In this week’s crypto news roundup, bitcoin scammers take to YouTube, a new blog fights censorship, and a lost laptop might contain millions…or not
- YouTube hackers scammed SpaceX fans out of nearly $150,000 by impersonating Elon Musk and requesting BTC donations.
- This week the United States set a new record for P2P bitcoin trading volume at $29 million.
- Blockchain firm Unstoppable Domains took a stand against censorship, releasing its decentralized blog (dBlog) service this week.
- Bitcoin treasure hunt may be too good a story to be true
No doubt inspired by the recent Falcon 9 launch, scammers hacked legitimate YouTube channels and changed their branding to make them look like SpaceX channels. They then mimicked a live stream by broadcasting archived footage of SpaceX owner Elon Musk and asked for Bitcoin donations. One channel netted a little under $40K in contributions, while another nabbed nearly $100,000.
Impersonating celebrities or companies is a regular scheme of bitcoin scammers. A similar scam hit YouTube in March, with fake videos of Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse promoting an XRP airdrop. That scam led to Ripple filing a lawsuit against YouTube for taking too long to remove the content.
With much of the public still interested in the historic launch of a private space vehicle built in and launched from the United States on May 30, scammers know how to spot profitable trends like impersonating Musk…
However, sending reports may be insufficient for some platforms. Cybersecurity firm Tenable reported in February that there has been a “perpetual cat-and-mouse game between Twitter and cryptocurrency scammers” and the latter continue to modify their tactics to get BTC from unsuspecting victims.
Peer-to-peer trading in the US surged to an all-time high the week of June 7, as nearly $29 million worth of bitcoin changed hands. This was nearly double that of sub-Saharan Africa, the next closest region for P2P transactions, which topped out at about $13.6 million in trade.
Canada’s P2P markets saw about $1 million traded, which led to the North American total being nearly the best it’s ever been. At $29.8 million, it’s just a hair behind the week of May 20, 2018, which saw trades of $30.2 million.
Trading in Russia was down during the week. Other regions, including the UK and China, saw slight fluctuations, while Nigeria plateaued.
Over $24 million in Bitcoin changed hands on Paxful in the United States alongside $4.6 million traded on Localbitcoins…
Nigerian P2P trade appears to be plateauing after posting several weeks of consecutive volume records, with the world’s second-largest national P2P Bitcoin market generating $8.76 million in weekly trade.
After posting over $8.4 million in weekly trade for the last week of April, a 7.5% drop in Russian P2P volume has seen the gap between it and Nigeria’s markets widen — with $7.81 million in Bitcoin changing hands this past week.
Blockchain firm Unstoppable Domains released its decentralized blog (dBlog) service this week. The service is hosted on Protocol Lab’s InterPlanetary File system and uses the .crypto domain. Decentralized blogs are similar to other online writing spaces, offering standard blogging tools such as image embeds, audio, video, and of course text. Several crypto personalities, such as Ethereum developer Alex Masmej, use decentralized blogs for their personal writing.
Unstoppable Domain’s co-founder Brad Kam pointed to a Freedom House report that suggests nearly two billion people experience some form of censored internet as being a major motivator in the creation of the dBlog.
“No one can take it down,” [Kam] said in a phone interview. “We expect over time all sorts of content that is currently controversial or maybe even not permissible in certain parts of the world popping up because the censorship-resistant internet is usable now.”
“The numbers are pretty alarming and I think the trend is towards more,” Kam said. “As the world digitizes, the stakes become higher.”
First, the good news: Redditor “Shotukan” finally found the laptop he’d been searching for. The computer had 533 bitcoins on it, now valued at around $5.2 million. He bought the bitcoins in 2010 and promptly forgot about them. Now, the bad news: The laptop’s hard drive is missing. And the really bad news: The whole story might be fake.
According to Shotukan, he found the laptop as he was going through boxes after his brother passed away, sans hard drive. He forgot he’d given the computer to his little brother and hoped the hard drive was in another box somewhere.
However, several Redditors found fault with Shotukan’s story. Several found it hard to believe Shotukan hadn’t gone looking for the laptop earlier, as bitcoin values spiked. Others found the timing didn’t line up. User “sph44” breaks the main argument down:
Besides the quantity being questionable for the time (which it is), I have another doubt about this. 533 is an oddly specific quantity of BTC from 10 years ago. If you know now that you had exactly 533 BTC on that laptop, then it would stand to reason that 6 or 7 years ago you also knew you had it on the laptop. When BTC spiked up to USD 1100+ in Nov-Dec 2013, it seems like you would have thought to yourself that around $580,000 worth of BTC might have been worthwhile to hold onto (or if you had given the laptop to your brother by that time, it would have been worthwhile for you to ask him for it back, or buy it back from him). Even moreso in 2017 as the value spiked up to $19K+ and your 533 BTC was worth close to $10 Million at that time, and your brother was still alive and could have helped you track down the hard drive. Sorry for sounding so sceptical, but I’m afraid I really am… something just doesn’t seem right.
That’s the roundup for June 13, 2020. Check in next week for the latest news of cryptocurrency innovation and regulation around the world!
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