Crackdown on Bitcoin Hits Businesses in Bali

Having issued a stark warning to “all parties” against any use of “virtual currency”, Bank Indonesia has now joined forces with local police to prevent bitcoin transactions where they are most likely to take place – in Bali. The island, a popular holiday destination with tourists spending both fiat and crypto, has been targeted by authorities. Inspections of businesses accepting bitcoin are underway, according to Indonesian media and the crypto community in the country.

Want to buy Bitcoin:Most Trusted and Instant Exchanger

Authorities on the Lookout for Illegal Transactions

Representatives of the Indonesian central bank and the national police force on the island have teamed up to investigate cases of cryptocurrency trading deemed illegal by authorities in Jakarta. They have already started collecting information about possible violations.

The crackdown in Bali comes after BI declared bitcoin an illegal form of payment in the country. Virtual currencies are prohibited in Indonesia, the financial institution stated. Rupiahs should be used for all payments and transactions that need money. The banning statement came with plans to swiftly implement the rules:

We are looking out for bitcoin transactions in Bali, particularly in tourist spots. We will take measures against non-rupiah transactions.

That announcement was made by the head of BI’s local branch Causa Iman Karana, who called the island “an alluring place for those who want to carry out illegal transactions”. Quoted by local press, Karana said in Denpasar that institutions had already warned people not to use virtual money “because there is no authority that regulates transactions”.

Crackdown on Bitcoin Hits Businesses in Bali

Businesses Can Be Closed, Owners Taken to Court

Members of the crypto community on the island quickly shared the news of the imminent crackdown in social media. Warnings were posted about checks expected to be carried out by bank officials and local law enforcement officers. Businesses could be suspended and owners taken to court, if they accept bitcoin payments. A villa has been reportedly closed down by inspectors. A foreign national had been used as a “mystery customer”… according to comments on the Bitcoins in Bali Facebook page.

Bali has been put in the spotlight after the announced prohibition of payments involving bitcoin. BI’s spokesman Agusman Zainal said that such transactions violated Law No. 7/2011 regulating currencies and their transactions in the country.

The ban has been further detailed in a dedicated bank regulation No. PBI: 19/12/PBI/2017 covering the implementation of financial technology. Under the current law, any payment in Indonesia should be made in the national currency, the Rupiah.

Crackdown on Bitcoin Hits Businesses in Bali

The central bank official also pointed to the risks associated with bitcoin transactions, noting that the cryptocurrency had no “official administrator”. Money laundering, terrorism and other criminal activities were added to the ubiquitous list of unwanted side effects.

Indonesians had been notified about the restrictions long before BI issued its ultimate warning to “not buy, sell, or trade virtual currency”. The assault on Bali shows that Jakarta means business. But what the crackdown means for the business, only time will show.

If interested in Free ICO:Get Free 50 Token Of ICO

Do you think that the Indonesian government will succeed in preventing Bitcoin payments in Bali? Tell us in the comments section below.shutterstock_351592148_1600-1068x1068

Bitconnect Shuts Down Its Exchange Citing a String of Excuses

In a move that will surprise few observers, Bitconnect has announced that it is closing its lending and exchange platform. The company has widely been accused of operating a Ponzi scheme and was recently rocked by cease and desist notices in two US states. Immediately after the firm declared its intention to wind things up, its BCC coin plummeted from $290 to under $10 before recovering slightly. With the exchange offline, many holders have been left locked out and powerless to sell their heavily deprecated assets.

Need to Buy Bitcoin:Most Trusted and Instant Excahngerbitconnect-shutdown-1068x1068

Bitconnect Bids Bye Bye

Pressure has been mounting on Bitconnect for months, with leading figures within the crypto community, from Vitalik Buterin to Jameson Lopp, speculating that the exchange was not all it was cracked up to be. News.Bitcoin.com reported on these rumors back in November before revealing, less than a fortnight ago, that the company had been slapped with an emergency cease and desist order in Texas. Among many red flags to have set alarm bells ringing were Bitconnect’s extremely odd marketing videos, described by one commenter as being “like scientology merged with hillsong infused with dorks and used car salesmen”.

Bitconnect Shuts Down Its Exchange, Citing a String of Excuses

In an update posted on the Bitconnect website, the company said it was halting its lending and exchange service due to the spate of cease and desist notices coupled with “bad press” and a string of DDoS attacks. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing DDoS attacks, the blog post can’t be accessed at this time. The “bad press” that Bitconnect cites, otherwise known as accurate reporting, has been invaluable in helping guide crypto newcomers away from the platform.

Bitconnect Shuts Down Its Exchange, Citing a String of Excuses

A Secret Blend of Herbs and Spices

The exact workings of Bitconnect’s secret sauce that purportedly makes its investors generous returns has never been disclosed, but the general consensus is that the whole operation is little more than a pyramid scheme. It is almost certain that Bitconnect’s “intelligent trading bot” which makes profitable trades and then shares those dividends with the community, does not exist.


The Bitconnect statement in full

It is not clear whether the news of Bitconnect’s lending service shutdown heralds the end of the company altogether, although it is hard to imagine it being able to limp on in any shape or form after shuttering its main hub. DDoS attacks are a tactic that a number of deep web marketplaces have used to sow confusion ahead of an exit scam. It is impossible to ascertain the origins of the distributed denial of service the site is under, though it it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the attack may have originated from close to home.

Bitconnect Shuts Down Its Exchange, Citing a String of Excuses

Bitconnect Token Falls Through the Floor

Historically, Bitconnect’s BCC token has been remarkably stable, maintaining steady growth in a pattern not dissimilar from that of bitcoin. But as news.Bitcoin.com noted back in November:

With most of the BCC in existence locked in the company’s exchange, if its founders were to perform an exit scam or wind up behind bars, millions of dollars of bitcoin would instantly be locked up and BCC would be rendered worthless.

That prophecy has now come to pass. Coinmarketcap reports zero trade volume on the Bitconnect platform in the last 60 hours, leaving its token still listed at $290 there. On other platforms though, such as Coinexchange, which recorded 24-hour BCC trade volume of $1.26 million, the token dropped to $8 before recovering to around $25 at the time of publication. Coinmarketcap, the web’s go-to cryptocurrency checker, has previously come in for criticism for hosting ads promoting Bitconnect. Coincodex, in comparison, has elected to post a notice alongside BCC warning investors away. Its CEO Marko Stokelj previously told news.Bitcoin.com:

Bitconnect employs a number of dubious methods in order to operate and promote its business. The business model outlined by the company is economically unsustainable with the current level of returns unable to be validated by any legally known investment system.

While some observers in the crypto community may feel a touch of schadenfreude at Bitconnect’s demise, it is worth being mindful of the many victims who will have suffered heavy losses. Thanks to its marketing strategy, including use of referral schemes, Bitconnect preyed on newbs who lacked the necessary understanding to differentiate legitimate cryptocurrencies from get rich quick schemes.

Bitconnect Shuts Down Its Exchange, Citing a String of Excuses

If the news emanating from Bitconnect’s 404’d website does prove to be terminal – and it’s hard to imagine the company coming back from this – there will at least be some good to come out of this story. A number of similar sites with names such as Ethconnect have appeared in recent months, each with the same opaque business model. The fall of Bitconnect will hopefully serve as a warning to other crypto startups not to go down the same route. For Bitconnect bag-holders, though, this cautionary tale will provide little consolation.

UPDATE: This post has since been updated to include a screenshot of the Bitconnect statement in full.

Bittrex Wallets Are Taken Offline as Companies Scramble to Patch the Intel Bug

On Wednesday, the tech world was rocked by revelations of a computer chip vulnerability that exposes critical data. Meltdown and Spectre are the names assigned to the newly discovered flaws which primarily affect Intel chips. From a security perspective, the bug concerns everyone who uses an Intel-powered device to connect to the internet, which is pretty much everyone. But from a practical perspective, the bug is already making its presence felt: today Bittrex exchange was forced to take numerous wallets offline while Azure servers were patched.

Also read: ripple-gateways-can-freeze-users-funds-at-any-timeintel-bug-1068x1068

A Bug in the System

Bittrex Wallets Are Taken Offline as Companies Scramble to Patch the Intel BugComputer bugs and vulnerabilities are discovered all the time, but the Intel one is particularly nasty. It risks leaving passwords and other critical data exposed on billions of internet connected devices, from smartphones to PCs. While patches are being rushed out for the major operating systems, hackers are trying to find ways to exploit the vulnerability, which could provide them with complete system access. Spectre forces programs to leak confidential data, while Meltdown noses around in the system kernel for the same purpose.

Cryptocurrency holders, who already face a heightened threat from hackers, have good reason to be concerned. In addition to affecting personal computers, Spectre and Meltdown spell danger for cloud-based systems. Cloud computing providers store data from multiple clients on the same server. If that server were to be exploited, it would theoretically be possible for an attacker to access multiple accounts.

A Dark Cloud

Cryptocurrency exchanges, whose websites carry a heavy load, are reliant on the cloud. While the likes of Amazon have been rushing to patch their servers, exchanges have been affected by outages and reduced service. Earlier today, Bittrex tweeted:

Azure accelerated a planned reboot due to the public Intel disclosure. Wallets will be online again once they complete post reboot audits.

At present, withdrawals and deposits for around 30% of the coins traded on the exchange are unavailable.


Bittrex wallets today.

Several other exchanges were temporarily taken offline, with some platforms specifically referencing the patch, and others simply referring to maintenance. Among those affected were Einstein Exchange, CEX.io, and Kucoin. Hardware wallet manufacturer Ledger also updated concerned customers on the situation, tweeting:

Bittrex Wallets Are Taken Offline as Companies Scramble to Patch the Intel Bug

There is an added issue regarding the Intel bug: as a consequence of patching it, system performance will be reduced by as much as 30%. Cryptocurrency miners are unlikely to be badly affected, as the process doesn’t involve making a high number of kernel requests. But for anyone who prides themselves on running an overclocked PC with a high benchmark, the slowdown may be hard to stomach.

Are you concerned by the Intel bug and do you think cryptocurrency holders should be worried? Let us know in the comments section below.

Bittrex /Poloniex Customers Locked Out: Are Crypto Exchanges Ready for Bitcoin?

Bittrex and Poloniex users took to social media to voice their concerns: something is wrong at the third largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. Customers openly complain they’re having issues with withdrawals, and this has been going on for weeks. Certainly every popular platform has had its share of problems with runs in the wake of price spikes, but until yesterday the exchange offered no formal, public explanation.  

Also read: bitcoin-price-reaches-another-peak-crossing-15000/

Bittrex Has a Public Relations Problem

BittrexPoloniexIMG_2151-1-1068x1068 hasn’t Tweeted since 30 November. Its Facebook page hasn’t been updated since Summer. Customers are starting to worry, loudly.

Important Information About Identity Verification, published the evening of 5 December, the exchange explained, “We are committed to making sure our services are not used to launder money, support terrorism, commit fraud or other illegal activities,” citing the Bank Secrecy Act and other regulations as catalyst.

Describing their services as “frustrating or a hassle,” the exchange blamed, essentially, lack of customer literacy in the identity verification process. Stressing they “cannot do this without the help of our customers,” the post then lists “common mistakes or issues that arise.”

Included are problems such as “Creating multiple accounts associated with a single individual or entity; Name mismatch; Unreadable IDs; Non-Latin characters on the Government IDs; [and] Opening multiple support tickets.”

Signed by The Team, the post ends: “We trust that you understand Bittrex is committed to following the law and ensuring that it has a robust compliance program. We ask for your patience and cooperation throughout this process.”

Bittrex Customers Locked Out: Are Crypto Exchanges Ready for Bitcoin?

So, Criminals can Deposit but Not Withdraw?

Curious to outsiders, infuriating to customers, is the notion of the exchange taking orders, money, seemingly without issue … only to cover itself in cloaks of legalisms at withdrawal time.

Indeed, a user told Business Insider how “This is a big deal because when you sign up with Bittrex, they allow you to deposit funds into your wallet and even allow you to trade without Verification. But then you cannot withdraw your funds.”

The exchange has been around since 2014, and is based in Las Vegas though its mailing address is Seattle. Its daily trading volumes hover near 1 billion USD. As of this writing, it ranks second in daily volume among exchanges.

Bittrex Customers Locked Out: Are Crypto Exchanges Ready for Bitcoin?

Though not Better Business Bureau (BBB) accredited, Bittrex nevertheless has a dedicated page of mounting complaints. Users have gone public with their stories, and most have documented something like the following, “Last night I tried to withdraw and got this: ‘Unverified account withdraw limit has been reached. Please try again in 24 hours. To increase your limits, please verify your account,’” Russia Today noted. There’s even a Twitter hashtag, #BittrexTrouble.

These are not the first problems for Bittrex, nor are they alone in this regard. Bitcoin’s price, as well as the value of the crypto space generally, has risen beyond expectations. It could just be the case of not being prepared. In these pages, flashes and run-ups were reported at Kraken, Coinbase, Tether, Gemini, among others.

Problems like these are not only worrisome for those unable to access their funds, but they’re also excuses for tighter government controls and regulations. With Wall Street and assorted whales headed crypto’s way in the coming months, readers can be sure such problems will not be tolerated.

As a matter of plain justice, however, in a volatile market, losing precious seconds, much less weeks or months, could literally financially break enthusiasts.
If you are looking to Buy/Exchange E currencies:Most Trusted and Instant Excahnger