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Stable Coins and CBDC: Global economy insists on uniform regulation
Bitcoin and Co: The top news of the week
Bad news for lovers of financial privacy: The US authorities want to regulate the crypto market. Now the operator of the Bitcoin mixer Helix has been sentenced to a hefty fine.
In an official press release on October 19, FinCEN (short for Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) reported a fine of 60 million US dollars and ongoing criminal proceedings against the Bitcoin Mixer Helix.
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The founder, administrator and principal operator of the platform, Larry Dean Harmon, is accused of money laundering and operating an unlicensed financial business. His Helix (2014-2017) and Coin Ninja (2017-2020) projects anonymized over $311 million through more than one million different Bitcoin transactions, in violation of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), among other things.
The BSA states that financial institutions are forced to assist U.S. authorities in detecting and preventing money laundering. This includes checking the legitimacy of customers in accordance with the law, recording transactions and reporting suspicious activities. All this was not possible due to the lack of a license from Helix and Coin Ninja.
Order in the Wild Crypto-West
Mixers are also known by names like Tumbler or Blender. These make it possible to conceal the traces of money flows and thus increase privacy. Services like Helix collect Bitcoin transfers from different addresses and mix them. They are then broken down into small amounts and sent to addresses that the depositor previously specified.
This is not illegal per se. However, if you join forces with criminals and promote or facilitate money laundering, the situation changes very quickly. This is because American authorities decide that all services that carry out money laundering transactions are illegal. These are accusations that Larry Dean Harmon is being accused of, and which continue to be investigated during the current criminal proceedings.
Darknet advertising creates need for explanation
His aggressive PR strategy can be his undoing. In Darknet, the American presented his services as an anonymous payment method for the purchase of weapons, drugs and even child pornography. It is therefore not without reason that some crypto exchanges block all addresses associated with Bitcoin mixers.
Above all, however, any authorities will be listening intently. They are increasingly determined to introduce law and order into the Wild Crypto-West. Only recently, the IRS (short for Internal Revenue Service) commissioned the company Chainalysis to crack the code of private crypto currencies like Monero. A contract that cost the IRS $625,000.
In 2020, the first penalties for violations of the law in connection with the ICO boom of 2017 also trickled in. Among others, celebrities like Steven Seagal and rapper T.I. were fined. Some companies were also affected. Due to a lack of registration of ICOs, companies such as Salt and BitClave were ordered to make refunds to their investors.