FinCEN fines Ripple Labs a penalty of US$700K, Bitstamp partners with Vogogo, ShoCard allows you to store your identity on Bitcoin's blockchain, BitNational acquires Bitcoin Brains through a CA$2.1M deal, CoinCard to launch the world's first crypto-based credit card, and more top stories that happened on May 6.
FinCEN Fines Ripple Labs in Civil Enforcement Action
The US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has handed a civil money penalty of US$700K to Ripple Labs for "willful violation of the Bank Secrecy Act by acting as a money services business without registering with FinCEN."
The agency claims that Ripple Labs failed to maintain appropriate AML procedures as well as to report suspicious activities to the authorities.
"Ripple Labs Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary both have acknowledged that digital currency providers have an obligation not only to refrain from illegal activity, but also to ensure they are not profiting by creating products that allow would-be criminals to avoid detection."
Nepali Government to Seize Relief Donations
Nepali's central bank, the Nepal Rastra Bank, has issued a circular to banking institutions demanding that all the funds deposited for the purpose of relief for the Great Quake shall be automatically transferred to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund.
"This political takeover of the relief money will likely stymie the number of donations coming in, as would-be donors lose confidence that their fiat will actually do any good. Luckily, there are several Bitcoin donation funds for the Great Quake victims that are immune from state seizures. They're being run by Cointelegraph, iGot and BitGive, among others."
Bitstamp Partners with Vogogo in Expansion Plan
Leading Bitcoin exchange Bitstamp has announced a new partnership with Vogogo. The collaboration will lead to the integration of Vogogo's proprietary compliance, risk management and payment processing platform.
According to a release:
"Vogogo is working with Bitstamp on several global initiatives and is now actively supporting Bitstamp's expansion into the U.S. and Canadian markets, as well as enhancing the exchange's European service offerings."
ShoCard Lets You Store Your Identity on the Blockchain
ShoCard, a startup that allows users to store their identity onto Bitcoin's blockchain, is looking to change the process of identification for companies and banks. Launched during Disrupt NY, ShoCard co-founder Jeff Weitzman, told TechCrunch:
"A lot of companies are looking at the blockchain for things other than bitcoin. We’ve created a digital identity card that is as easy to use as a driver’s license but it’s so secure that a bank can rely on it. We’re using public and private keys, data hashing, multi-factor authentication."
BitNational Acquires Bitcoin Brains for CA$2.1M
BitNational announced earlier this week it has acquired Calgary-based Bitcoin Brains for CA$2.1m. The move made BitNational become the largest over-the-counter Bitcoin brokerage and ATM network in Canada, reported Forex Minute.
"The acquisition of Bitcoin Brains will allow BitNational to bring a variety of new ways to purchase Bitcoin anywhere in Canada. Talking about the deal, BitNational co-founder Matt Haddon said that this is an important step towards the goal of building a nationwide network to give all Canadians easy, instant access to Bitcoin."
CoinCard to Launch World's First Crypto-Based, Combination Credit and Debit Card
CoinCard, a startup backed by the Crypto Private Investors Group, has announced the upcoming launch of the world's first crypto-based credit card that is usable either for credit or debit on the MasterCard network.
The official launch is expected to take place in July 2015, but pre-orders are already available and will grant the first 1,000 applicants a limited edition card where all transactions fees, with exception of the annual fee, are waived.
The company said in a release:
"What distinguishes CoinCard from all other cards is that cryptocurrencies can be used to either pay down revolving balances or used as a debit card drawing on the cryptocurrency accounts of its user."
Bitseed Starts Accepting Pre-Orders for Bitcoin Full Node Hardware
Bitseed, a Bitcoin startup that manufactures and sells dedicated hardware to support Bitcoin's blockchain, announced it has started accepting pre-orders for its Bitseed v2.
The Bitcoin Edition of the Bitseed Personal Server comes preconfigured as a Bitcoin full node.
Bitseed said on the BitcoinTalk forum:
"Our product has been for sale on our website for a little over a month now after a soft launch in March to test the waters and get feedback from early adopters. After incorporating lots of great feedback from reviews on our website, Reddit, and Twitter, we have begun work on the next iteration of our product."
Bitreserve in Discussion with Regulators to Launch in India
Bitreserve founder and CEO, Halsey Minor, was recently in India to discuss with regulators about a potential launch of his brand in the country. Minor is specifically targeting India's remittance and mobile payments markets. He stated:
"After the US, UK and China, we want to now set up operations in India and we are talking to regulators and potential partners on a range of our internet-based finance offerings. [...] [The Reserve Bank of India] has the understanding of how to look at us from the regulatory point of view, whereas some others did not know where we fit in."