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Cryptocurrencies and Crime: Why They Have Nothing in Common

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Quite often, you might see statements that cryptocurrencies are widely used for criminal purposes. Usually, it’s said by crypto opponents. They suggest banning or stifling cryptocurrencies by regulations for this reason. But what’s the situation really like? We’ve reviewed whether cryptocurrencies and crime are actually connected and what statistics and bare facts have to say on the issue. Spoiler alert: crime and cryptocurrencies are not just far from being synonyms — they are opposites as cryptocurrencies currently help fight against crime. Law breakers prefer to use cash and bank accounts.

Why cryptocurrencies are associated with crime

Cryptocurrencies owe their “criminal record” to the time when users of Darknet — the shadow Internet often used by hackers and criminals — took fancy to bitcoin. In bitcoin’s early days, criminals believed it was completely anonymous. They thought they had found the perfect way to run their shady business, but that was a huge mistake. Alas, it earned a somewhat bad name for cryptocurrencies and the crypto community has to rectify this now.

Back in 2011, the online platform Silk Road selling black market goods and accepting payments in bitcoin was launched. It seemed back then that cryptocurrency was completely anonymous and payments were untraceable. In 2012–2013, the platform’s annual turnover amounted to $ 14–15 mln; in 2013–2015, it handled 1.2 mln transactions worth of 9.5 mln bitcoins ($ 1.2 bln). The platform’s fee was 8–10 % of the transaction amount meaning about 700.000–950.000 bitcoins or $ 90–126 mln was pocketed by the administrators. Is this a lot for the world’s biggest black market platform? It seems not. According to the official records, Silk Road services were used by dozens of thousands of black market sellers and over 100.000 buyers all over the worlds which is also not so much.

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Response of bitcoin price on BTC-E to the news of Silk Road’s founder Ross Ulbricht’s arrest. Over a few hours, the price dropped by 66 % to later surge by 87 %. It was followed by bitcoin’s exponential growth. Some investors explained subsequent 8-fold price growth by the fact that bitcoin was no longer associated with the black market. Practice disproves an opinion that bitcoin would cost nothing without black trading. For instance, this view is supported by Joseph Stiglitz, a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.

Silk Road had some followers left, but those were also shut down by the authorities. The most well-known among them include: SilkRoad 2.0 (shut down in 2014), Atlantis, Black Market Reloaded, Sheep Marketplace (shut down in 2013–2014), Agora (shut down in 2015), AlphaBay and Hansa (shut down in 2017), Dream Market (shut down in 2019).

As evidenced in practice, authorities are quite capable of fighting against the Darknet, with cryptocurrencies giving them a helping hand since technically blockchain can track transactions. It helps establish chains of relations to successfully find the criminals.

Banks are used to launder a thousand times more money than cryptocurrencies

Let’s move on. Due to their anonymity and legal ambiguity, cryptocurrencies are often labeled as a convenient tool for criminal money laundering. In one of the articles, we’ve already looked in detail at why this idea is far-fetched and does not align with facts. Let’s review the main numbers and conclusions:

- According to the analytical firm Chainalysis, criminals laundered $ 1 bln via cryptocurrencies in 2018 and $ 2.8 bln in 2019.
- Based on calculations by Peckshield, about $ 1.5 bln was laundered via big crypto exchanges in the first six months of 2020.
- According to Eliptic and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, use of bitcoins for criminal purposes does not exceed 0.6–1 % of all bitcoins, with the number dwindling year on year.
- Based on Japanese data, this number constitutes 0.19 %, while Chainalysis states it’s just 0.125 %.

Meanwhile, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UN ODC) believes that the total annual volume of laundered money amounts to $ 0.8–2 trln or, according to some estimates, to $ 4 trln. Thus, cryptocurrencies are only used to launder 0.07 %–0.35 % of the total amount of laundered money. It’s just a drop in the ocean.

In fact, real tools for money laundering are cash and bank payments. Annually, big banks may be used to launder up to $ 2 trln — it’s almost 6 times more than the overall capitalization of all cryptocurrencies. Last year alone banks paid over $ 6.2 bln in fines for violating the anti-money laundering laws. In 2020, this figure could rise as banking regulations became more stringent.

Cryptocurrencies are not the tool for hackers — it’s their target

According to the 2017 research by the European Commission, cryptocurrencies are now popular among hackers. But they’re far from using them for criminal purposes. Their goal is the theft of coins.

Most often, hackers steal coins on crypto exchanges since the latter store most digital assets. Here’re a few facts showing the size of the problem:

- Overall, based on InsideBitcoins calculations, fraudsters have stolen more than $ 11 bln in cryptocurrencies since 2011.
- According to Group-IB data, hackers stole $ 882 mln from the biggest crypto exchanges in 2017 — none of the 19 biggest platforms was immune to hacking attacks.
- According to Cipher Trace, an American cyber security firm, criminals have stolen a total of $ 1.7 bln in 2018 (with $ 960 mln stolen from crypto exchanges and payment systems).
- In 2019, from $ 292 mln to $ 4.5 bln was stolen from crypto exchanges, according to various estimates (these figures account for both hacking and Ponzi schemes which are responsible for almost half of the total amount).
- Over the first six months of this year, based on Cipher Trace calculations, hackers stole over $ 1.36 bln, in 2019 — over $ 4.5 bln.

It’s highly probable that the number of such crimes is going to dwindle as authorities in various countries introduce more and more stringent regulations.

The quoted numbers seem significant, but they don’t prove that cryptocurrencies are the bastion of crime. It’s only natural for hackers to be interested in finance. However, they also hack traditional financial organizations and steal billions of dollars from banks and corporations annually.

To reiterate, cryptocurrencies are no tool for hackers; they’re their target. This interest to digital money only proves its value — criminals wouldn’t waste their time and effort or risk their freedom for nothing. It’s unfortunate though that many cryptocurrencies, even knowing of the strong interest towards them on the part of hackers, are so careless about their cyber security.

Hackers are not the only ones attracted by popularity of cryptocurrencies — other criminals are interested, too

Technically, cryptocurrencies provoke emergence of new types of crime. These include cryptocurrency phishing, cryptojacking, cyber extortion, QR-code forging, hardware wallet hacking and others. Even in these cases, cryptocurrencies are not the tool — they’re the target. We already published a detailed article about the popular types of crypto crime and how you can protect yourself.

In real fact, if you exercise vigilance and adhere to basic rules of digital hygiene, owning cryptocurrencies turns out to be a lot safer than keeping money in a bank account or home safe. It’s because criminals swindle ordinary people who have nothing to do with cryptocurrencies more often. They pose as bank support services, hack online banking accounts, create fake online stores, simply break into apartments and so on.

Terrorists prefer cash and bank transfers to cryptocurrencies

According to Europol report data, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies haven’t been used to sponsor terrorist attacks in Europe over the last few years. There’re cases when recruitment ads, hosting services and other online activities were paid for by cryptocurrencies. But there is no proof that at least a single terrorist attack was financed via cryptocurrencies.

According to the report, Islamic terrorists only experiment with cryptocurrency and use it for minor transactions only. In October 2017, the British government commission also concluded that terrorism was not sponsored via cryptocurrencies and it was unlikely this would change over the next five years.

However, there was a case in the USA when a young bigot used bitcoins to finance ISIL. Besides, early this year authorities announced they had seized cryptocurrency worth of a few million dollars meant to sponsor terrorism; then in August they also reported disruption of three more campaigns. But those are isolated cases.

Terrorism manages quite well without cryptocurrencies. It appeared a long time before cryptocurrencies and is no stranger to fiat money. Terrorists still prefer cash and bank transfers as the safest and most convenient means. They receive funds in cash by collecting them from territories under their control or make transfers via legal banking institutions.

Moreover, most terrorists are wary of cryptocurrencies, many among them believing that cryptocurrencies were designed by the special services. Yet again, a research by the Center for a New American Security demonstrates that terrorists are not strong in cryptocurrencies. However, experts warn that this could change if terrorists warm up to the technology and start to trust it. It’s a mere inference at this point though.

Cryptocurrencies are used to buy a mere fraction of the total amount of drugs

By various estimates, the global turnover of drugs ranges from 500 to 800 bln dollars a year — it’s comparable with the global turnover of oil and natural gas over the same period.

In the Darknet, one could easily buy drugs for cryptocurrencies: specialized online stores operate like eBay or Amazon charging a fee. A user transfers coins and receives coordinates of “stashes” — drugs hidden in public spaces. This method is mostly used to buy marijuana, ecstasy, psychedelics, cocaine and hallucinogens. Overall, cryptocurrencies only account for a small percentage of drug sales.

According to research, in 2014 drug turnover on 5 biggest Darknet platforms totaled $ 200 mln. This statistics is not complete as many sites were not accounted for. Based on more recent data, in 2017 the annual drug turnover on one of the Darknet platform amounted to $ 310 mln. Currently, Darknet has 14 biggest drug selling platforms. Unfortunately, regular shutdowns of these web-sites cannot contain market growth — they are replaced by news ones. The annual drug turnover on Darknet could amount to $ 4–5 bln. Naturally, it’s not based on cryptocurrencies only, but giving a certain digit is impossible. We couldn’t find more recent data. At any rate, the estimated figure of drug turnover using cryptocurrencies constitutes less than 1 % of the global drug trafficking volume.

Cryptocurrencies ≠ Crime

As you can see, numbers show that cryptocurrencies are not in such high demand among criminals as commonly cited.

The government can fight against the Darknet and cybercrime effectively, and anonymity of cryptocurrencies is exaggerated. Even though the amount of money laundered using cryptocurrencies totals billions, it’s insignificant compared to the total volume. Use of cryptocurrencies to sponsor terrorism is virtually zero. In most cases, cryptocurrencies are used for criminal purposes on platforms like Silk Road selling drugs. The annual turnover could amount to $ 4–5 bln, but it’s a mere 0.8–1 % of the total drug turnover.

Cryptocurrencies are not all that convenient for criminals though it may seem so. It’s just a middle link. Cryptocurrencies need to be cashed out, and doing it anonymously is getting harder — it’s a lot easier to receive cash via courier or accept a bank transfer. In fact, tracking cash transactions is more complicated than cryptocurrency transactions as blockchain makes transaction data accessible to anyone. Digital money can only be used for minor transactions (e. g. making drug stashes in the city) when one can cash it out fairly fast. They’re also a bad match for big transactions because they’re highly volatile — a million dollars in bitcoins could become half a million by the time drugs are delivered from America to Europe, for instance.

Moreover, digital assets gradually join the legal framework — hence, criminals use them less and less. 1 % of illegal bitcoin transactions proves that cryptocurrencies are used as a legal asset in 99 % of the cases. More stringent regulations and world-wide legalization using AML policies make their illegal uses even more unprofitable.

Many national authorities often say that cryptocurrencies must be banned as they are allegedly ideal for criminals. In real fact, criminals use cash and bank transfers a hundred times more often, but no one thinks of banning those, do they?

It’s obvious that crime and cryptocurrency are not synonymous. Criminals can do quite well without digital assets which are actually ill suited for illegal activities as transactions with them are becoming more transparent. As we can see, cryptocurrencies might be used by criminals, but they’re less convenient than conventional money.

Coins like UMI are building a new, improved and more democratic financial system — not a convenient tool for criminals. They’re also changing the stereotype that cryptocurrencies are only used by drug dealers and hackers. We are for the future with no criminals!

Sincerely yours, UMI Team!
 
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Our task is to act exclusively in the legal field. It is important that both people and authorities understand that UMI is not some kind of black market product, but a completely legal instrument.

Therefore, we are working to obtain a legal document on the legalization of UMI cryptocurrency in the European Union, confirming that UMI is a fully open source decentralized payment system, and not a security, security token, utility token or something else… This will open up new possibilities for UMI use and integrations. Next, we plan to deal with the issue of cryptocurrency legalization in other jurisdictions.
 

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Investment Funds Have Invested Dozens of Billions of Dollars in the Crypto Market: What’s Next?

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Crypto enthusiasts and the mass media talk a lot about how important it is for the big institutional investors to enter the market. If they invest hundreds of billions of dollars, the sector may skyrocket, with cryptocurrencies widely used all over the world. Experts predict that institutional investment may raise bitcoin price to over $ 50,000 and increase capitalization of the entire crypto market multifold. We’ve looked at how much money institutional investors have already invested in the crypto market, why they’re so important for the sector and when we could talk hundreds of billions and even trillions of dollars.

Who are institutional investors?

Institutional investors are companies trading and investing in securities. They’re big financial and brokerage firms, banks, pension and asset-managing investment funds and insurance companies.

Institutional players are among the most important actors of the traditional stock market. They account for up to half of the entire trading volume. They generally own the biggest stakes and exert a considerable influence on the market.

Crypto market has long been ready for the institutional players

In its early days, institutional players were apprehensive of entering the crypto market. It’s understandable since digital assets were an emerging and little-known instrument. Many thought all the coins would soon just vanish or would simply be banned by regulators. Unlike regular people, institutions cannot just buy bitcoin. Their activities are closely controlled by the state. They are to keep accounts and can only invest in legal assets, and they need their own infrastructure for trading. Eventually, the crypto market has come up with all of this.

What encouraged institutional players to turn their attention to the crypto market, after all? Let’s examine it more closely.

- High profitability. It’s the strongest and timeless reason. Profitability of the key instruments traditionally used by the institutional investors hardly exceeds inflation levels by 2–3 % per year. For instance, annualized return on the US Treasury securities is 0.1–1.4 %. In this context, institutional investors tend to turn their attention to the high-risk instruments: shares, corporate bonds and, now, cryptocurrencies.

- Emergence of regulatory framework and improved transparency. In most countries, regulators have no intention of banning cryptocurrencies. Their goal is stabilizing and legalizing the market. Their actions obviously demonstrate that they exert their best efforts in order to prevent cryptocurrencies from being seen as a bubble or a criminal tool. It has a great impact on the growth of institutional investments. Over the last few years, the crypto market has outgrown its shadowy reputation and has become officially recognized. Currently, the majority of the biggest crypto exchanges follow funds transfer and storage regulations and securities legislation. It boosts confidence of institutional investors — increasing market transparency together with regulator policies attracts big players to the market. As a result, they can plan and make both short-term and long-term investments for 5 or more years.

- Decreasing volatility. Big investors are not particularly interested in short-term speculations — they mostly buy cryptocurrencies for the long term. The more institutional funds are invested in the industry, the higher the liquidity and, accordingly, the lower the volatility (price fluctuations) is. Today, bitcoin is not as volatile as two or three years ago. Each big investment event makes the market more stable, thus attracting new players and encouraging them to invest more.

How institutional investors will change the crypto market

Now let’s discuss what institutional investors will do for the crypto market:

- “Coming-of-age” for the market. Arrival of institutional players to the crypto sector is the main sign of its “coming-of-age”. The market is becoming more mature, resurgent and developed.

- Massive-scale recognition of crypto market and bitcoin. Arrival of institutional players to the market makes bitcoin and all cryptocurrencies a more recognized tool for assets storage, investment and exchange.

- Price and capitalization growth. Many experts believe that institutional investors will provoke cryptocurrency price growth while bitcoin could become the key resource for investment. However, this growth will not necessarily be sharp. According to some, we shouldn’t expect skyrocketing prices — institutional funds will ensure slow and stable growth with no surges. Moreover, there’s virtually no limit for bitcoin growth. As calculated by the analytical firm Messari, if institutional investors invest as little as 1 % of their multi-trillion portfolios into the market, ВТС price could rise to $ 50,000. Traditionally, it will be followed by a rise in the price of other cryptocurrencies. Therefore, institutions could increase capitalization of the entire crypto market multi-fold — up to $ 1–2 trln. What if they invest a lot more rather than a mere 1 %?

- Protection against fall. Multi-billion investments by the big players could support cryptocurrency prices and market capitalization. Institutional investors could pump a significant amount of funds into the market, saturating its liquidity. It’ll help prevent falls similar to that of early 2018.

- Recognition of cryptocurrencies as means of diversification. As an asset, cryptocurrencies could become an excellent means of diversification to be used by investors in order to mitigate the risk of losing the funds invested. It’s further proven by the research by Jim Kyung-Soo Liew and Levar Hewlett on the optimal allocation to bitcoin in institutional portfolios. According to their estimates, the optimal allocation to BTC is 1.3%. This percentage diversifies risks and generates profit.

- Emergence of new centers of financial power. Entire jurisdictions — not only companies — fight for the big players. Thus, EU countries (Denmark, Switzerland, Estonia), Japan and Singapore attempt to surpass the US as the most attractive countries for crypto startups by adopting crypto-friendly legislation, promising regulative protection, streamlined business operations and low taxes.

- Emergence of reliable providers of crypto services. Fighting for the institutional funds, providers of financial crypto services reach levels worthy of institutional investors. Big exchanges and brokers provide them with the confidence they need.

Developing infrastructure for institutional investors

Cryptocurrencies are entering the conventional financial markets — slowly, but steadily. In the space of a few years, the industry has seen a boom of cryptocurrency hedge funds, launch of CBOE/CME futures, tokenization of assets, greater attention on the part of regulators, development of the “security tokens” concept (tokenized securities), exchange licensing, attempts to set up ETF funds for bitcoin and, most recently, emergence of specialized platforms for institutional investors and custodial services for them (asset storage and management).

Crypto projects are now strongly competing for attracting big investment from institutions. Crypto exchanges and startups try to outrace each other in creating a safe infrastructure customary for the financial system. Each company wants to lead at a time when big financial players enter the crypto market en masse.

Back in July 2018, the American exchange Coinbase launched Coinbase Custody — a service for storing crypto assets for institutional investors: leading cryptocurrency hedge funds, exchanges and ICO teams. It’s also promoting Coinbase Prime (credit and marginal products for qualified customers) and Coinbase Markets (a more advanced version of exchange). Similar products were later launched by other exchanges, such as Circle, Gemini and Bitfinex. Some Wall Street giants, for instance, Goldman Sachs, Blackrock and Morgan Stanley, intend to set up their own crypto services.

In November 2019, Intercontinental Exchange, an operator at the New York Stock Exchange, launched the Bakkt platform where big institutions can store cryptocurrencies and trade in physically delivered bitcoin futures.

In the end of the last year, Fidelity Investment’s crypto division launched its own exchange and custodial service.

In May 2020, the crypto custodian BitGo, one of the leading service providers for institutions, launched a fully-featured platform for institutional trading, with trading, crediting and crypto asset storage functions. The company strives to become the first prime broker on the crypto market — provider of liquidity ensuring access to the financial markets for brokers, funds and traders. The off-exchange trading service Genesis, the broker Bequant, the institution-facing liquidity aggregator FalconX, the crypto exchange Coinbase and other companies are also creating a prime brokerage service.

Notably, if in the past mostly US firms used to compete for the attention of institutional investors, since last year a lot of crypto custodians emerged in Europe where they are treated more favorably.

Growing investments by institutional players

Over the past two years, the number of cryptocurrency investment funds has grown significantly. Thus, data by Crypto Fund Research shows that in the middle of this year there were 804 crypto funds in the world: 357 hedge funds, 411 venture capital funds and 35 cryptocurrency ETF funds and direct investment funds. Their growing popularity is completely understandable. To put that into perspective: average profitability of a conventional fund equals 5–10 % per year, while a cryptocurrency funds generated 90 % profits in 2016, 1,708 % — in 2017 and 19 % — in 2019.

However, cryptocurrency funds a lot smaller than conventional ones. Most of them manage assets worth less than $10 mln, and only a few funds, such as Pantera Capital and Polychain Capital have over $1 bln. However, total assets managed by crypto funds are growing fast. In 2016 it amounted to $190 mln; now it’s $21.6 bln.


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Growth of total assets managed by crypto funds, according to Crypto Fund Research. Data shown in bln dollars.

These numbers demonstrate that institutional investors are heavily investing in the crypto sector. The most striking example is the crypto fund Grayscale Investments. In spring it bought one in three mined bitcoins and half of all mined ethers. In the first quarter this year, this fund raised record investments worth $503.7 mln. Assets it manages now amount to over $12.3 bln. 90% of Grayscale customers are institutional investors. Notably, in 2018 they only accounted for 50 %. It obviously demonstrates that institutions believe in ВТС and view it as an asset mitigating risks at the time of crisis. In the second quarter this year, almost 20 institutional investors notified the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of having invested in Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) — one of the Grayscale Investments funds. Investors included Ark Invest with assets under management amounting to $4.5 bln; Horizon Kinetic managing $5.3 bln, Rothschild Investment Corporation, Addison Capital, Corriente Advisor.

As you can see, the volume of institutional investments grows year on year. At this rate, in a few years institutions could invest hundreds of billions of dollars annually which would increase capitalization of all cryptocurrencies multifold.


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Cryptocurrency market capitalization compared with capitalization of other markets, according to BitcoinIRA. Numbers on the infographic are obsolete: crypto market capitalization is currently $560 bln, or three times higher. However, the diagram shows how much growth there is there for the crypto market.

Institutions believe in the future for cryptocurrencies

It’s interesting to see how institutional players view cryptocurrencies, in their turn.

Back in 2017 they were not interested in digital assets — almost half of them viewed bitcoin as a bubble that’s about to burst. However, growth of cryptocurrencies has turned things around — big investors are growing more and more interested in the sector. Let us cite a few examples.

In July, the cryptocurrency insurance firm Evertas surveyed 50 institutional players managing assets worth $78.4 bln: 25 were from the USA, 25 — from Great Britain. Respondents included pension funds, family offices, insurance firms, sovereign wealth funds and custodians.

The results were as follows:

- 90 % of respondents believe that institutional players will increase investments in cryptocurrencies over the next 5 years. 64 % think the market will show minor growth while 26 % are expecting a “surge” in institutional investments. 32 % also believe that hedge funds will become a lot more active;

- 84 % of respondents think that improved regulation would boost institutional interest in the market, while 80 % also noted that market expansion would improve liquidity;

- 76 % believe that the number of financial firms and funds investing in cryptocurrencies, will grow. The same percentage of respondents noted that negative interest rates and bond profitability would also encourage them to invest in crypto assets;

- 56 % of firms said they were still quite wary of investment in cryptocurrencies. The key obstacle is the lack of suitable insurance coverage options for these investments. 54 % were concerned about the insufficient reliability of crypto companies providing services to institutional investors;

- 60 % believed bitcoin would cost over $12,000 by the end of this year, 40 % thought the price would be $15,000, and 24 % assumed ВТС would fall as low as $10,000. 22 % were hoping ВТС price would reach $20,000 next year, and 28 % thought it would only happen in 2022. As practice has shown, BTC price of around $20,000 was already reached this year. Thus, bitcoin surpassed investors’ expectations again and sparked even greater interest with institutional players.

“A lack of adequate insurance for the crypto-assets market is clearly top of the list of concerns for many institutional investors, which is perhaps not surprising when insurers are only providing capacity of around $2 billion for a market that is worth between $250 billion and $300 million,” said Raymond Zenkich, President and COO at Evertas, in a press release. “We are working closely with the insurance community to address this issue.”

Survey results also show that institutional investors intend to increase investment in ВТС, despite short-term price falls, and want to buy the first cryptocurrency during falls. Institutional players believe crypto market regulations will improve, become more efficient and liberal, while the market will grow and ensure better liquidity wanted by most institutional investors. As the market develops, it will probably offer a wider range of investment tools for institutions.

Evertas survey results resonate with other surveys regarding attitude of institutions towards cryptocurrencies.

Here’re the results of the June survey that polled 774 institutional investors in the USA and Europe and was conducted by Fidelity Investments from November 2019 through March 2020:

- 80 % stated they viewed cryptocurrency as an attractive asset for investment;

- 60 % acknowledge they will invest in cryptocurrencies;

- 27 % of investors from the USA and 45 % of those from Europe currently own cryptocurrencies, including ВТС and ЕТН, and derivative financial instruments. Notably, in 2019 this number was 22 % in the USA — 5 % rise in a year is an excellent number when big players are involved. European investors are probably more active because European countries introduced negative interest rates a few years ago meaning banks don’t pay interest on the deposits, but charge fees for them.

- Key advantages of cryptocurrencies, as viewed by investors, are that digital assets have no connection to other asset categories, are based on innovative technologies and have a high growth potential;

- Key problems preventing arrival of institutional funds and a wider use of cryptocurrencies, as mentioned by Fidelity respondents, are volatility, market manipulations and “lack of foundations for value assessment”.

Therefore, institutions no longer think bitcoin is a bubble. It’s now seen as a new, highly profitable asset that can also be used as a protection asset hedging inflation risks in a crisis.

Institutional investors could help crypto market grow multi-fold

Numbers show that institutions continue to invest in the crypto market even during crisis. Moreover, they increase their investments and intend to do so over the next five years. It means this market has a huge growth potential in the future.

As you can see, infrastructure for institutions is now being actively developed. The biggest companies are launching their own funds and trading platforms. Institutions are ready to invest in the crypto market. Most of them are waiting, hoping to find an optimal entry point. Once it happens, the sector may see arrival of hundreds of billions or even trillions of dollars.

Don’t forget though that today crypto market growth and scaling is ensured by both institutional and private investors. It’s because bitcoin — just like UMI and many other decentralized coins — is cryptocurrencies for regular people. It’s about financial freedom and independence.

Cryptocurrencies are building an alternative to the existing financial system, making it safer, more profitable and convenient. Therefore, there’re no doubts the entire crypto market is doomed to huge success. UMI is an integral part of the market, reaching for new heights along with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies towards a new future. Join us now. Let’s change the world together!

Sincerely yours, UMI Team!
 

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There are two most popular directions in the crypto industry now:

Staking that works in cryptocurrencies on PoS. It is also called forging or PoS mining. In fact, this is an analogue of mining that does not require powerful equipment. Traditional mining, by the way, is gradually fading into the background.

Decentralized «chips» — various smart contracts, where people cannot influence the source code, change conditions, chances, and so on.

Therefore, our team decided to create such a unique system as staking on a smart contract. This allowed us to combine two popular directions, and also made it possible to use faster and more secure PoA instead of the PoS model. At UMI, staking works exclusively on a smart contract. We remind you that you can familiarize yourself with the conditions and principles of its operation in our Whitepaper.
 

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We are planning, together with partners from the ISP Club, to issue crypto-cards, which are already being actively developed. These will be classic VISA debit cards that you can hold UMI on. Thanks to the cards, UMI can be used to pay at the nearest store or cash out cryptocurrency at a nearby ATM.

The functionality will work with conventional bank terminals and ATMs — where VISA is accepted, UMI will be accepted there. The card can be connected to Apple Pay and other similar services. You can buy a TV, a table or a loaf of bread for UMI. Anything.

In general, using UMI tomorrow will be no less easy, convenient and familiar than using a bank today. But even this is not the most interesting thing. The main beauty of UMI cards is that the coins in the account are staked. Thanks to this, the balance on your VISA card will constantly grow — up to 40% per month. No bank has ever provided such an opportunity, and it is very, very, very unlikely that it ever will.
 

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UMI staking is an analogue of an unconditional basic income for everyone!

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- Let's allow ourselves a lyrical digression. You know, recently the Finnish authorities conducted a very interesting experiment - they introduced an unconditional basic income for 2000 unemployed and paid them 560 euros just like that. For the fact that they are citizens of this country.

- The idea is that it doesn't matter whether a person works or not - he gets money, which is enough for him to “eat” and to cover other basic needs. If a person gets a job, he already receives additional income, which he can spend on travel, large purchases, and so on. Anything you like.

- Although the experiment did not improve the situation with unemployment in the country, its result was assessed as positive. To quote: “Income recipients were more satisfied with their lives and experienced less mental stress than a control group that did not receive unconditional money. They also had a more positive perception of their economic well-being."

- This is something we are striving for with staking. So that people are constantly generating new UMI coins for themselves, which can be used at their own discretion.

- We believe that this is a model of a healthy society where you can live happily and not be afraid that tomorrow you will be left with nothing. The Finnish authorities have already completed the experiment. But we are rediscovering it, and not only for Finland, but for the whole world. Thanks to staking, anyone can start receiving a kind of analogue of an unconditional basic income, only not in the national currency, but in the UMI cryptocurrency. But she's also worth something.
 

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Technical tasks of UMI for the near future

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We present our short roadmap (roadmap) for the nearest technical tasks:

- Desktop wallet with a full-fledged node;

- Detailed technical documentation and guides in the “How To” style with instructions for installing, running, configuring, updating wallets and nodes in text and video formats;

- Development and implementation of PoS consensus;

- HD-wallet integration;

- Creation of libraries to support all popular languages and platforms for easy integration with businesses;

- Integration of hardware wallets (Trezor, Ledger and so on);

- Integration of accounting systems;

- Special version of the node for Windows with MS-SQL support and 1C integration;

- Development of plastic cards and terminals with NFC support;

- Creation of libraries for mobile devices with support for payment via NFC through the terminal;

- Side-chain service: comments on transactions;

- Side-chain service: sending UMI by email address, Telegram login, nickname, and so on;

- Side-chain service: internal messenger with support for pictures and various features. Analogue of Telegram, Viber and so on;

- Development and maintenance of a developer blog with technical articles for developers;

- Creation of convenient technical support services in Telegram, Slack, Stack Overflow;

- Implementation of tools for convenient collection and processing of feedback (feedback) from users.

- Development of new smart contracts.

Naturally, this is not a definitive list. Considering all of the above, we still have many tasks that need to be implemented from a technical point of view. These are only primary goals, which, however, can be changed and adjusted depending on the circumstances.
 

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The initial UMI issue is fully distributed!

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Dear users! A historical and very important event happened today

We have fully distributed the entire initial ussue of 18,000,000 UMI:

- We have 0 coins left on our genesis address:
https://blockchain.umi.top/address/umi1funq869de06x8tdfth0hs5z8v37ral3yyalmuvj7j0z94rtxcaxq289cf9.

- There are no more sales offers created by us on behalf of SIGEN.pro and Crypto-by-Card.

Thus, ALL the coins created at the start are successfully distributed to more than 81,000 (according to the number of addresses https://blockchain.umi.top/addresses ) users all over the world.

From this moment on, the UMI team stops holding the price from rising and puts the coin completely in the hands of the users. It's up to you to decide, how many coins will be sold and when. And you decide how much UMI is going to be worth tomorrow

At the same time, we leave all BTC in the Depth of Market at SIGEN.pro. They are set to buy UMI at $0.95

We’re proud of the community and infrastructure we’ve built. And we’re certain that this is just a tiny fraction of the achievements that we can accomplish. There’s great success ahead of us all over the planet. All of this is just the beginning of a glorious journey!

Your UMI team!
 

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DeFi is a promising cryptocurrency sector that can bring huge benefits to the world. But while this market is too imperfect, and looking at it from the point of view of benefits is still very risky.

Today it is much safer to multiply cryptocurrency using UMI staking ❕

Our cryptocurrency offers extremely generous conditions for this. Already, staking brings up to 30% per month, and in the future — up to 40%. A reliable and time-tested smart contract for staking in the UMI network protects users from fraudsters, and the unique network architecture and economic model of the project save them from inflation.

In addition, UMI is devoid of the main disadvantages of Ethereum and other first generation cryptocurrencies. UMI has high bandwidth, no fees and no scaling issues. The future belongs to UMI!
 

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For many DeFi players, immediate profit is more important than security. For UMI, safety comes first.

We are already providing complete transparency — the source code of the network is available in the public domain.

For all operations within DeFi, including for withdrawing coins, you need to pay very large commissions, which continue to grow. They can be charged not only by the network, but also by the smart contracts themselves. Sometimes commissions «eat up» up to half of the amount.

DeFi is now only for the rich, and UMI has no commissions at all. Except for those charged by the staking structures themselves. But in fairness — these commissions fight off in a couple of weeks and go towards the payment of MLM bonuses that contribute to the development of structures.
 
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