Úno 17

Chicago Trader Steals Over $2 Million in Bitcoin and Litecoin Cryptocurrency

· February 17, 2018 · 10:30 am

A Chicago trader is facing up to 20 years in prison for stealing over $2 million in Bitcoin and Litecoin cryptocurrency from his employer.


Most 24-year-olds would be quite happy to be attached to a new cryptocurrency unit for a major financial entity. That’s not a bad career path for someone who previously worked as a cryptocurrency trader in South Korea before joining Consolidated Trading LLC to become an assistant bond trader in July 2016. A new department looking to dive into the burgeoning crypto world is a great stepping stone for moving up. That is unless that person is a degenerate gambler. Such is the case of Joseph Kim, who stole over $2 million in Litecoin and Bitcoin cryptocurrency from his employer.

Chicago

Stealing Begins Almost Immediately

The cryptocurrency group was created by Consolidated in September 2017, and Joseph Kim joined the unit sometime during that month. He had his own personal cryptocurrency accounts, which he informed his employer of, and he was told to cease all personal trading to avoid a conflict of interest.

However, Kim transferred 980 litecoins (worth $48,000) on a weekend shortly after joining the new unit. When a supervisor found out, Kim said he transferred the coins to a “personal digital wallet for safety reasons” due to issues he was having with Bitfinex, the cryptocurrency exchange in Hong Kong. He then said that the coins had been transferred to a Consolidated wallet (which was untrue).

In November, the trader then sent 55 bitcoins (value of $433,000) from Consolidated into an unknown account. When confronted on this transfer, Kim said that the transfer had been blocked and that he was taking steps to unblock it. He later sent back 27 bitcoins into the corporate account, leaving 28 in his possession.

The Sizes Get Bigger

Eventually, Kim transferred 284 bitcoins (worth $2.8 million) from the company’s account into a personal wallet. He later sent back 102 of those coins into the Consolidated account, after which he then transferred the remaining 182 coins into a different account. Of that last amount, Kim lost a portion of it by personally trading.

Cryptocurrency gambling

When eventually confronted over all the transfers, Kim admitted to investing in short future positions using 55 bitcoins. He continued stealing cryptocurrency from the company to cover his margin calls, losses, and personal investments. After being arrested, Kim said that he was a degenerate gambler and admitted to converting the stolen Litecoin into Bitcoin for investment purposes.

Eventually, Consolidated managed to recover roughly 144 bitcoins from Kim’s various personal wallets. The financial company lost about $603,000 overall from the rogue trader’s gambling addiction.

In an email to his superiors at Consolidated, Kim said:

It was not my intention to steal for myself. I was perversely trying to fix what I had already done. I can’t believe I did not stop.

Investment gambling is real, and cryptocurrency is just a new avenue for some to indulge in the practice. The US Attorney has charged Joseph Kim with wire fraud, which could net him up to 20 years in prison. Kim has also made history, of a sort. He’s the first person in Chicago to be charged with wire fraud in regards to cryptocurrency.

Do you think that we’ll see more cases of traders pilfering cryptocurrency to fuel their gambling addiction in the future? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Pixabay and Bitcoinist archives.

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Úno 15

Ripple Signs Major Deal with Saudia Arabia’s Central Bank

· February 15, 2018 · 10:30 am

Ripple, the third largest cryptocurrency by market cap, has been on a tear lately, and it has now signed a significant deal with Saudi Arabia’s central bank.


Ripple Rapidly Gaining Traction

Ripple continues to make inroads into the traditional financial sector. It has recently announced a massive deal with the UAE Exchange and a major partnership with Lianlian International. Additionally, Banco Santander is set to roll out Ripple payments in Q1, and just today came the news that Western Union will begin testing XRP transfers.

Ripple XRP

According to reports, Saudi Arabia’s central bank has penned a deal with the San Francisco-based cryptocurrency company, which aims to help banks in the oil-rich kingdom settle instantaneous cross-border payments using blockchain software. Specifically, Saudi Arabia will utilize xCurrent, Ripple’s enterprise software solution facilitating such payments with end-to-end tracking.

Saudi Arabia’s deal with the cryptocurrency company is the first such blockchain-utilizing pilot program launched by a central bank. Dilip Rao, Ripple’s global head of infrastructure innovation, says:

Central banks around the world are leaning into blockchain technology in recognition of how it can transform cross-border payments, resulting in lower barriers to trade and commerce for both corporates and consumers.

Saudi Arabia’s partnership with the virtual currency company comes after Gulf regulators have expressed concerns over Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market’s lack of regulation. Thus, Ripple has, unsurprisingly, proven itself to be an attractive offer.

Ripple Shoots Up After AMEX Deal and Secret US Bank Meeting

Unlike Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that are largely founded on the premises of deregulation and decentralization, Ripple has openly marketed itself as a blockchain solution for traditional financial institutions. In turn, the cryptocurrency has long come under criticism for undermining what some consider to be the very foundations of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

Drawing further skepticism from investors is the fact that the vast majority of XRP tokens are owned by Ripple’s parent company, thus making it technically capable of regulating the price of said tokens.

XRP saw highs around $3.84 on January 4th but has since fallen as low as $0.59. It is currently trading at $1.12.

In December, UAE central bank governor Mubarak Rashed al-Mansouri also told Reuters that the central banks of both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are working together in hopes of issuing a digital currency that would help facilitate cross-border transactions between the two countries.

What do you think of Ripple’s efforts to continually sign major deals with financial institutions? Do you think Ripple undermines cryptocurrency’s foundations? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Bitcoinist archives.

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Úno 02

Diversify They Said: Bitcoin’s Drop Sparks Double Pain For Altcoin Holders

· February 2, 2018 · 8:30 am

Bitcoin has proven its worth in a fresh market downturn as altcoin assets across the board dramatically overtake its losses.


Bitcoin Steadiest Top-50 Asset

A glance at Coinmarketcap’s top fifty cryptocurrency asset prices Friday reveals even Ether (ETH) to have lost around 7% more than Bitcoin’s 15.5% daily minuses.

Ripple shed 31%, Bitcoin Cash 20% and Cardano 37%, putting it just behind Ardor’s 39% as the top fifty’s biggest loser as of press time.

The only asset to buck the trend in the top one hundred assets is Digix DAO, which in an unlikely opportunistic growth spurt appreciated 90% in the last 24 hours.

As mainstream media once again raced to celebrate the popping of the Bitcoin ‘bubble,’ cryptocurrency industry insiders showed no signs of panic.

In what has become a common sequence of events for 2018, fresh downward corrections are being met by tips to “buy low” concerning Bitcoin, its lesser fall making it the ideal holding currency for purchasing even lower altcoins.

Meanwhile, investment platform BankToTheFuture creator Simon Dixon led forecasts of where Bitcoin’s price bottom would eventually appear, considering $7300 as the site of a future upward correction.

Korea Ditches ‘Kimchi Premium’ Arbitrage

Downward selling pressure had been mounting through last week for Bitcoin. Regulatory overhauls in South Korea, reiteration of government stance in India and the misrepresentation of both in the mainstream press led to an  infiltration of ‘fake news’ which appeared to frighten markets.

The flurry of media speculation produced fertile ground for naysayers, with popular monitoring site 99bitcoins now containing almost 250 Bitcoin ‘obituaries.’

At the same time, conditions in jurisdictions which contributed to negative sentiment are showing signs of marked improvement.

South Korea, which had previously been famous for mismatched crypto prices and associated arbitrage opportunities, has reinvented its landscape as new regulations deliver changes.

Data from Bloomberg and CryptoCompare shows the price of a bitcoin in the country now de facto matches global averages.

What do you think about crypto markets’ current performance? When will Bitcoin bottom out? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

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Led 17

Bitconnect Shuts Down Amid Crypto Crash

· January 17, 2018 · 6:15 am

Following months of bad press and publicity, lending and exchange platform Bitconnect has announced that it is shutting down. Many had suspected the platform of being a Ponzi scheme, and it had suffered multiple DDoS attacks on the website.


In an announcement on its website, the platform said it was closing the lending operation immediately with the release of all outstanding loans. The notice cited continuous bad press, including two Cease and Desist letters from the securities boards of Texas and North Carolina.

Coin Collapse

Bitconnect has stated that it will refund all active loans at a rate which it calculated from the past 15 day average price.

With release of your entire active loan in the lending wallet we are transferring all your lending wallet balance to your BitConnect wallet balance at 363.62 USD. This rate has been calculated based on last 15 days averages of the closing price registered on coinmarketcap.com.

Within moments of the notice, the BCC token price plummeted from around $180 to $24 amid a general market decline across all cryptocurrencies.

According to TechCrunch, many users will still have suffered severe losses on their fiat, or Bitcoin equivalents, if they had invested in BCC, which is effectively useless now since the platform has shut down.

FANG Stocks Lose Nearly $60 Billion as Bitcoin Claws its Way to the $10k Mark

Condemnation

A number of prominent crypto experts have also labelled Bitconnect as a Ponzi scheme, including Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and Litecoin’s Charlie Lee who tweeted:

Turns out it was a ponzi after all. Sorry for those that got caught up in this. Ponzis work because people are easily fooled.

Bitconnect was an anonymously run operation that allowed users to loan their cryptocurrencies to the company for large returns of up to 40% per month. A large referral system generated a pyramid scheme on social media, with users plying their referral links for extra commissions.

The loans were in USD but had to be made in BCC, which could be purchased with Bitcoin. As its popularity grew, the token gained value and climbed from $10 in mid-2017 to a high of $435 at its peak at the end of the year.

Bitconnect has stated that they will continue supporting the coin:

Closing the lending and exchange platform doesn’t mean that we will stop supporting BitConnect coin. Closing the lending platform will allow Bitconnect to be listed on outside exchanges giving more options for trading. This is not the end of this community, but we are closing some of the services on the website platform and we will continue offering other cyptocurrency services in the future.

Although with the token’s value approaching the floor, renewed confidence and investment in BCC remains a very forlorn hope.

Did you use Bitconnect and has this affected you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Pxhere and Bitcoinist archives.

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Led 05

Coinbase Rejection Sees Ripple Drop 20% As Rumors Evaporate

· January 5, 2018 · 5:15 am

Ripple’s seemingly unstoppable bull run took a hit Thursday after US exchange Coinbase dispelled rumors it would add the asset.


‘No Plans For New Assets’

From highs above $3.60, the latest milestone in what has become the biggest-ever annual appreciation for a major cryptocurrency of around 35,000%, the platform’s XRP token swiftly fell by almost a fifth following the news.

As of press time Friday, XRP is correcting and is still down 9% versus USD and 15.4% against Bitcoin (BTC).

A blog post from Coinbase reads:

As of the date of this statement, we have made no decision to add additional assets to either GDAX or Coinbase. Any statement to the contrary is untrue and not authorized by the company.

Coinbase Treads Carefully

Rumors had previously circulated widely that XRP was due to debut on the largest exchange in the US. The veiled nod to those rumors is no doubt a prudent step as Coinbase is continuing to face major criticism and scrutiny after it emerged staff leaked information about Bitcoin Cash (BCH) being added to its books.

Meanwhile, the Coinbase blog post continued to say:

A committee of internal experts is responsible for determining whether and when new assets will be added to the platform in accordance with our framework.

The Coinbase Effect

It then added the following:

These individuals — and all employees at Coinbase — are subject to confidentiality and trading restrictions.

Ripple executives, like its investors, nonetheless remain tangibly confident about the asset’s prospects. As Bitcoinist reported Thursday, the token’s utility as a currency is a major boon to users and, thus, has a tremendous innate value, according to CEO Brad Garlinghouse.

Co-founder and chairman Chris Larsen, who owns a 37% stake of Ripple’s implied value of $320 billion, could well be the world’s ‘implied’ new richest person, with a fortune topping that of both Bill Gates and crypto-skeptic Warren Buffett.

XRP also found its way into traditionally Bitcoin-critical media outlet Russia Today’s cryptocurrency recommendations for 2018, along with Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Cardano, and Litecoin.

What do you think about Coinbase’s decision not to add Ripple? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Pixabay and Bitcoinist archives.

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