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Bitcoin Regulation In Japan

bitcoinmagazine.com / KEVIN CRUZ on OCTOBER 23, 2014

Different governments have taken different stances on Bitcoin. For example, Bangladesh has outlawed it and Germany considers it “private money.”

Within the US, different states have different standpoints, as each state possesses respective laws.

Japan has decided to take an interesting stance on it.

Mt Gox, which was based in Japan, went bankrupt in February 2014, reportedly losing some 850,000 bitcoins (332,100,000 USD as of today).  This was the first time most Japanese people heard about Bitcoin. Now it’s a familiar term in the country.

Since then, many companies have launched bitcoin related services.

In March of 2014, the Japanese government made a cabinet decision on the legal treatment of Bitcoin. The decision did not rule bitcoin as currency nor as a bond; this prohibited banks and securities companies from dealing with bitcoins.

An 8% Consumption Tax will be levied on sales of Bitcoin because of existing laws. However if bitcoins are purchased from consumers (even if you purchase it through exchange), no consumption tax will be levied.

If one 1 BTC is purchased (assuming 1BTC=USD400) from a “company”, you should pay  448 USD (400×1.08).

The Japanese Government ultimately ruled that it is not necessary to regulate sales, purchases, and/or exchanges of bitcoins.

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BITCOIN RESERVE BANK TO OPEN ITS VAULT

cryptocoinsnews.com / Alex Gorale / October 23, 2014 at 3:14 pm CET

The transparent Bitcoin reserve bank, Bitreserve, will leave beta and become available to the public later this month.

Halsey Minor is the tech entrepreneur that founded CNET in 1993. In 2008, he sold that company to CBS for $1.8 billion and became an investor. Minor was the largest financial backer of Salesforce.com and Grand Central. Forbes recognized the former as one of America’s most innovative companies. The latter went on to become Google Voice. Minor’s eye for innovation and ability to spot opportunity created jobs, produced wealth, and made him a very wealthy man.

But when the financial crisis hit Minor’s banks failed, forcing him to declare bankruptcy.

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ALTCOIN EXCHANGE EMPOEX IN PUBLIC BETA – ONE-PAGE TRADING WITH TOP NOTCH SECURITY

cryptoarticles.com / JP Buntinx / October 22, 2014

When it comes to the world of BItcoin, altcoins and digital currency in general, exchanges are always an integral part of the conversation. Not just the Bitcoin/fiat currency exchanges, but also the Bitcoin/altcoin exchanges, or even the altcoin/altcoin exchanges.  EmpoEx is a new exchange with quite some interesting aspects.

One of the main things some of the more established non-fiat currency exchanges out there lack, is an easy-to-use platform. Users, especially novice users, want all of the information on one screen, and not scroll through different pages to find things. EmpoEx aims to be one of the most intuitive and functional exchanges in existence, which can only be a good thing for digital currency adoption.

EmpoEx Main Features

When I say users want all of their information in one screen, that also means any information related to their orders being executed. EmpoEx has, like other exchanges, incorporated event notifications, which can be configured for both on-site use, as well Email Event Notifications.  Small things like these can go a long way when building up a reputation as a digital currency exchange.

Not everyone is interested in finding out what each and every cryptocurrency is trading at right now. Users can get the information, such as the current trading prices for DarkCoin and Litecoin, about the coins they follow through the LiveTrade View and Global Sidebar.

I did mention it before, EmpoEx’s main (visible) ace in the hole is their Single Page Cryptocurrency Trading Platform.  Not just because it holds all the necessary information, but also because all of the exchange’s tools are at your disposal at any given time. Simplicity and ease-of-use done right, to put it mildly.

 

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WHAT DOES THE RETURN OF THE ‘CRYPTO WARS’ MEAN FOR BITCOIN?

insidebitcoins.com / Kyle Torpey / Oct 23, 2014 6:18 AM EDT

NEW YORK (InsideBitcoins) — The crypto wars have returned to the United States. Apple’s announcement of their intent to provide better encryption for their customers launched the latest battle. With this new, higher-level of encryption, iPhone users would allegedly be able to better secure their private communication data from law enforcement.

Apple claims that there is no backdoor for the encryption on their end, which means the company cannot be subpoenaed in a case where the police want to unlock the data in a user’s phone.

The same old argument for tyranny

The arguments currently being made by FBI Director James Comey, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and other bureaucrats are the same arguments that have been made by all tyrannical governments throughout history.

Holder referred to Apple and Google’s efforts to improve smartphone privacy as “worrisome,” while Comey has noted, “If this becomes the norm, I would suggest to you that homicide cases could be stalled, suspects could walk free, and child exploitation might not be discovered or prosecuted.”

In other words, these government officials are asking U.S. citizens to give up some freedom in exchange for extra protection from terrorists, pedophiles, and other violent criminals. It’s not dissimilar from an argument that the BBC recently made against Dark Wallet.

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CNET Founder Readies Bitreserve Launch in Bid to Quell Bitcoin Volatility

Halsey Minor, founder and CEO of BitReserve. Paul Vigna/WSJ

blogs.wsj.com / PAUL VIGNA / Oct 22, 2014

Halsey Minor made a name for himself during the dot-com boom with CNET. Now he’s climbing onto another new-technology wave with Bitreserve, a bitcoin-wallet serviceunveiled in May that will become publicly available later this month.

Bitreserve has a few features differentiating it from other digital-currency wallet services. It taps the efficiency and low-transaction costs of bitcoin, but also promises to lock in users’ bitcoin deposits at fixed exchange rates. The service does not allow actual exchanges of bitcoin against fiat currencies but rather promises to absorb and manage the risk of bitcoin losing value against them by maintaining and publicly displaying an asset reserve covering 100% of its clients’ dollar- and other currency-denominated deposits. The goal is to overcome the extreme price volatility that has been the digital currency’s primary deterrent for mainstream users and thus provide them with a service for cheap, reliable money transfers.

“We want bitcoin to go from being this weirdo currency to being ‘my currency,’ ” says Mr. Minor.

A key target market for the service is that of remittances, by which immigrants in the U.S. send money back to their home countries. Remittances from the U.S. to Mexico alone ran to an estimated $22 billion last year, according to the World Bank. By locking in rates in dollars and/or Mexican pesos and by keeping transaction fees as low as 0.45%, Bitreserve aims to take a portion of that market away from dominant providers such as Western Union , which use the more costly banking system to send money.

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ALTERNET SYSTEMS TO LAUNCH BITCOIN DEBIT CARD

cryptocoinsnews.com / Giulio Prisco / October 23, 2014 at 1:06 pm CET

Alternet Systems, Inc. announced an agreement with Wildcard Consulting Inc. to launch the first U.S. based Bitcoin debit card. The system will be designed to operate in full compliance with Banking and Federal guidelines.

The first debit card product will allow consumers the option to access their bitcoins and other digital currencies. It will be the first platform capable of exchanging Digital and Fiat currencies, through accepted mechanisms, in a format that provides a path to immediate, ubiquitous acceptance.

Since 2010, Alternet has focused on the high growth, mobile value added service industries of mobile financial services and mobile security. In 2014, the company included in its investment verticals the exciting digital currency space, in the belief that it will play a key role in the global Future of Money.

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BitFury Invests in GoCoin for Payments Processing Push

coindesk.com / Pete Rizzo / October 22, 2014 at 17:13 BST

BitFury Capital has announced an undisclosed strategic investment in digital currency merchant processor GoCoin.

The move marks the third investment for BitFury Capital, the venture capital arm of bitcoin mining hardware and services provider BitFury. As part of the deal, BitFury indicated that it will seek to use GoCoin as the default processor for its global vendors.

In an interview, GoCoin CEO Steve Beauregard framed the investment as one that would also add new business-to-business (B2B) clients to his company’s existing customer base.

Beauregard told CoinDesk:

“The goal is to bring all of [BitFury's vendors] into the ecosystem and have them accepting payments in bitcoin via our platform. So, everything from the providers of electricity to rack space to hosting services, you name it.”

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BITCOIN 2 BUSINESS CONGRESS WAS ONE OF THE GREATEST BITCOIN EVENTS IN EUROPE

cryptoarticles.com / JP Buntinx / October 22, 2014

LAST WEEK BRUSSELS HOSTED ONE OF THE BIGGEST BITCOIN EVENTS IN EUROPE AND TURNED OUT TO BE A GREAT SUCCESS!

The very first Bitcoin 2 Business Congress organized by CryptoEvents kicked off on October 16th at a very nice looking location in Brussels: the B19 Business Club. It was a perfect venue with modern style and light rooms designed for networking. Attendees could not only listen to great speeches but they also enjoyed networking and the possibilities of private B2B meeting rooms. With the help of a Principal Partner Transactioncoin this was one of the most accessible events in Europe.

Registration started at 9:00 am and the Agenda was full the whole two days. Twitter and other social media were filled with the news and current information from the presentations and speeches. The atmosphere was casual from the beginning and people were very interested in meeting potential business partners and in the networking. We´ve already mentioned some of the well-known speakers presenting at the Congress so let´s focus on the most interesting parts.

The first day began with Stan Wolf and Benjamin Bommhardt who were discussing the Crossing of the Chasm of Cryptocurrencies. The day continued with one interesting session after another. Among the Bitcoiners well-known Niels Kerstholt from BitPay discussed the Merchant adoption of Bitcoin. One of the most interesting sessions of the first day was also the Mining workshop. Some of the attendees never truly understood the Mining for which this session was very beneficial. Not only could they see the „old-school“ GPU miner, well known to people who started mining earlier, but they also learned about merged mining. This was explained deeper because while mining you can also mine a Transactioncoin – TxC  which supports two hashing algorithms: SHA256 and SCRYPT. “Txcoin can be merged mined with either sha256 or scrypt based altcoins, such as Bitcoin or Dogecoin” explained Matej Michalk ofrom BitcoinMarketing and DexQ during the workshop.

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Bitcoin ‘Ransomware’ Freezes Council Offices Across Italy

coindesk.com / Grace Caffyn / October 22, 2014 at 20:40 BST

Municipal council offices across Italy have had their computer files encrypted by a ‘ransomware’ virus that is demanding payment in bitcoin.

According to Corriere della Sera, one of the country’s top newspapers, dozens of regional office workers are unable to pay bills, issue certificates or access server documents until they pay the digital ransom.

The attackers’ fee is currently set at €400 worth of bitcoin, though this amount is said to double after three days.

After launching from a location in St Petersburg, Russia last Wednesday, the virus spread rapidly through the council’s computer network through phishing emails. While some machines have been updated with antivirus software to block it successfully, many are still at risk.

How it works

Once the malware gains access to a victim’s machine it sends what appears to be an ordinary .pdf file named with a long string of characters to all contacts in their email address book.

On closer examination the file is actually a malicious .exe program. When opened by an unsuspecting co-worker, this program encrypts all .pdf files, photos and Microsoft Office documents on their machine and server, rendering them useless.

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British serial entrepreneur missing as $1.4m bitcoin is apparently stolen

A Dutch cafe offers to take bitcoins. Photograph: Alamy

theguardian.com / Alex Hern / 23 October 2014 11.32 BST

Almost $1.5m of bitcoins formerly held by cryptocurrency exchange Moolah have gone missing, after the exchange declared bankruptcy. The cash is believed to be in the personal wallet of the company’s founder and chief executive, Alex Green, who has not been heard from since Moolah went bust.

In the last public communication from Green on 19 October, he revealed that he was previously known as Ryan Kennedy until a name change by deed poll “in an attempt to start my life over and have some peace”.

As Kennedy, he had gained notoriety among communities including British fans of anime Japanese cartoons, as well as bitcoin investors, for a series of failed business ventures including Flirble, a web hosting service that ran for two months and Lemon, a bitcoin mining firm that shut down in 2013.

Others had linked him to the names Ryan Albright, Ryan Fletcher and Ryan Gentle before he disappeared and re-emerged at the beginning of this year to start bitcoin exchange Moolah as Alex Green.

The final saga started in July 2014, when a rival to Moolah, called Mintpal, was the target of a hack which lost it $2m of bitcoin. Green and three others bought Mintpal a few weeks later, and integrated 70,000 accounts at the exchange into Moolah.

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U.K. Government Keeping An Open Mind On Bitcoin, Says Digital Economy Minister

techcrunch.com / Natasha Lomas / october 22, 2014

Ed Vaizey, the U.K.’s minister for the Digital Economy, has said the government is keeping an open mind about digital currencies as it continues a review of Bitcoin and its ilk which kicked off this summer.

The minister was speaking during a wide-ranging on-stage interview with TechCrunch’s Mike Butcher, taking place yesterday at Disrupt Europe.

The U.K. government announced a review of unregulated digital currencies back in August, at the same time as launching a new financial trade body for the fintech sector, called Innovate Finance.

Asked whether the Bitcoin review will result in legislation or policies to actively encourage cryptocurrency technology companies, Vaizey said the government is still looking at the tech, but sees potential for e-payments to bring multiple benefits to consumers and businesses.

An uncertain and globally uneven regulatory environment around digital currencies injects an additional risk factor into this category of startups.

 “We’re doing a major program of work looking at opportunities in digital currencies,” he said. “I think the Chancellor again, when he launched this new trade body, had a good look at that.

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BitBeat: Bitcoin Coding Allstars Launch Sidechains Project to Boost Innovation

blogs.wsj.com / MICHAEL J. CASEY / Oct 22, 2014

Reuters

Some of the biggest names in bitcoin’s coding community  have unveiled a new cryptocurrency software project that’s likely to cause a stir.

The so-called sidechains project was officially launched Wednesday with a whitepaper that proposes the creation of new sideline versions of bitcoin’s “blockchain” transaction ledger. People can import bitcoins into these sidechains from the core bitcoinblockchain and transfer them back without a trusted third-party’s intermediation. The idea is that they create an independent environment for innovators to freely work with and enhance copies of the core software without inadvertently harming bitcoin’s basic software program, its so-called protocol.

The proposal, which could pose a major challenge to various “altcoin” competitors to bitcoin, aims to ramp up the development of “Bitcoin 2.0” technologies to decentralize commercial  and financial activity.

The proposal also carries weight because of the names behind it. The paper’s lead author is Adam Back. In 1990s, he developed  a program known as “hashcash” whose core features were incorporate into the basic design of bitcoin’s core “mining” system for processing transactions. Among the whitepaper’s eight other authors are two of the five-person core development team  charged with managing bitcoin’s underlying software — Gregory Maxwell and Pieter Wuille. Gavin Andresen, leader of that core team, is listed in the acknowledgements as having offered reviewer comments.

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GEMS PRE-SALE TAKES PLACE ON KOINIFY IN NOVEMBER

cryptoarticles.com / JP Buntinx / October 23, 2014

One of the most interesting projects of Q4 2014 will be the Gems social messaging application. For those of you who have not yet heard of Gems, this social messaging platform will bring revenue back to the people using it, making Gems the very first Social Currency Network.  

There will be a Public Sell in order to initially distribute the supply of 100,000,000 GEMS, which will take place at Koinify. The Gems pre-sale will be the very first of its kind to be hosted by Koinify, making this a very unique event.

Some of you may be wondering why Koinify was chosen over other, more “traditional” platforms such as the Bittrex exchange. Koinify is not just an exchange, but a platform providing an ecosystem for decentralized entities.

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Lamassu Partners with IdentityMind to Offer Enhanced ATM Compliance

coindesk.com / Pete Rizzo / October 23, 2014 at 13:00 BST

Bitcoin ATM manufacturer Lamassu Bitcoin Ventures has announced a new partnership with e-commerce compliance specialist IdentityMind Global.

First revealed informally on 5th October, the integration with IdentityMind will provide Lamassu bitcoin ATM owners with built-in anti-fraud and know-your-customer (KYC) services, automated suspicious activity report (SAR) filings, sanctions screening and transaction monitoring.

Lamassu CEO Zach Harvey characterized the deal as one way his company is seeking to better respond to “increasing scrutiny” from US and international regulators, as well as the recent guidance issued by the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA), a traditional ATM trade association.

Harvey said:

“It has always been important for us not to burden the end-users of our machines with a complicated or intrusive compliance solution. This integration allows us to provide our operators with an affordable and quality solution that fits the Lamassu user experience.”

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Patrick Byrne: Cryptocurrency Will Be Bigger Than the Internet Itself

altcoinpress.com / Greg Matthews On October 22, 2014

Yesterday, during an interview with Jason Burack, host of the YouTube program WallStForMainSt, Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, predicted that within 7 to 8 years cryptocurrency would rock the very foundations of the World.

During the YouTube Interview, the Indiana-born entrepreneur discusses a wide range of topics – from his fear of being “locked up” in prison – to his vision of how digital currency will alter life as we know it.

Candidly sharing his thoughts about jail, Byrne said:

I have ticked off a lot of people in Washington. So I took up yoga the last few years, because it’s the only sport you can do in a jail cell.

In regards to cryptocurrency, the CEO had this to say:

The people that are involved in Crypto (have a sense) that this will be bigger than the Internet. It could be a bigger change for society than the Internet itself.

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Will Bitcoin spark ‘a new era of banking’ for UK businesses?

bdaily.co.uk / Ellen Forster / 23 OCT 2014

Image source: antanacoins

National second hand goods chain, CeX, has announced this week that it will be accepting Bitcoins as currency and will provide the currency in exchange for hardware or software that people bring in to trade.

Bitcoin, for those who aren’t in-the-know, is an online currency and payment system. It is the first decentralized peer-to-peer payment network that is powered by its users with no central authority or middlemen.

The currency was invented in 2009 by an unknown developer under the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. All transactions are anonymous and there is no middleman or bank involved. The authenticity of each transaction is protected by digital signatures corresponding to the sending addresses.

As Bitcoins are not tied to any country or location, transferring money internationally is without charge and is not subject to any regulation. Bitcoin is created by a process called mining, in which participants verify and record payments into a public ledger in exchange for transaction fees and newly minted bitcoins.

There are several different dealers of Bitcoin online, most of which are based in the US. Coinbase is one of the largest buyer and seller of Bitcoin on the internet, calling itself a ‘bitcoin wallet.’ Founder Brian Armstrong has confirmed that Coinbase deals with “hundreds of millions of dollars” worth of Bitcoin .

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DRAPER UNIVERSITY BITCOIN COURSE IS LIVE – AND FREE

cryptocoinsnews.com / Alex Gorale / October 23, 2014 at 12:58 pm CET

The venture capitalist investor who won the US Marshall Bitcoin Auction, Tim Draper, has launched his own Bitcoin education program. The Draper University Bitcoin Course is a comprehensive online bitcoin program.

Enrollment is free and students receive lifetime access to fourty two lectures, three quizzes, and seven hours of video content.

Draper University is the entrepreneur-centric college created by Tim Draper. The course claims “Students will understand Bitcoin as both atechnology and a currency at a high level and will be able to start using it right away.” The curriculum begins with What is Bitcoin? and What is a distributed ledger. The first two lectures are only two minutes long. Each following lecture is direct and covers a specific concept core to Bitcoin. Section one contains six lectures ( < 7 Minutes) and a seventeen-minute interview on trustless transactions.

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BITCOIN: “A BETTER STORE OF VALUE” THAN THE CURRENCIES OF MISMANAGED ECONOMIES

insidebitcoins.com / Jacob Cohen Donnelly Oct 21, 2014 2:41 PM EDT

NEW YORK (InsideBitcoins) — If there’s one thing that makes people more uncomfortable than anything else, it’s not quite knowing whether their money will mean anything. Americans don’t know what this means because the U.S. dollar is one of the most secure currencies in history. But for people from a country like Venezuela, it’s a real fear.

Juan Llanos, the executive vice president of strategic partnerships at Bitreserve, being a native of Argentina knows a thing or two about economic unrest.

“The reason is that to us, inflation is not a theoretical concept studied in college. The effects of high inflation are very real. The rise of the cost of basic goods affects every single person,” Llanos told Inside Bitcoins.

The fact is, currencies can gain and lose value in the matter of days in a country like Venezuela. “The common citizen of countries like Venezuela or Argentina, grows, lives and dies feeling in their own flesh, the deleterious effects of a mismanaged economy,” added Llanos.

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Why Bitcoin Needs an ISO-Certified Currency Code

coindesk.com / Jon Matonis / October 21, 2014 at 16:45 BST

A formal ISO currency code will spur global mainstream adoption of bitcoin more than any other single action.

When a new currency code becomes adopted by the independent and nonpolitical International Organization for Standardization (ISO), it immediately enters the database tables upon which Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, SWIFT, and other clearing networks rely.

ISO 4217 is a standard published by the ISO, which delineates currency designators, country codes (alpha and numeric), and references to minor units in three separate tables.

Now, a distributed currency having an identifiable code in a centralized database may not seem like much of an accomplishment.

However, when we consider what this means for integration into existing networks, trading systems, and software accounting systems, it becomes much more significant. All the more so when we consider that a code prefix of ‘X’ denotes a non-national affiliation or a monetary metal such as gold or silver.

Instantly, bitcoin as XBT will be available as a selectable clearing and settlement unit for any business that chooses to offer and implement bitcoin. Of course, designing and managing the necessary settlement and hedging mechanisms will be a different matter altogether. Certain clearing networks may effectively become bitcoin exchanges.

With the three-character code having been in informal usage since early 2013, a formal application for XBT is nearing completion by the Financial Standards Working Group within the Bitcoin Foundation. This effort has its origins in a petition submitted by Emelyne Weiss that circulated on Change.org, the world’s platform for change. The petition closed with 836 supporters.

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The Digital Currency Dilemma: Anonymity vs. Privacy (Op-Ed)

cointelegraph.com / Gavin Smith / 2014-10-22 07:42 AM

First Global Credit’s CEO Gavin Smith comments on digital currency exchange Bitstamp’s policy change and the issue of anonymity in the digital currency markets.

This week Bitcoin Exchange, Bitstamp, fulfilled a promised policy change of handing over to the authorities all details of all the unverified accounts on their system. Further those unverified accounts would be subject to seizure of assets. The company had pre-warned its customers in September 2013 and had gone through a 13 month program of informing them of the pending change. However, despite this action the digital currency forums are today loaded with complaints about the company seizing their bitcoins.

No doubt, companies like Bitstamp initially sanction a lax policy when it comes to verifying their customer’s identity (Know Your Customer) in an effort to increase the size of their client base in a market that is said to value anonymity. Then, as the business gains stature, they come to realize that it is necessary to adopt a more measured attitude and to be better aligned with universally accepted legislation within the world’s financial infrastructure.

If you want to be viable player on financial markets then the rules of Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) measures need to be central to company policy. Fundamentally Bitstamp’s management misjudged the issue, in the development of their client base.

When creating First Global Credit, we believed that like all financial institutions we needed to adopt KYC standards for several reasons:

First and foremost, if you do not have knowledge of who is using your systems, you are creating an invitation to thieves who thrive in an environment of anonymity. If users remain anonymous it is impossible to track them if they hack systems and steal assets. By simply demanding that people verify their identity and location, those looking for easy picking are likely to look elsewhere to carry out their thefts.

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