132 crypto investors have filed a lawsuit against the Japanese-based crypto exchange Coincheck, seeking 228 mln yen (around $2 mln) in damages, local news outlet Sankei reported Tuesday Feb. 27. Coincheck suffered a major hack in late January that resulted in the theft of more than 523 mln NEM, worth around $530 mln at the time. The exchange has since promised to refund all of its customers in full at a rate of about 82 cents per token. Despite the company’s refund promise, ten crypto traders had already filed lawsuits against Coincheck on Feb. 15 at the Tokyo District Court over the company freezing crypto withdrawals. Coincheck began allowing yen withdrawals on Feb. 12, which settled one of the claims against the exchange. At the time of the Feb. 15 lawsuit, the traders’ lawyer, Hiromu Mochizuki, told Reuters that a new lawsuit to claim damages for the hack may be forthcoming. This newest lawsuit with 132 claimants seeks payment in 13 types of currency, including yen, Sankei reports. Mochizuki’s Twitter bio describes him as the “Secretary General of Coincheck Damage Counterparty Lawyer,” and he often links to the Twitter page of the so-called “Coincheck Damaging Countermeasure Defense Team.”
In a hearing on Feb. 26, the Moscow Arbitration Court ruled that cryptocurrency funds of a bankrupt debtor cannot be seized as payment to creditors, local media group RBC reports. The court considered an application filed by finance manager Aleksey Leonov, who requested permission to recover funds from a debtor, Ilya Tsarkov, by seizing Tsarkov’s crypto assets. According to RBC, Leonov requested that the court require Tsarkov to provide the password for his cryptocurrency wallet on the website Blockchain.info. The court reviewed documents that proved Tsarkov was in possession of a crypto wallet with Bitcoins, but refused to grant Leonov’s request to seize Tsarkov’s cryptocurrency in order to repay the debt. According to Nikita Kulikov, executive director of the Moscow law firm HEADS Consulting, the court could not have reached any other ruling, as cryptocurrency legislation is not firmly established in Russia at the moment. “If the court had included cryptocurrency assets in the state of insolvency, that would have meant that Russian law recognized cryptocurrency assets as a type of money, which is contrary to the Central Bank’s stance, or as a property, which is not established by the law,” said Kulikov.
The Italian Ministry of Economics is working on a decree that aims to classify the use of cryptocurrencies in the country and to list “service providers related to digital currencies.” Cointelegraph analyzed the draft of the document that aims to introduce new regulations on the use of cryptocurrencies in Italy and talked about the new decree with local business, political, and academic representatives. 2018 could be a very peculiar year for the crypto industry: the year of regulations. From East to West, regulators from all over the world are working on new laws for the crypto industry. We have seen a hard-line and prohibitionist approach from China, that aims to heavily control the phenomenon, but also a more reasonable approach from the US, Japan and Switzerland, whose purpose is to create a solid foundation for the development of the industry in the future.
Crypto exchanges BTCXIndia and ETHEXIndia have informed their customers via email that they are stopping trading activities, citing the “stress” on their business caused by governmental actions discouraging crypto, local Indian news outlet the Economic Times reported yesterday, Feb. 28. BTCXIndia and ETHEXIndia’s websites both currently display a message to customers informing them that any deposits received after Jan.1 will automatically be sent back to the investor’s bank account. According to the email, BTCXIndia was opened in 2014, and the exchange then opened ETHEXIndia opened two years later. BTCXIndia customers are told they have until March 4, 2018 to withdraw their funds in either Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), or the rupee (INR) before an annual wallet maintenance fee is applied. The exchange’s Ripple/INR trading will be halted on March 5.
Bitcoin may be off limits, but the coffee chain is not overlooking the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies. Howard Schultz, Starbucks executive chairman and the face behind the brand, suggested blockchain could very well be part of the coffee retailer’s future, pointing to the possibility of a “proprietary digital currency integrated into our application.” It’s interesting because Schultz on the company’s latest earnings call suggested they weren’t developing their own cryptocurrency nor investing in any blockchain startups. But he did at that time point to the blockchain for eventually delivering a “consumer application” for cryptos. If you’re thinking Ripple’s XRP would have been ideal, consider that Ripple chief Brad Garlinghouse doesn’t consider XRP a cryptocurrency. Starbucks, which is spearheading its maiden “cashless store” in Seattle, has embraced mobile tech payments. “Over the last four-to-five years, Starbucks has created a proxy for a mobile digital payments system,” said Schultz on Fox Business, pointing to the fact that 50% of the company’s tender is paid for with people’s smartphones. Meanwhile, in China, which is a leader in mobile payments, nearly three-quarters of the business is cashless.