The world loves football (or soccer) and crypto companies won’t let the craze expire without tapping into it. Fans can now make predictions and place bets on a blockchain-based platform with a prize fund in cryptocurrency. Unfortunately, not only legitimate businesses, but also scammers have been trying to take advantage of the emotions surrounding the biggest sporting event on the planet. Check the details in today’s Bitcoin in Brief and read to the end if you want to know why football is good for Telegram, too.
Predictions and Bets on the Blockchain-Based Cryptocup
The FIFA World Cup is underway in Russia and crypto businesses are trying to make a buck on the back of the championship that captivates billions. Cryptocup is a blockchain-based game that allows football fans to make predictions and even bet on the matches. The team behind the project has even announced a prize fund of 28 ether.
Cryptocup is a platform based on the Ethereum blockchain and is reportedly among the first Dapps, or decentralized applications, letting users create their own ERC 721 tokens to represent the soccer teams which, in their opinion, would climb to the top of the 2018 World Cup final ranking.
Gamers can log into the Cryptocup system with Metamask to create their own tokens, or golden tickets, used to make predictions for the 64 games of the championship, the Russian crypto outlet Bit Novosti reported, quoting Forbes. Players must set a value for each of their tokens which they can trade among each other. The game also features an express mode in which they can bet only on the top four football teams.
“The World Cup is the single biggest sporting event. Over 3 billion people, almost half the world, tunes in. I’ve attended two myself,” said Federico Goldberg, CEO and founder of Cryptocup. “We wanted to combine that popularity with blockchain technology in order to build something different than an ICO or collectible,” he explained.
Someone’s Mining While You Are Watching the Match
Legitimate crypto businesses are not the only ones trying to exploit the football fever. It turns out that internet fraudsters have already developed a number of “thematic viruses” to do that. The web is full of sites with malicious content related to the huge sport event, according to a study by the antivirus software developer ESET.
Among the potential victims are mostly users looking for online platforms broadcasting the football matches, Magcity reports. Analysts note that the services these websites are offering are usually full of annoying ads and almost every link leads to dangerous content. Scammers have even incorporated their codes in the video players which install Trojans on your computers.
The online security experts have also discovered software that uses the hardware of the devices to mine cryptocurrencies. And, of course, the minted digital money goes straight to the hackers’ wallets. Watching the games on a smartphone is not safe either. Some of the detected malicious programs have been designed specifically to exploit mobile devices, ESET warned.
Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears
In Russia, and partly continuing the football topic, there has been another turn in the Telegram saga. The Moscow City Court has upheld the ban imposed on the messaging service by the Tagansky District Court on April 13, local media reported. The appeal filed by the legal representatives of Telegram Messenger Limited Liability Partnership has been rejected, which means the decision of the district court has effectively entered into force.
The legal drama around the messaging app, popular among crypto enthusiasts, started with Telegram’s refusal to hand over its encryption keys to Russian special services. The Federal Security Service (FSB) says it needs them to “protect the society and the state,” claiming the messenger has been used by terrorists. The arguments were repeated during the last court hearing by the FSB’s lawyers. According to some reports, however, the attempts to block Telegram, which have been unsuccessful so far, are related to its plans to issue its own cryptocurrency.
Easing the Pressure, Thanks to Football
Despite the negative development, authorities are likely to leave the messenger alone, at least while all eyes are on Russia, which is currently hosting the football World Cup. Two reasons have been mentioned for that: first, Moscow would not want any bad publicity during the biggest international sport event, and secondly, officials surely realize that many football fans are using Telegram.
Another indication that authorities intend to loosen the clamp came from President Putin himself. Prohibition is the easiest way to go, he noted during his annual Q&A session with Russian citizens, while suggesting it’s necessary to seek “civilized ways” to solve the problem. His words were interpreted by both the media and the local Telegram community as a signal to regulators and special services to ease the pressure on the messenger.
Probably reading the message from above, the Russian telecom regulator, Roskomnadzor, quickly unblocked 7 million IP addresses from foreign hosting providers like Amazon Web Services, which were restricted as part of the attempts to shut down Telegram in Russia. The change was detected by Usher2.club, a platform tracking blocked Russian websites and addresses. Right before the start of the football fest, the number of blocked IP addresses dropped by 11 million to a total of 3.7 million.
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