The lawyer for Alexander Vinnik, the alleged former operator of defunct cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e, has said that a district court in Cyprus has withdrawn their lawsuit on charges “of fraud, money laundering and other crimes.” This development was reported by state-operated Russian news agency RIA Novosti Nov. 27.

Timofey Musatov, the head of the lawyers’ group representing Vinnik, has said that the  district court of Limassol city has formally granted the plaintiffs’ petition to recall their lawsuit against Vinnik and even ruled “to compensate the defendant for all legal costs incurred by him.” Musatov added:

“The case against Alexander collapsed at an early stage and, importantly, at the initiative of the plaintiffs themselves, which clearly indicates the weakness of the accusatory component against Alexander, the vulnerability of the legal position of the plaintiffs and their unwillingness to bring the case to open legal proceedings.”

Meanwhile, this withdrawal does not mean that the case against Vinnik has been closed. Greece is now considering an appeal for France’s request for the extradition of Vinnik, a Russian citizen. The next court session is scheduled Nov. 29, RIA Novosti reports.

In 2017, Greece’s Supreme Court ruled to extradite Vinnik to the U.S., where he faces charges of money laundering and fraud. Back in July, the Greek court had already ruled to extradite Vinnik to France on charges of fraud and money laundering, reportedly involving up to $4 billion in Bitcoin(BTC), as Cointelegraph reported Jul. 14.

This fall, Russia also requested Vinnik’s extradition to face several cyber fraud charges. The Supreme Civil and Criminal Court of Greece ruled in Russia’s favor, leaving the question of Vinnik’s final extradition location unclear, Cointelegraph wrote Sep. 4.

Earlier this week, Musatov said that his client would go on a hunger strike starting Nov. 26 in order to protest the alleged “stripping” of his rights for defense in France and Greece.

The world’s second largest stock exchange Nasdaq and U.S. investment firm VanEck have announced a partnership to jointly launch a set of “transparent, regulated and surveilled” digital assets products. VanEck’s director of digital asset strategy Gabor Gurbacs tweeted the news Nov. 27.

Gurbacs revealed the partnership at the Consensus:Invest crypto conference in New York City. The announcement echoes yesterday’s report from Bloomberg, citing “two people familiar with the matter,” that Nasdaq would be rolling out a Bitcoin (BTC) futures contract as early as Q1 ‘19.

Gurbacs indicated in his tweet that the new products would harness Nasdaq’s SMARTS Market Surveillance system, alongside VanEck’s MVIS digital asset pricing indices.

SMARTS is a cross-market, cross-asset, multi-venue surveillance tool that correlates real-time and historical data with detection patterns to trace illegal market activities such as spoofing and wash trading.

As of press time, it has not been confirmed whether the BTC futures contract will be cash-backed, or physically settled (i.e. with returns paid out in BTC rather than fiat currency).

As reported, VanEck is currently awaiting a final decision from securities regulators on its joint proposal for a physically-backed Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) together with blockchain software and financial services firm SolidX.

After a rejection by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in March 2017, the proposal was re-submitted for listing on CBOE’s BZX Equities Exchange this June. Its fate is still pending since the SEC postponed its decision this August.

While cash-settled Bitcoin futures contracts came to market as early as December 2017, the first physically-delivered Bitcoin futures are targeted for launch in January 2019 on Bakkt, the digital assets platform created by New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) operator, the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).

After siding with the bull on Tuesday and making its way to the CoinMarketCap’s top-10 list, Bitcoin SV [BSV] has fallen prey to the bear once again. After having grown 80% in the past seven days, on Wednesday, BSV started trading after falling 27% and had slipped to the ninth position.

On the other hand, the market that was covered in red on Tuesday, appears to be bullish on Wednesday. At the time of writing, BSV was trading at $92.87, after going down over 9% over the past 24 hours.

Source: CoinMarketGap

Source: CoinMarketGap

According to the CoinMarketCap, the coin was trading at $83.99, with a 24-hour trade volume of $2.62 billion. The maximum trading volume was registered by Upbit, a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, on the BSV/KRW trading pair. The second and third positions were held by Binance in the BCHSV/USDT and BCHSV/BTC trading pairs respectively.

Upbit registered a 24-hour trade volume of $79 million, while Binance registered a 24-hour trading volume of $67 million and $52 million on the BCHSV/USDT and BCHSV/BTC pairs respectively. Binance was followed by Bithumb, Coinsuper, and Gate.io.

The cryptocurrency had gained the brief momentum after Dr. Craig Wright, the Chief Scientist at nChain, aka Faketoshi, tweeted:

“On Friday, at Coingeek week, I will be announcing a game changing new tech we have for SV. Bitcoin as it was originally intended And, only SV”.

Calvin Ayre, the founder of Ayre group and a key player in the crypto market, had earlier stated that BSV’s return was in the form of an “original Bitcoin” and the future of BSV.

He said that BSV has better technology and stated:

“It is a superior technology, head and shoulders above any other chain, and this has been proven when we mined a 64 MB block on the BSV chain last week. No other crypto platform is even close to scaling this much, and this is only the beginning of BSV’s scaling road map.”

Between 600,000 and 800,000 bitcoin miners have shut down since mid-November amid declines in price and hashrate across the network, according to the third-largest mining pool.

In an interview with CoinDesk, Mao Shixing, founder of F2pool, said his firm’s estimate takes into account the total network hashrate drop and the average hash power of older mining machines that are having a hard time generating profits.

According to data from blockchain.info, the bitcoin network’s entire hashrate, which captures the aggregated computing power on the world’s first blockchain, has dropped from around 47 million tera hashes per second (TH/s) on Nov. 10 to 41 million on Nov. 24 – an almost 13 percent decline.

Mao explained most miners that may have halted operations are likely those using older models, such as the Antminer T9+ made by Bitmain and AvalonMiner 741 by Canaan Creative. These miners have an average hash power of around 10 TH/s and are estimated to be losing money right now, according to F2pool’s miner revenue index.

In fact, the bitcoin hashrate on F2pool, which now accounts for about 11.4 percent of the total network, has also seen a decline of over 10 percent in recent weeks, Mao said.

“It’s hard to calculate a precise number of miners connected to us that had unplugged. But we saw over tens of thousands of them [shut down] in the past several days based on conversations we had with larger farms that we are in regular contact with,” he said, adding:

“This is what’s happening among miners in China.”

On Nov. 20, Mao shared via his Weibo social media account a photo of a man packing computer gear into boxes, with the caption “shutting down is not an option, now have to sell by the kilos.”

The post was widely taken to mean even mining equipment of recent vintage was being sold off by the kilogram in China, but Mao told CoinDesk he was half-kidding when he wrote it, explaining:

“Those miners being sold by the kilos are even older and obsolete models that aren’t usable anymore. So people are selling to recycle [them] like copper instead of for further mining purposes.”

Winter Is Coming

Stepping back, Mao said there are multiple factors that contributed to the shakeout among miners, including the recent market decline that followed the bitcoin cash hard fork on Nov. 15; an increase in electricity costs in China; and the fact that Chinese manufacturers are still racing to upgrade their products, making older machines increasingly uncompetitive.

“All these factors are overlapping right now which led to this recent phenomenon,” Mao said.

As the winter comes in China, hydropower plants are experiencing a dry season when electricity costs have doubled from what they would have been in the summer when water was abundant.

During the summer, Mao said, electricity costs in China’s mountainous Southwestern region, where lots of mining farms reside, could go below 0.2 yuan, or $0.029, per 1 KW/h. But at this time of the year, that is going up to above 0.3 yuan ($0.043).

While other fossil fuel power stations, for instance in China’s Xinjiang province, may generate electricity at a steadier rate, the overall costs are still at least about 0.28 yuan ($0.04) per 1KW/h, Mao said.

As bitcoin’s price recently tanked to a 13-month low below $4,000, mining farms that have been using machines made in 2016 and 2017 with lower productivity just can’t break even, Mao added.

To be sure, the fact that mining farms have unplugged does not necessarily mean they are out of the game completely.

“Bitcoin mining is always a dynamically adjusted process,” Mao said, meaning when the hashrate drops, so does the mining difficulty. The latest data shows the bitcoin mining difficulty has already declined slightly by 5 percent within the past a few days.

This dynamically adjusted process could give those who haven’t thrown in the towel an incentive to stick around, Mao said, concluding:

“The change of bitcoin’s mining difficulty normally has a lag of about 14 days [following hashrate change]. After this wave of shutdowns, those players who opted to stay in may have a better life.”

Honeysuckle White is giving family and friends gathering for Thanksgiving dinner this year the opportunity to talk turkey with a traceable blockchain code on more than 200,000 turkeys sold through 3,500 retailers around the U.S. The traceable turkeys, a limited supply of which is also available through internet retailer Amazon, offer consumers a high-tech connection to the farm where the centerpiece of the meal began its journey to the table.

The blockchain, which Honeysuckle White developed using Hyperledger’s Sawtooth platform, is intended to establish a “proven and trusted environment to build a transparent food chain, integrating farmers and producers, suppliers, processors, distributors, retailers, regulators and consumers,” according to a company release.

With more than 70 independent farms participating in Honeysuckle’s traceable turkey program, Cargill, the Minnesota-based agricultural giant owner of Honeysuckle, hopes to establish a stronger connection with consumers. While incorporating a blockchain element to the supply-and-distribution chain means the development of a data-rich environment, Cargill’s current emphasis in using the technology centers on storytelling.

Putting turkeys on the blockchain marks a deeper dive into data development for companies utilizing the technology. “Most people don’t know what we mean by it,” Deb Bauler, CIO of Cargill’s Protein and Salt Division, told Bitcoin Magazine. Rather than maintain a focus solely on data, utilization of the blockchain also opens an opportunity around a brand’s narrative.

Through a text or entering the on-package code at the Honeysuckle White site, consumers trace their turkey to its specific family farm, including the state and county of the farms, and they can also view the history and see photos of the family farm. The code also includes messages from the farmers.

Down the road, the Honeysuckle blockchain could include an Internet of Things element. This could include things such as the temperature of the truck transporting the turkeys to retail outlets.

“It’s a unique value statement,” Bauler said.

Honeysuckle, based in Wichita, Kansas, began implementing its traceable turkey program last year with a pilot that included only four farms and 60,000 birds available for the holiday season. With the successful pilot, Honeysuckle’s expansion of the program addresses consumer demand for food source transparency. Kassie Long, Honeysuckle White’s brand manager, says the company’s promotion of the product includes social media and other forms of advertising.

Thanksgiving turkey buying typically begins on the first weekend in November. As the season progresses and Honeysuckle garners retailer and consumer feedback, the company gains the ability to perform a “robust analysis” of the program on a wider scale, Long says. Included here are things like taking note of the development and strengthening of brand loyalty through repeat customers.

Still, transparency in food choice is an aspect of consumer demand familiar to Honeysuckle. According to a company release, a November 2017 survey reported 88 percent of consumers “agree that brands need to be transparent in their food production.” According to the same survey, 80 percent of consumers agree “that at Thanksgiving, it is important for their turkey to be raised by a family farmer.”

For consumers, buying blockchain-tracked food seemingly provides a kind of psychological security around food safety issues. For Honeysuckle and other traceable food providers, the security triggers a stronger bottom line through increased sales. According to a reported 2015 study conducted with consumers in South Korea, traceable information translates to more sales and increased brand and product trust.

The Food Safety Magazine story cites the study’s co-author, Rajiv Kishore, as noting that when “the customer believes regulatory authorities are ensuring accurate production information, he or she is more likely to buy food that is tracked using traceability information, and even less likely to actual use the food traceability information.”

The crux of the observation jives with the consumer research conducted by the Honeysuckle team. That is, consumers’ rising awareness around food safety weighs favorably in their buying decision. However, customers also added the caveat that they weren’t necessarily inclined to act on blockchain tracking, Long said.

Darrell Fraser, one of the original pilot participants in the Honeysuckle White traceable turkey program, says the care involved in producing more than five flocks of turkeys each year remains the same. For him, adding the blockchain element to his yields has largely translated into pursuing a kind of vanity grocery shopping. The Texas-based farmer, who has raised turkey flocks for nearly 25 years, says he has yet to find a turkey in the grocery store with roots back to his farm.

“I’ve looked and looked and still haven’t found one,” he says.

Global private capital platform CapBridge Pte. Ltd. has garnered a license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to operate a security exchange known as 1exchange (also called 1X), which became operational on November 21, 2018. The exchange is designed to organize liquidity for private companies prior to exit events like an M&A (merger and acquisition) or an IPO (initial public offering).

In an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, CEO and founder of CapBridge Johnson Chen said that the process of obtaining the license took nearly two years. Steps included identifying the business case and ensuring IT systems were in place that included proper risk management and strict governance.

“We also had constant dialogue with industry experts in regulations and securities laws, as well as engagement with regulations,” he says.

In addition, CapBridge is working with global blockchain technology firm ConsenSys. Both ventures have announced plans to build a fully compliant, private securities exchange on the public Ethereum blockchain.

Chen says that at first, key features of the exchange will include smart contracts-based permissioning and fiat settlements such as bank transfers. Initially, this will prevent investors from participating with cryptocurrencies, which he says can still be very volatile.

“We aim to build a trustworthy infrastructure, and we have the ability to trade regulated instruments globally with reduced or zero counterparty risk,” he comments.

However, he does say that when the exchange is a little more established and further protocols are in place, it will offer various crypto-based services including the listing and trading of security tokens.

“CapBridge is working alongside ConsenSys to provide an additional layer of security and authentication in the future,” he said. “The deployment of smart contracts may also allow for settlement efficiency while allowing users direct custody of assets.”

CapBridge serves mid-to-late growth companies. The company brings initial opportunities to lead investors, who then utilize their specific industry knowledge to negotiate value-adding investment structures, conduct due diligence and manage their portfolio positions to the desired exits. These opportunities are then given to co-investors under the same terms, who use the data gathered by the lead investors in specific industry fields.

The co-investment process is conducted electronically on the company’s intelligence platform, which seeks to match deals with investors and facilitate deal processes.

1exchange is a regulated private securities exchange that allows investors to buy and sell private securities in a transparent and centralized environment. The platform was built for private operating companies seeking capital or preparing for liquidity events, as well as family-owned businesses planning management changes, and venture-backed companies seeking to monetize the shareholdings of both their customers and employees.

In recent months, officials with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other governing bodies have placed significant pressure on unregulated cryptocurrency exchanges and have kept a stern eye on initial coin offerings (ICOs) to ensure all security-based offerings are appropriately registered.

Three Thai citizens who are currently being prosecuted for allegedly swindling $24 million worth of Bitcoin (BTC) have pleaded “not guilty” in the Criminal Court of Bangkok, major Thai newspaper Bangkok Post reports Wednesday, Nov. 7.

During the hearings, Thai prosecutors accused the three defendants and six accomplices of defrauding 21-year-old Finnish investor Aamai Otava Saarimaa back in 2017. According to the investigation, he was persuaded to buy shares in Expay Software Co, invest in a gambling-focused crypto token Dragon Coin (DRG), and buy 500 million shares in DNA (2002) Co, which he consequently did by transferring crypto to the siblings’ wallets.

The prosecutors claim that after receiving the money, the Jaravijit family bought several blocks of land in Thailand. Saarimaa, in his turn, received no profit and later complained to the Thai Crime Suppression Division (CSD).

The three Jaravijit siblings, charged with conspiracy to defraud and money laundering, have recently pleaded “not guilty.”

Two of the siblings, Jiratpisit (a Thai actor known as “Boom”) and Supitcha, were arrested in August and then released on bail of $61,000 each. Their elder brother, Prinya Jaravijit, managed to flee to the U.S. in an attempt to avoid the charges.

However, in October, the Thai CSD revoked the Prinya Jaravijit’s passport — making his stay in the U.S. illegal — in order to force his return. After arriving in Bangkok, Jaravajit was then detained without bail and is currently being held in the Bangkok Remand Prison.

An Australian-based cryptocurrency mining service has been told to cease its operations by regulators from the other side of the globe.

The Texas State Securities Board (TSSB) issued an emergency cease-and-desist order yesterday, to Automated Web Services Mining (AWS Mining). Any similarities you might spot in that acronym (cough Amazon Web Services cough) are – hopefully – coincidental.

AWS Mining was responsible for a number of subsidiary companies that have also been named and included in the cease-and-desist order.

According to the court documents, customers of AWS Mining and its subsidiaries had been promising returns of 200 percent on investments. However, after signing up, the company reneged its promise to no longer guarantee such large returns. Then, clients were told that they would assume the risk of the investment.

To sell its mining contracts, AWS Mining used a multi-level marketing platform – AKA a ponzi scheme. With that in mind, the cease-and-desist should not come as a surprise.

Naturally, Texan regulators only have jurisdiction in Texas. This means AWS Mining can actually continue to operate outside of the Lone Star state.

The TSSB is making a bit of a name for itself as a sheriff of the cryptocurrency wild west. Earlier this year, the regulator handed out another cease-and-desist to cryptocurrency investment firms peddling fake endorsements from Barack Obama.

The Ministry of Education (MoE) of Malaysia is establishing a University Consortium to combat degree fraud using blockchain, the ministry announced in a tweet Nov. 8.

According to the ministry’s tweet, the system is designed to issue and verify the authenticity of university-issued degrees. The new government-backed consortium will initially be comprised of six public universities and their diploma-verifying system is set to operate using the NEM (XEM) blockchain. According to the ministry, the new system was developed by a team led by a professor from the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM).

According to a local media report, the idea of the consortium was proposed by the MoE in order to preserve the reputation and the integrity of Malaysian universities, to protect the rights of students, as well as to promote distributed ledger technology (DLT).

The MoE commented to the media that the main purpose behind the establishment of the consortium is to “spread skills training,” as well as to develop and adopt the technology by students and academics. In the long term, the ministry stated it is also eyeing the development of what it referred to as “industry-standard” blockchain solutions that could potentially generate revenue for Consortium member universities.

Recently, a Russian state-backed university announced it would store diploma data on blockchain, claiming that the institution has already recorded the information of “all diplomas issued over the past ten years” using DLT.

In October last year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) reportedly became the world’s first university to issue digital diplomas by implementing blockchain technology.

The German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) has ordered partial cessation of activities by U.K.-based crypto-related firm Finatex Ltd., according to an official announcement published on BaFin’s website on Friday, Nov. 9.

According to the BaFin’s notice, reportedly dated Oct. 2, Finatex Ltd. is ordered to “immediately” stop offering cross-border proprietary trading on its trading platform, Crypto-Capitals. According to BaFin’s announcement friday, the firm must cease trading since its activity is not approved by German financial legislation, including the German Banking Act.

In a short description of the company’s activities, the financial regulator noted that Crypto-Capitals offers “options, contracts for difference (CFDs) on shares, indices, currencies and commodities.” In turn, the company positions itself as a “premium cryptocurrency trading platform operator.” The firm also evidently does not possess an account on any of the social networks listed on its website.

Previously, BaFin has addressed the cryptocurrency industry with public warnings, particularly focusing on Initial Coin Offering (ICO) projects. In late 2017, Germany’s major financial regulator warned investors about the risks of investing in ICO tokens, claiming that ICO investors take all associated risks upon themselves due to the “lack of legal requirements and transparency rules” in the industry.

In February of this year, BaFin clarified obligations for ICO issuers, following “increased queries” about ICO tokens, with operators specifically inquiring “whether the underlying tokens, coins or cryptocurrencies behind so-called ICOs are viewed as financial instruments within the area of securities supervision.”

Most recently, last month BaFin urged the global community to combine efforts in order to regulate the ICO industry, despite uncertainty as to whether ICOs will remain a “niche issue,” or become a “standard part of the financial economy.”

Prior to that, in June 2018, BaFin’s President stated that the main mission of the agency is not protecting individual retail investors, but rather the preservation of general financial stability.