Category Archives: cash

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PayPal, Visa Face No Dire Threat from Bitcoin, Claims Analyst

An analyst at research firm MoffetNathanson has claimed that Bitcoin is no more than a minor threat to established methods of payment such as Visa and Mastercard.

Lisa Ellis, working for the researchers who cover the media and internet retail sectors, suggested that speed of transaction delivery will remain Bitcoin’s main hurdle to becoming a challenger in the industry. It is a concern of some of the world’s largest retailers.

Ellis, an outspoken critic of Bitcoin, said that so long as Visa and Mastercard were available, she wouldn’t even buy a cup of coffee with Bitcoin. She saw little sense in casting any preference in using cryptocurrencies over more traditional payment methods such as cash, credit or electronic payment. She appears to leave the door open for possibilities, however, acknowledging that the day Bitcoin would be used as a mainstream payment method may lie in the future.

However, one important factor overlooked by the MoffetNathanson analyst is the excessive fees charged by credit card companies, which is driving some companies to reconsider their options. Rumors that the supermarket giant Kruger might be considering Bitcoin as an alternative payment method have been backed up by comments made by Morgan Creek recently. The company’s partner, Anthony Pompliano, recently announced that he had spoken to a Kroger Digital representative regarding adding crypto payments as an alternative to Visa, after Kruger ditched the credit card giant due to excessive fees.

In reality, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies’ value have rarely reflected their use in terms of market position. Usage is well documented as being in the ascendancy moving forward, and Bitcoin is now recognized as a store of value by intuitional investors with interest mounting elsewhere in futures contracts after both CME and CBOE exchanges began offering Bitcoin futures in 2018.

 

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Marshall Islands National Crypto Also Issued as Physical Cash

Marshall Islands National Crypto Also Issued in Physical Cash

The Marshall Islands’ national cryptocurrency, Sovereign (SOV), will reportedly also be issued in the form of physical banknotes backed by blockchain technology.

The announcement came from decentralized smart card wallet manufacturer, Tangem, with the company saying the cash will be launched in a scheme alongside the Marshall Islands government to order to provide ”fair and equal access to their digital currency, whether or not they have [an] internet connection”.

In a press release, Tangem stated it would create cards containing a blockchain-enabled microprocessor that will visually appear as unique banknotes, offering zero-fee transactions for processing the cash with ”immediate” transaction verification.

The Pacific island nation became the first jurisdiction to offer a legal cryptocurrency in February 2018, issuing SOV alongside the existing tender, USD. The new cryptocurrency ”cash” is the latest development as the Marshal Islands realizes the practicalities of having a national digital currency that is expected to be useable across the island by all residents.

While the country’s efforts set an appealing standard for the cryptocurrency community, not all reaction has been positive. In August last year, the International Monetary Fund warned that SOV put the nation’s relationships with foreign banks at risk, even requesting the country to reconsider its decision.

 

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Europol: It’s Cash that Funds Terrorism

A 72-page long report recently published by Europol has clarified that it is conventional banking which is the primary source of terrorist funding such as the recent attacks on European cities.

The report explains that such outrages are financed through cash as it is a tried and tested form of funding. Finding an alternative source, such as cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which publicly log transactions, is of little interest to terrorist cells operating in Europe, according to the findings.

Europol based in The Hague, the Netherlands, supports the 28 EU Member States in their fight against terrorism, cybercrime and other serious and organized forms of crime. They also work with many non-EU partner states and international organizations.

Also, in line with the findings of the report, in the US last week, a senior member of the Foundation for Defence of Democracies Centre on Sanctions and Illicit Finance spoke out against anti-crypto rhetoric, particularly those aimed at the financing of militant jihad.

A senior member of the center, Yaya Fanusie maintained that despite continual references by governments around the world that cryptocurrency finances terrorist activity, terrorist networks have been mainly unsuccessful in using cryptocurrency to fund their activities. The Europol report agreed, stating:

“…despite the clear potential, none of the attacks carried out on European soil appear to have been funded via cryptocurrencies. The use of cryptocurrencies by terrorist groups has only involved low-level transactions – their main funding still stems from conventional banking and money remittance services.”

It is undeniable that just like cash, cryptocurrencies are on the radar of criminals but the use of Bitcoin in criminal activity has dropped to 35% of the market share from a peak of 80% when the flagship digital currency was its infancy. It is now known that criminals are more likely to use Zcash and Monero across the globe than Bitcoin. The report clarifies that:

“While the criminal abuse of cryptocurrencies remains largely within the realm of cybercrime, some Member States reported that they are increasingly encountering their use by non-cyber [organized crime groups].”

The report concludes that law enforcement information sharing and tighter security measures are the best weapons cybersecurity has against cyber-attacks.

 

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12 Japanese Arrested in Fake Cash for Bitcoin Fraud

An alleged scam in Japan has resulted in the arrests of 12 individuals accused of defrauding a Tokyo-based businessman of 190 million Japanese yen (JPY) in Bitcoin (approximately USD 1.8 million).

An investigation between Tokyo and Hyogo police revealed that in July 2017, a Tokyo-based marketing executive was approached by a group of “traders” who offered him JPY 200 million for the equivalent of JPY 190 million yen in Bitcoin. After the deal was carried out between the conmen and the businessman’s agent in a Tokyo hotel, the victim suggested that he wanted to trade covertly to avoid paying commission fees while swapping crypto-to-fiat at an exchange.

The seller then transferred his cryptocurrency to an exchange wallet account in Yokohama, although the fraudsters argued that they didn’t receive the Bitcoin. It turned out that the suitcase exchanged mainly contained false banknotes. Two days later they attempted to convert the stolen Bitcoin into JPY 174.2 million yen through the Yokohama exchange.

Seven men, all in their 20s, were arrested by police last week including the alleged mastermind, 24-year-old Kenta Higashi.

Japan has warmed to Bitcoin in a big way in recent years and legislation now acknowledges it as a legal payment method, despite the Bank of Japan’s ‘Let’s think about cryptocurrencies‘ statement where the bank warned about the likelihood of Bitcoin theft. Despite some notable thefts in recent years, this hasn’t deterred traders. Individual cryptocurrency traders in Japan now exceed three million according to the country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) figures just released.

Despite frequent incidents of investor fraud and the USD 500 million hacking of a Japanese crypto exchange earlier this year, the country still emerges as a Bitcoin haven due to recent supportive regulatory legislation introduced by the government.

Japan has previously suspended operations of several crypto exchanges on security concerns, although individual groups such as the “Tokyo 12” preying on the vulnerability of a single victim are harder to control.

 

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