Hired Actors and Identity Theft as Crypto Crimes Grabs the Spotlight; Japan Okays Cryptocurrency Political Donations
Japan, which has proven to be a crypto-friendly country so far, has given the green light to cryptocurrency donations to politicians and lawmakers. Indonesia, the biggest economy in Southeast Asia, has massive potential for the use of cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency firm hires actors to pose as banking executives while a Singaporean man racks a bill of $5 million from cloud computing services he used to support his illegal cryptocurrency mining operation.
Bitcoin breaking new ground in Indonesia
Not many people known about bitcoin, but the leading digital asset is gaining ground in Indonesia, said an industry player.
Jay Jayawijayaningtyas, Luno’s country manager in Indonesia said there is potential for growth as more people begin to use cryptocurrencies.
Giving his opinion at the sidelines of the Tech in Asia Conference held at the Jakarta Convention Center, Luno’s country manager said the exchange’s main goal is to educate people about the market.
“One of our objectives is to educate Indonesian people and the market. So far, popular investment choices here are gold, bank deposits, or property. A recent survey showed that only 17 percent of Indonesians are currently invested in stocks. Cryptocurrency is even smaller than that,” he said.
Japan legalizes political cryptocurrency donations
Cryptocurrency donations made to ministers and other politicians have now been legalized in Japan, and they do not need to be declared.
Japan’s Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Sanae Takaichi made the announcement at a press conference, according to local news reports.
The minister also said that crypto donations made to individual politicians do not need to be disclosed under Japan’s Political Funds Control Act. However, donations made to politicians in the form of cash or securities are subject to disclosure under the same Act, said the report.
“Cryptocurrencies do not fall under any of the above,” said Takaichi.
Japan passed a law in 2017 that recognizes Bitcoin as a legal payment method and also mandated cryptocurrency exchanges to comply with anti-money laundering (AML) and Know-Your-Customer (KYC) rules.
Ripple invests $750K in crypto wallet BRD to foster adoption and usage
Ripple, the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, has invested $750,000 in cryptocurrency wallet RBD in an effort to foster the adoption of XRP.
The investment will help the cryptocurrency wallet to integrate XRP, allowing users to buy, sell, hold, and send the cryptocurrency across the world.
BRD, a Swiss-based firm, says it has more than 2.5 million in 170 countries, with the majority of them located in Japan, Canada, Australia, Germany, the UK, and the US.
Early this year, the company raised $15 million in a Series B funding round led by SBI Holdings, one of Japan’s leading financial firms. SBI Holdings is a key Ripple partner.
South Korean convenience store adds support for stablecoin
The adoption of cryptocurrency will largely depend on the number of businesses willing to accept them as a means of payment.
CU, a leading South Korean convenience chain store, is now prepared to begin accepting cryptocurrency. The chain, with more than 13,000 outlets in the country, will now begin accepting Terra, a South Korean Won-backed stablecoin.
The chain store now accepts the stablecoin through a partnership with Chai. Terra co-founder Do Kwon said that small businesses find it hard to accept cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin due to their volatility.
In some regions, retailers are forced to convert the digital currencies to fiat currency on the spot to reduce the effects of volatility. Stablecoins were created to offer the benefits of cryptocurrencies but without the volatility.
“Moving forward, Chai will continue to lessen the burden on franchises and increase the merit of consumers through partnerships with various companies like CU convenience store with an on and offline infrastructure,” said Han Chang-Joon, the president of Chai Corporation.
Singaporean charged in the US for identity theft and illegal cryptocurrency mining
The crypto revolution is undoubtedly a genius one and has also attracted a genius bunch of nefarious actors who use all the tricks in the book (and yet to be written in the book) to gain access to people’s private keys or illegally mine cryptocurrencies.
According to documents released by the US Justice Department, a Singaporean man has been charged on 14 counts of identity theft, wire fraud, and operating a scheme to mine cryptocurrencies using stolen computing power in Seattle.
The accused, Ho Jun Jia, also called Mathew Ho and aged 29, was taken into custody by the Singapore Police Force.
The US authorities allege that Ho ran the cryptocurrency mining operation between October 2017 and February 2018 after the value of and fever around cryptocurrencies surged. The accused stole identity card and credit card information from a California-based game developer and used that to open cloud computing accounts with various service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Ho allegedly used the identities of a Texas resident and that of an Indian tech founder to open accounts with Google Cloud Services.
He then used these accounts to mine for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum and sold them on digital asset exchanges.
Some of the bills for the illegal activity were paid for by the California game developer before Ho’s illicit activities were detected. Ho’s operation was so large that he owes more than $5 million to cloud computing services and at one point, his operation constituted AWS’ largest consumer of data usage by volume.
Ho has also been slapped with drug-related charges.
Asian cryptocurrency firm hires actors to pose as Mastercard and Comerica officials
It will take a while before the crypto industry can be sanitized of bad actors, but in the meantime, the lengths to which scam artists are willing to go to will never cease to amaze people.
Comerica, an American-based financial firm is accusing VRB, an Asian-cryptocurrency firm of falsely using its name to further its business agenda. In a press statement released in June this year, the firm marketed itself as the “world’s first cryptocurrency bank focusing on digital asset management and value-added services.”
Comerica said that its legal department is working hard to take down VRB’s web domains that make reference to the US financial firm.
“Those involved with VRB cryptocurrency have sought to use the Comerica brand name to lend their operation legitimacy, and individuals attempting to make that association are not Comerica employees,” said Comera in a press statement.
Comerica says that the cryptocurrency firm hosted events in Asian countries such as Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam and hired actors to pretend to be representatives of the American bank.
There is a YouTube video in which VRB and a supposed Mastercard executive Howard Charlton, with the title Asia Pacific Operator, are at a signing ceremony. Mastercard website does not seem to have a position of Asia Pacific Operation nor is Howard Charlton affiliated with the financial payments giant.
VRB’s website has been shut down.