Blockchain: What It Is and How It Works

Blockchain: What It Is and How It Works

Blockchain: What It Is and How It Works

You have probably by now heard the term “blockchain,” either in reference to a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or in relation to emerging technologies that somehow use the blockchain in one way or another. If you’re like most people, you don’t really know what all that means; “the blockchain” is an abstract idea that doesn’t immediately lend itself to concrete definitions.

Without blockchain, digital currencies wouldn’t exist. Blockchain technology has been applied in surprising, innovative ways around the world, and understanding what it is and how it’s used is likely to come in handy, especially if you plan on using or possibly investing in various cryptocurrencies or blockchain start-ups. Even if you have an understanding of blockchain technology, make sure to read through this article as you might learn a couple of things you didn’t already know, as this ground-breaking and novel application of computational concepts promises to continue to lend itself to new applications.

The History of Blockchain

It would be helpful to understand the history of the blockchain and its first theoretical beginnings as a computer science concept that was intended for use primarily with cryptography and encoded data. In the very beginning, one of the early forms of blockchain was something called the hash tree, or Merkle Tree, after its creator Ralph Merkle, who patented the concept back in 1979.

The function of the hash tree was to verify the validity and integrity of data as it was transferred back and forth between computer systems. In some of the earliest examples of peer-to-peer networks, making sure that data being handled by more than one physical machine remained intact—unaltered and uncorrupted—was very important.

Without being able to ascertain the structural validity of networked data, the power of peer-to-peer networking, and the ability to use multiple machines to handle and analyze extensive collections of data would have been out of reach. To ensure that data wasn’t being corrupted as it “changed hands” in the computer network was critically important, and that was the function of the hash tree: to prove and protect the integrity of data shared between numerous physical devices.

Merkle and other computer scientists continued work on the hash tree concept, and in the early ’90s, using hash tree technology, Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta explored the idea of “secure chains of blocks” as a method of creating persistent document timestamps—a series of records made up of data that were interconnected.

Each record would rely on the one before it for proof of validity. The newest “block” of data in the chain would contain the history of the entire chain that had preceded it—and this was the very first working blockchain. It would be impossible for data in a blockchain to become corrupt—or to be altered or faked—since it could be checked by comparing its digital signature to each block that had come before.

Fast forward to 2008. A mysterious person—or group of people—using the name Satoshi Nakamoto first developed the concept of a distributed blockchain. This distributed blockchain would contain a secure and unchangeable history of every exchange of data that the blockchain was used for, and would rely on a decentralized, peer-to-peer network of computers to timestamp and verify each transaction. The distributed blockchain could be managed autonomously, without relying on any one central authority for validity.

This distributed blockchain became the central critical feature of Bitcoin; without the blockchain, Bitcoin could not be accurately accounted for. Not only was Nakamoto’s distributed blockchain central to the creation and use of Bitcoin, but critical to the implementation and use of all cryptocurrencies. This is the modern Bitcoin blockchain as we know it today.

How Does Blockchain Work?

It’s important to keep a few main concepts in mind when trying to understand how the blockchain functions. First, know that the blockchain holds a record of all data exchanges, referred to as a “ledger” in cryptocurrency circles. The ledger is made up of each data exchange, or transaction. Once a transaction has been verified and validated against the existing ledger, it is added to the ledger as a new block.

The blockchain is, in other words, a continually evolving record, or ledger, of exchanges—transactions—made up of separate entries, or blocks.

The blockchain relies on a distributed system of computing devices to maintain this record and to verify each transaction. When a device “taps into” the blockchain for any reason, it must first download the most recent section of the blockchain and compare it to already existing examples of the same blockchain on other computers via peer-to-peer networking. This way, each node that has access to the blockchain can verify each transaction by comparing it to the copy of the blockchain record that it had, in turn, previously received from another node.

Once a new transaction is compared to the blockchain and verified, it is “signed,” or committed to the record of transactions, and is added to the existing blockchain as a new block. As such, it can never be altered; any such attempt would result in a version of a blockchain which would be rejected as corrupt when compared to the data already contained in previous blockchain transactions. The ledger, in other words, cannot be fooled, as numerous copies of it exist and are being simultaneously created on many other networked devices.

How Does Cryptocurrency Use Blockchain?

So how does this peer-to-peer, distributed network know whom to trust with copies of the blockchain? This occurs through the use of “keys.” A key is a cryptographic device—essentially a code—which determines a unique identity for whoever uses the key. There are, in fact, a pair of keys—a public key and a private key that, when combined, create a unique digital signature. The public key is the identifying structure in blockchain transactions—it’s how other nodes on the peer-to-peer network identify you, and through this process of identifications know which bits of the blockchain you already hold and which (new) parts may need to be sent to you to keep the integrity of the blockchain intact.

Identical copies of the blockchain thus exist on every single node that accesses it at one time or another. If one device is disconnected from the blockchain for any period of time, all of the other connected devices keep adding transactions to the ledger and maintain the integrity of the blockchain. When a device reconnects, it receives new pieces of the blockchain in order to keep its individual copy of it correct and up-to-date.

For the purposes of sending and receiving cryptocurrency, your public key represents the address of your wallet—the place which holds the record of how many Bitcoin (or other cryptocurrencies) you currently have, and the address where transfers originate from or are sent to. These transfers are made possible by the other key that makes up the pair—the private key. This private key allows you to digitally sign and therefore authorize various actions, like sending cryptocurrency to another public key (or wallet) address.

It’s important to note that an individual’s private key should be seen as a valuable asset worth protecting and keeping secret. If anyone else were to somehow gain access to your private key, they would be able to access any of the digital assets (in the form of cryptocurrency) associated with the private key, and it would allow them to send those assets to any other wallet.

Putting the Pieces Together

Let’s look at a hypothetical transaction on the blockchain. Suppose Ralph is sending Satoshi one Bitcoin. Ralph would use a software interface (of which there are many) to specify Satoshi’s public key—or wallet address—and the amount of Bitcoin being sent. Ralph would then “sign” the transaction by validating it with the combination of his private key and public key.

In effect, Ralph would be declaring to the blockchain network a statement like “I, Ralph, as identified by my private key, am sending one Bitcoin from my wallet, as identified by my public key, to Satoshi, whose wallet is identified by his public key.”

The digital version of that statement—Ralph sends one Bitcoin to Satoshi—would be time-stamped with the exact time of transmission, and assigned a unique identification number. This is what makes up a transaction. That transaction would be broadcast to every node on the peer-to-peer network using that blockchain, which would make a note of it, add it to the ledger, and forever record it in the ever-changing blockchain data.

Every transaction that uses the blockchain contains all of the above: a unique ID, a timestamp, a destination as represented by a public key, and a unique signature that was generated by combining the public key of the wallet sending the transaction with the private key that designated the owner of that wallet.

Furthermore, every transaction is connected—chained—to the transactions that come before it. Anyone who knew the public key address of either Ralph or Satoshi could search through the blockchain for it, and see that one Bitcoin transaction at any point in the future.

So, Is It Truly Anonymous?

A lot has been made of the “anonymous” nature of blockchain trading. The idea of anonymity comes from the fact that your public key is a random sequence of alphanumeric characters—so the blockchain doesn’t record “Ralph” and “Satoshi,” but rather addresses like “35hyUziNW5eFj2GYNpA9gf4GJrPDrrgNQL” (which is a real Bitcoin public key wallet address). You can see how the idea of anonymity springs from this—it would be hard to identify an individual based on a string of letters or numbers like that.

The idea of a ” Pseudonymous,” or tracked blockchain, comes from the fact that every transaction is recorded in the entirety of the blockchain and can be examined by anyone. In other words, it is publicly available information. Moreover, it’s challenging to acquire cryptocurrency without providing some proof of identity these days, so in theory, every transaction can be traced back to an origin where fiat currency of one kind of another was exchanged for crypto. Though, in theory, every transaction on the blockchain is anonymous, regulations put in place by exchanges and other sources for acquiring cryptocurrency make that anonymity questionable at best.

Is Blockchain the future? Different Types of Blockchains for Different Uses

Lastly, let’s look at the different types of blockchains. There are three main types: public, private, and federated. The public blockchain is the type we’ve been discussing so far; it’s the blockchain that runs the Bitcoin network, among other things. No single entity is in charge of this blockchain. It’s decentralized, and anyone can read, write to, or audit the blockchain.

Private blockchains are run by individuals or organizations. With these types of blockchains, a central authority must grant permission to those who wish to read, write, or audit; access is selective and determined on a case-by-case basis. These types of blockchains are used when the cryptographic security of a blockchain scheme is desired, but the transactions or data stored in the blockchain are not subject to public scrutiny, which may be useful for a private organization or corporation.

Lastly, there’s the federated—also called consortium—blockchain. These are similar to private blockchains, but there is more than one central authority that can grant permissions. These involve a group of organizations or individuals who collaborate to make decisions on what kind of transactions are allowed to be created on the blockchain, and by whom. This type of blockchain would theoretically be useful for something like a collection of financial institutions who want to set specific guidelines regarding the validity or verification of each transaction as it gets added to the ledger. In this way, each transaction would have to be approved by a set number of federation members before being added to the blockchain.

These three types of blockchains lend themselves to different applications—public, private, and on a larger corporate or organizational level. Moreover, these blockchains are being used in increasingly inventive ways—not just to track the flow of cryptocurrency, but in applications like “smart contracts,” which don’t require any third-party to monitor or legalize the contract.

The application of blockchain data is useful for countless things, most notably secure and incorruptible data backup, the protection of intellectual property rights, medical records stored as data in blockchain format, the inventory and tracking of prescription drugs, encrypted messaging, and decentralization of many kinds—from stock markets to social networks.

The blockchain, though not a new idea, is a computing concept with a limitless number of possible applications and represents nothing short of a revolution in data storage, retrieval, and security. It’s a technology that will continue to see increased use and application, both in public, private, and federated forms, across a wide array of industries and services. It is the future—and the future is now.


Be sure to check out our other articles & videos on our website!  

Looking for the best cryptocurrency wallet to easily store your cryptos, track your portfolio, or stay up to date with the market and news?  Make sure you check out the Monarch Wallet here: https://monarchwallet.com/.  You can download on iOS or Android, Windows or Mac Os.

How To Store Cryptocurrency / Safeguard Your Crypto Assets

How To Store Cryptocurrency / Safeguard Your Crypto Assets

How To Store Cryptocurrency / Safeguard Your Crypto Assets

A few years ago, everyone was scratching their heads over the question: what on earth is a cryptocurrency? For some people, it looked like nothing but a fad, while others were hailing it as the future of finance and the end of many current monetary institutions. Right now it’s still hard to tell where cryptocurrency will be in a decade, but it seems it will be here to stay in some capacity. Not to mention, the technology that the advent of cryptocurrency has brought us, blockchain technology, has already begun to see use in other industries.

So now that we’ve accepted cryptocurrency as a part of our world, we’ve progressed to an even trickier dilemma for pondering: how to store your crypto safely.

Cryptocurrency presents a significant departure from traditional money and credit systems. Even for those early to the scene, there’s still some uncertainty about the storage and exchange of cryptocurrency. We’re seeing many different storage methods emerge, but none has emerged as the clear winner in terms of convenience and security. Read on to learn more.

The main cryptocurrencies

Before we dive into the options for storing cryptocurrency, let’s run down the basics of what it is. Cryptocurrency is a digital form of decentralized currency that relies on encryption methods to regulate its quantities and availability. While most everyone has heard of bitcoin, it’s not the only kind of cryptocurrency out there. In fact, there are well over a thousand crypto options right now.

Comparatively, the United Nations recognizes fewer than 200 kinds of traditional currency. If you’re new to the crypto game, then you’ll likely be dealing with one of the following well-known cryptocurrencies:

  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • ERC-20 tokens

Each currency presents its own unique challenges or advantages and operates at different exchange rates. It’s all a lot to take in. On top of it all, you have to worry about how you’ll be storing your cryptocurrency. Moreover, it’s, unfortunately, a bit more complicated than filling out a deposit slip at your preferred bank. Safely storing cryptocurrency is younger than most middle schoolers, and there’s not much public trust in the system yet, so you’ll want to tread carefully.

How to protect your crypto

So how do you go about storing cryptocurrency? You can’t just waltz into your local credit union and ask them to watch out for your bitcoins. There are a lot of different storage methods for cryptocurrency, and as a society, we’re still in the process of sorting out which practices are sustainable, practical, and safe. Here are the four basic methods to secure your crypto.

  1. Online wallet a.k.a. (Hot Wallet)
  2. Offline methods a.k.a. (Cold Wallet) – (PC/Mobile, removable hard drive, paper)
  3. Specialty hardware
  4. Exchange

No method is perfect, or we’d be able to answer the initial storage question with one sentence. Instead, what we have is a list of options, each with advantages and disadvantages. Let’s break them down one at a time.

Online wallets

Storing your cryptocurrency online in any capacity is inherently risky. The online component is what puts it at a severe security risk. However, there are benefits to an online wallet that offline methods can’t provide. These benefits include:

  • Easy, convenient access
  • Two-factor authentication
  • High-level technical knowledge is not usually required
  • Easy to navigate and manage crypto
  • Passwords can be reset

However, online storage has some potentially serious drawbacks, as well. Maintaining an online wallet means trusting your currency to a third party — and you ultimately have little or no control over how that third party operates. There is little to nothing stopping them from packing up shop and leaving you without a storage method anymore.

There is also little to no regulation surrounding online cryptocurrency wallets. So if something does go awry, you as a customer will be left with few resources to help you regain lost funds or seek compensation.

Offline storage

The easy solution to the risks of online wallets is to store your cryptocurrency offline. There are three basic options here: removable storage devices, non-removable storage devices, or good old-fashioned paper.

  • Removable storage

Removable hard drives or USB sticks can be a safe way to store cryptocurrency. Depending on your situation, the transferring of so much data can be a hassle, but the storage device can be safely placed in a bank box or other secure location.

The other downside is the cumbersome process of transferring or using the currency. Different currencies may be easier or more challenging to put on a storage device.

  • Non-removable storage

You can also achieve much the same effect by storing your crypto locally on your PC, laptop or mobile device in a Decentralized Wallet. Of course, this will be less secure if your computer then remains connected to the internet. While less likely than a hack against exchange or online wallet, someone could still break into your cryptocurrency stores if you choose to keep your currency on an internal hard drive which remains connected to the internet. However, if you have a Decentralized Wallet installed on a Mobile device with the SIM card removed and only enable WiFi when you want to send/receive, then you increase your security drastically.

  • Paper

Another generally safe way to store cryptocurrency is with a printout of the private and public keys to your crypto. This is also the most arduous way of storing cryptocurrency. The major downside to paper storage is that you will need to rely on third party software to create the printable code. Not to mention, if someone sees your printout, you would be in serious trouble, as only the private key would be necessary for theft.

Specialty hardware

Here’s what used to be the crown jewel of cryptocurrency storage. Specialty crypto wallets can be purchased to store your crypto assets. Specialty hardware is more convenient than removable storage devices or paper, and it offers even more protection. For example, a poorly timed fall with a glass of water could put your paper-stored crypto at risk, but specialty hardware is a little more durable, much more convenient, and usually just as secure. These devices will come with built-in encryption and maybe one of the most reliable options out there.

On the flip side, specialty hardware comes with quite a price tag. If you’re not prepared for a significant upfront investment, then this may not be the right option for you. Companies or people dealing with large quantities of cryptocurrency may benefit from specialty hardware. However, for those who are just testing the waters, it may not be worth the money. Specialty hardware is also not available worldwide, and sometimes further backups are required for the sake of redundancy options.

Exchanges

Exchanges can seem like a desirable option to those looking to safely store their cryptocurrency, as they provide a fast and easy way to transfer crypto. This convenience draws in many users. If you’re looking to convert fiat money into cryptocurrency or trade between types of cryptocurrencies, exchanges are built for that very purpose. There are other advantages to exchanges, as well:

  • No lost access due to forgotten passwords or seeds
  • Ability to store multiple types of cryptocurrency
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Easy to set up, with little tech knowledge required
  • Many accessible altcoins.
  • Low transfer fees

However, even with these numerous benefits, exchanges have proven to be untrustworthy in the past. There have been multiple scandals across the globe, usually centering on cryptocurrency being stolen or otherwise disappearing, often from within the exchange itself. If a chain of banks had a history of customers losing their life savings to corrupt bank employees, you’d probably think twice before trusting them with your money. Moreover, it can be the same situation here.

Just last year, the cryptocurrency exchange Coinsecure, based in India, lost 3.5 million dollars worth of cryptocurrency. The exchange blamed the missing money on their chief security officer, accusing Amitabh Saxena of running off with the money. Whether this is true or not is uncorroborated, but it does not bode well for the exchange system that a CSO could conceivably abscond with so much money. Coinsecure will have to reimburse customers from their own funds, a promise that can still be very discomforting. After all, if a company is unable to pay people back for stolen money, there are few other resources at customers’ disposal.

As startling as the Coinsecure case was, it’s far from the most substantial amount of cryptocurrency to go missing. In January of 2018, a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange lost over 500 million dollars in cryptocurrency to a hack. The company was holding the currency in something known as “hot” storage, where the crypto is stored using an online system. This may have contributed to the ease with which the money was stolen, and many other exchanges use “cold” or offline storage. Even exchanges usually place some funds into cold storage for security reasons, but in order to provide the easy transfers, hot storage is necessary.

Moreover, it would be remiss not to mention Mt. Gox, which, despite being the most successful and well-established Bitcoin exchange, ultimately had to declare bankruptcy following the realization that close to a million Bitcoins had gone missing over a period of time. The next news cycle was not kind to cryptocurrency at large and further scared many people away from the topic. The missing Bitcoins were worth approximately half a billion dollars in 2014 when the news broke. Half a decade later, the man at the center of the embezzlement allegations is primed to receive a verdict from a Tokyo court.

Cryptocurrency is often regarded with some suspicion by the world at large. Many law enforcement officials see it as the currency of internet criminals, and we are far from a world where cryptocurrency is largely used and accepted. This mistrust can lead to situations where governments regard crypto with less care than they may otherwise treat consumer property.

Do you remember when Alexander Vinnik was accused of laundering money through the cryptocurrency exchange BTC-E? Well, during that whole fiasco, the FBI seized the entire site, effectively preventing people from accessing their money. Because your money is considered “part of the exchange,” you are vulnerable to these kinds of instances, regardless of whether or not you are involved in the criminal activity.

Exchanges are a great option in theory, but they have not proven to be a reliable means of crypto storage yet. Perhaps in the future, we’ll see an exchange option that is proven to be safe, effective, and easy to use. Until then, however, it is wisest for most people to avoid exchanges and instead opt for different storage methods.

Make an informed decision

There are many ways to store cryptocurrency, just as there are many different banks and credit unions for your traditional money. Ultimately it is up to each person to decide how and where to store their savings. Nothing is perfect, and there can never be any guarantee that you will be exempt from potential losses with any kind of currency. The world is a fast-paced and ever-changing place, where nothing can be completely assured. So at the end of the day, the decision of how to store and protect your assets is up to you.

Hopefully, this information will help you make an informed decision about your digital assets & cryptocurrency. Also, don’t forget to take into account your circumstances. How much crypto you deal with and how essential it is to your life or business matters a lot in which method of storage or exchange you choose. The only way to truly protect yourself is to know your options and make the decision that’s best for you.

CryptoBeadles Recommendation

Robert Beadles is an avid cryptocurrency believer, and this subject is near and dear to his heart as he has watched as many people have made mistakes over the years, and some have suffered much because of their decisions. Robert recommends most people who want to safely store their cryptocurrency to download the Monarch Wallet on a mobile device that doesn’t have a SIM card, which you can connect to the internet via WiFi when you want to make transfers. The mobile device should have the built-in Phone software six digit Pin, the Pin from the Wallet, as well as you can control what software is installed on the device, as well as when the device connects to the internet helping to ensure the maximum amount of security for your cryptocurrencies.

Over $40 Million Stolen In Latest Binance Bitcoin Hack

Over $40 Million Stolen In Latest Binance Bitcoin Hack

Over $40 Million Stolen In Latest Binance Bitcoin Hack

Hackers stole over $40 million of Bitcoin from Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, the company said on Tuesday.

According to the company, the hackers ran off with over 7,000 bitcoin and used a variety of attack methods to carry out the “large scale security breach”. The hackers also managed to take other user information including two-factor authentication codes, which are a pre-requisite to log into most Binance Accounts.

The cryptocurrency exchange, however, was able to trace the stolen bitcoin to a single wallet. “The hackers had the patience to wait, and execute well-orchestrated actions through multiple seemingly independent accounts at the most opportune time,” Binance said in a statement.

“The transaction is structured in a way that passed our existing security checks. It was unfortunate that we were not able to block this withdrawal before it was executed. Once executed, the withdrawal triggered various alarms in our system. We stopped all withdrawals immediately after that.”

Binance said the theft occurred from the company’s “hot wallet,” which accounts for around 2% of its total bitcoin holdings. A wallet is a digital means of storing cryptocurrency. A “hot wallet” is one that is connected to the internet as opposed to a “cold” one which stores digital coins offline. Deposits and withdrawals on Binance’s platform will remain suspended but trading will be allowed.

Binance also warned that “hackers may still control certain user accounts and may use those to influence prices.” However, the company said that it will cover the incident “in full” and no users’ funds will be affected. The hack comes after a recent rally in bitcoin. The price of the digital coin is about 9% higher over the past week.

Monarch Blockchain Corporation’s Solution:

Hacks like these are one of the reasons to argue for users to maintain ownership of their cryptocurrency and not some centralized business or organization.  

You may have heard “Not Your Key’s, Not Your Crypto”, and it ever rings true here.  With most centralized exchanges, the exchange typically owns users keys and seed.  This means they own the users crypto while they use their services.

However, with the Monarch Wallet, users own their keys & seed.  While supporting over 1900+ cryptocurrencies and ensuring users own their cryptocurrency, the Monarch Wallet also features an ERC20 Token to ERC20 Token Decentralized exchange that allows most ERC20 Tokens to be swapped in a decentralized manner.  

What this means for users is by using the Decentralized exchange, their cryptocurrency isn’t put into a centralized exchange’s “hot wallet”, where it could be stolen.  Instead, the funds are traded through a smart contract exchange from person to person, or peer to peer, where the funds only leave each individual’s wallet when the contract is filled by another person.  The funds are then traded from one user’s wallet to another user’s wallet. This ensures the maximum amount of protection for both parties.

“It’s becoming more evident and important as the cryptocurrency market industry continues to grow, companies should be looking at solutions that give hackers the least amount of avenues to attack and steal from others.” – Robert Beadles, Founder of Crypto Beadles, President of Monarch, Creator Of  The Monarch Wallet.

Maintaining Decentralized services, where able, is one of the things Monarch Blockchain Corporation believes is extremely important and aids in limiting avenues for bad actors to utilize.

To learn more about Monarch, their Universal Crypto Wallet and connect with their growing cryptocurrency community, be sure to visit their website Here.

Securities & Cryptocurrency: Why Only Accredited Investors are Allowed to Purchase Securities in the USA

Securities & Cryptocurrency: Why Only Accredited Investors are Allowed to Purchase Securities in the USA

Securities & Cryptocurrency: Why Only Accredited Investors are Allowed to Purchase Securities in the USA

Disclaimer: This article is for entertainment and general information purposes only. We do not make any guarantees that the information provided in this article is accurate or up to date. Always consult the appropriate professional legal console/attorneys, financial advisors, and tax specialists before making any business or financial decisions. We are not professional console, attorneys, financial advisors or tax specialists and the information provided in our articles does not constitute advice or guidance pertaining to the subjects we post about. Do not make any decisions based on the information provided in this article as it may be inaccurate. You assume full risk if you decide to use any information from our website or this article for any purposes whatsoever. For full terms of service and policies please ensure you review them here:https://cryptobeadles.com/legal-policies/

Buying and selling securities is often a long, paperwork-driven process. The Securities and Exchange commission, SEC, typically requires all securities offered by companies to be registered. However, there is a catch. Companies and private funds can be exempt from registration as long as they are purchased by accredited investors.

Breaking Down Securities

A security is a fungible, tradable asset that holds some type of monetary value. Securities generally represent an investment that allows companies and other commercial enterprises to raise new capital. Securities are great for companies because they can raise new funds without a bank loan. They are also preferred by many in the public as a source for investment. Securities can be broadly broken down into two categories: equities and debts.

Equities are an ownership interest held by shareholders in an entity, realized in the form of capital stock. When you purchase an equity security, your stock represents a portion of the company that you “own.” When investors purchase a substantial amount of equity security in a single company, they can have influence over business decisions.

Holders of equity securities are not typically entitled to regular payments, but they do profit from capital gains when they eventually sell their securities.

A debt security represents money that is borrowed and must be repaid. Debt securities include items like corporate bonds and entitle the holder to regular interest payments.

While many securities fall into one of these categories, the system is not black and white. For example, not all cryptocurrencies are registered as securities. In 2018, the SEC announced established cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are not securities. However, certain coins offered during initial coin offerings might actually be considered to be securities. Cryptocurrencies that are actually securities must follow the laws set in place by the SEC.

Who Qualifies as an Accredited Investor

Since some cryptocurrencies are registered as securities, you must be an accredited investor to purchase those digital coins.

Not just anyone can qualify to become an accredited investor. In order to qualify, one of two conditions must be met. First, you as an individual must earn a yearly income of $200,000 on you own, or $300,000 when combined with your spouse. You must maintain this high-level income for at least three concurrent years. Second, you must have a net worth greater than $1 million, excluding your primary residence. These strict qualifications are set in place to protect you as an investor.

Individuals are not the only people who can become an accredited investor. Banks and private businesses can become accredited, but they have to meet a different set of standards.

There is no formal agency or process to secure this coveted status. Instead, the issuer of unregistered securities is liable for ensuring the purchaser meets the standard to be an accredited investor. Many issuers have a questionnaire that they have purchasers fill out. The questionnaire is often supported by various complementary documents, such as financial statements, salary slips or a letter from an attorney verifying accredited investor status.

Where the SEC Comes In

You may be wondering, why doesn’t the SEC have a registry for accredited investors? Instead of verifying every accredited investor, the SEC relies on businesses to do their due diligence to ensure investors purchasing unregistered securities are accredited.

The SEC has a three-part mission: protect investors; maintain fair, orderly and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation. It was created at the height of the Great Depression in an attempt to keep the stock market from crashing again.

The SEC was established with the passing of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Since its creation, the SEC has been striving to meet two common-sense notions: companies offering securities for sale to the public must be transparent, and those who sell and trade securities must treat investors fairly.

The SEC is made up of five divisions that oversee different sectors. These divisions include:

  •       Division of Corporate Finance, which ensures investors have all the necessary information to make the right investment decisions
  •       Division of Enforcement, which enforces SEC regulations by investigating cases and prosecuting civil suits
  •       Division of Investment Management, which regulates investment companies
  •       Division of Economic and Risk Analysis, which uses financial economics and data to analyze the current and future market fluctuation
  •       Division of Trading and Markets, which maintains standards for fair and orderly markets

Instead of spending time and money registering each accredited investor, the SEC relies on businesses to ensure their security sales are legitimate. If the SEC smells a fishy sale, the Division of Enforcement will investigate and recommend charges if necessary.

Limits on Certain Securities

You don’t have to be an accredited investor to purchase every type of securities. If you did, most Americans wouldn’t qualify to take part in the stock exchange. So why are there limits on certain securities?

Simply put – it’s the law. Under the Securities Act of 1933, the SEC requires companies to register their securities. When companies register securities, they disclose important financial information. This information allows investors to make informed decisions about the securities in which they are investing.

Since unregistered securities have not gone through this process, investors may not be fully informed about the security they are pouring money into. Unfortunately, this can lead to investments going south – fast. For an Average Joe, this can cause one’s financial situation to deteriorate. If a large portion middle class Americans lost their investments, the economy could quickly tank, sending America into a recession – or worse – another depression.

That’s where accreditation comes in. To qualify for accreditation, you need to prove you have a significant financial cushion. This way, if the deal does go under, you will still be in a stable enough financial situation to maintain your economic habits.

Repercussions for Selling to Non-Accredited Investors

Under Rule 506(b), companies are allowed to have up to 35 non-accredited investors. However, most businesses will tell you letting any non-accredited investors into your circle is extremely complicated.

When you sell a non-registered security to an accredited investor, you are not required to register any information about the security. However, once you add non-accredited investors into the equation, even under 506(b), your paperwork requirements skyrocket.

When non-accredited investors purchase securities, you are required by law to comply with detailed and comprehensive disclosure obligations. These disclosures are generally the same used in a registered offering. By that logic, it may make more sense for your company to simply register the security, so any investor can take part in the sale.

Part of the draw of non-registered securities is they are high risk – high reward. Investors may lose a lot of money, which is the purpose of the financial requirements, but they might also make a lot of money. Only time will tell if the investment will pan out.

When companies disclose information through registered offerings, the risk is often dramatically dropped. Investors are made starkly aware of the company’s financial situation. If the financial situation is dire, they may decide it is too risky to invest, even if the company projects better times on the horizon.

Disclosure is not the only reason companies tend to stay far, far away from non-accredited investors. While you are allowed to have up to 35 non-accredited investors, any more could cause financial and legal trouble for your business.

The Enforcement Division of the SEC investigates and recommends actions against securities law violations. If the SEC suspects your company has been selling unregistered securities to non-accredited investors, you can become the subject of a long, intense investigation.

All SEC investigations are conducted privately to ensure they are completed to the best of the agency’s ability. The division interviews witnesses, examines brokerage records, and reviews trade data to complete a thorough investigation. Following the investigation the SEC staff presents its findings to the Commission for review.

Once the Commission reviews the evidence, there are a few paths forward. The most common is companies confess to their actions and settles with the SEC without going to trial. This typically results in a monetary penalty. If a settlement cannot be reached between the SEC and the company, then the SEC can take civil or administrative action.

If civil action is the best path forward, the SEC will file a complaint with a U.S. District court. The commission will ask the court for an injunction, which will prohibit your company from any further acts that violate SEC rules. In addition, the SEC will seek monetary penalties and will make you return any illegal profits made from the invalid security sales. Although these are civil trials, they can extend into criminal trials if any company employee is found in contempt of court. The typical outcome of these trails is monetary fines or jail time.

Administrative action still involves a judge, but has less severe punishments. Administrative proceedings are heard by an administrative law judge that listens to evidence before making an initial decision. The initial decision includes a recommended sanction, which can include:

 

  •       Cease and desist orders
  •       Suspension of broker-dealer and investment advisor registrations
  •       Censures
  •       Bars from association with the securities industry
  •       Monetary penalties
  •       Disgorgement

Brokers and Investors Outside of the United States

If you do not qualify as an individual accredited investor, you aren’t automatically excluded from the inner circle. Instead, you have to rely on brokers. Brokers are people or companies that engage in transactions on behalf of an individual investor.

Most brokers are multi-billion dollar corporations that work tirelessly to ensure you get the most out of your investment. Afterall, if your investment fails they don’t get paid. They have the knowledge and financial backing to qualify as accredited investors.

As accredited investors, they can purchase unregistered securities on your behalf. You likely won’t reap the full benefits of the high-risk reward because your broker will take some of the profits. However, if you are set on investing in unregistered securities but can’t make the financial requirements, this is your best option.

For people living outside of the United States, security investments are a hot ticket. The U.S. remains the largest single recipient of Foreign Direct Investments, FDI, in the world. In 2017 over $259.6 billion was spent on U.S. FDI.

With so much foreign interest in security investment, the SEC has placed regulations on foreign investments. However, with so many investors, the SEC generally assesses each investor on a case-by-case basis.

As a general rule of thumb, if you are an American living outside of the United States, but still want to invest in the country, you are subject to the same regulations as any other American investor. This means you must be an accredited investor to purchase unregistered securities.

If you are a broker or dealer that operates in the United States for foreign investors, you are required to register with the SEC. Similarly, if you are a foreign broker-dealer from outside of the United States that trades U.S. securities, you have to register with the SEC.

Where Cryptocurrency Falls

Cryptocurrencies are a new form of investment. Created in 2008 with the first being Bitcoin, this type of digital currency has quickly grown in popularity. While this industry was once considered a wild west, the SEC has started to crack down on cryptocurrencies as a form of securities.

Long established companies like Bitcoin are not subject to SEC regulations. However, newer companies are expected to comply with SEC regulations with crypto tokens.

When a cryptocurrency company is established, it begins by selling crypto tokens as Initial Coin Offerings, also known as ICOs. These are basically a type of stock for cryptocurrencies.

When a developer starts a crypto company, they issue a limited amount of tokens. These tokens can either have a predetermined price, or can fluctuate as the company grows. When a company starts selling these tokens, depending on the definition and type of asset they are selling, they might have to register them with the SEC as securities. There are certain cryptocurrencies that have actual utility and don’t act like investments. These typically aren’t classified as securities, but the regulations could change. These crypto assets are typically called utility tokens or utility coins.

Although the SEC has started regulating blockchains, the industry is still trying to figure out its footing. As the industry grows, regulations may expand with it.

If you liked this article and found it informational or maybe you learned something new or have a better understanding about why certain companies like Monarch Blockchain Corporation require only Accredited Investors to purchase their Security Token, but also allow non-accredited KYC application approved people to partake in their Utility Token Generation Sale, be sure to share this article with a friend or on your social media accounts.

Also, if you’d like to learn more about blockchain technologies, cryptocurrencies and how the industry is growing and changing, be sure to subscribe to Robert Beadles YouTube Channel Called CryptoBeadles. You can view his Channel here: https://www.youtube.com/cryptobeadles.

Robert also has an avid community he talks with regularly on his Telegram channel.  You can join the conversion Too! Join the Crypto Beadles Telegram Channel here: https://t.me/Cryptobeadlesgroup

Disclaimer: This article is for entertainment and general information purposes only. We do not make any guarantees that the information provided in this article is accurate or up to date. Always consult the appropriate professional legal console/attorneys, financial advisors, and tax specialists before making any business or financial decisions. We are not professional console, attorneys, financial advisors or tax specialists and the information provided in our articles does not constitute advice or guidance pertaining to the subjects we post about.. Do not make any decisions based on the information provided in this article as it may be inaccurate. You assume full risk if you decide to use any information from our website or this article for any purposes whatsoever. For full terms of service and policies please ensure you review them here:https://cryptobeadles.com/legal-policies/
Scrubbing Currency: A Comparison of Crypto to Fiat for Known Money Laundering

Scrubbing Currency: A Comparison of Crypto to Fiat for Known Money Laundering

Scrubbing Currency: A Comparison of Crypto to Fiat for Known Money Launderings.

Disclaimer: This article is for entertainment and general information purposes only. We do not make any guarantees that the information provided in this article is accurate or up to date. Always consult the appropriate professional legal console/attorneys, financial advisors, and tax specialists before making any business or financial decisions. We are not professional console, attorneys, financial advisors or tax specialists and the information provided in our articles does not constitute advice or guidance pertaining to the subjects we post about.. Do not make any decisions based on the information provided in this article as it may be inaccurate. You assume full risk if you decide to use any information from our website or this article for any purposes whatsoever. For full terms of service and policies please ensure you review them here: https://cryptobeadles.com/legal-policies/

Money laundering is a complex and intricate process intended to conceal illegally obtained money, often by transferring it through an involved sequence of commercial transactions or banking transfers—all with the intent to hide its true origin.

Criminal endeavors that generate a lot of cash usually promote the most egregious cases of money laundering. All that money has to be accounted for somehow, and law enforcement agencies are always on the lookout for large sums of money being transferred or deposited in banks with no clear source of origin. In order to access their ill-gotten gains without raising suspicion or calling attention to themselves, criminals have to invest considerable time and effort to obscure the true source of all that dirty money. Only after that money has been successfully “laundered” can it be safely used by the criminals or criminal organizations.

Law enforcement agencies around the world have instituted sophisticated anti-money laundering systems to spot and intercept transactions that raise suspicion.These agencies cooperate on an international basis to help each other detect “dirty” money circulating in the international banking sector.

Efforts to Curb Money Laundering

Anti-money laundering efforts examine any misuse of the financial system, including stocks and securities, cryptocurrency, traditional fiat currency, and even credit cards. In recent years, money laundering has been of increasing concern, as much of the proceeds of money laundering schemes have been tied to the funding of terrorist organizations world-wide.

Money laundering however, seems almost commonplace. The Economist reported that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that between $800 billion and a staggering $2 trillion gets laundered each year. That’s a lot of money—between two to five percent of global gross domestic product. The growing internationalization of global currency trade makes money laundering even easier. Countries with bank-secrecy laws (like Switzerland, historically) can enable the transfer of large sums of money to countries that have bank-reporting laws, which  enables criminals to deposit “dirty” money in one country and then transfer it to another—with no record of its origin required. In fact, some of the simplest money laundering schemes involve transferring money through several different countries to obscure its true origins.

Money laundering has been a problem for a long time, but it wasn’t always exactly illegal, at least not in the US. In 1986, the United States Congress passed an act called The Money Laundering Control Act, which criminalized money laundering in the US for the first time. It consists of two sections: one that prohibits individuals from giving or receiving money that was generated from a specific list of crimes, known in the Money Laundering Control Act as “specified unlawful activities,” or SUAs. The law also states that in order for financial transactions to fall under the heading of an SUA, the individual or individuals making the transaction must intend to conceal the source, ownership, or control of the funds—all things that money launderers seek to do. The second section of the law prohibits spending in any amount greater than $10,000 if the funds were derived from an SUA, regardless of whether an attempt is made to conceal the source or ownership of the funds.

Money Laundering and Fiat Currency

Up until recently, all the money laundering laws were focused on fiat currency. Fiat currency, if you’re not familiar with the term, might take a moment to understand. The word “fiat” comes from Latin and means “let it be done” or “it shall be.” Currency used to be “backed” by a physical commodity such as gold or silver. For instance, the English Pound—also called the Pound Sterling—is a promissory note that used to be worth exactly that: a pound of sterling silver.

Anyone who held a Pound Sterling note could go to a bank or exchange and trade that paper note for a pound of actual silver. The US dollar used to be backed by the “gold standard,” meaning any US currency could be traded, in theory, for a set amount of gold. The value of the dollar was intrinsically linked to the value of gold, and the exchange was seen to be “backed” by the commodity. The “silver standard” was another similar standard.

Up until 1971, the US government sold gold to foreign official holders of US dollars at the rate of $35 per ounce (which is astounding, when you think of today’s rates, which are in excess of a thousand dollars—a little over $1,300 as of this writing). After 1971, the US discontinued this practice, and in 1973 officially ended the gold standard. Thus, the US dollar was no longer reliant on a system of fixed exchange rates; the value instead became set by a system of floating rates. Most other countries followed suit, which is why the modern value of currency can (and does) fluctuate from day to day.

An interesting side note: prior to a presidential repeal in 1974, private citizens in the United States were prohibited from owning gold or engaging in transactions involving gold. Today, there are no countries that ban private ownership of gold—that went out when the “gold standard” died.

So, what we’re left with now is fiat currency. Not having any backing in physical commodities like gold or silver, the value of fiat currency is instead set by the laws of supply and demand—and the perceived stability of the issuing government. Almost all modern paper currencies are fiat currency.

In a nutshell, the value of fiat currency is determined by international agreements as to its worth. In other words, fiat, or “it shall be” currency is valued at exactly as much as various international bodies agree it’s worth. Nothing more.

The Rise of Cryptocurrency

Up until fairly recently, all anti-money laundering efforts have focused on fiat currency—because that’s all that existed. With the rise of cryptocurrency, new avenues and methods have become available to criminals interested in “scrubbing” the history or true origin of funds from financial transactions, thereby making use of the encrypted, decentralized nature of cryptocurrency markets. On the surface, cryptocurrency looks like the perfect solution to launder large sums of money with very little effort.

Here’s the thing though: cryptocurrency, due to the nature of the way it’s traded, might provide more effective methods of detecting and halting money laundering than any systems currently being used to combat the same thing with fiat currency.

Let’s focus for a moment on what cryptocurrency actually is. All cryptocurrencies are digital in nature—meaning they exist “virtually,” without any physical representation of the currency (other than some fleeting novelty production of physical tokens). As a purely digital type of currency, cryptocurrency relies on encryption techniques used to regulate the flow of transfers from one holder to another—and relies on the same type of encryption techniques for the generation of new units of cryptocurrency itself.

More to the point, the majority of cryptocurrency that exists is regulated and traded entirely independently of any central banking authority. Most cryptocurrencies are fully decentralized, and as such, one of the most democratized forms of currency that has ever been invented.

It is, in fact, very difficult to acquire cryptocurrency without first providing proof of your identity. All of the major cryptocurrency exchanges, partly in response to pressure being applied by various governmental bodies, have strict “know your customer” protocols in place that require would-be traders or holders of cryptocurrency to provide proof—usually in the form of government-issued identification cards—as to their real identity.

Cryptocurrency and World Governments: An Uneasy Truce

As cryptocurrency became more and more mainstream, thanks largely to the wild swings in the bitcoin market and speculation on its value as a long term investment, it captured the attention of world governments—perhaps precisely because it didn’t rely on centralized banking structures, and was therefore difficult (if not impossible) to regulate. Efforts to tax it have also proven to be difficult, but governments are figuring out ways to hold their citizens accountable.

There have been, especially in the past few years, numerous calls from financial institutions and governmental agencies for cryptocurrencies to institute regulations or systems to detect and prevent money laundering. This is especially a concern when it comes to the international drug trade.

Fiat vs Crypto: Built-In Tracking

As it turns out, it is much more difficult for criminals to hide the source and flow of cryptocurrencies than has been assumed. As stated above, it is next to impossible to acquire cryptocurrency without some form and binding proof of identity, and the very nature of cryptocurrency transactions, which relies on transfers to and from wallets identified by means of various digital markers, makes tracking cryptocurrency transactions all but automatic. Though there may exist ways to obfuscate or “tumble” crypto transactions, they are relatively easy to unravel by anyone who put the time and effort into doing so.

In fact, compared to traditional financial institutions, cryptocurrency has distinct advantages in keeping chains of transactions clear and visible. Each transaction is, by nature of the networks that handle them, public information. All anyone would need to “follow the money” would be the digital designation of the source of a transaction.

This is not the case with traditional banks. Transactions made using national or international banking organizations are protected by various privacy laws, and untangling a series of transfers and shifts would require search warrants or their international equivalent—and the cooperation of the banking entities involved.

The Traditional Banking Sector: A History of Failures

In fact, in December of 2018, the US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (or FINRA) levied a $10 million fine on Morgan Stanley, the 38th largest bank in the world, for failure to comply with anti-money laundering legislation. This ordeal shatters the illusion that crypto exchanges are havens for criminals seeking to launder vast sums of illicitly acquired currency.

The cryptocurrency industry is run by smart people, people who recognize the value of validation and legitimacy. Every large exchange has progressively made its policies more in-line with defeating money laundering efforts before they can even take place, while the traditional banking world remains mired in outmoded, and difficult to change, regulations and practices.

That $10 million fine on Morgan Stanley was a result of an investigation that uncovered chronic and long-standing lapses in the giant bank’s anti-money laundering reporting system. As far back as 2011, Morgan Stanley suffered system failures of one kind or another which resulted in critically identifying customer information being lost or unrecorded. That resulted in a cascade of failures that made tens of billions of dollars of currency transfers and bank wires impossible to track. Any—or all—of that money could have been involved in money laundering schemes. It’s impossible to know.

The FINRA uncovered even more deficiencies in Morgan Stanley’s monitoring of stocks and commodity exchanges between 2011 and 2013, resulting in billions of shares of low-valued stocks being traded in a manner that had virtually no tracking or monitoring, which could have prevented the values of those stocks from being artificially (and illegally) inflated. Again, there is no way of telling what kind of malfeasance may have transpired.

It’s interesting to note that Morgan Stanley made no effort to deny or contest the charges and fines placed against it. Instead, they issued an understated but self-damning statement that read, “We are pleased to have resolved this matter from several years ago.”

And the problem isn’t just with American banks. In November of 2018, the Reserve Bank of India fined the German Deutsche Bank nearly half a million dollars for failing to properly identify customers involved in making deposits and transfers—and furthermore failing to accurately track the various subsequent movement of those traditional fiat currencies. At about the same time, the French banking institution Société Générale was charged $95 million for failure to comply with US anti-money laundering regulations—and was also faced with a larger $1.34 billion charge for breaking US trade sanctions against countries like Cuba, Iran, and Libya.

The following month, the Latvian bank BlueOrange faced a €1.2 million fine by that country’s financial regulating body for noncompliance with anti-money laundering regulations, and the US FINRA charged the Swiss bank UBS $5 million for its failure to adequately adhere to anti-money laundering systems.

In Conclusion

It is interesting to note that, to date, no cryptocurrency exchange has faced fines, reprimands, or legal action on any scale remotely similar to that faced by traditional banking institutions. This emphasizes the self-protective nature of cryptocurrency exchanges, the nature of the technology involved—which makes compliance with anti-money laundering regulations virtually effortless—and the fact that the traditional banking sector, mired in centuries of tradition and overly complicated systems of identifying customers, is a much more vulnerable venue for money laundering efforts.

If you’d like to learn more about blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies and how the industry is growing and changing, be sure to subscribe to Robert Beadles YouTube Channel Called CryptoBeadles. You can view his Channel here: https://www.youtube.com/cryptobeadles.

Robert also has an avid community he talks with regularly on his Telegram channel.  You can join the conversion Too! Join the Crypto Beadles Telegram Channel here: https://t.me/Cryptobeadlesgroup

Disclaimer: This article is for entertainment and general information purposes only. We do not make any guarantees that the information provided in this article is accurate or up to date. Always consult the appropriate professional legal console/attorneys, financial advisors, and tax specialists before making any business or financial decisions. We are not professional console, attorneys, financial advisors or tax specialists and the information provided in our articles does not constitute advice or guidance pertaining to the subjects we post about.. Do not make any decisions based on the information provided in this article as it may be inaccurate. You assume full risk if you decide to use any information from our website or this article for any purposes whatsoever. For full terms of service and policies please ensure you review them here: https://cryptobeadles.com/legal-policies/
Electrum and MyEtherWallet are Facing New Phishing Attacks

Electrum and MyEtherWallet are Facing New Phishing Attacks

Electrum and MyEtherWallet Facing New Phishing Attacks

This is from @MyEtherWallet Twitter:

There’s another phishy email going around asking users to give up personal information. Don’t believe the hype!

#1. We will never email you first (only reply to support).
#2. We will never ask for your private key (or other sensitive info).
#3. Be skeptical!

We want you all to know that this not only applies to MEW and Electrum but any and all crypto companies may potentially be attacked.

Tips and a few suggestions by Crypto Beadles for people who may not know how to protect their crypto:

“You can store funds on phones offline using a decentralized wallet such as Monarch Wallet. You can download the wallet on a phone you don’t use. Then you could put every coin or token you have on the wallet. If that wallet doesn’t support all the coins or tokens you could download additional decentralized wallets directly from the blockchain project and install the wallets on the same phone. Next, you could place it in airplane mode, remove the sim card, make sure you backup your seed and place both somewhere secure where you won’t forget, and you might not have to deal with stuff like this.

 

Also, I never suggest you do updates via email. If you receive an email from a company, I find it’s best to always go directly to the company’s website and contact them directly from there. I don’t suggest you reply to the email to ask them if it is legitimate. Do not risk getting hacked fam; it’s just not worth it. Always make sure you hold your private key and seed safely so YOU own your crypto, not some exchange or hacker.”  – Crypto Beadles

Lastly, Do not fall prey to SCAMMERS. Stay vigilant, and if you ever have questions or doubts about a message coming from a company, do your part by reporting the incidents to the respective companies support/contact pages.

We hope this was helpful!

Be Safe and God Bless – Crypto Beadles

Pin It on Pinterest