UK Losses $200 Million to Crypto Frauds, Indian Exchanges Block Accounts Dealing in Malicious Activities

UK Losses $200 Million to Crypto Frauds, Indian Exchanges Block Accounts Dealing in Malicious Activities

Frauds related to cryptocurrencies surged over 146 million pounds ($200 million) in the first nine months of the year, said the UK Police.

The amount of money lost in 2021 so far is 30% more than all of 2020.

The Police also said that more than 7000 reports of crypto-linked frauds were reported to the U.K.’s national reporting center for fraud and cybercrime this year. More than half of these victims were between the age of 18 and 45 years, they added.

Additionally, fraudsters often used a fake celebrity endorsement to lure people in, with about 79% of all complaints reporting a fake endorsement.

“Reports of cryptocurrency fraud have increased significantly over the past few years,” said Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Craig Mullish.

“Being online more means criminals have a greater opportunity to approach unsuspecting victims with fraudulent investment opportunities.”

Elsewhere, India’s three cryptocurrency exchanges WazirX, CoinDCX, and CoinSwitch Kuber, have blocked over 200,000 accounts in the past six months, citing malicious activities.

CoinSwitch Kuber alone suspended 180,000 accounts between April-September 2021 and is currently monitoring the daily activities of around 200k accounts that may be malicious, CoinSwitch Kuber CBO Sharan Nair told BusinessLine.

Binance acquired WazirX meanwhile has blocked 14,469 accounts. The exchange also received 38 requests from the law enforcement agencies of India and the US, UK, France, Austria, Switzerland, and Germany to block the accounts.

To track malicious activities, WazirX has collaborated with crypto compliance platform TRM Labs.

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Author: AnTy

More than 65% of South Korean Crypto Exchanges to Shut Down Once FSC Deadline Hits

More than 65% of South Korean Crypto Exchanges to Shut Down Once FSC Deadline Hits

This could result in “huge investor losses” as users lose access to about 42 local altcoins. Currently, Polkadot (DOT), XRP, Cardano (ADA), and Cosmos (ATOM) are leading cryptos on the four top legit exchanges in the country.

The majority of the South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges are all set to be closed this month.

This will wipe out about 3 trillion won ($2.6 billion) as two-thirds of exchanges shut down, according to a report from the Finance Times.

Earlier last week, The Financial Services Commission (FSC), a financial monitoring agency in South Korea, issued a press release stating that they held an online meeting with “virtual asset service providers” (VASPs) to discuss the requirements related to the Sept. 24 deadline to register their businesses with the government.

“For VASPs that are planning to operate a virtual asset trading platform but are not planning to offer [Korean currency]-based or other fiat currency-based exchange services, the authorities advised them to terminate their fiat currency based exchange services without delay by the September 24 registration deadline.”

Those VASPs that are unable to meet the requirements and, as a result terminating their operation are advised by the authorities to “take measures to minimize damages” to their service users by informing their customers about the same with 7-day advance notice, giving them at least 30 days for withdrawal, and discard users’ personal information according to the relevant rules.

This could result in the shut down of about 40 of South Korea’s 60 crypto service providers, FT reported, citing “industry insiders and regulators.”

This could also force the closure of 42 sought-after coins, which crypto exchanges are expecting to trigger a “bank run” and result in “huge investor losses.”

Upbit, Bithumb, Korbit, and Coinone are the four top exchanges in South Korea that collectively control more than 90% of the country’s total cryptocurrency trading volume.

On Upbit, the largest crypto exchanges in South Korea which won’t be affected by the regulatory tightening, currently the most popular cryptos include Cosmos (ATOM), Tezos (XTZ), XRP, Serum (SRM), Polymath (POLY), Cardano (ADA), Polkadot (DOT), and Tron (TRX).

Bitcoin (BTC) accounts for 3.73% of the exchange’s total volume of just over $6.88 bln in the last 24 hours, the same as Tron, while Ethereum (ETH) has only 2.79% share, according to Coinmarketcap.

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Author: AnTy

Canada’s Security Regulator Prohibits Regulated Crypto Exchanges from Trading in Tether (USDT)

Canada’s Security Regulator Prohibits Regulated Crypto Exchanges from Trading in Tether (USDT)

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has put the dominant stablecoin Tether (USDT) in its prohibited crypto assets list while allowing cryptocurrency exchanges to trade in Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC).

This was disclosed in the regulatory documents regarding the exemptive relief applications in multiple jurisdictions for crypto exchange Coinberry Limited – “the first pure-play crypto trading platform in Canada to be fully registered” and Wealthsimple.

These two Toronto-based cryptocurrency exchanges are the only crypto asset dealers to receive regulatory approval by the OSC to operate their platforms in all Canadian provinces and territories for two years. Evan Thomas, Head of Legal at Wealthsimple Crypto, told a local publication in a statement,

“Canadians are still waiting to see the impact of regulatory standards being consistently applied across the industry. We hope regulators will ensure other platforms bring themselves into compliance with Canadian securities laws very soon.”

Both the companies’ documents put Tether in the “Appendix C – Prohibited Crypto Assets” section. It further noted that the application filer,

“Will not trade Crypto Contracts based on crypto assets, digital or virtual currencies, and digital or virtual tokens listed in Appendix C to this Decision.”

While not allowing trading in USDT, the documents do not specify the reason behind the decision. But it does put the disclaimer that OSC’s “decision should not be viewed as precedent for other filers.”

Tether, which has a market cap of $65.7 billion, settled its lawsuit with the New York Attorney General earlier this year for $18.5 million and is required to release quarterly transparency reports. As per the settlement, the stablecoin operator is also barred from doing business in New York.

In its latest transparency report, Tether said USDT is fully backed with 75.85% of it backed by Cash & Cash Equivalents & Other Short-Term Deposits & Commercial Paper.

Late last month also came the report that the US DOJ is probing the largest stablecoin and its executives for bank fraud. Tether, however, said that it “routinely has an open dialogue with law enforcement agencies…as part of our commitment to cooperation, transparency, and accountability.”

But it looks like Canada’s securities regulator is not yet comfortable with Tether’s situation and may even perceive it as high-risk.

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Author: AnTy

South Koreans Turn to Serum (SRM) As Solana (SOL) Ecosystem Pumps

SRM is currently the second most traded crypto on one of the biggest South Korean exchanges, Upbit, after Dogecoin. It is also trading at a premium on both Upbit and Bithumb, the latter also announcing the listing of SOL.

While Bitcoin and Ether are taking a breather under $45,000 and $3,000, respectively, other altcoins are busy pumping.

This especially holds for Ethereum (ETH) competitor Solana (SOL) and other coins in its ecosystem that have been pumping like crazy.

After months of ‘Solana Summer’ chanting by the SOL enthusiasts, finally, it is having a blast. Up 182% in the last 30-days, SOL is currently trading just above $70, having hit a new ATH at $80.12, according to CoinMarketCap on Wednesday.

SOL’s year-to-date gains currently stand at a whopping 3,706%, among the highest in the crypto space.

Amidst this uptrend, one of the biggest South Korean exchanges, Bithumb, announced the listing of SOL against KRW and BTC.

With SOL on an uptrend, decentralized exchange Serum built on Solana is also up 192% in the last 30-days. But trading at $7.87, SRM is still down 39.5% from its ATH four months back and has recorded only about 600% returns YTD.

This week, Huobi Global announced the listing of SRM against USDT and BTC.

SRM is currently the second most traded crypto on the biggest South Korean exchange, Upbit, after Dogecoin. Bitcoin doesn’t come until the 4th spot and Ether until the 9th as Koreans choose altcoins over the top coins.

SRM is currency trading at $8.28 on Upbit, while on Binance, it’s at $7.89, representing a kimchi premium of nearly 5%, according to Coinmarketcap.

While on Bithumb, which is listing SOL today, SRM is not among the top 10 most traded crypto assets but falls at the lower end of the top 20 and is also trading at a premium at $8.22.

“If the Koreans love SRM that much they’re gonna fucking love SOL,” tweeted trader @SmartContracter

South Koreans are simply busy trading XRP, DOGE, LUNA, ADA, ETC, AXS, and EOS.

AUDIO of Solana-based Audius streaming protocol has gone up over 110% in just a week after its partnership with TikTok.

Other Solana-based projects that are up in triple-digits in the last 30-days are COPE, Raydium (RAY), Bonafide (FIDA), MAPS, and Step Finance (STEP).

Besides SOL and the tokens in its ecosystem, another DeFi platform with a focus on stablecoins and with the backing of A-list investors such as Andreessen Horowitz and Galaxy Digital that is growing in value is Terra (LUNA), up over 100% in the past two weeks, hitting a new ATH today $33.22 and currently trading at just above $29.

LUNA’s YTD gains stand at 4,418%, nearing Dogecoin’s 5,163% gains which is yet again pumping as Dogecoin Foundation returns with its board of directors, including Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and Jared Birchall, manager of Elon’s family office, but is still down 59% from its ATH.

Currently, above $2, another Ethereum competitor Cardano (ADA), is also just less than 15% away from its ATH. Arweave (AR), Avalanche (AVAX), Thorchain (RUNE), and XRP have also enjoyed almost triple-digit gains in the last 30 days.

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Author: AnTy

Spain’s Watchdog Issues a Notice Against Crypto Exchanges Bybit and Huobi for Unauthorized Operation

Spain’s Watchdog Issues a Notice Against Crypto Exchanges Bybit and Huobi for Unauthorized Operation

Spain’s financial regulator, the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV), has issued a warning notice against 12 companies that include cryptocurrency exchanges Bybit and Huobi.

According to the notice, the warning has been given because these institutions are not registered in the corresponding registry of this Commission, and as such, they are not authorized to provide investment services or other activities subject to the government agency’s supervision.

However, it does not necessarily mean that activities are suspended, reported the local publication. It said that commission warnings are common and are executed as a measure to prevent possible cases of scams. In late 2019, CNMV had also warned about four unauthorized entities operating in Spain.

Besides Huobi and Bybit, other companies mentioned in the notice include The Market Limited, Skyway Capital, Profit Assist, N2 Group, Markets EU, Markets Cube, Liberty Sky, Financial Resident, Expertise Trader, and Dsdaq Market.

In the Bitcoin futures market, both Huobi and Bybit are among the top five in volume and account for 5.87% and 11.75% of the open interest on Bitcoin futures’ market share respectively.

In the spot market, TokenInsight estimated Huobi’s trading volume at $1.16 trillion in the second quarter, beaten only by Binance’s $3.57 trillion. However, the value of its native token HT burned dropped 54% from June to $22.3 million, which the exchange said is a “natural response” to market trends.

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Author: AnTy

Cross-chain Poly Network Gets Hacked for Over $600M, Networks Act to Save the Lost Funds

Cross-chain Poly Network Gets Hacked for Over $600M, Exchanges & Stablecoin Issuers Act to Save the Lost Funds

In what appears to be the largest DeFi attack to date, cross-chain protocol Poly Network has been hacked for more than half a billion dollars.

“We are sorry to announce that PolyNetwork was attacked on BinanceChain, Ethereum and Polygon,” tweeted the team on Tuesday while sharing the hacker’s address where the assets have been transferred.

“We will take legal actions, and we urge the hackers to return the assets,” it added.

Crypto assets involved in the hack include USDC, WBTC, WETH, RenBTC, BUSD, ETHB, BNB, BTCB, DAI, UNI, SHIB, and FEI, as shared by the team.

The team further said that they are calling on the miners of affected blockchain and also cryptocurrency exchanges, including Binance, Coinbase, OKEx, and Huobi, along with stablecoin issuers Tether and Circle, to blacklist tokens coming from the addresses tied to the hacker.

Already many are responding with Paolo Ardoino, CTO at Tether, saying that they have frozen $33 million USDT as part of the Poly hack.

“Address got blacklisted right as attacker tried to deposit into Curve where it would unreachable. Just 9 blocks difference between transactions. $30 million saved,” commented Banteg, a core developer at DeFi projet Yearn Finance as he commended Ardoino for his fast reaction.

OKEx and Binance have also responded with affirmation that they are onto this, with Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao saying,

“While no one controls BSC (or ETH), we are coordinating with all our security partners to proactively help. There are no guarantees. We will do as much as we can. Stay SAFU.”

Poly Network is a protocol for swapping tokens across multiple blockchains as it aims to build “the next generation internet.”

Formed by an alliance between multiple platforms; Ontology, Switcheo, and Neo, currently, it offers interoperability between Bitcoin, Ethereum, BSC, Ontology, Neo, Elrond, Zilliqa, Switcheo, and Huobi ECO Chain.

As a result of the hack, trading pool O3, which makes use of Poly Network to trade tokens, was also affected and has suspended its cross-chain functionality while “the non-cross-chain function is available and can be used normally.”

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Author: AnTy

Colombian Bank to Allow Deposits & Withdrawals with Crypto Exchanges in Government-Sponsored Pilot

Colombian Bank to Allow Deposits & Withdrawals with Crypto Exchanges in Government-Sponsored Pilot

Banco de Bogotá is the first commercial bank of Colombia that plans to test deposits and withdrawals with cryptocurrency exchanges.

This initiative is part of a year-long government-sponsored pilot that will test banking services for crypto platforms.

Colombia’s financial watchdog, the Financial Superintendency of Colombia (SFC), had announced earlier this year that nine crypto firms were chosen to test banking services for crypto platforms.

Crypto exchanges Binance and Gemini were chosen by the SFC, which will operate with Colombian banks Davivienda and Bancolombia, respectively.

Before this pilot, banks were restricted from transferring money to exchanges due to financial regulations.

Starting in August, Banco de Bogotá will allow its customers to send and withdraw money from Chilean crypto exchange Buda.com. Both the parties involved, however, are still working on the terms and definition of the contract.

This agreement between Banco de Bogotá and Buda.com is the second such to be launched as crypto exchanges Panda and Bitpoint started working with Colombian fintech Movii this month.

Banco de Bogotá will also operate with Mexican exchange Bitso, but that partnership is yet to be started.

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Author: AnTy

Uniswap Introduces Token Censorship On its Front-End Due to ‘Regulatory’ Reasons

Uniswap Introduces Token Censorship On its Front-End Due to ‘Regulatory’ Reasons, Protocol Remains Decentralized as Ever

Users can still trade the delisted 129 tokens that include synthetic stocks, currencies, commodities, inverse derivatives, options, and yield-generating tokens; via decentralized interfaces and aggregators.

A total of 129 tokens, synthetic stocks, synthetic currencies, synthetic commodities, inverse derivatives, options, index products, yield-generating tokens; has been removed from the leading decentralized exchange (DEX) Uniswap, announced Uniswap Labs, a software studio that contributes to the protocol.

The delisting has been done in response to “the evolving regulatory landscape.”

These tokens include the likes of Gold Tether (XAUT), Grup Cat, Opyn cDai Insurance, Zelda Spring Nuts Cash, multiple Mirrored stock tokens, and several Synth cryptos and Synth Inverse cryptos.

They represent a “very small” portion of the overall volume on the Uniswap Protocol, it said in the announcement.

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The portal app.uniswap.org is an open-source interface for reliable interaction with the Uniswap Protocol. Unlike the interface, the Uniswap Protocol is a set of autonomous, decentralized, and immutable smart contracts which provide unrestricted access to anyone with an Internet connection, clarified the team.

As Banteg of Yearn Finance noted, “Uniswap has introduced token censorship on the main UI.”

It is the interface that is restricting the access to particular tokens, which is “consistent with actions taken by other DeFi interfaces” and has no impact on Uniswap Interface code or other portals or locally-run instances used to access the Protocol.

Users can basically still trade these affected assets via contracts, decentralized interfaces, or aggregators.

The crypto community didn’t take this news well, calling it a bad move. Some in the community wondered about the lack of UNI governance token holders’ input in the decision and the reason behind removing these particular coins, while others called for its demise.

“People can’t comprehend the difference between http://uniswap.org (a frontend owned by a company) and a protocol (a series of smart contracts hosted on ethereum) and cannot see this is regulator enforced,” commented influencer CryptoCobain who hosts UpOnly podcast.

“There’s no censorship at the contract level that’s the point of DeFi frontends are just a convenience for users. In a couple of years, only community run frontends will be around,” said a DeFi enthusiast.

Moving forward, Uniswap Labs said they would continue to develop products and contribute to the Uniswap Protocol in accordance with the broader DeFi industry’s values, that is, safe, transparent, and robust financial infrastructure to empower users around the world.

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Author: AnTy

US Crypto Exchanges Believe Regulatory Oversight Could Help Them Surpass Binance

US Crypto Exchanges Believe Regulatory Oversight Could Help Them Surpass Binance

Cryptocurrencies have grown exponentially in the last six months. However, the regulation of platforms that offer exposure to them is behind.

Regulatory Oversight Set To Pay Off

According to a Bloomberg Crypto report, regulation seems to be catching up with certain areas of the crypto universe. Government authorities are paying close attention to platforms that offer crypto services.

Even though previously, crypto exchanges operated without any oversight from authorities, the narrative seems to be shifting. The first indication is the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which has banned the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume from operating in its territories.

Following this development, US authorities are also reportedly taking a closer look into the business practices of Seychelles-based Binance Holdings Ltd with the Internal Revenue Services, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the US Department of Justice launching separate investigations into the centralized exchange.

This seemingly unfortunate event has tipped the scale in favor of several US exchanges.

These centralized exchanges are Coinbase Global, Gemini, Kraken, and Bittrex, which offer crypto custodial services to US customers. According to Gemini co-founder Cameron Winklevoss, these exchanges play a long-term game in the crypto trading dominance, given that Asian exchanges have continued to rule the burgeoning crypto industry.

“We’re trying to be the fastest tortoise in the race. The long game pays off over time,” Cameron added.

The Gemini crypto exchange sees this as an opportunity, given that it is a regulated entity.

Other US-based crypto exchanges have also come under regulatory oversight to attract institutional investors, hedge funds, and family offices. Coinbase Global is a publicly-traded company and has its shares listed on Nasdaq. Kraken has a regulated bank charter license in Wyoming, while Gemini helped create the Virtual Commodity Association in 2018 as a watchdog in the rapidly expanding crypto space.

Binance Leads The Pack For A While Yet

For now, Asian-originated crypto exchanges still control the crypto markets, with Bloomberg noting that Binance, OKEx, and Huobi have the highest 24-hour trading volume as of July 12.

Even though Binance has generated little in value from its US subsidiary, its daily spot trading volume is reportedly 100 times that of the Gemini exchange, according to Coinmarketcap. It also offers the most exposure to crypto-assets due to its rapid system of listing hot coins. This contrasts with Coinbase, which only listed Dogecoin this June after the meme token became a major hit earlier this year.

Meanwhile, centralized exchanges may not be the only threat to authorities. According to Bloomberg, the booming decentralized finance (DeFi) sub-sector may present a greater challenge. This is because platforms that offer access to these financial services do not observe know-your-customer (KYC) protocols and are largely decentralized with no central authority.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

PBoC Talks Crypto ‘Hype’ with Banks and Institutions & Prohibits Use of Their Services

They will also increase the investigation and monitoring of customers, including exchanges and OTC dealers and capital transactions, and will take immediate action against those still involved because crypto trading “disrupt normal economic and financial order” and “infringe people’s property safety.”

  • The central bank of China summoned banks and payment institutions to talk about the speculation issues related to cryptocurrencies.

The People’s Bank of China met with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Postal Savings Bank of China, Industrial Bank, Alipay, and others and ordered them not to participate in virtual currency-related business activities.

The relevant departments of the People’s Bank of China pointed out that virtual currency trading activities disrupt the normal economic and financial order, breed the risks of illegal cross-border transfer of assets, money laundering, and other illegal and criminal activities, and seriously infringe the people’s property safety.

All banks and payment institutions are now asked to strictly implement the “Notice on Preventing Bitcoin Risks” and “Announcement on Preventing Token Issuance Financing Risks” and other regulatory requirements.

Banks and institutions are not to provide account opening, registration, and registration for related activities such as trading, clearing, and settlement.

They are to comprehensively investigate and identify virtual currency exchanges and over-the-counter (OTC) dealers’ capital accounts and cut off the payment link for transaction funds.

Furthermore, they must analyze the capital transaction characteristics of virtual currency trading hype activities, increase technical input, and improve abnormal transaction monitoring models.

Amidst this, the price of Huobi Technology’s shares rose, which according to local publication Wu Blockchain, could be due to the central bank’s “relatively mild” action.

Before PBOC’s statement came, the Agricultural Bank of China issued its own on Monday stating that it prohibits the use of its services for virtual currency transactions and related activities. Now, Alipay and others have also issued their related statements.

The decision has been made in accordance with the recent guidance from the relevant departments of the People’s Bank of China and the meeting of the Financial Committee of the State Council.

According to the statement, the third-largest bank in China prohibits customers’ access involving virtual currency transactions and will increase the investigation and monitoring of customers and capital transactions.

If customers are still involved, the bank will take measures against them immediately, including suspension of account transactions and termination of customer relationships. The translated version of the notice reads,

“In order to protect your legitimate rights and interests and the safety of funds in your account, please actively cooperate with our bank’s due diligence work, assist our bank in fulfilling its legal obligations, and crack down on illegal and criminal activities involving virtual currency mining and fund transactions.”

The bank is further urging customers to be on high alert to the risk associated with virtual currency-related business activities and to beware of being deceived.

While most banks in China released a similar notice in 2014 to stop customers from trading cryptos, this time is different in three regards. As per Wu Blockchain, the latest notice clearly shows the requirements of the central bank, requiring an investigation of past behavior and reporting that to the government.

On the negative side of things, China doesn’t seem to be done with its crackdown on crypto. On the positive side, “meaningful reversal in global markets just now, with equity futures doing a 180 turnaround and bonds giving back all overnight gains,” said trader and economist Alex Kruger.

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Author: AnTy