Per a new report released by digital-asset intelligence firm CipherTrace on June 2, the value of ill-gotten funds siphoned through cryptocurrency crimes over the first five months of the year stands at a whopping $1.4 billion, thus making 2020 a potentially active year in regard to cryptocurrency-related thefts, hacks and fraud.
The report goes on to state that if things continue at the same rate, the total volume of stolen crypto for 2020 has the potential to get close to reaching the $4.5-billion mark set in 2019. Criminals appear to be capitalizing on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to target unsuspecting individuals by luring them in via a variety of crypto-related phishing campaigns, ransomware and darknet marketplace fraud.
Additionally, out of the multiple scams that have been accounted for this year, many of them have reportedly made use of email campaigns impersonating various coronavirus-related official groups — such as the World Health Organization, the Red Cross and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — to solicit payments and donations in the form of cryptocurrency.
Lastly, CipherTrace officials claim that of the $1.36 billion in crypto stolen so far this year, 98% of the total value — nearly $1.3 billion — can be attributed to fraud and misappropriation rather than to hacks and direct thefts.
U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen announced plans to convene the President's Working Group on Financial Markets, or PWG, as well as the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to discuss possible interagency work with regard to stablecoins. The meeting is set to take place on Monday July 19.
Secretary Yellen said:
“Bringing together regulators will enable us to assess the potential benefits of stablecoins while mitigating risks they could pose to users, markets, or the financial system. In light of the rapid growth in digital assets, it is important for the agencies to collaborate on the regulation of this sector and the development of any recommendations for new authorities.”
In December 2020 the PWG stated that it would begin examining current regulations of stablecoins in order to identify and address the technology’s related risks.
The announcement of this meeting comes two days after the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell addressed the need for stricter regulations for stablecoins in front of the House of Representatives. Powell stated that if stablecoins are to be a part of the payments universe, regulation is needed.
Ethereum co-founder, Anthony Di Iorio, has announced his intention to exit the crypto industry, expressing concerns over his personal safety.
According to a July 17 report from Bloomberg, Di Iorio is looking to sell his digital asset firm Decentral and sever ties with all other crypto projects he is currently involved with, stating that he no longer feels safe as a result of his elevated profile within the crypto sector:
“It’s got a risk profile that I am not too enthused about. I don’t feel necessarily safe in this space. If I was focused on larger problems, I think I’d be safer.”
Hailing from a background in web development, Di Iorio was among the eight co-founders who began working on Ethereum in 2014. He served as chief digital officer of the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2016 and has focused on venture capital investing and startup advising in recent years.
In 2016, the 48-year-old Canadian entrepreneur founded blockchain company Decentral, which operates Jaxx Liberty — a multi-platform cryptocurrency wallet that boasts a user base of more than one million.
“I want to diversify to not being a crypto guy, but being a guy tackling complex problems. I will incorporate crypto when needed, but a lot of times, it’s not … It’s really a small percentage of what the world needs.”
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