Bitcoin ATMs Thriving in Michigan’s Most Populous City

Bitcoin ATMs Thriving in Michigan's Most Populous City

Low-income areas in the city of Detroit are seeing a bunch of cryptocurrency-based automated teller machines (ATM). According to local reports, ATMs are popping up in great number in liquor stores, gas stations, and cash-checking locations.

Also read: Bitwala Launching Full-Fledged Crypto-Friendly Banking Service with Debit Card

Detroit Michigan Sees a Crypto-ATM Invasion

Bitcoin ATMs Thriving in Michigan's Most Populous CityDetroit is a well known industrial city and Michigan’s most populous city. However, the region has been dealing with a tumultuous economy and the city residents have been suffering from financial hardships for years. That hasn’t stopped a large influx of bitcoin ATMs from being installed in the city as Detroit now has over 29 machines. The regional newspaper the Detroit News reveals that most of these devices reside in areas with a shortage of banks and low-income housing areas like Inkster, Highland Park, Taylor, Hamtramck, and Pontiac. There are 15 more crypto-ATMs on the outskirts of Metro Detroit as well. Ayman Rida, an executive from a company called ‘International Bitcoin’ installed a good chunk of the machines located in the Metro Detroit region.

“My company installed 15 Bitcoin ATMs last year in Detroit,” explains Rida in an Interview. Rida says most transactions are roughly between $70-80 USD. “Last year, the business grew very, very good at the locations,” Rida adds.

Services for the Unbanked and Underbanked

Cryptocurrency proponents in the area believe the Detroit crypto-ATMs help the underbanked within the region. Although, some law-enforcement officials believe some of the action may be helping facilitate illegal activities and money laundering. A cryptocurrency researcher from a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) believes bitcoin in Detroit is probably being used for both of those theories.

“The truth is, it could be both scenarios,” Yaya Fanusie explains. “It’s a guess because the technology is new — We need time to collect data,”

The fact that [Bitcoin ATMs] are in the kind of areas you describe, only says how much digital currency is growing worldwide — Bitcoin has sort of grown as way to provide services to the unbanked and underbanked.

Despite the Concerns From Lawmakers Cryptocurrency Use Is Thriving in Detroit

Bitcoin ATMs Thriving in Michigan's Most Populous CityAccording to the local news outlet, 14 Detroit stores in the Metro region with bitcoin ATMs were contacted, but none of the owners wanted to make a statement. The FDD researcher Fanusie doesn’t believe that money laundering is a big issue for crypto-ATM owners in Detroit. Fanusie emphasizes, “That kind of money would essentially be noticed by federal regulators — But if you want to use them to pay a local drug dealer, say $50 to $100, then maybe it’s OK, effective.”

Michigan and the Detroit region is home to quite a few bitcoiners. Besides the bitcoin ATMs, there are large Meetup groups as well. The ‘Michigan Bitcoiners’ Meetup has over 988 members that congregate in Detroit. The ‘Detroit Blockchainers’ Meetup has 488 members, and the group holds a weekly meeting in Metro Detroit where attendees can trade cryptocurrencies with other people in person.

“Come trade cryptocurrency like it’s 1792,” the Detroit Blockchainers state.

What do you think about cryptocurrency ATMs popping up in great number in the city of Detroit? Let us know in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, and the Detroit Blockchainers Meetup.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Bitcoin ATMs Thriving in Michigan’s Most Populous City appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoin News




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Europol: Hardcore Criminals Are Shifting From Bitcoin to Monero, Zcash and Dash

Europol: Hardcore Criminals Are Shifting From Bitcoin to Monero, Zcash and Dash

A multitude of representatives of law enforcement agencies from around the world have talked about the use of bitcoin by criminal elements, sometimes revealing ignorance about cryptocurrencies in the process. Now it appears that Europol at least is trying to go deeper, learning about various altcoins and how they can be used too.

Also Read: Israeli Supreme Court Forbids Bank From Denying Service to Bitcoin Exchange

Criminals Go Alt

Europol: Hardcore Criminals Are Shifting From Bitcoin to Monero, Zcash and DashThe European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol), formerly known as the European Police Office and Drugs Unit, is concerned that sophisticated criminals are switching to alternative cryptocurrencies while investigators are just focusing on bitcoin. Monero, zcash and dash are specifically mentioned as now appearing on the radar of the EU law agency.

Jarek Jacubchek, a Europol cyber-crime analyst, told Business Insider: “We can see a quite obvious and distinct shift from bitcoin to cryptocurrencies that can provide a higher level of privacy. So basically, you can achieve a higher level of privacy using these ‘altcoins’, and these altcoins are either using stealth as the basis, like monero. There are also coins like dash that do not have stealth addresses, they have transparent addresses, but they have a mixing process that is part of the protocol.”

Bitcoin Still Rules

Europol: Hardcore Criminals Are Shifting From Bitcoin to Monero, Zcash and DashThis shift from bitcoin to altcoins is supposedly fueled by two ongoing trends. First, bitcoin exchanges are coming under regulatory pressure to adopt the same anti-money laundering and know your customer (AML/KYC) practices of traditional financial institutions, such as requiring photo IDs to open accounts, which are scaring away criminals. Second, most police forces are already aware of the potential use of bitcoin and are improving their ability to track down BTC transactions by suspects. Additionally, by shifting between multiple cryptocurrencies, people can better hide their tracks from investigators.

Despite all of this, bitcoin as the original cryptocurrency is still the most popular with criminals, just as it is with law-abiding citizens. The co-founder of cryptocurrency analysis firm Elliptic, Tom Robinson, explains that “the vast majority of illicit activity in cryptocurrencies is still taking place in bitcoin, because of its ease of exchange and more advanced infrastructure”.

Do you think criminals are shifting away from bitcoin to more anonymous altcoins? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Do you like to research and read about Bitcoin technology? Check out Bitcoin.com’s Wiki page for an in-depth look at Bitcoin’s innovative technology and interesting history.

The post Europol: Hardcore Criminals Are Shifting From Bitcoin to Monero, Zcash and Dash appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoin News




My current recommendations:

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Bill Gates, “Cryptocurrencies… Caused Deaths In a Fairly Direct Way” In Reddit AMA, Community Reacts

Bill Gates claims cryptocurrencies are “super risky” due to their anonymous nature.

Bill Gates, principal founder of the Microsoft Corporation, has caused a furor among Reddit users, stating that cryptocurrencies are “a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way”, during an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit on Feb. 27.

Gates wrote:

“The main feature of crypto currencies is their anonymity. I don't think this is a good thing. The Government’s ability to find money laundering and tax evasion and terrorist funding is a good thing. Right now crypto currencies are used for buying fentanyl and other drugs so it is a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way. I think the speculative wave around ICOs and crypto currencies is super risky for those who go long.”

While drug purchases online have been increasing, the vast majority of drug users still purchase illicit substances via more ‘traditional’ methods. According to a 2017 Global Drug Survey, regardless of country, less than half of drug users purchase substances via the dark web in any one country. The global median for percentage of drug users who use the dark net is 10.1 percent.

Global Drug Survey

Gates’ remarks resulted in harsh criticism from Redditors participating in the discussion. While some advised Gates to re-read the Bitcoin white paper, others reproached him for what was perceived to be an attempt to influence the cryptomarket with his celebrity status:

“… [I]f Bill Gates says he doesn’t like crypto because of how well shaded the flow of money is…a lot of ears are perking up,” said a user calling themself Hoticewater.

When one of the users pointed out that fiat currencies can also be used for illegal activities such as money laundering, tax evasion, terrorist funding, and drug purchases, Gates said that the necessity of a physical presence makes illicit activities and transfers more difficult:

“Yes – anonymous cash is used for these kinds of things but you have to be physically present to transfer it which makes things like kidnapping payments more difficult.”

Back in 2015, the Microsoft founder’s position towards cryptocurrencies was far more optimistic. In an interview with Erik Schatzker on Bloomberg TV’s Smart Street show, Gates put it baldly that, “bitcoin is better than currency…”.

Moreover, as part of the "Financial Services for the Poor" initiative, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has sponsored the development of Blockchain infrastructure for merchants in Kenya to accept cryptocurrencies.

While Gates remains skeptical of cryptocurrencies, the underlying blockchain technology also remains an area of interest of the Microsoft Corporation, which has gone ahead without his direction as CEO. Over the past year, Microsoft participated in several business initiatives related to blockchain technology, like Microsoft Azure or Coco Framework.

The company recently announced it was looking to integrate Blockchain-based decentralized IDs into its Microsoft Authenticator app. Microsoft decided that Blockchain technology and protocols were well suited to the task of their project; creating a secure and decentralized form of digital identity.  

Source: Coin Telegraph




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35 Countries, EU and FATF Agree to Revise Global Cryptocurrency Standards

35 Countries, EU and FATF Agree to Revise Global Cryptocurrency Standards

Thirty-five countries and the European Commission have asked the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), responsible for setting global anti-money laundering (AML) policies, to revise its standards relating to cryptocurrencies. The organization promised to present its revised AML countermeasures for cryptocurrencies at the upcoming G20 meeting of finance ministers.

Also read: Indians Look to Buy Bitcoin Overseas as Regulations Tighten

35 Nations and EU Want Better Crypto AML Policies

35 Countries, EU and FATF Agree to Revise Global Cryptocurrency StandardsAt the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting in Paris, held between February 18 and 23, members representing 35 countries and two organizations “urged the global body to improve the understanding of money laundering risks relating to cryptocurrencies,” Yonhap reported.

Established in 1989, the FATF is an inter-governmental body whose objectives are to set standards and promote effective implementation of measures to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and other related threats, its website describes.

The FATF currently comprises 35 member jurisdictions and two regional organizations. Member countries include China, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States. The two organizations are the European Commission and the Gulf Co-operation Council.

35 Countries, EU and FATF Agree to Revise Global Cryptocurrency Standards
FATF meeting.

At the meeting last week, “Member countries were worried that the anonymity and money laundering risks of cryptocurrency transactions had grown with electronic wallets” and mixing services that hid the identity of their owners, Sedaily described. The Hankyoreh elaborated:

The FATF discussed the need to revise its own international standards…along with the revision of the virtual currency guideline created in June 2015, and agreed to report the response to the G20 Finance Ministers’ Meeting in March.

In addition, China was elected as the next vice-chairman at the meeting, effective from July 2019 to June 2020, the publication noted.

Korea – First to Draw Up AML Guidelines

35 Countries, EU and FATF Agree to Revise Global Cryptocurrency StandardsDuring the meeting, South Korea briefed the FATF on “its obligations related to cryptocurrency transactions to tackle money laundering,” Korean officials said on Monday.

The country’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) said in a statement that “South Korea’s anti-money laundering guidelines for cryptocurrency trading were the first to be drawn up” among the FATF members, the news outlet wrote.

South Korea has banned anonymous trading of cryptocurrencies and introduced the real-name system which went into effect on January 30. The country’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) also published anti-money laundering guidelines for financial institutions. They are required to properly verify their customers, Yonhap detailed, adding that they are also obligated to closely monitor financial transactions and “conduct enhanced customer due diligence if a virtual currency exchange is suspected of using employee accounts for virtual currency-related financial transactions.”

What do you think of these countries asking the FATF to revise the global anti-anti-money laundering standards? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and FATF.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post 35 Countries, EU and FATF Agree to Revise Global Cryptocurrency Standards appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoin News




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Crypto Market Slightly Grows, Some Altcoins In The Red

Crypto market continues a slight growing trend with some altcoins in the red over a 24-hour period.

The cryptocurrency market continues a slight uptrend with half of top 10 coins by market capitalization in the green on Tuesday, Feb. 27.

Total Capitalization

Bitcoin (BTC) has slowed its advance but still managed to increase by 3.79 percent over a 24-hour period with a current trading value of $10,812.50.

Among the top 10 coins, IOTA has seen the highest change of 8.21 percent over the last 24 hours, and is now trading at $2.04.

IOTA Charts

A number of other altcoins are growing as well. NEO has increased by 7.24 percent, trading at $144.98 at press time, while Ethereum (ETH) showed a little growth of 1.51 percent over a 24-hour period.

Conversely, some altcoins are currently in the red. Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC), and Cardano (ADA) are down with a respective decrease of 0.24, 2.15, and 1.11 percent.

The total market cap hovers above $460 bln after a small sell-off yesterday at $420 bln.

The average Bitcoin transaction fee is at its lowest multi-month levels of about $2.4 per transaction, likely contributing to the cryptocurrency’s growth over the past couple of days.

Yesterday, Feb. 26, Cointelegraph reported on the milestone release of the 0.16.0 version of the Bitcoin Core client, which now fully supports the Segregated Witness (SegWit) scaling solution, designed to reduce transaction fees and confirmation times in the Bitcoin network.

Source: Coin Telegraph




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