Tag: BitCoin

Anonymous ZA levels accusations at MTI

By Jan Vermeulen for MyBroadband

A hacker collective calling itself Anonymous ZA has released explosive details about Mirror Trading International (MTI), stating that at least R4-billion in bitcoin has flowed through the scheme.

In response, MTI told MyBroadband the information stems from private member data that was illegally obtained and that it is “inaccurate at best”.

Mirror Trading International is a South African registered company offering Forex trading services by using an automated system to trade with the trading pool on behalf of its members.

Johann Steynberg is the CEO and founder of MTI, which focuses on Bitcoin trading and promising members a “truly passive income”.

According to MTI, it has over 90 000 active members in 177 countries, and its numbers are growing daily.

MTI made headlines recently after the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) said it was investigating the company.

The FSCA said the current business model of MTI requires it to be in possession of a financial service provider licence.

“MTI has informed us that they accept clients’ funds in the form of Bitcoin, pool the funds into one trading account on a forex derivate trading platform, and conduct high-frequency trading through the utilisation of a bot,” the FSCA said.

If this is being done as described, then this amounts to financial services, hence the licence requirement.

However, the FSCA has a much greater concern about MTI’s activities.

The company claims to have more than R2.9 billion in clients’ funds in trading accounts, but the FSCA has not been able to conclusively confirm that the funds exist.

“Moreover, the returns on the investments claimed by MTI seems far-fetched and unrealistic,” the FSCA said.

At the time, MTI said that its bot-trading is able to generate consistent profits of an average of 10% per month. More recently it said it has seen an average return of 0.5% per day.

The FSCA recommended that MTI clients request refunds into their own accounts as soon as possible.

The Texas State Securities Board has also issued an emergency cease-and-desist order against MTI and accused it of perpetrating fraud through an illegal international multilevel marketing programme.

Canada’s Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) has placed MTI on its list of illegal online platforms, issuing a warning that MTI illegally solicits investors.

Anonymous ZA publishes information about MTI
Anonymous ZA has published financial information about MTI online based on data collected through MTI’s members portal – mymticlub.com.

According to Anonymous ZA, it discovered glaring security vulnerabilities in the online systems of MTI, which it exploited to extract information about the inner workings of the scheme.

Anonymous ZA said the vulnerability that exposed MTI’s “back office” system was a lack of basic authentication.

Any registered member who is logged into the system could view the information of any other member’s account by simply changing a parameter in the URL.

“All data was acquired using simple enumeration and scraping techniques on the mymticlub.com site,” stated Anonymous ZA.

“No hacks were performed because the lack of basic security did not require it. Just incrementing an id=? parameter on various URLs provided all the data that you see here.”

Using this weakness, it was able to glean detailed information about MTI’s system and see the full names, usernames, e-mail addresses, bitcoin balances, and earnings linked to every account.

Anonymous ZA then published an anonymised copy of the data, which was current as of 14 September 2020, on a dark web site called MTILeaks.

It said the MTI database shows the company has handled over 22,984 bitcoin in member deposits, amounting to over R4 billion.

The data shows that members have withdrawn nearly 15,653 bitcoin (close to R2.9 billion), which means the scheme should still have at least 7,331 bitcoin (over R1.3 billion) of members’ capital in its accounts.

However, the data also shows that the scheme has allocated almost 9,916 bitcoin (over R1.8 billion) to members in interest and bonuses.

This means that MTI must have a minimum of 17,247 bitcoin (over R3.1 billion) to cover the remaining deposits and earnings of all members who have not yet been withdrawn from the scheme.

MyBroadband asked MTI CEO Johann Steynberg if the company has that much liquidity and if he could provide MTI’s bitcoin wallet addresses to prove that the company has the assets to cover its obligations.

Steynberg did not answer the question in his initial response to MyBroadband.

In a subsequent statement to MyBroadband, MTI said it declined to comment.

By Emma Beswick for EuroNews

Anonymous hackers have brought the US city of Baltimore to its knees by seizing control of government computers, demanding bitcoin in return for releasing their hold over the systems.

A ransomware attack was discovered on May 7, with the city taking down online systems and services in an effort to contain it.

While the attack took place two weeks ago, the city’s mayor, Bernard Young, is refusing to pay the requested sum, leaving officials unable to process parking tickets among other administrative functions.

He warned that it could take months for normal service to be resumed.

“Like any large enterprise, we have thousands of systems and applications. Our focus is getting critical services back online, and doing so in a manner that ensures we keep security as one of our top priorities throughout the process,” Young said in a statement.

The city’s emergency services have not been affected.

The hackers demanded 13 bitcoins — worth around R1,4-million — to remove the file-locking virus, according to a ransom note obtained by the Baltimore Sun.

“We’ve (been) watching you for days and we’ve worked on your systems to gain full access to your company and bypass all of your protections,” it read. “We won’t talk more, all we know is MONEY! … Hurry up! Tik Tak, Tik Tak, Tik Tak!”

The city remained unable to send or receive emails at the time of writing.

A similar cyber attack hit Atlanta last year, according to NBC, costing millions to recover damage, while Greenville in North Carolina was targetted in April.

As many as 25 local governments have been attacked by hackers this year, the media added, citing analysts.

 

 

By Jamie McKane for MyBroadband

The South African Reserve Bank has published a consultation paper on policy proposals for cryptocurrency assets, detailing its recommended regulatory approach to Bitcoin and other tokens in South Africa.

This paper currently only offers recommendations and is open to comment from the public until 15 February 2019.

The Intergovernmental FinTech Working Group (IFWG), which includes members from Treasury and the SARB, formed a Crypto Assets Regulatory Working Group to construct recommendations for the regulation of digital assets in South Africa.

This consultation paper is a product of this working group, and addresses the possible advantages and disadvantages of cryptocurrency in a South African context – including its ability to be used for criminal activities and its impact on financial services.

“Upon conclusion of the consultation phase, the regulatory authorities will specify the way forward through a policy instrument such as a guidance note or position paper aimed for first quarter of 2019,” the paper stated.

“The IFWG and Crypto Assets Regulatory Working Group is of the view that regulatory action should not be delayed until the most appropriate regulatory approach has become clear, but to rather act and amend as innovation evolves.”

Proposed regulations
The regulations proposed in the paper aim to help monitor the purchasing and selling of cryptocurrency, with a major focus on improving compliance with existing financial security legislation.

Under these new rules, all cryptocurrency asset trading platforms, custodial service providers, and payment service providers will be required to register with the IFWG and comply with AML/CFT provisions of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act.

These platforms include Bitcoin exchanges, trading centres, and cryptocurrency ATMs.

Additionally, the government recommends that cryptocurrency service providers monitor user transactions – especially large transactions which may be linked to terrorist activity.

Regulatory authorities did add that they would not impose any market entry conditions for registered entities.

Where companies and service providers do not comply with these requirements, the government recommended that administrative sanctions be imposed.

The Crypto Assets Regulatory Working Group said it would continue monitoring the state of the cryptocurrency market, especially businesses and users situated in South Africa.

SA is most crypto-friendly country in Africa

By David Kariuki for Cryptomorrow 

French banking group BNB Paribas and IT company Capgemini has released a report stating that South Africa is Africa’s most crypto-friendly country having allowed cryptocurrency payments, trades and investments to flourish almost without restrictions.

The country is also leading in Africa with regard to crypto regulation, adoption and development, which is not a surprise because the country leads in many areas and is Africa’s most sophisticated economy. For instance, it hosts a number of bitcoin ATMs and digital currency exchanges – including Luno. Luno has more than two million customers around the world and allows people to buy crypto using Rand fiat.

In South Africa, the scenario is developing favorably for cryptocurrency industry because of the open-mindedness of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). The bank does not recognise crypto as legal tender but also has not banned or prevented trades related to cryptocurrrencies. The bank announced in April that it would create guidelines for cryptocurrency markets in the country. It has also tested an inter-bank settlement system called Project Kohka, which hopes to use the Ethereum blockchain in order to speed up payments.

A Bitcoin ATM in Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton. Credit: LinkedIn

Also, in South Africa, a number of companies including banks are starting to set up operations relating to cryptocurrencies. Baclays Bank has also said that it will host a number of events to help audience understand benefits and risks of cryptocurrencies.

Over 27‚000 cryptocurrency investors have fallen victim to one of the biggest Bitcoin scams to hit South Africa, TimesLive reported.

Hawks spokesman Captain Lloyd Ramovha confirmed the commercial crimes unit was investigating complaints against BTC Global‚ a company which asked investors to send their cryptocurrency to an online wallet address.

Many of the victims were South African, but the extent of the scam spread to the US and Australia.

“The amount is over $50 million and could rise as more victims come forward‚” said Ramovha.

He said the company was being investigated for violating the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, but could not confirm whether it was a Ponzi scheme or if the people behind it are South African.

Victims from South Africa told TimesLive they had invested between R16‚000 and R1.4 million with BTC Global.

BTC Global’s selling point was the skill of its “master trader” Steve Twain, whom many victims believe does not exist.

BTC Global promised investors that if they sent their Bitcoin to its wallet address they would receive guaranteed returns of 14% per week.

Its website now displays a message which states that Steven Twain is missing and calls for victims to stop threatening harm to the admin team.

Source: MyBroadband

Craig Wright, the self-proclaimed inventor of Bitcoin, is accused of swindling more than $5-billion worth of the cryptocurrency and other assets from the estate of a computer-security expert.

Wright, who claimed in 2016 that he created the computer-based currency under the pseudonym Satoshi ‎Nakamoto, allegedly schemed to use phony contracts and signatures to lay claim to bitcoins mined by colleague Dave Kleiman, another cryptocurrency adherent, who died in 2013, according to a lawsuit filed by Kleiman’s brother.

Kleiman’s family contends they own the rights to more than 1 million Bitcoins and blockchain technologies Kleiman mined and developed during his lifetime and that the assets’ value exceeds $5 billion, according to the Feb. 14 filing in federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida.

“Craig forged a series of contracts that purported to transfer Dave’s assets to Craig and/or companies controlled by him,’’ lawyers for Kleiman’s family said in the complaint. “Craig backdated these contracts and forged Dave’s signature on them.’’

Wright, an Australian who lives in London, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on the suit, which also accuses the entrepreneur of violating partnership duties to Kleiman and unjustly enriching himself at his colleague’s expense. There is no attorney listed for Wright on the docket.

Wright and Kleiman formed a Florida-based company, W&K Info Defense Research LLC, in 2011 to focus on cybersecurity, according to the court filing. The pair also had earlier worked together on the development of Bitcoin and had extensive mining operations, according to the family’ s lawsuit.

The pair controlled as many as 1.1 million Bitcoins at the time of Kleiman’s death, according to the suit. They were held trusts set up in Singapore, the Seychelles Islands and the U.K., the suit says.

Wright said in a 2016 blog post and interviews that he was the main participant in a team that developed the original Bitcoin software under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. After skeptics questioned the claims, Wright said that he decided not to present any further evidence to prove that he is the creator of Bitcoin.

In the filing, Kleiman’s brother includes what he says is email traffic between himself and Wright in which the entrepreneur indicates he may have been holding 300,000 of Kleiman’s Bitcoins.

Dave “mentioned that you had 1 million Bitcoins in the trust and since you said he has 300,000 as his part,’’ the computer expert’s brother wrote. “I was figuring the other 700,000 is yours,” he added in the email. “Is that correct?”

“Around that,” Wright wrote back. “Minus what was needed for the company’s use.”

The case is Ira Kleiman v. Craig Wright, No. 18-cv-80176, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Source: MyBroadband

Top 10 richest people in cryptocurrency

Forbes has released its list of the richest people in the cryptocurrency community.

The net worth of those on the rich list is denoted in range estimates based on estimated cryptocurrency holdings, post-tax profits from cryptocurrency trades, and stakes in cryptocurrency-related businesses.

The net worth estimates reflect the estimated holdings of the rich list as of 19 January 2018.

Forbes acknowledged that it may have missed certain major cryptocurrency holders due to the obfuscated nature of blockchain transactions.

The top 10 richest people in cryptocurrency, according to Forbes, are below:

Source: MyBroadband 

British man in Bitcoin heist

Armed robbers broke into the family home of a city financier turned Bitcoin trader and forced him to transfer the digital currency at gunpoint, in what is believed to be the first heist of its kind in the UK.

Four robbers in balaclavas forced their way into the home of Danny Aston, 30, who runs a digital currency trading firm, before reportedly tying up a woman and forcing Mr Aston to transfer an unknown quantity of the cryptocurrency.

Mr Aston lives in the picturesque village of Moulsford in South Oxfordshire, where episodes of Midsomer Murders have been filmed, in a rented four-bedroom converted barn estimated to be worth at least £700,000 on a private drive.

Police were called at around 9.40am on Monday to attend the home after raiders are reported to have entered the property by kicking down the door.

The Mail on Sunday reported that the men tied up a woman and kept a baby outside in a pram while forcing Mr Aston to transfer the Bitcoin. The value of a single Bitcoin is now around £8,000.

A neighbour confirmed on Sunday the property where the violent burglary took place, but said that Mr Aston and a woman believed to be his partner left Moulsford on Monday to stay with relatives and have not returned.

They said: “I was not here at the time, but I know the couple have left and are staying with relatives, they haven’t been back since.

“We are all obviously a bit shaken up, even though a few days have passed now. It is not what you expect to happen around here.”

Mr Aston – who lives with his 31-year-old business partner Amy Jay, according to the latest Companies House records – previously worked at Trayport, a London-based financial software company that operates a platform for trading energy commodities.

In June 2017, he established his own digital currency firm just before Bitcoin’s huge surge in value in July, according to Companies House.

Both Mr Aston and Ms Jay are listed online as directors of Aston Digital Currencies Ltd, and a company called Butler Hosting, which specialises in “data processing, hosting and related activities”.

A user named Danny Aston has previously been active on trading site Poloniex, which allows users to trade and store digital currency.

A local resident described the victim of the attack as well-known, but suggested that the small village community had been left dazed by the news.

“Everyone is shocked I think,” he said. “We think we live in a safer space, and then this happens and everyone gets scared.”

The village of Moulsford is home to two schools and a girl from Cranford House Prepatory School described how the students were told to get to safety as the armed robbery happened nearby.

She said: “We were all told to get down on the floor and stay in the middle of the schoolroom. All the curtains were closed and the doors locked. No-one knew what was going on but it was scary to say the least.”

Bitcoin is a digital currency that allows users to trade anonymously and securely across the internet without regulation or a central bank. Sven Hegel bitcoin expert will help you profit on trades.

It is understood that although Bitcoin’s secrecy will make the theft in Moulsford much more difficult for the police to investigate, there is a chance that the stolen currency will appear on the market as thieves try to exchange it into conventional money.

In the last 12 months, Bitcoin’s value has risen over 1000 per cent. It hit an all-time high on 17th December, when it was worth over £13,500.

A police spokesman said: “Thames Valley Police is investigating an aggravated burglary which occurred at a property in Moulsford on Monday.

“Officers were called at about 9.40am to a report that offenders had entered a residential property off Reading Road and threatened the occupants. No one was seriously injured during the incident.

“An investigation into the incident is underway and officers attended nearby Moulsford School as a precautionary measure. It is not believed there was a threat to anyone at the school.

“Officers are particularly interested in speaking to anyone travelling through the village on the A329 Reading Road between 7.30am and 10.30am on Monday who has Dashcam footage or anyone with mobile phone footage.

“People in the local community may notice an increased presence of officers in the area while our enquiries are ongoing. The investigation is in its early stages however initial enquiries suggest this may be a targeted incident.

“No arrests have been made at this stage.”

By Tony Diver for The Telegraph 

Is SARS coming for your Bitcoin?

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has said that it will soon provide some much-needed clarity on the tax implications for transferring and purchasing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. They have advised that traders should declare in the meantime if they need to.

eNCA spoke to SARS about the ever-growing use of cryptocurrencies in the country. While SARS is treating cryptocurrencies as part of Capital Gains Tax, head of SARS tax research Randall Carolissen said they are still exploring it further.

“Because by the very nature it lends itself to money laundering and anonymised trading, so yes we have to put in and place additional regulations. And to that end, we are going to release an interpretation note from our legal department to guide taxpayers as to their implications with respect to this Bitcoin technology,” Carolissen told eNCA

SARS revealed that it is also working with top global technology companies that are doing similar work regarding crypto and tax. With block chains being incredibly difficult to monitor, the deductions will depend on what coin is used.

“Since it’s not legal tender it is treated as an asset in your hands. And depending on your intent with this asset, it can trigger different tax instruments. It can either be a revenue nature or it could be an asset, capital gains tax in nature,” Carolissen said.”

“People need to come forward and regualise their tax affairs with us. And the guideline will also assist them with that. But as and when you submit your tax returns you must declare that as either additional income or additional asset revenue realisation that you’ve had. So it’s very important that you don’t discard that or ignore that part. Especially those people who took advantage of Bitcoin in the early stages.”

By Nic Andersen for The South African

Bitcoin tops $10 000 as bubble warnings multiply

Bitcoin surpassed $10 000 for the first time, taking this year’s price surge to more than 10-fold even as warnings multiply that the largest digital currency is an asset bubble.

The euphoria is bringing to the mainstream what was once considered the providence of computer developers, futurists and libertarians seeking to create an alternative to central bank-controlled monetary systems. While the actual volume of transactions conducted in cryptocurrencies is relatively small, the optimism surrounding the technology continues to drive it to new highs.

Bitcoin has risen by more than 50% since October alone, after developers agreed to cancel a technology update that threatened to split the digital currency. Even as analysts disagree on whether the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation is truly an asset, its $167bn value already exceeds that of about 95% of the S&P 500 Index members. Cryptosoft website serves as a useful tool.

This is a bubble and there is a lot of froth. This is going to be the biggest bubble of our lifetimes
“This is a bubble and there is a lot of froth. This is going to be the biggest bubble of our lifetimes,” hedge fund manager Mike Novogratz said at a cryptocurrency conference Tuesday in New York.

Novogratz, who’s says he began investing in bitcoin when it was at $90, is starting a $500m fund because of the potential for the technology to eventually transform financial markets.

There’s no agreed authority for the price of bitcoin, and quotes can vary significantly across exchanges. In Zimbabwe, where there’s a lack of confidence in the local financial system, the cryptocurrency has traded at a persistent premium over $10 000. Volumes are also difficult to assess. Bloomberg publishes a price that draws on several large bitcoin trading venues. It was at $10 166.98 as of 12:02pm Tokyo time.

From Wall Street executives to venture capitalists, observers have been weighing in, with some more sceptical than others as bitcoin’s rise has grown steeper, sweeping along individual investors. The number of accounts at Coinbase, one of the largest platforms for trading bitcoin and rival ethereum, has almost tripled to 13m in the past year, according to Bespoke Investment Group.

Futures contracts

In a move toward mainstream investing, CME Group has said it plans to start offering futures contracts for bitcoin, which could begin trading in December. JPMorgan Chase & Co, the largest US bank, was weighing last week whether to help clients bet on bitcoin via the proposed futures contracts, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The rising profile of digital currencies even saw bitcoin feature in the US senate confirmation hearing Tuesday for Federal Reserve chairman nominee Jerome Powell, who’s a current board member. Answering a senator’s question, he said that “cryptocurrencies are something we monitor very carefully”, and that at some point their volumes “could matter” for monetary policy, though not today.

The total market cap of digital currencies now sits north of $300bn, according to data on Coinmarketcap.com’s website.

For Peter Rosenstreich, head of market strategy at online trading firm Swissquote Bank, bitcoin’s surge harks back to the surprises of the UK referendum on European Union membership and US President Donald Trump’s election.

“We have underestimated the populist movements,” he said. “There is growing unease on how central banks and governments are managing fiat currencies. Ordinary people globally understand why a decentralised asset is the ultimate safe haven.” You can click here for more information on stock market trading.

Reported by Todd White and Julie Verhage, (c) 2017 Bloomberg LP. Published on Tech Central

  • 1
  • 2

Follow us on social media: 

               

View our magazine archives: 

                       


My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Top