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Daily fraud update: 27th March

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California governor refers to bitcoin fraud in speech

The governor of the US state of California has made reference to bitcoin scams in a speech about the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Gavin Newsom, a member of the Democratic Party who has served the governor of the state since last year, was making a speech about the response to the crisis which the state of California had implemented in order to help citizens affected.

As part of this overview, he also made reference to cryptocurrency fraudsters who were supposedly taking advantage of some people.

In a strongly worded message, Newsom said that there were “extraordinary people, who do extraordinary bad things” out there.

“That doesn’t just include an interface with the government, but people claiming that we need to send the equivalent of Bitcoin in advance to get some materials before they can send them”, he said.

“Questionable activities like that”, he went on to add.

The intervention from Newsom came in the context of strong action from the governor’s office.

Earlier in the week, it was revealed that the state of California had submitted a Major Disaster Declaration to the federal government and received it, meaning that funds would be available to help people affected by the virus in the state.

Newsom has been associated with broadly crypto-friendly positions in the past.

He has, for example, been quoted as saying that he considers cryptocurrency to be “fascinating”.

According to local press reports from around 2014, his political campaigns have accepted cryptocurrencies as donations in the past.

Bank of China continues anti-crypto offensive

The Bank of China, a major Chinese financial services institution, has involved itself in a campaign against cryptocurrencies with a public post warning against investing in the sector.

The post, which is understood to have been shared on the messaging platform WeChat from the official Bank of China profile, laid into cryptocurrencies – and claimed that such investments were in fact unsafe.

The post focused on a wide range of different supposed problems with crypto assets, including the presence of bots.

“First of all, the amount of fraud transactions with bots is serious”, the bank said.

“The average turnover rate of the top three overseas crypto currency exchanges is much higher than that of foreign licensed exchanges.”

“Second, market manipulation exists in these exchanges where forced leveraged trading eventually causes the exchanges to explode.”

“Third, money laundering is a big issue”, it went on to add.

Cryptocurrency is a peculiar concept in China, and it occupies a strange position.

The country’s government is understood to be in the process of developing a digital currency of its own.

However, other institutions in the country, like the Bank of China, have responded in less positive ways to crypto.

In 2019, for example, the major firm Alibaba placed a block on transactions which had a link to the major cryptocurrency bitcoin as well as several others.

In the past, there have been blocks placed on crypto exchanges too – meaning that it can sometimes be difficult for the average Chinese person to make crypto transactions.