Kevin O'Brien

News Reporter

Kevin has lived and worked in five countries and enjoys collecting autographs and playing musical instruments.

Articles by Author

Chicago Is Rapidly Becoming The Next Big Cryptocurrency Battleground

Chicago has experienced a big rise in the number of cryptocurrency ATMs as companies look to stake a claim and lure the city’s enthusiastic crypto holders. Companies like Coinbase have also opened offices in the city to take advantage of market opportunities and the plethora of spot exchanges.

Malicious Browser Extension Racks Up Stolen Bitcoin From Unsuspecting Users

A Medium blog post offers details of a crypto cashback browser extension project that is stealing people’s bitcoin after tricking users to gain access to their crypto accounts. The Chrome extension has been removed from Google’s store, but the creators have already managed to steal a bit more than 23 bitcoin so far.

Europol Announces Arrest Of Suspected $11 Million IOTA Thief

Cooperation between Europol and police in the United Kingdom and Germany has resulted in the arrest of a man suspected of stealing around $11 million in IOTA. German authorities allegedly identified the suspect last year and referred the case to UK police since he was living in the UK.  

Coinbase Poaches Another Top Executive Amid A Big International Market Push

Coinbase has hired another top executive as it positions itself for a broader international market. The exchange confirmed the hire of Quito Zuba, formerly of Thompson Reuters, as its near market operations leader. Zuba is working with the firm’s team in Chicago that is responsible for creating a new matching engine.

BIS Paper Argues For Bitcoin to Depart From Proof-of-Work

A new study from the Bank of International Settlements has argued Proof-of-Work is not viable due to its cost, and the only solution is for bitcoin to replace the algorithm. BIS’ Raphael Auer argued that PoW requires expensive protection to thwart 51% attacks and there is a real need for new technology to speed up payments.

City Councilman Crusades to End Crypto Mining Ban In New York Town

The town of Plattsburgh, New York made headlines after city leaders instituted an 18-month moratorium on cryptocurrency mining. A City Councillor has filed a resolution that would end the ban if passed. He argues the regulation of mining companies is a state issue and not one the city can tackle.

Ghana’s SEC Tells Citizens Not to Deal With Crypto Companies

Ghana’s Securities and Exchange Commission said it has been researching and considering how cryptocurrency can be dealt with in the country but cautions people to not deal with cryptocurrency companies in the meantime. SEC official Paul Ababio said citizens are on their own if they choose to deal with crypto entities.

Icelandic Bitcoin Bandit Who Fled to Sweden Sentenced to Jail

A collective of thieves who stole Bitcoin mining computers was sentenced to jail. The most notable thief, Sindri Por Stefansson, gained attention when he escaped from jail in Iceland and managed to leave the country on the same flight as the nation’s Prime Minister. Stefansson was sentenced to four and a half years in jail.

Innovative Wyoming Lawmakers Introduce Two Crypto-Friendly Bills

A collective of lawmakers in Wyoming has introduced a bill that would let companies issue stock-certificate tokens rather than just issuing offering stock certificates. The proposed bill would give companies the chance to digitize and issue stock certificates on a blockchain or a similar secure database. A second piece of legislation intends to clear up cryptocurrency classification. 

One Hit Wonder? Soulja Boy Says Bitcoins Glory Days Have Passed

Rapper Soulja Boy admitted in an interview how he thinks Bitcoin’s glory days are in the past. He indicated that people looking to invest are not getting the same returns as once were possible. The rapper gave a shout out to the cryptocurrency on his fourth studio album.

Wheres My Money? Crypto Users Crusade To Claim Cryptopia Investments

In the wake of the Cryptopia hack, at least 40 users are now trying to get their funds back. Police are trying to conduct an investigation into the disappeared funds, but there’s a growing amount of skepticism that the money will actually show up. Some think the exchange might have been more of a target since it focused on lesser-known coins.

Stock Exchange Of Thailand Looking To Jump Into The Crypto World

The Stock Exchange of Thailand is looking to dive into the cryptocurrency world this year by applying for a digital asset operating license. The entity hopes to open a new exchange and then become authorized this year in order to keep pace with the popularity and growing interest in crypto investing.

First Blockchain Project To Ensure Ethically Sourced Cobalt Includes Ford And IBM

IBM, Ford, LG Chem, and Huayou Cobalt are part of a collective of companies who are working on a project to track cobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with blockchain technology. The idea behind the project is to ensure the valuable mineral is not being mined by children or fuelling more problems in the region.

Crypto Regulation Bill to Be Discussed By Russian State Duma Before March

Russia’s State Duma is set to discuss a draft version of the digital financial assets legislation within one to two months. The bill was submitted to the Duma at the end of last year. Hopes are its approval will prompt a pilot project of 20 different credit institutions.

Bitmain Places Mining Operations In Rockdale Texas On Hold

Mining giant Bitmain has suspended operations in Rockdale Texas. A number of employees were laid off in the area but company officials believe they will still be able to resume mining operations in a drastically reduced manner. Big drops in crypto prices were said to have led to the scaledown.

New Chinese Blockchain Regulations Set To Come Into Force Next Month

The Cyberspace Administration of China has posted information about new regulations for blockchain companies that will come into force in February. The regulator said the new rules will promote healthy and orderly development, but platforms will now have to censor content and give access to data.

Marshall Islands Says Blockchain Expert Is Advising National Crypto Issuance

The Republic of the Marshall Islands has revealed that blockchain expert Steve Tendon, managing director of TameFlow Consulting/ChainStrategies, is advising government officials on activities related to the issuance of the Sovereign cryptocurrency (SOV) for the Pacific nation.

South Korea Extends Tax Credits to Blockchain Industry to Spur Innovation

The South Korean government has included blockchain on a list of 16 different fields that are set to receive research & development tax credits. Other areas include wearable robots and fine dust reduction tech. The amendments for tax relief will be included in the 2018 tax law, which is set to come into enforcement next month.

OKEx Exchange Announces Bitcoin Cash and TRON Margin Trading

The OKEx exchange has launched margin trading for Bitcoin Cash and TRON this week. OKEx said both Bitcoin Cash and TRON have support through the OK PiggyBank, which lets users receive margin interest from traders after people invest spare coins into the PiggyBank. TRON has seen a jump in recent memory that has pushed the coin into the top ten based on market cap.  

Nick Szabo Thinks Crypto Could Supplement Central Bank Gold Reserves

Cryptocurrency visionary Nick Szabo discussed how crypto could potentially be used by central banks to shore up gold reserves at the first Israel Bitcoin Summit. He made a few other predictions at the conference, asserting how crypto would most likely keep growing in places experiencing conflict.

Founder Of Crypto Exchange CoinFlux To Be Extradited To The U.S.

Vlad Nistor, the owner of the CoinFlux cryptocurrency exchange, is set to be extradited to the United States after Romania’s Supreme Court made the decision. Authorities said Calin allegedly cheated customers in the United States with their Bitcoin transactions.

Coinbase CEO Highlights $300+ Million Series E Round In Q4 Update

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong gave a recap of Coinbase’s Q4 accomplishments and achievements in a blog post on January 2nd. He highlighted the company’s Series E fundraising round that raised $300 million and wrote about the need for better company integration in the year.

Authorities Say Criminal Enterprises Are Using More Crypto To Launder Funds

Authorities in the United States are speculating that big international criminal syndicates and cartels are turning to cryptocurrency to aid with money laundering. Many are working with Asian organizations to launder funds, even if the number of money laundering operations with crypto are still very small.

Bank of England Poll Finds Most Prefer Cryptocurrency Over Cash as a Gift

A poll from the Bank of England asked people to vote for their preferred way to receive money for Christmas. In the poll’s final hours, 75% of the 16,716 respondents said they preferred to receive digital currency, while just 18% asserted they would want cash. 5% preferred a bank transfer while 2% responded with a ‘gift voucher.’

South Korean Authorities Arrest Nine For Using Crypto To Sell Narcotics

Nine drug dealers who allegedly used cryptocurrency to sell narcotics were arrested by authorities in South Korea. It marks the first time a darknet drug trafficking website was shut down in the country after the operator was arrested. The site allegedly had 636 members.

Criminals Posing As Bitcoin Dealers Referred To Dubai Authorities For Robbery

A group of criminals allegedly posed as bitcoin dealers and fake detectives to steal around $217,000 from a Chinese trader. Two of the people involved in the scheme have been referred to the Dubai Criminal Court on allegations related to the robbery. The lawyers for the defendants will enter their pleas at the start of the new year.

McAfee Report: Cryptocurrency Mining Malware Grew At Least 4000% Over Last Year

A new report from cybersecurity firm McAfee found that cryptocurrency mining malware has jumped more than 4,000% over the past year. A big jump in malware was seen in Q1 2018, seemed to level off in Q2, but then jumped again in Q3. Trends also point towards a decline in new ransomware as more hackers move to cryptojacking.

Customers Can Now Pay With Cryptocurrency At a Brazilian Supermarket Chain

Oasis Supermercados, located on the northern coast of Rio De Janiero, now gives customers the ability to pay with bitcoin, litecoin, and bitcoin cash. The company has two stores and 90 employees, and those who operate cash have been trained to accept cryptocurrency payments.

Ross Ulbrichts Mother Hopeful President Trump Could Pardon Silk Road Founder

In an interview with Yahoo Finance UK, the mother of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht expressed hope President Donald Trump could help set Ulbricht free due to his openness towards pardoning people. She said what Ross did was not responsible, but asserted he meant no harm, but acted on his beliefs in the free market and privacy.

Court Approves Alleged Bitcoin Fraudster Alexander Vinniks Extradition To France

The Supreme Court of Greece has ordered the extradition of alleged Bitcoin fraudster, and Russian citizen, Alexander Vinnik to France. Vinnik, who was in charge of the BTC-e exchange, was caught in a long legal battle as multiple countries asked for his extradition to face charges.

Monex Refutes Reports of Coinchecks Japanese Exchange License

Reporting on Wednesday (Dec 19) from the Nikkei Asian Review indicated Japan’s Financial Services Agency agreed to give the Coincheck exchange a license after it patched up security concerns. However, a letter from the Monex Group refuted the claims, explaining that a decision has not been determined.

‘HODL’ Turns Five

Yesterday was five years to the day since a BitcoinTalk user known as GameKyuubi first used the term ‘HODL,’ writing in a post how he would hold on to his Bitcoin and wait for the price to raise instead of ‘burning’ coins doing trading on exchanges. HODL is now one of the industry’s most popular phrases.

LinkedIn: Blockchain Development Is The Fastest-Growing Job Sector In The U.S

LinkedIn’s 2018 Emerging Job Reports has listed ‘blockchain developer’ as the fastest growing job sector with “33x growth” compared to last year’s report. The report said most of the jobs were centralized at IBM, ConsenSys, and Chainyard and are located in San Francisco, New York City, and Atlanta.

CoinFlux Exchange Operator Arrested In Romania, U.S. Asked For Extradition

Authorities inside of Romania in conjunction with U.S. Secret Service officers arrested Calin Vlad Nistor in Cluj. He is currently under investigation in the United States for a variety of crimes allegedly tied to the CoinFlux exchange. Allegations include fraud, organized crime, and money laundering.

Russian Deputy PM Says Crypto Price Downturns Justifies Cautious Regulation

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister said big price downswings in the 2018 cryptocurrency market justified a cautious regulatory approach. Russian lawmakers have been discussing and mulling over crypto-focused legislation, but some officials are warier of the concept. Deputy PM Maxim Akimov said there have also been discussions about stablecoin regulation.

Nigerias Deposit Insurance Corporation Head Concerned About Cryptos Evolution

Umaru Ibrahim, Managing Director of Nigeria’s Deposit Insurance Corporation, said the evolution of cryptocurrencies gives regulators different challenges than what was faced in years past. He particularly noted how the disintermediation of the banking system was a concern for regulators within Nigeria.

What Is Bitcoin? One Of Googles Top Questions In 2018

Google’s year-in-review of search terms and questions reveals how ‘What Is Bitcoin’ was one of the top questions asked by users in the United States and United Kingdom. While Google does not provide the precise number of searches, it remains the world’s top search engine, suggesting that Bitcoin has squarely placed itself in the mainstream.

Breaking Story: Bitcoin Scammers Email Bomb Threats, Causing Evacuations Across The U.S.

Bitcoin scammers have sent a number of email bomb threats to schools, businesses, and other locations across the United States. So far, there is no evidence any bombs were actually placed, but the messages have caused police departments across the country to work on the threats and ask the public to remain vigilant.

More Than 7.5 Million Chinese Use Crypto-Related Apps, Analysis Shows

New analysis into the cryptocurrency application industry has shown the number of bitcoin-related app users reach 7.51 million in China. The number represents a 230.84% jump from the same time last year, despite big bitcoin price swings since December 2017. There was also a substantial increase in the number of female application users.

New Zealand’s Financial Authority Updates List Of ‘Suspected’ Crypto Scams

New Zealand’s Financial Markets Authority has added three new cryptocurrency platforms to a list of suspected scams. OneLife Network, One Coin Limited, and Bitcoin Revolution Limited reportedly emulate some of the characteristics of a scam. The regulator has asked those associated or who have invested into OneLife or OneCoin to speak with authorities.

Former PayPal Executive Hired To Drive Growth of Pay has announced the appointment of former PayPal executive Tyson Hackwood to drive the growth of the company’s payment solution, Pay. The idea behind the solution is to let people pay for goods and services with cryptocurrency and receive lucrative cashback rewards.  

Israeli Tax Authority Targets Undisclosed Cryptocurrency Earnings

The Israeli Tax Authority has launched an effort to crack down on those who are not accurately reporting their earnings from cryptocurrency. The body is reportedly sending out letters to those who they suspect of not reporting earnings accurately and have opened tax accounts for those they have identified as having unreported earnings.

Abu Dubai National Oil Company to Use Blockchain For Oil Tracking

Abu Dubai’s National Oil Company has announced a partnership with IBM to pilot an oil tracking system that uses blockchain technology. Blockchain will reportedly  help cut down on transaction time and promote efficiency across the value chain. The project is said to be one of the first in the world to use blockchain in the oil field.

Japanese Police Statistics Show Significant Jump In Suspicious Crypto Transaction Reports

Police in Japan have received 5,944 reports on suspected illicit cryptocurrency use from January to October of this year. Reports from last year totaled 669. New rules obligate exchanges to report suspicious trading to the police, and some believe the rise of reports is due to people just getting used to how the notification system works.

Former Israeli PM Ehud Barak Praises Blockchain, Calls Bitcoin A Ponzi Scheme

Former Israeli PM Ehud Barak said cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are a Ponzi scheme at an event in Tel Aviv on Sunday. He called blockchain an interesting concept and affirmed it would have a lot of uses, but said he would not invest in cryptocurrencies. He also affirmed the viability of medical cannabis and mentioned he had invested and became the chairman of one such company.

Brazilian Mining Company Under Investigation, Says It Cant Pay Investors

Brazilian mining company Minerworld has affirmed it does not have enough Bitcoins to pay back investors who pledged money into the company. Minerworld made the statement after a court order mandated it use remaining funds to compensate investors. Minerworld is under investigation for allegedly being a Ponzi scheme.

Beijing Financial Watchdog Warns Against Illegal Activity Related To STOs

The leader of Beijing’s’ Financial Supervision Authority said people should be wary about getting involved with activities related to security tokens since the government is cracking down on them until they receive official legalization. The words signify Beijing is taking a cautious look at STOs since they have few successful use cases so far.  

Reddits r/Bitcoin Hits 1 Million Subscribers

The Reddit community dedicated to Bitcoin has officially reached one million subscribers. The group grew exponentially during cryptocurrency hype seen throughout 2017, especially in the latter months of the year. Right now, the communities’ subscriber count places its rank at 127.  

Dash Developer Discusses ChainLocks To Protect Against 51% Attacks

A Dash developer recently took to Medium to talk about a new security upgrade called ChainLocks to help prevent 51% attacks. The developer said Dash has been working over the past few months on leveraging Long Living Masternode Quorums to help prevent attacks and push back against attempts to reverse transactions.

HBUS Calls Out Coinbase In First-Ever Billboard Campaign By A U.S. Exchange

HBUS has embarked on what they call the US’s first billboard campaign by a crypto exchange. The company unveiled a billboard in San Francisco just a few blocks from Coinbase’s headquarters. The company said the campaign was designed to target some of the basics of advertising while promoting its brand. Additionally, HBUS said they are cutting trading fees to zero for the rest of the year. 

Estonia: New Amendments Set To Tighten Up Cryptocurrency Regulation

Estonia’s Ministry of Finance is planning on adding amendments to newly-passed legislation that will strengthen regulations related to cryptocurrency. A new version of an AML and anti-terrorist prevention act will reportedly mention cryptocurrency exchanges and providers specifically, rather than “alternate payment services providers.”

Sberbank Completes Blockchain-Based Foreign Exchange Repo Transaction With Interros

Sberbank and the Moscow-based Interros Group have completed an over the counter FOREX repo transaction with the help of blockchain. The transaction is set to become a legally binding contract thanks to the use of smart contracts and digital signatures. Speculation is blockchain could be a more convenient solution than traditional OTC transactions.

Research Finds Business And Finance-Focused Outlets Trend Towards More Positive Crypto Coverage

Questions have always remained about how media outlets covers events and news inside of the cryptocurrency world. A new report from Clovr says younger-focused business and finance outlets seemed to cover crypto more positively, while a number of more conservative outlets had a negative sentiment.  

Bitstamp Exchange Partners With Irisium To Implement Market Monitoring Platform

The Bitstamp exchange has announced a partnership with Irisium to implement the firm’s market monitoring platform. Bitstamp hopes the partnership will boost customer protections and foster greater market integrity on the exchange as the global cryptocurrency industry continues to grow.  

VNX Exchange Partners With The University Of Luxembourg To Boost Digital Asset Security

The VNX Exchange announced a partnership with researchers at the University of Luxembourg in order to collaborate on building a secure marketplace by improving the security of cryptocurrency assets. Hopes are the partnership will further blockchain’s role in the financial sector.

Bitfinex Says Users Are Now Able To Directly Trade Tether For Fiat

Bitfinex has announced the addition of USDT/USD and EURT/EUR Tether pairings so users can directly trade the stablecoin for fiat. The exchange said the new pairs continue an exchange goal to serve as a neutral platform. The pairs will replace the 1:1 conversion with deposits and withdrawals.

Malaysia: Those Looking To Launch Cryptocurrencies Must Go Through Central Bank

Malaysia’s Finance Minister has said those looking to issue cryptocurrencies must first go through the nation’s central bank. The minister said the bank would be the decision maker on the issue and warned against those who might attempt to circumvent the financial regulator.

Blockchain Capital Spearheads $12.75 Million Fundraising Round In Securitize

Coinbase Ventures and a number of other entities have invested about $12.75 million dollars into Securitize as part of its Series A round. The purpose of Securitize is to tokenize shares in order to promote transparency and foster trading. Other investors included Ripple’s Xpring fund and Global Brain.

Research: Why Are Cryptocurrency Prices So Volatile?

A research paper published by Daniele Bianchi and Alexander Dickerson argued that big crypto price swings come as a result of informed traders who speculate on asymmetric information. Dr Bianchi said “The cryptocurrency market is the perfect environment to exploit asymmetric information.”

Azerbaijan Wont Issue a State-Backed Cryptocurrency, Central Bank Reveals

The first Chairman of Azerbaijan’s Central Bank noted how the financial entity is not planning on launching its own cryptocurrency. The ex-Chairman said cryptocurrency is often used for money laundering purposes and carries a great deal of risk associated with it.

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