Several Notches Above Ransomware
An extortion scheme which sought to terrorize people into paying over BTC made global headlines over the course of the week. The threats happened worldwide, at a minimum being reported in the US, New Zealand, and Australia. The bomb threats demanded $20,000 in BTC in exchange for the terrorists to “give the command to my person to get away.” At least one address used in such schemes has to date received absolutely nothing, and there are no reports of anyone actually being injured as a result of failure to pay the ransom.
So I actually just got a bomb threat in my work email today ordering me to send the person $20,000 via bitcoin or they will blow up my place of work…. 2018 is wild pic.twitter.com/sn0vVLwe6v
— Ryan (@TheeRyanGrant) December 13, 2018
In related news, a “sextortion” scheme has been ongoing, seducing people into forcefully installing ransomware on their devices, ultimately forcing them to pay BTC or lose access to their data.
Romanian Bitcoin Exchange CoinFlux Sees Its CEO Arrested, Wanted for Extradition to the US
CCN broke the story of Vlad Nistor in the English speaking world. Nistor is the CEO and founder of a Romanian Bitcoin exchange called CoinFlux and is accused of having helped Romanian phishing scam artists – who actually traveled to the US as part of their scams in 2014 and 2015 – wash the proceeds of their scams in cryptocurrency when the exchange was just getting started up.
AriseBank CEO Settles SEC Charges
On the subject of scammers, Jared Rice, Sr., the CEO of the ICO-backed AriseBank scam has settled all charges with the SEC, amounting to well over $2 million fines and restitution. His criminal case is still pending.
Bitcoin Cash Bears In A Frenzy
For the first time ever this week, Bitcoin Cash saw a lower valuation than Ethereum. Ethereum itself is struggling on several fronts, the market being perhaps the least important to long-term bulls in the token platform. Actual dApp usage on the platform is incredibly low overall. We also reported this week how Tron, an alternative smart contract platform with a base token valued well under $1, saw more than a million transactions per day in its own dApps, indicating a growing demand for the token and its applications.
Bitcoin Cash ABC, the fork that retained the BCH ticker across exchanges, continues to plummet in value with no end in sight. Erstwhile, the other side of the fork, Bitcoin SV, seems to stay just behind BCH in price, the two being valued at $82 and $77 respectively on Saturday night. The continuing lack of confidence in Bitcoin Cash as a whole might be related to such things as lawsuits alleging overt centralization in addition to the general frigid atmosphere surrounding cryptos amid regulatory moves and prosecutions.
Coinbase Integrates Paypal
Coinbase users no longer need a traditional bank account to withdraw proceeds from Coinbase trades. They can withdraw to a Paypal account as of Friday. According to CCN writer Samantha Cheng:
Before, you needed an ACH (automated clearing house) or federal wire account to withdraw funds from your Coinbase account. And it could take up to two business days for the transaction to clear.
The only thing missing now is PayPal deposits, which are still not available, meaning that customers must use at a minimum a Debit or Credit Card to fund their account. The unbanked stay unbanked if they use Coinbase, at least for now.
Porsche Uses Blockchain to Arrange $170 Million Loan
Porsche wanted a loan to conduct a targeted acquisition, and according to CCN’s Melanie Kramer, they recently used BBVA’s blockchain products to do so:
Acquisition term loans are provided for a specific purpose and period. In this case, Porsche Holding Salzburg, a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, is seeking to expand its retail distribution network in Europe and Asia.
The pilot also makes Porsche, still the largest automotive distributor in Europe, the first non-Spanish borrower to use BBVA DLT to negotiate and close a corporate loan.
BBVA has conducted other loans using its blockchain infrastructure in the recent past.
African Militants Use ERC-20 Token As Official Currency
A group of Camaroon separatists who are working to establish what they called “Ambazonia,” have created AmbaCoin, an ERC-20 token that they tout as their official currency.
CCN’s David Hundeyin reported that there were still some unanswered questions about AmbaCoin:
As is the case with the Petro, it is currently unclear how the natural resources and projected earnings that give it value will be quantified and calculated, and it is also unclear how the said resources will be harnessed given that the Cameroonian military still maintains control of Southern Cameroon.
At time of writing, they were still selling the tokens for 25 cents US each to raise funds.
Featured image from Shutterstock.