Category Archives: Holland

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Big Brother Creator Suing Facebook over Fake Crypto Ads

Big Brother Creator Suing Facebook over Fake Crypto Ads (1)

John de Mol, Dutch billionaire and creator of the much-franchised reality show Big Brother, is to sue media giant Facebook for allowing fake ads on its platform to promote fraudulent Bitcoin-related businesses claiming that they had entrepreneur’s backing.

De Mol, whose image was also used in some of the advertising, claims that he was not alone in being targeted in this way with consumers being duped out of EUR 1.7 million (USD 1.9 million) from adds linked to him and further funds being extorted by using other Dutch celebrities in the same way.

An Amsterdam District Court Judge heard that Facebook had not reacted quickly enough to complaints about the advertising, having allowed them to go through the media giant’s vetting process.

Defending Facebook, lawyer Jens van den Brink argued that the company could not monitor advertising across all its platforms and did, in fact, respond quickly to requests to have the fraudulent advertising removed. Facebook according to their lawyer had also recently met with the Dutch financial markets regulator AFM to investigate means to address scammers gaining access to FB platforms.

“I don’t know what reality Facebook lives in, but that doesn’t work,” said de Mol’s Lawyer Jacqueline Schaap, claiming that its current vetting system wasn’t enough and that such advertising should simply be blocked.

“The people who push these kinds of ads are persistent, they are well-funded and they are constantly evolving their deceptive tactics to get around our systems,” responded Rob Leathern, a manager at California-based Facebook.

 

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Accra and The Hague Universities Combine to Promote Blockchain in Ghana

Accra and The Hague Universities Combine to Promote Blockchain in Ghana

A partnership between a Ghanaian University and the Hague University of Applied Sciences (THUAS) in the Netherlands has been forged with a view to accommodating a student exchange programme and further promote blockchain in the African nation.

The Accra Technical University (ATU) wants to accelerate it graduate programme in order to provide the industry with the necessary skills to fill its requirements, including advancing blockchain technology in the country.

A seminar organized by the two universities entitled ‘The Power of Blockchain’ took place in Accra this week in which the way forward was discussed. Dr Ernest Winful, the Dean of International Programmes at ATU, told the press that blockchain technology was becoming vital to conducting business in Ghana and therefore students needed new skills in order to embrace tech opportunities in the industry. He pointed out:

“The blockchain is coming like how the internet came and it is important to join the train to avoid any inconvenience it may cause by the blockchain technology in the future.”

An important feature of the collaboration between the universities will be an exchange programme allowing students in both Africa and Europe to learn at both education institutions; an essential inclusion for Ghanaian students due to Africa currently lagging behind Europe, Asia and the Americas in blockchain technology.

From the Dutch side, Rene Dondjio, a Lecturer at the THUAS, said that lecturers from the university situated in the Hague would travel to Ghana making three monthly trips to Accra to train students at ATU, also pointing out that blockchain was becoming a life-changing technology for many at both an individual and business level.

ATU pointed out that it was important that Africa didn’t get left behind as new technologies such as blockchain leaped forward elsewhere around the globe.

 

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Brock Pierce Buys Converted Amsterdam Chapel for $1.2 Million in Bitcoin

Brock Pierce, former child actor, and cryptocurrency kingpin; one of the wealthiest people in the crypto space, has purchased a Dutch property worth USD 1.2 million in Bitcoin.

The American Bitcoin entrepreneur known for his work in the cryptocurrency industry has acquired his Amsterdam home, which was formerly a chapel, through Swiss startup Nexo which offers instant crypto credit.

Reportedly Pierce used roughly USD 3 million in collateral to secure a loan to fund the acquisition according to Antoni Trenchev, co-founder and managing partner at Nexo, who commented “He backed the entire loan for the house with Bitcoin. This was our first-ever crypto-backed mortgage.”

Trenchev pointed out that like many other crypto enthusiasts, Pierce wants to hold on to his Bitcoin, choosing a loan rather than paying with cash. However, the collateral cannot be accessed by Pierce or Nexo:

“So we take Bitcoin and other digital currencies as collateral using a third-party qualified custodian to store it and give them fiat cash for it. But neither the client nor us have access to the coins,” explained Trenchev.

The reason Pierce was asked to front a collateral deposit of USD 3 million for a much cheaper property was due to Nexo’s lending policy which requires clients to double the required funds as a guarantee, due to volatile nature of the current crypto market.

Pierce has been keeping a low profile recently. His most recent observations about cryptocurrency last month suggested that decentralized applications (Dapps) could be the major industry movers and shakers of 2019 along with the advance of security token offerings (STOs).

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IMF Online Pollsters Call Crypto Most Popular Payment by 2024

IMF Online Pollsters Call Crypto Most Popular Payment by 2024

A poll running on the IMF website asking the question asking “How do you think you will be paying for lunch in 5 years?” now has almost 26,000 responses.

The response is clear, hedging towards crypto with 56% of respondents going for the flagship crypto with only 9% and 7% respectively suggesting payments in 2024 will be made with cash and bankcard.

Of course, IMF’s poll is limited to lunch, but clearly could well be extended to online and in-store purchases. However, eating out on crypto is not as difficult as one might think, which is probably reflected by the respondents’ views.

Asia is ahead of the game with Bithumb, South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency-to-fiat exchange and the world’s 6th largest digital currency, who installed cryptocurrency-accepting kiosks across the country, at restaurants, cafes, stores, and malls in 2018.

Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz has warned that cryptocurrencies need to be adopted by retailers in order to join reserve currencies around the world. The Bakkt project has for the latter part of 2018 been touted as the platform to finally make way for mainstream institutional investors to get into the cryptocurrency game and could see the beginning of Starbucks crypto coffee and bagels.

Currently, CoinMap identifies over 14,600 establishments that accept Bitcoin across the world, but these are not simply eateries such as restaurants and cafés. Scandinavia may be the place to dine on Bitcoin though. Denmark is keen and now registers 1500 restaurants which will happily take clients BTC for a tasty meal. Further south in Holland, Arnhem, once called the “world’s most Bitcoin-friendly city”, is now seeing BTC less used for such payments.

 

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New Report Confirms Terrorists Still Prefer Cash to Crypto

New Report Confirms Terrorists Still Prefer Cash to Crypto

A new report confirms that that terrorist activities continue to be backed by cash rather than cryptocurrencies, which don’t afford such groups the anonymity they seek.

It is a fact that has been known for some time, despite many government departments in jurisdictions around the world citing cryptocurrency links to terrorism, a connection well disproven over time. A 72-page long report published by Europol late last year confirmed conventional banking as the primary source of terrorist funding such as the recent attacks on European cities.

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.

Now, a newly release Rand Corporation report reconfirms that cryptocurrency is ineffective as a source of funding for terrorist groups. Cash is seen as being far more suited to the transfer of large sums for such activities, mainly due to the increasing degree of legalization and regulation surrounding the cryptocurrency space, which is seen by many from within the industry as a good thing.

The latest report, eclipsing Europol’s 2018 report by 27 pages, focuses primarily on the receipt, management, and spending of funds for terrorist activity. The report maintains that the only one of these areas in which cryptocurrency might have some effectiveness in the first, as receiving funds has been made simple by using digital assets due to its global nature and ease of distribution.

This is counteracted by the fact large sums cannot easily be managed and certainly hit problems when it comes to spending cryptocurrency anonymously due to the current industry infrastructure. The report maintains:

“We see little current evidence of the adoption of cryptocurrencies by terrorist organizations or the motivation to do so, but that very well might change as countermeasures shut off funding and as the cryptocurrency technology changes.”

The report suggests the terrorist needs are not supported by current cryptocurrency systems such as affording the anonymity to buy arms, purchase property and pay for propaganda. These key areas vitally important to terrorist cells require hard cash.

However, the Rand report does add one note of concern for the future suggesting that situation might change with the potential emergence of a single cryptocurrency “that provides widespread adoption, better anonymity, improved security, and that is subject to lax or inconsistent regulation”.

 

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Dutch Authorities to Curb Crypto Trading Anonymity

Dutch Authorities to Curb Crypto Trading Anonymity

The Netherlands Authority for Financial Markets (AFM) and the central bank, De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), are making recommendations to put an end to anonymous buying and selling of cryptocurrencies in the Netherlands.

Under proposed new rules, all crypto exchanges and wallet providers would be required to apply for a special license to operate, with Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra pushing forward the new changes.

Some feel that this may be an “after the horse has bolted” scenario given what has been regarded as a largely uncontrolled crypto market in the country over the 18 months; a period where first-time investors have risked losses due to inexperienced and occasion fraud events. Also, given that many investors have withdrawn from the market due to dip in cryptocurrency values, some exchanges think this has a come a bit too late.

However, figures do illustrate that the industry has remained vulnerable, with Dutch police’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) reporting digital-relegated fraud rising since the beginning of last year from an average of 300 to nearly 5,000 a year.

It is possible the Dutch are simply responding to last year’s new AML directive introduced by member states of the EU which stipulates that cryptocurrency trading platforms follow the same AML laws as traditional financial institutions. Under these laws, the 27 nations of the EU are also required exchanges to keep full records of transactions and report those which are felt to be in any way dubious.

 

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Dutch Central Bank Takes Closer Look at Exchanges

Dutch Central Bank Takes Closer Look at Exchanges

The Dutch Central Bank, De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) has announced its plans to impose regulations on cryptocurrency exchanges in the country in order to counter money laundering and fundraising for terrorist activities.

In future, registering exchanges will need to ensure that any “unusual transactions” are reported and that exchanges’ KYC rules are tightened.

The new legislation was not completely unexpected by the Dutch cryptocurrency community. The central bank has long been unreceptive to the idea of digital currency, maintaining back in November of 2017 that Bitcoin had no real worth. According to DNB regional director Petra Hielksma at that time, “If something wants to be treated as money, you have to be able to spend, save and calculate with it.”

The Netherlands has been quick to find numerous worthy use cases for DLT, particularly in projects that support local communities, health, and civic pride. The larger community has been mainly positive towards cryptocurrencies too, despite the country’s Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra proposing a ban on cryptocurrency advertising and trying to douse enthusiasm.

Arnhem, near the German border, has become the country’s crypto haven, where Bitcoin can be used to buy anything from bread to beer using Bitcoin and other major currencies. Despite the DNB’s concerns about cryptocurrency, approximately 60% of the households in the Netherlands have some cryptocurrency investment.

However, the DNB points to the more than USD 88 million reportedly laundered over 46 cryptocurrency exchanges around the globe during the past two years, as enough evidence that the government needs to take firmer measures with exchanges with regard to money laundering and other illegal activities.

In terms of expressing a social conscience though, the nation continues to demonstrate its progressive uses for blockchain by forming partnerships with the World Bank, the UN, and the EU Forum. Earlier this year, the Dutch government announced that the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy had created a special unit devoted to researching the ways in which blockchain technology could be harnessed to provide reliability in the area of tech development while being energy sustainable.

 

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Dutch Province of Limburg Launches Community Crypto

Dutch Province of Limburg Launches Community Crypto

Dutch cryptocurrency platform Studio/Belfius has joined with payment platform LimbU in Limburg in the South of Holland to create its own cryptocurrency for promoting community spirit.

The initiators of the project suggest that the aim is to encourage sustainability, community support, promotion of local produce, and the creation of supply chains throughout Limburg’s 10 provincial regions.

Limburg is the southernmost of 12 provinces of the Netherlands. It is in the southeastern part of the country, stretched out from the north, touching the province of Gelderland, to the south, where it internationally borders Belgium.

The new digital currency, the “Limbu” has no fiat support but is transferable to users’ wallets throughout the province after locals complete a range of civically responsible activities such as; garbage collection, doing small repairs, giving blood, collecting clothes for charity, undergoing first aid training or composting organic waste.

The aim is to also encourage companies, public authorities, and associations to contribute through the scheme towards building a “greener, more welcoming Limburg.” The project’s member Wim Van De Putte explains:

“It was not easy finding the right partner with the required experience and expertise. But from the very outset, Studio Innovation Lab impressed us with its ability to understand this complex issue and its willingness to meet the challenge. In fact, The Studio has its own scalable platform for creating a digital currency based on the blockchain.”

As the project, Uitmuntend Limburg, grows in numbers, it plans to hand over to Limburg.net. and widen the range and scope of activities around the province, especially as thousands of Limburgers across the 10 regions already have their wallets. Ronny Neckebroeck from The Studio commented:

“We are honored to be part of such a beautiful project. Developing the platform and payment app is a major step forward along the way towards making the LimbU project a professional and sustainable initiative. Working with Uitmuntend Limburg, we will make the LimbU a success – we are sure of it. And our experience in innovative digital solutions and blockchain makes us the ideal partner for handling the technological side of this great story.”

At the beginning of this year, The Studio also developed Pengo, an innovative service that enables individuals to send payment requests via instant messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp.

The Netherlands is a leader in advancing blockchain technology in Europe and often slips under the radar, but the Dutch government is no slouch when it comes to promoting the interests of companies adopting new technologies, especially when such projects benefit the entire community such as Uitmuntend Limburg. Holland is a country with a social conscience, and legislation over the years has illustrated the degree to which its population is a beneficiary of the desire shown by the government to support its society as a whole.

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Holland in Forefront of Promoting Blockchain Economy With Government Support

All the talk in Europe these days are about crypto-havens Malta and Switzerland as they continually break down borders with blockchain and emerging technologies and the subject of a flurry of positive government legislation, but Holland rarely gets a mention.

The Netherlands is a leader in advancing blockchain in Europe and often slips under the radar, but the Dutch government is no slouch when it comes to promoting the interests of companies adopting new technologies, especially when such projects benefit the entire community. Holland has been noted by others as a country with a social conscience, and legislation over the years has illustrated the degree to which its population is a beneficiary of the desire shown by the government to support its society as a whole.

With partners such as the World Bank, UN, and the EU Forum, the Netherland’s aims are progressive and express its social conscience. Emanuele Francioni, Tech-Lead of non-profit blockchain-based Dusk Foundation, explains where this government led social conscience is taking DLT:

“The Netherlands hosts one of the most passionate blockchain scenes in the world,” he suggests, adding that, “Most of the early experimentation by the government was done with multinationals through consortia, often in the permissioned [private] space…we are starting to see the first permissionless [public] initiatives getting more public traction, which is a very exciting area that should get a lot more attention.”

The Dutch government announced earlier this year that the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy had created a special unit devoted to researching the ways in which blockchain technology can be harnessed to provide reliability in the area of tech development while being energy sustainable. Encouraged by the government’s actions, John Jansen of cryptocurrency exchange Deribit suggests:

“It’s amazing that the Dutch government created a special blockchain unit with the goal of not just regulating the new technology but actively looking for opportunities,” adding that this shows “ a positive attitude toward this technological development which benefits the blockchain ecosystem in the Netherlands.”

Jansen is further impressed by the stance of the Dutch population when it comes to trading and holding cryptocurrencies, commenting:

“Furthermore, crypto is catching on with the Dutch people as well… It was recently reported that in October of 2017, an estimated 135,000 Dutch people had invested in cryptocurrencies. But by February of this year, that number rose to 580,000. That’s 430% growth in five months. We have every reason to expect that number to continue to rise.”

The Dutch Central Bank may be wary, but even the Dutch royal family is in on the act with Plamen Nedyalkov, CEO of Zoom noting that Prince Constantijn van Oranje has been attending blockchain conferences across the lowlands, and has also become the chairman of StartUpFest Europe, which works with blockchain startups.

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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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