Man Charged for $2 Million Worth of Unlicensed Bitcoin Sales

Samuel Haig

A man from Monmouth County, New Jersey who sold more than $2 million worth of Bitcoin through a private website was indicted by a federal grand jury for operating an unlicensed money transmitting business on July 24.

Forty-six-year-old William Green operated the website ‘Destination Bitcoin’, through which he exchanged fiat currency into BTC for his customers in exchange for a fee.

Charged for Operating Unlicensed Bitcoin Exchange

A press release published by the Department of Justice states that: 

Federal law provides that any person who owns or controls a money transmitting business shall register the business (whether or not the business is licensed as a money transmitting business in any State) with the Secretary of the Treasury.

“Green did not register, either in his own name or in the name of his business, with the Secretary of the United States Treasury as a money transmitting business,” the release adds.The man will face a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. The date for Green court hearing is yet to be established.

This is the second instance in which Green has been charged with operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, having received charges for the same offense on Feb. 8, 2019.

New Jersey Cracks Down on Unlicensed Sale of Cryptoassets

On July 17, a civil complaint was filed with the Attorney General of New Jersey accusing Pecketinns, Inc., and the company’s president, Sarvajnya Mada, of selling more than $400,000 worth of unlicensed securities through an unlicensed initial coin offering (ICO). The ICO was conducted between Jan. 15 and Jan. 31 2018, distributing ‘PINNS’ tokens to investors in exchange for ETH.

The defendants are accused of violating New Jersey’s Uniform Securities Law, with only 11 of the 217 individuals that participated in the token sole providing documentation evidencing their status as accredited investors. Neither Pockettins or Mada are believed to have registered with New Jersey’s Bureau of Securities.

The acting director of the Division of Consumer Affairs, Paul Rodriguez, stated: 

By failing to take reasonable steps to verify that purchasers were accredited investors capable of bearing the increased risks associated with unregistered securities, the defendants violated the law and exposed investors to financial losses that could have been devastating.

Coinbase Becomes First 'Pure' Crypto Firm to Become Visa Principal Member

Francisco Memoria

San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has become the first “pure” cryptocurrency firm to become a Visa principal member.

The membership was, according to Forbes, officially awarded in December 2019, but it wasn’t revealed to the public until today via a blog post published by the exchange itself. The membership will allow Coinbase to cut expensive middlemen when it comes to the issuance of its debit card, which lets users pay with cryptocurrency wherever Visa is accepted.

Notably, the principal membership also gives coinbase the power to issue debit cards for other companies, although the cryptocurrency exchange claimed it isn’t planning to issue them for others anytime soon. Visa, Forbes reports, has confirmed it granted Coinbase the principal membership, but clarified the firm itself isn’t accepting cryptocurrencies.

Using the membership, Coinbase is set to issue a new version of the Coinbase Visa card, which was initially launched in April 2019 with the financial services firm Paysafe Group Holdings, which charges a fee for its service. This new version could reduce the fees Coinbase’s card is currently charging users as it cuts the middlemen. If fees are reduced, existing card holders will have to re-apply to receive a new card.

Zeeshan Feroz, CEO of Coinbase UK, which received the membership, noted that users’ BTC holdings have always been seen as illiquid “because you have to sell them, you have to go through a process, withdraw the money, and then spend it.” The card’s goal, he said, is to change that:

What the card is trying to change is the mindset that crypto is tucked away, takes two days to access, and can actually now be spent in real time.

The Coinbase Visa card isn’t available to U.S. residents and won’t be in the foreseeable future. It is, however, available in 29 countries including Denmark ,Estonia, France, Germany, Sweden, Spain, and the U.K. IT lets users spend nine cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, ether, bitcoin cash, Brave’s BAT, litecoin, and others.

With the membership, Coinbase could make fees charged to companies outside the cryptocurrency space in payments made with its card a new source of revenue, one that depends less on crypto price fluctuations. Feroz acknowledged it’s a possibility, but revealed it’s currently not a part of the firm’s plan as its “primary focus” is to build its services.

Featured image via Pixabay.