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Money Launderers Still Prefer Fiat Over Crypto: Study

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The world of cryptocurrencies has long been touted as one that is “perfect for laundering” and ideal for fraud schemes. However, a new study emerged in the latest cryptocurrency news, showing that money launderers are actually (still) more keen on using fiat rather than cryptocurrencies – when laundering money.

Even though the number of detractors has substantially increased over the years, the money launderers are apparently moving in the same direction – they prefer fiat over crypto when laundering. The study has shown that things are far from what they seem or what they are illustrated like on the many best cryptocurrency news sites.

Carried out by the cryptocurrency intelligence firm Messari, the new research shows that contrary to public consensus among the crypto detractors, fiat currencies are still used more as the currency of choice for money launderers, scammers and hackers on the Dark Web.

Citing sources from both the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime and the popular blockchain analysis firm Chainanlysis, the report found that the ratio of Dark Net money laundering operations carried out with fiat currencies compared to the ones using crypto assets is at a staggering rate of 800:1 (in favor of fiat, of course).

The research was carried out in light of the criticism coming from Mr. Steve Mnuchin, who is the Secretary of the United States Treasury.

As an earlier press conference showed, Mnuchin echoed the sentiments of the President Donald Trump, stating that “Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have been exploited to support billions of dollars of illicit activity like cybercrime, tax evasion, extortion, ransomware, illicit drugs, and human trafficking.”

And while the top regulators think that money launderers are more keen on crypto, the facts showed the very opposite. As the research notes, it seems that crypto is the lesser of two evils. And while there are definitely cases with money laundering using crypto, fiat currencies are still the preferred method of choice.

In numbers, we can refer to the coming altcoin news showing that JPMorgan Chase was recently seized with $1.3 billion worth of cocaine on it. In contrast, only around $500 million in crypto assets has been spent by criminals since the beginning of this year.

And while crypto assets are definitely dangerous for the financial system, painting the picture of criminals using them and only them is definitely something taken out of the blue.

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Bitcoin Scams

The New Bitcoin Scam That Is All Over YouTube: Watch Out

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YouTube has always been a safe zone for people who want to watch videos and relax. As we have reported many times in our Bitcoin and altcoin news, it is also a platform where one can see a lot of educational, instructional and analysis-type of videos in the crypto markets. However, more and more media outlets are reporting about the new Bitcoin scam that is al over YouTube recently and was purportedly titled "“Binance CEO Does Bitcoin Giveaway,” or something similar in broken English.With over 2,000 live viewers, this scam makes people want to click and was purportedly being hosted on the Binance channel. However, the idea behind Binance doing a sudden giveaway of BTC on YouTube bugged many and led a lot of people to realize that it is actually among the latest Bitcoin scams.Clicking on this video would lead users to a video of one of Changpeng Zhao (founder and CEO at Binance) Q&A session in a Periscope split-screened with a Bitcoin address and its respective QR code. The description, on the other hand, comes with a promise from Binance to multiply the deposits of Bitcoin. From what can one see, this is an obvious scam.At the same time, however, many other similar scams are being run for both Ethereum and XRP. The new Bitcoin scam for Binance is just an example for this type - but there are a lot of scams related to ETH, XRP and even Tesla with their founders claiming to give out "free cryptocurrency."While it is hard to tell how many similar streams are out there, the new Bitcoin scam should serve as a warning for people. Unfortunately, as clear as it is that these are scams, people fall for them and a lot of these "giveaways" have managed to catch some cryptocurrency investors off guard.According to a Github linked shared on a Substack post from Matt Muller, some of the addresses that the scammers have been using received large sums of cryptocurrency from seeming victims. There are also many online reports on Reddit and YouTube of people sending funds to the addresses that scammers use in their videos.The bad thing is that once you send the funds, they are 99.99% gone - forever.
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Bitcoin Scams

Thai Lawyer Investigates Alleged Crypto Pyramid Scheme

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One Thai lawyer is in the focus of the latest cryptocurrency news for moving a case for an alleged crypto pyramid scheme to the country's Department of Special Investigation (DSI). The human rights lawyer represents victims of the alleged scheme and as The Bangkok Post reported, there are roughly 20 victims whose losses are alleged to total of 75 million baht (close to $2.5 million).Now, the victims are seeking to go beyond the investigations of local police in Thailand's Krabi province given the gravity of this case. The Thai lawyer is supporting them and moved the case to DSI, a department of the Thai Ministry of Justice which works independently of the Thai Royal Police force and is tasked with the investigation of "special cases." These include organized crime or cases tied to national security threats.As the report by the media outlet shows, the alleged pyramid scheme is dubbed "Khung Nong Cryptocurrency Trading," and has operated in Krabi in 2018. It offers promising returns of as high as 8% weekly and locals in the towns of Krabi, Yala, Pattani, Trang and Narathiwat are reported to have sold off assets such as private land, cars and motorcycles to raise the money for their investments.The scheme managed to draw in more victims between October 2018 and February 2019, and as the Thai lawyer says, it continued until the operator abruptly stopped paying out dividends. An investor named Noopad Wachedi said that she had sold her land to raise money needed to invest and that the check given to her by the Khung Nong Cryptocurrency Trading's operator subsequently bounced.Noopad claimed that her recruiter alleged her investment was being overseen by state officers. Another victim (her relative) also alluded to a series of alleged tricks that were used to deceive investors.Before this, in the fall of 2019 we reported in our Bitcoin scams news about a Bangkok police arrest of the 38-year old person who named himself "the cryptocurrency wizard" over his alleged role in a 500 million baht ($16.3 million) crypto exchange fraud. Previously, in 2018 another local figure and a Thai soap opera star named Jiratpisit Jaravijit was arrested for his role in the 797 million baht ($24.6 million) Bitcoin investment heist which he allegedly operated together with his siblings.
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Bitcoin Scams

Travelex Hackers Demand $6 Million Worth Of Bitcoin Ransom

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The Travelex hackers, or the attackers that hacked the foreign currency exchange company, demanded a payment of $6 million worth of Bitcoin after the hack and in the bitcoin news now, we take a closer look at the developments of the situation.The UK currency exchange platform Travelex was shut down due to a ransomware malware following a network breach. According to the BBC, the hackers launched the attack on New Year’s Eve and forced the company to power down the website and the systems entirely. The Travelex hackers hit the company when many of the staff members were away for the holidays. The platform has operations in about 30 countries with 1,200 branches across the world, most of which were forced to operate manually or to stop all services. A notice on the Travelex twitter feed stated that they took down the websites in order to ‘’protect data and prevent the spread of the virus.’’The reports add that the ransomware group called Sodinokibi was responsible for the attack and wanted the currency exchange to pay $6 million. some other reports say that the group specified Bitcoin as the method of payment through a website with a top-level domain that was registered in China back in 2019. Once they settled, the hackers agreed to provide the decryption tools to enable the IT staff of the company to disable the ransomware and to access their files again. The research showed that the prevalence of ransomware could have heavily impacted the prices of bitcoin in 2019.The reports also mentioned that the computers with confidential information such as clients' names and bank accounts had been infected by the malware by adding a random character string to the end of each encrypted file. Other UK based companies that relied on Travlex’s forex services including Barclays, HSBC, Virgin Money, Sainsbury’s Bank, First Direct and others have also been disrupted.Thousands of customers across the world were blocked from using the app and were unable to access the funds or to make transactions on the Travelex currency card. The group also known as REvil, offered criminal gangs to rent their ransomware for a cut of the profits. The ransomware note that was delivered to the platform read:
 “If you do not co-operate with our service – for us it does not matter. But you will lose your time and your data, cause just we have the private key. In practice, time is much more valuable than money.”
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Bitcoin Scams

US Coast Guard A Victim To Crypto Ransomware Attack

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The US Coast Guard issues a warning a security warning due to a ransomware attack on a federally regulated maritime facility as we are reading further in the latest crypto news.The intrusion in the US Coast Guard facility caused a 30+ hour shutdown of the main operations while a response was conducted as per the warning. The Ryuk ransomware is believed to have gained an access to the facility’s IT network when the employee opened a malicious link in a phishing email. It managed to encrypt the significant number of critical files and disrupted the camera and physical-access control systems and also lost the critical process control monitoring system.The warning alerted other facilities to enhance network monitoring tools and to use update virus software and to also make regular backups. It also suggests a few measures of segmenting networks to prevent the IT systems from accessing the entire operational technology environment. The incident is still under investigation and there’s no confirmation of when the event happened or whether a bitcoin ransom was already paid. During a similar incident at the San Diego port in 2018, the attackers demanded a bitcoin ransom although the facility did not provide the details of how much or whether it was paid or not.Over the past year, the ransomware attacks grew in popularity with the cybercriminals and surpassed crypto-jacking as their preferred weapon of choice. Earlier this month, one attacked targeted the Argentinean government and demanded 50 BTC to withdraw the attack. Bitcoin is also the preferred payment method in most of the cases; this tends to provide fuel for everyone who wants to decry the top cryptocurrency as being purely the choice of criminals. However, the researchers suggest that a lot of the tools that are used by these cyber criminals originally come from the government sources.However, despite getting blamed, it is possible that Bitcoin will get the last laugh as the demand for BTC increased with the increasing prevalence of ransomware attacks that could potentially be driving up the prices. Bitcoin’s price is currently trading at $7,102 as per the daily price charts.
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