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Aussies lost $2.1m to cryptocurrency scams

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Aussies lost $2.1m to cryptocurrency 'scams'

$800k more than first thought.

Australians lost at least $2.1 million to cryptocurrency-based scams last year such as by paying ransoms in virtual coins or being lured to invest in fake initial coin offerings.

The number is an upgrade on previously released figures, though the loss numbers may be inflated by the peak in value of cryptocurrencies in December last year.

Back in February, it was revealed that Aussies lost almost $1.3 million to Bitcoin and Ethereum-related scams in 2017.

But there was ambiguity at the time over the extent to which these losses were due to ransoms demanded by attackers as part of ransomware campaigns.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said at the time that some losses were recorded against “other” buying and selling scams, without elaborating.

A formal data release today shows that some of the reported losses came from fake coins and purchases made through brokerages rather than directly through an exchange.

“Examples of cryptocurrency scams in 2017 include fake ‘initial coin offerings’ which, like initial stock offerings, purport to be the launch of a new cryptocurrency,” the ACCC said in an annual scam report released today. [pdf]

“Others capitalised on the general confusion about how cryptocurrency works and instead of people discovering how to directly buy cryptocurrencies, many found themselves caught up in what were essentially pyramid schemes.

“A number of reports showed that victims entered into cryptocurrency-based scams through friends and family who convinced them they were onto a good thing, a classic element of pyramid schemes.”

The $2.1 million in total losses was likely to be conservative, the ACCC said, not least because some people who are scammed are simply too embarrassed to report it.

Financial regulators have taken a keen interest in the initial coin offering (ICO) space this year.

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) said recently it would update its guidance for companies considering raising funds by issuing digital coins or tokens.

ICOs have fast become a favoured method to raise money compared to alternative routes such as venture capital.

ASIC noted there was a "certain level of opportunism” in the ICO space “because it is seen as an easy, low regulation, low cost option [to raise funds] which could lead to immature businesses coming to market".

In the United States, its equivalent regulator SEC last week set up a fake ICO of its own in a bid to tip off cryptocurrency investors to the warning signs of a potentially bad investment.

Still, the $2.1 million figure is likely to have been somewhat inflated by the booming value of cryptocurrencies at the end of last year.

“As the value of actual cryptocurrencies increased, so too did the scam losses in what people thought were real investments,” the ACCC said.

“Between January and September 2017, about $100,000 was reported lost per month to scams which had a cryptocurrency angle.

“However, in the month of December 2017, reported losses to [the ACCC’s] Scamwatch exceeded $700,000 and the average reported loss had jumped from $1885 in January [2017] to $13,205.”

posted May 21, 2018 by Sanjay Rawat

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A recent news in times of India says that a woman is robbed of her bitcoins worth 41 lakh in indian rupees. Her e wallet account got hacked by some unidentified persons. The woman claims that there are more of bitcoin users hacked and the total worth of coins stolen could be anything between 50 crores to 100 crores in value of indian currency. She said that she had invested in bitcoins in februrary 2017 when introduced by her friend. The firm had conducted seminars in 5 star hotels to attract investors and she again invested more money in the cryprocurrencies as the owners of the company assured more than 12 pc monthly return on her money Initially she got some returns in her back account but later the company started paying in their own crypto coins. She objected and asked the company to return her money. The company asked for her email id and password on the pretext of validating her crypto account. Before she realised she has been duped the company and the owners disappeared with her money and other investors money too
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Wall Street's first analyst to cover bitcoin is debunking a popular bitcoin investment strategy.

According to DataTrek Research co-founder Nick Colas, a vast number of investors erroneously believe that if the stock market rallies, so will bitcoin.

His finding is based on correlation analysis that goes back to the beginning of last year.

"Bitcoin doesn't necessarily go along for the ride," Colas said Wednesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

Bitcoin prices and stocks may not rise in tandem, but he did detect one clear trend that could be useful for investors.

"During the recent market drawdown in the early part of February, the correlation was really high. As stocks went down, bitcoin went down," Colas said. "Bitcoin faded just like a stock. However, as stocks began to rebound that correlation fell apart."

Colas, who owns a quarter of one bitcoin (worth about $2,700), contends investors may be better served by using a highly accessible strategy that relies only on an internet connection.

"The precursor for opening a wallet for many people is just googling the term 'bitcoin,' 'how to buy a bitcoin wallet,' 'how to buy a bitcoin' and so forth. So, as bitcoin searches go up, it's a precursor to bitcoin prices appreciating as well," he said.

The correlation was particularly significant between Thanksgiving and Dec. 17, when bitcoin was surging to its $19,843 record. Since then, the emerging asset has plunged 45 percent and is now bouncing along the $10,000 level.

Bitcoin's next catalyst

For bitcoin to stage another breakout, Colas says it would take a major announcement from a retailer such as Amazon about using it for payment. Right now, price volatility and underdeveloped technology is a roadblock.

Even though he doesn't see a near-term surge, he is far from bearish. His 2018 average price for bitcoin is $14,000 — noting that there is a fair amount of crossover between people who own bitcoin and stocks.

"It's such a polar discussion with people. We have clients who love it [bitcoin], and clients who hate it. And, there's really nobody in the middle," Colas said. "Every day it doesn't go to zero is another day it lives. And, every day above ground is a good one. That applies for people and bitcoin."

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Last year, crypto-currencies burst on to the scene. Bitcoin saw incredible gains in 2017, rising from $1,000 all the way to $19,000 in mid-December. But regular investors have so far missed out on the cryptocurrency craze, as not only is the technology behind cryptocurrencies confusing, but the investment process is intimidating or at least it used to be.

Now investors looking to score on the crypto-currencies market in their regular brokerage account are in luck.

Hashchain Technology Inc. is a bitcoin miner and blockchain innovator with a wide exposure to a wide range of crypto assets.

Buying into KASH is a bit like buying a crypto ETF: you get the value of the sector's growth without having to invest directly in crypto or understand this new asset class.

Even with crypto prices falling from the incredible highs of 2017, bitcoin and its brethren are here to stay. Investors could use a firm like KASH to give them exposure.

Plus, KASH is working on the future of crypto too including proprietary regulatory software to bring greater security to those using it.

In the highly profitable world of crypto, this is definitely a company worth looking at.

Here's five reasons investors should get excited about Hashchain Technology Inc. (KASH.V; HSSHF)

#1 Superior Miner 

KASH is first and foremost a crypto-currency miner. The crypto mining sector, which scarcely existed five years ago, has become multi-billion dollar industry.
By mid-2017, crypto miners had earned $2 billion. But that was just the beginning. At the height of the crypto-boom in late 2017, miners had made more than $50 billion measured in value of cryptocurrencies then. 
That's a 2500 percent increase in less than a year, although that increase has now fallen from peak prices.
The top 25 crypto projects have provided major value gains for buyers of coins: the currency Verge, for example, delivered a return of 257,000 percent.
In the last year, most cryptos have seen their value shoot through the roof.
And investing in KASH is a great way to get crypto mining exposure.
Investing in crypto mining is like investing in a gold mine: the miner delivers product, deducts costs and delivers a return.
But even gold miners have only been able to deliver an 11 percent return in the last year.
Crypto miners like KASH could make gold mine returns look miniscule. The company has big ambitions and intends to dramatically scale up its operation.
Right now, KASH has 870 mining rigs, and the company has a commitment for mining up to 20 MWs in a facility in Montana. The company is also set to purchase an additional 5,000 rigs. Combined with its current rigs, KASH should be able to mine 8.7 MW.
To put that in perspective: when the crypto-miner Hive started out, they had a capacity of 4 MW. The company positively exploded late in 2017, and for a time had a market cap of $1 billion.
When KASH scales up, it could be the biggest crypto-miner in the business. It has a market cap of $45 million, but once its committed Montana facility space is fully utilized it should be able to mine 20 MW.
But that's not all its got going for it.

#2 Mastering the Masternodes 

With literally dozens, if not hundreds of currencies out there, new-to-crypto investors often feel overwhelmed or don't have the time to research the variety of cryptos available to invest in.
Owning KASH (KASH.V; HSSHF) could be a solution to that problem. So, not only do they provide mining exposure but they also provide exposure to tokens too. 
How? The company has holdings of the Dash cryptocoins, now worth a lot more than KASH paid only a few months ago.
A key currency in the company's portfolio is Dash. The company also owns a Dash 'masternode', which KASH acquired after a $280,000 investment in 1000 Dash Coins (which is now worth $560,000). The Dash network currently rewards masternodes at a rate of 6.67 Dash per month. That gives KASH a steady stream of income.
Ownership of a rare masternode has been giving KASH a return on its masternode investment of 8 percent.
Dash is a smaller currency but its growing fast. With a market cap of $4.2 billion compared to Bitcoin's $135 billion, Dash is being produced at a rate 8x that of Bitcoin.
The leadership at KASH knows the Dash crypto-currency well, and is prepared to capitalize on it. Perry Woodin, the head of the KASH advisory board, also sits on the advisory board of Dash and has more than 20 years of experience in managing web-based applications.

CEO Patrick Gray is a tech pioneer. He sold his first start-up to Xerox for $220 million, and he's raised millions for a number of successful ventures.
The goal of the company, according to Gray, is to give investors access to a lucrative market "that they can't take advantage of themselves."
KASH recently announced the acquisition of the business of Node40, an experienced blockchain firm, for approximately $8 million in cash and stock consideration. Node40 is a crypto-currency exchange management software that delivers up-to-date information on the changing state of crypto.
Regardless of changing prices, Node40 will give KASH an edge on navigating the crypto market.

The company's stock in some ways functions like an ETF for crypto-mining: investors will get exposure to a valuable index of crypto-currencies, without taking on the risk of picking and choosing specific volatile coins.
And things may only get better from here.

#3 Wall Street Takes Notice 

After years of scoffing at Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies, the financial industry is finally paying attention.
Blockchain and crypto-currency form an important component in the fintech revolution. The opportunities for investors grow greater and greater every month.
One Wall Street analyst recommended investors be ready to see billions surging into crypto, fintech and blockchain assets: "get ready for an explosion."
There's talk of crypto-currency hedge funds, particularly one featuring Ripple, one of the most competitive cryptos.
Pretty soon, crypto-currencies are expected to be integrated into the financial system, to the point that everyone (including the reader) will have a stake in the blockchain of cryptos.
But while Wall Street wakes up to the potential of cryptos, KASH offers exposure that is not available in most other single companies.
And KASH is also looking to the future.
That's because KASH, unlike other crypto firms, wants to be part of the coming regulatory landscape.

#4 Regulation Innovation 

KASH is quickly establishing itself as a provider of accounting solutions for Blockchain. Through its recently announced acquisition of NODE40 the company is focusing on developing accounting software that can integrate directly with the crypto market with certain major cryptocurrency exchanges.
The company's goal is to bring blockchain and crypto-currency up to the regulatory standards enjoyed by other parts of the financial sector.
And regulation is something the crypto market is going to need.
For example, last year, the IRS subpoenaed information from Coinbase regarding transactions it processed for 14,000 Coinbase users. It's only a matter of time, and KASH is building software that can help keep users compliant.
There needs to be a company like KASH that takes regulation seriously.
And KASH has acquired proprietary software that analyzes the blockchain to determine accurate valuations for every input and output comprising a transaction. Once a value has been assigned to every transaction, the service can report the current total asset value, income, and any realized gains or losses. This will help keep crypto markets regulated, preventing fraud.
Think of this aspect of the company's business like Quickbooks for bitcoin.

#5 Crypto Exposure 

Investing into a smart, responsible and ambitious firm like KASH gives investors exposure to the red-hot world of crypto-currency mining, software and hosting.
The company's stock is like a crypto basket: as the firm's profile grows and it diversifies its holdings, KASH could function something like a crypto ETF, offering investors the diversity of different aspects of the crypto market.
If KASH reaches full capacity at its Montana facility, it will be mining crypto at rate of nearly twenty MW per year.
All for a firm that has only a $45 million market cap

KASH's acquisition of Node40 will allow it to navigate the choppy waters of the crypto market. Regardless of the fall in prices, the number of crypto transactions are on the rise, which means that investors will need a firm with KASH's skillset to navigate the new economy.
Once you throw KASH's proprietary accounting software into the mix, the potential starts to look really appealing. Demand for regulation in the Bitcoin market is likely to shoot up in 2018 as Wall Street embraces the crypto revolution.
That means that a company like KASH with its own crypto regulation software could charge a premium for its services, especially if it becomes the industry standard.
Considering the value of the whole crypto-currency market is currently about $640 billion, KASH's regulatory software could eventually be worth a lot more than it is now.
In short: KASH provides smart wide exposure to the crypto market - from mining to cryptocurrencies, to crypto assets and software - right in your stock trading account.

Other firms in the tech space taking security, compliance, and innovation to the next level:

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is one of the most innovative and well-known companies within the tech sector, but its Windows platform is the most widely used operating system on the planet. First launched in 1985, Windows has shaped what is expected from a personal home computer.

Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC) is a leader in multiple fields of technology. The forward-thinking industry giant is the backbone of many laptops and PCs running the Windows operating system. The company has been so successful in its deal-making and advertising that it is impossible to escape its influence.

Accenture (NYSE: ACN), the global consulting and technology firm, is arguably at the forefront of blockchain technology. Accenture can claim leadership on multiple fronts in the blockchain space, working with industries, governments, the academic community and crypto-tech experts.

Blackberry Ltd (NYSE: BB) This well-known cell-phone pioneer is engaged in the sale of smartphones and enterprise software and services. The Company's products and services include Enterprise Solutions and Services, Devices, BlackBerry Technology Solutions and Messaging. Blackberry used to be a worldwide leader in phones, but Apple, Google and other Android manufacturers have rapidly acquired market share.

Celestica Inc. (NYSE: CLS) is a manufacturer of electrical devices used in IT, telecommunications, healthcare, defense and aerospace industries. The company has seen strong growth YoY which we expect to continue as the sales expectations are almost 3% better than last year's.


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CRYPTOCURRENCIES such as Bitcoin, Ripple and Ethereum are all in the green now after a turbulent start to the year. But could all three top tokens return to their previous record highs? Here are the latest price predictions.

Bitcoin had a good weekend after a poor start to 2018, dropping to under $6,000 at the start of February.

As of February 20, CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index (BPI) highlights a peak up to $ 11,279.18 (£8,068.54) at the time of writing - the first time the currency has broken through the $11,000 mark since January 29.

Ethereum is up at $949.19 with Ripple up 0.73 percent at $1.15. While LiteCoin Cash, a Litecoin fork that occurred on Sunday night, is currently $ 7.33 (a rise of some 141 percent).

The total market cap for all cryptocurrencies stands at $484,989,000,000.

The rises come after a damaging month for cryptocurrencies as a whole. After peaking at about $834billion on January 7, the market plunged an eye-watering 66 percent, wiping out some $553billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

But with Bitcoin, Ripple and Ethereum all back in the green today, many Crypto experts are confident that the market can reach new heights this year.

Thomas Glucksmann of GateCoin told CNBC: “Increasing regulatory recognition of cryptocurrency exchanges, the entrance of institutional capital and major technology developments will contribute to the market's rebound and push cryptocurrency prices to all new highs this year.”

He added bitcoin, the biggest and best-known cryptocurrency, could be “pushing $50,000 by December”.

Jamie Burke, CEO at Outlier Ventures, is bullish about the cryptocurrency market, insisting it has the potential to reach $1trillion.

He told CNBC: “We believe after February the market will likely go on a bull run comparative if not greater than last year potentially reaching the trillion-dollar mark before a proper crypto winter sets in where the market becomes more focused on proper market fundamentals.”

And Panos Mourdoukoutas, writing for Forbes, suggested that after “ being in a deep correction for a few weeks, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin have been coming back nicely over the last week, gaining 19.87%, 10.48%, 30.57%, and 53.90% respectively”.

He added the crypto turnaround after the recent crash comes as equity markets rebounded from the sell-off early in the month.

And he also wrote the cryptocurrency “technicals” remain strong, saying “83 cryptocurrencies [are] advancing and only 17 declining among the top 100 listed currencies.”

Dennis de Jong, managing director of UFX, says he believes cryptocurrencies remain strong and will not plummet for good in 2018.

He told “It may not capture the headlines like the volatility of bitcoin has in recent months, but there have been considerable advances in the underlying technology of the blockchain.

“Many industries are already live with, or in the process of testing, blockchain use cases that have potentially huge knock-ons for data management and security advancements.

“The relationship between crypto usage and investment in the space underpins bitcoin’s value to an extent, and for this reason I can’t see it going anywhere soon."

But as central banks attempt to kickstart regulation - Citibank India being the latest financial authority this week to ban cryptocurrency payments on debit or credit card - some investors believe the market slump could be an indicator of an overall crash in all financial markets.

Bleakley Financial Group CIO Peter Boockvar said: “If bitcoin resumes its decline here, I think that equity investors should pay attention.”