In today’s edition of Bitcoin in Brief we cover stories about the latest development in the ongoing Chinese government crackdown on online crypto forums, an ICO head who faces up to fifteen years in a US prison for securities fraud, and more.
Chinese Crackdown Continues
The Chinese government has recently begun another crackdown on cryptocurrency investors. And the latest stage in this effort is focused on the country’s big three internet giants Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent (commonly referred to together as BAT). The Baidu search engine, known as China’s Google, has reportedly closed a number of its popular crypto chat rooms, including “Digital Currency Bar” and “Virtual Currency Bar,” only explaining that this was done “in accordance with relevant laws, regulations and policies.” Alibaba’s Ant Financial announced it will restrict or ban Alipay accounts if they would take part in cryptocurrency trades. Tencent stated it will monitor its Wechat network in real-time to block crypto trading using the app.
This comes after already shutting down the Wechat social media accounts of several local crypto news outlets, blocking access to 124 foreign exchanges said to be targeting Chinese and banning hotels and other venues from hosting blockchain-related events.
ICO Head Faces 15 Years in Prison
Eran Eyal, the CEO and Founder of Shopin which raised over $42.5 million in an ICO back in April, is facing up to fifteen years in prison. The New York State Attorney General has charged Eyal with allegedly defrauding $600,000 from investors when he was the CEO of Springleap, Inc., a global crowdsourcing company. The heart of the accusations is about making false representations. To attract investors, he allegedly lied, or greatly overexaggerated, regarding the company’s management team, advisory board, creative professionals, and client base.
“As we allege, this massive securities fraud scheme bilked investors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said AG Barbara Underwood. “Defrauding New Yorkers through false representations and fabrications about a business will not be tolerated by my office – and we’ll continue to do what it takes to root out and prosecute securities fraud.”
Hackers Hit Brazilian Atlas
Hackers have allegedly stolen clients’ personal details from the Brazilian crypto investment firm Atlas Quantum. While no funds were reported lost, the data of 264,000 people was compromised. CEO Rodrigo Marques issued a statement, explaining that: “We believe that an unauthorized party has gained information about our customers’ names, e-mails, phones, and balances. All other data, such as passwords, is encrypted and secure. There was no access to the funds in our custody. We are conducting an investigation, supported by our information security team, in addition to authorities. The entire database and information were sealed the moment we heard about it. We emphasize that we are constantly monitoring all activities within our environment. Some features of the platform have been temporarily disabled as a precaution to ensure the safety of our customers against possible fraud attempts. We are working to restore it as soon as possible.”
He added: “We are aware that this type of incident should be avoided at all costs. That is why, on behalf of all Atlas Quantum employees, I reiterate that we will ensure that all security is strengthened and we will continue to work closely with partners and authorities to ensure the integrity of our customers.”
International Soap Opera
Thai police investigators are expected to expand their probe of an alleged theft of over 5000 BTC from a Finnish investor who was duped with promises of high returns in a casino ICO token in Macau. The case made headlines with the arrest of a local soap opera actor, 27-year-old Jiratpisit “Boom” Jaravijit, for colluding with his sister and brother on the scam. His parents were also questioned by police on Monday and denied any involvement.
According to court documents cited by Thai media, the suspects have conspired to commit fraud and engage in money laundering of 5,564.4 BTC sent by 22-year-old Aarni Otava Saarimaa. They promised the funds would be invested in a company called Expay Software Co. and in Dragon Coin. Instead, the BTC was converted into fiat Thai baht and sent to 51 bank accounts belonging to seven people, with part of the money used to buy land in and around Bangkok.
What do you think about today’s news tidbits? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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