Anyone experiencing bitstamp withdrawal delays it been hours and the request is still being processed, is it just me or everyone is being delayed? usually it takes a few minutes. Update: Withdrawal are processed now it just took them longer than usual, my guess is that their operational wallet was empty.
Summary: Everyone knows that when you give your assets to someone else, they always keep them safe. If this is true for individuals, it is certainly true for businesses. Custodians always tell the truth and manage funds properly. They won't have any interest in taking the assets as an exchange operator would. Auditors tell the truth and can't be misled. That's because organizations that are regulated are incapable of lying and don't make mistakes. First, some background. Here is a summary of how custodians make us more secure: Previously, we might give Alice our crypto assets to hold. There were risks:
Alice might take the assets and disappear.
Alice might spend the assets and pretend that she still has them (fractional model).
Alice might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Alice might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Alice might lose access to the assets.
But "no worries", Alice has a custodian named Bob. Bob is dressed in a nice suit. He knows some politicians. And he drives a Porsche. "So you have nothing to worry about!". And look at all the benefits we get:
Alice can't take the assets and disappear (unless she asks Bob or never gives them to Bob).
Alice can't spend the assets and pretend that she still has them. (Unless she didn't give them to Bob or asks him for them.)
Alice can't store the assets insecurely so they get stolen. (After all - she doesn't have any control over the withdrawal process from any of Bob's systems, right?)
Alice can't give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force. (Bob will stop her, right Bob?)
Alice can't lose access to the funds. (She'll always be present, sane, and remember all secrets, right?)
See - all problems are solved! All we have to worry about now is:
Bob might take the assets and disappear.
Bob might spend the assets and pretend that he still has them (fractional model).
Bob might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Bob might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Bob might lose access to the assets.
It's pretty simple. Before we had to trust Alice. Now we only have to trust Alice, Bob, and all the ways in which they communicate. Just think of how much more secure we are! "On top of that", Bob assures us, "we're using a special wallet structure". Bob shows Alice a diagram. "We've broken the balance up and store it in lots of smaller wallets. That way", he assures her, "a thief can't take it all at once". And he points to a historic case where a large sum was taken "because it was stored in a single wallet... how stupid". "Very early on, we used to have all the crypto in one wallet", he said, "and then one Christmas a hacker came and took it all. We call him the Grinch. Now we individually wrap each crypto and stick it under a binary search tree. The Grinch has never been back since." "As well", Bob continues, "even if someone were to get in, we've got insurance. It covers all thefts and even coercion, collusion, and misplaced keys - only subject to the policy terms and conditions." And with that, he pulls out a phone-book sized contract and slams it on the desk with a thud. "Yep", he continues, "we're paying top dollar for one of the best policies in the country!" "Can I read it?' Alice asks. "Sure," Bob says, "just as soon as our legal team is done with it. They're almost through the first chapter." He pauses, then continues. "And can you believe that sales guy Mike? He has the same year Porsche as me. I mean, what are the odds?" "Do you use multi-sig?", Alice asks. "Absolutely!" Bob replies. "All our engineers are fully trained in multi-sig. Whenever we want to set up a new wallet, we generate 2 separate keys in an air-gapped process and store them in this proprietary system here. Look, it even requires the biometric signature from one of our team members to initiate any withdrawal." He demonstrates by pressing his thumb into the display. "We use a third-party cloud validation API to match the thumbprint and authorize each withdrawal. The keys are also backed up daily to an off-site third-party." "Wow that's really impressive," Alice says, "but what if we need access for a withdrawal outside of office hours?" "Well that's no issue", Bob says, "just send us an email, call, or text message and we always have someone on staff to help out. Just another part of our strong commitment to all our customers!" "What about Proof of Reserve?", Alice asks. "Of course", Bob replies, "though rather than publish any blockchain addresses or signed transaction, for privacy we just do a SHA256 refactoring of the inverse hash modulus for each UTXO nonce and combine the smart contract coefficient consensus in our hyperledger lightning node. But it's really simple to use." He pushes a button and a large green checkmark appears on a screen. "See - the algorithm ran through and reserves are proven." "Wow", Alice says, "you really know your stuff! And that is easy to use! What about fiat balances?" "Yeah, we have an auditor too", Bob replies, "Been using him for a long time so we have quite a strong relationship going! We have special books we give him every year and he's very efficient! Checks the fiat, crypto, and everything all at once!" "We used to have a nice offline multi-sig setup we've been using without issue for the past 5 years, but I think we'll move all our funds over to your facility," Alice says. "Awesome", Bob replies, "Thanks so much! This is perfect timing too - my Porsche got a dent on it this morning. We have the paperwork right over here." "Great!", Alice replies. And with that, Alice gets out her pen and Bob gets the contract. "Don't worry", he says, "you can take your crypto-assets back anytime you like - just subject to our cancellation policy. Our annual management fees are also super low and we don't adjust them often". How many holes have to exist for your funds to get stolen? Just one. Why are we taking a powerful offline multi-sig setup, widely used globally in hundreds of different/lacking regulatory environments with 0 breaches to date, and circumventing it by a demonstrably weak third party layer? And paying a great expense to do so? If you go through the list of breaches in the past 2 years to highly credible organizations, you go through the list of major corporate frauds (only the ones we know about), you go through the list of all the times platforms have lost funds, you go through the list of times and ways that people have lost their crypto from identity theft, hot wallet exploits, extortion, etc... and then you go through this custodian with a fine-tooth comb and truly believe they have value to add far beyond what you could, sticking your funds in a wallet (or set of wallets) they control exclusively is the absolute worst possible way to take advantage of that security. The best way to add security for crypto-assets is to make a stronger multi-sig. With one custodian, what you are doing is giving them your cryptocurrency and hoping they're honest, competent, and flawlessly secure. It's no different than storing it on a really secure exchange. Maybe the insurance will cover you. Didn't work for Bitpay in 2015. Didn't work for Yapizon in 2017. Insurance has never paid a claim in the entire history of cryptocurrency. But maybe you'll get lucky. Maybe your exact scenario will buck the trend and be what they're willing to cover. After the large deductible and hopefully without a long and expensive court battle. And you want to advertise this increase in risk, the lapse of judgement, an accident waiting to happen, as though it's some kind of benefit to customers ("Free institutional-grade storage for your digital assets.")? And then some people are writing to the OSC that custodians should be mandatory for all funds on every exchange platform? That this somehow will make Canadians as a whole more secure or better protected compared with standard air-gapped multi-sig? On what planet? Most of the problems in Canada stemmed from one thing - a lack of transparency. If Canadians had known what a joke Quadriga was - it wouldn't have grown to lose $400m from hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast. And Gerald Cotten would be in jail, not wherever he is now (at best, rotting peacefully). EZ-BTC and mister Dave Smilie would have been a tiny little scam to his friends, not a multi-million dollar fraud. Einstein would have got their act together or been shut down BEFORE losing millions and millions more in people's funds generously donated to criminals. MapleChange wouldn't have even been a thing. And maybe we'd know a little more about CoinTradeNewNote - like how much was lost in there. Almost all of the major losses with cryptocurrency exchanges involve deception with unbacked funds. So it's great to see transparency reports from BitBuy and ShakePay where someone independently verified the backing. The only thing we don't have is:
ANY CERTAINTY BALANCES WEREN'T EXCLUDED. Quadriga's largest account was $70m. 80% of funds are in 20% of accounts (Pareto principle). All it takes is excluding a few really large accounts - and nobody's the wiser. A fractional platform can easily pass any audit this way.
ANY VISIBILITY WHATSOEVER INTO THE CUSTODIANS. BitBuy put out their report before moving all the funds to their custodian and ShakePay apparently can't even tell us who the custodian is. That's pretty important considering that basically all of the funds are now stored there.
ANY IDEA ABOUT THE OTHER EXCHANGES. In order for this to be effective, it has to be the norm. It needs to be "unusual" not to know. If obscurity is the norm, then it's super easy for people like Gerald Cotten and Dave Smilie to blend right in.
It's not complicated to validate cryptocurrency assets. They need to exist, they need to be spendable, and they need to cover the total balances. There are plenty of credible people and firms across the country that have the capacity to reasonably perform this validation. Having more frequent checks by different, independent, parties who publish transparent reports is far more valuable than an annual check by a single "more credible/official" party who does the exact same basic checks and may or may not publish anything. Here's an example set of requirements that could be mandated:
First report within 1 month of launching, another within 3 months, and further reports at minimum every 6 months thereafter.
No auditor can be repeated within a 12 month period.
All reports must be public, identifying the auditor and the full methodology used.
All auditors must be independent of the firm being audited with no conflict of interest.
Reports must include the percentage of each asset backed, and how it's backed.
The auditor publishes a hash list, which lists a hash of each customer's information and balances that were included. Hash is one-way encryption so privacy is fully preserved. Every customer can use this to have 100% confidence they were included.
If we want more extensive requirements on audits, these should scale upward based on the total assets at risk on the platform, and whether the platform has loaned their assets out.
There are ways to structure audits such that neither crypto assets nor customer information are ever put at risk, and both can still be properly validated and publicly verifiable. There are also ways to structure audits such that they are completely reasonable for small platforms and don't inhibit innovation in any way. By making the process as reasonable as possible, we can completely eliminate any reason/excuse that an honest platform would have for not being audited. That is arguable far more important than any incremental improvement we might get from mandating "the best of the best" accountants. Right now we have nothing mandated and tons of Canadians using offshore exchanges with no oversight whatsoever. Transparency does not prove crypto assets are safe. CoinTradeNewNote, Flexcoin ($600k), and Canadian Bitcoins ($100k) are examples where crypto-assets were breached from platforms in Canada. All of them were online wallets and used no multi-sig as far as any records show. This is consistent with what we see globally - air-gapped multi-sig wallets have an impeccable record, while other schemes tend to suffer breach after breach. We don't actually know how much CoinTrader lost because there was no visibility. Rather than publishing details of what happened, the co-founder of CoinTrader silently moved on to found another platform - the "most trusted way to buy and sell crypto" - a site that has no information whatsoever (that I could find) on the storage practices and a FAQ advising that “[t]rading cryptocurrency is completely safe” and that having your own wallet is “entirely up to you! You can certainly keep cryptocurrency, or fiat, or both, on the app.” Doesn't sound like much was learned here, which is really sad to see. It's not that complicated or unreasonable to set up a proper hardware wallet. Multi-sig can be learned in a single course. Something the equivalent complexity of a driver's license test could prevent all the cold storage exploits we've seen to date - even globally. Platform operators have a key advantage in detecting and preventing fraud - they know their customers far better than any custodian ever would. The best job that custodians can do is to find high integrity individuals and train them to form even better wallet signatories. Rather than mandating that all platforms expose themselves to arbitrary third party risks, regulations should center around ensuring that all signatories are background-checked, properly trained, and using proper procedures. We also need to make sure that signatories are empowered with rights and responsibilities to reject and report fraud. They need to know that they can safely challenge and delay a transaction - even if it turns out they made a mistake. We need to have an environment where mistakes are brought to the surface and dealt with. Not one where firms and people feel the need to hide what happened. In addition to a knowledge-based test, an auditor can privately interview each signatory to make sure they're not in coercive situations, and we should make sure they can freely and anonymously report any issues without threat of retaliation. A proper multi-sig has each signature held by a separate person and is governed by policies and mutual decisions instead of a hierarchy. It includes at least one redundant signature. For best results, 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7. History has demonstrated over and over again the risk of hot wallets even to highly credible organizations. Nonetheless, many platforms have hot wallets for convenience. While such losses are generally compensated by platforms without issue (for example Poloniex, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Gatecoin, Coincheck, Bithumb, Zaif, CoinBene, Binance, Bitrue, Bitpoint, Upbit, VinDAX, and now KuCoin), the public tends to focus more on cases that didn't end well. Regardless of what systems are employed, there is always some level of risk. For that reason, most members of the public would prefer to see third party insurance. Rather than trying to convince third party profit-seekers to provide comprehensive insurance and then relying on an expensive and slow legal system to enforce against whatever legal loopholes they manage to find each and every time something goes wrong, insurance could be run through multiple exchange operators and regulators, with the shared interest of having a reputable industry, keeping costs down, and taking care of Canadians. For example, a 4 of 7 multi-sig insurance fund held between 5 independent exchange operators and 2 regulatory bodies. All Canadian exchanges could pay premiums at a set rate based on their needed coverage, with a higher price paid for hot wallet coverage (anything not an air-gapped multi-sig cold wallet). Such a model would be much cheaper to manage, offer better coverage, and be much more reliable to payout when needed. The kind of coverage you could have under this model is unheard of. You could even create something like the CDIC to protect Canadians who get their trading accounts hacked if they can sufficiently prove the loss is legitimate. In cases of fraud, gross negligence, or insolvency, the fund can be used to pay affected users directly (utilizing the last transparent balance report in the worst case), something which private insurance would never touch. While it's recommended to have official policies for coverage, a model where members vote would fully cover edge cases. (Could be similar to the Supreme Court where justices vote based on case law.) Such a model could fully protect all Canadians across all platforms. You can have a fiat coverage governed by legal agreements, and crypto-asset coverage governed by both multi-sig and legal agreements. It could be practical, affordable, and inclusive. Now, we are at a crossroads. We can happily give up our freedom, our innovation, and our money. We can pay hefty expenses to auditors, lawyers, and regulators year after year (and make no mistake - this cost will grow to many millions or even billions as the industry grows - and it will be borne by all Canadians on every platform because platforms are not going to eat up these costs at a loss). We can make it nearly impossible for any new platform to enter the marketplace, forcing Canadians to use the same stagnant platforms year after year. We can centralize and consolidate the entire industry into 2 or 3 big players and have everyone else fail (possibly to heavy losses of users of those platforms). And when a flawed security model doesn't work and gets breached, we can make it even more complicated with even more people in suits making big money doing the job that blockchain was supposed to do in the first place. We can build a system which is so intertwined and dependent on big government, traditional finance, and central bankers that it's future depends entirely on that of the fiat system, of fractional banking, and of government bail-outs. If we choose this path, as history has shown us over and over again, we can not go back, save for revolution. Our children and grandchildren will still be paying the consequences of what we decided today. Or, we can find solutions that work. We can maintain an open and innovative environment while making the adjustments we need to make to fully protect Canadian investors and cryptocurrency users, giving easy and affordable access to cryptocurrency for all Canadians on the platform of their choice, and creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and problem solvers can bring those solutions forward easily. None of the above precludes innovation in any way, or adds any unreasonable cost - and these three policies would demonstrably eliminate or resolve all 109 historic cases as studied here - that's every single case researched so far going back to 2011. It includes every loss that was studied so far not just in Canada but globally as well. Unfortunately, finding answers is the least challenging part. Far more challenging is to get platform operators and regulators to agree on anything. My last post got no response whatsoever, and while the OSC has told me they're happy for industry feedback, I believe my opinion alone is fairly meaningless. This takes the whole community working together to solve. So please let me know your thoughts. Please take the time to upvote and share this with people. Please - let's get this solved and not leave it up to other people to do. Facts/background/sources (skip if you like):
The inspiration for the paragraph about splitting wallets was an actual quote from a Canadian company providing custodial services in response to the OSC consultation paper: "We believe that it will be in the in best interests of investors to prohibit pooled crypto assets or ‘floats’. Most Platforms pool assets, citing reasons of practicality and expense. The recent hack of the world’s largest Platform – Binance – demonstrates the vulnerability of participants’ assets when such concessions are made. In this instance, the Platform’s entire hot wallet of Bitcoins, worth over $40 million, was stolen, facilitated in part by the pooling of client crypto assets." "the maintenance of participants (and Platform) crypto assets across multiple wallets distributes the related risk and responsibility of security - reducing the amount of insurance coverage required and making insurance coverage more readily obtainable". For the record, their reply also said nothing whatsoever about multi-sig or offline storage.
In addition to the fact that the $40m hack represented only one "hot wallet" of Binance, and they actually had the vast majority of assets in other wallets (including mostly cold wallets), multiple real cases have clearly demonstrated that risk is still present with multiple wallets. Bitfinex, VinDAX, Bithumb, Altsbit, BitPoint, Cryptopia, and just recently KuCoin all had multiple wallets breached all at the same time, and may represent a significantly larger impact on customers than the Binance breach which was fully covered by Binance. To represent that simply having multiple separate wallets under the same security scheme is a comprehensive way to reduce risk is just not true.
Private insurance has historically never covered a single loss in the cryptocurrency space (at least, not one that I was able to find), and there are notable cases where massive losses were not covered by insurance. Bitpay in 2015 and Yapizon in 2017 both had insurance policies that didn't pay out during the breach, even after a lengthly court process. The same insurance that ShakePay is presently using (and announced to much fanfare) was describe by their CEO himself as covering “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held,” which is something that has never historically happened. As was said with regard to the same policy in 2018 - “I don’t find it surprising that Lloyd’s is in this space,” said Johnson, adding that to his mind the challenge for everybody is figuring out how to structure these policies so that they are actually protective. “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.”
The most profitable policy for a private insurance company is one with the most expensive premiums that they never have to pay a claim on. They have no inherent incentive to take care of people who lost funds. It's "cheaper" to take the reputational hit and fight the claim in court. The more money at stake, the more the insurance provider is incentivized to avoid payout. They're not going to insure the assets unless they have reasonable certainty to make a profit by doing so, and they're not going to pay out a massive sum unless it's legally forced. Private insurance is always structured to be maximally profitable to the insurance provider.
The circumvention of multi-sig was a key factor in the massive Bitfinex hack of over $60m of bitcoin, which today still sits being slowly used and is worth over $3b. While Bitfinex used a qualified custodian Bitgo, which was and still is active and one of the industry leaders of custodians, and they set up 2 of 3 multi-sig wallets, the entire system was routed through Bitfinex, such that Bitfinex customers could initiate the withdrawals in a "hot" fashion. This feature was also a hit with the hacker. The multi-sig was fully circumvented.
Bitpay in 2015 was another example of a breach that stole 5,000 bitcoins. This happened not through the exploit of any system in Bitpay, but because the CEO of a company they worked with got their computer hacked and the hackers were able to request multiple bitcoin purchases, which Bitpay honoured because they came from the customer's computer legitimately. Impersonation is a very common tactic used by fraudsters, and methods get more extreme all the time.
A notable case in Canada was the Canadian Bitcoins exploit. Funds were stored on a server in a Rogers Data Center, and the attendee was successfully convinced to reboot the server "in safe mode" with a simple phone call, thus bypassing the extensive security and enabling the theft.
The very nature of custodians circumvents multi-sig. This is because custodians are not just having to secure the assets against some sort of physical breach but against any form of social engineering, modification of orders, fraudulent withdrawal attempts, etc... If the security practices of signatories in a multi-sig arrangement are such that the breach risk of one signatory is 1 in 100, the requirement of 3 independent signatures makes the risk of theft 1 in 1,000,000. Since hackers tend to exploit the weakest link, a comparable custodian has to make the entry and exit points of their platform 10,000 times more secure than one of those signatories to provide equivalent protection. And if the signatories beef up their security by only 10x, the risk is now 1 in 1,000,000,000. The custodian has to be 1,000,000 times more secure. The larger and more complex a system is, the more potential vulnerabilities exist in it, and the fewer people can understand how the system works when performing upgrades. Even if a system is completely secure today, one has to also consider how that system might evolve over time or work with different members.
By contrast, offline multi-signature solutions have an extremely solid record, and in the entire history of cryptocurrency exchange incidents which I've studied (listed here), there has only been one incident (796 exchange in 2015) involving an offline multi-signature wallet. It happened because the customer's bitcoin address was modified by hackers, and the amount that was stolen ($230k) was immediately covered by the exchange operators. Basically, the platform operators were tricked into sending a legitimate withdrawal request to the wrong address because hackers exploited their platform to change that address. Such an issue would not be prevented in any way by the use of a custodian, as that custodian has no oversight whatsoever to the exchange platform. It's practical for all exchange operators to test large withdrawal transactions as a general policy, regardless of what model is used, and general best practice is to diagnose and fix such an exploit as soon as it occurs.
False promises on the backing of funds played a huge role in the downfall of Quadriga, and it's been exposed over and over again (MyCoin, PlusToken, Bitsane, Bitmarket, EZBTC, IDAX). Even today, customers have extremely limited certainty on whether their funds in exchanges are actually being backed or how they're being backed. While this issue is not unique to cryptocurrency exchanges, the complexity of the technology and the lack of any regulation or standards makes problems more widespread, and there is no "central bank" to come to the rescue as in the 2008 financial crisis or during the great depression when "9,000 banks failed".
In addition to fraudulent operations, the industry is full of cases where operators have suffered breaches and not reported them. Most recently, Einstein was the largest case in Canada, where ongoing breaches and fraud were perpetrated against the platform for multiple years and nobody found out until the platform collapsed completely. While fraud and breaches suck to deal with, they suck even more when not dealt with. Lack of visibility played a role in the largest downfalls of Mt. Gox, Cryptsy, and Bitgrail. In some cases, platforms are alleged to have suffered a hack and keep operating without admitting it at all, such as CoinBene.
It surprises some to learn that a cryptographic solution has already existed since 2013, and gained widespread support in 2014 after Mt. Gox. Proof of Reserves is a full cryptographic proof that allows any customer using an exchange to have complete certainty that their crypto-assets are fully backed by the platform in real-time. This is accomplished by proving that assets exist on the blockchain, are spendable, and fully cover customer deposits. It does not prove safety of assets or backing of fiat assets.
If we didn't care about privacy at all, a platform could publish their wallet addresses, sign a partial transaction, and put the full list of customer information and balances out publicly. Customers can each check that they are on the list, that the balances are accurate, that the total adds up, and that it's backed and spendable on the blockchain. Platforms who exclude any customer take a risk because that customer can easily check and see they were excluded. So together with all customers checking, this forms a full proof of backing of all crypto assets.
However, obviously customers care about their private information being published. Therefore, a hash of the information can be provided instead. Hash is one-way encryption. The hash allows the customer to validate inclusion (by hashing their own known information), while anyone looking at the list of hashes cannot determine the private information of any other user. All other parts of the scheme remain fully intact. A model like this is in use on the exchange CoinFloor in the UK.
A Merkle tree can provide even greater privacy. Instead of a list of balances, the balances are arranged into a binary tree. A customer starts from their node, and works their way to the top of the tree. For example, they know they have 5 BTC, they plus 1 other customer hold 7 BTC, they plus 2-3 other customers hold 17 BTC, etc... until they reach the root where all the BTC are represented. Thus, there is no way to find the balances of other individual customers aside from one unidentified customer in this case.
Proposals such as this had the backing of leaders in the community including Nic Carter, Greg Maxwell, and Zak Wilcox. Substantial and significant effort started back in 2013, with massive popularity in 2014. But what became of that effort? Very little. Exchange operators continue to refuse to give visibility. Despite the fact this information can often be obtained through trivial blockchain analysis, no Canadian platform has ever provided any wallet addresses publicly. As described by the CEO of Newton "For us to implement some kind of realtime Proof of Reserves solution, which I'm not opposed to, it would have to ... Preserve our users' privacy, as well as our own. Some kind of zero-knowledge proof". Kraken describes here in more detail why they haven't implemented such a scheme. According to professor Eli Ben-Sasson, when he spoke with exchanges, none were interested in implementing Proof of Reserves.
And yet, Kraken's places their reasoning on a page called "Proof of Reserves". More recently, both BitBuy and ShakePay have released reports titled "Proof of Reserves and Security Audit". Both reports contain disclaimers against being audits. Both reports trust the customer list provided by the platform, leaving the open possibility that multiple large accounts could have been excluded from the process. Proof of Reserves is a blockchain validation where customers see the wallets on the blockchain. The report from Kraken is 5 years old, but they leave it described as though it was just done a few weeks ago. And look at what they expect customers to do for validation. When firms represent something being "Proof of Reserve" when it's not, this is like a farmer growing fruit with pesticides and selling it in a farmers market as organic produce - except that these are people's hard-earned life savings at risk here. Platforms are misrepresenting the level of visibility in place and deceiving the public by their misuse of this term. They haven't proven anything.
Fraud isn't a problem that is unique to cryptocurrency. Fraud happens all the time. Enron, WorldCom, Nortel, Bear Stearns, Wells Fargo, Moser Baer, Wirecard, Bre-X, and Nicola are just some of the cases where frauds became large enough to become a big deal (and there are so many countless others). These all happened on 100% reversible assets despite regulations being in place. In many of these cases, the problems happened due to the over-complexity of the financial instruments. For example, Enron had "complex financial statements [which] were confusing to shareholders and analysts", creating "off-balance-sheet vehicles, complex financing structures, and deals so bewildering that few people could understand them". In cryptocurrency, we are often combining complex financial products with complex technologies and verification processes. We are naïve if we think problems like this won't happen. It is awkward and uncomfortable for many people to admit that they don't know how something works. If we want "money of the people" to work, the solutions have to be simple enough that "the people" can understand them, not so confusing that financial professionals and technology experts struggle to use or understand them.
For those who question the extent to which an organization can fool their way into a security consultancy role, HB Gary should be a great example to look at. Prior to trying to out anonymous, HB Gary was being actively hired by multiple US government agencies and others in the private sector (with glowing testimonials). The published articles and hosted professional security conferences. One should also look at this list of data breaches from the past 2 years. Many of them are large corporations, government entities, and technology companies. These are the ones we know about. Undoubtedly, there are many more that we do not know about. If HB Gary hadn't been "outted" by anonymous, would we have known they were insecure? If the same breach had happened outside of the public spotlight, would it even have been reported? Or would HB Gary have just deleted the Twitter posts, brought their site back up, done a couple patches, and kept on operating as though nothing had happened?
In the case of Quadriga, the facts are clear. Despite past experience with platforms such as MapleChange in Canada and others around the world, no guidance or even the most basic of a framework was put in place by regulators. By not clarifying any sort of legal framework, regulators enabled a situation where a platform could be run by former criminal Mike Dhanini/Omar Patryn, and where funds could be held fully unchecked by one person. At the same time, the lack of regulation deterred legitimate entities from running competing platforms and Quadriga was granted a money services business license for multiple years of operation, which gave the firm the appearance of legitimacy. Regulators did little to protect Canadians despite Quadriga failing to file taxes from 2016 onward. The entire administrative team had resigned and this was public knowledge. Many people had suspicions of what was going on, including Ryan Mueller, who forwarded complaints to the authorities. These were ignored, giving Gerald Cotten the opportunity to escape without justice.
There are multiple issues with the SOC II model including the prohibitive cost (you have to find a third party accounting firm and the prices are not even listed publicly on any sites), the requirement of operating for a year (impossible for new platforms), and lack of any public visibility (SOC II are private reports that aren't shared outside the people in suits).
Securities frameworks are expensive. Sarbanes-Oxley is estimated to cost $5.1 million USD/yr for the average Fortune 500 company in the United States. Since "Fortune 500" represents the top 500 companies, that means well over $2.55 billion USD (~$3.4 billion CAD) is going to people in suits. Isn't the problem of trust and verification the exact problem that the blockchain is supposed to solve?
To use Quadriga as justification for why custodians or SOC II or other advanced schemes are needed for platforms is rather silly, when any framework or visibility at all, or even the most basic of storage policies, would have prevented the whole thing. It's just an embarrassment.
We are now seeing regulators take strong action. CoinSquare in Canada with multi-million dollar fines. BitMex from the US, criminal charges and arrests. OkEx, with full disregard of withdrawals and no communication. Who's next?
We have a unique window today where we can solve these problems, and not permanently destroy innovation with unreasonable expectations, but we need to act quickly. This is a unique historic time that will never come again.
Not Receiving Withdrawn Funds Support Ticket BIT 379113
My story with bitstamp started 1 month ago. I will not reveal how it came to this outrageous decision by their side to close my account but its a fact they notified me by this per e-mail and said all of my funds that they refused to deposit in my account in the first place will be returned to me to the same account from which i sent the money. However in their e-mail they left a door open for them to use my money as they please without any further notice how long would the money take to arrive. They are a SCAM never trust them ! At first i tried to withdraw 100 euros to test them it went smoothly and had my funds in the account within 2 business days. After i deposited 25 000 euros and they had to return it to my bank account but in their account termination email they greedily mentioned that the process of returning the money involves multiple middle bank account which might delay the process and that they will do everything possible to contact them and speed up the procedure. My question is 1st how come with 100 euros there are no middle banks involved with 25 000 suddenly it is not one but MANY. Second BITSTAMP dont try to lie to people who understand banking. There is no such thing as a MIDDLE BANK when you are completing a SEPA transfer inside the EU. Only international transfers require a middle bank. So they are now in possession of my money exactly when bitcoin was rising and will take full advantage of them before they return it. And please do not respond under this post with the BS that " bitstamp has no interest and will never keep customer's money " because we have all read the stories where people receive their funds 2 -3 months later. How convenient. And also because they are the issuing bank you cannot request an MT 103 tracking number to show them they are lying and the money is still with them. Well thought play BiTSTAMP. I would however like to say i am in the 5th day of waiting my money which is waaay too long even for SWIFT not SEPA transfer so where is my money BITSTAMP? When can i expect them in my bank account ?
The Monetary Sovereignty War-cry: Proof of Keys - [Jan/3➞₿🔑∎]
TO All Soldiers for Monetary Sovereignty: Every January 3rd the Bitcoin community participates in a Proof of Keys celebration by demanding and taking possession of all bitcoins and other cryptocurrency held by trusted third parties on their behalf. You can do this by withdrawing all Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency to wallets where you hold the private keys and perform network consensus for validation. On 9 Dec 2018 Trace Mayer introduced the annual Proof of Keys celebration. This cultural tradition enables you, the individual, to prove your monetary sovereignty and strengthen the Bitcoin network by using a full-node for an economically substantive transaction(s). Together, on this day, all of us get to celebrate our monetary independence from trusted third parties (which are security holes!). And we strengthen the decentralization of the Bitcoin network in the process! This is a way for you to invest in yourself. There are a lot of people who want to keep you weak, dependent and enervated when it comes to your monetary sovereignty. You must take the personal responsibility and summon the desire to take action to declare your monetary independence and prove to yourself that you, and no-one else, hold the private keys to your own money. There has been much discussion on Reddit, Twitter and Youtube for those who need help with how to do this safely and securely. And those who were trained this year can become teachers next year. Even though we may be ensconced in our cold storage; we must never forget the new user and leave them behind and stranded on the battlefield of control over their money. Some helpful interviews about Proof of Keys include Crypt0 News, Crypto Cast Network, Let's Talk Bitcoin - With Andreas Antonopolous and What Bitcoin Did. Some helpful discussion includes storing bitcoins , Bitcoin's Security Model and Bitcoin Miners and Invalid Blocks. Perhaps most important is how this tradition helps educate, teach and train new users of Bitcoin. The effect on yourself is much more important than that on third parties or the Bitcoin network. Hopefully, everything will go smoothly and there will be no losses of funds, no shady behaviors or delays by exchanges or other third-parties and no significant Bitcoin network congestion. But even if there is, those are very minor costs to pay in the battle for monetary sovereignty. And if you already keep your bitcoins safely in cold storage and still want to join the community and participate then consider skipping a meal and instead buying $20+ worth of bitcoins and moving them into cold storage. Take more scarce territory on the Bitcoin blockchain! After all, having Proof of Keys is much better than 'Proof of Roger', MtGox, Silk Road), Bitfinex, Bitstamp, or some other possibly untrustworthy third party! There have even been some articles about third parties halting withdrawals in preparation like HitBTC. This video of Roger Ver was recorded on July 14, 2013 at the MTGOX headquarters. MtGox declared bankruptcy Feb 2014 announcing 850,000 bitcoins belonging to customers were missing. In conclusion, this magic Internet money thing is about a lot more than just making money. The battle over our monetary sovereignty is now a personal fight by each of us. We have rallied around the banner of Bitcoin because (1) it is the soundest and hardest money that is strictly limited in amount that the world has ever known and (2) it is a censorship-resistant decentralized network. But to maintain those properties requires eternal vigilance and protection by those who yearn for those protections. Thus, this battle over monetary sovereignty has only two possible outcomes: either (1) control of their own lives by the people themselves the world over or (2) control of the people and their lives by political and economic elitists. So, fellow soldiers on the battlefield of monetary sovereignty, every January Third join me in a Proof of Keys! Sincerely, Trace Mayer
An extensive guide for cashing out bitcoin and cryptocurrencies into private banks
Hey guys. Merry Xmas ! I am coming back to you with a follow up post, as I have helped many people cash out this year and I have streamlined the process. After my original post, I received many requests to be more specific and provide more details. I thought that after the amazing rally we have been attending over the last few months, and the volatility of the last few days, it would be interesting to revisit more extensively. The attitude of banks around crypto is changing slowly, but it is still a tough stance. For the first partial cash out I operated around a year ago for a client, it took me months to find a bank. They wouldn’t want to even consider the case and we had to knock at each and every door. Despite all my contacts it was very difficult back in the days. This has changed now, and banks have started to open their doors, but there is a process, a set of best practices and codes one has to follow. I often get requests from crypto guys who are very privacy-oriented, and it takes me months to have them understand that I am bound by Swiss law on banking secrecy, and I am their ally in this onboarding process. It’s funny how I have to convince people that banks are legit, while on the other side, banks ask me to show that crypto millionaires are legit. I have a solid background in both banking and in crypto so I manage to make the bridge, but yeah sometimes it is tough to reconcile the two worlds. I am a crypto enthusiast myself and I can say that after years of work in the banking industry I have grown disillusioned towards banks as well, like many of you. Still an account in a Private bank is convenient and powerful. So let’s get started.
A. What is required to open an account in a Private bank when you made your fortune through crypto.
There are two different aspects to your onboarding in a Swiss Private bank, compliance-wise. *The origin of your crypto wealth *Your background (residence, citizenship and probity) These two aspects must be documented in-depth. How to document your crypto wealth. Each new crypto millionaire has a different story. I may detail a few fun stories later in this post, but at the end of the day, most of crypto rich I have met can be categorized within the following profiles: the miner, the early adopter, the trader, the corporate entity, the black market, the libertarian/OTC buyer. The real question is how you prove your wealth is legit. 1. Context around the original amount/investment Generally speaking, your first crypto purchase may not be documented. But the context around this acquisition can be. I have had many cases where the original amount was bought through Mtgox, and no proof of purchase could be provided, nor could be documented any Mtgox claim. That’s perfectly fine. At some point Mtgox amounted 70% of the bitcoin transactions globally, and people who bought there and managed to withdraw and keep hold of their bitcoins do not have any Mtgox claim. This is absolutely fine. However, if you can show me the record of a wire from your bank to Tisbane (Mtgox's parent company) it's a great way to start. Otherwise, what I am trying to document here is the following: I need context. If you made your first purchase by saving from summer jobs, show me a payroll. Even if it was USD 2k. If you acquired your first bitcoins from mining, show me the bills of your mining equipment from 2012 or if it was through a pool mine, give me your slushpool account ref for instance. If you were given bitcoin against a service you charged, show me an invoice. 2. Tracking your wealth until today and making sense of it. What I have been doing over the last few months was basically educating compliance officers. Thanks God, the blockchain is a global digital ledger! I have been telling my auditors and compliance officers they have the best tool at their disposal to lead a proper investigation. Whether you like it or not, your wealth can be tracked, from address to address. You may have thought all along this was a bad feature, but I am telling you, if you want to cash out, in the context of Private Banking onboarding, tracking your wealth through the block explorer is a boon. We can see the inflows, outflows. We can see the age behind an address. An early adopter who bought 1000 BTC in 2010, and let his bitcoin behind one address and held thus far is legit, whether or not he has a proof of purchase to show. That’s just common sense. My job is to explain that to the banks in a language they understand. Let’s have a look at a few examples and how to document the few profiles I mentioned earlier. The trader. I love traders. These are easy cases. I have a ton of respect for them. Being a trader myself in investment banks for a decade earlier in my career has taught me that controlling one’s emotions and having the discipline to impose oneself some proper risk management system is really really hard. Further, being able to avoid the exchange bankruptcy and hacks throughout crypto history is outstanding. It shows real survival instinct, or just plain blissed ignorance. In any cases traders at exchange are easy cases to corroborate since their whole track record is potentially available. Some traders I have met have automated their trading and have shown me more than 500k trades done over the span of 4 years. Obviously in this kind of scenario I don’t show everything to the bank to avoid information overload, and prefer to do some snacking here and there. My strategy is to show the early trades, the most profitable ones, explain the trading strategy and (partially expose) the situation as of now with id pages of the exchanges and current balance. Many traders have become insensitive to the risk of parking their crypto at exchange as they want to be able to trade or to grasp an occasion any minute, so they generally do not secure a substantial portion on the blockchain which tends to make me very nervous. The early adopter. Provided that he has not mixed his coin, the early adopter or “hodler” is not a difficult case either. Who cares how you bought your first 10k btc if you bought them below 3$ ? Even if you do not have a purchase proof, I would generally manage to find ways. We just have to corroborate the original 30’000 USD investment in this case. I mainly focus on three things here: *proof of early adoption I have managed to educate some banks on a few evidences specifically related to crypto markets. For instance with me, an old bitcointalk account can serve as a proof of early adoption. Even an old reddit post from a few years ago where you say how much you despise this Ripple premined scam can prove to be a treasure readily available to show you were early. *story telling Compliance officers like to know when, why and how. They are human being looking for simple answers to simple questions and they don’t want like to be played fool. Telling the truth, even without a proof can do wonders, and even though bluffing might still work because banks don’t fully understand bitcoin yet, it is a risky strategy that is less and less likely to pay off as they are getting more sophisticated by the day. *micro transaction from an old address you control This is the killer feature. Send a $20 worth transaction from an old address to my company wallet and to one of my partner bank’s wallet and you are all set ! This is gold and considered a very solid piece of evidence. You can also do a microtransaction to your own wallet, but banks generally prefer transfer to their own wallet. Patience with them please. they are still learning. *signature message Why do a micro transaction when you can sign a message and avoid potentially tainting your coins ? *ICO millionaire Some clients made their wealth participating in ETH crowdsale or IOTA ICO. They were very easy to deal with obviously and the account opening was very smooth since we could evidence the GENESIS TxHash flow. The miner Not so easy to proof the wealth is legit in that case. Most early miners never took screenshot of the blocks on bitcoin core, nor did they note down the block number of each block they mined. Until the the Slashdot article from August 2010 anyone could mine on his laptop, let his computer run overnight and wake up to a freshly minted block containing 50 bitcoins back in the days. Not many people were structured enough to store and secure these coins, avoid malwares while syncing the blockchain continuously, let alone document the mined blocks in the process. What was 50 BTC worth really for the early miners ? dust of dollars, games and magic cards… Even miners post 2010 are generally difficult to deal with in terms of compliance onboarding. Many pool mining are long dead. Deepbit is down for instance and the founders are MIA. So my strategy to proof mining activity is as follow: *Focusing on IT background whenever possible. An IT background does help a lot to bring some substance to the fact you had the technical ability to operate a mining rig. *Showing mining equipment receipts. If you mined on your own you must have bought the hardware to do so. For instance mining equipment receipts from butterfly lab from 2012-2013 could help document your case. Similarly, high electricity bill from your household on a consistent basis back in the day could help. I have already unlocked a tricky case in the past with such documents when the bank was doubtful. *Wallet.dat files with block mining transactions from 2011 thereafter This obviously is a fantastic piece of evidence for both you and me if you have an old wallet and if you control an address that received original mined blocks, (even if the wallet is now empty). I will make sure compliance officers understand what it means, and as for the early adopter, you can prove your control over these wallet through a microtransaction. With these kind of addresses, I can show on the block explorer the mined block rewards hitting at regular time interval, and I can even spot when difficulty level increased or when halvening process happened. *Poolmining account. Here again I have educated my partner bank to understand that a slush account opened in 2013 or an OnionTip presence was enough to corroborate mining activity. The block explorer then helps me to do the bridge with your current wallet. *Describing your set up and putting it in context In the history of mining we had CPU, GPU, FPG and ASICs mining. I will describe your technical set up and explain why and how your set up was competitive at that time. The corporate entity Remember 2012 when we were all convinced bitcoin would take over the world, and soon everyone would pay his coffee in bitcoin? How naïve we were to think transaction fees would remain low forever. I don’t blame bitcoin cash supporters; I once shared this dream as well. Remember when we thought global adoption was right around the corner and some brick and mortar would soon accept bitcoin transaction as a common mean of payment? Well, some shop actually did accept payment and held. I had a few cases as such of shops holders, who made it to the multi million mark holding and had invoices or receipts to proof the transactions. If you are organized enough to keep a record for these trades and are willing to cooperate for the documentation, you are making your life easy. The digital advertising business is also a big market for the bitcoin industry, and affiliates partner compensated in btc are common. It is good to show an invoice, it is better to show a contract. If you do not have a contract (which is common since all advertising deals are about ticking a check box on the website to accept terms and conditions), there are ways around that. If you are in that case, pm me. The black market Sorry guys, I can’t do much for you officially. Not that I am judging you. I am a libertarian myself. It’s just already very difficult to onboard legit btc adopters, so the black market is a market I cannot afford to consider. My company is regulated so KYC and compliance are key for me if I want to stay in business. Behind each case I push forward I am risking the credibility and reputation I have built over the years. So I am sorry guys I am not risking it to make an extra buck. Your best hope is that crypto will eventually take over the world and you won’t need to cash out anyway. Or go find a Lithuanian bank that is light on compliance and cooperative. The OTC buyer and the libertarian. Generally a very difficult case. If you bought your stack during your journey in Japan 5 years ago to a guy you never met again; or if you accumulated on https://localbitcoins.com/ and kept no record or lost your account, it is going to be difficult. Not impossible but difficult. We will try to build a case with everything else we have, and I may be able to onboard you. However I am risking a lot here so I need to be 100% confident you are legit, before I defend you. Come & see me in Geneva, and we will talk. I will run forensic services like elliptic, chainalysis, or scorechain on an extract of your wallet. If this scan does not raise too many red flags, then maybe we can work together ! If you mixed your coins all along your crypto history, and shredded your seeds because you were paranoid, or if you made your wealth mining professionally monero over the last 3 years but never opened an account at an exchange. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ I am not a magician and don’t get me wrong, I love monero, it’s not the point. Cashing out ICOs Private companies or foundations who have ran an ICO generally have a very hard time opening a bank account. The few banks that accept such projects would generally look at 4 criteria: *Seriousness of the project Extensive study of the whitepaper to limit the reputation risk *AML of the onboarding process ICOs 1.0 have no chance basically if a background check of the investors has not been conducted *Structure of the moral entity List of signatories, certificate of incumbency, work contract, premises... *Fiscal conformity Did the company informed the authorities and seek a fiscal ruling.
B. The tax issue I am not a tax specialist, but I can say that this year I have seen it all. Again I am not judging. You made $100m hodling, and still wouldn’t pay your taxes ? Your decision.I personally advise everyone to pay their taxes, but also to be generous, to give to charities. I mean you eventually made it. Good for you. What about you contribute to make the world a better place now? I will stop patronizing you. It’s just my 2cts, and it’s your money.
For the record, I am not into the tax avoidance business, so people come to me with a set up and I see if I can make it work within the legal framework imposed to me. First, stop thinking Switzerland is a “offshore heaven” Swiss banks have made deals with many governments for the exchange of fiscal information. If you are a French citizen, resident in France and want to open an account in a Private Bank in Switzerland to cash out your bitcoins, you will get slaughtered (>60%). There are ways around that, and I could refer you to good tax specialists for fiscal optimization, but I cannot organize it myself. It would be illegal for me. Swiss private banks makes it easy for you to keep a good your relation with your retail bank and continue paying your bills without headaches. They are integrated to SEPA, provide ebanking and credit cards. For information, these are the kind of set up some of my clients came up with. It’s all legal; obviously I do not onboard clients that are not tax compliant. Further disclaimer: I did not contribute myself to these set up. Do not ask me to organize it for you. I won’t. EU tricks Swiss lump sum taxation Foreign nationals resident in Switzerland can be taxed on a lump-sum basis if they are not gainfully employed in our country. Under the lump-sum tax regime, foreign nationals taking residence in Switzerland may choose to pay an expense-based tax instead of ordinary income and wealth tax. Attractive cantons for the lump sum taxation are Zug, Vaud, Valais, Grisons, Lucerne and Berne. To make it short, you will be paying somewhere between 200 and 400k a year and all expenses will be deductible. Switzerland has adopted a very friendly attitude towards crypto currency in general. There is a whole crypto valley in Zug now. 30% of ICOs are operated in Switzerland. The reason is that Switzerland has thrived for centuries on banking secrecy, and today with FATCA and exchange of fiscal info with EU, banking secrecy is dead. Regulators in Switzerland have understood that digital ledger technologies were a way to roll over this competitive advantage for the generations to come. Switzerland does not tax capital gains on crypto profits. The Finma has a very pragmatic approach. They have issued guidance- updated guidelines here. They let the business get organized and operate their analysis on a case per case basis. Only after getting a deep understanding of the market will they issue a global fintech license in 2019. This approach is much more realistic than legislations which try to regulate everything beforehand. Italy new tax exemption. It’s a brand new fiscal exemption. Go to Aoste, get residency and you could be taxed a 100k/year for 10years. Yes, really. Portugal What’s crazy in Europe is the lack of fiscal harmonization. Even if no one in Brussels dares admit it, every other country is doing fiscal dumping. Portugal is such a country and has proved very friendly fiscally speaking. I personally have a hard time trusting Europe. I have witnessed what happened in Greece over the last few years. Some of our ultra high net worth clients got stuck with capital controls. I mean no way you got out of crypto to have your funds confiscated at the next financial crisis! Anyway. FYI Malta Generally speaking, if you get a residence somewhere you have to live there for a certain period of time. Being stuck in Italy is no big deal with Schengen Agreement, but in Malta it is a different story. In Malta, the ordinary residence scheme is more attractive than the HNWI residence scheme. Being an individual, you can hold a residence permit under this scheme and pay zero income tax in Malta in a completely legal way. Monaco Not suitable for French citizens, but for other Ultra High Net worth individual, Monaco is worth considering. You need an account at a local bank as a proof of fortune, and this account generally has to be seeded with at least EUR500k. You also need a proof of residence. I do mean UHNI because if you don’t cash out minimum 30m it’s not interesting. Everything is expensive in Monaco. Real Estate is EUR 50k per square meter. A breakfast at Monte Carlo Bay hotel is 70 EUR. Monaco is sunny but sometimes it feels like a golden jail. Do you really want that for your kids? Dubaï
Set up a company in Dubaï, get your resident card.
Spend one day every 6 month there
Be tax free
US tricks Some Private banks in Geneva do have the license to manage the assets of US persons and U.S citizens. However, do not think it is a way to avoid paying taxes in the US. Opening an account at an authorized Swiss Private banks is literally the same tax-wise as opening an account at Fidelity or at Bank of America in the US. The only difference is that you will avoid all the horror stories. Horror stories are all real by the way. In Switzerland, if you build a decent case and answer all the questions and corroborate your case in depth, you will manage to convince compliance officers beforehand. When the money eventually hits your account, it is actually available and not frozen. The IRS and FATCA require to file FBAR if an offshore account is open. However FBAR is a reporting requirement and does not have taxes related to holding an account outside the US. The taxes would be the same if the account was in the US. However penalties for non compliance with FBAR are very large. The tax liability management is actually performed through the management of the assets ( for exemple by maximizing long term capital gains and minimizing short term gains). The case for Porto Rico. Full disclaimer here. I am not encouraging this. Have not collaborated on such tax avoidance schemes. if you are interested I strongly encourage you to seek a tax advisor and get a legal opinion. I am not responsible for anything written below. I am not going to say much because I am so afraid of uncle Sam that I prefer to humbly pass the hot potato to pwc From here all it takes is a good advisor and some creativity to be tax free on your crypto wealth if you are a US person apparently. Please, please please don’t ask me more. And read the disclaimer again. Trust tricks Generally speaking I do not accept fringe fiscal situation because it puts me in a difficult situation to the banks I work with, and it is already difficult enough to defend a legit crypto case. Trust might be a way to optimize your fiscal situation. Belize. Bahamas. Seychelles. Panama, You name it. At the end of the day, what matters for Swiss Banks are the beneficial owner and the settlor. Get a legal opinion, get it done, and when you eventually knock at a private bank’s door, don’t say it was for fiscal avoidance you stupid ! You will get the door smashed upon you. Be smarter. It will work. My advice is just to have it done by a great tax specialist lawyer, even if it costs you some money, as the entity itself needs to be structured in a professional way. Remember that with trust you are dispossessing yourself off your wealth. Not something to be taken lightly. “Anonymous” cash out. Right. I think I am not going into this topic, neither expose the ways to get it done. Pm me for details. I already feel a bit uncomfortable with all the info I have provided. I am just going to mention many people fear that crypto exchange might become reporting entities soon, and rightly so. This might happen anyday. You have been warned. FYI, this only works for non-US and large cash out. The difference between traders an investors. Danmark, Holland and Germany all make a huge difference if you are a passive investor or if you are a trader. ICO is considered investing for instance and is not taxed, while trading might be considered as income and charged aggressively. I would try my best to protect you and put a focus on your investor profile whenever possible, so you don't have to pay 52% tax if you do not have to :D
C. The cash out itself So you have accumulated patiently a good amount of wealth. For some of us who have been involved in crypto since 2010, it took years. Remember when BTC was stuck at 200$ for months? I personally feel like it was yesterday. There is no way you screw up your wealth by cashing out in a hurry or with low security standards. Here is how the cash out takes should place.
Full cash out or partial cash out? People who have been sitting on crypto for long have grown an emotional and irrational link with their coins. They come to me and say, look, I have 50m in crypto but I would like to cash out 500k only. So first let me tell you that as a wealth manager my advice to you is to take some off the table. Doing a partial cash out is absolutely fine. The market is bullish. We are witnessing a redistribution of wealth at a global scale. Bitcoin is the real #occupywallstreet, and every one will discuss crypto at Xmas eve which will make the market even more supportive beginning 2018, especially with all hedge funds entering the scene. If you want to stay exposed to bitcoin and altcoins, and believe these techs will change the world, it’s just natural you want to keep some coins. In the meantime, if you have lived off pizzas over the last years, and have the means to now buy yourself an nice house and have an account at a private bank, then f***ing do it mate ! Buy physical gold with this account, buy real estate, have some cash at hands. Even though US dollar is worthless to your eyes, it’s good and convenient to have some. Also remember your wife deserves it ! And if you have no wife yet and you are socially awkward like the rest of us, then maybe cashing out partially will help your situation ;) What the Private Banks expect. Joke aside, it is important you understand something. If you come around in Zurich to open a bank account and partially cash out, just don’t expect Private Banks will make an exception for you if you are small. You can’t ask them to facilitate your cash out, buy a 1m apartment with the proceeds of the sale, and not leave anything on your current account. It won’t work. Sadly, under 5m you are considered small in private banking. The bank is ok to let you open an account, provided that your kyc and compliance file are validated, but they will also want you to become a client and leave some money there to invest. This might me despicable, but I am just explaining you their rules. If you want to cash out, you should sell enough to be comfortable and have some left. Also expect the account opening to last at least 3-4 week if everything goes well. You can't just open an account overnight. The cash out logistics. Cashing out 1m USD a day in bitcoin or more is not so hard. Let me just tell you this: Even if you get a Tier 4 account with Kraken and ask Alejandro there to raise your limit over $100k per day, Even if you have a bitfinex account and you are willing to expose your wealth there, Even if you have managed to pass all the crazy due diligence at Bitstamp, The amount should be fractioned to avoid risking your full wealth on exchange and getting slaughtered on the price by trading big quantities. Cashing out involves significant risks at all time. There is a security risk of compromising your keys, a counterparty risk, a fat finger risk. Let it be done by professionals. It is worth every single penny. Most importantly, there is a major difference between trading on an exchange and trading OTC. Even though it’s not publicly disclosed some exchange like Kraken do have OTC desks. Trading on an exchange for a large amount will weight on the prices. Bitcoin is a thin market. In my opinion over 30% of the coins are lost in translation forever. Selling $10m on an exchange in a day can weight on the prices more than you’d think. And if you trade on a exchange, everything is shown on record, and you might wipe out the prices because on exchanges like bitstamp or kraken ultimately your counterparties are retail investors and the market depth is not huge. It is a bit better on Bitfinex. It is way better to trade OTC. Accessing the institutional OTC market is not easy, and that is also the reason why you should ask a regulated financial intermediary if we are talking about huge amounts. Last point, always chose EUR as opposed to USD. EU correspondent banks won’t generally block institutional amounts. However we had the cases of USD funds frozen or delayed by weeks. Most well-known OTC desks are Cumberlandmining (ask for Lucas), Genesis (ask for Martin), Bitcoin Suisse AG (ask for Niklas), circletrade, B2C2, or Altcoinomy (ask for Olivier) Very very large whales can also set up escrow accounts for massive block trades. This world, where blocks over 30k BTC are exchanged between 2 parties would deserve a reddit thread of its own. Crazyness all around. Your options: DIY or going through a regulated financial intermediary. Execution trading is a job in itself. You have to be patient, be careful not to wipe out the order book and place limit orders, monitor the market intraday for spikes or opportunities. At big levels, for a large cash out that may take weeks, these kind of details will save you hundred thousands of dollars. I understand crypto holders are suspicious and may prefer to do it by themselves, but there are regulated entities who now offer the services. Besides, being a crypto millionaire is not a guarantee you will get institutional daily withdrawal limits at exchange. You might, but it will take you another round of KYC with them, and surprisingly this round might be even more aggressive that the ones at Private banks since exchange have gone under intense scrutiny by regulators lately. The fees for cashing out through a regulated financial intermediary to help you with your cash out should be around 1-2% flat on the nominal, not more. And for this price you should get the full package: execution/monitoring of the trades AND onboarding in a private bank. If you are asked more, you are being abused. Of course, you also have the option to do it yourself. It is a way more tedious and risky process. Compliance with the exchange, compliance with the private bank, trading BTC/fiat, monitoring the transfers…You will save some money but it will take you some time and stress. Further, if you approach a private bank directly, it will trigger a series of red flag to the banks. As I said in my previous post, they call a direct approach a “walk-in”. They will be more suspicious than if you were introduced by someone and won’t hesitate to show you high fees and load your portfolio with in-house products that earn more money to the banks than to you. Remember also most banks still do not understand crypto so you will have a lot of explanations to provide and you will have to start form scratch with them! The paradox of crypto millionaires Most of my clients who made their wealth through crypto all took massive amount of risks to end up where they are. However, most of them want their bank account to be managed with a low volatility fixed income capital preservation risk profile. This is a paradox I have a hard time to explain and I think it is mainly due to the fact that most are distrustful towards banks and financial markets in general. Many clients who have sold their crypto also have a cash-out blues in the first few months. This is a classic situation. The emotions involved in hodling for so long, the relief that everything has eventually gone well, the life-changing dynamics, the difficulties to find a new motivation in life…All these elements may trigger a post cash-out depression. It is another paradox of the crypto rich who has every card in his hand to be happy, but often feel a bit sad and lonely. Sometimes, even though it’s not my job, I had to do some psychological support. A lot of clients have also become my friends, because we have the same age and went through the same “ordeal”. First world problem I know… Remember, cashing out is not the end. It’s actually the beginning. Don’t look back, don’t regret. Cash out partially, because it does not make sense to cash out in full, regret it and want back in. relax. The race to cash out crypto billionaire and the concept of late exiter. The Winklevoss brothers are obviously the first of a series. There will be crypto billionaires. Many of them. At a certain level you can have a whole family office working for you to manage your assets and take care of your needs . However, let me tell you it’s is not because you made it so big that you should think you are a genius and know everything better than anyone. You should hire professionals to help you. Managing assets require some education around the investment vehicles and risk management strategies. Sorry guys but with all the respect I have for wallstreebet, AMD and YOLO stock picking, some discipline is necessary. The investors who have made money through crypto are generally early adopters. However I have started to see another profile popping up. They are not early adopters. They are late exiters. It is another way but just as efficient. Last week I met the first crypto millionaire I know who first bough bitcoin over 1000$. 55k invested at the beginning of this year. Late adopter & late exiter is a route that can lead to the million. Last remarks. I know banks, bankers, and FIAT currencies are so last century. I know some of you despise them and would like to have them burn to the ground. With compliance officers taking over the business, I would like to start the fire myself sometimes. I hope this extensive guide has helped some of you. I am around if you need more details. I love my job despite all my frustration towards the banking industry because it makes me meet interesting people on a daily basis. I am a crypto enthusiast myself, and I do think this tech is here to stay and will change the world. Banks will have to adapt big time. Things have started to change already; they understand the threat is real. I can feel the generational gap in Geneva, with all these old bankers who don’t get what’s going on. They glaze at the bitcoin chart on CNBC in disbelief and they start to get it. This bitcoin thing is not a joke. Deep inside, as an early adopter who also intends to be a late exiter, as a libertarian myself, it makes me smile with satisfaction. Cheers. @swisspb on telegram
Can we please organize all the information about what is going on right now in this thread? Coinbase, Kraken, GDAX, and so on? There's no real information here in the sub anymore? Just memes?
Guys, we should make a list of everything that is wrong right now. How is Coinbase doing? Gdax? Kraken? Below I would like to add the status of other Bitcoin services as you guys keep commenting your experiences. The objective would be for us to have a good overview of whats going on right now. Mods, please let this post live. We need information during times where everyone is "What the hell is going on". Please upvote this thread and the good comments and I'll keep editing throughout the day.
Bitfinex is doing fine (unless you margin traded yesterday during the flash crash), I didn't try to withdraw though so I don't know if that's working right now.
Cryptopia (New Zealand exchange) is doing fine, no downtimes, possible to withdraw and everything seems ok besides everything melting down.
GDAX is currently stable.
Kraken is having troubles for a long time now. Orders don't go through, 404 errors and duplicated orders, you name it. Basically,yesterday was like any other day for them. (please check Kraken staff comment below).
Coinbase FINALLY allowed me to buy bitcoin after several attempts and error messages. (this is not consensus, many people still unable to buy / sell through Coinbase). Coinbase say they are under maintenance.
Bitstamp is currently stable and able to make trades.
Gemini has been working fine for me. Threw up a couple limit orders as the price was dropping, they went in and ended up being filled successfully. Other users reporting Gemini was offline most of yesterday.
Quadriga (one of the prominent Canadian exchanges) is business as usual.
Bittrex is being reported by multiple users, transactions delay, transactions cancelled, support is non existance, etc, be careful.
Spectrocoin has been working pretty good for me in this event. Will keep using them.
BTCMarkets (and Coinspot) AUS exchanges are fine. We passed 10k earlier this month with no issues.
Kraken replied to the thread with the following comment: "Hi OP, just as a general update, which has been also mentioned by one of the commenters here, bhishmapitamah/ -- we do have update(s) coming at Kraken, to the trade engine as well, and they are coming soon (anticipated deployment between 1st and 2nd week(s) of December 2017, although we don't have an exact date). Please see here for further details."
Three hours ago I transferred bitcoin (under 1) from Bitstamp to Coinbase, and the money still haven't arrived in my Coinbase wallet. I contacted both, but have had no reply yet. I triple-checked the address, and it is correct. While just shy of 1 BTC isn't much, it's a lot of money to me, and I am beginning to worry. Should I? Or should I just be patient?
A Couple of Notes on the 2013/14 Bubble VS. 2017 Bubble
I'm seeing a lot of posts comparing the 2017 Bubble to the 2013-14 Bubble. I think the comparisons are fair. However, many people are mixing up what happened in 2013-14 and the timeline. One of the most common mistakes I'm seeing is that the 2013-14 bubble popped due to Mt. Gox insolvency. That is false. The 2013-14 bubble was abrupt, even when compared to the 2017 bubble. The price skyrocketed from $200 USD to $1200 USD in one month. From November 1st to November 30th, BTC went up basically 6X. Back in 2013-14, there were basically two markets which were getting solid volume. BTC/USD and BTC/CNY. BTC/USD was mostly taking place on Mt. Gox, Bitstamp, Coinbase, and BTC-e. BTC/CNY was mostly taking place on OKCoin and BTCChina. There was no Korea or Japan back then, which definitely played a major role in the recent bull market. And while Chinese exchanges were creating a lot of fake volume back in 2013-14 through 0% exchange fees, the fact was that China was leading the markets.  They consistently held a 10%+ premium over USD exchanges during the bull run. At the height of the bubble in China, before the PBOC stepped in with its clampdown on Bitcoin, China Telecom and Baidu announced support for Bitcoin. It was on the verge of literally replacing the CNY.  On November 30th, 2013, a rumor emerged that the PBOC (People's Bank of China / China Government) was about to crack down on Bitcoin. A mass panic ensued. The price crashed from $1200 USD to $780 USD. In one day. That's a 35% crash in a single day. However, the market quickly bounced back as people argued that these rumors were fabricated. However, this rebound was short lived. On December 5th, 2013, the PBOC made an official announcement. The government banned financial institutions from interacting with Bitcoin. They also clarified that products / services in China could not be priced in BTC (they must be priced in CNY). The markets went straight down on this news. From $1150 USD when it broke to $540 on December 7th. A 3 day drop of over 50%. Where was Mt. Gox in all this? They were chugging along, delaying fiat withdrawals. Bitcoin withdrawals were working fine. Deposits too. For much of November and December there was very little noise about Mt.Gox actually being insolvent. The overwhelming market sentiment on the matter was that their banks were being disrupted by the US Government investigations into Silkroad. This was true to a very mild extent. If you'd like to argue that people knew Mt. Gox was insolvent at the time of the 2013-14 bubble crash, I'd like to point out that Bitfinex basically had the exact same issues arise in 2017. Fiat withdrawals and deposits were basically turned off. Clearly Bitfinex was a different situation in hindsight (we hope!), but initially it was playing out just the same as Mt. Gox. The markets never really reacted to Bitfinex fiat issues, just as they didn't react to the Mt. Gox issues. There was so much money going through Mt. Gox that it had a Titanic feel to it. The majority of people bought their first BTC on Mt. Gox. The Chart: https://www.tradingview.com/chart/BTCUSD/wlTsEFJ4-Reason-Behind-2013-14-Bitcoin-Bear-Market/ This chart outlines the dates of the key events in the 2013-14 bubble crash. The most significant event in the crash was absolutely the China ban. That is what kicked off the 2013-14 bubble crash, and it definitely had the most profound impact on price. While the Mt. Gox fiasco certainly did not help the markets, it's not the reason for the bubble and should not be quoted as the reason.  So in conclusion, when people are comparing the 2014 bubble with the 2017 bubble, it should be noted that they are very different. But not for the reasons most people assume. They are different because the 2014 bubble was almost entirely based on the Chinese market, and it was squashed by the PBOC themselves by imposing big regulations. Today, the markets are certainly more spread out and there are less single points of failure. There is no single event which turned the bull market to a bear market this time around, although I personally believe we ran out of gas this time around because of regulation in Korea and China.  https://www.cnbc.com/2013/11/28/buyer-beware-bitcoins-fate-could-rest-with-china.html  https://www.coindesk.com/baidu-stops-bitcoin-price-slumps-again/  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mt._Gox
Bitstamp recently paid me out over USD 1m. I wanted to write this post to thank Bitstamp and to assure other users waiting for big payouts. Having lost coins on MtGOx I was extremely nervous. Here’s a summary of what happened: Early January – requested a withdrawal but I realized Bitstamp would change the amount from USD to euros and I wanted to keep it in dollars, so I cancelled the withdrawal. Bitstamp acknowledged the cancellation and requested more Know Your Client information: eg proof that I had purchased the bitcoins on another exchange and my occupation to which I sent them screenshots of my bank statements and my Linkedin account. I replied to the KYC request the same day Early to mid-January – requested a USD SEPA withdrawal to Metro Bank. They refused as Metro Bank reject any Bitcoin related payment. Bitstamp also requested more KYC information End January - requested a USD withdrawal to a Barclays USD account via International Transfer. The delay here was waiting for Barclays to open the USD account which took five days against Metro Bank who instantly opened the account. The international transfer cost about USD 1000 but it ensured Bitstamp would not convert to euros. The USD 1000 charge felt like tipping the dealer. Bitstamp requested more KYC information but did say they would process the withdrawal despite the outstanding KYC information. 7 February – received the money to a USD account The money has been life changing and enabled me to retire in my fifties. It feels like winning the lottery but unlike winning the lottery in the UK I will have to pay tax on it. Please don’t send me any begging letters. If they are anything like the ones I used to send they will break my heart
We've shut down the buy option at the Bitcoin ATM in Vancouver.
UPDATE: All withdrawals have all cleared! For the time being we will manually process all transactions through a personal float until a proper hot wallet solution is implemented. Thanks to everyone for the comments, suggestions, and support. Unfortunately, due to a massive delay in processing at Bitstamp, and ZERO response to repeated contact requests from anyone in management or customer service there, we've had to shut down the buying option at Vancouver's Bitcoin ATM at Waves Coffee. We are dealing with a backlog of 45+ BTC that are "waiting to be processed" and have not been processed since as far back as Tuesday. We will not bring the ATM back online until this backlog clears and we get a response from Bitstamp. To any customers waiting for their coins to come through we apologize for the inconvenience and confusion, and we thank you kindly for your patience. We can also assure you that you will not lose any money or coins as a result of this. The ATM's status can be seen on the front page of www.Bitcoiniacs.com, and we will update it, along with our Facebook page, as soon as this issue is resolved.
Hello all, (For reference I'm outside the EU and USA) With the new bank transfer system that bitstamp is using I'm facing issues withdrawing from bitstamp. They are requesting the routing number for the intermediate USD bank that my local bank uses. Now i have made many international transfers in the past using different banks and brokers and the only required information were my IBAN and swift code. So this seemed like a strange request. None the less I tried with my bank but as you imagine they told me they don't know and advised to use the swift+iban for international transfers. Any idea on how to overcome this? I'm I better off just pulling the BTC and using localBitcoin(especially with the huge delays mentioned here)
Bitcoin traders crippled by server overload (BitStamp), withdrawal/deposit lags (Mt. Gox), and brokers maxing out their daily buy limits (Coinbase). How does an average US speculator/investor even participate right now?
I have accounts established at Mt. Gox, BitStamp, Coinbase, and LBC.com. But it seems like every single bitcoin exchange/purchase platform is experiencing technical difficulties, banking lag, or web traffic issues. I'm hesitant to attempt to deposit USD for coins anywhere at the risk that my $5k-$10k could get trapped in limbo for days or weeks with one of these unreliable (during times of high activity) exchanges/brokers. COINBASE They've been hitting their max daily buy limit on and off as the bitcoin coaster rolls up and down. Investors are using Coinbase as a pseudo-exchange because of the poor performance of more suitable platforms, but the increased traffic has made the site unreliable for purchasing and even accessing. If you're trying to "get in" during a dip, chances are you'll either be unable to login or be hit with a "max daily limit" error. Not cool. BITSTAMP Many people here are reporting delayed deposits hitting their Bitstamp accounts. Wire transfers are taking multiple days, rather than overnight, if they arrive at all. Not to mention their website has been down on and off since last night. You can't reliably login and maintain a session, so it becomes risky to hold your USD there. What if you want to make a move and the servers crash for 3 hours? Unacceptable. MT. GOX Do we even need to mention how retarded it is to trade on Gox? I just saw a thread where someone is still waiting 7 months for their USD withdrawal. Gox is infamous at this point for not being able to pull out your American Dollars. You may be able to deposit and get some coins, but Gox prices are the highest in the land and you'll have to sell them elsewhere at very reduced value, totally slicing into your gains. Moral of the story: Stay away! LOCALBITCOINS.COM With the wild swings in the market, it's impractical to make big, fast moves when you have to drive to Starbucks to hand a guy $5k cash for some BTC. By the time you get back to your house, who knows what the market will look like. Good option for those wanting to simply get some bitcoin and hold it forever. Not an option for people looking to trade or making quick moves day-to-day. Serious Question: How are average US speculators and investors supposed to participate in the bitcoin market right now with the increased traffic crippling all of the entry points? Increased traffic from increased awareness and desire to participate should be terrific for all of us holding some coin, but when the buying platforms aren't able to handle the influx, we're stuck on the outside just watching the charts and furiously F5-ing on the login screens of our exchange of choice. Bit of a rant, I guess. Chime in with any thoughts on the current situation.
Has anyone actually managed to withdraw more than 50k EUR from Bitstamp lately?
The reason I ask this is because I initiated such a withdrawal 7 days ago. I have very clean money trail, nothing even remotely shady about it. They have a copy of my passport, driver's license a photo of me holding my passport and even proof of residency. All provably legal and transparent. However, for the whole week I received strange and irrelevant questions about my bitcoins to the extent of even false claims which were very easy to disprove based on the block chain. It made me think that if it's not about the legality of my funds then could it be that Bitstamp is insolvent? An exchange in such a position would have no other option than to delay withdrawals indefinitely. If that's the case then I might be better off cancelling my withdrawal and trying to get my coins out from there ASAP, right? So, let me know what are your thoughts and what should I do. Also, if you happen to know some European Bitcoin exchange from where you can actually do successful fiat withdrawals in a reasonable time then please let me know. For the record, here's a brief overview of my situation. In 2012 I bought a certain amount of bitcoins from Bitstamp. I withdrew those bitcoins to the wallet that I still possess. In 2013 I moved part of those coins to a cold storage address. No mixers were used, everything transparent on the block chain. A couple of weeks ago I moved a part of those cold storage coins directly to Bitstamp and sold them. I then opened a fiat withdrawal request. They started asking weird and completely irrelevant questions, and even making a false claim that those bitcoins were somehow connected to a particular Bitcoin service. But oh no, here they made a brutal mistake because that particular service was created in 2014, long after the coins were sent to cold storage. So, shortly put, I bought bitcoins from Bitstamp in 2012 and I sold those SAME EXACT bitcoins on Bitstamp in 2017 and now they are (what seems to be) deliberately delaying my withdrawal. Share your stories and opinions please. EDIT: Just received a reply to the support ticket. I think Bitstamp is good. They ask a lot of questions but at the end of the day when your bitcoins are provably legit they won't delay it any further. I think they are solvent after all :)
thank you for your explanation. We have successfully concluded the periodic review and have instructed our payments department to further process your pending withdrawal transfer. You will receive an e-mail notification as soon as the process is concluded and funds have been sent to the designated account. However, we would like to remind you that this Bitstamp account is for your personal and non-commercial use and the possible liquidation of the Bitcoins, received as donations on your website, is not allowed. Should you have any questions or require any assistance in the future we are at your service.
Anyone experiencing delays in withdrawing bitcoin from Bitstamp? A friend told me he put in withdrawal requests for bitcoin and several alts worth about 40 BTC on Saturday night (October 27, 2018). 24 hours later the requests were still pending.
Hi Bitcoiners! I’m back with the seventh monthly Bitcoin news recap. Last month's post got very little love, and I don't expect much more success with everyone focussing on August 1st, but here it is nonetheless. In my eyes definitely one of the most eventful months in Bitcoin's history, absolutely unreal how much happened:
SegWit activation imminent
Epic analysis of spam attacks & a 10M-user LN network
2013 price buble & Mt. Gox hack reveals
BTC-e went down
Bitcoin sign guy
Steepest rises and crashes USD-wise
To name a few. For those unfamiliar with the monthly recap, each day I pick out the most popularelevant/interesting stories in bitcoin and save them. At the end of the month I release them in one batch, to give you a quick (but not necessarily the best) overview of what happened in bitcoin over the past month. You can see recaps of the previous months on Bitcoinsnippets.com If you're on mobile and can't see the links below, check the web version. A recap of Bitcoin in July 2017
TL/DR: A young man had a secret. To keep it hidden, he kept digging until the hole was a billion dollars deep. This is a speculative tale of a great bitcoin theft from MtGox in 2011 and the efforts that this man undertook to fix it. The tale explains the bitcoin bear market of 2011, the explosive rally of 2013, delayed fiat withdrawals, malled transactions, and a bot named Willy. “By the time you realize that real life has begun, you are already three moves in.”—Author unknown It was June 19, 2011. Mark, a 26 year-old young man—a boy really—was ecstatic. He had recently purchased MtGox—a small, online exchange for trading virtual tokens—and business was booming. These virtual tokens were called bitcoins and Mark loved them. Bitcoins were an obscure curiosity: a peer-to-peer electronic cash system that allowed users to store and exchange credits with any other user in the world, nearly instantly, and without the assistance of a third-party or the permission of an authority. All that was needed was a 78-digit secret number—a key if you will. In order for his customers to withdraw their bitcoins over the internet, MtGox stored some of these keys on its online server. The remaining keys were stored on USB drives and backed up on paper to prevent theft should the server be compromised. But theft was hardly a concern. In October of 2010, bitcoins were trading for $0.10 and the half a million bitcoins held by MtGox was worth only $50,000. But still Mark took precautions, diligently moving bitcoins to offline storage and leaving only what was necessary for customer withdrawals online. He truly wanted both his business and bitcoin to succeed. By April, the bitcoin price had risen to $1 and by June it had exploded to $30. Between June 1 and June 15, an additional one million bitcoins were sent to MtGox and immediately sold, crashing the price back to $10. It was a hectic time, with hundreds of customers needing help, visits from the FBI related to the Silk Road black market, and stress related to the recent market crash. Young Mark was becoming a victim of his own success: there simply wasn’t enough time to get everything done. On this very day in June 2011, the keys to the recently-deposited 1,000,000 BTC were still sitting on his server. Later this day, a group of hackers gained access to MtGox servers and executed fake trades that the world could see, driving the nominal price of bitcoin near $0. Mark was frantic. He quickly regained control of the servers and learned the dark truth: the million bitcoins that had recently flooded in earlier that month were gone. Mark admitted publically to the hack, rewound the false trades, but kept the truth of the missing coins a secret. How could this 26-year old explain to his customers that he had lost their bitcoins? And if the world found out, would this kill the thing he loved so dearly? Would he go to jail? Or worse yet, would someone kill him? Mark decided that he would do what he thought was right: he would slowly earn back the lost bitcoin with MtGox trading fee profits and eventually make his customers whole again. He still had over 500,000 BTC left—he moved 424242.42424242 BTC between bitcoin addresses and convinced the community that MtGox was solvent. As long as withdrawals didn’t exceed deposits over a long period of time, no one would ever find out the truth. Or so he thought. Meanwhile, the bitcoin thieves slowly mixed their coins with other coins, obfuscating the chain of ownership, and then re-selling these coins on MtGox using sock-puppet accounts. Mark tried to stop them, but there was no way he could know for sure which accounts were fraudulent—he even accused innocent people of bitcoin laundering. The constant selling of these stolen bitcoins drove the price down to $2 in November 2011. Mark faithfully used all of the MtGox profits to purchase coins back during this decline. But he would never use customer funds—that was a line he swore not to cross. The selling of these stolen bitcoins continued at a diminished rate over 2012, and Mark continually purchased coins using the MtGox trading fees. The bitcoin economy was growing and new exchanges were opening up across the world. His bitcoin reserves weren’t building fast enough but the price of bitcoin kept rising (along with the dollar value of the missing bitcoins). He was worried that other exchanges would suck coins out of Gox and reveal his secret. He decided he needed to take decisive action: for the first time, he used customer funds to purchase real bitcoins. These large purchases by Mark further increased demand and ignited the great rally of spring 2013 when the bitcoin price shot from $20 to $266. Mark had reduced his liability in bitcoins, but in dollar terms the coins that were still missing were worth more than ever before. On May 15, 2013 the US Department of Homeland Security seized millions of dollars from the MtGox Dwolla bank account. MtGox dollar reserves were already depleted at this point, and with the recent seizure, Mark could no longer make good on customer withdrawals in US dollars. Under the guise of “banking problems,” MtGox slowed US dollar withdrawals to a trickle in the summer of 2013. Customers became increasingly worried and began to bid up the price of bitcoin on MtGox, as this was the only way to escape with their funds. MtGox had little fiat and very little bitcoins, but it learned one thing: as the price differential between Gox and BitStamp grew, the outwards flow of bitcoin slowed dramatically. And so Willy was born. Willy was a bot, discovered by Wall Observers from bitcointalk.org and named by Opet on Bonavest's trading show, who would consistently purchased bitcoins at regular intervals between November 2013 and February 2014. Evidence that Willy belonged to Mark was revealed when both web and API trading at Gox was disabled for a brief period of time, exposing Willy as the only one left buying. Willy served two purposes: he drove the price of bitcoin on the MtGox exchange high, thereby slowing and sometimes reversing the outward flow of real BTC, and he reduced the number of GoxBTC held by clients. Of course, this meant that Willy eventually became the owner of a huge number of GoxBTC (that were of course no longer backed by real BTC). By December, the situation at MtGox was grim. In a desperate attempt to attract more funds, Mark offered reduced trading fees under the guise of celebrating their 1,000,000th customer. This partially worked, but Mark knew it was too late. If MtGox collapsed, it must appear that he didn’t know about the theft until now—for it was better to appear incompetent than criminal. It was time to cover his tracks. He purposely mixed immature coins into bitcoin withdrawals to delay the outward flow of coins, and later began malling his own transactions. He added the Gox malleability weakness not as a bug, but as a feature, so that it would seem plausible that outsiders had recently stolen the coins without his awareness. No coins were actually lost to malleability. The MtGox coin supply dwindled to 2,000 BTC and on February 7, 2014. He had no choice but to disable bitcoin withdrawals. The end was near. The problem Mark faced was that his customers had $150,000,000 credited to their accounts, yet the MtGox bank account only contained $38,000,000. He could blame the missing bitcoins on transaction malleability, but how could he explain where the fiat money went? He shifted Willy into reverse and cranked the throttle. Willy relentlessly dumped bitcoins into the open bids. The price fell further and further, eventually dropping well below the BitStamp price. But still not enough people were buying! He needed his customers to buy the GoxBTC. Willy kept dumping coins until finally the price dropped below $100. MtGox even acquired new USD bank wires from customers looking to purchase the cheap coins. By this time, the majority of Gox customers had converted their dollars into bitcoins. On February 28, 2014, Mt Gox filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo, reporting 6.5 billion yen in liabilities, 3.8 billion yen in assets, and 750,000 of customer bitcoins missing. Willy had failed to completely close the fiat solvency gap and Mark finally admitted to having lost the coins. Now we watch the rest of the story unfold. A story of how an oversight during a hectic period, an untimely theft, and an attempt to cover it up, lead to the greatest loss in the history of bitcoin. Cross-posted from: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=497289.0
Anyone experiencing delays in withdrawing bitcoin from Bitstamp? A friend told me he put in withdrawal requests for bitcoin and several alts worth about 40 BTC on Saturday night (October 27, 2018). 24 hours later the requests were still pending. 2 comments. share. save hide report. 88% Upvoted . This thread is archived. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast. Sort by. best ... Bitcoin is a distributed, worldwide, decentralized digital money. Bitcoins are issued and managed without any central authority whatsoever: there is no government, company, or bank in charge of Bitcoin. You might be interested in Bitcoin if you like cryptography, distributed peer-to-peer systems, or economics. A large percentage of Bitcoin enthusiasts are libertarians, though people of all ... Bitstamp Ltd 5 New Street Square London EC4A 3TW United Kingdom CONTACT [email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected] +44 20 3868 9628 +1 646 568 9784 +352 20 88 10 96 Bitstamp Bitcoin Withdrawal Processing Time, Accordingly, all nodes lie at the same level, bitstamp bitcoin withdrawal processing time so aplicativos para ganhar dinheiro no android that there is no place network and the Bitcoin Cash network.! Bitcoin Börsen Unterschiedliche Preise! The bitstamp bitcoin cash app will text you after your coinbase transaction cancelled for the refund policy. You can not move coins from the BTC into the BCH network, even if you got success in bitcoin cash recover, Coins cara withdraw bitcoin dari blockchain database. In case of bitcoin delay while proceeding BTC markets withdrawal after creating account it will cause delay btc markets bank ...
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