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Here’s Where $800 Of Bitcoin Buys You $10,000 Cash

Researchers from cloud security-as-a-service provider Armor’s Threat Resistance Unit (TRU) have been taking a deep dive into a dozen dark markets and forums. Analysis of the data compiled from trawling these English and Russian-speaking criminal marketplaces has been published in the annual Armor Black Market Report. As well as the usual tracking of the prices for stolen credit cards, bank account credentials and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) for-hire operators, there was one surprising new trend: a Bitcoin to cash conversion scheme that offers criminal buyers the opportunity to buy cash for pennies on the dollar. Paying $800 (£647) in Bitcoin gets you $10,000 (£8,095) in cash.

The Black Market Report

The Armor Black Market Report is the result of researchers from the Armor TRU trawling through underground internet markets and criminal forums. These “dark markets” are notorious for selling just about anything that can be stolen online, from personal and financial data to illicit services such as articles of incorporation for creating shell companies, the distribution malicious spam and even hackers for hire who will scrub your credit history.

The TRU research team analyzed and compiled data from twelve dark markets and criminal forums visited between February and June 2019. It came as no surprise to me that they found cybercriminal after cybercriminal selling credentials for as yet “unhacked” Windows remote desktop (RDP) servers. These are often used by ransomware actors looking for an entry point into corporate networks. That these credentials were being sold for as little as $20 (£16) was unexpected though. The cost of entry, quite literally, to the ransomware threat sector has never been cheaper.

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Neither, for that matter, has the cost of cold, hard cash. The TRU researchers found that, partly to get noticed in a crowded market and partly to offset the risk of monetizing stolen banking and credit card accounts, entrepreneurial threat actors are selling cash for between 10 and 12 cents on the dollar. This isn’t, as you might have guessed, a case of criminal philanthropy.

Instead, it’s a method for criminals to offload the risk of monetizing stolen account credentials by transferring the funds available rather than taking possession of them. It’s still money laundering, and it’s illegal, but it puts the most significant weight of risk onto the buyer.

Here’s how the buy cash for Bitcoin scheme works

The seller offers bundles of cash in various amounts, from $2,500 (£2,020) to $10,000 (£8,095) in exchange for a pre-paid fee in Bitcoin. That fee varies between 10% and 12%. Which means that $10,000 of cold cash can be bought for $800 in Bitcoin.

The buyer makes the payment and then chooses how they would like to collect the cash. This can be a straightforward transfer of funds to a bank or PayPal account or wired via Western Union. As well as getting a significant return on their illicit investment, the purchaser no longer has to worry about monetizing online bank account or credit card credentials. It’s a turn-key service; there’s no risky logging into compromised accounts, no money mules to worry about, just the (totally illegal) collection of cash.

“For those scammers who don’t possess the technical skills and a robust money mule network to monetize online bank account or credit card credentials, this is an offer that can be very attractive,” Chris Hinkley, head of Armor’s TRU team said, “the threat actors are still selling financial account and credit card credentials outright, but this clever service gives them an additional channel for monetizing the large amounts of financial data available on the underground.”

Money mules served well by dark market documentation

One of the other interesting things to come out of this analysis was the fact that cybercriminals are selling articles of incorporation and sole proprietorship papers on the dark market. Not shocking, but interesting. While the cash for Bitcoin transactions gets rid of the money mule requirement, there are still plenty of people who adopt that role, and these papers are aimed at them. A money mule is someone who transfers stolen money between accounts in exchange for a fee of between 10% and 20% of the value. For a money mule to be successful, they need to open business bank accounts that don’t trigger fraud alerts on larger transfer volumes. To open these accounts, they need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) assigned by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, and that’s where the documentation to create shell companies enters the equation. The documentation does not come cheap, however. Sole proprietorship papers complete with EIN were found on sale for $1,611 (£1,298), and Articles of Incorporation with EIN were $811 (£653).

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I’m a three-decade veteran technology journalist and have been a contributing editor at PC Pro magazine since the first issue in 1994. A three-time winner of the BT Security Journalist of the Year award (2006, 2008, 2010) I was also fortunate enough to be named BT Technology Journalist of the Year in 1996 for a forward-looking feature in PC Pro called ‘Threats to the Internet.’ In 2011 I was honored with the Enigma Award for a lifetime contribution to IT security journalism. Contact me in confidence at davey@happygeek.com if you have a story to reveal or research to share

Source: Here’s Where $800 Of Bitcoin Buys You $10,000 Cash

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Bitcoin Price Crashes $800 in Minutes as Bears Eye $9K Support Next

Bitcoin Price Crashes $800 in Minutes as Bears Eye $9K Support Next

Bitcoin traders eat their wallets

Traders were scratching their heads on social media Saturday in the wake of the sudden losses, with BTC/USD crashing from $10,180 to $9,410.

At press time, the pair had recovered marginally to circle $9,500, while a lack of obvious factors left commentators struggling to understand the market.

As Cointelegraph reported, a return to $10,000 earlier came as a surprise after a similar uptick occurred in a matter of minutes.

Previously, regular commentator Josh Rager had eyed a break below $9,600 as a gateway to lower levels, with the potential for $9,000 to also fall.

Some had anticipated volatility continuing in the short term. On Twitter, the trader known as CryptoCohen sounded the alarm hours before the $800 losses.

“Could be a larger correction in play – could take a lot longer too – longer than many would expect/hope. But good things come to those who wait,” he summarized.

Bitcoin’s move meanwhile had a more predictable effect on altcoin markets, with tokens in the top twenty cryptocurrencies by market cap shedding up to 4.5%.

Monthly, Bitcoin price has lost 20%, Cointelegraph noting that end-of-year and longer-term price forecasts remain bullish.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitcoin-price-crashes-800-in-minutes-as-bears-eye-9k-support-next

Bank of China’s New Infographic Shows Why Bitcoin Price Is Going Up

Bank of China’s New Infographic Shows Why Bitcoin Price Is Going Up

A brief story: from Bitcoin to Libra

The infographic illustrates the story of Bitcoin, starting with the publication of its whitepaper in 2008, the mining of the first 50 BTC in 2009, 10,000 BTC having been spent for pizza in 2010, and other major milestones for the system, ending with the announcement of Facebook’s Libra.

“Yesterday the Bank of China posted up an article about Bitcoin,” commented Blockstream CSO, Samson Mow. “They explained how BTC works, why the price is going up, and why it’s valuable. Never thought I’d see that happen. #Bullish”

The factors behind Bitcoin’s rise

Another part of the infographic is dedicated to explaining why Bitcoin’s value is increasing, and it cites limited supply, increased mining difficulty, that it is used as a medium of exchange and anti-inflation safe haven.

This is in line with the remarks recently made by Morgan Creek Digital Assets co-founder Anthony Pompliano, who said that the European Central Bank’s expected dovish turn will provide “rocket fuel” for Bitcoin.

Furthermore, the infographic does also mention the infamous Mt. Gox hack, the risk of speculation, and stories of lost funds. According to the image, Bitcoin’s main use case is international settlements since its fees are low compared to legacy system while transactions are faster.

As Cointelegraph reported yesterday, the CEO of Chinese tech giant Huawei thinks that China can compete with Facebook for market share by issuing its own digital currency.

Earlier this month, Chinese media reported that China’s central bank is developing its own digital currency in response to Facebook’s Libra as the latter could purportedly pose a risk to the country’s financial system.

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Despite Bitcoin’s Drop From $9,000 Analysts Expect The Digital Currency To Reach $20k | UseTheBitcoin

Image result for Despite Bitcoin's Drop From $9,000 Analysts Expect The Digital Currency To Reach $20k

Bitcoin (BTC) experienced a very positive year. The digital currency was able to end the bear market that it started in 2018 and it reached the highest point in over 9 months. Although Bitcoin fell from almost $9,100 to $7,800 in a few days, analysts consider it can reach its previous all-time high once again.

Could Bitcoin Reach $20,000?

During an interview with The Independent, the cryptocurrency analyst Oliver Isaacs said that Bitcoin could eventually reach $25,000 by the end of the current year. That means that Bitcoin would experience a price increase of 224% in just six months, something that doesn’t seem impossible. Indeed, Litecoin (LTC) and Binance Coin (BNB) have surged over 300% and 500% respectively in the last six months.

He believes that there are several catalysts behind Bitcoin’s move towards $9,000, including the U.S.-China trade war that started some months ago. Bitcoin could eventually be used as a safe haven, even when the digital currency is volatile and is still young compared to other assets.

In addition to it, Garrick Hileman, the head of research at Blockchain.com, said during a conversation with the South China Morning Post (SCMP) that he sees a strong inverse correlation between Bitcoin and the Chinese Renminbi. Nonetheless, he said that they cannot be sure that the recent price surge experienced by Bitcoin was driven by trade tensions between China and the United States.

Isaac has also mentioned that there is increased adoption of Bitcoin and other technologies such as Blockchain. Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon and others are starting to work with digital assets and distributed ledger technology (DLT) in order to offer better services and products to people around the world.

It is also worth mentioning that there are other firms such as Fidelity Investments and the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) that have also been trying to offer new services to firms and larger investors. Although their products are not yet ready to be released to most of the users, they have made significant improvements in the last months.

Finally, during a conversation with Bloomberg TV, Jehan Chu, the co-founder and managing partner of Kenetic, said that he expects Bitcoin to be traded close to $30,000 by December 2019.

Currently, CoinMarketCap shows that Bitcoin is being traded around $7,766 and it has a market capitalization of $137 billion.

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Source: Despite Bitcoin’s Drop From $9,000 Analysts Expect The Digital Currency To Reach $20k | UseTheBitcoin

You Can Now Buy Crypto With Visa and Mastercard via Binance App for Android – Siamak Masnavi

On Thursday (April 25), Binance announced that its mobile app for Android now lets you buy with Mastercard or Visa some of the most popular cryptocurrencies that are listed on Binance.com.

According to Binance, this support for cryptocurrency purchases via debit/credit cards, which is possible as a result of the partnership with Fintech startup Simplex that was announced on January 31, is available in version 1.5.8.0 or higher of the “Binance – Cryptocurrency Exchange” app for Android.

Since January 31, it is has been possible to buy on the main Binance website (Binance.com) Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCHABC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and XRP using debit/credit cards (Mastercard and Visa). Then, on March 12, it became possible to do the same on Trust Wallet (Binance’s official non-custodial wallet app). And now, the Binance app for Android joins the party by offering the same feature.

Here is what you need to do to buy crypto via debit/credit cards on the Binance app for Android:

  • Tap on the “Credit Card” button, which is the last button on the toolbar you see in the middle of the “Home” screen. This takes you to the “Buy Bitcoin” screen.

Binance App for Android - Screenshot 1 - 25 Apr 2019.jpg

  • On the “Buy Bitcoin” screen, you can choose from a dropdown list the cryptocurrency you want to buy (BTC, XRP, ETH, LTC, or BCHABC), specify the quantity of a particular cryptocurrency that you want to buy, and choose the fiat currency (USD or EUR) you want to pay with.

Binance App for Android - Screenshot 2 - 25 Apr 2019.jpg

  • You will then be shown the total amount (including the fee) that you will get charged if you go ahead with the purchase.

Binance App for Android - Screenshot 3 - 25 Apr 2019.jpg

  • Once you tap on the “Buy Now” button on this screen, you will be shown a “Confirm Your Order” screen.

Binance App for Android - Screenshot 5 - 25 Apr 2019.jpg

  • If you then tap on the “Accept, go to payment” button on the confirmation screen, you will be taken to the checkout screen on Simplex.com, where you will be asked to enter into a form your personal details (email, phone number, date of birth) and your card details.

Binance App for Android - Screenshot 6 - 25 Apr 2019.jpg

Source: CryptoGlobe

NYSE-Linked Bitcoin Exchange Bakkt Just Unveiled a Major Acquisition

Bakkt – the cryptocurrency startup launched by New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) owner Intercontinental Exchange – just yanked the lid off the full range of its blockchain ambitions.

The firm announced today that it has acquired Digital Asset Custody Company (DACC) as part of its efforts to gain regulatory approval for its crypto products.

Reportedly, Bakkt is less concerned with merely building a Bitcoin exchange than they are with offering institutional custody and payment platform services, all of which still requires regulatory approval.

Bakkt Acquires Crypto Custodian DACC

bakkt bitcoin futures

Bitcoin startup Bakkt acquired a crypto custodian to help bring its regulated platform to market. | Source: Shutterstock

The company recently announced its application for a BitLicense, and it is also pushing to become a trust company in New York. The company’s efforts have been repeatedly stalled by regulatory delays, despite positive news around its partnerships with Starbucks, Microsoft, and others.

Coinbase previously acquired a trust charter with the New York Department of Financial Services. Becoming a trust can be a faster process than becoming a BitLicense recipient, which can take several years. Bakkt says in a new blog post that it’s applied for a charter, and recently we reported that they’re also seeking a BitLicense.

Bakkt wants to offer Bitcoin futures contracts that pay out in cryptocurrency, which would set them apart from other Bitcoin futures offerings. Bakkt has several other ambitious projects in mind, but it must get through several layers of red tape before it finally launches.

Adam White wrote in Bakkt’s blog today:

“To provide regulated custody, we have filed with the New York Department of Financial Services for approval to become a trust company and in this capacity serve as a Qualified Custodian for digital assets. […] It is with that same commitment to setting a new standard for securely storing digital assets that we’re excited to announce that we have acquired Digital Asset Custody Company (DACC). DACC shares our security-first mindset and brings extensive experience offering secure, scalable custody solutions to institutional clients. The team’s experience integrating multiple blockchains and operating cutting-edge consensus mechanisms is a valuable addition to our team and future product line.”

Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler told Fortune:

“From the ground up what ICE has been building for two years is the safest version of a custody solution for digital assets.”

Custody: The Key to Mass Bitcoin Adoption?

bitcoin wallet crypto

A lack of regulated custodians has kept many crypto-curious institutions out of the burgeoning asset class. | Source: Shutterstock

Bakkt and Coinbase have both claimed that offering secure, modern custodial solutions for cryptocurrency will encourage institutional investors to expand their portfolios to include the speculative asset class. Thus far, Coinbase and Circle’s offerings have yet to make a significant dent in the overall market.

Fidelity, a traditional assets management company, also nears completion of its custodial solution. A range of options doesn’t necessarily equate to investor interest, but their availability may play a vital role during any future bull run. Institutional investors will, at a minimum, have several popular options to choose from if they consider getting into the market, opportunities that didn’t exist in previous times.

Bakkt’s current push is three-pronged:

  • They’ve acquired a company already engaged in playing custodian to digital assets.
  • They’ve applied for a BitLicense.
  • They’re working to become a registered trust.

There are other avenues they might still pursue, such as operating without New York as an available market at first. What is clear is that the company is anxious to get into the game, and the recent bull market activity is probably not far from their mind.

Source: NYSE-Linked Bitcoin Exchange Bakkt Just Unveiled a Major Acquisition

European Central Bank Just Showed Why Bitcoin is Better

The European Central Bank (ECB), the central bank for the Eurozone, is unwittingly boosting the case for cryptocurrency adoption, the community believes – and that’s exactly the last thing they want to be doing. This comes after they said they could always create money, and the crypto community was quick to reply with accusations of scamming.

The bank had started a Twitter thread under the hashtag #AskECB, and Twitter user @Gianluca844 took the chance to ask, “Where did you get the money for the [quantitative easing]?” The bank replied:

Quantitative easing (QE), also known as large-scale asset purchases, is an expansionary monetary policy whereby a central bank, which is the ECB in this case, buys predetermined amounts of government bonds or other financial assets in order to stimulate the economy and increase liquidity.

This operation started in 2015 and was finished by the end of 2018, during which the ECB has spent EUR 2.6 trillion (USD 3 trillion), buying up mostly government but also corporate debt, asset-backed securities and covered bonds, at a pace of EUR 1.3 million a minute, according to Reuters. That equates to roughly 7,600 euros (BTC 2.23) for every person in the currency bloc.

The cryptocurrency community took issue with the reply, with many tweeting gifs of the Bitconnect Ponzi scheme, which has since its downfall become synonymous with shady doings.

“Central banks are marketing bitcoin better than we can,” replied Twitter user @zackvoell, while user @wiz has more to say: “The world is now opening their eyes to your scam of robbing people of their purchasing power by endlessly printing bank notes on worthless paper. The global economy will implement a new Bitcoin standard to opt-out of your scam and prevent further theft by central banks.”

Source: European Central Bank Just Showed Why Bitcoin is Better

Instant crypto payment platform, Zeux brings Bitcoin SV on board

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Bitcoin (BTC) Super Bullish, In Use by Less than One Percent of World Population

Bitcoin (BTC) Super Bullish, In Use by Less than One Percent of World Population https://www.pivot.one/share/post/5c83849f016de72cb754b6f1?uid=5bd49f297d5fe7538e6111b6&invite_code=JTOJYV

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