price plus a small premium). Coinbase is an example of this kind of exchange.
Direct Trading Platform: These platforms offer direct peer-to-peer trading between buyers and sellers, but don’t use an exchange platform in doing so. These types of exchanges do not use a set market rate; rather, sellers set their own rates. This is a highly risky form of trading, from which new users should shy away.
To understand how an exchange functions we need only look as far as a traditional stock exchange. Most all the features of a cryptocurrency exchange are analogous to features of trading on a traditional stock exchange. In the simplest terms, the exchanges fulfil their role as the main marketplace for crypto assets of all kinds by catering to buyers or sellers. These are some definitions for the basic functions and features to know: Market Orders: Orders that are executed instantly at the current market price. Limit Order: This is an order that will only be executed if and when the price has risen to or dropped to that price specified by the trader and is also within the specified period of time. Transaction fees: Exchanges will charge transactions fees, usually levied on both the buyer and the seller, but sometimes only the seller is charged a fee. Fees vary on different exchanges though the norm is usually below 0.75%. Transfer charges: The exchange is in effect acting as a sort of escrow agent, to ensure there is no foul play, so it might also charge a small fee when you want to withdraw cryptocurrency to your own wallet. Regulatory Environment and Evolution Cryptocurrency has come a long way since the closing down of the Silk Road darknet market. The idea of crypto currency being primarily for criminals, has largely been seen as totally inaccurate and outdated. In this section we focus on the developing regulations surrounding the cryptocurrency asset class by region, and we also look at what the future may hold. The United States of America A coherent uniform approach at Federal or State level has yet to be implemented in the United States. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network published guidelines as early as 2013 suggesting that BTC and other cryptos may fall under the label of “money transmitters” and thus would be required to take part in the same Anti-money Laundering (AML) and Know your Client (KYC) procedures as other money service businesses. At the state level, Texas applies its existing finance laws. And New York has instituted an entirely new licensing system. The European Union The EU’s approach to cryptocurrency has generally been far more accommodating overall than the United States, partly due to the adaptable nature of pre-existing laws governing electronic money that predated the creation of Bitcoin. As with the USA, the EU’s main fear is money laundering and criminality. The European Central Bank (ECB) categorized BTC as a “convertible decentralized currency” and advised all central banks in the EU to refrain from trading any cryptocurrencies until the proper regulatory framework was put in place. A task force was then set up by the European Parliament in order to prevent and investigate any potential money laundering that was making use of the new technology. Likely future regulations for cryptocurrency traders within the European Union and North America will probably consist of the following proposals: The initiation of full KYC procedures so that users cannot remain fully anonymous, in order to prevent tax evasion and curtail money laundering. Caps on payments that can be made in cryptocurrency, similar to caps on traditional cash transactions. A set of rules governing tax obligations regarding cryptocurrencies Regulation by the ECB of any companies that offer exchanges between cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies It is less likely for other countries to follow the Chinese approach and completely ban certain aspects of cryptocurrency trading. It is widely considered more progressive and wiser to allow the technology to grow within a balanced accommodative regulatory framework that takes all interests and factors into consideration. It is probable that the most severe form of regulation will be the formation of new governmental bodies specifically to form laws and exercise regulatory control over the cryptocurrency space. But perhaps that is easier said than done. It may, in certain cases, be incredibly difficult to implement particular regulations due to the anonymous and decentralized nature of crypto. Behavior of Cryptocurrency Investors by Demographic Due to the fact that cryptocurrency has its roots firmly planted in the cryptography community, the vast majority of early adopters are representative of that group. In this section we cover the basic structure of the cryptocurrency market cycle and the makeup of the community at large, as well as the reasons behind different trading decisions. The Cryptocurrency Market Cycle Bitcoin leads the bull rally. FOMO (Fear of missing out) occurs, the price surge is a constant topic of mainstream news, business programs cover the story, and social media is abuzz with cryptocurrency chatter. Bitcoin reaches new All Timehigh (ATH) Market euphoria is fueled with even more hype and the cycle is in full force. There is a constant stream of news articles and commentary on the meteoric, seemingly unstoppable rise of Bitcoin. Bitcoin’s price “stabilizes”, In the 2017 bull run this was at or around $14,000. A number of solid, large market cap altcoins rise along with Bitcoin; ETH & LTC leading the altcoins at this time. FOMO comes into play, as the new ATH in market cap is reached by pumping of a huge number of alt coins. Top altcoins “somewhat” stabilize, after reaching new all-time highs. The frenzy continues with crypto success stories, notable figures and famous people in the news. A majority of lesser known cryptocurrencies follow along on the upward momentum. Newcomers are drawn deeper into crypto and sign up for exchanges other than the main entry points like Coinbase and Kraken. In 2017 this saw Binance inundated with new registrations. Some of the cheapest coins are subject to massive pumping, such as Tron TRX which saw a rise in market cap from $150 million at the start of December 2017 to a peak of $16 billion! At this stage, even dead coins or known scams will get pumped. The price of the majority of cryptocurrencies stabilize, and some begin to retract. When the hype is subsiding after a huge crypto bull run, it is a massive sell signal. Traditional investors will begin to give interviews about how people need to be careful putting money into such a highly volatile asset class. Massive violent correction begins and the market starts to collapse. BTC begins to fall consistently on a daily basis, wiping out the insane gains of many medium to small cap cryptos with it. Panic selling sweeps through the market. Depression sets in, both in the markets, and in the minds of individual investors who failed to take profits, or heed the signs of imminent collapse. The price stagnation can last for months, or even years. The Influence of Age upon Trading Did you know? Cryptocurrencies have been called “stocks for millennials” According to a survey conducted by the Global Blockchain Business Council, only 5% of the American public own any bitcoin, but of those that do, an overwhelming majority of 71% are men, 58% of them are between the ages of 18 and 35, and over half of them are minorities. The same survey gauged public attitude toward the high risk/high return nature of cryptocurrency, in comparison to more secure guaranteed small percentage gains offered by government bonds or stocks, and found that 30% would rather invest $1,000 in crypto. Over 42% of millennials were aware of cryptocurrencies as opposed to only 15% of those ages 65 and over. In George M. Korniotis and Alok Kumar’s study into the effects of aging on portfolio management and the quality of decisions made by older investors, they found “that older and experienced investors are more likely to follow “rules of thumb” that reflect greater investment knowledge. However, older investors are less effective in applying their investment knowledge and exhibit worse investment skill, especially if they are less educated and earn lower income.” Geographic Influence upon Trading One of the main drivers of the apparent seasonal ebb and flow of cryptocurrency prices is the tax situation in the various territories that have the highest concentrations of cryptocurrency holders. Every year we see an overall market pull back beginning in mid to late January, with a recovery beginning usually after April. This is because “Tax Season” is roughly the same across Europe and the United States, with the deadline for Income tax returns being April 15th in the United States, and the tax year officially ending the UK on the 6th of April. All capital gains must be declared before the window closes or an American trader will face the powerful and long arm of the IRS with the consequent legal proceedings and possible jail time. Capital gains taxes around the world vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but there are often incentives for cryptocurrency holders to refrain from trading for over a year to qualify their profits as long term gain when they finally sell. In the US and Australia, for example, capital gains are reduced if you bought cryptocurrency for investment purposes and held it for over a year. In Germany if crypto assets are held for over a year then the gains derived from their sale are not taxed. Advantages like this apply to individual tax returns, on a case by case basis, and it is up to the investor to keep up to date with the tax codes of the territory in which they reside. 2013 Bull run vs 2017 Bull run price Analysis In late 2016 cryptocurrency traders were faced with the task of distinguishing between the beginnings of a genuine bull run and what might colorfully be called a “dead cat bounce” (in traditional market terminology). Stagnation had gripped the market since the pull-back of early 2014. The meteoric rise of Bitcoin’s price in 2013 peaked with a price of $1,100 in November 2013, after a year of fantastic news on the adoption front with both Microsoft and PayPal offering BTC payment options. It is easy to look at a line going up on a chart and speak after the fact, but at the time, it is exceeding difficult to say whether the cat is actually climbing up the wall, or just bouncing off the ground. Here, we will discuss the factors that gave savvy investors clues as to why the 2017 bull run was going to outstrip the 2013 rally. Hopefully this will help give insight into how to differentiate between the signs of a small price increase and the start of a full scale bull run. Most importantly, Volume was far higher in 2017. As we can see in the graphic below, the 2017 volume far exceeds the volume of BTC trading during the 2013 price increase. The stranglehold MtGox held on trading made a huge bull run very difficult and unlikely. Fraud & Immoral Activity in the Private Market Ponzi Schemes Cryptocurrency Ponzi schemes will be covered in greater detail in Lesson 7, but we need to get a quick overview of the main features of Ponzi schemes and how to spot them at this point in our discussion. Here are some key indicators of a Ponzi scheme, both in cryptocurrencies and traditional investments: A guaranteed promise of high returns with little risk. Consistentflow of returns regardless of market conditions. Investments that have not been registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Investment strategies that are a secret, or described as too complex. Clients not allowed to view official paperwork for their investment. Clients have difficulties trying to get their money back. The initial members of the scheme, most likely unbeknownst to the later investors, are paid their “dividends” or “profits” with new investor cash. The most famous modern-day example of a Ponzi scheme in the traditional world, is Bernie Madoff’s $100 billion fraudulent enterprise, officially titled Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. And in the crypto world, BitConnect is the most infamous case of an entirely fraudulent project which boasted a market cap of $2 billion at its peak. What are the Exchange Hacks? The history of cryptocurrency is littered with examples of hacked exchanges, some of them so severe that the operation had to be wound up forever. As we have already discussed, incredibly tech savvy and intelligent computer hackers led by Alexander Vinnik stole 850000 BTC from the MtGox exchange over a period from 2012–2014 resulting in the collapse of the exchange and a near-crippling hammer blow to the emerging asset class that is still being felt to this day. The BitGrail exchange suffered a similar style of attack in late 2017 and early 2018, in which Nano (XRB) was stolen that was at one point was worth almost $195 million. Even Bitfinex, one of the most famous and prestigious exchanges, has suffered a hack in 2016 where $72 million worth of BTC was stolen directly from customer accounts. Hardware Wallet Scam Case Study In late 2017, an unfortunate character on Reddit, going by the name of “moody rocket” relayed his story of an intricate scam in which his newly acquired hardware wallet was compromised, and his $34,000 life savings were stolen. He bought a second hand Nano ledger into which the scammers own recover seed had already been inserted. He began using the ledger without knowing that the default seed being used was not a randomly assigned seed. After a few weeks the scammer struck, and withdrew all the poor HODLer’s XRP, Dash and Litecoin into their own wallet (likely through a few intermediary wallets to lessen the very slim chances of being identified). Hardware Wallet Scam Case Study Social Media Fraud Many gullible and hapless twitter users have fallen victim to the recent phenomenon of scammers using a combination of convincing fake celebrity twitter profiles and numerous amounts of bots to swindle them of ETH or BTC. The scammers would set up a profile with a near identical handle to a famous figure in the tech sphere, such as Vitalik Buterin or Elon Musk. And then in the tweet, immediately following a genuine message, follow up with a variation of “Bonus give away for the next 100 lucky people, send me 0.1 ETH and I will send you 1 ETH back”, followed by the scammers ether wallet address. The next 20 or so responses will be so-called sockpuppet bots, thanking the fake account for their generosity. Thus, the pot is baited and the scammers can expect to receive potentially hundreds of donations of 0.1 Ether into their wallet. Many twitter users with a large follower base such as Vitalik Buterin have taken to adding “Not giving away ETH” to their username to save careless users from being scammed. Market Manipulation It also must be recognized that market manipulation is taking place in cryptocurrency. For those with the financial means i.e. whales, there are many ways in which to control the market in a totally immoral and underhanded way for your own profit. It is especially easy to manipulate cryptos that have a very low trading volume. The manipulator places large buy orders or sell walls to discourage price action in one way or the other. Insider trading is also a significant problem in cryptocurrency, as we saw with the example of blatant insider trading when Bitcoin Cash was listed on Coinbase. Examples of ICO Fraudulent Company Behavior In the past 2 years an astronomical amount of money has been lost in fraudulent Initial Coin Offerings. The utmost care and attention must be employed before you invest. We will cover this area in greater detail with a whole lesson devoted to the topic. However, at this point, it is useful to look at the main instances of ICO fraud. Among recent instances of fraudulent ICOs resulting in exit scams, 2 of the most infamous are the Benebit and PlexCoin ICOs which raised $4 million for the former and $15 million for the latter. Perhaps the most brazen and damaging ICO scam of all time was the Vietnamese Pincoin ICO operation, where $660million was raised from 32,000 investors before the scammer disappeared with the funds. In case of smaller ICO “exit scamming” there is usually zero chance of the scammers being found. Investors must just take the hit. We will cover these as well as others in Lesson 7 “Scam Projects”. Signposts of Fraudulent Actors The following factors are considered red flags when investigating a certain project or ICO, and all of them should be considered when deciding whether or not you want to invest. Whitepaper is a buzzword Salad: If the whitepaper is nothing more than a collection of buzzwords with little clarity of purpose and not much discussion of the tech involved, it is overwhelmingly likely you are reading a scam whitepaper. Signposts of Fraudulent Actors §2 No Code Repository: With the vast majority of cryptocurrency projects employing open source code, your due diligence investigation should start at GitHub or Sourceforge. If the project has no entries, or nothing but cloned code, you should avoid it at all costs. Anonymous Team: If the team members are hard to find, or if you see they are exaggerating or lying about their experience, you should steer clear. And do not forget, in addition to taking proper precautions when investing in ICOs, you must always make sure that you are visiting authentic web pages, especially for web wallets. If, for example, you are on a spoof MyEtherWallet web page you could divulge your private key without realizing it and have your entire portfolio of Ether and ERC-20 tokens cleaned out. Methods to Avoid falling Victim Avoiding scammers and the traps they set for you is all about asking yourself the right questions, starting with: Is there a need for a Blockchain solution for the particular problem that a particular ICO is attempting to solve? The existing solution may be less costly, less time consuming, and more effective than the proposals of a team attempting to fill up their soft cap in an ICO. The following quote from Mihai Ivascu, the CEO of Modex, should be kept in mind every time you are grading an ICO’s chances of success: “I’m pretty sure that 95% of ICOswill not last, and many will go bankrupt. ….. not everything needs to be decentralized and put on an open source ledger.” Methods to Avoid falling Victim §2 Do I Trust These People with My Money, or Not? If you continue to feel uneasy about investing in the project, more due diligence is needed. The developers must be qualified and competent enough to complete the objectives that they have set out in the whitepaper. Is this too good to be true? All victims of the well-known social media scams using fake profiles of Vitalik Buterin, or Bitconnect investors for that matter, should have asked themselves this simple question, and their investment would have been saved. In the case of Bitconnect, huge guaranteed gains proportional to the amount of people you can get to sign up was a blatant pyramid scheme, obviously too good to be true. The same goes for Fake Vitalik’s offer of 1 ether in exchange for 0.1 ETH. Selling Cryptocurrencies, Several reasons for selling with the appropriate actions to take: If you are selling to buy into an ICO, or maybe believe Ether is a safer currency to hold for a certain period of time, it is likely you will want to make use of the Ether pair and receive Ether in return. Obviously if the ICO is on the NEO or WANchain blockchain for example, you will use the appropriate pair. -Trading to buy into another promising project that is listing on the exchange on which you are selling (or you think the exchange will experience a large amount of volume and become a larger exchange), you may want to trade your cryptocurrency for that exchange token. -If you believe that BTC stands a good chance of experiencing a bull run then using the BTC trading pair is the suitable choice. -If you believe that the market is about to experience a correction but you do not want to take your gains out of the market yet, selling for Tether or “tethering up” is the best play. This allows you to keep your locked-in profits on the exchange, unaffected by the price movements in the cryptocurrency markets,so that you can buy back in at the most profitable moment. -If you wish to “cash out” i.e. sell your cryptocurrency for fiat currency and have those funds in your bank account, the best pair to use is ETH or BTC because you will likely have to transfer to an exchange like Kraken or Coinbase to convert them into fiat. If the exchange offers Litecoin or Bitcoin Cash pairs it could be a good idea to use these for their fast transaction time and low fees. Selling Cryptocurrencies Knowing when and how to sell, as well as strategies to inflate the value of your trade before sale, are important skills as a trader of any product or financial instrument. If you are satisfied that the sale itself of the particular amount of a token or coin you are trading away is the right one, then you must decide at what price you are going to sell. Exchanges exercise their own discretion as to which trading “pairs” they will offer, but the most common ones are BTC, ETH, BNB for Binance, BIX for Bibox etc., and sometimes Tether (USDT) or NEO. As a trader, you decide which particular cryptocurrency to exchange depending on your reason for making that specific trade at that time. Methods of Sale Market sell/Limit sell on exchange: A limit sell is an order placed on an exchange to sell as soon as (also specifically only if and when) the price you specified has been hit within the time limit you select. A market order executes the sale immediately at the best possible price offered by the market at that exact time. OTC (or Over the Counter) selling refers to sale of securities or cryptocurrencies in any method without using an exchange to intermediate the trade and set the price. The most common way of conducting sales in this manner is through LocalBitcoins.com. This method of cryptocurrency selling is far riskier than using an exchange, for obvious reasons. The influence and value of your Trade There are a number of strategies you can use to appreciate the value of your trade and thus increase the Bitcoin or Ether value of your portfolio. It is important to disassociate yourself from the dollar value of your portfolio early on in your cryptocurrency trading career simply because the crypto market is so volatile you will end up pulling your hair out in frustration following the real dollar money value of your holdings. Once your funds have been converted into BTC and ETH they are completely in the crypto sphere. (Some crypto investors find it more appropriate to monitor the value of their portfolio in satoshi or gwei.) Certainly not limited to, but especially good for beginners, the most reliable way to increase your trading profits, and thus the overall value and health of your portfolio, is to buy into promising projects, hold them for 6 months to a year, and then reevaluate. This is called Long term holding and is the tactic that served Bitcoin HODLers quite well, from 2013 to the present day. Obviously, if something comes to light about the project that indicates a lengthy set back is likely, it is often better to cut your losses and sell. You are better off starting over and researching other projects. Also, you should set initial Price Points at which you first take out your original investment, and then later, at which you take out all your profits and exit the project. That should be after you believe the potential for growth has been exhausted for that particular project. Another method of increasing the value of your trades is ICO flipping. This is the exact opposite of long term holding. This is a technique in which you aim for fast profits taking advantage of initial enthusiasm in the market that may double or triple the value of ICO projects when they first come to market. This method requires some experience using smaller exchanges like IDEX, on which project tokens can be bought and sold before listing on mainstream exchanges. “Tethering up” means to exchange tokens or coins for the USDT stable coin, the value of which is tethered to the US Dollar. If you learn, or know how to use, technical analysis, it is possible to predict when a market retreatment is likely by looking at the price movements of BTC. If you decide a market pull back is likely, you can tether up and maintain the dollar value of your portfolio in tether while other tokens and coins decrease in value. The you wait for an opportune moment to reenter the market. Market Behavior in Different Time Periods The main descriptors used for overall market sentiment are “Bull Market” and “Bear Market”. The former describes a market where people are buying on optimism. The latter describes a market where people are selling on pessimism. Fun (or maybe not) fact: The California grizzly bear was brought to extinction by the love of bear baiting as a sport in the mid 1800s. Bears were highly sought after for their intrinsic fighting qualities, and were forced into fighting bulls as Sunday morning entertainment for Californians. What has this got to do with trading and financial markets? The downward swipe of the bear’s paws gives a “Bear market” its name and the upward thrust of a Bull’s horns give the “Bull Market” its name. Most unfortunately for traders, the bear won over 80% of the bouts. During a Bull market, optimism can sometimes grow to be seemingly boundless, volume is rising, and prices are ascending. It can be a good idea to sell or rebalance your portfolio at such a time, especially if you have a particularly large position in one holding or another. This is especially applicable if you need to sell a large amount of a relatively low-volume holding, because you can then do so without dragging the price down by the large size of your own sell order. Learn more on common behavioral patterns observed so far in the cryptocurrency space for different coins and ICO tokens. Follow the link: UBAI.co If you want to know how do security tokens work, and become a professional in crypto world contact me via Facebook to get all the details: Facebook
Bitcoin has been suffering from a tumor called MtGox for the last few years. With its demise we can finally see it removed from all the charting sites, and its price will no longer be referenced in news stories. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is still healthy. It is still processing transactions at a growing rate. There's upward of $75M invested in bitcoin startups and exchanges, and countless stealth projects in the works around the world. Mt. Gox is dead, but Bitcoin the peer-to-peer value transfer system and globally distributed asset register is just getting started.
Proper Care & Feeding of your CryptoLocker Infection: A rundown on what we know.
This article is no longer being maintained, please see the new version here. Thanks. tl;dr: I hope you have backups. It's legit, it really encrypts. It can jump across mapped network drives and encrypt anything with write access, and infection isn't dependent on being a local admin or UAC state. Most antiviruses do not catch it until the damage is done. The timer is real and your opportunity to pay them goes away when it lapses. You can pay them with a GreenDot MoneyPak or 2 Bitcoins, attempt to restore a previous version using ShadowExplorer, go to a backup, or be SOL. Vectors: In order of likelihood, the vectors of infection have been:
Email attachments: A commonly reported subject is Payroll Report. The attachment, most of the time, is a zip with a PDF inside, which is actually an executable.
PCs that are unwitting members of the Zeus botnet have had the virus pushed to them directly.
There is currently one report of an infection through Java, using the .jnlp file as a dropper to load the executable.
Variants: The current variant demands $300 via GreenDot MoneyPak or 2 BTC. I will not attempt to thoroughly monitor the price of bitcoins for this thread, use Mt. Gox for the current exchange rate. Currently the MoneyPak is the cheaper option, but last week Bitcoins were. Two variants, including a $100 variant and a $300 that did not offer Bitcoin, are defunct. Payload: The virus stores a public RSA 2048-bit key in the local registry, and goes to a C&C server for a private key which is never stored. The technical nuts and bolts have been covered by Fabian from Emsisoft here. It will use a mix of RSA 2048-bit and AES 256-bit encryption on files matching these masks: *.odt, *.ods, *.odp, *.odm, *.odc, *.odb, *.doc, *.docx, *.docm, *.wps, *.xls, *.xlsx, *.xlsm, *.xlsb, *.xlk, *.ppt, *.pptx, *.pptm, *.mdb, *.accdb, *.pst, *.dwg, *.dxf, *.dxg, *.wpd, *.rtf, *.wb2, *.mdf, *.dbf, *.psd, *.pdd, *.eps, *.ai, *.indd, *.cdr, ????????.jpg, ????????.jpe, img_*.jpg, *.dng, *.3fr, *.arw, *.srf, *.sr2, *.bay, *.crw, *.cr2, *.dcr, *.kdc, *.erf, *.mef, *.mrw, *.nef, *.nrw, *.orf, *.raf, *.raw, *.rwl, *.rw2, *.r3d, *.ptx, *.pef, *.srw, *.x3f, *.der, *.cer, *.crt, *.pem, *.pfx, *.p12, *.p7b, *.p7c, *.pdf, *.tif This list of file masks may be incomplete. Trust this list at your peril. When in doubt, CryptoLocker will show you what files it has encrypted by clicking the relevant link in the virus's message. It will access mapped network drives that the current user has write access to and encrypt those. It will not attack server shares, only mapped drives. Current reports are unclear as to how much permission is needed for the virus to encrypt a mapped drive, and if you have clarification or can test in a VM please notify me via message. By the time the notification pops up, it's already encrypted everything. It's silent until the job is done. Many antiviruses have been reported as not catching the virus until it's too late, including MSE, Trend Micro WFBS, Eset, GFI Vipre, and Kaspersky. They can further complicate matters by reverting registry changes and removing the executables, leaving the files behind without a public or private key. Releasing the files from quarantine does work, as does releasing the registry keys added and downloading another sample of the virus. Windows XP through 8 have all reported infections. What's notable about this virus, and this is going to lead to a lot of tough decisions, is that paying them to decrypt the files actually does work, so long as their C&C server is up. They verify the money transfer manually and then push a notification for the infected machine to call home for the private key again, which it uses to decrypt. It takes a long time to decrypt, at the rate of roughly 5GB/hr based on forum reports. The virus uses the registry to maintain a list of files and paths, so not moving the files around is vital to decryption if you are paying them. Also notable is that the timer it gives you to pay them does appear to be legitimate, as multiple users have reported that once the timer ran out, the program uninstalled itself. Reinfecting the machine does not bring a new timer. I was not able to verify the uninstallation of the program after the timer ran out, it appears to be dependent on internet access. Due to the nature of the encryption, brute-forcing a decrypt is essentially impossible for now. Removal: Removing the virus itself is trivial, but no antivirus product (or any product, for that matter), will be able to decrypt the files until the private key is found. File Recovery: There are only a handful of options for recovering encrypted files, and they all rely on either having System Restore/VSS turned on or having a backup disconnected from the infected machine. Cloud backup solutions without versioning are no good against this as they will commit the encrypted files to the cloud. I had a Carbonite employee message me regarding my earlier statement that Carbonite is no good against this virus. It turns out that versioning is included in all Carbonite plans and support all agent OSes except Mac OS X which is outside the scope of this thread anyway. They have the ability to do a mass reversion of files, but you must call tech support and upon mentioning CryptoLocker you will be escalated to a tier 3 tech. They do not mention this ability on the site due to the potential for damage a mass reversion could do if done inadvertently. These are my own findings, independent of what the employee told me. Crashplan and other versioning-based backup solutions such as SonicWALL CDP should also work fine provided the backups are running normally. Using the "Previous Versions" tab of the file properties is a cheap test, and has had mixed results. Using ShadowExplorer on Vista-8 will give you a much easier graphical frontend for restoring large amounts of files at once (though this will not help with mapped drives, you'd need to run it on the server in that case). Undelete software doesn't work as it encrypts the files in place on the hard drive, there is no copying going on. The big takeaway is that cold-storage backups are good, and they will make this whole process laughably easy to resolve. Prevention: As this post has attracted many home users, I'll put at the top that MalwareBytes Pro, Avast! Free and Avast! Pro (defs 131016-0 16.10.2013 or later) will prevent the virus from running. For sysadmins in a domain environment, one way to prevent this and many other viruses is to set up software restriction policies (SRPs) to disallow the executing of .exe files from AppData/Roaming. Grinler explains how to set up the policy here. Visual example. The rule covering %AppData%\*\*.exe is necessary for the current variant. The SRP will apply to domain admins after either the GP timer hits or a reboot, gpupdate /force does not enforce it immediately. There is almost no collateral damage to the SRP. Dropbox and Chrome are not effected. Spotify may be affected, not sure. I don't use it. Making shares read-only will mitigate the risk of having sensitive data on the server encrypted. Forecast: The reports of infections have risen from ~1,300 google results for cryptolocker to over 150,000 in a month. This virus is really ugly, really efficient, and really hard to stop until it's too late. It's also very successful in getting people to pay, which funds the creation of a new variant that plugs what few holes have been found. I don't like where this is headed. Some edits below are now redundant, but many contain useful information. 9/17 EDIT: All 9/17 edits are now covered under Prevention. 10/10 EDIT: Google matches for CryptoLocker are up 40% in the last week, and I'm getting 5-10 new posts a day on this thread, so I thought I'd update it with some interesting finds from fellow Redditors.
soulscore reports that setting the BIOS clock back in time added time to his cryptolocker ransom. Confirmed that the timer extends with the machine offline, but that may be cosmetic and I don't like your chances of this actually helping if your timer runs out on the server side.
Spinal33 reports that AV companies are catching up with CryptoLocker and are blocking websites that are spawned in the virus's domain generation algorithm. This effectively means that some people are locked out of the ability to even pay the ransom. (Technically they could, but the virus couldn't call home.)
Malwarebytes is claiming that MBAM Pro will catch CryptoLocker. If someone wants to test them on it, be my guest. Confirmed
CANT_ARGUE_DAT_LOGIC gave some insight on the method the virus uses when choosing what to infect. It simply goes through folders alphabetically and encrypts all files that match the filemasks towards the top of this post. If you are lucky enough to catch it in the act of encrypting and pull the network connection, the CryptoLocker message will pop up immediately and the countdown will begin. Helpful in determining what will need to be taken into account for decryption.
EDIT 2: We had a customer that ignored our warning email get infected so I will have my hands on an infected PC today, hope to have some useful info to bring back. 10/10 MEGA EDIT: I now have an active CryptoLocker specimen on my bench. I want to run down some things I've found:
On WinXP at least, the nested SRP rule is necessary to prevent infection. The path rule needs to be %AppData%\*\*.exe
Once the program runs it spawns two more executables with random names in %userprofile%. Adding a SRP to cover %userprofile%\*.exe may be desired, though this will prevent GoToMyPC from running at a bare minimum.
This user was a local administrator, and CryptoLocker was able to encrypt files in other user's directories, though it did not spawn the executables anywhere but the user that triggered the infection. When logged in under a different account there is no indication that a timer is running.
The environment has server shares but no mapped drives and the shared data was not touched, even though a desktop shortcut would've taken the virus to a share. I suspect that will be covered in the next iteration.
The list of masks above does not appear to be totally complete. PDF files were encrypted and were not originally part of the set of file masks. That is the only exception I noticed, everything else follows the list. Conveniently (/s), CryptoLocker has a button you can click that shows the list of files it's encrypted.
The current ransom is $300 by MoneyPak or 2BTC, which at the time of writing would be $280 and change.
Fabian reported that registry data is stored at HKCU/Software/CryptoLocker. I cannot glean the meaning of the DWORD values on files but I do notice they are unique, likely salts for the individual files. I'm curious what purpose that would serve if the private key was revealed as the salts would be useless.
I have confirmed the message soulscore left that setting the BIOS timer back a few hours adds an equal amount of time. No telling whether that will work once it has a network connection and can see the C&C server, though.
The virus walked right through an up-to-date version of GFI Vipre. It appears AV companies either consider the risk too low to update definitions or, more likely, they're having trouble creating heuristic patterns that don't cause a lot of collateral damage.
10/11 EDIT: I ran Daphne on the infected PC to get a better idea of what might be going on. lsass.exe is running like crazy. Computer's had it's CPU pegged all day. I noticed the primary executable running from %AppData% has a switch on the end of the run command, which in my case is /w000000EC. No idea what that means. 10/15 EDIT: I just wanted to thank all the redditors that have submitted information on this. I have some interesting new developments that I'll be editing in full tomorrow. 10/18 EDIT: Hello arstechnica! Please read through comments before posting a question as there's a very good chance it's been answered. New developments since 10/15:
We have confirmation that both Malwarebytes Antimalware Pro and Avast Free and Pro will stop CryptoLocker from running. My personal choice of the two is MBAM Pro but research on your own, AV Comparatives is a wonderful resource.
We have reports of a new vector of infection, Java. This is hardly surprising as Zeus was already being transmitted in this fashion, but Maybe_Forged reports contracting the virus with a honeypot VM in this manner.
zfs_balla made a hell of a first post on reddit, giving us a lot of insight to the behavior of the decryption process, and answered a frequently-asked question. I'm paraphrasing below.
A file encrypted twice and decrypted once is still garbage. The waiting for payment confirmation screen stayed up for 16 days before a decryption began, so don't lose hope if it's been up a while. The DWORD values in the registry have no bearing on decryption. Renaming an encrypted file to one on the list in the registry will decrypt it. However, I would presume this would only work for files that the virus encrypted on that machine as the public key is different with every infection. Adding any new matching files to somewhere the virus has access will cause them to be encrypted, even at the "waiting for payment confirmation" screen. Be careful. Hitting "Cancel" on a file that can't be found doesn't cancel the entire decryption, just that file.
EDIT 2: I've rewritten the bulk of this post so people don't have to slog through edits for important information. 10/21 EDIT: Two noteworthy edits. One is regarding Carbonite, which is apparently a viable backup option for this, it is covered under File Recovery. The other is regarding a piece of software called CryptoPrevent. I have not tried it, but according to the developer's website it blocks %localappdata%\*.exe and %localappdata%\*\*.exe which is not necessary for the current variant and will inflict quite a bit of collateral damage. I have no reason right now to doubt the legitimacy of the program, but be aware of the tradeoffs going in. I'm now at the 15000 character limit. Wat do?
bullish on USD. it is clear USD is increasingly popular with past hodlers of the deprecated bit-Coin. USD has gone up hugely in just the past day against the b.t.C!! in the future it is posible with enough imagination that the US economy could run on USD ! in conclusion you should get into currency (186 points, 26 comments)
Backstory: Recently, one of the largest Bitcoin exchanges said they weren't letting people withdraw Bitcoins due to technical issues (a process called "transaction malleability," which I can't really explain but has been known for awhile). This caused much consternation and a precipitous drop in the value of BTCs. This exchange also released a statement blaming Greg Maxwell, one of the original Bitcoin developers for the "technical issues" they were having. This has caused much drama. Keep calm, transaction malleability is not double spending. One of the big "selling points" of Bitcoin is that you can't double spend. As the name suggests, double spending is when you spend the same money twice. It's bad for business and good for thieves.
So Gox decided to take the Bitcoin ship down with them blaming their shortcomings on well known and documented protocol limitations. Shame!
so gox can buy cheat coins to make up for the loss.
That's right, folks, this exchange is crippling their business and reputation...so they can sink the cost of Bitcoins so they can buy them more on the cheap.
Mt Gox's incompetence once again puts BTC on sale? I'm not complaining.
Yep, my buttcoins just dropped in value 20%, but IDGAF because I'm gonna buy more.
You make it sound a lot less apocalyptic than the MT Gox press release did. To the top with you!
They just purposefully spread FUD throughout the bitcoin world for the sole purpose of diverting attention while they fix their shit. This transaction malleability thing has been known for a long time and has plenty of easy ways to work around it, like just look and see if there's a double spend attempt on outputs before auto-crediting your internal books. The fact that Gox's shitty coding didn't do that is entirely their fault, and instead of owning up to it, they're trying to cause an earthquake of FUD to divert attention and buy themselves time. That's not just sneaky, that's truly evil. Fuck them. Fuck them so much. /rant
FUCK THEM THIS PR MOVE IS LITERALLY EVIL. Now, I tend to save concepts of "good" and "evil" for actions that have a considerable moral weight, like when some piece of shit steals my parking spot, but this takes the cake. I speculated invested in a volatile commodity and my speculation investment has tanked, so I'm totes raging about it on Reddit.
Tin foil hat time. What if a bunch of BTC got stolen and MtGox knows this. So they make FUD that blames bitcoin protocol knowing it will crash the price. They then take USD and buy up cheap bitcoin to cover the BTC that got stolen. What if this new USD will actually drive the price to new HIGHS!
If your going to claim to be the representative entity for Bitcoin then act like it. Otherwise you are just as big of a joke as that incompitent twit Mr Krabapple bouncing around on his blue ball. I mean, Jesus H. tap dancing on a crispy truiscuit Christ, do something, anything, or gtfo. *Edit: Help us Obi-Wan Antonopoulos, you're our only hope.
He's literally tanking Bitcoin! Let's take a rash action in response to a rash action!
Karppoopels is on the BTC foundation board? fuuuuuuck thats bad.
Anyone else from The Bitcoin Foundation want to shit on Bitcoin some with more negative PR?. Drugs, money laundering, "bugs"…c'mon guys…gun running could be next? or something worse?????. I'm sure you've got plenty more from where Shrem and Krapeles came from.
Perfectly timed manipulation on the part of MTGox, this news comes as the 3 day MACD happens, (exponential average crosses the average bitcoin price), it hadn't crossed since early 2013, so big movement was to be expected. You can see it on the 3day chart on bitcoinwisdom, the blue line and brown line crossing, this is a BIG sign for automated trading bots to make a move, in this case the exponential average (indicating the latest movement trend) went below the average, this means the trend is downwards. So MTgox preps up their sells, sets a weekend climate of "some big news is about to come out on monday, everyone keep an eye on your coins" Then DROPS the bad news, and BOOM goes the dynamite. we have an epic crash. Meanwhile MTgox sets up its orders on BTC-E around 200.
Most people trust MtGox. It's the oldest exchange, was the most mentioned in the media. Their press release is pure bullshit but it's a subject that's way too technical anyway for most people to grasp. We need other big players to step up and reassure people, or this could be the death of Bitcoin.
And what will happen now?
Go on, sell your bitcoin, and bang your head into the wall when the price goes back up. In the mean time, I'm enjoying the cheap coins. Hmmm. If one were a Gox insider, today would've been a good day to buy bitcoins. Either for a personal account or for the company's, in order to cover past fuckups. Are you concerned about the price of your holdings? I appreciate that we just got cheap coins.
Plus the general hatejerk:
How I look forward to the day bitcoin won't be goxed anymore. Even those outside of gox managed to get goxxed today. Gox has done the greatest service & disservice to Bitcoin. Sounds like Mark is trying to raise more fear. He needs to step down from the Bitcoin Foundation. I guess most of the other players fear legal problems if they say anything bad about Gox...
This press release from Gox was incredibly shady and deceitful. The majority of Bitcoin market crashes are because of them. We need to step up. I'm willing to step up. Get ahold of me on here! I'm willing to invest $50,000 in a LEGIT U.S. Bitcoin exchange for 5% of the business. We can't stand for this, people. We can't let lies like this affect the Bitcoin community this much
Bitcoin Price Analysis: BTC to start rolling into the abyss if $10,400 gives way Cryptos Oct 05, 10:54 GMT. MT Gox trustee is set to return 140,000 BTC to the victims of the hacked exchange. The ... Bitcoin USD price, real-time (live) charts, bitcoin news and videos. Learn about BTC value, bitcoin cryptocurrency, crypto trading, and more. View live Bitcoin / Chinese Yuan chart to track latest price changes. Trade ideas, forecasts and market news are at your disposal as well. Bitcoincharts is the world's leading provider for financial and technical data related to the Bitcoin network. It provides news, markets, price charts and more. Some hints about this chart: - 4. January 2018 - VISA blocks all bitcoin debit cards... - End of January 2018 - MtGox deciding to sell 35000 bitcoins... - at this time (~11.10.2018) Tether USD losts PEG!!! (see my article about on bitcointalk.org) - at start of next year: MtGox Trustee planning to send the remained the 165000 bitcoins to the ...
INSANE!! BITCOIN CHART MIGHT GET REKT?!! 🛑 Crypto Analysis ...
I go over a couple pieces of news in cryptocurrency. 1. We may soon be seeing a bullish trend back up for Bitcoin dominance. And the Mt. Gox situation coming to an end may have something to do ... MtGox Bitcoins to BTC Bitcoins in 50 seconds BITCOIN PRICE , BITCOIN FUTURE in doubt http://youtu.be/eO-yrpQpIT8 What is NAMECOIN BITCOIN'S First Fork http:/... The infamous Mt Gox Bitcoin Exchange has had another sell off in May of 2018. This time, 24,000 Bitcoin (Approx $225M) has been sold sending the price of Bitcoin plummeting under $9,000 USD. Bitcoin Price Analysis & Crypto News! 👍 THUMBS UP & SUBSCRIBE NOW + 🔔! ***** 🚨 VIP ELITE PRIVATE TRADE ALERTS- https://t.me/joinchat/AAAAAEts9GFT3RV_6wLjOQ... More MtGox fishy scammery... This video is unavailable. Watch Queue Queue