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Deutsche bank and Citigroup part of $9 billion Russian money laundering operation.
A group of investigative journalists have uncovered what they describe as a $9 billion money-laundering operation created by Russia's largest private investment bank, Troika Dialog. The operation, in which billions were said to be funneled from shell companies into the global banking system, was uncovered by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and the Lithuanian news site using leaked data shared with others including The Guardian. The investigators said the data used in their reporting represented one of the largest leaks of banking information ever, "involving more than $470 billion sent in 1.3 million leaked transactions from 233,000 companies."

The Bank of England stole Venezuelan gold reserves worth $1.56 billion
The Bank of England is said to have frozen Venezuelan gold assets worth $1.56 billion in another blow to Nicolas Maduro's government. Venezuela has been trying to repatriate its gold reserves, which the Bank of England holds, since late last year. Citing civil service officials, The Times reports the UK's central bank has now frozen access to those reserves. It comes after Juan Gauidó wrote to UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, asking them not to grant Maduro access to Venezuelan gold reserves at the bank. Venezuela's government has been aggressively selling its gold reserves in order to fundraise as the country's currency, the bolivar, becomes increasingly obsolete as inflation passes the 1,600,000% mark. The US recognised opposition leader Juan Gauidó as the country's legitimate leader last week, and a number of European countries followed suit soon after.

Bitcoin price update on Monday September 18 - Business Insider Menu Icon
LONDON The price of Bitcoin is surging on Monday after a week in which it lost more than $1,000 in value and dropped below $3,000 per coin for the first time in over a month. Bitcoin collapsed spectacularly last week as news of a regulatory crackdown in China broke. The cryptocurrency dropped 16% against the dollar on Thursday after Chinese media reported that the country's regulators were moving closer to shutting down exchanges. But Bitcoin is now surging again. By 9.00 a.m. BST (4.00 a.m. ET), Bitcoin is up by more than 6% against the dollar its key pairing in the currency markets to trade at $3,950 per coin, just below the psychologically significant $4,000 mark, as the chart below illustrates:

Coinbase adds Coinbase Bundles for users to buy all five cryptos - Business Insider Menu Icon
This story was delivered to Business Insider Intelligence "Fintech Briefing" subscribers. To learn more and subscribe, please click here. US-based cryptocurrency exchange operator Coinbase has announced it will add a new feature, dubbed Coinbase Bundles, that will allow users to purchase a weighted basket of the five cryptos it lists Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Ethereum Classic. This will essentially serve as a starter pack for new or casual investors; instead of having to decide what digital assets to purchase, they can buy a "basket" of them, with the cryptos weighted by market capitalization at time of purchase. Bundles begin at $25 (and 25 or £25 for customers in Europe and the UK, respectively).

How cryptocurrency use could change after an economic crisis - Business Insider Menu Icon
As the saying goes, "What goes up, must come down," and nowhere is this idiom truer than in modern capital markets. Since the U.S. declared independence from Great Britain in 1776, there have been 19 major market crashes, recessions, or bear markets in the U.S. Each crisis and subsequent recession brought its own seemingly unique set of circumstances, but usually it's a combination of the same old factors: excessive debt, market manipulation, excessive financialization, irrational exuberance (As former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan famously put it) or just straight up fraud. Regardless of the circumstance or era, the drama tends to play out in the same way.

Bitcoin price: Cryptocurrencies drop suddenly with no explanation - Business Insider Menu Icon
Cryptocurrency prices plunged across the board suddenly and sharply Wednesday morning, seemingly with no clear reason. Having been steady at about $7,350 a coin during most of trading during both Asian and European morning hours, bitcoin lost more than $200 in mere minutes starting about 5:50 a.m. ET, or 10:50 a.m. BST. It took another leg down an hour later, falling below the psychologically significant $7,000 mark, before breaking back above that mark as the day continued. By 1:06 p.m. ET, the largest crypto by market value was trading at $6,894 a coin, a fall of 6.3% on the day. Bitcoin was the most obvious casualty of the sudden sharp fall, but other major cryptocurrencies including ether, Ripple's XRP, and bitcoin cash fell even more steeply. Here's the scoreboard:

Akon wants to build a 'real-life Wakanda' using Akoin cryptocurrency - Business Insider Menu Icon
Grammy-nominated musician Akon is launching his own cryptocurrency, which is aptly called Akoin. The Senegalese-born entertainer/entrepreneur announced his new project during a panel at the Cannes Lions Festival, where he explained his motivations of using the blockchain technology towards improving the conditions in Africa. "I think that blockchain and crypto could be the savior for Africa in many ways because it brings the power back to the people and brings the security back into the currency system," Akon said. "[Cryptocurrency] also allows the people to utilize it in ways where they can advance themselves and not allow the government to do those things that are keeping them down."

Ethereum price down 10% on August 14 as crypto market crashes - Business Insider Menu Icon
LONDON Ethereum's steep price fall continued on Tuesday as the entire cryptocurrency market continues to fall. Ethereum is down just over 10% to $253.35 at 4.22 p.m. BST (11.22 a.m. ET). The current sell-off began on Monday, when Ethereum dropped to an 11-month low. Bloomberg reported that the slump was sparked by startups that had raised funding in ethereum through so-called initial coin offerings (ICOs) now cashing their holdings into traditional fiat money they can spend on development. Matthew Newton, an analyst at eToro, said in an email: "The crypto market seems to have hit panic mode, with prices falling significantly across the board. As we can see in the case of ether, investors seem to be increasing liquidations of their ICO holdings, with significant drops in price and increased volumes."

50 Cent says he accidentally made millions in bitcoin - Business Insider Menu Icon
The rapper 50 Cent on Wednesday confirmed a TMZ report that he had made about $8 million by accepting bitcoin as payment for his 2014 album, "Animal Ambition." TMZ calculated that the 700 bitcoins 50 Cent received for the album in 2014 and sat untouched in his account for four years would be worth between $7 million and $8.5 million today. The rapper confirmed the report by posting a screenshot of the TMZ article on Instagram with the caption: "Not bad for a kid from South Side, I'm so proud of me." The Verge notes that he later commented on the post, which has since been deleted, "Ima keep it real, I forgot I did that shit lol."

John Oliver compares bitcoin to a $15,000 Beanie Baby - Business Insider Menu Icon
John Oliver gave a crash course on cryptocurrency and blockchain on Sunday night's "Last Week Tonight," introducing it as "everything you don't understand about money combined with everything you don't understand about computers." During the 25-minute episode, Oliver compared cryptocurrencies to a $15,000 Beanie Baby or any other "speculative investment" that people agree has value. The "Last Week Tonight" host then focused on the potential of blockchain technology, the decentralized electronic ledger for cryptocurrency transactions. In explaining the topic, Oliver played a clip of a blockchain researcher comparing a blockchain system to "a highly processed thing, sort of like a Chicken McNugget."

Over 1 million people have signed up for Robinhood Crypto - Business Insider Menu Icon
Over 1 million people have signed up for early access to Robinhood Crypto, just five days after the California brokerage announced it was crashing the gates of cryptocurrency trading. Robinhood, which is best known for its zero-commission stock trading app, announced Thursday it would offer bitcoin and ethereum trading in February. Since making the announcement, 1,000,400 people have signed up for the service. Robinhood is rolling out the new feature in waves, launching first in five states: California, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Montana. "Crypto is going to change the world and we want to help drive that," Robinhood cofounder Baiju Bhatt told Business Insider in an interview prior to the announcement.

'Bitcoin is dead' - Business Insider Menu Icon
TransferWise CEO Taavet Hinrikus has pronounced Bitcoin dead. Hinrikus, who runs the cross-border money transfer firm, made the remark during an interview last week to promote TransferWise's Mexican debut. The CEO said that Bitcoin's growing popularity was akin to a "gold rush," that "real people" are not using it, and it doesn't even solve any problems in the first place. The grain of salt to take with Hinrikus' remarks is that Transferwise is in competition with several Bitcoin firms. Circle, which just obtained a U.K. operating license, facilitates money transfers by turning currency into Bitcoins and then converting them back into fiat currency after the transfer completes.

Bitcoin price drops below $5000 - Business Insider Menu Icon
The price of bitcoin dropped sharply on Monday, briefly dipping below $5,000 per coin as a brutal sell-off gripping the cryptocurrency market deepened. By 11.45 a.m. ET, the benchmark cryptocurrency was trading lower by around 8.5% at $5,164, having rebounded a little from the worst of the day's trading, according to Markets Insider data. Monday's falls extend a horrible week for bitcoin, which has seen it drop to a low not seen since late 2017, just prior to the explosion in prices which saw bitcoin come close to $20,000 per coin before collapsing rapidly. Bitcoin has lost close to 12% of its value in the past week, and almost 20% in the last three months.

How to buy bitcoin: A step-by-step guide - Business Insider Menu Icon
Two years ago, the idea of buying the virtual currency even at that price was laughable. After a rapid rise in value in 2013, the cryptocurrency's value more than halved by mid-2015. At its lowest point, one bitcoin was equal to about $230. Given the currency's covert nature, the average person still may not understand how buying and selling actually works. Using the app Coinbase, which lets anyone trade bitcoins for a small fee, we decided to find out. A brief warning: If you're going to do this, tell your bank you're about to buy bitcoin. More on that later. And to read more about blockchain, the technology powering bitcoin, click here.

Bitcoin crashes through $US4000 | Business Insider Search Icon Globe Icon Search Icon Globe Icon
Bitcoin is getting beaten up again. The benchmark digital cryptocurrency has crashed through $US4000 in a sudden move on Sunday morning, dragging the market for digital coins with most seeing double-digit declines. The fall was as steep as 14% at one point, with prices reaching $US3700 on some exchanges. A short time ago, Bitcoin was trading at $US3,828, according to Markets Insider data. Bitcoin is now at its lowest point in over a year and down around 80% from its highs. It's the second major fall in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency prices this week. As is usually the case with moves in crytpocurrency markets, it is hard to pinpoint a catalyst for the move, although it does follow a fork a week ago in Bitcoin Cash, an offshoot of the Bitcoin core currency.

Bitcoin price: Why are cryptocurrencies crashing? - Business Insider Menu Icon
Crypto markets had a meltdown overnight,as Bitcoin slumped more than 10% to fall below $5,000 for the first time since October 2017. As usual, when Bitcoin fell all the major alt-coins followed suit. And in the murky world of semi-regulated crypto markets, catalysts for the sharp price volatility can be hard to pinpoint. After all, the world's three largest exchanges by trading volume are all based in off-shore tax havens not exactly a market backdrop which promotes transparency. We followed up with the operators of a number of Australian-based crypto exchanges, to try and get a gauge on what's caused the big drop in price.

Fraud is expected to cost the ad industry $44B in 2022 ? here?s how blockchain could help stop it
This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence. Current subscribers can read the report here. Blockchain technology promises to transform how nearly all industries manage data. Since roaring onto the scene as the engine behind Bitcoin in 2009, it's become applicable to a diverse array of industries beyond financial services, including industrial manufacturing, healthcare, and logistics. The common thread between these industries is that they all feature complex supply chains, large numbers of interconnected players, and vast amounts of data. The digital advertising industry shares those characteristics as well. These characteristics, combined with the industry's transparency issues, make advertising a prime candidate for blockchain solutions.

Bitmain laying off 50% of staff? Huge if true!
The world's largest producer of cryptocurrency mining chips, Bitmain, may start a massive round of layoffs this week that could impact more than 50% of its employees, according to a report by CoinDesk on Tuesday. According to the report, the layoffs will likely occur across all divisions including Bitmain's core crypto mining product. Teams working on newer investments like artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies, however, are expected to be impacted most, a source confirmed with CoinDesk. Rumors of the layoffs first appeared on Maimai China's version of LinkedIn on December 17, where one verified Bitmain employee wrote, "It's affirmative. The layoff will start next week and involves more than 50 percent of the entire Bitmain's headcount."

2017 international remittance hits record $612bn expected to grow 23% cagr
This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here. Current subscribers can read the report here. As a result, the global remittance industry is becoming increasingly competitive for firms to navigate, with incumbents like Western Union and MoneyGram competing for the same pool of customers as digital upstarts like WorldRemit and Remitly. And in order to win, companies across the board will need to prioritize the four areas consumers value most in remittances: cost, convenience, speed, and safety.

Facebook's blockchain unit is building WhatsApp stablecoin [Business Insider]
Facebook is quietly building a cryptocurrency to power money transfers on WhatsApp, according to a new report from Bloomberg. Earlier in 2018, amid widespread bitcoin and crypto hype, the Silicon Valley tech giant announced it was launching a blockchain group. The team, helmed by former PayPal and Facebook Messenger boss David Marcus, has since stayed mum about its goals, despite widespread speculation on what it might be up to. According to Bloomberg, the company is trying to build a "stablecoin," a specific type of cryptocurrency with a value is tied to the dollar, which will be used to facilitate money transfers on the messaging app. At least initially, it will apparently target remittances in India.

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