Crypto money laundering is on the rise in Japan, Homeland Security is going blockchain-project shopping, and fake celebrities hawk bitcoin.
Less Than Two Percent of Japan’s Money Laundering Cases Involve Crypto
The Japan Times is reporting that – from January to October – the Japanese National Police Agency dealt with 6,000 cases of crypto-related money laundering. This is out of a workload of 346,139 suspected money laundering cases for the same time period.
The figure represents an eightfold increase in crypto money laundering from April to December of 2017.
“We have seen some large-scale cryptocurrency thefts, and operators are believed to be scrutinizing transactions more rigorously,” a National Police Agency representative told The Japan Times.
The National Police Agency reported that crypto exchanges are particularly vulnerable to abuse. The agency found that many crypto transactions can be transferred quickly to other nations with different regulations and that many ostensibly different users share the same photo. Moreover, the agency also found that exchange user credentials have been sold and improperly used.
DHS Offers Up to $800,000 for Blockchain Solutions
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is looking for blockchain solutions to “issue digital documentation in a way that prevents fraud, counterfeiting and forgery.”
Per a December 4 news release, the department is offering up to $800,000 to startups or small businesses under its Science and Technology Directorate’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (S&T SVIP). The request is connected to the solicitation, “Preventing Forgery and Counterfeiting of Certificates and Licenses.”
Grantees must present a use case applicable to identification documents, tribal IDs, organizational identity, or the tracking of imports of oil or raw materials.
“The broad Homeland Security mission includes the need to issue entitlements, licenses and certifications for a variety of purposes including travel, citizenship, employment eligibility, immigration status and supply chain security,” said S&T SVIP technical director Anil John, per the press release. “Understanding the feasibility and utility of using Blockchain and distributive ledger technology for the digital issuance of what are currently paper-based credentials is critical to preventing their loss, destruction, forgery and counterfeiting.”
Fake Celebrity Endorsements Dupe Singaporeans Out of Crypto
$78,000 lost in crypto scams may not seem like much, unless it’s your crypto.
The Straits Times is reporting that from September to November, victims in Singapore were defrauded of $78,000 in bitcoin in a scam involving online articles featuring well-known celebrities allegedly endorsing bitcoin investments.
These ads all show celebrities extolling that the investments are safe and highly profitable. Lo and behold, it’s all just a ruse to get individuals on the phone, as users that provide personal information receive phone calls from a “representative” of the scheme. The Monetary Authority of Singapore believes that the investment schemes operate from outside the country.
A similar scam has been reported in New Zealand involving morning news presenter Daniel Faitaua. Faitaua appeared on air to denounce the ad and the fraudulent claim.
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Frederick Reese is a politics and cryptocurrency reporter based in New York. He is also a former teacher, an early adopter of bitcoin and Litecoin, and an enthusiast of all things geeky and nerdy.
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