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Is an Autonomous and Self-Regulating Crypto Industry Really Possible?

Regulation of the cryptocurrency industry is a divisive issue, with some being in full support while others view it as going against Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision of a self-regulating industry. Those who support regulation see it as the only way cryptos can go mainstream and attract institutional investment. There is no denying that cryptos have been used by many for illegal activities, largely because the regulatory framework in place doesn’t cover the industry comprehensively. The lax regulations have also instilled fear in many potential investors, further preventing cryptos from going mainstream. This, many argue, is reason enough to call on regulators to formulate policies for the industry.

The Fine Line

The crypto industry is one that has risen in value and prominence in just a few years. While Bitcoin has been around for a decade now, it was largely unknown during its first five years. Other cryptos like Ethereum have been around for less than five years but have gone on to command huge market capitalizations. The newness of this industry has made it difficult to regulate, and governments worldwide are still struggling to catch up with the fast-evolving technology.

The very diverse approaches taken by various governments have not made it any easier for the crypto industry. In some jurisdictions, cryptos have been outlawed altogether, such as in Ecuador and Vietnam. In others, certain elements have been outlawed in a bid to protect consumers, such as the Chinese ban on ICOs which was meant to protect consumers from fraudulent players. There are others still which have continued to shy away from any form of regulation and have decided to sit back and examine the markets first.

Vajahaath Hussain, the CEO and co-founder of crypto investment bank Almora, welcomes regulation in this industry, but only as long as they don’t inhibit innovation and growth. Speaking exclusively to NullTX, the serial entrepreneur and blockchain enthusiast said that countries that don’t implement crypto-friendly regulations run the risk of losing startups to crypto-friendlier countries.

Regulation in any industry is always welcome, as long as it is not stopping growth. They should be enforced in order to make the industry better and bring method to mayhem. We are of the view that regulations must preserve the industry’s interests without prohibiting innovation. Regulations can strengthen business opportunities, reduce the risk of investment, and also stop the paradigmatic shift from native country of business to offshore crypto-friendly cities or countries. A number of countries can leverage crypto as a springboard to become a dominant force in the global financial market.

A Self-Regulating Industry

When Satoshi developed Bitcoin, the world was at the height of the 2008 financial crisis. Financial markets had tumbled, and people had lost faith in formal institutions and in the traditional finance system. Bitcoin and the subsequent cryptocurrency revolution was, therefore, a natural result. However, the industry has grown by leaps and bounds since those early days, and cryptos are now part of the mainstream financial industry. While back then Bitcoin was still largely untested for transactional purposes, today one can buy pizza at Domino’s or pay for vintage items on Etsy with digital currency. This makes it imperative to subject it to the same strict standards as other payment channels.

Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor, summed it up best:

The time has come to hold the crypto-asset ecosystem to the same standards as the rest of the financial system. Being part of the financial system brings enormous privileges but with them great responsibilities.

The founder of the decentralized smart speaker and streaming service Volareo, Nick Yap, echoes these sentiments. Speaking to NullTX, Yap said that well-structured and regulated ICOs will bring people the joy of participating in communities where their voices are heard, all the while being confident that their interests are protected by the regulations in place.

There’s a strong basic human need to want to participate in communities where their voices are heard, where they belong and contribute to a common interest, and see direct and transparent results – that their efforts helped, and they benefit as a result. Well-structured ICOs give people that decentralized, direct and transparent belonging. It’s hard to restrict such primal human needs.

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FBI: “Call of Duty” Players Remotely Stole $3.3 Million in Cryptocurrencies

A group of “Call of Duty” players from Indiana are accused of stealing more than $3 million in cryptocurrencies after coercing an Illinois man to aid them in remotely hacking unsecured crypto wallets on more than 100 cell phones. Man Coerced Into Hack After SWATing Incident The episode began in Bloomington, Illinois, where a local man told the FBI he met the members of the would-be group of cybercriminals online playing Call of Duty. In the simulated warfare game, players are able to communicate with each other in real-time and with relative privacy. The group, based out of Dolton, Indiana, allegedly coerced the man from Bloomington into working for them using an intimidation tactic called “SWATing,” a nefarious, illegal, and dangerous phenomenon that has become increasingly popular in online gaming communities. SWATing is when police are called with a false report of a violent crime at someone’s home, which prompts a response from a SWAT team — oftentimes leading to door breaches, gunfire, and even the accidental deaths of unknowing victims. It’s often used as a decidedly dark method of payback, or, as in this case, to intimidate or threaten an individual. Afraid of further retaliation the man succumbed to the hacker’s requests, to which they handed over names, phone numbers, and other information that permitted him to remotely access the cell phones of their victims. According to the FBI affidavit, the man admitted to taking over the cell phones of more than 100 people. Once the group took over a phone, they were able to hack into a victim’s cryptocurrency account and drain their funds. The group is suspected of stealing at least $3.3 million in various cryptocurrency, including about $805,000 in Augur’s Reputation Tokens, according to the FBI. The suspects then allegedly moved stolen tokens through cryptocurrency networks, such as Ether or Bitcoin, to their own digital wallets. As of yet, the Chicago Sun-Times isn’t naming the suspects identified in the affidavit because they don’t appear to have been charged with any crimes. In an online interview the Bloomington man proclaimed his innocence — even going as far as to say that considers himself a victim: “I have done nothing but cooperate with Augur and the FBI,” he said. “I have never once profited from anyone [by] crypto-hacking, ever.” Crypto Thefts in First Half of 2018 Total Over $1.1 Billion According to recent study from cybersecurity firm Carbon Black, the total amount of cryptocurrency that has been stolen through cybercrime this year alone is over $1.1 billion — primarily through ransomware and exchange hacks. The firm’s report claims that many criminals are using the dark web to appropriate cryptocurrency from their victims, estimating that there are over 12,000 marketplaces with almost three times that number of crypto theft listings between them. Rick McElroy, security strategist at Carbon Black, spoke on the trend, noting how easy it is for cybercriminals to operate these days: “It’s surprising just how easy it is without any tech skill to commit cybercrimes like ransomware… It’s not always these large nefarious groups, it’s in anybody’s hands.” Part of the reason for this is the accessibility and user-friendliness of the tools of the trade. McElroy said that certain pieces of malware even come with customer service to aid would-be cybercriminals, adding that the malicious software costs an average of $224 but can be picked up for as little as $1.04. Many of the attacks against crypto users, companies, and exchanges originate from an organized group of criminals like those out of Indiana, however, McElroy says, they’re just as likely to be the product of a trained engineer who is out of work: “You have nations that are teaching coding, but there’s no jobs… It could just be two people in Romania needing to pay rent.” Image from Shutterstock The post FBI: “Call of Duty” Players Remotely Stole $3.3 Million in Cryptocurrencies appeared first on NewsBTC.

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