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Commentary: Cryptocurrency is powering the underground economy of vice and crime



CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts: Ransomware – a type of malicious software that restricts access to a computer system until a ransom is paid – is not a good look for cryptocurrencies.

Proponents of these digital coins would rather refer to prominent investors like Tesla founder Elon Musk, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, star football quarterback Tom Brady or actress Maisie Williams (Arya in Game of Thrones).

But the recent ransomware attacks and the central role of cryptocurrencies in enabling them are a public relations disaster.

Attacks include the closure of the Colonial Pipeline last month, which drove gasoline prices up on the U.S. east coast until the company paid the hackers $ 5 million in Bitcoin, and, more recently, an attack on JBS, the world’s largest one largest meat producer.

READ: Comment: Robocalls Reveal Weakest Link in New “Scam”

Such episodes illustrate what has long been a problem for some of us: hard-to-track anonymous cryptocurrencies provide opportunities for tax evasion, crime, and terrorism that make large denomination banknotes seem innocent by comparison.

Although prominent proponents of cryptocurrencies are politically connected and have democratized their base, regulators cannot sit on their hands forever.

READ: Comment: Don’t trust the hype – Bitcoin will never be a smart investment


The view that cryptocurrencies are just an innocent store of value is startlingly naive. Sure, their transaction costs can be substantial enough to put off most normal retail stores.

But for anyone trying to avoid tight capital controls (e.g. in China or Argentina), laundering illegal profits (perhaps from drug trafficking), or bypassing U.S. financial sanctions (against countries, companies, individuals, or terrorist groups), crypto can still be an ideal option.

After all, for decades the U.S. government turned a blind eye to the role of its $ 100 bills in facilitating arms purchases and human trafficking, not to mention undermining poor country governments, collecting tax revenues or maintaining peace of mind.

A woman counts US $ 100 bills on August 28, 2018. (File photo: REUTERS / Marcos Brindicci)

While Bitcoin and its crypto variants have nowhere near outperformed the dollar in facilitating the global underground economy, they are certainly on the rise.

With even leading US financial firms trying to offer crypto options to their customers, one might well ask what people are investing in.

Contrary to popular claims that cryptocurrencies are little used in transactions and there is no underlying business, there is a thriving one: cryptocurrencies are not just a bet on dystopia, but also offer a way to invest in the global shadow economy.

READ: Comment: The year hackers and scammers took advantage of our COVID-19 fears to scam us


If governments ultimately have to dramatically increase their regulation of crypto transactions, why have cryptocurrency prices in general, and Bitcoin in particular, increased (albeit with headline-grabbing volatility)?

Part of the answer, as economic theory tells us, is that zero interest rates can create massive and persistent bubbles in inherently worthless assets.

In addition, crypto investors sometimes argue that the sector has grown so large, and has attracted so many institutional investors, that politicians will never dare regulate it.

READ: Comment: Dogecoin and Why We Should Stop Taking Cryptocurrencies Seriously

Maybe you are right. The longer it takes for regulators to act, the more difficult it becomes to get a grip on private digital coins.

The Chinese and South Korean governments have recently started cracking down on cryptocurrencies, although it is not yet clear how determined they will be.

In the United States, the financial industry lobby has been relatively successful in withholding meaningful regulation of digital assets; Experience the recent withdrawal of the Facebook digital currency project to the US amid the global regulatory setbacks orchestrated by the Swiss authorities.

Facebook CEO Zuckerberg testifies to the House Financial Services Committee about the cryptocurrency Libra

Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies to a projection of a “Zuck Buck” at a House Financial Services Committee hearing examining the company’s plan to launch a digital currency on Capitol Hill in Washington, United States, to be introduced on October 23, 2019. REUTERS / Erin Scott

The government of US President Joe Biden is now at least in the process of forcing the reporting of cryptocurrency transfers of over 10,000 US dollars in order to collect a larger portion of the taxes owed. But ultimately, reducing the potential liquidity of hard-to-track crypto requires a great deal of international coordination, at least in advanced economies.


In fact, this is an argument why a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin could justify its high value of around $ 37,000 in late May (although its price changes as the weather changes).

If bitcoin is an investment in the transaction technology that underpins the global shadow economy, and if it takes many decades to rein in the currency even in the advanced economies, it can earn many rents from transactions in the meantime.

READ: Comment: Elon Musk is relying heavily on Bitcoin to make Tesla strong

After all, we don’t have to expect a company to be in business forever – think fossil fuels – for it to have significant value today.

Of course, there will always be a market for cryptocurrencies in war-torn countries or pariah states, although their ratings would be much lower if coins couldn’t be laundered to rich countries.

And maybe there are technologies to remove anonymity, thereby removing the main objection to cryptocurrencies, although it is believed that doing so would undermine their main selling point as well.

READ: U.S. regulators signal increased risk and tax oversight for cryptocurrencies


Nobody argues against the blockchain technology that underlies cryptocurrencies and has enormous potential to improve our lives, for example by providing a trustworthy tamper-proof network to monitor carbon dioxide emissions.

And although the operation of the Bitcoin system itself requires enormous energy consumption, there are now more environmentally friendly technologies, including those based on “Proof of Stake”.

READ: Comment: Elon Musk Wakes Up To Bitcoin’s Environmental Impact

Unfortunately for those who have invested their savings in cryptocurrencies, ransomware attacks targeting a growing number of businesses and individuals could prove to be a tipping point when regulators finally develop a backbone and step in.

Many of us know people whose small, ailing businesses have been decimated by such blackmail.

While governments may have better tools for tracking cryptocurrencies than they admit, they are in an arms race with those who have found an ideal vehicle to make crime rewarding. Regulators need to wake up before it’s too late.

Kenneth Rogoff, former Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund, is Professor of Economics and Public Order at Harvard University.


What is Ethereum And Should You Invest in This Cryptocurrency?



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Ethereum is the second largest cryptocurrency by volume and the most widely used blockchain in the world, but its many uses can create a much bigger learning curve than Bitcoin for new investors.

“Ethereum serves two purposes. First, it functions as money and can be a store of value,” said Bill Noble, senior technical analyst at Token Metrics, a cryptocurrency analysis platform. “But Ethereum is also like a freeway for decentralized finance.”

Instead of creating value as “digital gold” like Bitcoin, Ethereum is a software platform that runs on a blockchain. Users can interact with the platform through Ether, the Ethereum-linked cryptocurrency – or buy and store it as a store of value. Ethereum is widely used by developers, but there are also people who invest in the crypto so that its potential is worth more over time.

What is ethereum

Ethereum was invented in 2015 by programmer Vitalki Buterin after Bitcoin.

“He realized that bitcoin was like a calculator, designed to do one thing, and it does it really well, but you can’t do anything else with it,” said Ollie Leech, learning editor at Coindesk, a cryptocurrency news agency.

So Buterin created Ethereum, a blockchain network with an associated cryptocurrency called Ether (ETH) with the potential to do far more.

While you can buy and trade Ethereum as an investment like Bitcoin, it is also a software platform that developers can use to create new applications – often cryptocurrency or otherwise designed to make buying, selling, and using cryptocurrencies smoother. Like the ones on your phone, these apps can be anything from rental apps to payment platforms.

Think of Ethereum like a smartphone, says Leech. Developers can build apps on smartphones, much like they can build apps on Ethereum. While cell phone apps have more universal applicability these days, Ethereum apps are more aimed at crypto users. Using the example of a borrowing app, a developer could create the app that other crypto users in turn could use to borrow and borrow.

“Everything is powered by this idea of ​​smart contracts,” he says. A smart contract is a program that runs autonomously on the Ethereum blockchain, says Leech. Smart contracts fulfill all functions that a third party would normally have to perform.

For example, people can complete direct transactions over the network. Peer-to-peer lending is becoming increasingly popular on Ethereum right now, says Leech. A credit app developed on the Ethereum network enables individuals to lend money to one another without involving a bank.

The smart contracts that power these apps are basically just algorithms that perform a certain function when certain conditions are met. In the case of peer-to-peer credit, the contract triggers the outcome (the lending of the money) if the collateral is deposited in the correct wallet or in the correct account. Possible benefits of using a smart contract over a traditional lender include speed of execution, the absence of human error or bias, and lower fees.

Other uses of Ethereum

Like other popular cryptos, Ethereum was built on the principles of decentralized funding as the products and services that live on Ethereum are available to anyone with access to the internet.

The smart contracts allow developers to create decentralized applications that can serve various purposes. These applications include financial instruments like cryptocurrency exchanges, decentralized lending platforms, and data services like Matcha, which scans multiple cryptocurrency exchanges for the best prices. But there are also categories of dapps for things like buying and selling digital artwork, games, and developer technology.

The open source concept of Ethereum enables developers to build completely new cryptocurrencies on it, such as Chainlink and XRP, which are known as tokens. Some of these assets come in the form of various cryptocurrencies that you may have heard of, such as Tether (USDT), Uniswap (UNI), or USD Coin (USDC).

But cryptocurrencies aren’t the only digital assets that can be created on Ethereum – recently, NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are another example of something created using Ethereum. These digital tokens are operated by Ethereum and are used to represent ownership of unique items, according to the Ethereum website.

Ethereum vs. Ether

Developers have to pay a fee to the Ethereum network to create new tokens or decentralized apps on the network. You make these payments in Ether, the home currency of Ethereum. According to Noble, this fee is also known as “gas”.

Gas is the price to use the system, such as taking the subway to take the train. Ether is the cash you would use to buy your Metrocard. Think of it “like tolls that you have to pay to get things done and trade on Ethereum,” says Noble. Different promotions are worth different amounts of Ether, and the fees get higher as more people join the network.

These gas prices, and all the uses developers pay to research them, help explain the rise in the value of ether over the years. As more and more developers try to develop things on Ethereum, they have to buy more ether to pay gas fees, which in turn increases the price of ether. Ethereum investors are betting on the continued use of the most widely used blockchain and the potential of their applications for the future.

Gas fees are also one of the biggest barriers to Ethereum’s growth potential, according to Noble. But an ongoing update to the network, Ethereum 2.0, tries to address the problem. The update won’t have any impact on investors or Dapp users, it will only affect developers, according to the Ethereum site.

If you want to invest in Ethereum, buy Ether. An ether token is currently trading for around $ 2,700. Similar to how you would invest in Bitcoin, investing in Ethereum means buying and holding the token (ether) in the hopes that it will increase in value over time.

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Forex cryptocurrency: How to choose what to trade



Trading cryptocurrencies in Africa is becoming increasingly popular. This is due to a tech-savvy population who were already quick to adopt digital payments via mobile devices. However, forex trading has also seen increased growth in the country with an estimated 1.3 million traders in Africa. With this growth, there are plenty of potential traders who want to start trading but are unsure of which currency to choose in this complex environment.

This is after INFINOX Regional Director, Danny Mawas, who says it is important to do careful analysis before getting into trading. “Identify your personal goals, resources, and risk tolerance before choosing your risk and trade management strategies. It is also important to spend time researching and analyzing both markets before trading. ”

First, it is important to know the differences between the two as they are enormous and can be compared to the proverbial apples and oranges. “Cryptocurrency trading is trading in digital or virtual currencies that are secured by cryptography, the best-known example is Bitcoin. Trading takes place on relatively new decentralized platforms using blockchain technology, a system that makes it almost impossible to change, hack or cheat. “

“Forex is foreign exchange, or FX, and it takes place in the largest, most liquid, and established global markets. Every day, volumes of up to 6.6 trillion US dollars are traded in 150 state-supported national currencies, ”explains Mawas.

When it comes to choosing a trade, Mawas points out that it is important to consider the liquidity of the forex market versus the crypto market. “For example, when forex traders buy and sell these high volumes on a daily basis, it creates a liquid market that offers opportunities for all types of traders. In addition, thanks to their volatility, forex instruments also offer leverage as well as many trading opportunities, which makes trading an easy instrument. “

“The foreign exchange market allows individuals, large institutions, governments, retailers and others to participate,” he says. “Forex trading is essentially less risky, more protected, more regulated, and more stable. It enables investors to react to market movements and is influenced by political or economic factors that cause investors to enter or exit the market accordingly. ”

“However, trading crypto can be riskier as there is less information and fewer case studies to predict performance,” adds Mawas. “There are less established markets and while it may promise higher returns, there is no guarantee of profit, but a long-term option for potential profit.”

Mawas explains that for those looking to start trading Forex, there are proven strategies that beginners can consider. “One viable way to learn and fuel your trading journey is through online community apps like IX Social, where traders can share knowledge, trades and experiences with like-minded traders. It puts users in the spotlight with the latest news, community trending topics, top trades of the day and the latest prices in one place.

“The easy-to-use functionality, coupled with an auto-copy feature that allows traders to automatically copy the top traders to get the same results, makes it the ideal platform for beginners to learn and grow,” says he.

Mawas offers his advice, saying that it is important that you not let your emotions guide you no matter what forex traders choose to trade. “Trading based on an emotional impulse often results in traders buying and selling at inopportune times.”

“While there are great advantages to trading, it is important for traders to follow a strategy and get started easily. This will ensure their longevity and in-game prosperity, ”concludes Mawas.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of INFINOX Capital.

Contact details on behalf of INFINOX:
Mondli Hadebe
Tel: +2721 023 0440
Cell phone: +27 78 640 6457

INFINOX is an award-winning and market-leading online trading platform.

Founded in 2009 with the vision of delivering a customer-centric trading experience, INFINOX offers its customers first-class service in various asset classes. We empower and help investors gain access to the markets so they can trade forex, stocks, indices, commodities and futures; with our fast, efficient and reliable trading technology.

We strive to provide great service to our customers and we have a dedicated multilingual support team available 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced trader, INFINOX provides the relevant tools to get you started and improve your trading strategies. We offer instant funding options and the ability to withdraw your money quickly.

INFINOX Capital Ltd. SA is an authorized financial services provider and is registered by the Financial Services Conduct Authority at. regulated FSP No. 50506 (INFINOX Capital Ltd SA acts as an intermediary for INFINOX Capital authorized and regulated by the Bahamas Securities Commission).

INFINOX Capital is a registered trade name of IX Capital Group Limited, authorized and regulated by the Securities Commission of The Bahamas (‘the SCB‘) under registration number BE F-188.

INFINOX Limited is approved and regulated by the Financial Services Commission as an investment dealer (FSC) from Mauritius under the license number GB20025832.

INFINOX is a brand of INFINOX Capital Ltd, a company incorporated in the United Kingdom under company number 06854853. INFINOX Capital Ltd is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under registration number 501057.

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Danny Mawas, Regional Director at Infinox

Africanews provides its readers with content from the APO Group as a service, but does not edit the articles it has published.

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Man out $75,000 after cryptocurrency stolen – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports



(WSVN) – cryptocurrency: a great way to get rich or lose your money. It’s complicated, it’s risky, and crooks love it, which is why South Floridas turn to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser to ask if crooks are stealing their crypto, are they out of luck?

Crypto, Coinbase, Bitcoin. Words that make some people say, huh? And others say it will make me rich.

Matthew Pilieci, cryptocurrency stolen: “It’s a bit like the Wild West, not regulated.”

Matthew Pilieci is determined to have financial security when he retires. A point he got from a man who speaks from experience.

Matthew Pilieci: “I think my grandfather poked it into my head as a small child: ‘You don’t want to die without money.'”

Matthew believes cryptocurrency can make that money for him. After saving $ 20,000, he signed up on the Coinbase app and started buying.

Matthew Pilieci: “No problems, it felt very safe. It had a mixture of Bitcoin and some Ethereum. “

The unregulated cryptocurrency is very risky, which doesn’t bother Matthew.

Matthew Pilieci: “I like to gamble and take risks with my investments because I’m younger, so I like riskier investments.”

His risky investments brought higher profits.

Matthew Pilieci: “I invested just under $ 20,000 a few years ago and my portfolio was close to $ 75,000.”

A great return. And then one night everything was gone.

Matthew Pilieci: “Somehow they got through my two-key factor authentication and accessed my account remotely. Everything was gone within 10 minutes. Just under $ 75,000 was stolen from them. There is a lot to swallow. “

Matthew quickly called Coinbase to notify them and try to get his $ 75,000 back.

Matthew Pilieci: “They don’t have live support, in the market, which is 24 hours a day, seven days a week, a public company has absolutely no live support.”

Matthew sent Coinbase an email. He says he only got automated email replies.

Matthew Pilieci: “I knew people were being hacked. I wasn’t aware that Coinbase was completely unresponsive and unhelpful. “

Matthew doesn’t know how the hackers got access to his Coinbase account, but he remembered that when he signed up with Coinbase, they applied to have insurance.

Matthew Pilieci: “They advertise that your money is insured, but when a transaction goes through there is no way to withdraw that transaction.”

That means his $ 75,000 is gone.

Matthew Pilieci: “I got too angry from a completely broken heart.”

Well, Howard, where is Matthew legally?

Howard Finkelstein, legal expert at 7News: “To say this is legally complicated is an understatement. Our financial laws were written before cryptocurrency was created. If the money was stolen from a bank account, they’d probably have to give it back to you, but with cryptocurrency no one knows the answer and if they say you’re unlucky, you probably have it. “

Matthew is not alone. Lately we have been contacted by people whose cryptocurrency has disappeared.

One viewer wrote: “Bitcoin wallet was hacked and stolen.”

Another person said, “$ 11,000 worth of cryptocurrency was stolen,” and they also stole $ 3,500 from his bank account.

Regarding Matthew, Coinbase wrote, “They responded quickly and can confirm that there was no violation of the Coinbase platform or improper actions by the employees,” which concluded that the hacker accessed Matthew’s phone and their insurance company did not responsible for his loss of $ 75,000.

Howard Finkelstein: “If you’re thinking about suing, don’t waste your time. If you sign up with companies like Coinbase, you will lose your right to sue them and will only be able to apply for a refund through arbitration. This is Matthew’s best chance, and like buying cryptocurrency, it’s a long attempt. “

Conclusion: Matthew’s risky investment in cryptocurrency didn’t bring any rewards this time around.

Matthew Pilieci: “That just set me back by how many years, you know? Now I’m back to zero. Now I’m back at the start. “

If there is a way to make a dime, the hackers will find a way to steal that dime and that’s why they call cryptocurrency the Wild Wild West.

Somebody cost you a little bit of coin? Don’t be cryptic. Contact us and see if we can put money in the bank for you.

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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