It’s been another fascinating week in the world of crypto with some eye-catching news that’s sure to raise some eyebrows amongst crypto enthusiasts. Venezuelan authorities clamp down on illegal Bitcoin miners; Brazilian investment bank extends offering with crypto services; Australian Police seize $1.2 million in crypto from Sydney hacker; and Top American University accepts crypto for tuition fees.
Venezuelan authorities clamp down on illegal Bitcoin miners
Officials in Venezuela have seized over a hundred Bitcoin mining machines from illegal crypto miners operating from a residential area in one of the country’s central states. The Bitcoin mining farm was in operation without the necessary permits required for such activities – in accordance with the country’s cryptocurrency watchdog, Sunacrip.
The seizure was led by authorities from Venezuela’s power company, national police, and officials from Sunacrip who raided the illegal operation in the suburb of Miranda situated in central Venezuela. According to reports, the crypto mining farm was easy to locate as it was draining the power distribution system in the area – prompting an investigation to check for unreported crypto mining activities.
While crypto mining is legal in Venezuela, miners must acquire specific permits that are issued by Sunacrip, which are designed to protect the electrical grid from collapsing. Upon the raid, authorities proceeded to dismantle the crypto farm and confiscate the mining equipment. The raid serves as a warning to those crypto miners that are performing their activities illegally in the country. Authorities hope that this would now encourage illegal crypto miners to apply for mining permits to continue with their activities.
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Brazilian investment bank extends offering with crypto services
Popular Brazilian investment bank, BTC Pactual, has recently announced the rollout of a new crypto-trading app that allows users to trade in cryptocurrencies for direct crypto investments. The revolutionary app – Mynt – has elevated the bank’s status in Brazil as BTC Pactual is now the first investment bank to allow its customers to invest directly in cryptocurrencies.
Mynt enables users to trade in Bitcoin and Ethereum while measures are in place to add more cryptocurrencies to the list. Head of Virtual Assets of BTC Pactual – Andre Porthilo – was delighted with the new product offering, stating that the bank wanted to fulfil the needs of its customers amidst growing crypto interest in the country.
Since El Salvador’s recent Bitcoin adoption as legal tender, more countries in Central and South America are warming up to crypto adoption. In light of this, BTC Pactual wants to provide an educational platform that trains its customers on cryptocurrencies, their underlying technology, and how cryptocurrencies benefit users in everyday life.
BTC Pactual has assured its customers that their Mynt app is regulated by the Brazilian Central Bank and its SEC, making customers more comfortable with using the app knowing that top bodies are regulating it.
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Australian Police seize AU$1.2 million in crypto from Sydney hacker
Police in Australia have discovered around AU$1.2 million in cryptocurrency during an investigation on a hacker in Sydney. In a joint operation with the FBI, Australian police arrested a hacker who had supposedly stolen Netflix and Spotify subscriptions which he then sold at a much cheaper price to third parties online.
The 23-year-old hacker from Sydney was in cahoots with an American national and worked under the radar to steal the login details of streaming service customers. The Australian Federal Police was tipped off by the FBI, who advised that the hacker was using an account generator website – WickedGen.com – to sell stolen account details for online subscription services.
Upon being caught, the Supreme Court of New South Wales ordered that the convicted hacker should forfeit the proceeds of his devious crimes to the country – a large portion of which was AU$1.2 million worth of cryptocurrencies. The investigation also uncovered that the hacker operated three other similar websites.
The Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT) in the country was responsible for obtaining restraining orders over all of the hackers’ accounts – crypto, bank and PayPal – all of which bore false names that the hacker owned. The seizure of AU$1.2 million in crypto is the highest forfeiture of its kind in a Commonwealth country.
Australian Home Affairs Minister – Karen Andrews – was ecstatic with efforts to apprehend the thief as she said, “Good work by the AFP has seen a criminal stripped of their ill-gotten gains, and this money redirected to enhancing the safety and security of communities right around Australia.”
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Top American University accepts Bitcoin for tuition fees
One of the leading business schools in the US – The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania – has recently announced that it will be accepting Bitcoin as well as other cryptocurrencies from students who want to pay their tuition fees. This exciting development sent shockwaves across the region as excited students now have another option to clear off their student debt.
The crypto payment adoption at the University is limited, however, to a new course – Economics of Blockchain and Digital Assets – that is due to start on 3 January 2022 at the business school. It is expected to run over a period of six weeks where students will learn more about the potential use cases of cryptocurrencies, NFTs and CBDCs. Tuition fees for this course equates to $3,800, and students will be able to settle their fees with Ether, USDC or Bitcoin.
Academic Director for the program – Professor Kevin Werbach – beamed with delight as he said, “We designed this program for business professionals and executives from a range of backgrounds, including traditional finance, management, and tech. We hope to equip business leaders, consultants, and entrepreneurs to identify the value drivers of these innovative technologies and to give them the practical understanding to build solutions.”
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