With February in full swing, it’s been a fascinating week in the crypto industry with some stimulating news that is sure to dominate talk amongst crypto circles. North Korea funds missile programs with stolen crypto; KPMG adds crypto to its corporate treasury; Venezuela imposes a heavy tax on crypto transactions; and Crypto exchange gives away Bitcoin for Super Bowl ad campaign.
North Korea funds missile programs with stolen crypto
A recent report from the United Nations (UN) claims that North Korea has financed its missile programs with stolen cryptocurrencies. The UN’s report states that North Korea has stolen crypto worth millions of dollars to fund nuclear experiments and advance its missile program.
It is estimated that hackers from the secretive state stole around $50 million in crypto – targeting mostly centralised exchanges and investment firms with malware, phishing scams and social engineering tactics.
Bitcoin accounted for around 20% of the stolen crypto while more than 50% was made up of Ether, and altcoins rounding up to the remainder of the loot. In January alone, North Korea has launched no less than nine ballistic missile experiments – the largest number of weapons tests in the country’s history – making the UN’s claims all the more believable.
While the UN Security Council has urged North Korea to cease such missile tests, Pyongyang has continued with the development of its ballistic missile and nuclear infrastructure. A recent statement from government officials said, “DPRK demonstrated increased capabilities for rapid deployment, wide mobility (including at sea), and improved resilience of its missile forces.”
As always, Wisly will keep you posted on the very latest.
KPMG adds crypto to its corporate treasury
Canadian accounting giant, KPMG, has added Bitcoin and Ethereum to its corporate treasury and has become the latest traditional firm to dip its toes into the crypto sector. In a statement released recently by KPMG, they stated that they acquired the digital assets through the Gemini crypto exchange execution and custody services.
This exciting initiative marks the accounting firm’s first direct investment with cryptocurrencies – with its allocation includes carbon offsets in alignment with its commitment to environmental, social and governance obligations to maintain net-zero carbon transactions.
The company has decided to venture into crypto assets as they believe that digital currencies are the way forward. Managing Partner of KPMG Canada – Benjie Thomas – was delighted with this move as he said, “Crypto assets are a maturing asset class. This investment reflects our belief that institutional adoption of crypto assets and blockchain technology will continue to grow and become a regular part of the asset mix.”
Wisly will keep you in the loop with the latest developments.
Venezuela imposes a heavy tax on crypto transactions
Parliamentarians in Venezuela have approved a law that would now tax crypto and foreign currency transactions by up to 20% – a move to reduce inflationary pressure on their struggling fiat currency, the Bolivar.
This newly authorised tax – known as the large financial transaction tax – will affect all crypto and foreign currency payments and transactions and encourage Venezuelans to use the national currency instead.
In such a multi-currency environment that Venezuela finds itself in, the sentiment is that the Bolivar has lost its relevance and the government has been looking at creative ways to bring its citizens back to the native currency that lost 70% of its value in 2021.
The bill that was passed last week states that the national government will first collect 2.5% of all crypto and foreign payments, and the rate will later shift between 2% to 20%, depending on the nature of the transaction. Furthermore, the bill reads, “It is necessary to guarantee treatment at least equal to, or more favourable, to payments and transactions made in the national currency or in cryptocurrencies or crypto assets issued by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela versus payments made in foreign currency.”
Wisly will keep you in the loop with the very latest with this story.
Crypto exchange gives away Bitcoin for Super Bowl ad campaign
Globally renowned crypto exchange – FTX – has launched an exciting Bitcoin giveaway worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in collaboration with a Super Bowl ad campaign. NFL fans are in for a treat as the Bahamas-based crypto exchange will run the advert during the second half of the NFL championship game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams.
Prize money will be awarded to four lucky winners of the sweepstakes – chosen randomly – with the Bitcoin reward being determined when the advert airs on the East Coast. To enter the competition, participants must follow FTX’s official Twitter account and retweet the crypto exchange’s pinned tweet between the time that the advert airs on Sunday and 11.59 pm that same night.
If the advert airs at 9pm on Sunday, the four winners will get 9.2 BTC – approximately $400,000 – but, if the advert airs later in the game, like 10.30 pm, the reward will bump up to 10BTC – or around $450,000.
FTX has found tremendous value in using the country’s biggest sporting day to draw attention to cryptocurrencies, joining other popular exchanges like Coinbase, which also run similar promotions. Founder of FTX – Sam Bankman-Fried – beamed with delight as he said, “It’s a way to get our name out there. In terms of venues to do that, it’s hard to find a higher-profile one than this.”
What better way to watch some awesome Super Bowl action while getting your hands on some valuable crypto. Wisly will keep you informed on the latest with this story.