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Russian Programmer ‘Sends’ USD 450m in Crypto to Fraudsters + More News

Russian Programmer 'Sends' USD 450m in Crypto to Fraudsters + More News 101
Source: iStock/stevanovicigor

Crypto Briefs is your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.

  • Russian computer programmer Alexei Bilyuchenko, who was involved in the collapse of Wex (World Exchange Services) exchange, says he was tricked into handing over its entire assets (USD 450 million worth of crypto) to fraudsters posing as the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) agents. BBC reports that Wex stopped trading in 2018, leaving customers unable to access investments. Bilyuchenko, however, said that he had actually lost control of Wex in the spring of 2018, several months before it officially collapsed, after meeting supposed FSB agents who “strongly suggested” he should move the funds from Wex to “an FSB fund,” which he claims he did.

Adoption news

  • United Nations secretary-general António Guterres says the intergovernmental organization needs to embrace blockchain. Per Forbes, Guterres touted blockchain as a crucial component of this organization that generates USD 50 billion in revenue annually, as it can help accelerate the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. The United Nations’ focus is on giving donors increased assurance their donations are being spent properly, while reducing waste in the organization’s supply chain. This comes at the time when China has placed blockchain as a national priority, and the United Nations Children’s Fund has started accepting Bitcoin and Ethereum donations for some of its projects.
  • South Korea could use blockchain-powered online voting solutions in future elections. The government-run Central Election Commission has received funds from Seoul and is planning to listen to proposals from private operators as early as January next year, per News1. Officials have ruled out blockchain voting in the forthcoming 2020 parliamentary elections, but hope to roll out pilots soon after.
  • The South Korean Post Office will look to debut a blockchain-powered email solution early next year, reports iNews24. The solution will make use of an app that allows citizens to receive paperless bills and official government correspondence on their smartphones. The program has been co-developed by cloud provider Tilon, and includes tamper-proof sent and read confirmation functions.
  • Coinbase may be forced to remove the dapp (decentralized app) browser feature from its crypto wallet application, so to comply with the App Store policy. According to CEO Brian Armstrong Apple seems to be eliminating usage of dapps from the App Store, adding that many developers and early adopters of the technology have millions of dollars worth of crypto tied up in these financial applications, and they will not be able to use them on Apple mobile devices any more if the policy continues.
  • This past weekend, the IOTA network was reportedly unable to process transactions for some time. However, IOTA developers claim that the problem has been resolved now.
  • Ripple will look to extend its partnership arrangements with a number of Brazilian banks next year. Reuters reports that the company says it wants to liaise with “banks and regulators” in Brazil, with a focus on remittance solutions.

Cryptocurrency exchange news

  • Byte Power Group subsidiary will launch its Singapore cryptocurrency exchange, Byte Power X Singapore, on December 31. It will launch with 10 cryptocurrencies and fiat pairings with the Australian, Singapore and U.S. dollars, says the Market Herald.
  • Huobi Indonesia, the Indonesian wing of Huobi Group, launched a local fiat gateway to enable a direct fiat-to-crypto trading facility between the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) and Tether (USDT). The press release says that the new gateway will allow Indonesian investors to use the local fiat currency to trade over 250 cryptocurrencies available on Huobi Indonesia’s digital asset exchange.
  • Tax authorities in South Korean have effectively hit market-leading crypto exchange Bithumb with a USD 67 million bill, reports Joongang Ilbo. Bithumb’s largest shareholder, Vidente, has confirmed that it will look to convince the tax authorities to reconsider. The tax authorities claim that overseas clients have been using Bithumb’s services, despite a ban placed on foreign nationals using South Korean exchanges. Chosun reports that Vidente shares have tumbled by almost 10% upon the news.

Trading news

  • Peer-to-peer bitcoin trading volumes are hitting record-breaking levels in both Venezuela and Argentina, with bumper weeks reported for the week ending December 21, per Coindance statistics. Criptomonedas e ICO reports that BTC trading volumes hit the USD 24.8 million mark in the afore-mentioned week, for a weekly rise of almost 16%. In Argentina, meanwhile, there was a whopping 34% rise in the same time period.

Regulations news

  • The Japanese regulatory Financial Services Agency (FSA) has ruled that cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds (ETF) “may not be sold or be developed in Japan.” The FSA had hinted that it would look to block ETF issuance earlier in the year, but issued a consultation paper on the matter in autumn. However, following a review, the FSA has stated that it will not allow crypto ETFs, although it is prepared to reconsider its position at a later date.

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