190 Indian Bank Locations Raided in Massive Fraud Crackdown

190 Indian Bank Locations Raided in Massive Fraud Crackdown

India’s Central Bureau of Investigation has reportedly raided over 190 bank locations nationwide in an effort to crack down on fraud involving at least 15 banks. As many as 1,000 officers were involved in what is now one of the largest coordinated searches in India this year. Also read: State Bank of India Chief Says Crypto Regulation Is a Must Major Bank Fraud Crackdown The Indian Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) carried out searches at over 190 bank locations nationwide on Tuesday, local media reported. An officer of the bureau said that the CBI has registered 42 new scam cases involving Rs 7,200 crore (~$1 billion). PTI reported that CBI’s teams knocked on doors of the accused to collect evidence and question them, elaborating: The operation was spread across 16 states and union territories with as many as 1,000 officers of the agency involved in it making it one of the largest coordinated searches this year. “Out of these 42 cases, there are 4 cases of more than Rs 1,000 crore and 11 cases of fraud amount of Rs 100 crore to Rs 1000 crore,” a statement issued by the CBI reveals. “During searches, incriminating documents have been recovered so far.” The statement further details that most of the loan fraud cases were detected at 15 banks, including the State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s largest government-owned lender. The other banks involved were Andhra Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Indian Overseas Bank, Allahabad Bank, Canara Bank, Dena Bank, Punjab & Sind Bank, Punjab National Bank, Central Bank of India, Union Bank of India, IDBI Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of Maharashtra, and Bank of India, Business Today detailed. The searches were conducted throughout Tuesday, most of which were in Maharashtra where 58 bank locations were raided, followed by Punjab with 32 branches searched. Other searches were carried out in New Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Kerala, Telangana and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Gujarat and Haryana, Karnataka and Uttarakhand, and West Bengal. PMC Bank Fraud Case Continues A recent, widely-publicized fraud case involving one of the largest cooperative banks in the country is still ongoing. Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank, with 137 branches in multiple states, was put…

93 Days Dark: 8chan Coder Explains How Blockchain Saved His Troll Forum

93 Days Dark: 8chan Coder Explains How Blockchain Saved His Troll Forum

The Takeaway: Administrators at 8kun, the anarchic message board formerly known as 8chan, have been experimenting with blockchain and p2p technologies in an effort to build a website resistant to deplatforming and censorship. They found an ideologically aligned open-source blockchain to piggyback on, but the developers don’t seem keen on protecting 8kun from activist attacks. Ron Watkins, the principal 8kun dev, plans to launch the mysterious Project Odin in an attempt to bolster the publicly accessible and hidden versions of his site. 8chan, the anarchic internet forum that went dark in August, came back online this weekend as 8kun. This time, thanks to a decentralized web hosting network, it intends to stay online, no matter who its content offends. Following back-to-back shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, hosting service Cloudflare severed ties with 8chan, blaming its raucous community of anonymous posters for inciting the violence. “8chan has repeatedly proven itself to be a cesspool of hate,” said Cloudflare’s CEO Matthew Prince on the day it terminated service. Other major hosting providers, including Tencent and AliBaba in China, followed. For these corporate giants, 8chan amounted to little more than a pungent mix of pornography, extremism, and race-baiting, and hence not a brand with which they wanted to be associated. Yet while its many detractors saw 8chan as a vortex of fringe politics and looney-tune conspiracy theories, others defended it as a beacon of free speech in an age of political correctness and corporate media consolidation. Alongside the terrorist manifestos, there were WikiLeaks-style document dumps. And the founders didn’t give up. “We are at the forefront of the deplatforming war and developing tools and techniques that other websites can use when they too get deplatformed,” Ron Watkins, an 8chan admin, told CoinDesk. “Unlike other platforms that have faced controversy for banning relatively innocuous speech, 8chan features a full commitment to the promise of the First Amendment,” site owner Jim Watkins (Ron’s father), told the House Committee on Homeland Security in a closed-door session on Sept. 4. “At the same time, it has worked responsibly with law enforcement agencies when unprotected speech is discovered on its platform.” What follows is an inside account of 8chan’s rebirth, based on interviews with Ron Watkins. It also includes interviews…

‘Bullish for Bitcoin’ — China Scraps Plans to Ban Cryptocurrency Mining

‘Bullish for Bitcoin’ — China Scraps Plans to Ban Cryptocurrency Mining

Bitcoin (BTC) mining will not face a state crackdown in China, authorities have confirmed in new official documents. As noted by Blockstream CSO Samson Mow and others on Nov. 6, mining no longer features on a list of industries Beijing considers undesirable.  “Bullish for Bitcoin” The change came via a new edition of China’s Industrial Structure Adjustment Guidance Catalog, which will take effect from the start of 2020. “China’s National Development and Reform Commission has removed #cryptocurrency mining from the list of industries they want to eliminate. Bullish for #Bitcoin,” Mow commented. A previous incarnation of the document earlier this year had conversely included Bitcoin mining as one of the government’s targets. The news marks a rare boon for Bitcoin-related activities in China, a country where cryptocurrency outside the control of the central bank remains all but banned. BTC markets calm The recent endorsement of blockchain technology from president Xi Jinping coincided with a dramatic rise in BTC/USD, after which local media cautioned on misinterpreting the remarks as supportive of crypto.  Following the most recent announcement, however, little appeared to change on Bitcoin markets. Mining has long formed a profitable industry in China, with cheap electricity meaning major participants still reside there. Canaan Creative, one of the biggest Bitcoin mining rig manufacturers, will reportedly undergo a $400 million initial public offering, or IPO, later this month.

Only 1 Crypto Fund Has Passed Hong Kong’s SFC Regulatory Hurdles in First Year

Only 1 Crypto Fund Has Passed Hong Kong’s SFC Regulatory Hurdles in First Year

A year after the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) published initial regulations for funds investing in crypto, only one firm has successfully passed that gauntlet. Hong Kong-based Diginex remains the sole crypto fund to pass the regulatory hurdles issued in Nov. 2018 and formalized this October, according to research from Reuters. As CoinDesk reported at the time, the 2018 framework applied new regulations to any fund that invested 10 percent or more of its portfolio in virtual assets. The 37-page guidance issued last month adopts many standard practices held by funds overseen by the regulator already, such as capital reserves on hand. New rules include who can act as custodian for crypto assets, for example. Still, only one firm has cleared the SFC’s hurdles to-date, Reuters says, while other funds are moving out of Hong Kong to “skirt” the SFC. Many firms are also applying for approvals without the intention of receiving the license, but just for appearances, according to the Reuters research. However, outside factors remain for the low volume, including possible hangover from the crypto bear market that may be giving spurned funds second thoughts. “The volatility and poor returns in 2018 scared large institutions away from allocating to crypto funds, causing those who survived to shelve their licensing plans,” Jehan Chu, partner at Kenetic Capital, a venture capital firm focusing on digital assets, told Reuters. SFC declined to comment on both the process and pending applications, Reuters said. Hong Kong image via Shutterstock

Canadian Regulator Seizes Troubled Crypto Exchange

Canadian Regulator Seizes Troubled Crypto Exchange

The British Columbia Securities Commission has taken control of a cryptocurrency exchange which allegedly owes customers over $12 million. Einstein Exchange had planned to shut down amid complaints, lawsuits, and money laundering investigations. The Canadian regulator has also taken action against another crypto exchange after receiving multiple complaints. Also read: OSC Commissioner Debunks Arguments Against Bitcoin, Green-Lights Bitcoin Fund Exchange Seized The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) has taken control of a Vancouver-based cryptocurrency exchange. The regulator announced Monday that the Supreme Court of British Columbia has granted its application for “an order appointing an interim receiver to preserve and protect any assets of Einstein Exchange.” Grant Thornton Ltd., the court-appointed interim receiver, entered and secured the premises of Einstein Exchange on Nov. 1, the commission revealed. The documents filed in court detail that the BCSC had received numerous complaints about customers being unable to access their assets on the exchange. BCSC Executive Director Peter Brady told CBC News, “We had sent some requests for information to the exchange twice and we didn’t get an answer,” adding that on Oct. 31: We were then talking to the company’s counsel and learned that the exchange intended to shut down within 30 to 60 days due to a lack of profit and subsequently that legal counsel stepped down, so that raised concerns for us. Brady noted that the commission has also notified federal law enforcement regarding concerns about possible money laundering at the exchange. The commission started investigating the exchange in May. The BCSC is the independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating capital markets in British Columbia. The regulator emphasized that it has not authorized any company to operate as a cryptocurrency exchange. However, it has granted registration to a fund manager to operate a crypto investment fund and approved a bitcoin trust. The Investigation Einstein Exchange was established in December 2017 by British Columbia resident Michael Ongun Gokturk, the sole director of the exchange. Einstein offered the trading of 19 cryptocurrencies against the USD and accepted customer deposits in CAD, USD, and cryptocurrencies. In an affidavit, Sammy Wu, Lead Investigator with the BCSC Enforcement Division, said that “In the view of BCSC staff, the trading platform operated by Einstein involves trading in securities.” Pursuant to…

IBM Ethical Mineral Sourcing Blockchain to Debut in Spring

IBM Ethical Mineral Sourcing Blockchain to Debut in Spring

Ford, Volkswagon, LG and Volvo plan to take a pilot project tracking cobalt during its refining process live in production next year. The Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network (RSBN), an international consortium built on Hyperledger Fabric, announced Wednesday it had successfully completed a pilot project to protect against exploitative mining practices. The companies sent 1.5 tons of Congolese cobalt across three different continents over five months of refinement, clearing the way for the project to become operational in spring 2020. While Ford, Volkswagon and LG had already been a part of the project, Volvo joined Wednesday, according to a press release. RCS Global Group, the solution’s auditors, testified that the pilot cobalt met Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) sourcing standards from its start in a Congolese mine, through its refinement in South Korea and ultimately to its target: an American Ford Motor Company plant. LG Chem, the largest Korean chemical company, developed the batteries. Cobalt components make up some 10 to 20 percent of the Lithium ion batteries carmakers favor, according to the Cobalt Institute. Martina Buchhauser, Volvo’s head of procurement, said in a statement that the Swedish carmaker has always put a high priority on ethical mineral sourcing. This technology furthers that goal, she said, adding: “With blockchain technology we can take the next step in ensuring full traceability of our supply chain and minimizing any related risks, in close collaboration with our suppliers.” Expanding the supply chain Dr. Nicholas Garrett, CEO of RCS Global Group said in a statement that RSBN is hoping to improve global ethical supply chains and will build off the lessons learned. “We’ve reached significant new milestones as we’ve moved beyond testing, proving the merits of this coupled technology and assurance model can extend to a wide range of participants across every tier of the supply chain and to other minerals,” he said. RSBN plans to add more battery minerals to its tracking platform, including lithium and nickel. From there, it will research ways to trace tungsten, tantalum, tin and gold. Garrett was optimistic for the future of  the RSBN blockchain and his auditor’s role, saying: “We expect significant positive social impact from our work.” Congolese mine image via Flickr

China Scraps Plan to Categorize Bitcoin Mining as Industry to Be Eliminated

China Scraps Plan to Categorize Bitcoin Mining as Industry to Be Eliminated

More than six months after the China National Development and Reform Commission proposed to categorize bitcoin mining as an industry to be phased out from the country, it appears the agency has now scrapped that plan. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), a top-level economic planning agency under China’s State Council, published a finalized new Catalog for Guiding Industry Restructuring on Wednesday that will take effect from Jan 1, 2020. In the final version, which will replace the current one published in 2011, the agency has removed bitcoin mining or other virtual currency mining activities from the initially proposed category of industries that should be eliminated from China. Description related to virtual currency or bitcoin mining can’t be found in the finalized catalog. Formally established in 1998, the NDRC is now one of the 26 cabinet-level departments which all together form the State Council of the Chinese central government. The main role of the NDRC focuses on studying and penning economic reform strategies and policies to be executed at local level governments. The NDRC first published its industry reform catalog in 2005, grouping industrial sectors into three types – those the agency advises the country to encourage, restrict or eliminate. The initial draft of the latest catalog update was released in April this year, which classified “virtual currency mining, such as the production process of bitcoin” under the category to be eliminated, recommending local governments to phase out bitcoin mining from the country that’s estimated to account for half of bitcoin’s global hashing power. The move was taken at the time by many, including major news outlets, as a signal that China was planning to ban bitcoin mining even though the policy itself does not automatically mean a bitcoin mining ban. The revision of the draft plan comes after a months-long period of public consultation. During a NDRC press conference on Wednesday, officials said since the release of the initial draft, the agency has received over 2,500 suggestions on various issues, most of which were taken into consideration, although the officials did not comment on any particular suggestion related to bitcoin mining. Chinese yuan image via Shutterstock

Bitcoin Cash Captured 90% of October’s Crypto Spending in Australia

Bitcoin Cash Captured 90% of October’s Crypto Spending in Australia

Just recently the web portal Bitcoinbch.com reported that the number of bitcoin cash (BCH) Australian retail transactions throughout the month of September outshined every other digital currency by a wide margin. After the study, the researchers analyzed transactions for the month of October and once again BCH overshadowed the competitors when it comes to retail spending. Also Read: UK-Based Electric Bike Company Launches SLP Reward Token October’s Australian Crypto Retail Data Bitcoin Cash supporters take pride in merchant adoption and the great utility behind a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. Throughout the world, there are a number of countries that have seen widespread BCH adoption like Japan and Slovenia. Another country that sees a significant amount of BCH usage is Australia, and a good number of merchants stem from the North Queensland region. Across the entire country there’s a total of 197 BCH accepting merchants in Australia according to map.Bitcoin.com’s merchant page. Bitcoinbch.com’s last report, covering the month of September, had shown that BCH accounted for more than 92% of the total amount of cryptocurrency expenditure in the country between two payment processors Travelbybit (TBB) and Hula (Hockings Underwriting Logistics App). The numbers have been tallied again, but this time covering the month of October and BCH outpaced the competition by a landslide. “Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is by far the most useful cryptocurrency with Australian retailers — Bitcoin Cash [has trounced] all other cryptocurrencies combined with a staggering $19,450 (90.74%) of the total October cryptocurrency retail spend,” the study explains. “The data indicates a collapse in retail sales for most of the minor coins: LN shrank from $1,224 in September to $941 in October, BNB shrank from $913 to $457 and BTC from $744 to just $251.” Further, the number of BCH retail transactions in October combined was roughly 264 transactions or about 75% in Australia. Lightning Network (LN) saw about 50 transactions (14.2%) combined with BTC’s 16 onchain transactions making a total of 18.8%. ‘The BCH Juggernaut’ The Travelbybit point-of-sale (PoS) processor also saw a decline in market share as well, dropping from September’s $3,737 to only $2,041 in October. “[The underwriting firm] Hula is in effect amplifying BCH circulation by reducing the time it takes to put coins back into the community,” the report…

New Hire to Head Digital Currency Research at the US Fed

New Hire to Head Digital Currency Research at the US Fed

The United States Federal Reserve is looking to employ a Manager, Retail Payments, part of whose responsibilities will be to oversee the research of digital currencies and distributed ledgers. The job ad has been published amid pressure from Capitol Hill to explore the possibilities of issuing a digital dollar. Also read: Why Central Banks Are Not Designed for Democracies Federal Reserve to Hire Retail Payments Manager Geopolitics is a fast paced, high stake game and no major player can afford to ignore the surprising moves of their opponents. The Chinese leadership is now betting on blockchain while the People’s Bank of China is working on a digital yuan. Calls for a digital greenback, still the world’s main currency, have been issued in the corridors of power in Washington. This is all happening on the backdrop of a raging trade war with Beijing in which global dominance is at stake. The potential benefit of integrating digital currencies into retail payments has caught the attention of the Federal Reserve. A job opening posted on Nov. 4 shows that the U.S. central bank is now planning to expand research in the field. The Fed’s Board of Governors is seeking to hire a professional who will be in charge for overseeing its Retail Payments Section. Facilitating financial and digital innovation is part of the job description. Candidates must bring at least a bachelor’s degree but a master’s or other advanced degree is preferred. They are also expected to have at least seven years of relevant experience. The position is based in Washington, D.C. and the Fed provides support for relocation. Although it’s a regular job, it involves a decent amount of travelling – 25% of the time according to the ad. The new Manager, Retail Payments will direct the section’s routine activities and will be tasked to lead, develop and execute administrative supervisory duties for its staff. The annual salary for the managerial post will be between $120,600 and $250,700. The federal salary grade is low 28 – high 29. The job posting further details that the Retail Payments Section oversees the Federal Reserve Banks’ check and automated clearinghouse services and deals with policy and regulatory issues concerning retail payment systems. Its head will be responsible for “Facilitating and…

UK-Based Electric Bike Company Launches SLP Reward Token

UK-Based Electric Bike Company Launches SLP Reward Token

On November 5, Cryptophyl.com, the SLP-centric trading platform, announced a commercial partnership with the bicycle company Toba Electric Bikes using SLP technology. Toba sells electric bikes for bitcoin cash and the company’s SLP token will be used for customer rewards. Moreover, Cryptophyl plans to list the token called ‘toba’ on the exchange for trading on November 15. Also Read: Billion Dollar Bitcoin Lawsuit Continues as Craig Wright Breaks Settlement Cryptophyl and Toba Electric Bikes Partner to Bolster SLP Technology A collaboration between Cryptophyl.com and Toba Electric Bikes has invoked the first SLP token that’s redeemable for physical goods. On Tuesday, the two companies announced the commercial partnership which aims to bolster both BCH and SLP technology. Toba Electric Bikes is a two-year-old company that has helped strengthen the electric bike industry in Europe and was once known as 50 Cycles. The team has sold more than 30,000 electric bikes and Toba is now designing its own bike called the model BH TOBA-T that’s set to release next year. The TOBA token created on top of the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network using SLP will be rewarded to customers cycling on Toba-sold bicycles. Toba is exclusively accepting digital assets such as BCH, BTC, and toba (TOBA). The company says that toba users will get a 10% discount on Toba products and bicycles using the token. “Toba is using cutting-edge technology to deliver long term value to users,” the founder and CEO of Cryptophyl Semyon Germanovich explained. “We’re delighted to be the exchange of choice for listing their token and to be working with another UK-based company with an innovative business model, made possible by the Simple Ledger Protocol.” Applied Tokenization and Accelerated Adoption Germanovich further detailed that toba will be listed on the exchange with other SLP tokens such as spice, honestcoin, and drop. According to Toba Electric Bikes, the toba token will be spendable with the company on December 16. The reason for the wait is so the token can gain a one-month period of market price discovery. Additionally, Cryptophyl disclosed $35,000 worth of toba tokens will be airdropped to drop holders “Cryptophyl is the most exciting exchange to launch this year because it is dedicated to the trading of Simple Ledger Protocol Tokens (SLP),” Scott…