Japanese Police Arrest 30 Suspects, Allegedly Involved in 2018’s $530M Coincheck Hack

Japanese Police Arrest 30 Suspects, Allegedly Involved in 2018’s $530M Coincheck Hack

Japanese police have made progress on the Coincheck hack investigations, having recently identified 30 individuals that might have been involved. According to Nikkei Asia, which broke the news, the authorities have arrested some of the alleged hack suspects or referred their cases to the local prosecutors’ office.

The hack which took place back in 2018 is still the largest in crypto history; around 58 billion yen ($530 million) worth of NEM tokens was siphoned from the exchange. Since then, Japanese authorities have been working to catch the Coincheck hackers.

Notably, Coincheck had already released the associated addresses where the stolen NEM tokens were drained. This prompted them to be blacklisted and consequently labeled ‘coincheck_stolen_funds_do_not_accept_trades: owner_of_this_account_is_hacker.’

Last year, the authorities arrested two individuals named Masaki Kitamoto and Takayoshi Doi, who acquired the stolen NEM tokens at a 15% discount via the dark web. The two found themselves in trouble for purchasing the tokens despite being aware of their origin.

It now seems that the Japanese police have narrowed down further given the recent arrests and prosecution referrals. Per Nikkei’s report, investigators were able to trace the 30 individuals by tracking ‘the accounts at conventional cryptocurrency exchanges through which the hacked NEM was converted.’

Sources close to the matter revealed that the transactions in question could total around 20 billion yen, although they are yet to pinpoint the exact parties responsible for the hack. Before this development, the narrative has been Russian hackers suspected of having compromised Coincheck employees’ computers.

On the bright side, Coincheck survived following an acquisition by Monex Group. The crypto exchange is set to host Japan’s first Initial Exchange Offering (IEO) for a project dubbed ‘Hash Palette’; this initiative targets to raise roughly 1 billion Yen ($9.4 million).

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Korea’s National Assembly Suggests Delaying Income Tax Rule on Crypto Assets to Jan 2022

South Korean lawmakers have allegedly proposed to delay the upcoming income tax rule on crypto-assets by three months from its scheduled commencement date in October 2021. According to the Dong-a Ilbo, a South Korean media which first reported this news, the law might come into effect later in January 2022.

The report notes that South Korea’s National Assembly, led by its planning and finance committee, recently tabled a report to suggest this law’s delay. This is because local crypto exchanges have asked for more time to develop proper tax infrastructures to meet the reporting requirements.

Through the Ministry of Economic and Finance, South Korea’s government made amendments to its tax code back in July. The new framework, which is yet to be approved by the National Assembly, proposed a 20% capital gains tax on crypto trading activity for income above 2.5 million Won ($2000).

As earlier reported by BEG, the suggested South Korea tax code details how transacting parties will annually report their taxes. It outlines that tax payments associated with crypto assets will be paid in May, per the ‘Taxation on Virtual Asset Transaction Income’ section on the new tax code.

Notably, the proposed tax on virtual assets is applied to both residents and non-residents that leverage South Korea-based crypto exchanges for their digital asset activity. With the commencement dates pushed back, the planning and finance committee is expected to update in the coming days.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

US Authorities Arrest A Women in Murder-for-Hire; Paid $5k In Bitcoin to Scammer

A woman based out of Nevada has been arrested by the authorities for allegedly hiring a hitman to get her ex-husband killed. It is being reported that the woman paid $5000 in Bitcoin on the dark web, but the website turned out to be a scam, and the woman was indicted for conspiring to kill her husband.

The woman was identified as Kristy Lynn Felkins residing in Fallon, Nevada, as per the court documents from the US District Court for the Eastern District of California.

Authorities were tipped off about the payment, who later traced the website and went on to track the bitcoin transaction made by the accused along with the incriminating messages that she exchanged with the bogus dark web website.

How Did the Murder Plot Begin?

The court documents revealed that Felkins started talking to someone over the dark web using a privacy-centric Tor browser (it uses multiple layers of addresses to constantly change the IP address of the user to avoid any tracing) back in 2016. The individual she was talking to advised her to launder bitcoin using peer-to-peer marketplace localbitcoins.com to avoid any tracing.

Felkins was not so sure about the idea and, at one point, even asked the representative of the website whether they were from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). She asked,

“How do I know you are not FBI, they do have the capability to infect one’s device and trace them back to their real IP. Just being cautious.”

Felkins eventually agreed to do as she was asked, and between March 6, 2016, and March 9, she sent 12 Bitcoins to the website. She asked the website to shoot her husband outside his workplace, and at one point, even suggested the murder look like a mugging gone wrong. However, the website demanded an additional $4000 for the task, and Felkins backed out, asking the “hitman” to proceed with the killing as agreed in the first place.

Felkins revealed that her ex-husband was quite abusive both mentally and physically. In one of her conversations with the alleged hitman, she said,

“This man mentally, physically, sexually, and emotionally abused me. I ran, and then he took my children away from me. He now mentally abuses my children and threatens their physical well being. He is quite the snake and master manipulator.”

The shady dark web marketplace, after receiving the money, started to give excuses to her and, at one point, even said that her husband was not found at his workplace. Both parties stopped communication in April 2016, while the authorities came to know about the alleged murder plot almost three years later and indicted Felkins on Thursday.

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Author: James W

Community In An Uproar as Sun’s Tron Foundation Granted $2M Subsidy from US CARES Act

  • Justin Sun’s TRON foundation has allegedly been awarded $2 million in subsidies, courtesy of the US CARES package.
  • The $2 Trillion act was passed to inject cash flow into the US economy amid global pandemic.

Justin Sun and the TRON Foundation, which he owns, have been thrust into controversy (surprise, surprise.. examples include: here, here, here, here, here, here, and so on) after reports emerged that they received the money from the US stimulus package. This is according to a Chinese WeChat platform post published on Wednesday.

A similar post further discloses that TRON received at least 17 million Yuan, roughly $2.3 million, from the US government’s CARES program. There is also no clause that compels the receivers of the subsidies to pay back at any time. The report indicates that they expect the second batch of subsidies to be disbursed to the TRON foundation soon.

There are still some in the community that believe the PPP loan was awarded to a company that deserves it –

Historic Stimulus Package

The stimulus package act, dubbed CARES, was passed towards the end of March. The package, which totaled $2 trillion was meant to provide immediate cash flow for businesses in the US that were affected by the global pandemic. It is reported to be the biggest slice of the legislation stimulus package in the US ever.

This has drawn massive criticism via social media outlets. A lot of businesses based in the US have faced the uphill struggle in trying to claim the subsidies due to competitive requests (or banks stealing funds).

The Federal Reserve has also come under fire as they came under fire for “rewarding the worst abusers” in a post. A number of Blockchain firms have been rejected by this subsidy program, for example. Bigger firms are allegedly leveraging their close relations with banks to leapfrog other, smaller business applications.

The TRON foundation was not keen to respond to the issue. Ryan Dennis a TRON rep cited that they were unable to comment on the financial matter regarding the private entity.

He, however, emphasized that TRON reputes itself on conducting legal financial practices of the respective jurisdiction they are operating.

TRON’s Presence in the US

TRON migrated its offices to San Francisco after Beijing authorities put a lid of all ICO’s and locally operated crypto exchanges in 2017. This was seen as an attempt to control the financial systems in place.

TRON foundation now boasts of an arsenal of US-based Firms in their fold including BitTorrent and SteemIt located in New York. It also owns live streaming service DLive.

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Author: Lujan Odera

OneCoin Ponzi Scam Allegedly Resurfaces as OneLink With Ties to Simon Le

An infamous ponzi scheme has allegedly resurfaced under a new name, and is now operated by a prominent top earner in the company. The new entity is called OneLink and is a clone of the OneCoin ponzi scheme that The Times has described as “one of the biggest scams in history” as it brought in an approximate $4 billion worldwide.

OneCoin’s collapse led to the prosecution of 98 people across the globe, although its founder, Ruja Ignatova managed to evade authorities and made off with 500 million euros of laundered funds. She remains at large since 2017.

OneLink is OneCoin’s spiritual successor and copycat clone, run by former OneCoin “captain” Simon Le (real name Le Quoc-Hung). The new company reportedly surfaced on March 5th, 2020 under the domain “onelinknetwork.” Although he does not appear on the website, screenshots of a video presentation made by Le were posted by behindmlm.com that ties him to the new company.

Le has a sordid history with OneCoin and is believed to have joined the company during its inception. As a Vietnamese national, Le made most of his money by luring numerous victims in Vietnam into the organization, which quickly promoted him to the upper echelons of OnecCoin. He is alleged to have continued to promote the scheme even after the company’s Sofia offices were raided by Bulgarian police in 2018.

How much Le managed to steal from victims is unknown. He is reportedly hiding out in either Vietnam or Dubai – neither of which have extradition treaties in the US to face punishment for his involvement in OneCoin.

How OneLink works is as follows. The company offers no products or services, but people can promote OneLink’s affiliate program to others in order to earn commissions. The scheme has numerous aspects to its total compensation plan, which rely on recruiting others to fill an affiliate’s “downline.” Affiliates earn a recruitment commission of 10 percent as well as a residual commission via a binary compensation structure. A further matching bonus can be earned from an affiliate’s downline.

OneLink offers additional perks as part of being a top earner of the ponzi. People can reportedly earn a Rolex watch, a gold Rolex watch, or a ‘special reward’ for reaching the illustrious ‘Crown Diamond’ status inside the organization. Membership prices for OneLink start from $40 in USDT and can range up to $5,000 depending how much one is willing to invest.

The new ponzi directly copies OneCoin in many aspects from its compensation structure to the ‘services’ that are provided to affiliates. Most of the features have simply been renamed or rebranded under OneLink, such as its education package, e-commerce platform, trading platform, and charity scheme.

As a further stab in the back to the original OneCoin victims, Le offers them an “exclusive program” in exchange for being part of his new organization. Participants can redeem their old accounts for points in the new ponzi – but only if they first hand over more money to Li for the privilege.

A final remainent of OneCoin can be found in the new platform’s return projections, which was a core recruiting tactic of getting new people in the scam. Just as with the former, OneLink gives wholly unrealistic and made up numbers under its ‘OLX Internal Value Roadmap’ for how quickly the ponzi will grow in size before it either implodes or is shut down by authorities.

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Author: Matthew North

Leading French Bank, BNP Paribas, is Blocking Transfers to Coinbase Crypto Exchange

International French banking giant, BNP Paribas, is allegedly blocking funds transferred to Coinbase crypto exchange. According to one of the bank’s clients, this action began just recently given they could use BNP Paribas as an intermediary at the beginning of March.

Speaking to news site Cointelegraph, the client preferred to stay anonymous but shed light on this development in detail. Most notably, was a response they got from the BNP Paribas customer service in regards to Coinbase’s transfer issue. The bank, through one of its representatives, said that it was considered an illegal operation. It further cited privacy coin, Monero, crypto scams, and malware as the reasons for cutting financial interactions with Coinbase.

Reports, however, indicate that Coinbase is the only crypto exchange suffering the BNP Paribas wrath. The anonymous client also highlighted that they did not receive any prior warnings from the bank relating to the matter.

The move by BNP is not an unprecedented one within the volatile crypto market. Popular banks like JP Morgan and Citi have in the past implemented limits to crypto operations; the most significant one yet is the credit card ban for digital asset purchases back in 2018.

Bulgarian banks also took similar measures during the 2017 bull run which saw Bitcoin hit the highs of $20,000. They basically terminated some accounts that were run by crypto exchanges.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Startup Solana Seeks A $2-$10M Raise; DISH and KIN Jumping To A New Blockchain?

U.S television network provider, DISH, is allegedly looking to leverage the Solana protocol for a 5G tokenization project. This blockchain’s fundamentals have also attracted Kin, a payment platform built by Kik and currently runs on the stellar network.

Both DISH and Kin are set use Solana as the building blockchain network in a bid to maximize its scalability feature. The network boasts of a 50,000 TPS according to tests conducted so far; slightly lower than Visa’s 60,000 TPS.

Solana has since set out to seek more development funds with a recent pitch deck (first found by Coindesk) revealing the target amounts between $2 million and $12 million. However, this is yet to be clarified as some other sources point to a strategic $10 million round which will raise the company’s valuation to $125 million.

While DISH creates tokenized on-chain hiring spaces, Kin is running a platform that handles over $1 billion transactions a day. The two entities could benefit greatly from a scalable blockchain network; Kin which was to run on Ethereum ended up on Stellar as a result of this inefficiency. Given the recent developments with Solana, Kin might now move its operations from stellar. The company’s technical advisor, Tanner Philp, noted that they are considering Solana’s protocol to enhance more development;

“Solana is one option we thought could be interesting for Kin so we have been doing some initial evaluations, but right now we have nothing to announce.”

Solana’s pitch deck however claims that Kik will join its network as soon as March, 2020. Despite this success, Solana is currently at legal cross paths with the SEC. The company’s ICO back in 2017 amounted to $100 million worth of Kin tokens and would later raise $20 million in a 2019 Series A funding.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Tether (USDt) Strikes on an Unpublished Report on Manipulating Crypto Market

Tether has taken the first step and made the move on an unpublished report that allegedly accuses the USDT stablecoin issuer of manipulating the cryptocurrency market.

However, this won’t be the first time such allegations have been made against the stablecoin.

Recently, researcher TokenAnalsyt reported on Twitter that on days that new USDT tokens are issued, BTC price increases 70% of the time.

Following the issuance of Tethers on the Ethereum blockchain, the price of BTC moves up 70% of the time while on Omni, it moves 50% of the time, the researcher found.

“I think the discrepancies are appearing recently primarily because Tether on ERC-20 is just much easier than Tether on Omni to use as a means of transferring value quickly,” Sid Shekhar, co-founder of TokenAnalyst told Bloomberg.

“Ethereum is a speedier chain than Bitcoin. As Tether is primarily used as a way to realize gains and get in and out of volatile crypto-asset positions in times of market movement, the speed of transferring into/out of it is critical.”

Tether has been at the center of the controversy since it first entered the market. In April, New York’s attorney general accused the company behind Tether, Bitfinex for being engaged in a cover-up for hiding losses.

Now, Tether has taken to clarify one such “unpublished and non-peer reviewed paper,” for false reporting based on

“flawed assumptions, incomplete and cherry-picked data, and faulty methodology.”

“We fully expect mercenary lawyers to use this deeply flawed paper to solicit plaintiffs for an opportunistic lawsuit, which may have been the true motive of the paper all along,”

Tether added.

Further providing the explanation, Tether said,

“Tether and its affiliates have never used Tether tokens or issuances to manipulate the cryptocurrency market or token pricing. All Tether tokens are fully backed by reserves and are issued pursuant to market demand, and not for the purpose of controlling the pricing of crypto assets.”

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Author: Hank Klinger

Dubious ‘Royal House’ Letter to Raise Bitcoin to Save British Economy in Post-Brexit Era Circulates

Scammers have allegedly asked for $2.5 Million BTC from the British residents. They claimed that the funds would be used in taking care of the financial system after Brexit.

Emails Vs Letters

These fraudsters dispatched out to the British bodily letters pretending to be the non-public secretary of Queen Elizabeth II. This is according to one of the many copies disclosed by the executive of a local tech agency.

The CEO at a United Kingdom-based IT firm Smart task; Paul Ridden posted on LinkedIn on Sept. 24 an image of the letter. He was raising concern over the failed fraudulent activity and asking if there was someone else who had received something similar.

The letter dated Sept. 16 claimed that it was the second time until now that the Queen was appealing to several folks to save Britain’s financial system. In the letter, the Queen’s side has already garnered 82% of the 19 billion British pounds. This is technically the amount of cash that should be paid to the European Union to save many financial systems.

High Gratuity Guaranteed

The letter has it that the Royal home seeks to borrow from 450,000 to 2,000,000 British pounds (up to $2.5 million) from the British residents. The letter also asked the recipients to transfer the cash to the Royal home via Bitcoin.

In return for participation, the potential Bitcoin donors were promised a 30% interest rate at an interval of three months. They would also have the chance to be a member of Royal Warrant Holders Affiliation.

The British tech-focused publication IT expert contacted Buckingham Palace following the news, but they did not reply during press time. Ridden was sure that no one in their right mind would send Bitcoin to the scammers. He termed the attempt as poor because the letter was written in poor English and also said there is monetary consciousness in Britain.

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Author: Daniel W

A Petition Starts Asking the Ripple Company to Stop Dumping XRP Gains Momentum

The XRP holders are very insecure about the behavior of Ripple, as the blockchain firm allegedly keeps on manipulating the market, claims the investors. A recent donation of 1 billion by Ripple to Coil has raised eyebrows among XRP holders.

Even though Ripple has an indirect influence on XRP with its developments but on the other side, Ripple also holds the majority of XRP’s and with Ripple dumping the XRP coins in a large number hasn’t amazed investors.

Just weeks ago, XRP touched the lowest price mark of $0.252 since late 2017. This shows that Ripple has had an impact on XRP in a negative way. The co-founder of Multicoin Capital hedge fund, Kyle Samani, in his interview with Bloomberg stated that the rise in Ripple’s quarterly XRP sales had led the digital asset to a bearish trend.

Similarly, veteran crypto analyst, Peter Brant recently mentioned that XRP price would dip up to $0.20. Brant, with all his experience and observation, predicted the upcoming price of XRP could further go down, as Ripple goes on to sell XRP. Also, in a series of tweets, he claimed that Ripple has been manipulating the market price of XRP. He used the word ‘manipulating’ because the way Ripple has controlled XRP price with the significant market whales, XRP sales, and donations.

A petition asking Ripple to stop the dumping of the XRP crypto has been published on Change.org. The hypothesis is that Ripple is placing on the market billions of XRP, causing the price to fall.

Now the petition has gathered momentum with over 2k investors signing it and asking the fintech firm to quit dumping their XRP holding onto the market.

The aim of the petition is to collect ten thousand signatures to support the cause and stop the price from falling, although there is no mention of how this could be done, or what they would actually do once the 10k signatures have been collected.

Despite the low market prices, the XRP community is very much hopeful about the future of the digital asset.

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Author: Joseph Kibe