Tag Archives: bitcoin

Fake Bitcoin Sellers Steal Close to $500K From Victims     

Two suspects have been accused of stealing almost $500,000 from unsuspecting victims in fraudulent bitcoin transactions in Hong Kong.

According to a report by the South China Morning Post on Tuesday (Mar. 23, 2021), the victims, aged 33 and 31, were deceived by two con artists in a fake bitcoin transaction. The cons who posed as bitcoin sellers managed to steal HK$3.85 million ($495,650) from the victims.

The victims, who work at a money exchange company, went to a shop in Tin Hau to purchase bitcoin with the cash. Meanwhile, a middleman whose identity was not revealed connected the buyers to the fake bitcoin sellers.

After handing over the cash to the fraudsters, one of the con artists left the shop with the funds, pretending to carry out some paperwork regarding the transaction. A police source who spoke about the mode of operation said:

“The money was counted in the shop, before one of the two ‘sellers’ left the shop with the money to carry out some document procedure.”

However, the buyers began to suspect foul play when the absent seller didn’t return after a long time. While the buyers tried to find the seller with the money, the remaining fraudster attempted to flee when the victims threatened to report the matter to the police.

After a brief chase, the fake bitcoin seller was caught and handed over to law enforcement. Although the suspect is in police custody undergoing interrogation, his colleague who disappeared with the money remains at large.

Bitcoin Scammers in the Prowl
With bitcoin gaining more popularity and growing in value, scammers looking for ways to swindle unsuspecting victims. In Hong Kong alone, there have been different reports of people who fell victims to fraudsters.

As previously reported by CryptoPotato in January 2021, a gang of robbers stole close to $450,000 from a woman in Hong Kong at knifepoint. Earlier in the same month, a man fell victim to thieves who stole HK$3 million from him after being deceived to sell his bitcoins.

Apart from robbery operations happening in Hong Kong, fraudsters employ other methods. Scammers back in January were selling the COVID-19 vaccine on the dark web, requesting buyers to pay as high as $1,000 in BTC for a single dose.

Bitcoin tops $50K as major companies jump into crypto

Bitcoin’s price broke above $50,000 for the first time in history Tuesday, continuing its blistering rally as major companies appear to be warming to cryptocurrencies.

The world’s largest digital currency by market value rose more than 3% to an all-time high of $50,487 at about 7:30 a.m. ET, according to data from Coin Metrics. It later fell below the mark, trading 0.2% higher at a price of $48,760.

Bitcoin has gotten a boost from news of large firms like Tesla and Mastercard showing support for crypto. Tesla last week revealed it had bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin and plans to accept the digital coin as payment for its products, while Mastercard said it will open up its network to some digital currencies. PayPal and BNY Mellon have also made big moves to support crypto.

Tesla’s use of corporate cash to buy bitcoin sparked speculation over whether other major companies would follow suit. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told CNBC last week that the company had discussed but “quickly dismissed” the idea of buying bitcoin but is considering whether to accept cryptocurrencies as payment.

These developments have led many crypto investors to believe the latest bull run is different than past rallies.

Bitcoin skyrocketed to nearly $20,000 in late 2017 before losing more than 80% of its value the following year. Bitcoin believers say that, whereas the 2017 bubble was driven by retail speculation, the current cycle is being fueled by demand from institutional investors.

“I think bitcoin is a much more stable asset class today than it was three years ago,” Michael Saylor, CEO of enterprise software firm MicroStrategy, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” program on Tuesday. “It used to be dominated by leveraged retail traders … on international markets with a lot of leverage.”

MicroStrategy and Jack Dorsey’s fintech firm Square hit the headlines last year after taking the unusual strategy of using corporate cash to purchase bitcoin.

“I think that starting in March of 2020, you saw institutions start to arrive, and I think in 2021 you’re going to see that trend continue,” Saylor added. “There’re enthusiasts for bitcoin as a medium of exchange, … but I personally believe that the compelling use case is a store of value.”

MicroStrategy has seen its share price climb more than sevenfold since it first bought bitcoin in August. The company announced Tuesday that it will offer $600 million in convertible bonds to buy more bitcoin. There has been speculation that MicroStrategy offered a blueprint for Tesla’s bitcoin purchase after an exchange between Saylor and Elon Musk on Twitter about making “large transactions” with the cryptocurrency.

Still, skeptics see bitcoin as a speculative asset and worry it may be one of the biggest market bubbles in history.

Economists like Nouriel Roubini say that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have no intrinsic value. And a recent Deutsche Bank survey said investors view bitcoin as the most extreme bubble in financial markets.

HORROR! Abuja Human Milk Factory With 115 Young Girls Where Customers Pay With Bitcoin

The Nigerian authorities rescued 115 mothers in Abuja, whose breast milk was being harvested every day and then turned into different dairy products like cheese, butter, and fresh milk. Some of these girls were as young as 16, the oldest being 22, and most of them were reported missing in the last 3 years.

Police suspect that their capturers recorded everything they did to them for the past three years and uploaded it to the dark web to entertain their clients. The girls were raped and impregnated live on the internet, and after giving birth, they milked them like cows every day, and their milk was processed using some of the latest technology in the dairy industry.

Three starving cows were kept as a front in case police started to look into the place.

The majority of products from the dingy warehouse were being shipped out of the country, along with videos of the milking and processing and packaging of the products. The computers and paperwork seized show that the dairy’s operation was funded by fans who watch the operation of the dairy live on the dark web.

The funders from the dark web were paying the operators of the dairy using cryptocurrency. They pay to have personalized videos and breast milk products from specific girls and more. Some request that a girl be fed a specific meal the day before she is milked to his specification and for the poor girls to say things like “This milk is for you(insert name)”.

Nigeria is now the world’s second-biggest bitcoin market after the US

Uwagbale Edward-Ekpu

During the police brutality protests in Nigeria in October, bitcoin saved the day when the government shut out protesters from using local payment platforms for collecting donations to support it.

The young, tech-savvy protesters quickly switched to using bitcoin, and in about a week bitcoin accounted for around 40% of the nearly $400,000 raised. It was just one high-profile example of how young Nigerians increasingly use bitcoin to navigate a complicated and restrictive banking and monetary system.

In the last five years, Nigeria has traded 60,215 bitcoins, valued at more than $566 million which, apart from the US, is the largest volume worldwide on Paxful, a leading peer-to-peer bitcoin marketplace. The data scraped from Coin Dance shows from the beginning of May 2015 to the middle of November this year, bitcoin trade in Nigeria have increased yearly at least 19% in volume since 2017, and the highest volume (20,504.50) was traded in 2020.

Bitcoin trade had its highest spike of 30% this year during the national lockdown in the country and the highest volume traded during the peak of the pandemic. between January and September, Paxful was reported to record a 137% increase in new registrations in Nigeria.”

The company says Nigerians make up around a quarter of its customer base with 1.3 million registered accounts. “They mostly use the platform for peer-to-peer and arbitrage trading,” says Nena Nwachukwu, Paxful Nigeria regional manager. “Remittances is also a popular use case.” Nwachukwu says bitcoin transfers are “much cheaper and faster than using traditional money transfer operators.”

The growing uncertainty and instability around the Nigerian naira, which has had increasingly divergent official and parallel exchange rates with the US dollar, has created an opportunity and practical use case for bitcoin trade in Nigeria. The divergent rates have long been a striking feature of Nigeria’s economy but more so in the last half decade as the country’s financial authorities have attempted to micro-manage the supply of foreign exchange and “defend” the naira.

In the last couple of years, other African countries, most prominently Zimbabwe, have seen a spike in cryptocurrency trade led by bitcoin, due to currency fluctuations and uncertain monetary policy. In some cases limits to the trade has been prompted by a lack of reliable local platforms.

“The lack of bitcoin liquidity was the first obstacle to solve to introduce bitcoin to Africa,” says Ray Youssef, co-founder of Paxful.

Nigerians are often restricted on international platforms such as PayPal, which does not allow payment to Nigeria, and local banks place a cap on international transactions and charge high fees for transactions due to dollar deficiency.

“People want to be able to buy and sell, transact internationally and the more the traditional channels are being restricted the more people trade crypto and mainly bitcoin,” explains Eleanya Eke, co-founder of Buycoins Africa. “And the best thing about it is that it’s almost impossible to stop. If you block the exchange it moves to Peer-to-peer platforms that are non-custodial.”

The increased awareness and availability of easy-to-use bitcoin platforms to Nigerians have largely increased bitcoin liquidity in the country, therefore solving the first problem hindering adoption. Nigerians now have several formal and semiformal bitcoin platforms to use, ranging from international platforms including Paxful, Binance, and Luno, and local ones such as Quidax, Busha, and BuyCoins. However, long-term watchers say most trading in the country is done on informal channels such as Telegram, WhatsApp bad WeChat.

“Globally, there was a shift to online transactions from the physical,” says Osaretin Victor Asemota, a Nigerian tech investor. “In Nigeria, as banks were closed, the agency outlets recorded much higher transaction volumes. I think this shift was inevitable, and it is not a temporary pandemic boost.”

Bitcoin traded as low as $3,600 in March due to a massive sell-off on global financial markets has this month surged past $20,000 for the first time. While in the past, the value has increased like this only to later dropped drastically in a few weeks, some analysts say this increase may continue into 2021 as it appears it is due to the growing interest of institutional investors in the cryptocurrency.

Institutional investors such as MassMutual and MicroStrategy were reportedly planning to purchase hundreds of million-dollar worth of bitcoin, while PayPal, a top global online payment company recently added cryptocurrency to its functionality, letting people use bitcoin to pay for things online.

Twitter Accounts of Obama, Biden, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Others ‘Hacked’ in  Bitcoin Scam

Several prominent Twitter accounts, including those of former US Vice President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, were compromised Wednesday in what appears to be a bitcoin scam.

The attack is likely the largest ever on Twitter’s security system and may have already cost users tens of thousands of dollars.

The accounts of several tech CEOs, including Musk, Gates and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, posted similar messages offering to double bitcoin payments sent to an address during a set period of time.

The posts all included the address of the same bitcoin wallet, which has seen as much as $112,000 pour into it over the last few hours. It is unclear if this money came from unsuspecting users or the scammers themselves.

Other major accounts that were hacked include companies such as Uber, Square’s Cash App and Apple.

Celebrities including Kanye West also posted similar messages, along with political figures such as Biden, Obama and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

All of the tweets have been deleted soon after being posted, but, given the size of the accounts, they have been viewed widely. While individual accounts are often hacked, especially ones that do not use security measures such as two-factor authentication, the scope of this effort suggests a deeper security failure.

Twitter support posted that “we are aware of a security incident impacting accounts on Twitter.”

“We are investigating and taking steps to fix it,” it continued. “We will update everyone shortly.”

(The Hill)