In today’s bitcoin and cryptocurrency news, you can read about how Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said in a new interview with Bloomberg that the Securities and Exchange Commission’s heavy-handed regulation of cryptocurrencies could slow down the growth of the young industry. Meanwhile, the Cyber Fraud and Money Laundering Task Unit of the US Secret Service, which was in charge of the investigation, seized more than 50 cryptocurrency kiosks. Finally, State Police warn that the emerging market for virtual cryptocurrency, which is available at more than 500 kiosks in Connecticut, is ripe for scams that have stolen millions of dollars from state residents, the majority of whom are over 60 years old, in an unregulated, difficult-to-trace criminal landscape.

Garlinghouse Says That Crypto Companies Have “Already Started Relocating Beyond” the U.S.

Original Source: Ripple CEO: The SEC Is Why the Crypto Industry Is Increasingly Going Overseas

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse told Bloomberg that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s heavy-handed regulation of crypto may stifle its growth.

Garlinghouse added that crypto players had “already started relocating abroad” the U.S. to dodge SEC regulation, echoing Coinbase’s CEO.

“The problem is that the SEC failed to establish regulatory certainty here in the US, therefore many US investors (and 95% of trading activity) left abroad,” Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong remarked after the FTX crash last November.

California-based Ripple is involved in a significant legal action that will determine the direction of the crypto sector and whether many cryptocurrencies are securities or commodities. Several crypto industry actors prefer the latter classification since it is less regulated and under less CFTC monitoring. Crypto enthusiasts want to dodge SEC regulation.

In 2020, the SEC sued Ripple and key executives for marketing XRP, the sixth-largest cryptocurrency, as an unregistered securities. Ripple’s cryptocurrency is valued $19 billion. Ripple moved to dismiss the lawsuit and avoid a trial, citing its role in cross-border payments. A ruling is expected this year.

Nonetheless, Ripple’s CEO has been vocal about the court drama and how the crypto sector would fare if the SEC wins securities classification.

If the SEC sues Ripple, Garlinghouse warns industry players of a flood of litigation. “This is unhealthy industrial regulation,” he remarked.

Ripple is holding steady. Ripple claimed it was one of the few crypto businesses well-capitalized and poised to handle substantial consumer demand in 2023. Ripple’s last quarterly report showed $226 million in coin sales.

Garlinghouse warns that the U.S. may miss out on the blockchain and cryptocurrency revolution. Instead, it faces a “serious danger” of losing out to nations without enforcement-based legislation. He said Australia, the UK, Japan, Singapore, and Switzerland had “clear rules of the road” and were ready to absorb crypto businesses.

A Bitcoin ATM Company Reportedly Reaped Gains From Crypto Frauds by Use of Unapproved Vending Machines

Original Source: Bitcoin ATM firm allegedly profited from crypto scams via unlicensed kiosks: Prosecutor

The Cyber Crime and Money Laundering Task Team of the U.S. Secret Service confiscated more than 50 crypto kiosks.

A Bitcoin BTC $22,395 technology business and its executives have been prosecuted for running unlicensed crypto kiosks in Ohio that intentionally profited from cryptocurrency scam victims.

S&P Solutions, which operated as Bitcoin of America, and three of its executives are charged with money laundering, conspiracy, and other offenses related to the operation of more than 50 unauthorized crypto kiosks in the state.

On March 1, a Cuyahoga County grand jury indicted the business, Sonny Meraban, Reza Meraban, and William Suriano. Last week, the trio was detained and their Florida and Illinois homes were searched.

Romance fraudsters, police enforcement impersonators, and “robocallers” took advantage of the firm’s absence of Anti-Money Laundering regulations to steal cash from consumers’ crypto wallets, according to prosecuting attorney Andrew Rogalski.

Rogalski stated in a news conference that “these ATMs are ready-made for scammers.”

“Direct the victims, who are frequently elderly or fragile, to specifically go to Bitcoin of American ATMs, grab money that they’ve taken from their savings accounts or 401Ks.”

He said that they are then advised to put the cash into the machine to get Bitcoin in a wallet they think is theirs but have no control over.

He noted that an elderly guy lost $11,250 in three transactions to one of the shady kiosks in under an hour.

The business reportedly collected a 20% transfer charge each time, even after knowing they were bogus.

The indictment also accuses the corporation of using “written misrepresentations regarding the nature of their business to government organizations” to operate the kiosks without a money transfer license, according to a March 3 Law360 story.

52 Bitcoin ATMs were confiscated last week, but the company has more in Ohio and other states. Rogalski stated that Bitcoin of America generated $3.5 million in 2021 from cash deposits at these illicit kiosks.

Authorities suspect the organization has been functioning and dodging regulatory protections and financial compliance obligations since 2018.

The Cyber Fraud and Money Laundering Task Group of the US Secret Service led the investigation against the corporation and its leaders.

The FBI’s Miami Field Office warned in October that crypto ATMs were becoming a favored tool for “pig butchering” scammers.

CT Coin Frauds Have Resulted in the Loss of Millions, the Police Have Had a Difficult Time Retrieving the Funds

Original Source: Millions have been stolen in CT cryptocurrency scams. Police have struggled to get the money back.

State Police warn that the developing market for the virtual cryptocurrency, available at more than 500 kiosks in Connecticut, is ripe for scams that have stolen millions of dollars from state citizens, most of whom are over 60, in an unregulated, hard-to-trace criminal landscape.

One consumer from eastern Connecticut has lost more than $6 million, and the thieves may be from out of the country, according to a State Police investigator who admitted that financial crimes often require time-consuming research and court-approved search warrants as thieves try to evade detection in a trend of criminal activity that has increased over the last seven years.

Det. Matthew Hogan of the State Police Eastern District Major Crime Squad told the legislative Banking Committee of a partially regulated industry where hundreds of kiosks, not connected to traditional banks with automatic teller machines, can become crime scenes where victims lose thousands of dollars in crooked transactions that are hard to track down.

“Thanks to our tracking tools, we were able to find and take back some of these stolen things,” Hogan said. Hogan added that picture ID is only required for transactions above $3,000 at the kiosks, which are managed by roughly 20 firms. Consumers may pay cash for virtual currencies like Bitcoin, which are sent to their digital wallets.

In remote testimony from his office to lawmakers in the Legislative Office Building, Hogan said, “The trail always exists, it’s going to be there forever.” “The challenge is whether we can seize and restore the victim’s assets quickly.” By the time we get through a search warrant, this money has moved three or four hops to a wallet offshore with a company we have no authority over. “Fortunately, some of these exchanges cooperate with U.S. law enforcement exclusively on letterhead, but that number is transitory.”

Last year, cybercriminals stole $3.8 billion. Hogan said hackers get increasingly adept as the number of thefts increases. “They’ll try as many various layering tactics in the money-laundering process to conceal where they’re placing the money,” said Hogan. “They’ll connect it with tokens.” They’ll transfer it. They’ll switch it to something else to confuse us.”

Hogan sponsored legislation that would allow the state Department of Banking to adopt new laws on the sale of digital assets, revoke others, and define industry phrases like “virtual currency address,” “virtual currency kiosk,” and “virtual currency wallet.” Hogan said that many kiosks are in regions of several cities in high-crime zones, and the more than $6 million taken from eastern Connecticut has yet to be found.

State Sen. Patricia Billie Miller, D-Stamford, co-chair of the committee, questioned Hogan how normal customers interested in virtual money might avoid scams.

He advised against using crypto ATMs. There’s no need to utilize them with transaction rates between 11 and 25%. If you’re a consumer and want to buy any cryptocurrency, from Bitcoin to Ethereum to tokens, you may establish an account on Coinbase, Binance, Kucoin, or any of these companies. “There’s no reason to stroll into the darkest sections of a city with cash in hand and transact on one of these ATM machines.”

Summary of today’s bitcoin and cryptocurrency news

In summary, Garlinghouse fears the U.S. may miss the blockchain and cryptocurrency innovation wave. He says there is a “serious risk” that it will lose out to other countries that don’t have as many rules and regulations. He said Australia, the UK, Japan, Singapore, and Switzerland had “clear rules of the road” and were ready to absorb crypto businesses.

Meanwhile, the FBI’s Miami Field Office also issued a warning that more and more “pig butchering” scams are using crypto ATMs to steal cryptocurrency from customers who don’t know what’s going on.

Lastly, Coinbase, Binance, Kucoin, and other similar platforms make it simple to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, or any other cryptocurrency or token. You shouldn’t go to the sketchiest places of town in search of an ATM.