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Crypto Headlines: Twitter Crypto Scam and the Nod for National Digital Currencies

7月 17, 2020

Iran cuts electricity tariffs for cryptocurrency miners to legalize the industry. The country will only support registered miners. Verified Twitter accounts of leading tech figures and financial businesses were breached in a crypto scam that the social media network described as a “coordinated social engineering attack.” Blockchain company Everledger raises $7 million from a Chinese-firm and the U.K. government.

Twitter Accounts of Crypto Exchanges and Tech Figures Hacked in a Cryptocurrency Give-Away Scam

There are some things you only watch in movies or read in books and never think they would come to pass. But the events on July 15 showed the world that anything is possible, especially when crypto and crime are concerned.

This week, a slew of verified Twitter accounts of leading tech & finance figures and cryptocurrency exchanges were compromised in a breach that turned out to be a crypto scam.

Twitter accounts of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao among others were compromised. Cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance, Gemini, Coinbase, Kucoin, and Bitfinex were also targeted in the security breach.

The hacked accounts posted messages asking people to send bitcoin to a given address and receive that amount doubled.

It is surprising that people still fall for this trick which has been around for some time. The trick has been used on YouTube as live streams.

Twitter acknowledged the breach and called it a coordinated social engineering attack carried out by hackers who targeted the company’s employees with access to internal servers.

Japan Confirms Digital Yen in the Pipeline

The Japanese government has confirmed that it will assess and create a national digital currency in the coming months. A special committee will be created for the development of the currency.

Japan is speeding up the deployment of the digital currency after the yet-to-be-developed currency was included in the country’s long-term economic plans.

A media report said the government is considering a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) under the Honebuto Plan for Economic and Fiscal Revitalization. The Honebuto Plan is important as it forms part of the government’s framework for economic and fiscal policy.

Japan expects to work with European countries to address legal, technical, and regulatory concerns. Japan is a tech country but has heavily relied on cash. The government’s move towards the creation of digital currency is a big boost for the emerging sector.

China is already working on a digital currency which is in the pilot stage in several provinces. 

Thailand Enters Third Phase of Digital Currency Project

No country wants to be left behind when it comes to the digital currency race. Thailand is one of those countries.

The Bank of Thailand (BoT) is entering the third phase of its CBDC, which will see local corporations trialing the digital currency.

BOT’s Assistant Governor Vachira Arromdee was quoted by The Nation Thailand saying the central bank has started testing the CBDC for financial transactions with big companies.

“The central bank is also thinking about expanding use of the cryptocurrency to the general public, but a comprehensive study must be completed before taking such action,” said Arromdee.

She added that the digital currency will likely hurt commercial banks as the demand for third-parties in financial transactions will be limited. However, she added that CBDCs would cut transaction costs. 

Blockchain, the technology which underpins most cryptocurrencies, is hailed for its ability to eliminate middlemen and allow two parties to directly transact with each other without loss of trust. This is one of the technology’s major selling points.

CBDCs were initially thought of state-issued cryptocurrencies. However, they sort of belong to the fiat currency family than they do to the bitcoin family.

Tencent-backed Blockchain Firm Raises $7 Million to Expand Into China

Blockchain solutions firm Everledger has raised $7 million via a loan to meet its short-term financial goals.

The loan was provided by the U.K. Government’s Coronavirus Future Fund and Tencent, a Chinese tech giant that led the startup’s $20 million Series A financing round in September 2019.

The Future Fund provides convertible loans to startups under financial stress caused by the coronavirus pandemic. It is not clear how much money was provided by the Future Fund or Tencent. There are still no details regarding why Everledger needed the loan when the startup had a big Series A financing round less than a year ago.

Everledger said that it would use the money to expand into China. Everledger CEO said the firm would be partnering with a Chinese e-commerce company without saying which one.

“Last‌ ‌year‌ ‌we‌ ‌launched‌‌…WeChat‌ ‌Mini‌ Program‌ ‌for‌ ‌blockchain-enabled‌ ‌diamonds,‌ ‌and‌ ‌this‌ ‌year‌ we’ll‌ ‌be‌ ‌announcing‌ ‌a‌ ‌partnership‌ ‌with‌ ‌one‌ ‌of‌ ‌China’s‌ ‌largest‌ ‌e-commerce‌ ‌companies,” said Kemp.

Everledger has also launched a new version of its blockchain protocol to cater to the diamond industry.

Iran Cuts Electricity Tariffs for Cryptocurrency Miners

Iran has taken another step in overseeing the cryptocurrency industry, but not without some bad news to top it off.

The country has granted operational licenses to 14 bitcoin mining farms. Electricity tariffs for cryptocurrency miners have been slashed by 47 percent to support legal mining activities, Asia Times reported.

However, cryptocurrency miners will need to be registered to remain legally operational. Iran legalized the crypto mining sector in July 2019 and the government, through the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade, has granted miners about 1,000 licenses.

Iran will likely see an influx in the number of miners due to subsidized electricity. 

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