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Cryptocurrency This Week: Facebook Reverses Bitcoin Ban, Indian Crypto Exchanges Tweak Offerings

Racing against its own legacy what was coined by Satoshi Nakamoto, the Bitcoin inventor who had earlier said, “If you don’t believe me or don’t get it, I don’t have time to try to convince you, sorry,” apparently, ‘the Dark Knight’ is losing the race against its own. Amid the cryptocurrency slowdown, while Bitcoin tumbling at around $6K, as many as 800 cryptocurrencies/tokens have gone down to worth nothing.

Is it “the Bitcoin bubble” which Nobel laureate (Economics) Robert Shiller recently termed a perfect example of ‘faddish human behaviour’?

While the US and EU agencies have busted some of the biggest dark web and LSD rackets, trading in cryptocurrencies, the US House of Commons have now enacted a bill to help prevent the illicit use of cryptocurrencies.

Meanwhile, in a welcome news for crypto enthusiasts, Facebook has reversed its ban on cryptocurrency ads, giving huge relief to cryptocurrency companies.

For cryptocurrency enthusiasts, such developments are now part of their everyday lives. One of the dark web vendors who claimed to have traded Bitcoins in bulk, back in 2017“Our group left dark web, last year because we knew, it was coming. Bitcoin gonna lose its charm!”

On the US agencies seizing cryptocurrencies from dark web vendors, he said, “This happens, if you merge both the worlds together which many of them did by messaging and advertising through Telegram and WhatsApp groups. Earlier, we didn’t need that.”

On the current scenario, he said, “We didn’t lose a Bitcoin to gain a Bitcoin. It’s happening now. The advertisement is costlier than the gain. Precisely, the reason, I left.”

What’s more, happening around the Bitcoin, let’s take a look at this week’s developments in detail!

Facebook Revamps Policy, Reverses Ban On Cryptocurrency Ads With Immediate Effect

Facebook has announced the reversal of its ban on cryptocurrency ads with immediate effect.

The social media giant has decided to allow ads and related content on cryptocurrencies from “pre-approved advisors”. However, ads promoting binary options and initial coin offerings (ICOs) are still banned.

Facebook acknowledged that the revamped policy would still disallow some cryptocurrency advertisers from being able to promote their businesses on the social network, but added that its policy in this area continues to be a work in progress. “We’ll listen to feedback, look at how well this policy works, and continue to study this technology so that, if necessary, we can revise it over time,” said Rob Leathern, product management director, in Facebook’s announcement.

In the name of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, many Ponzi schemes were running their ads on Google, Facebook, and other platforms.

Stating that misleading ads have no place on Facebook, the social media giant had banned all ads that promoted cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and ICOs, in January. The decision was aimed at preventing people from advertising “financial products and services frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.”

The company had admitted then that banning all cryptocurrency advertisements was a big change and that its new policy would improve the integrity and security of ads, making it harder for scammers to profit from Facebook ads.

Indian Cryptocurrency Exchange WazirX Introduces P2P Crypto Transfers

Mumbai-based cryptocurrency exchange WazirX has launched a P2P crypto transfer solution to enable crypto enthusiasts to continue buying and selling cryptocurrencies.

The Peer-to-Peer (P2P) transfer will allow users to buy and sell crypto directly with each other for Indian rupees. WazirX will act as an intermediary here, connecting the buyers and sellers on the platform.

How it works: The seller deposits the cryptocurrency with WazirX, which the latter escrows for safekeeping during the transaction. At the other end, the buyer pays Indian rupees to the seller; as soon as the seller confirms receipt of the payment, WazirX releases the crypto to the buyer.

Nischal Shetty, co-founder and CEO of WazirX, said, “We will be at the centre of these (P2P) transactions, ensuring completely secured and hassle-free transfer of funds and cryptos to voluntary buyers and sellers.”

He added that while the P2P crypto transfer feature allows users to build digital assets, WazirX is also hopeful that the authorities will acknowledge the impact crypto has on global economies and will work closely with private players like them to regulate this space instead of simply banning cryptocurrency.

Belfrics Group Resumes Cryptocurrency Exchange Operations In India

Despite the RBI’s circular banning banks, payments companies and NBFCsfrom dealing with cryptocurrency entities and the matter being under subjudice, dozens of crypto companies are about to launch their operations in India. Now, Malaysia-based cryptocurrency company Belfrics Group has resumed its trading operations in India.

The company had stopped its exchange operations in India in the early January this year after banks stopped providing payments solutions.

After resuming its services, Belfrics India will initially offer the trading of four coins — Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, and Litecoin.  The group plans to launch 20 more coins in the next six months.

Emphasising India’s importance, Jabeer KM, Group COO, said, “India is a key market for us when it comes to crypto trading. With the launch of these new coins, we are targeting a base of at least 2,50,000 new traders on our platform by December 2018.”

Cryptomining Malware On The Rise: 3 Mn Cryptojacking Hits Detected In 2018

Pune-based IT security solutions provider Quick Heal, today, revealed that it has detected more than 3 Mn cryptojacking hits between January and May 2018.

In contrast to ransomware, cryptojacking attacks are mostly undetected, enabling attackers to use the compromised systems to mine cryptocurrencies for as long as they want.

In India, while no hackers have been arrested so far in this regard,Japanese prosecutors recently arrested 16 individuals suspected of cryptojacking. As per reports, the arrested suspects were allegedly running their own websites to spread the crypto mining malware, including the Coinhive program, that mines Monero.

Do Females Invest More Than Males In Cryptocurrency?

One of Indian exchange BuyUCoin has claimed in its survey that the average investments made by males is more than $1022 (INR 70,000) and the average investment of females is more than $2045 (INR 1,40,000).

However, the ratio of females to males investing in cryptocurrencies is quite low. The data revealed that New Delhi/ NCR tops the list amongst other cities in the most number of active cryptocurrency users in India. New Delhi / NCR saw 22.03% of total users of which 91.2% of users are male and 8.8% are female. Whereas as Mumbai stands at second position with 14.42% active users of which 93.4% are male and 6.6% are female.

Bengaluru grabs the third position standing at 13.91% of which 93.2% of the users are male and 6.8% are female. Hyderabad and Pune registered 9.06% and 8.09% respectively. The percentage of males and females presently trading in cryptocurrency in India is 93.28% and 6.72% respectively.

Koinex Launches Loop, A P2P Token Transaction Network

Another Indian exchange Koinex, has announced the launch of its new product Loop, a peer-to-peer (P2P) token transaction network, which will be available from July.

Koinex Loop enables users transacting with other KYC-verified peers on the platform, make and receive payments directly from peers and be able to strategise their trading activity better. Users will be able to trade in the crypto/crypto trading markets on the exchange as the next step to their transactions on the P2P network.

Speaking on this strategic move, Rahul Raj, Co-Founder & CEO, Koinex said, “Digital assets hold immense value (both economically and technologically) but unfavourable regulations pose a threat to the investments made into digital assets. Loop is a whole-hearted effort to ensure that the legit and verified investments made by Indian investors’ don’t turn into dead assets.”

US Agencies Seize Cryptocurrencies From Dark Web Vendors Valued Over $23 Mn

The Department of Justice, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Secret Service (USSS), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has announced the results of a year-long, coordinated national operation that used the first nationwide undercover action to target vendors of illicit goods on the Darknet.

Special Agents of the HSI New York Field Division, in coordination with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, posed as a money launderer on Darknet market sites, exchanging U.S. currency for virtual currency. Through this operation, HSI New York was able to identify numerous vendors of illicit goods, leading to the opening of more than 90 active cases around the country.

The operation saw:

Federal arrests of more than 35 Darknet vendors who engaged in tens of thousands of sales of illicit goods;

Execution of 70 search warrants, resulting in the seizure of massive amounts of illegal narcotics, including 333 bottles of liquid synthetic opioids, over 100,000 tramadol pills, 100 grams of fentanyl, more than 24 kilograms of Xanax, and additional seizures of Oxycodone, MDMA, cocaine, LSD, marijuana, and a psychedelic mushroom grow found in a residence;

Seizure of more than 100 firearms, including handguns, assault rifles, and a grenade launcher;

Seizure of five vehicles that were purchased with illicit proceeds and/or used to facilitate criminal activity;

Seizure of more than $3.6 Mn in U.S. currency and gold bars;

Seizure of nearly 2,000 Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies, with an approximate value of more than $20 Mn;

Confiscation of 15 pill presses, which are used to create illegal synthetic opioids; and

Seizure of Bitcoin mining devices, computer equipment, and vacuum sealers.

Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein said, “We can expose their networks, and we are determined to bring them to justice. Today, we arrested more than 35 alleged Darknet vendors.  We seized their weapons, their drugs, and $23.6 Mn of their ill-gotten gains.”

LSD Racket Trading In Cryptocurrency Busted In Europe

The Spanish Guardia Civil and the Austrian Federal Police, supported by Europol, have busted a criminal network producing and distributing synthetic drugs worldwide, known as new psychoactive substances (NPS), on the Dark Web.

The criminal group was also involved in money laundering their share of the profits by selling cryptocurrencies, mainly Bitcoins. More than $ 5.3 Mn (EUR 4 500 000) in Bitcoins, IOTA and lumen were seized by law enforcement authorities.

Over 100 different types of NPS were seized in two laboratories in the provinces of Granada and Valencia in Spain, whose market value would exceed $ 14 Mn (EUR 12 Mn). Nearly 800 000 doses of LSD were confiscated, marking the biggest ever haul of this type of substance and derivatives in the European Union (EU). Europol supported the action day with two mobile offices in Spain and Austria. Analytical support was provided during the whole operation.

At at a time when there are chances that India might regulate cryptocurrencies instead of banning them, “Is the times getting tougher” for Bitcoin traders?

“Trading in Bitcoin, or HODLing it, has always been tough. And, we are like the subway surfers where jack continues to run away from grumpy inspector and his dog while collecting, trading all the cryptocurrencies on the way!” said the dark web vendor.

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