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With Venezuela’s economy in crisis, cryptocurrency fills the gaps | Crypto News



Venezuelan food delivery driver Pablo Toro has no stake in cryptocurrency or blockchain, but indirectly uses digital tokens every time he sends money to his family.

Toro, who emigrated to Colombia in 2019, uses an app called Valiu to receive Colombian pesos from work on Bogota’s streets and deposit the appropriate bolivars into a Venezuelan bank account.

In Venezuela’s economy, hemmed in by hyperinflation and sanctions, the operation is not that simple.

Valiu uses pesos to buy cryptocurrencies, which it then sells on LocalBitcoins, a global peer-to-peer site for trading tokens in local currencies.

For Toro, the platform is more reliable than informal money changers, the main channel for Venezuelan migrants to send money home. And he doesn’t have to buy the traditional money orders in person.

“In Venezuela, if the power goes out when internet service goes down, it will have a big impact on how long it takes to send a referral to the family,” said Toro, who left the university security guard because of his monthly Salary too high wasn’t even paying for one day’s purchases.

“(Now) I don’t have to worry whether the cell phone signal has dropped out in Venezuela or whether the cell phone stops here.”

With hyperinflation and United States sanctions disrupting Venezuela’s economy, cryptocurrency emerges as a way to offer services that are handled elsewhere by the traditional banking system.

According to interviews with crypto users and experts, it has become a tool to send remittances, protect wages from inflation, and help businesses manage cash flow in a rapidly depreciating currency.

Latin America’s cryptocurrency attracted renewed attention in June after El Salvador adopted Bitcoin as legal tender. It gained popularity in Argentina when inflation picked up again.

Chainalysis, a startup researching blockchain transactions, ranks Venezuela in third place on its Global Crypto Adoption Index in a 2020 report, largely due to the high volume of Bolivar transactions.

Mining cryptocurrency – using powerful computers to solve complex math problems – is an attractive way to generate extra income thanks to Venezuela’s extremely low electricity prices, but the average person cannot afford the equipment.

In Venezuela, crypto is mainly used to hedge against inflation, which causes bank deposits to depreciate sharply within weeks or even days.

“Valiu buys and sells bitcoin instead of converting pesos directly into bolivars, as this currency is not available on regulated marketplaces,” said Alejandro Machado, head of pilot programs at Valiu.

According to the LocalBitcoins data analyzed by the blockchain consultant UsefulTulips, Bolivar transactions on LocalBitcoins are the largest in value among Latin American currencies.

LocalBitcoins did not respond to a request for comment.

Cryptocurrency traders and experts say the volume on the site has decreased due to the surge in popularity of Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges that offers trading in a wide variety of tokens.

These include so-called “stablecoins”, the values ​​of which remain stable against certain assets such as the US dollar and avoid the volatility of many cryptocurrencies.

Pablo Toro, Venezuelan delivery worker, uses the Valiu app from his cell phone in Bogota, Colombia [File: Luisa Gonzalez/Reuters]Bolivar operations on Binance’s peer-to-peer platform have increased 75 percent since May, making Venezuela the only Latin American country whose trading volume has increased since the Bitcoin price slump in early May, a Binance spokesman said .

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced the creation of the state-backed petro-cryptocurrency in 2017, but it has little practical application. The government used it in 2019 to make small payments to retirees and often uses it as a unit of value to price services or fines that are ultimately paid in bolivars.

The US imposed extensive sanctions on Venezuela in 2019, preventing US citizens from contacting Maduro’s government. While banks can still do business with private companies or individuals, many avoid doing so because of the perceived regulatory risk.

The country’s Ministry of Information did not respond to a request for comment.

Fast food chains Pizza Hut and Church’s Chicken, as well as some supermarkets, are accepting tokens like Bitcoin and Dash as payment, causing a stir and filling shopping malls and stores with logos for well-known cryptocurrencies.

However, an important part of Venezuela’s crypto operations is for companies to swap their bolivars to defeat inflation, said economist and financial expert Aaron Olmos.

“Crypto is used as a relief to the economic situation, but you mostly see it in businesses,” said Olmos.

“Nobody is going to tell you ‘every night when we do the books we convert bolivars to bitcoin,’ but yeah, that happens.”

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Bitcoin trial: Defendant wins dispute over $50B in Bitcoin



Craig Wright, a computer scientist who claims to be the inventor of Bitcoin, asserted himself on Monday in a civil lawsuit against the family of a deceased business partner alleging that they owed half of tens of billions in cryptocurrency assets

December 6, 2021, 6:28 pm

3 minutes read

A Florida jury found that Wright did not owe David Kleiman’s family half of the 1.1 million bitcoin. The jury has awarded a joint venture between the two men $ 100 million in intellectual property, a fraction of what Kleiman’s attorneys asked for in court.

“This was a great win for our side,” said Andres Rivero of Rivero Mestre LLP, Wright’s senior attorney.

The case was very technical, with the jury listening to explanations about the intricacies of how cryptocurrencies work, as well as the opaque origins of Bitcoin’s creation. It took the jury a whole week to deliberate and repeatedly asked the lawyers on both sides and the judge questions about how cryptocurrencies work and the business relationship between the two men.

At the center of the process is 1.1 million bitcoins, valued at around $ 50 billion, based on Monday’s prices. These were among the first bitcoins to be created through mining and could only be owned by a person or organization who had something to do with digital currency from the start.

Bitcoin’s origins have always been a mystery, which is why this process has received so much attention from outsiders. In October 2008, at the height of the financial crisis, a person named “Satoshi Nakamoto” published a paper setting out a framework for a digital currency that was not tied to any legal or sovereign authority. The currency degradation began a few months later.

The name Nakamoto, roughly translated from Japanese “in the center of”, has never been considered the real name of the creator of Bitcoin. Some in the cryptocurrency community don’t even believe that Nakamoto was a single person.

Wright has been claiming he was Nakamoto since 2016, a claim that was received with skepticism by a sizable section of the cryptocurrency community. Because of its structure, all Bitcoin transactions are public and the 1.1 million Bitcoins in question have remained intact since Wright’s great revelation. Members of the Bitcoin community have regularly asked Wright to transfer just a fraction of the coins to a separate account in order to register that he is really as rich as he claims.

During the trial, both Wright and other cryptocurrency experts testified under oath that Wright owned the bitcoins in question. Wright said he would prove his property if he were to win the trial.

David Kleiman died in April 2013. His family, led by his brother Ira Kleiman, claimed that David Kleiman and Wright were close friends and co-founded Bitcoin through a partnership. Kleiman’s estate sued half of the bitcoins in question, as well as intellectual property rights.

Wright’s attorneys have repeatedly said that David Kleiman and Wright were friends and worked together to work together, but their partnership had nothing to do with the creation or early operation of Bitcoin.

Wright has announced that a large part of the Bitcoin fortune will be donated to charity should he win in the process. In an interview, Wright’s attorney Rivero confirmed Wright’s plans to donate much of his Bitcoin fortune.

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5 Reasons Why Cryptocurrency Regulation Is Important



There is a need to regulate cryptocurrency taking into account the interests of investors

The Indian government plans to propose a bill during the current winter session of Parliament to classify cryptocurrencies as financial assets while protecting the interests of retail investors. In all likelihood, the bill can set a minimum amount for investments in cryptocurrencies while prohibiting their use as legal tender or currency substitute. The bill also proposes laying the groundwork for the creation of the official digital currency to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and regulated under the RBI law, according to a report by NDTV.

From an investor’s perspective, cryptocurrency regulation is pretty important. With the right regulations, the government can make the cryptocurrency market a safer environment for investors.

Here are 5 reasons why cryptocurrencies need to be regulated:

1) Prevent market manipulation and protect investors: Market manipulation and price volatility are common with cryptocurrencies. Take Bitcoin, for example, the world’s oldest and most popular cryptocurrency, which has soared to an all-time high since early 2021 before collapsing and losing much of its value. The lack of authorized information about these digital assets and the associated technological complexity therefore make it imperative to enact regulations to protect investors.

2) Allow selected cryptocurrencies: Thousands of cryptocurrencies exist around the world. Most investors, however, only know a few of them, such as Bitcoin, Ether, Ripple and Dogecoin, among others. They have little knowledge of the thousands of other virtual assets. To protect customers, a regulatory authority is required that releases cryptocurrencies that can disclose all information about the performance of digital assets, their risks and potential.

3) Understand the risks associated with technology: Technology is advancing at breakneck speed. This carries a significant risk as such changes have the potential to make technologies, including blockchain, obsolete in the future. Given the rapid pace of technological change, an information infrastructure and professional financial advisors with knowledge of cryptocurrency are required. This allows investors to understand the technological risks of cryptocurrencies and make informed decisions.

4) Online Fraud and Cyber ​​Security Risks: Investing in cryptocurrencies carries another risk – online fraud. Hacking is a major threat worldwide and cyberattacks are widespread. A cyber attack could result in losses for investors who have invested their savings in cryptocurrencies. Regulations allow authorities to take steps to help cryptocurrency investors protect their assets. In addition, investors can address concerns or reclaim their investments if they lose them.

5) money laundering: Any unregulated system can finance criminal activity. As a result, a customer due diligence process similar to that of a bank is required. This can help track the true identities of investors and verify their locations as they buy or sell cryptocurrencies. Any violation of such norms should be punished with severe sanctions.

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FBI Seizes Cryptocurrency Worth $2.3 Million From REvil Ransomware Group Affiliate



US law enforcement agencies seized 39.9 bitcoins from an Exodus wallet valued at about $ 2.3 million (about Rs.17.3 billion) from a Russian citizen suspected of being involved with the infamous hacking group REvil that is known for its ransomware attacks. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported in an unsealed complaint last week that the wallet contained REvil ransom payments from a subsidiary identified as Aleksandr Sikerin that was found to be using ransomware viruses to break into US infrastructure databases.

The complaint, first seen by Bleeping Computer, shows that Sikerin – who is affiliated with REvil – was responsible for the ransomware attacks that resulted in payments of approximately $ 200 million between April 2019 and June 2021. 1,504.76 billion rupees) generated by victims. The cryptocurrency wallet, now under the control of the FBI, is “traceable to ransomware attacks by Sikerin”

Sikerin, whose last known address was traced back to the Russian city of Saint Petersburg, has meanwhile been charged with conspiracy and money laundering on several counts. However, law enforcement officials believe Sikerin is just one member of the REvil gang’s vast network.

Ransomware gang members are responsible for frontline hacking attacks and the theft of data from victims’ computers. They usually make 70-80 percent of the ransom.

REvil, also known as Sodinokibi or Sodin, has been one of the most notorious ransomware groups in recent years. The group targets corporate networks with spam, exploits, exposed remote desktop services and hacked managed service providers (MSPs).

While the FBI did not include the threat actor’s online alias in its complaint, Bleeping Computer staff verified the email address mentioned therein and determined that the name “engfog” was linked to a REvil subsidiary called “Lalartu” communicates. aka Aleksandr Sikerin – who was named in the complaint.

The news came almost a month after the U.S. Department of Justice charged a Ukrainian national and a Russian with one of the worst ransomware attacks on American targets, according to court records.

An indictment accused Ukrainian Jaroslaw Vasinskyj, who was arrested in Poland last month, of breaking into Florida software provider Kaseya on July 4th. From there, he and his accomplices simultaneously distributed the REvil ransomware to up to 1,500 Kaseya customers, encrypted their data and forced some to shut down for days.

Vasinskyi is accused of breaking into the victim companies and installing encryption software developed by the core group REvil. REvil handled the ransom negotiations directly and shared the profits with affiliates like Vasinskyi.

REvil, which was also involved in an attack on the world’s leading meat packer JBS SA, was intercepted in a joint operation that saw authorities reclaim $ 6 million in ransom payments.

Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss everything about crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, and anywhere you get your podcasts.

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