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Binance SMS Scam in Hong Kong: $450K Loss

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Hong Kong police have issued a warning concerning a recent Binance phishing scam targeting Hong Kong users of the platform. Hong Kong’s police force has raised the alarm after 11 Hong Kong-based Binance customers were targeted in a wave of phishing scams sent through text messages. Hong Kong police warned users of the scam in an Oct. 9 post to its Facebook page dubbed “CyberDefender.” “Recently, fraudsters posing as Binance sent text messages claiming that users must click the link in the message to verify their identity details before a deadline, otherwise their account would be deactivated.” Police said that once users clicked the link and supposedly “verified” their personal details, hackers were then able to gain full access to their Binance accounts, where they proceeded to steal all of the assets contained within the users’ wallets. According to the post, the phishing scheme has seen 11 Hong Kong-based Binance customers report combined losses of more than $446,000 (3.5 million Hong Kong dollars) in the last two weeks. The police have asked any users who believe that they’ve received a potentially fraudulent message to log the suspicious messages on the “fraud prevention” section of its official website. Additionally, the police displayed a link to a newly published list of verified virtual asset trading platforms, provided by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). Currently, only two cryptocurrency exchanges — HashKey and OSL — are fully licensed for retail investment purposes in Hong Kong. Established in May, CyberDefender is a project launched by the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau of the Hong Kong Police Force, aimed at increasing local citizen’s awareness of online security risks. Meanwhile, Hong Kong crypto investors have been hit hard by scams and fraudulent activity in recent weeks, with the recent JPEX crypto exchange scandal ballooning to an estimated $180 million in losses and more than 2,300 Hong Kong-based investors filing complaints with local police. JPEX was an unlicensed cryptocurrency exchange that allegedly lured in Hong Kong residents with flashy advertising and “suspiciously” high returns on its lending products. The exchange ratcheted up fees on withdrawals from its platform on Sept. 15, rendering funds inaccessible to its users. Following the scandal, which has been described as the largest financial fraud ever to hit Hong Kong, the SFC announced that it would publish a list of both fully licensed and “suspicious” crypto platforms in a bid to combat potential fraud.

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Hong Kong’s vigilant police force has sounded the alarm, issuing a stern cautionary note regarding a recent, audacious Binance phishing scam that has squarely targeted the city’s Binance users. With 11 Binance customers domiciled in Hong Kong falling prey to this wave of text message-based phishing expeditions, the situation has reached a critical juncture, prompting the Hong Kong police to issue a warning bulletin under the banner of “CyberDefender” on their Facebook page, a date-stamped publication on October 9.

Devious fraudsters, masquerading as Binance operatives, have been dispatching text messages to unsuspecting users, insisting that a click on the embedded link is imperative to authenticate their personal identity information before a looming deadline, else their account faces deactivation. Falling victim to this ruse, users inadvertently handed hackers the keys to their Binance fortresses. With unwarranted access thus granted, the malefactors swiftly made away with the entirety of assets contained within the beleaguered users’ digital wallets.

The aftermath of this phishing blitzkrieg has been nothing short of calamitous, with 11 Binance users based in Hong Kong collectively tallying losses exceeding $446,000 or 3.5 million Hong Kong dollars over a mere fortnight. Perturbed by this rise in online villainy, the police authorities have called upon all potential targets of these fraudulent missives to diligently document such suspect messages in the designated “fraud prevention” segment of their official website.

Furthermore, the police have thoughtfully provided a hyperlink to an updated catalog of certified virtual asset trading platforms, a compilation courtesy of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). As it stands today, only two cryptocurrency exchanges, HashKey and OSL, have secured the coveted status of being fully licensed for retail investment activities in Hong Kong.

Fast forward to the present, CyberDefender, conceived in May, continues to champion the cause of online security awareness among the citizenry of Hong Kong, an initiative hatched by the astute Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau of the Hong Kong Police Force.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s cryptocurrency investors have weathered a relentless storm of scams and fraudulent stratagems in recent weeks, the most glaring being the ballooning scandal involving the JPEX crypto exchange. The losses from this debacle have swelled to an estimated $180 million, driving over 2,300 Hong Kong-based investors to launch formal grievances with local law enforcement.

JPEX, an unlicensed cryptocurrency exchange, lured unsuspecting Hong Kong residents with alluring advertising and dubiously high returns on lending products. To add insult to injury, the exchange inexplicably hiked fees on withdrawals from its platform on September 15, effectively imprisoning the funds of its users.

In the wake of this seismic financial scandal, considered the largest in Hong Kong’s history, the SFC has pledged to publish a comprehensive list that demarcates fully licensed cryptocurrency platforms from those shadowed by suspicion, a move designed to stem the tide of potential fraud.



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Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency Market Update: Bitcoin Slips Below $70,000 Amidst High Liquidation

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In a swift turn of events, Bitcoin (BTC), the pioneering cryptocurrency, dropped below the $70,000 threshold early on Wednesday following a wave of investor sell-offs. Just a day prior, Bitcoin had crossed the $71,000 mark, but market sentiment swiftly shifted, dragging other major altcoins—including Ethereum (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE), Ripple (XRP), Solana (SOL), and Litecoin (LTC)—into the red zone.

According to CoinMarketCap data, the overall Market Fear & Greed Index stood at 75 (Greed) out of 100, indicating a mix of optimism and apprehension among traders. Notably, the Bittensor (TAO) token emerged as the top gainer with a remarkable 24-hour surge of over 7 percent, while dogwifhat (WIF) experienced the largest loss, plummeting nearly 16 percent.

Bitcoin (BTC) Price Update Bitcoin’s price tumbled to $69,089.01, marking a 24-hour dip of 3.05 percent, as reported by CoinMarketCap. On the Indian exchange WazirX, BTC was priced at Rs 60.93 lakh.

Other Major Cryptocurrencies Ethereum (ETH) saw a 24-hour loss of 4.81 percent, trading at $3,508.86, while Dogecoin (DOGE) registered a dip of 5.59 percent, currently priced at $0.1879. Litecoin (LTC) and Ripple (XRP) also experienced losses, with Solana (SOL) marking a 24-hour loss of 3.44 percent.

Top Gainers and Losers Bittensor (TAO) led the pack of gainers with a 7.30 percent surge, while dogwifhat (WIF) suffered the most significant loss, dropping by 15.58 percent.

Market Analysis and Expert Insights Experts weighed in on the market scenario, attributing Bitcoin’s downturn to heightened liquidations and cautious sentiment ahead of the upcoming US CPI data release. While Bitcoin’s immediate support rests at $67,700, resistance is expected at $70,400. Ethereum proponents face challenges amid hopes for an ETF approval, with the SEC providing limited updates on the matter.

Final Thoughts The cryptocurrency market remains highly dynamic, with prices fluctuating rapidly and investor sentiment playing a pivotal role. As the market navigates through volatility, it’s essential for investors to stay informed, exercise caution, and seek expert advice before making any investment decisions.

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Cryptocurrency: A Scapegoat for Foreign Policy Failures?

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Cryptocurrency has once again found itself at the center of a heated debate, this time regarding its alleged role in facilitating illicit activities and circumventing sanctions imposed by the United States. The Biden administration, in particular, has come under scrutiny for its handling of the issue, with some accusing it of using digital assets as a convenient scapegoat for broader foreign policy shortcomings.

In a recent hearing before the Senate Banking Committee, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo raised concerns about the misuse of cryptocurrencies by foreign adversaries such as Iran, Russia, North Korea, and militant groups like Hamas. Adeyemo’s remarks underscored a growing unease within the U.S. government regarding the potential national security implications of unregulated digital currencies.

However, voices from within the cryptocurrency industry and Congress have pushed back against the administration’s narrative. Faryar Shirzad, Chief Policy Officer at Coinbase, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges, pointed out that the prevalence of illicit activity in the crypto space is relatively low compared to traditional finance. Instead of demonizing cryptocurrencies, Shirzad argued, the focus should be on targeting bad actors operating offshore.

Senator Tim Scott, the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, echoed these sentiments, accusing the Biden administration of using digital assets as a distraction from its failure to effectively combat financial flows to sanctioned entities. Scott’s criticism reflects broader skepticism among some lawmakers about the government’s approach to regulating cryptocurrencies.

One area of potential agreement between the Biden administration and the cryptocurrency industry is the need for clearer regulations governing stablecoins, a type of digital asset pegged to a fiat currency like the U.S. dollar. Both sides recognize the importance of addressing the potential risks associated with stablecoin issuance and usage, particularly in the context of national security and financial stability.

The debate over stablecoins has intensified following reports of their alleged role in facilitating illicit transactions, including those linked to Russia’s war effort in Ukraine. The Treasury Department has called for increased oversight of stablecoin issuers and transactions, while also advocating for legislation that would subject them to stricter regulatory standards.

Despite the contentious nature of the discussion, there are signs of bipartisan cooperation on certain aspects of cryptocurrency regulation. A bipartisan bill addressing stablecoin regulation passed the House Financial Services Committee last year, signaling a potential path forward for legislative action in this area.

As the debate over cryptocurrency regulation continues to unfold, it is clear that finding the right balance between innovation and security will be paramount. While concerns about illicit activity and national security must be addressed, policymakers must also recognize the potential benefits of cryptocurrencies in fostering financial inclusion and technological advancement.

Ultimately, the resolution of these issues will require thoughtful collaboration between government officials, industry stakeholders, and lawmakers to develop a regulatory framework that promotes innovation while safeguarding against misuse. Only through constructive dialogue and cooperation can we ensure that cryptocurrencies fulfill their potential as a force for positive change in the global economy.

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Bitcoin Resurgence: Why Wall Street Is Embracing the Crypto Revolution

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Andrew Pratt of Wiser Wealth Management in Marietta, Ga., finds little resistance as he proposes Bitcoin investments to his firm’s committee. With Bitcoin surging 140% in the past year and backed by giants like BlackRock, skepticism has waned. Pratt sees the potential to allocate a modest 1% of client portfolios to Bitcoin, acknowledging the limited downside risk compared to potential gains.

The debate over Bitcoin’s intrinsic value seems to have lost its relevance amidst its soaring market performance. Once dismissed, Bitcoin now boasts a market value of $1.3 trillion, driving the total crypto market to $2.5 trillion. Wall Street, once wary, now views cryptocurrency as an opportunity for profit rather than a speculative venture.

Despite lingering doubts about Bitcoin’s utility beyond speculation, Wall Street executives are increasingly supportive. BlackRock’s CEO, Larry Fink, notably reversed his stance, endorsing Bitcoin’s long-term prospects and championing the iShares Bitcoin Trust, now one of the largest Bitcoin ETFs with nearly $18 billion in assets.

While skepticism persists about Bitcoin’s status as a real asset or currency, its growing acceptance on Wall Street underscores the evolving landscape of finance. As institutions embrace cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin’s journey from pariah to portfolio asset highlights the transformative power of digital assets in reshaping traditional investment strategies.

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