- QuadrigaCX investors are requesting an exhumation of the crypto company’s founder to confirm he didn’t flee the country with their funds.
- The South Korean telecom company KT will launch a local blockchain currency in Busan on December 30.
- A Witness Media Lab report suggests that blockchain represents a promising opportunity for identifying and countering deepfake videos.
- Scam artists in Brazil are turning away from cryptocurrency, preferring to receive prepaid money cards.
Earlier this year, QuadrigaCX founder Gerald Cotten passed away during a trip to India, leaving thousands of users without access to their crypto tokens. Frustrated investors have been seeking opportunities to recoup their losses ever since, and recently raised the question of whether Cotten is genuinely deceased. While this reaction is outlandish in many respects, the revelation that Cotten may have embezzled funds lends some credence to the theory. A lawyer representing QuadrigaCX investors has requested an exhumation in spring 2020.
In the wake of his death, QuadrigaCX, which had about 115,000 users, was unable to locate or secure a significant amount of cryptocurrency reserves.
Cotten’s widow, Jennifer Robertson, has said in her affidavit she has received online threats and “slanderous comments,” including questions about the nature of Cotten’s death, and whether he is really dead.
“The purpose of this letter is to request, on behalf of the Affected Users, that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (the “RCMP”), conduct an exhumation and post-mortem autopsy on the body of Gerald Cotten to confirm both its identity and the cause of death given the questionable circumstances surrounding Mr. Cotten’s death and the significant losses of Affected Users,” reads a Dec. 13 letter posted on lawyer Miller Thomson’s website.
Many countries are rushing to launch digital currencies in 2020, but South Korea might beat them to the punch on a local level. The nation’s largest telecom company, KT, revealed that it will release a new blockchain-powered local currency on December 30, 2019. The project is intended for use in the city of Busan, where it will encourage spending on small businesses. After launch, users can access funds from payment cards and a mobile banking app.
Busan’s government inked an agreement with telecom company KT earlier this year in February for the building of the blockchain-based asset set to hit South Korea’s second largest city, media outlet Decrypt detailed in a news report.
Yoo Yong-gyu, KT’s business center director for blockchain, told Decrypt:
“With our know-how of operating a regional currency and blockchain security, KT will work towards establishing Dongbaek Currency and contributing to the growth of Busan’s economy.”
Thanks to AI, it is now possible to create near-perfect digital recreations of anyone — most notably world leaders — saying words they never actually spoke. In the hands of scam artists and other malicious agents, these deepfakes represent a real and growing threat. Thankfully, blockchain may represent a solution: In a new 72-page report, Witness Media Lab explores several tools for debunking deepfakes, including a blockchain-powered verification system. This platform would use a cryptographic tagging system to determine if content from original video content matches existing media sources.
“When we buy food from a supermarket, we generally expect it to be packaged in such a way that it can’t be tampered with — sealed plastic, stickers over the wrapper, and so on. It doesn’t guarantee the food will be perfect: it still might not taste good, and we can’t prevent it from spoiling if you leave it out too long, but what you do know is that the package hasn’t been interfered with on its way to you.”
[Corin Faife, Witness Media Lab senior coordinator] continued: “These authenticity measures propose something similar for video: it’s not an ultimate guarantee of truth and shouldn’t be taken as an endorsement of the content itself, but it does allow you to confirm that a media item hasn’t been tampered with on its way to you from the original point of capture.”
Thanks to its decentralized payment methods and private transaction capabilities, cryptocurrency is often a go-to solution for criminals and scam artists. A new report from the cybersecurity company Kaspersky suggests that Bitcoin is falling out of favor. As an example, Kaspersky looks to Brazil, where cybercriminals are requesting prepaid cards when extorting their victims. While this approach may be a temporary trend, it’s also possible that increased regulatory scrutiny of blockchain technologies is making criminals think twice about adopting it.
Most often, cybercriminals demand a ransom in cryptocurrency; such transactions are anonymous and extremely hard to trace. The wallet address for transferring the money is usually specified in the text of the e-mail. Lately, however… the scammers ask to be contacted in a more traditional way — by e-mail — and demand a different sort of ransom.
That’s the roundup for December 21, 2019. Check in next week for the latest news of cryptocurrency innovation and regulation around the world!
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