Daily fraud update: 10th February

Chris Lee

US crypto payments service suspends bitcoin

A cryptocurrency payments service based in the US state of New Hampshire has removed bitcoin from its system.

In an unusual move, Anypay – which is based in the US state of New Hampshire – said that the world’s most famous cryptocurrency is “worthless for payments”.

Historically, bitcoin transactions were permanent once they had been placed.

However, this has changed in recent years, and it is now possible for bitcoin transactions to effectively be reversed, or “charged back”.

This is due to the “Replace By Fee” function.

According to Steven Zeiler, who is the co-founder of AnyPay, this makes bitcoin effectively useless.

It could, in theory, be used by dishonest customers who want to acquire goods and services before reversing the charge – but keeping the items.

In a filmed statement posted on the video sharing site YouTube, Zeiler described how he had had a “final revelation” about the issue.

“…BTC is indefinitely disabled and AnyPay will not support BTC payments going forward until further notice”, he added.

AnyPay is a growing platform, and Zeiler himself is a former employee of Ripple – the blockchain-powered payments service.

According to the firm’s website, it prioritises the needs of “crypto-spenders” when it comes to new merchants.

“By following the simple principle of letting crypto-spenders guide merchant adoption, Anypay has built personal relationships with hundreds of merchants on five continents and their dedicated user base”, it says.

Crypto fraud figures on the rise, says analysis

Analysis of the cryptocurrency fraud world has revealed that more than over $4bn worth of damage was done as a result of crime in the sector last year.

The analysis, which was carried out by Chainalysis in conjunction with US financial newspaper The Wall Street Journal, suggested that this was higher than the figures registered in both of the previous years put together.

In 2017 and 2018, the total figure in the end was $3bn combined.

The analysis also revealed some other trends about the dynamics of the crypto fraud world.

It suggested, for example, that 90% of stolen funds could be traced to merely six schemes.

The research, which was published in the Journal, also touched on specific cases.

One of these was the PlusToken scandal, which saw many people defrauded after committing cash to a Ponzi scheme which then took their money.

The article told the story of Seo Jin-ho, a man from South Korea who invested in the fraudulent scheme.

He was supposedly told by a colleague that he could make a return of 10% every single month.

Chainalysis, which is located in New York, often works with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to monitor scams such as these.

It commented that Ponzi schemes such as the one used in the PlusToken scam were taking advantage of people’s lack of knowledge around crypto investments.

Chris Lee

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