SEC news

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is an independent agency of the United States federal government. The SEC holds primary responsibility for enforcing the federal securities laws, proposing securities rules, and regulating the securities industry, the nation's stock and options exchanges, and other activities and organizations, including the electronic securities markets in the United States.

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Thai Cryptocurrency Exchange Determined to Stay Open After SEC Orders Shutdown

The Thai Ministry of Finance has rejected the last cryptocurrency exchange application it had been reviewing. The exchange, which has been ordered to close down business and return customer funds, is determined to stay operational. “Shutting down is not an option for us,” its chief strategy officer reportedly said. Also read: Indian Supreme Court Moves Crypto Hearing, Community Calls for Positive Regulations Coin Asset Exchange Rejected The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced on Monday the outcome of the latest cryptocurrency exchange application it had been reviewing. The country’s Ministry of Finance, under the recommendation of the SEC board, decided to reject the application of Coin Asset Co. Ltd. to operate a crypto exchange. The company has been allowed to operate in Thailand while its application was being reviewed. However, the SEC has notified the company of its rejection and ordered it to cease operations by Jan. 21. The regulator told the exchange’s CEO, Sivanus Yamdee, that the minimum processing time is four months should the exchange reapply for a license, the Bangkok Post reported on Wednesday. Yamdee said his company will meet with the SEC on Friday to discuss continuing crypto operations. The news outlet further quoted him as saying: We are seeking a way to keep our digital asset exchange operating as the business cycle is moving towards a peak … We are unable to endure such as long processing time. The business cycle is on the rise and there are costs for conducting daily business. It is not easy to maintain customer loyalty. With about 10,000 customers, the exchange’s 24-hour trading volume is approximately 91 million baht (~$2.87 million) at the time of this writing. In August last year, the exchange unveiled its own line of cryptocurrency automated teller machines (ATMs). It also lists Jfin coin, the country’s first initial coin offering launched by a subsidiary of a company listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand, Jay Mart Plc. Coin Asset’s new chief strategy officer, Arnon Saksri, was quoted by the Bangkok Post as saying: Ultimately, we want to be regulated … It will improve investor confidence and the legitimacy of our cryptocurrency businesses, but the SEC has to find the right way to do it … Shutting down is not an option for us. The Thai Ministry of Finance issued licenses to four cryptocurrency businesses on Jan. 8, three of which are exchanges and one is a broker-dealer. Reason for Denial According to the statement by the Thai SEC, the finance ministry cited “a major change to the company’s management … [which] affected the readiness of the company’s important work systems” as the reason for rejecting Coin Asset’s application. The commission detailed that “three out of four directors responsible for the [exchange’s] important work systems resigned.” The ministry elaborated: The company failed to meet the standards on work systems. For example, the systems for custody of client assets and know your customer (KYC) were inconsistent with the standards accepted by the [Thai] Anti-Money Laundering Office. The exchange maintains that its security system is safe, noting that it complies with ISO/IEC 27001:2013 international standard, Prachachat Turakij publication reported on Tuesday. Coin Asset added that its KYC process is linked to Thai banks, with comprehensive anti-money laundering measures. The finance ministry has allowed the company to keep operating until Jan. 21 “to ensure proper proceeding of related matters including notification to the clients regarding asset refunds or asset transfers to other digital asset operators according to the clients’ order,” the SEC emphasized. “Regarding clients’ assets under custody, the company is requested to transfer or return the assets according to the clients’ order and report the results of the matter to the SEC.” Following the commission’s announcement, Coin Asset informed its customers that they can continue to trade until Jan. 21 and have until Feb. 14 to withdraw funds. Do you think the Thai SEC will let Coin Asset remain open? Let us know in the comments section below. Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the Thai SEC. Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section. The post Thai Cryptocurrency Exchange Determined to Stay Open After SEC Orders Shutdown appeared first on Bitcoin News.
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Ukrainian nationals charged with hacking SEC docs in $4.1 million scam

The Department of Justice has charged two Ukrainian nationals for hacking into the Security and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) computer system to steal confidential corporate information and sell it to the highest bidder or to make trades. Artem Radchenko and Oleksandr Ieremenko were charged in the United States Court District of New Jersey with securities fraud conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, computer fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, and computer fraud. These illegal endeavors are part of an earlier scheme that saw Ieremenko and others charged with allegedly illegally obtaining corporate press releases prior to their general release and using the information to make trades, the DOJ said in a statement. Ieremenko remains at large in the Ukraine. The operation ran from about May 3, 2016 until October 20, 2016. Overall, the conspiracy is believed to have earned the defendants a total of $4.1 million. The latest charges stem from Ieremenko and Radchenko’s hacking of the SEC’s Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval (EDGAR) system. EDGAR is used by corporations to hold non-public confidential information, conduct test filings, performs automated collection, validation, indexing, acceptance, and forwarding of submissions by companies and others who are required by law to file forms with the SEC. The others named in the civil suit associated with this case are: David Kwon, Sungjin Cho, Igor Sabodakha, Victoria Vorochek, Andrey Sarafanov, Ivan Olefir, Capyield Systems, Ltd. (owned by Olefir) and Spirit Trade Ltd., according to court documents. These people and entities were part of a network of securities traders located in the United States, Ukraine, and Russia, who received the hacked material nonpublic information, directly or indirectly, from Ieremenko, a court filing stated. The DOJ claims that the duo allegedly hacked into EDGAR and stole thousands of files, including annual and quarterly earnings reports containing confidential, non-public and general financial information. The court filing stated the trader defendants then monetized the information by purchasing or selling short the relevant securities and profiting from the market reaction once the information was disseminated to the public. The trader defendants then, directly or indirectly, kicked back a portion of the resulting trading profits to Ieremenko. “The defendants allegedly orchestrated sophisticated computer intrusions to steal non-public information from the SEC, compromising the integrity of the market and depriving honest investors of a level playing field,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski. In a statement the DOJ detailed a few of the incidents. In one case a test filing for a company was uploaded to EDGAR at 3:32 p.m. on May 19, 2016. Within six minutes the defendants allegedly stole the test filing, sent a copy to a server in Lithuania and then between 3:42 p.m. and 3:59 p.m. a co-conspirator bought $2.4 million shares of the company. The test filing as then officially released a few minutes after 4 p.m. releasing the news, the firm’s second quarter financial report, which stated it expected to deliver record earnings. The stock rose on the news and the conspirator then sold the stock making $270,000. To obtain access to EDGAR Ieremenko hacked his way passed EDGAR’s login, then misrepresented himself as an authorized EDGAR filer and accessed the non-public filings. He acquired this level of access through a phishing campaign where he posed as an SEC security person and emailed other SEC personnel and convinced them to open malicious documents that downloaded malware into the SEC system. The wire fraud conspiracy and substantive wire fraud counts with which the defendants are charged carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense. The securities fraud conspiracy, computer fraud conspiracy, and substantive computer fraud counts with which the defendants are charged carry a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense.  The post Ukrainian nationals charged with hacking SEC docs in $4.1 million scam appeared first on SC Media.
SC Media

Winklevoss Twins Believe the SEC is Waiting for More Market Surveillance and Protections

According to Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the popular twins in the cryptocurrency world and founders of the Gemini exchange, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is searching for more market surveillance and protections. During an interview with Fortune Ledger, they talked about the SEC and the different concerns it has about the crypto market. Furthermore, they talked about the Bitcoin ETF and cryptocurrencies. Back in July 2018, the SEC rejected the approval of a proposed rule change that was made by the Winklevoss brothers. According to the regulatory agency of the United States, there were some issues related to market manipulation and the lack of market surveillance. In this way, the SEC rejected two different Bitcoin ETF proposals made by the twins. Nevertheless, SEC’s commissioner Hester Peirce, which is a supporter of virtual currencies, commented negatively about the decision taken by the regulatory agency. She mentioned that the proposed rule change had all the pre-requisites for the approval of this specific rule change. After this, Gemini decided to partner with Nasdaq and have their market surveillance services at the exchange. Although in February the SEC has to take a final decision regarding the ETF proposal presented by VanEck and SolidX, Cameron believes that is hard to predict when the approval will happen. He mentioned that they have been working for six years to have a Bitcoin ETF approved and that they will continue working in the future for it to happen. Cameron commented about it: “We understand the commission’s concerns. We’ve heard them loud and clear and they are basically calling for more market surveillance and protections in the marketplace to avoid, prevent against manipulative behaviour and stuff like that. So, Gemini has built a market surveillance team.” Additionally, he went on saying that their crypto exchange is working on the Virtual Commodity Association, a self-regulatory organization in the United States related to the crypto world. The intention is to have similar standards in the industry and build integrity in the market. Cameron explained that they understand the decision taken by the SEC since these will be the first products related to cryptocurrencies. It is very important for companies to work in order to help this process and be compliant with all the requirements needed. The Winklevoss brothers have also a different perspective regarding regulations in the cryptocurrency world. They believe that with regulations it is possible to open new accounts and start new companies in the space. In general, the BitLicense given by regulators in New York seems to be very difficult to be acquired. There are several enthusiasts and crypto experts that have criticized this decision to impose these regulations in the space. However, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss believe that regulation has been a big win for New York State. Additionally, they’ve mentioned that Gemini is trying to take the best protection measures and bring them into the crypto industry.
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Bitcoin ETF: SEC is calling for more market surveillance and protections in the marketplace, says Winklevoss

Tyler Winklevoss and Cameron Winklevoss aka Bitcoin billionaire brothers, founders of Gemini, the leading cryptocurrency exchange in the space, spoke about the progress of their Bitcoin ETF, in an interview with Fortune Ledger. They also elucidated on the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC]’s main concerns with respect to the exchange-traded fund. In July 2018, the commission rejected the approval of a proposed rule change made by the Winklevoss brothers under the grounds of market manipulation and lack of market surveillance. This was notably the second time the regulatory body rejected an exchange-traded fund proposed by the Winklevoss brothers. However, the rejection of the ETF resulted in the commission facing criticism, including one from their own commissioners’, Hester Peirce. The commissioner published a dissent on the SEC ruling, stating that the proposed rule change had all the pre-requisites required for the approval of a rule change. Succeeding this, news soon broke out that Gemini will be opting for market surveillance services offered by Nasdaq, second-largest stock exchange in the world. Cameron stated that the timeframe of when the space will see an approved Bitcoin ETF by the commission is “hard to predict”. He added that the team has been working on the ETF for over six years now and that they will continue working towards it even if it takes them six more years. He said: “We understand the commission’s concerns. We’ve heard them loud and clear and they are basically calling for more market surveillance and protections in the marketplace to avoid, prevent against manipulative behaviour and stuff like that. So, Gemini has build a market surveillance team.” Cameron further stated that Gemini is also working on the Virtual Commodity Association, a self-regulatory organization for the US cryptocurrency industry. He stated that they are working on this with an aim to get exchanges under the same roof and share information in order to “build integrity into the marketplace”, one of the main concerns with an ETF product. He added: “We get the commission being conservative on that, that makes a lot of sense because this will be the first of many products of its kind. So, we’ve gotta get it right. So, we’re willing to accept the fact that we gotta do out homework.” He also spoke about the commission pointing out the lack of liquidity available in the cryptocurrency space, and the market being very vulnerable to market manipulation. Here, Cameron stated that the cryptocurrency is, in fact, “quite liquid“, adding that the main concern was the derivatives market is still very nascent and that it has to still grow for price discovery. He said: “But it also goes back to marketplace surveillance. That’s really the key bringing the tools an the surveillance in monitoring and the equities market that the commission is very familiar with to virtual currency marketplaces and enough. Gemini can’t be doing it by ourselves. […] We’re using NASDAQ’s smart surveillance, but we can’t do it ourselves.” This was followed by the Founder stating that Gemini needs other industry players to help out in their quest and that this is what the SRO is working towards achieving. The post Bitcoin ETF: SEC is calling for more market surveillance and protections in the marketplace, says Winklevoss appeared first on AMBCrypto.
AMBCrypto

SEC Charges Group Behind Filing System Hack, $4.1 Million in Illegal Trades

New charges have emerged from a 2015 case of hacking and insider trading, the SEC announced today. In the previous case, Ivan Turchynov and Oleksandr Ieremenko hacked newswire services and provided information to traders before anyone else could get it. The scheme was very profitable. In one incident, a trader using the information made over The post SEC Charges Group Behind Filing System Hack, $4.1 Million in Illegal Trades appeared first on CCN
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DIGEST

Thailand plans to relax laws on ICOs, Bermuda issues a draft regulation, CONSOB halts Avacrypto, USA introduces the Token Taxonomy Act, CFTC questions about Ethereum, a report on Belgium, UAE, the EAEU, and Abkhazia, UAE plans to finalize regulations in 2019, Israel enlists the help of locals, South Korea regulators indict three Upbit employees, FCA is set to receive new duties

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DIGEST

CONSOB suspends two projects, Kakao invests in Orbs, TokenSoft invests in a SEC-compliant broker-dealer, Weiss Ratings recommends to buy BTC, France wants to invest $569M in blockchain, crypto-focused VCs invest $30M in Good Money, Tim Draper invests $1.25M in OpenNode, Waves partners with TSA, ICON partners with LayerX, BitDeer teams up with BTC.com and AntPool

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ESSENTIAL

A Security Token Offering (STO) is a form of raising capital for a startup by distributing tokens to investors. While ICOs mainly deal in utility tokens that grant their holders access to services and products associated with respective blockchains and dapps, security tokens can be thought of as digital documents representing the investor’s rights to equity, a revenue share, debt, etc. STOs provide a better investor protection as they need to be compliant with appropriate regulations

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DIGEST

HKEX plans to create a blockchain platform, Taiwan implements new amendments to AML and CFT laws, SEC ceased over dozen illegal ICOs, RFB demands monthly reports from crypto exchanges, Petro recognized as a legal tender, crypto industry to regulate itself in Japan, HSBC and RIL settle India’s first LoC transaction on blockchain, ASB settles New Zealand’s first export deal using blockchain

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DIGEST

Russia edits its draft law on cryptos, Japanese crypto exchanges gain power to self-regulate, Albania plans for regulatory framework, FATF to come up with its first set of crypto rules, CGL partners with National Bank of Canada and Skuchain, China plans implementation of new rules, SEC confirms the launch of FinHub, owner of Unocoin arrested for operating BTC ATM

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BAT Outperforms Bitcoin, XRP On New Brave Browser “Rewards” Feature

Brave Browser Announces BAT “Rewards” Feature On Tuesday, Brave Browser, a crypto-friendly internet application headed by the founder of Mozilla Firefox, Brendan Eich, made a surprising announcement, seemingly aiming to start of 2019 with a proverbial bang. Via a company release, conveyed through its in-house blog, the Brave and Basic Attention Token (BAT) team, which consists of Eich, coupled with an array of fintech, Silicon Valley, and crypto veterans, revealed that it would be previewing “opt-in ads in [the] desktop browser developer channel.” While this feature sounds nebulous, there’s more to this integration than meets the eye. In fact, as broken down in a PC Magazine feature article, this new advertising model will allow common Joes and Jills to earn crypto, in the form of BAT, and potentially other rewards in the feature. This new offering, dubbed Brave Rewards, will siphon 70% of earned ad revenue to users who agree to view advertisements. The remaining 30% will be paid to Brave’s war chest — a likely controversial play, but one necessary for the blockchain project’s long-term survival. Rewards will be available via Brave’s developer/test browser edition. It wasn’t exactly divulged when the innovative feature would hit the publics’ desktops, but the following GIF is how the feature will work: Looking outwards, the Brave team revealed that they expect opted-in users to earn upwards of $60 to $70 a year in the near future, with their preliminary projections predicting that $224 a year could be earned by 2020 through Brave’s in-house ecosystem. While this sounds great — an effective free $224/year for viewing ads — like all things too good to be true, there’s a catch. At the time of writing, Brave has announced support for BAT token withdrawal, as the company wants Rewards’ users to reward their favorite content creators, whether it be large new portals or Youtubers. After this feature goes live successfully, Brave intends to activate “publisher-integrated ads,” which will allow content creators to feature “private ads” on content creators’ pages through the startup’s systems. The company subsequently explained its Brave Ads offering and its applications/benefits from a top-down perspective, writing: With Brave Ads, we are reforming an online advertising system which has become invasive and unusable. Users have turned to ad blockers to reclaim their privacy from ads that track them and sometimes even infect them, and publishers are finding it increasingly difficult to earn ad revenue to sustain quality content with intermediaries that collect huge fees. It is important to reiterate that at this time, this newfangled feature is technically in its beta phase. Due to this positive news, the popular altcoin, which recently gained the support of industry powerhouse Coinbase, has posted a respectable price gain. At the time of writing, BAT is currently valued at $0.125 apiece, posting a 3% in the past 24 hours. The crypto, currently the 36th in this market’s standings, is currently outperforming Bitcoin (BTC) by 2.7%, and Ethereum (ETH) by 2.4%. Crypto Lulls: Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP Post Barely Any Movement In the same vein of cryptocurrency prices, the broader market has posted close-to-zero movement in the past 24 hours. Per data from Coin Price Watch, BTC has found itself at $3,645 — a mere 0.58% gain over the past day. Other leading crypto assets have also posted slight gains, but have still underperformed BAT. XRP, the go-to asset for fintech upstart Ripple, is up 1.27%, as it sits just shy of the $0.33 price level at $0.3296. ETH, which recently tumbled due to the delayed Constantinople fork, has found itself up by 2%, regaining a portion of the losses incurred yesterday. While the market is trending slightly positive, some analysts expect that BTC is ready to dive. Speaking to MarketWatch, Jani Ziedens of Cracked Market claimed that BTC, if truly oversold, should be posting monumental gains right now, rather than finding itself in an extended lull. So, Ziedens added that this “lethargic base” indicates that demand is limited, “incredibly weak” even, and as such, lower crypto bottoms may be inbound. BAT Title Image Courtesy of Descryptive.com via Flickr The post BAT Outperforms Bitcoin, XRP On New Brave Browser “Rewards” Feature appeared first on Ethereum World News.
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Cryptopia Hacker Moves Stolen Crypto to Binance; Community Alerts CZ and Funds Are Frozen

It is clear that hackers gave themselves a place to stay in the cryptocurrency industry, which was only made more evident by a recent security breach that happened over the last few days. Cryptopia, a leading exchange in New Zealand, announced a breach that ended in a major theft on January 14th. However, unlike the unfortunate tale that many other exchanges succumb to, that is not the end of the story. The official statement notes that Cryptopia has placed itself into a maintenance mode, helping them to protect their accounts until the regulatory authorities of New Zealand provide other details. Both the High Tech Crimes Unit and the local police are pursuing investigative efforts, though they have commented that “a significant value of cryptocurrency may be involved.” At this point, the actual amount has not been released, and no substantial details have been provided. Still, that has not stopped local news portal Radionz from reporting that the loss is close to $3.6 million. A Twitter user, ShaftedTangu, seems to know where these digital assets are going. On the posts, the user said, Hey @cz_binance Binance has stolen tokens from Topia hitting it sir. Can you lock it down? https://t.co/0XllsBejUV — I Dream Of Alts (@ShaftedTangu) January 16, 2019 Through a string of additional tweets, the user continued to track the funds, as he mentioned wallet address 0x9007a0421145b06a0345d55a8c0f0327f62a2224. In another tweet, he claimed, “Currently the 0x900 wallet contains around $10 mil USD of tokens, large amounts are $PRL $2mil, $CENNZ $1.168 mil, $Denacoin $2.73 mil, $MSP $0.99 mil” Luckily, just under four hours after the original tweet, CZ Binance replied. The reply said, Just checked, we were able to freeze some of the funds. I don't understand why the hackers keep sending to Binance. Social media will be pretty fast to report it, and we will freeze it. It's a high risk maneuver for them. https://t.co/i0PeahLzic — CZ Binance (@cz_binance) January 16, 2019 With such a nonchalant type of reply, it is quite a victory for Cryptopia and Binance that the funds could be frozen at all. However, the victory has not been won yet, considering there is no indication of exactly who performed the hack in the first place. Cryptopia has remained silent, though they posted to their own Twitter profile, saying, “We cannot comment as this matter is now in the hands of the appropriate authorities. We will update you as soon as we can.” As a result of these issues, Zhao posted that users should keep their holdings on exchanges, rather than a hardware wallet. However, his post caused an onslaught of negative replies, with some saying that his post implied that self-storage is substantially riskier than storing on a seemingly “reputable” exchange. Zhao later retracted, saying that he was not advising investors to store funds on exchanges. In the first half of 2018 last year, there was over $731 million lost in thefts involving exchange hacks. However, none have reached the severity experienced by the 2014 Mt. Gox hack.
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Binance Freezes ‘Some of the Funds’ Stolen in Cryptopia Hack

Some of the stolen cryptocurrency from yesterday’s Cryptopia hack has been sent to Binance, which has confirmed already freezing some of the funds.  Binance Freezing Funds Stolen from Cryptopia Twitter account @ShaftedTangu has alleged that some funds stolen as a result of Cryptopia’s hack have been siphoned through Binance. The amounts sent to Binance in question include roughly $7,500 in Metal (MTL) 00, $6,750 in KyberNetwork coin (KNC) 00, $7,181 OmiseGO tokens (OMG) 00, and $8,724 in EnjinCoin (ENJ) 00. All of it totals around $30,000. Changpeng Zhao, CEO at Binance – the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by means of traded volumes, has confirmed the allegations, reassuring that they’ve already frozen some of the funds. Zhao commented: Just checked, we were able to freeze some of the funds. I don’t understand why the hackers keep sending to Binance. Social media will be pretty fast to report it, and we will freeze it. It’s a high-risk maneuver for them. Just checked, we were able to freeze some of the funds. I don't understand why the hackers keep sending to Binance. Social media will be pretty fast to report it, and we will freeze it. It's a high risk maneuver for them. https://t.co/i0PeahLzic — CZ Binance (@cz_binance) January 16, 2019 Bitcoinist reported yesterday that Cryptopia’s security has been breached, resulting in ‘significant losses’. Police in New Zealand also confirmed. Binance Caught in the Fire Zhao’s tweet caused a reaction in crypto Twitter’s community as one user (@Crypto_Bitlord) expressed his bewilderment that Zhao referred to “social media” as a means of reporting rather than Binance’s own surveillance systems. I’m genuinely shocked stolen funds from @Cryptopia_NZ have easily passed through @binance UNDETECTED until social media flagged them. This raises some big questions. How is that possible with modern blockchain analysis? — Sir Bitlord (@Crypto_Bitlord) January 16, 2019 On the matter, Binance’s CEO said: It’s quite easy to generate a brand new address. We (and no one) recognize every transaction out there. We already have very in-depth and detailed blockchain analysis. Yet, the question remains – if a regular Twitter user has been able to detect the transaction in question, how, and more importantly – why did Binance miss it? Perhaps the better question, as posed by @Crypto_Bitlord is: So you are saying criminals can steal funds and just create a brand new address to send to before binance? In the meantime, Binance announced today the launch of their Binance Jersey fiat exchange. The platform is aimed at traders from Europe and it offers BTC/GBP, ETH/GBP, BTC/EUR, and ETH/EUR trading pairs. What do you think of Binance missing the transactions in question? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below! Images courtesy of Shutterstock The post Binance Freezes ‘Some of the Funds’ Stolen in Cryptopia Hack appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.
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