Scammers hide behind regulations, Tether’s RMB token, Plus Token moving funds, Wright told to give up 500,000 Bitcoins and Bitcoin and defiance in Gaza
Once again, Asia has seen lots of hot news and important political and economic implications for cryptocurrencies.
Authorities in Singapore have distanced themselves from a crypto Ponzi scheme operating in the country and claiming to be regulated. In other news, will Craig Wright return part of the one million Bitcoins he mined with Dave Kleiman? Did Chinese crypto exchanges receive half of the US$3 billion stolen from investors? Can Bitcoin help the economically oppressed people in Palestine’s Gaza strip?
In this week’s roundup, we review 5 topics that have dominated the crypto scene in the last week:
The week started with the Thailand Securities Commission (SEC) distancing itself with FX Trading Corporation, a crypto scam with all the qualities of a Ponzi scheme. Interestingly, the Thai SEC voiced its concern after the scam claimed to have received a green light to operate in the country.
To provide guidance, the SEC, through its spokesperson from the Department of Special Investigation, Police Lieutenant Colonel Woranan Silam, noted that Thailand only has three registered companies to conduct virtual currency businesses.
As the currency wars between China and the U.S continue to grow deeper, Tether Ltd, the force behind the Tether stablecoin (USDT), is rumored to be creating a Chinese version. Notably, USDT is pegged on the U.S dollar. However, the Chinese version will be pegged to the overseas Chinese fiat currency, Renminbi (RMB).
Primarily, the rumors emanated from Zhao Dong, a Shareholder at Bitfinex, a crypto exchange closely related to Tether Ltd. According to Zhao, the Chinese Tether will be “launched very soon, possibly within weeks.”
Surprisingly, Tether is yet to confirm or deny the rumors. Reason? Probably, Tether maybe fearing to attract the attention of Chinese regulators. Currently, Tether is no the radar of regulators from the United States for alleged misappropriation of US$ 850 million.
After naïve investors lost US$3 billion in the Plus Token scam, analysis has shown that Chinese crypto exchanges received a handsome amount. As per research by Elementus, a blockchain firm based in New York, at least 50% of the withdrawals were facilitated by Huobi. ZB.com and Gate were among other Chinese exchanges used to withdraw part of the 3 billion US dollars.
Unfortunately, there is little hope that investors will recover their money. According to Dovey Wan, the cofounder of a blockchain-focused investment firm, Primitive Ventures:
“Many of their (scammers) BTC addresses start with P2SH which commonly used for multi-sig, most likely some people who hold the keys are not being caught; hence, police can’t unlock the wallet. For (an) EOS/ETH wallet (it) can be a different case, but so far police were not able to touch any of those.”
The biggest supporter of BSV, Craig Wright, has been ordered to return 50 percent of the total Bitcoins he mined with his partner Dave Kleiman. The ruling was delivered by Judge Bruce Reinhart of the U.S District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Additionally, Wright will have to forfeit 50% of the Bitcoin software property rights to Kleiman. Notably, Wright and Kleiman are alleged to have mined over 1 million Bitcoins.
Apart from forfeiture, the court has established that Wright intentionally served the court with fabricated documents.
Could Bitcoin be the new outlet for Palestinian’s in Gaza and used in defiance against the Israeli government? Well, this could be the case considering the high Bitcoin and crypto transactions emanating from this region. According to Ismael Al-Safadi a crypto enthusiast and a freelance developer, there’s a surge in Bitcoin transactions reaching a high of US$6 million in one month. To cater to the growing demand, more dealers are setting shop in the region.
So, why the move to Bitcoin? Palestinians in the Gaza region are turning to Bitcoin after financial services companies such as PayPal have left them economically disenfranchised. Traditional financial firms such as banks are under the threat of US and Israeli interfering in terms of transfers. This economic oppression has given more attention to Bitcoin and other virtual currencies.
Recently, a fresh wave of violence erupted on the Gaza fence, after the protests last year which saw hundreds of protesting Palestinian’s in Gaza dead. As reported by ACT through CoinDesk, who quoted an anonymous source in the UAE who has set up an Ethereum based charity for children in Gaza:
“People there [in Palestine] are starting to learn and ask about it. …Palestinians are more using Bitcoin [than Ether]…to make international transfers and to bypass Israeli control.”