Úno 16

Optioment Bitcoin Scam Triggers Europe-Wide Manhunt

· February 16, 2018 · 10:30 am

After possibly thousands of investors got burned by arbitrage-trading company Optioment last year, Austrian authorities have asked Interpol to help track down the fraudsters responsible for the Bitcoin scam.


Another Bitcoin Scam Burns Buyers

European authorities are on the hunt for criminals involved in defrauding thousands of individuals and losing over $100 million worth of investors’ Bitcoin.

According to reports, Optioment ran a now-defunct website while holding large-scale events in Austria — in which the company advertised itself as a “private Costa Rica-based Bitcoin fund” promising unrealistic returns. Law firm Lansky, Ganzger & Partner claims Optioment promised weekly interest payments upwards of 4 percent on long-term Bitcoin deposits, with the added incentivization of inviting new users.

Optioment apparently paid out returns on a timely basis at the beginning of its operation, which boosted investor confidence and encouraged users to reinvest in the scheme. Sometime around the massive bull run in November and December of last year, however, the returns stopped coming, and the fraudulent scheme collapsed.

Spokeswoman Christina Ratz told Bloomberg that prosecutors in Vienna are consolidating “hundreds of complaints” against the fraudulent company, and Die Presse originally reported that upwards of 10,000 individuals have been victimized, resulting in roughly 12,000 lost bitcoins — currently worth an estimated $118.5 million at the time of this writing.

Interpol

According to Bloomberg, no arrests have yet been made, but Interpol has been asked to investigate individuals in Denmark, Latvia, and Germany.

Reinforcing European Rhetoric

The hunt for Optioment’s operators comes at a time when some European countries are calling for a crackdown on cryptocurrency.

French Finance Minister Bruno le Maire and interim German Finance Minister Peter Altmaier have gone on record to state that cryptocurrencies are risky for investors and threaten long-term global financial stability.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has also expressed concerns over cryptocurrency’s criminal usage, stating that she is looking “very seriously” at cryptocurrencies “because of the way they are used, particularly by criminals.”

EU

Additionally, European Central Bank board member Yves Mersch has recently stated that cryptocurrencies are “not money, nor will they be for the foreseeable future.”

Most recently, the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) have also recently issued a press release warning consumers of the dangers associated with buying cryptocurrency.

Do you think scams like Optioment are permanently damaging the reputation of cryptocurrency in Europe and around the world? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/@Plani and Bitcoinist archives.

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Dub 15

European Parliament To Host Educational Blockchain Conference





Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_European Parliament

The focus on blockchain technology and distributed ledgers have not gone by unnoticed, as the European Parliament will be hosting a four-day conference on digital currency and blockchains next week. Quite an interesting announcement, and perhaps even a hint as to what is to come regarding regulation in the EU over the coming years.

Also read: Keeping the Blockchain Open in the Shadow of Tech Giants

European Parliament Blockchain and Bitcoin Conference

It is important to note this four-day event will not be held like most traditional conferences touching upon the subject of digital currency. Instead, the plan is for the European Parliament to bring together financial players and educate them on distributed ledgers and how virtual currencies could be beneficial to them.

Among the attendees will be some of the more prominent members of the financial sector, such as the World Bank, IMF, and Bank for International Settlements. But they will not be the only ones receiving an education on blockchain technology, as the United Nations and Europol will be represented during this event as well.

As one would come to expect, there will be plenty of academics, startups, central banks, and established companies in the blockchain world present as well. Although many people might argue Bitcoin is no longer of interest to financial institutions, they have taken a liking to the concept of issuing their own digital currencies as of late.

Syed Kamall, Member of the European Parliament, stated:

“I am pleased to be hosting the exhibition on blockchain and virtual currencies in the European Parliament. Legislators internationally are now looking at this area and how to protect the consumer while stimulating innovation.”

Blockchain technology, on the other hand, has been the buzzword for most of 2015 and 2016 so far. It is only normal the European Parliament wants to get involved in these matters, as they may need to establish a regulatory framework for this technology at some point in the future. Moreover, this four-day conference will provide vital insights as to how digital currencies work, which may impact Bitcoin as well.

What are your thoughts on the European Parliament hosting a four-day blockchain conference? Let us know in the comments below!

Source; Finextra

Images courtesy of European Parliament, Shutterstock

The post European Parliament To Host Educational Blockchain Conference appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

European Parliament To Host Educational Blockchain Conference




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