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Cruise ship ‘Satoshi’ to house crypto companies and digital nomads

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Ocean Builders, a company that builds “floating, off-grid seapod homes,” has bought an old Australian cruise ship it renamed ‘Satoshi’ and plans to fill with crypto companies, entrepreneurs, and digital nomads off the coast of Panama.

In an announcement, Ocean Builders COO Chad Elwartowski, said the ship will comprise a hub for innovation, offering a unique space in which crypto entrepreneurs can build and network:

“We look forward to creating a hub for technology and innovation here in Panama. Our goal is to figure out how to live sustainably on the sea and chart new waters in this new frontier.”

The ship was built in 1991 with the name Pacific Dawn and has since been operated by Princess Cruises and P&O Australia. P&O’s parent company Carnival Corporation decided to sell the ship due to the impact of the pandemic on the cruising industry.

The ‘Crypto Cruise Ship’ is named Satoshi after Bitcoin’s (BTC) pseudonymous creator, with Elwartowski claiming the vessel will host restaurants, casinos, medical services, and a waterpark. Satoshi will anchor in the Gulf of Panama, the island home to many crypto exchanges, and BTC will be accepted to pay for all on-board purchases, alongside U.S. dollars.

The first 200 of Satoshi’s 777 cabins will be sold via auctions scheduled for Nov. 5 to Nov. 28. The cabins are priced between $25,000 and $50,000. However, buyers must also pay ongoing monthly fees to acquire full ownership of the cabins.

The cabins will be sold one deck at a time to give associated entrepreneurs the opportunity to purchase rooms adjacent to one another.

“Our idea for families with children is to buy a balcony or ocean view room for the parents and purchase a cheaper interior room across the hall for the children. We would like to think of your cabin as your bedroom while your living room is the rest of the ship.”

If everything goes according to plan, Satoshi will be available for residency from early 2021.

According to Marine Insight, ‘seasteading pioneer’ Elwartowski and his Thai girlfriend were last year accused of violating Thailand’s sovereignty when they tried to occupy a sea home off the coast of Phuket. The act reportedly saw the home seized by the Thai Navy and arrest warrants were issued for both of them.



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South Korean gov’t doesn’t know who will protect crypto exchanges from Kim Jong-Un’s hackers

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There has been a hot political debate underway on who should take responsibility for countering North Korean hacks targeting South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges. Recently, South Korea’s financial watchdog made it clear that they do not see this issue as any of their business.

According to Fn News, the Financial Services Commission, or FSC, has replied to a written inquiry from the National Assembly’s Political Affairs Committee on October 23. The FSC says that they’re not responsible for the crypto stolen during attacks from hackers sponsored by the Kim Jong-un’s regime, such as Lazarus Group, on crypto exchanges.

Per the report, the watchdog argued that crypto exchanges do not fall under their jurisdiction without providing more details on the matter. They forwarded the responsibility to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Korea Communications Commission, or KCC.

But both the Ministry and the KCC believe that the FSC is still responsible for any damages suffered by crypto companies, as these are related to financial matters. The pair cite the FSC’s position “in charge of the management and supervision of virtual asset providers such as cryptocurrency exchanges.”

Representative Seong Il-jong, an opposition party secretary of the National Assembly’s Political Affairs Committee, doesn’t agree with the FSC’s stance. He reminded them that “with the passage of the revised South Korean crypto bill, all crypto-related matters became the task of the Financial Services Commission.”

Back in February, it was reported that Lazarus Group targeted several crypto exchanges in 2019. One of the attacks involved the creation of a fake, but realistic trading bot website that was offered to employees of DragonEx exchange.

Also, in August, a report from the U.S. Army said that North Korea now has more than 6,000 hackers stationed in countries such as Belarus, China, India, Malaysia, Russia, among others.



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‘The cryptoruble is the future’ says Russian policymaker

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Anatoly Aksakov, the head of the Russian parliament’s Financial Markets committee, had some good news for blockchain fans in Russia. According to Aksakov, there are “no anti-blockchain voices” in the government and he believes that a digital ruble pilot will start in 2021.

During a panel held on October 21 as part of the Blockchain Life 2021 conference, the policymaker said that the central bank had already started consultations on the feasibility of launching ‘cryptoruble’ pilots. He considers it “the future of all our money circulation.”

Local media reports have pointed out the possibility of seeing a digital ruble in circulation in late 2021, which could be used on DLT platforms, and businesses could be able to leverage it to track goods and payments.

Aksakov also told the approximate 3,000 people in attendance:

“I know that a large number of serious businesspeople are preparing to issue digital assets. The Central Bank has taken a big step forward by announcing that it is starting consultations on the matter of digital assets.”

As Cointelegraph reported on October 16, at least five Russian banks are interested in taking part in Russia’s non-public digital ruble pilots in the first half of 2021.

The list of banks includes state-backed Promsvyazbank, the Credit Bank of Moscow, commercial bank Zenit, mortgage bank Dom.RF, and Crimea’s Russian National Commercial Bank.

However, Aksakov clarified that the Russian government draws a clear distinction between blockchain and cryptocurrency. For blockchain, he calls it the “technology of the future,” but for crypto, he commented:

“There are currently two equal positions on cryptocurrencies. The main opposition to cryptocurrencies is coming from the high-risk it poses for financial institutions, ordinary people. This side is trying to foresee all the risks involved and possible reactions to them.”



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US crypto derivatives merchants need to leave customer funds alone, says CFTC

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Per guidance released Wednesday evening, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is advising businesses trading in crypto derivatives to hold customer funds very carefully.

The new guidance continues the CFTC’s interest in carving out rules for custodianship of virtual currencies — an area obviously distinct from any other asset class. Per the commission: 

“Custodians of virtual currencies are typically not subject to a system of comprehensive federal or state regulation and oversight, which includes safeguarding of these novel assets, and this raises potential risks to the protection of customer funds held at such custodians.”

The specific provisions of the guidance limit the locations that a “futures commission merchant” (FCM) can deposit customer virtual currency at to “a bank, trust company, or another FCM, or with a clearing organization that clears virtual currency futures.”

Moreover, the CFTC warns FCMs that they need to keep any such deposits in accounts clearly marked as customer funds, and will not allow gains in one account to make up for losses in another.

Effectively, the guidance seems most determined that customer crypto funds remain safe and untouched, barring FCMs from trading such funds in order to make collective gains. How big of a problem FCM trading of crypto deposits has shown itself to be goes unaddressed, but you can certainly imagine some catastrophic results of a crypto futures dealer deciding to play some volatile markets using crypto funds.

The CFTC has been busy trying to assemble a holistic framework for crypto assets. At the beginning of this month, the commission promised to protect the “burgeoning market” for these assets, an announcement that came immediately after the announcement of their pursuit of BitMEX for operating an unregistered derivatives exchange in the U.S. 



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