Australia: Cryptocurrency trading to be scrutinized by island nation’s Taxation Authority

Cryptocurrencies serve a multitude of purposes, one of the main ones, according to their ardent proponents, is their ability to evade the clutches of the taxation authorities. However, this might not be the case in Australia, with the island country’s taxation authority taking a more stringent approach towards decentralized currencies.
According to the deputy commissioner of the Australian Taxation Office [ATO] Will Day, key information will now be collected from the cryptocurrency designated service providers [DSPs] in an effort to ensure that crypto-traders are adhering to the ATO’s tax guidelines.
Day stated:
“Cryptocurrency use can have implications for a range of tax obligations, potentially superannuation too, so its more us responding to a new and emerging marketplace in the economy.”
The ATO further made it clear that this operation was, by no means, a mere tax evasion problem with several key domestic authorities like the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre also kept in the loop.
Day added that the DSPs would be key in the process of procuring information on cryptocurrency trades;
“This data will be collected under notice from the DSPs on an ongoing basis.”
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Day confirmed that data regarding crypto-trades for the financial year of 2014/15 to the current year had already been obtained. The same was provided by DSPs, brokerage services, and cryptocurrency exchanges, among others.
Cryptocurrency taxation has been making the rounds in the halls of the ATO since 2014, with the tax authority updating their policies for the same, added the report.
A statement issued by the ATO said that the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology were to be viewed as an “enabler of existing risks” for the tax authority. This deviates from the general consensus around blockchain, as several government agencies are openly embracing the technology.
The statement references the role of cryptocurrency as an enabler of the “black economy” used to “hide money offshore” leading to “unexplained wealth and undeclared taxable capital gains”.
In terms of the regulatory effect itself, the ATO stated that investors who were suspected by the data-matching scheme would be contacted by the tax authority to back their information. The investors would have a period of 28 days to “clarify” the data obtained by the DSPs.
The ATO’s guidelines come at a time when the country’s crypto-customers have lost over AUD $6.1 to scams and frauds in the previous year alone. In 2017, the figure was AUD $2.1 million, which points to a 190 percent increase in 2018, according to a report by the Competition and Consumer Commission.
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Source: AMB Crypto

Australia reports a loss of over AUD 6.1 million in cryptocurrency scams for 2018

Scams have always been one of the prominent issues crippling the cryptocurrency space, with several regulatory bodies around the world issuing statements on how to identify these scams. Now, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission [ACCC] has released a report detailing scams affecting the Australian community, a report that also includes cryptocurrency scams.
The report detailed cryptocurrencies as,
“Cryptocurrencies, also known as virtual or digital currencies, are a form of electronic money. They do not physically exist as coins or notes. Virtual currencies can be bought or sold on an exchange platform using conventional money, or traded for other virtual currencies.”
The report revealed statistics pertaining to such crypto-scams, stating that around 647 instances where digital currency was used to make payment to scammers were recorded in 2018. The total amount of losses reported was around AUD 6.1 million [around $4.3 million]. Additionally, the total losses accruing from cryptocurrency scams in Australia rose by over AUD 2.1 million or 190%, when compared to 2017.
The report went on to state that this was the result of several “would-be investors actually investing in scam in excitement.” This was largely because of the massive surge in cryptocurrency prices towards the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018, which also resulted in Bitcoin reaching its all-time high.
The report said,
“Victims reported being tricked by online scammers into purchasing various cryptocurrencies through the scammer’s software platform, but […] when they tried to cash out, the scammers […] were no longer contactable […] In 2018, victims of ‘investment scams’ reported losing $2.6 million through payments in cryptocurrencies.”
The report also stated that according to Scamwatch, there were reports of individuals becoming victims to a different kind of scam. Such victims were being directed to the nearest Bitcoin ATM, where they were instructed to covert their money to Bitcoin first, before making the transfer.
“[…] Almost 50 per cent of the losses reported where cryptocurrency was the payment method were men in the 25–34 age group. As would be expected for an online phenomenon, 80 per cent of reports involving cryptocurrency identified an online mode of communication […]”
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Source: AMB Crypto

Australia: ACCC Reports Crypto Scams Jump By 190% in 2018, Here’s How

On one hand Australia is becoming a top nation to allow crypto and blockchain revolution, on the other hand, crypto scams in Australia have appeared to jump up by 190% in 2018.
Very recently, Coingape reported how Aussies can now be able to use Bitcoin, lightening network and other altcoins to buy Kebabs in one of Australia’s fast food ventures. However, a report on April 29, 2019, highlights that Aussies lost $6.1 million to cryptocurrency scams in the year 2018.
ACCC – Aussies lost $6.1m to Cryptocurrency Scams
The independent authority of the Australians Govt, ‘Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), published an annual report in the form of pdf wherein it details the figures of cryptocurrency fraud. This report highlights Australian fraudsters have earned USD$4.3 million which comes around $6.1 million AUD in 2018 – eventually 190% increase in comparison to the year 2017.
Nevertheless, the agency reportedly received 674 reports as the involvement of crypto to pay to scammers. Out of this 674 reports received by the ACCC, half of the reports were made by male victims between the age of 25 – 34. According to the reports, crypto-based scams rank the second highest as the unusual payment method for losses. Looks like the report was made after surveying the citizens via different governmental agencies (such as ATO – Australian Taxation Office)wherein many have found investing or purchasing various cryptocurrencies through scam software platforms or other investment-oriented crypto scams. ACCC said that
“Victims reported being tricked by online scammers into purchasing various cryptocurrencies through the scammer’s software platform, but, as with other investment scams, when they tried to cash out, the scammers either made excuses or were no longer contactable,” ACCC added. “These investment scams also included scammers asking for payment in cryptocurrency for forex trading, commodity trading or other investment opportunities.”
ACCC is more like a consumer watchdog which mentioned many other victims received a robotic voice threatening calls that demands to call back – and in case of failure, it says to issue an arrest warrant under victim’s name and get him arrested.
Also Read: UAE Takes Over the USA To Become Global Crypto Capital: Report
More on this, many other Aussies received a fake call, from local phone numbers claiming a person to be from ‘Australian Taxation Office’ or ATO. The caller used to tell the victims to check the warrant sent to for their arrest as if the victims owe enormous tax debts. On such demand, reports state that the one victim has also paid the impersonator $732,917 via Bitcoin, $647,817 via Google Play cards and $496,701 via iTunes cards – as three were used as the increasing method to scam Aussies.
The report adds that;
“In 2018, the ATO received 114,625 reports of the ATO impersonation scam with over $2.8 million in reported losses,”
What’s your stake on the increasing use of crypto to scam investors and citizens.? what do you think the best method Australian Govt can take up.? Share your opinion with us
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Source: CoinGape

Will the Binance Move into Aussie Newsagents be a Boon for Crypto Adoption?

Global crypto exchange giant Binance has announced that it will be helping to facilitate the sale of Bitcoin in Australia at real-world locations. The trading venue stated that crypto users would be able to get exposure to the number one digital asset in more than 1,300 newsagents across the country.
The news highlights the exchange’s commitment to expanding the number of fiat gateways to the cryptocurrency economy. However, details of the purchase process might mean that the service is used less people than many of those braying for the fall of government-issued currencies would like.
Binance Lite Becomes the Firm’s First Fiat-to-Crypto On-Ramp in Australia
The new service being launched by the global exchange giant will be called Binance Lite. It represents first time the hugely successful yet relatively new cryptocurrency trading venue has managed to open a fiat-to-cryptocurrency service in the nation of Australia.
According to a report in The Next Web, the exchange’s Chief Finance Officer, Wei Zhou, stated the following of the its latest move:
“Binance Lite Australia further expands digital currency adoption by providing easier ways to buy [Bitcoin]… Australia has been at the forefront of blockchain innovation, and we hope Binance Lite Australia can play a role to help further this cause.”
The decision by Binance to work with Australian newsagents has a lot in common with the plan, announced last year, to allow French tobacco shops to sell vouchers for Bitcoin purchases, much like they do for pay-as-you-go mobile phone top ups.
However, in order to remain compliant with Australia’s financial regulations, those wishing to use Binance Lite must first register for the service. This requires a full account verification process (KYC/AML) meaning that the service will be less appealing to those wishing to preserve financial privacy.
Once this step is complete, the customer can buy Bitcoin at any one of more than 1,300 newsagents across the nation. A full map of locations offering Binance Lite, provided by Binance Labs, is featured below:

Binance: Making the Right Moves to Promote Crypto Adoption Worldwide
As one of the largest trading venues in the cryptocurrency industry, Binance has been right at the forefront of promoting cryptocurrency adoption around the world. Already in 2019, the now-Malta-based exchange has announced a couple of initiatives to help make taking up positions in crypto easier than ever.
The first of these was the news that the main Binance global exchange would begin to accept credit card payments in January. Such an extension to accepted payment methods is obviously a net positive for the space since it offers people an additional way to buy digital assets. However, investing in Bitcoin, Ether, Binance Coin, or any other highly volatile and speculative asset on credit is certainly not recommended.
Elsewhere, Binance is working towards delivering on one of the most often-repeated, unofficial goals of Bitcoin – to bank the unbanked. The exchange opened Binance Uganda in October of last year. It has since seen massive numbers of accounts opened, which is certainly encouraging for adoption on the largely-unserved-by-crypto African continent.
According to Medium post, Binance also has plans to open a fiat-to-cryptocurrency exchange in Singapore at a for-now undisclosed date.
Related Reading: Is Largely Unbanked Africa Primed for Bitcoin Adoption?
Featured Image from Shutterstock.
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Source: New

Australian Govt Boosting National Blockchain Roadmap with AUD 71000 Fund

The Australian government is rushing to become a global leader in the blockchain industry. As announced recently, the Federal government of Australia is developing a blockchain roadmap and said to fund AUD100,000 or US$71K to advance the blockchain use-cases in the public sector.
National Blockchain Roadmap and Strategy
The announcement released on March 18 by two Australian Ministries – Ministry for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews and Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham.
The funding of AUD100,000 or $71K by joint ministries aims at positioning Australia as the global leader in terms of decentralized tech. Particularly, the authorities laid out plans to focus on key areas concerning blockchain which includes regulations, innovation, skills and capacity building, investment, international competitiveness, and collaboration.
Although this is not the first time Australian government is committed to innovating the country in terms of blockchain – as per the release, AUD700,000 was the previous investment towards Digital Transaction Agency by Liberal National Government in blockchain for 2018-19. Indeed it was intended to investigate the benefits of blockchain adoption for government payments. In addition, AUD350,000 was funded towards Standards Australia to boost the development of ‘international standards alongside the International Organization for Standardization.
Furthermore, Karen Andrews, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology took to Twitter and opened her mission regarding Australia. She says ‘I want Australia to lead the world when it comes to blockchain technology’.

I want Australia to lead the world when it comes to blockchain technology – that’s why at today’s @ADC_Forum Global Blockchain Summit I’ve announced the Morrison Government is developing a national roadmap & funding for startups to broaden their horizons.
— Karen Andrews MP (@karenandrewsmp) March 18, 2019

On top of all, she believes that the nation needs to ‘seize the opportunities presented by blockchain’. Adding that, Karen said;
“The national strategy puts us on the front foot in exploring how government and industry can enhance the long-term development of blockchain and its uses,”
Contributing the similar thought process, Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment said that;
“It is vital Australia and our tech companies stay ahead of the game in one of the world’s fastest growing technology sectors,”
On contrary to the other nations, Australian Govt seems the most active towards upbringing the blockchain revolutions within the country. Subsequently, Simon Birmingham further laid out the upcoming mission of Australia and says that it will connect Australian blockchain companies and startups with customers and investors respectively. This would push Australian companies exploring the global market potential by expanding their business globally.
“Consensus is the leading event for blockchain globally and will present significant opportunities for Australian tech companies to showcase their products on the world stage,” Simon said.
So readers, do you think Australia is ahead than other countries? share your opinion with us.
The post Australian Govt Boosting National Blockchain Roadmap with AUD 71000 Fund appeared first on Coingape.
Source: CoinGape

Australian Regulators Halts Two Crypto Exchanges, Police Continued Investigation

AUSTRAC financial intelligence agency reportedly halted two Australian crypto trading platforms after scrutinizing their relation with an organized crime syndicate.
AUSTRAC Suspended Two Crypto Exchanges
According to the report, one man has been arrested and the two crypto exchange within the nation has been suspended – however, the name of the arrested man is still out of sight who was reportedly a 27-year old from Bulleen, Melbourne. Reports revealed that the key member of these platform has been allegedly charged for possessing almost 30 kilograms of drugs – including cocaine, ketamine, MDMA, and methamphetamine. Along with possession, he was also charged with the importing and trafficking of these drugs. The report notes that;
“Man used various darknet sites, bitcoin accounts and legitimate business for the sourcing, payment, and distribution of the illicit drugs”.
Following the investigation, AUSTRAC (Australia’s financial intelligence agency) suspended the registration of both the cryptocurrency exchanges with which the man was associated. The case has been undertaken by Federal Police in association with AUSTRAC – eventually, with the court order, the police restrained the cryptocurrency, property, and cash more than AU$ 2M.

Joint AUSTRAC and @AusFedPolice media release: One man charged and two cryptocurrency businesses suspended following organised crime investigation
— AUSTRAC (@AUSTRAC) March 8, 2019

Neither the name of two cryptocurrency exchanges nor the name of that arrested key member is revealed – consequent to the reports, these crypto exchanges wouldn’t be live until further notice from the court, reports revealed.
Concerning the above matter, AUSTRAC’s National Manager of Regulatory Operations, Dr. Nathan Newman says;
AUSTRAC’s role is to deter and disrupt criminal exploitation of Australia’s financial system and we take swift action where there is a reasonable risk of compromise. Our decision to suspend the registration of the two businesses means they can no longer lawfully operate.
Per the Australian media, AUSTRAC has recently been handed over with the task of monitoring local cryptocurrency exchanges. However, as far as the matter of suspended exchanges and the arrested man is concerned – it is still unclear how will it affect to the clients or customers of these cryptocurrency exchanges.
Stay tuned with Coingape to know the further hearing from the court on the same!
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Source: CoinGape

Police Mistake Crypto Mining Rigs For Drug Den in Raid Gone Wrong

Police in Adelaide, Australia raided the home of Rob Butvila expecting to find a marijuana grow room, but instead they found an elaborate crypto mining set up, complete with a ventilation system to keep heat the miners generate at bay.
Butvila is now considering taking legal action against the local police department after they left the man’s home in shambles and are refusing to respond to requests to help with damages.
Police Destroy Man’s Home In Search for Drugs, Discover Crypto Miners Instead
Police and other government agencies use a number of tactics to sniff out marijuana growing operations, both at large scale and even in individual’s homes. These tactics can include using an infrared heat detector to locate potential light sources emitting heat, watching out for skyrocketing energy bills, or searching for ventilation systems that allow airflow around marijuana plants and help to contain strong odors emanating from grow rooms.
Unfortunately, for crypto enthusiasts, an advanced crypto mining setup can also cause an increase in heat, energy consumption, and a need for complex ventilation that could be mistaken for a grow operation, as Rob Butvila of Adelaide, Australia found out the hard way.
Related Reading | Estate of Columbian Cartel Kingpin Claims Tether Crypto Is Untrustworthy
Butvila’s home was raided by the South Australia Police (SAPOL) force over suspicions the home was actually a front for a grow operation. Butvila claims that he arrived home to find everything from “gates, doors and fence panels removed and broke,” so police could forcefully gain entry to the home.
“To make things worse they left the place wide open and a hard drive is now missing and the security camera cable has been cut,” he explained, continuing that “it would be at least [in] $1000 damage.”
Crypto Mining Confusion: YouTube Video Demonstrates Damage Done to Home
Butvila shared a video walkthrough of his home on Youtube that clearly shows broken doors and other damage, yet no grow room – only a rather small crypto mining setup.

A spokeswoman for SAPOL concluded that no evidence of any wrongdoing was discovered on the premises and that a note was “left for the owner to contract police,” who have yet to issue an apology.
Related Reading | Tools of the Trade: Monero and Privacy Coins Are Creating More Efficient Criminals
Police, according to Butvila, have also ignored inquiries about who would be responsible for the damages to his property during the mistaken raid, and even hung up when he called pressing for more information.
Butvila is considering legal action if the police don’t respond to quotes he’s received on what the damages would cost to repair, in order to restore his home and crypto mining setup to the condition it was in before the SOPAL raid.
Images from Shutterstock
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Source: New

Australia – Top Regulators Building Pro-Regulation Crypto Industry, Registering 246 Bitcoin Exchange

Australia’s financial authority, AUSTRAC (The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis) is forming pro-regulations for the crypto industry.
Australia Encourages Pro-Regulations
The recent report indicates that the agency has officially registered 246 cryptocurrency exchanges. Accordingly, crypto trading platforms must get registered with AUSTRAC to provide crypto trading services within the country.
This move expects to intensify the industry credibility and meantime combating the fraud revolving around crypto business. The regulators will oversee the background of exchanges to ensure that it should be free from the future risk of money laundering and other crimes unlike. Adrian Przezlozny who is the head of Australia’s crypto exchange, Independent reserve says that
“We always had the feeling that regulation is important to bring cryptocurrency into the mainstream,”
Per the source, AUSTRAC has already investigated 11 crypto exchanges and also rejected registration for 2 exchanges. However, the reason behind rejection is still out of sight as the regulators deny on clarifying anything. Exchange platforms must be fully compliant with AUSTRAC rules until early October – also they’re expected to report suspicious transactions within the same time.
AUSTRAC spokesperson told the sources;
“We will not hesitate to take strong enforcement action where significant or wilful non-compliance is identified,”
Do you think the initiation brings crypto friendly environment? share your opinion with us.
The post Australia – Top Regulators Building Pro-Regulation Crypto Industry, Registering 246 Bitcoin Exchange appeared first on Coingape.
Source: CoinGape

Unconfirmed: TenX [Pay] Revolutionary Crypto-Card Manufacturer Expands to Australia

TenX Cards will now be available in Australia. They have revealed subtly on their twitter page that they have arrived in Australia with a graphic indication of a Kangaroo holding a TenX card. The Australian enthusiasts who had registered on the notification page of TenX have reportedly received e-mails from the firm regarding Australian expansion.

Happy Australia Day!#TenX #StrayaDay #AustraliaDay
— TenX (@tenxwallet) January 26, 2019

The Australian users started tweeting about it:

I just got notified by email that @tenxwallet cards now available in #australia!
FYI – for a reliable encrypted email service, which is critical in #cryptocurrency, check out @ProtonMail
— TechMagy (@TechMagyCom) January 31, 2019

KYC and shipping of the #tenxcard to australia has started! #tenx $PAY
— Jimmy McShill (@JimmyMcShill) January 31, 2019

According to the company website,
“Cards are now live in Singapore, with further APAC countries following the suit very soon. Register your interest in the TenX App to be notified when it’s out in your region, as we strive to make the TenX Card available globally.” The APAC countries include countries in the Asia-Pacific region such as India, Japan, Laos, China and so on.
The company is also hosting a meetup for the Australian crypto community in Sydney for the first time on February 14, 2019. The TenX cards are funded using Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum. Hence their crowd is diversified by blockchain but unified by their system.
TenX Meetup for the Australian Cryptocurrency Community on 14 Feb
TenX is a revolutionary payment system that aims to make cryptocurrency spendable on-the-go. The Singapore based Blockchain company manufactures VISA backed cards that are spendable globally on POS devices. The cards can be used in almost 200 countries and 42 million active VISA points around the world.
TenX also provides a free mobile wallet that can be used to deposit, store or spend Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum. In the case of Cards, while the purchase is made in fiat currency, the equivalent value is deducted from the cryptocurrency Wallet.
They also have either native Blockchain token PAY that is priced at 0.25 USD according to CoinMarketCap at the time of writing. Their native token is not of much use now; however, widespread use of their Wallet and Card would benefit the independent token as well. The token is available on all the major exchanges including Bithumb, Bittrex, Huobi, Okex and so on.
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Source: CoinGape

Crypto Lending Services Coming to Australian Markets

Despite the ongoing bear market of 2018 crypto startups are still entering the market with new and innovative products. Australians are about to get their first taste of crypto lending services as a new company launched into the markets this week.
Crypto Collateral Without Liquidation
Helio Lending is the first independent crypto lending company to launch on Australian shores according to reports. Founder and Managing Director, John O’Shea, said he was excited to be entering such an untapped market with a huge growth potential;
“Currently there are only two or three providers globally, and we are excited to offer such an exciting service acting as a direct lender, with a quick seamless process and exceptional customer service.”
The company claims to be in the position to offer 50% more spending power to clients than they would have by holding on to their crypto assets. O’Shea added “These assets may be held overseas or Australia, and we allow the funds to come back to AUS, USD, EUR and HKD to be used by our clients. We anticipate our clients will reinvest, buy goods and services and even start their own business through unlocking these assets.”
The principle of crypto lending allows holders of cryptocurrencies to access fiat funds without selling any of their digital assets. By using the blockchain to record transaction and settlement data removes counter party risk and provides immutability for clients that wish to use cryptocurrencies as collateral without liquidating them.
Helio will be working with approved digital currencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and XRP. Crypto wallet management and liquidity clearing will be provided by ETHlend which has become the Asia Pacific partner for the venture.
“We are excited by the opportunity to partner with Helio Lending and already have enquires streaming in from the regional Helio opportunity, it will be great to now have a local presence to service our clients,” added Stani Kulechov, chief executive and founder of ETHlend
Australia is still very open to crypto and reports indicate that cryptocurrency holdings within the country have tripled during 2018. The survey also revealed that 80% of respondents said they would be open to using crypto for daily purchases on the condition that it was as easy to use as AUD.
The good news for Helio is that crypto is gathering pace in Australia quicker than elsewhere. RealRenta is a good example with their cryptocurrency token, House Coin, due for launch in 2019. It aims to give everyday Australians a better and more affordable way to invest in property by tokenizing it.
Image from Shutterstock
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Source: New

Australian Woman Arrested Over Theft of AU$450,000 Worth of XRP

A 23-year-old Australian woman has been arrested over the alleged theft of AU$450,000 worth of XRP tokens following a 10-month investigation.
More than 100,000 units of the token were stolen from an electronic account belonging to a 56-year-old man.
Australian Police Call for Multi-Factor Authentication to Add Protection Against Cryptocurrency Hackers
In mid-January 2018, the victim was locked out of his account for two days before discovering his balance was near zero. The account was allegedly hacked in the previous month.
Police in New South Wales executed a search warrant at a home in Epping at 8 a.m. on Thursday. The suspect was charged with knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime and was granted strict conditional bail, reported.
She transferred over 100,000 XRP into an exchange based in China, which was later converted into Bitcoin. Multi-factor authentication is vital to keep a cryptocurrency account safe, according to Cybercrime Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis.
“An email account is more valuable than people realize — scammers are increasingly targeting emails as they link the individual to financial accounts and other personal information. There is often valuable information saved in sent items or the trash, and scammers will look for anything that will assist in taking over your identity or accessing your finances. This is the modern equivalent of digging through a household rubbish bin or stealing mail.”
Approximately AU$2.1 million worth of digital currency has been stolen from Australians in scams and ransoms last year, according to a report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Investment scams topped the categories at AU$64 million with dating and romance-related scams following behind at AU$42 million.
“Scammers adapt each year and find ways to exploit popular trends, new platforms, new ways of communicating, fad products, changes to legislation, or new investment opportunities.”
Cryptocurrency-related scams represented 0.617 percent of the overall AU$340 million scam economy in 2017. Scamwatch received 33,000 reported impersonation scams where 2,800 people gave out personal information, which accounted for AU$4.7 million in losses.
Earlier in October, four people lost AU$50,000 to scammers after depositing funds into a Bitcoin ATM. According to Victoria Police, they were told they owed a tax debt and could be arrested if they failed to pay. Kath Anderson, assistant commissioner at the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) called for caution.
“Cryptocurrency operates in a virtual world, and, once the scammers receive payment, it’s virtually impossible to get it back. Scammers are constantly adapting their methods to maximize their chances of picking your pocket. Unfortunately, it was inevitable that scammers would target cryptocurrency given its current popularity and anonymity.”
Featured image from Shutterstock.
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Source: New

Australian DTA Tells Senate There is Better Technology Than Blockchain

Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has told the Senate that there is better technology for every use of blockchain considered today.
The agency received AU$700,000 from the Australian 2018-19 Budget to explore blockchain for efficient government services purposes.
Australian Government to Launch Blockchain Applications
In May, the DTA was sent on a mission to look for use cases across the Commonwealth with an initial focus on the welfare payment delivery system. The ultimate goal is to conduct user research with a view to having a prototype by the end of 2019.
At the Senate hearing, Peter Alexander, DTA’s chief digital officer, recognized great potential in distributed ledger technologies but said they’re not ripe yet, ZDNet reported.
“Blockchain is an interesting technology that would well worth being observed but without standardization and a lot of work to come — for every use of blockchain you would consider today, there is a better technology — alternate databases, secure connections, standardized API engagement,” he said.
The Australian government is exploring use cases for blockchain in a number of divisions with DTA’s help. The Department of Home Affairs is studying the technology on freight monitoring and the use of smart contracts for duties and tariffs.
The Treasury Department, including the Australia Taxation Office (ATO) and the Australia Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) are exploring settlements and payments with blockchain. IP Australia is conducting a trial to handle food provenance.
Alexander told the Senate how the welfare payment delivery system would work using blockchain. The prototype is expected to be ready by the end of next financial year.
“When someone might receive a welfare payment or a balance … where someone would be allocated a certain amount of money, and be able to access that for various purposes — used for some purposes, not used for others — the smart contract, the programmable currency, can release that fund for a particular purchase, and say no for another without having an intervention,” he added.
The DTA is set to begin rolling out digital identity pilots, which will allow acquiring government-issued digital identities and a Tax File Number online. The program is designed to reduce month-long analog processes to 30-minute digital tasks and make it easier for end users to deal with public affairs.
DTA’s chief digital officer said the Australian government is as advanced in blockchain maturity as other progressive governments and added that vendors are the ones creating the hype.
“I think it would be fair to say a lot of big vendors, and technology vendors, are pushing blockchain very hard, they see sales opportunity in it. So internationally, most of the hype around it is from vendors and companies, not from governments, or users and deliverers of services who are saying ‘blockchain is the solution to our problem.’”
Non-corporate Commonwealth entities spent a total of AU$1.2 billion on IT and digital initiatives in 2017-18, according to the DTA’s annual report.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
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Source: New

Crypto Hedge Funds Launching at Record Rate while Traditional Funds Slowdown: Research

Crypto hedge funds are launching at a fast pace and are further expected to rise despite the crypto market being a bear one defying the notion of the traditional market. Though crypto hedge funds rise is a “global phenomenon”, the US is leading the race with more than half of these funds.
Crypto hedge funds defies the traditional market notion
According to the latest report by Crypto Fund Research, about 90 crypto hedge fund has been launched in the first three quarters of this year. Now, this number is on track to reach 120 for this fiscal year.
This fact defies the traditional notion that hedge funds tend to launch in bull markets as 2018 has been a bear market for the cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), among others are down more than 60 percent TYD 2018. Additionally, crypto hedge funds primarily invest in cryptos like Bitcoin, Ethereum and XRP.
Joshua Gnaizda, the founder of Crypto Fund Research stated about this rise in the crypto hedge funds:
“In the midst of 2018’s decline in traditional hedge fund launches, crypto hedge funds are a notable aberration. Cryptocurrency prices have been in a bear market for the better part of the year and regulatory uncertainty persists in much of the world. Yet these seemingly unfavorable market conditions have not deterred managers from launching new crypto hedge funds at a record pace. While we don’t believe the rate of new launches is sustainable longer-term, there are currently few signs of a significant slowdown.”
Crypto hedge funds to surging further
As per the Hedge Fund Research, about 600 hedge funds are expected to launch in 2018 for both traditional and crypto market. Out of this, 20 percent i.e. 120 will be crypto hedge funds. In 2016, these funds accounted for less than 3 percent which surged in 2017 reaching 16 percent. Actually this year, “Two-thirds of all currently operational crypto funds have launched in the last seven quarters, through Q3 2018.”

The research further points out crypto hedge funds are one of the fastest growing hedge fund strategies now. But still, it makes up a small percentage of the overall industry in terms of assets under management and raw numbers.
“According to Crypto Fund Research, there are currently 303 crypto hedge funds. Crypto-focused hedge funds comprise just 3% of the more than 9,000 hedge funds currently in operation. Crypto hedge fund assets, at less than $4 billion, are also still quite meager. The global hedge fund industry, by comparison, manages more than $3 trillion.”
Currently, there are 622 crypto funds of all types. These crypto hedge funds involve “just under half of the broader class of crypto funds,” covering crypto venture capital and crypto private equity funds as well.
As for which country is seeing the most growth, the research notes half of the crypto hedge funds launched are from the US. However, the rise of the crypto fund is a “global phenomenon” as the United Kingdom, Switzerland, China, Australia, The Netherlands, and Malta also saw multiple crypto hedge funds this year.
The post Crypto Hedge Funds Launching at Record Rate while Traditional Funds Slowdown: Research appeared first on Coingape.
Source: CoinGape

Scammers Use Cryptocurrency ATMs to Target Potentially Vulnerable Victims

Australian police have been informed of a scam in which the perpetrators are requesting people deposit funds for them at cryptocurrency ATMs. It is thought that those behind the scam are targeting newly-arrived migrants who are unsure if such requests are genuine since they are navigating an entirely foreign system of taxation for the first time.
Elaborate Cryptocurrency Scam Generates Tens of Thousands of Dollars
According to a report in the U.K.’s Daily Mail newspaper, there have been four victims of the Australian crypto ATM scam to date. All of those defrauded out of funds were based in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.
The scam itself involves those behind it contacting potential victims with a request for outstanding taxes. It states that these must be paid directly into one of the city’s cryptocurrency ATM machines and sent to an unknown address.
Police investigating the scam have reason to believe that those behind it are targeting newly-arrived economic migrants. This demographic is much more likely to be compliant with such a request since refusal to adhere to similar, legitimate requests could negatively impact on the immigration process.
As strangers in a foreign land, the victims are also much less likely to question correspondence supposedly from the government, since they have no yardstick to compare above board requests from authorities to fraudulent ones.
The victims were under the impression that they would be detained if they did not comply to requests for deposits at the crypto ATM in Braybrook, Melbourne. This scaremongering tactic is reported to have netted the scammers an undisclosed five-figure sum.
The Daily Mail also reports on a second variation of the same scam. This time, those behind it tell victims that they have been alerted to a debt of outstanding taxes by the federal police or private accountants.
Katherine Lehpamer, a local police representative, said of the scam:
“Anyone getting a call along these lines should make inquiries with the relevant authority before paying any money… We believe there are a number of victims who may be here on visas or not aware that authorities would never tell them to deposit money into an ATM.”
Scams involving cryptocurrency are nothing new. They come in literally all different guises. Some involve the promotion of fraudulent companies, others are orchestrated by vast armies of Twitter-based robots. Most of these rely on the victims’ own greed being their downfall.
The Australian ATM scam is particularly devious, however, since it plays on newly-arrived migrants’ fears of being returned to the land which they have often worked incredibly hard to escape. Since they will have every intention of doing things by the book in their new home, they are much more likely to fall victim to such a scheme.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
The post Scammers Use Cryptocurrency ATMs to Target Potentially Vulnerable Victims appeared first on NewsBTC.
Source: New

Couple Charged with Money Laundering, NSW Police Call Crypto a Challenge

The New South Wales Police Force have placed two Sydney residents in custody after they allegedly attempted to launder $300,000 in cash that was suspected to be involved in a string of crimes, by converting them into crypto.
Criminal Crypto Converting Couple Charged
NSW Police Cybercrime Squad detectives arrested an unidentified male, age 32, and an unnamed female, age 29, at their Wiley Park residence, over money laundering charges. The pair were also charged with alleged ID fraud.
Detectives say the cybercrime duo had started up 45 different companies and opened a number of bank accounts to receive fiat deposits. The deposits were related to “purchases being made online using stolen and fraudulently obtained credit card information,” NSW Police explained, reports itnews.
According to the investigation – dubbed Strike Force Breabank – the two suspects would then move the fiat into cryptocurrencies that were later sent to offshore cryptocurrency wallets. Criminals often move funds into decentralized cryptocurrencies due to their difficult to trace, pseudo-anonymous design. Another practice involves moving the crypto into other types of cryptocurrencies to further hide any trace of the origin of funds.
“Police will further allege in court more than $300,000 was transferred to digital currency and distributed into cryptocurrency accounts offshore,” the police said in a statement.
During the search of the perpetrators home, New South Wales police seized everything from laptops and personal computers, to external hard drives, mobile phones, and even documentation that may be used as evidence in court against the suspects.
Police said they were checking on the couple’s immigration status, which could be why the unnamed man was refused bail, and is set to appear in court on Friday, September 28. The female accomplice, however, was granted “strict conditional bail” and will appear in Burwood Local Court later in October.
Australian Authorities Call Crypto a “Significant Challenge”
Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis, Commander of the New South Wales Cybercrime Squad, called cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum “a significant challenge for law enforcement both here and abroad,” in reference to cryptocurrencies being used for money laundering and other cybercrimes.
“The semi-anonymous and decentralised nature of many cryptocurrencies make it desirable for criminal activity, particularly for those groups who are operating offshore,” Katsoginannis explained.
Katsoginannis continued, suggesting he and his team have an edge in monitoring and investigating illicit transactions thanks to cryptocurrency exchanges in the region falling under the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).
“The sharing of financial intelligence and information of all currencies can only help to minimise the risk of criminal groups conducting ‘business’ without detection,” Katsoginannis said.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
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Source: New