Scammers Devise Novel Ways to Access Users’ Crypto
Last week saw the SlowMist team report that the scammer behind a fake HitBTC exchange website had reportedly stolen more than $15 million worth of digital assets. The scam checks whether a user has a connected wallet, then prompts the user to “Approve” the authorization to access their funds. Or, with the signature box that pops up automatically, the scammer’s setup prompts an unsuspecting user to log in their details and press “Confirm” for their ETH asset to be stolen.
ProBit Global users are advised to always double-check the URL (www.probit.com) and ensure that they are on a legitimate site before they submit their login details or authorize any transactions.
EU States Agree on Tax Coordination on Crypto Assets
Despite complications around tax compliance, the Council of the EU last week reached an agreement on tax amendments, which will require the scope of tax reporting to be expanded across the bloc.
The Council cited the decentralized nature of crypto assets as a factor affecting compliance by tax administrations in EU member states.
According to Swedish Minister for Finance, Elisabeth Svantesson, the move is to strengthen efforts to close loopholes that enable tax avoidance and to reduce their risk of being used for tax fraud. When fully implemented, tax authorities from member countries will be forced to exchange crypto-related information as provided by service providers.
Pakistani Officials Call for Crypto Ban
Pakistan could be the next country to draw the curtain on crypto assets. According to local media last week, the Pakistani government is planning to ban all crypto-related services in their country.
Although recent actions suggest that China may be warming to crypto adoption, reports from Pakistani government officials suggest that their proposals are tied to China’s long-standing ban on crypto-related activities. They also called for those working in the country’s crypto space to be punished after formal legislation has been drafted.
Meanwhile, Pakistan is also working on imposing a capital value tax on local and foreign assets in a bid to draw high earners or those with assets into the tax net.
Despite Market Conditions, Miner Makers Roll Out New Products
Whatsminer last week introduced three new Bitcoin mining machines: the hydro-cooling M53S++ which offers a hashrate of 320 TH/s and operates at a power efficiency of 22J/T. The M50S++ incorporates air cooling technology and delivers a hashrate of 150 TH/s while the M56S++ utilizes immersion cooling and provides a hashrate of 230 TH/s. The same week saw rival, Bitmain, announce the planned launch of Antminer’s first Kaspa KS3 mining machine, featuring performance indicators of 8.3T, 3188W power consumption, and an energy efficiency rating of 0.38 J/G. These releases come in the wake of depressed market conditions, with BTC prices down an average of almost 9% over the past month.
New Charges Brought Against SBF
In a new turn, Axios reported last week that FTX and its sister trading unit Alameda Research have filed a suit against the ex-CEO of FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), and two other former execs over last year’s acquisition of stock clearing company Embed. They allege that the executives were aware of Alameda's insolvency and still used customer funds from FTX to finance the $250 million acquisition in September 2022. The plaintiffs want to recover the funds from Embed's previous shareholders, including the company’s founder and CEO Michael Giles, whom the reports say personally gained $157 million from the acquisition. It is suggested that the lawsuit could potentially be the first of several legal actions to come.
Hong Kong Launches e-HKD CBDC Pilot
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) last week launched its e-HKD Pilot Program, together with 16 selected firms from the financial, payment, and technology sectors. The program aims to explore potential use cases for the retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) as it focuses on six categories, including various payment methods, tokenized deposits, and settlement of tokenized assets. The HKMA plans to conduct multiple rounds of pilots and collaborate closely with stakeholders to examine implementation and design issues. The outcomes and insights gained from each pilot will inform the HKMA's approach to the possible implementation of the e-HKD. The selected firms had earlier presented their proposed use cases, while the HKMA intends to establish a CBDC Expert Group to contribute insights on key policy and technical matters related to CBDC research.
Lightning Bitcoin Gets an Upgrade for Faster, Cost-effective Transactions
Lightning Labs, the developer of the Bitcoin Lightning Network, last week announced the release of Taproot Assets v0.2, which gives developers access to essential functionalities for issuing, sending, receiving, and exploring assets on the Bitcoin blockchain. It also allows users to integrate their assets into the Lightning Network for instant, high-volume, and low-fee transactions.
Currently available on testnet, mainnet support will be implemented in the near future. It has been a year since the Taproot Assets draft specification was introduced. The new release is expected to complement efforts to revolutionize the dollar and enable multi-asset functionality on the Lightning Network.
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