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London Police Proactive Against Alleged Cryptocurrency Money Laundering

After a warning from European law enforcement agency Europol earlier this year that billions of pounds are being laundered through cryptocurrencies, City of London officials have decided to take matters into their own hands. 


Transactions made in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are notoriously complicated to trace due to the fact that users can generally generate unlimited numbers of wallets without providing any identifying information. Nevertheless, law enforcement agencies seem to have no trouble tracking down cybercriminals dealing in cryptocurrencies — as evidenced by the recent indictment of Russian intelligence officers who used Bitcoin to fund their interference with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Earlier this year, Europol officials arrested 11 individuals and identified 137 others allegedly involved in a large-scale network for laundering drug money with cryptocurrencies as a part of its Tulipan Blanca operation. The agency warned that there is currently three to four billion pounds ($4.1 to $5.5 billion) worth of digital currencies being laundered in Europe alone, though little evidence was provided to back this claim.

In contrast, the Hong Kong Financial Services and Treasury (FSTB) admitted in its “Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment” report that it sees no evidence of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies being used to launder money or fund terror organizations whatsoever.

Still, accusations of crime in the cryptocurrency world persist.

The Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, Sam Woods — who is candidly wary of cryptocurrencies — wrote letters to the executives of financial institutions claiming (without evidence) that digital currencies “appear vulnerable to fraud and manipulation, as well as money-laundering and terrorist financing risks.”

London Police Getting Proactive

To stay ahead of the future generation of cybercriminals, the City of London Police Department is implementing a new cryptocurrency fraud course at their Economic Crime Academy beginning this fall, according to The Telegraph. A City of London Police spokesperson commented:

On successful completion of this course, participants will understand how to detect, seize and investigate the use of cryptocurrencies in an investigative context… It will be the first of its kind and has been developed in response to feedback from police officers nationally who felt there wasn’t enough training available in this area.

While Bitcoin cannot be blamed for financial transgressions any more than SMS can be blamed for infidelity, a select bunch of computer literate criminals has taken a liking to the new technology and it is to the advantage of law enforcement agencies and financial authorities around the world to keep their staff educated on the latest blockchain trends — whether they are being used to clean dirty money or not.

What do you think of the new programs to educate officials about digital money laundering? Will they be useful, or will the technology evolve quicker than they can adapt? Let us know in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitcoinist archives.

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Čvn 08

PayTabs CEO: ‘Cryptocurrency is Here to Stay’

· June 7, 2018 · 9:00 pm

Plenty of people remain skeptical about cryptocurrency’s future. PayTabs’ CEO, Abdulaziz Al Jouf, is not one of those people. 


‘It is out of their control’

The cryptocurrency market is notoriously volatile and still remains largely unregulated — but that doesn’t mean it should be dismissed as a failed project. According to the CEO of the Saudi-based payment processing and fraud prevention company PayTabs, Abdulaziz Al Jouf, “cryptocurrency is here to stay.”

Al Jouf believes cryptocurrencies will continue to exist and gain popularity, as none of the core problems which originally provoked Bitcoin’s creation — namely, centralization and a lack of transparency in traditional finance — have been solved. He explained to Arabian Business:

There are different dimensions and different directions where this will go. Keep in mind that until today, central banks are trying hard to ban [cryptocurrency] because they feel it is out of [their] control.

If you think back to why cryptocurrency launched, it is because of the massive collapse in 2011… [It aimed] to make sure currencies and money is protected everywhere.

While cryptocurrency is still a long way from mainstream, traditional finance hasn’t exactly regained the trust of the masses after the economic crisis — and is almost certainly never going to regain the trust of cryptocurrency proponents.

Crypto Enthusiasts Express Concern That Banks Could Take Over Bitcoin

‘Making Extra Bucks’

Al Jouf also believes cryptocurrency will stick around as a popular way to speculate and make money by trading in a volatile market. He explained:

People still use it for the fun of making extra bucks. Of course it’s risky and anything new is risky. There’s a lot of hype on how to make money out of it. I’m sure you heard that if you had bought x amount of bitcoin… You’re a billionaire today. But in reality, there’s a big issue on how to get this money out of the cryptocurrency industry.

Plenty of companies are already working on solving this issue — including Al Jouf’s. As more regulatory-compliant solutions come into play, cryptocurrency will only be further solidified as a viable means of value transfer, speculation, and investment.

Bitcoin volatility

‘Blockchain is not doing anything’

Finally, Al Jouf noted his opinion that blockchain technology is currently not doing anything of value for the real world. He told Arabian Business:

Blockchain [in its current form] is not doing anything. We need to implement it somewhere on our surface. You see a lot of people talking about blockchain, but there’s the question of why do you need to use blockchain and how you can implement it in your business. In Europe, many companies completely shifted their businesses to blockchain. We need some time in the region to see [that]… I see it progressing in some areas, but it will require some time.

During that time, expect companies all over the world to nevertheless continue implementing blockchain solutions in the race to launch the first true killer app. If and when that happens remains to be seen.

Do you agree that cryptocurrency is here to stay? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wikipedia Commons, AdobeStock.

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Kvě 06

Blockchain Technology to Combat Dodgy Ticket Resales

· May 6, 2018 · 6:00 pm

Secondary ticketing in the UK is a billion-dollar problem, one that Aventus hopes to solve with blockchain technology.


Whether it’s your favorite football match or your music idol’s concert, front-row tickets are probably what you’re after. However, if they happen to be sold out by the time you can afford them, you might be tempted to purchase these tickets from unscrupulous secondary parties.

Prepare to be met with counterfeit tickets and sky-high prices. According to The Guardian, secondary tickets for shows for big artists, such as Adele, can fetch up to $12,000. Preventing these so-called ticket touts seems to be a decades-old issue, but something that blockchain technology could solve.

Blockchain to the Rescue

Annika Monari and Alan Vey, who are the founders of Aventus, will have the opportunity to test this theory at the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Russia. Their blockchain-based program will be used for more than 10,000 tickets to fan events in the US and Europe.

By using blockchain technology, the records for each ticket will be immutable and therefore protected against counterfeiting. Essentially, each ticket will be linked to its owner, which will combat fraud.

By doing this, Monari and Vey, who both have degrees in Artificial Intelligence and Particle Physics, have said that Aventus will “virtually eliminate ticketing fraud and the scourge of unregulated touting”.

A New Solution for an Old Problem

A New Solution for an Old Problem

The Aventus founders discussed their excitement at working towards a solution for this problem:

“It has been an amazing journey. We used to sit in this common room having coffees and worrying about our coursework. But now, hopefully, we will be the people who can solve the problems in the ticketing industry. That would feel incredible and be such a huge achievement for us.”

The platform’s ICO in September last year sold out in just seven minutes, raising a total of just over $35 million.

Positive Impact

Professor Mike Waterson from Warwick University acted as a technical advisor to Monari and Vey. He had this to say:

“It has a lot of potential. Thinking through the market from a fresh perspective is very useful. If they get genuine buy-in from a wide enough range of people then it is going to have a big impact on the market.”

Expanding Blockchain-based Solutions

Waterson also conducted a government report into the secondary ticket industry, including ticket sales for Premier League games. This is also an issue that Aventus hopes to help with. The platform will be working with another blockchain-based platform, Blocside, for the FIFA World Cup initiative, but hope to expand their offerings to Premier League football clubs soon.

Ticket fraud is quite a lucrative industry in the UK, with an annual value of about $1.3 billion. Bernie Dillon, an entertainment industry expert, discussed how Aventus could make a difference:

“Anyone who has ever attended, hosted, or produced a live entertainment event has been affected by counterfeit tickets or extortionate resale prices. Aventus brings a refreshing solution that could end fraudulent activity and ticket touting once and for all.”

Do you think that blockchain technology is the answer to the ticketing industry’s biggest problem? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Shutterstock

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Lis 25

Asset Management Firm TOBAM Launches Europe’s First Bitcoin Mutual fund

· November 25, 2017 · 2:00 am

In a move that has surprised many investors, French asset management firm TOBAM announced on Wednesday that has launched Europe’s first ever Bitcoin mutual fund.


Institutional Investors and Bitcoin

Institutional Investors and Bitcoin

Over the past several months, Bitcoin has received a lot of attention from major news stations and institutional investors. Some investors have been hesitating to directly invest in the decentralized cryptocurrency due largely to the lack of proper regulations and security measures by authorities. There have been previous attempts to establish a Bitcoin ETF, but they all have been rejected by US regulators.

The famous Winklevoss twins, founders of the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange, have tried several times in the past to launch their own Bitcoin ETF to no avail. A few weeks ago the CME Group, one of the biggest derivatives marketplace in the world, announced that they will launch Bitcoin futures in the fourth quarter of 2017. Analysts believe that more and more institutional investors will invest in the current cryptocurrency craze.

A Bitcoin Mutual Fund

A Bitcoin Mutual Fund

On 22 November, TOBAM, a French asset management company, announced via a public statement on their website that it had launched Europe’s first ever Bitcoin mutual fund. According to the report, the TOBAM Bitcoin fund will allow qualified investors to enter the cryptocurrency market quickly and effortlessly. The president of TOBAM, Yves Choueifaty, states following in the report:

Research is the founding pillar of TOBAM, and we have conducted research from a technical, financial, economic, and regulatory point of view on Bitcoin for a year prior to launching this fund. This first move in the world of cryptocurrencies showcases our dedication to remaining ahead of the curve and to provide our clients with innovative products in the context of efficient (i.e. unpredictable) markets.

Bitcoin being a highly diversifying asset, this launch is also an expression of our commitment to diversification in all its forms. Once again TOBAM is ahead of the curve and, in order to remain so, we will continue to reinvest a significant part of our growth into research and innovation for the best interest of our clients

The Head of Business Development at TOBAM, Christophe Roehri, also added following:

Direct investment in Bitcoin can be operationally challenging, from dealing with the choice of the platform, to maintaining the proper security measures in terms of custody and to managing the changes made to the protocol – hard forks. Our goal is to take control of these operational challenges in order to facilitate access for qualified investors willing to gain exposure to Bitcoin. All of that under the format of a fund

The TOBAM Bitcoin fund is beginning to sound very promising for institutional investors and people that are hesitating to invest in the digital currency. It is a definite sign that the US market should quickly move to accept and regulate financial Bitcoin instruments if they want to be the leading force in the global cryptocurrency market.

What are your thoughts on TOBAM’s Bitcoin fund? Do you think that more European investors will invest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies through the new fund? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Pixabay

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