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Russian Bitcoin laundering hacker apprehended by the authorities



Recently CNN reported that a crime had been committed by a Russian man named Alexander Vinnik, who allegedly was responsible of bitcoin laundering more than $4 million dollars, through the Greek company BTC-E.

It is known that BTC-E is a company that has made a name for themselves since its foundation in 2011, however it was just a matter of time before someone would think of taking advantage of their success.  Alexander Vinnik was a “BTC-e operator” which gave him the opportunity to hack his way through millions including 300.000 worth of bitcoin from Mt. Gox which is one of the biggest bitcoin companies and it is based in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

Vinnik was taken to the U.S. to face the grand jury over the alleged money laundering. He faces 21 counts, including laundering stolen funds from Mt Gox, as well as computer hacking and drug trafficking. Vinnik hasn’t made any comments about the events, but according to the BBC, the Russian man was the head of the virtual snake.

The dangers of virtual currencies

Bitcoin has been an important form of currency over the past years and it is no “virtual fantasy” as technology finds its way to improve human life and innovate with never ending connections through the virtual world, there is no doubt that hackers are also growing interested in winning a spot in the virtual paradise.

About this bigger picture Brian Stretch, U.S. Attorney for the northern district of California said:

“Just as new computer technologies continue to change the way we engage each other and experience the world, so too will criminals subvert these new technologies to serve their own nefarious purposes”.

The BTC-E website is currently down, although it has been said that this is due to “unscheduled maintenance” and it will be up again in 5-10 days, “Will keep you updated. Sorry for the inconvenience,”.

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Bank Bans Credit Card Crypto Purchases




The Lloyds Banking Group in Britain is one of the giants in the whole world and the largest in the UK, and it has recently become the first major credit card provider in the country to ban its customers from using credit cards to purchase digital currencies.

Credit Card Ban: Cryptocurrencies

The ban comes after the case of J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup’s similar choice yesterday to ban credit cards purchases of cryptocurrencies for all their customers.

Lloyds, has in itself Halifax, Bank of Scotland, and MBNA, and it will block its 9 million credit card users from buying cryptocurrencies.

However, Lloyd’s customers will still be free to buy cryptos with debit cards.

The credit card crypto ban came into place after Bitcoin saw a huge price drop in the market this week, falling below $8000 for several days which is not very good for the mainstream crowd.

Lloyds stated that the ban will “protect customers” that could store big amounts of credit debt if the market price keeps going crazy, which it may, if cryptos stay true to their rule of volatility

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Bitcoin: $50K Before Crash, Says Jordan Belfort




Jordan Belfort, or “Wolf of Wall Street” has shown some doubt concerning Bitcoin’s price.

Belfort’s Opinion


Belfort said that he does not believe that Bitcoin is a scam, however he thinks that the cryptocurrency is a good tool for manipulation.

He believes that the rising price of BTC can be attributed to wild speculation because of what he sees as improper use of the cryptocurrency:

“Something [BTC] was designed to be used as a currency, and it’s being used as an investment vehicle […] As a currency, Bitcoin is no more useful at $20,000 or $100.”

“The Wolf” has spoken negatively about the potential for manipulating digital currency markets due to the thinness of the market. He referred to the case of Olaf Carlson-Wee, an early Bitcoin enthusiast who was paid in cryptocurrency when working at Coinbase back in 2013.

Belfort’s predictions rest on the fact that while Bitcoin is, in his words, a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,”  it also “might go to $50,000” before what he is certain will be its fall to $0.

He previously said that Bitcoin was problematic due to hackers having easy access to the currency. He also said in October that ICOs were the “biggest scams ever.”

Belfort is not a Bitcoin investor.

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Bitcoin Google Searches are Low




One of DataTrek Research’s finest Nicholas Colas, has been talking about the fact that Google searches for Bitcoin have significantly dropped recently.

Google Search

“Going into December, the Google searches skyrocket. You saw that correlate to the total increased number of wallet growth,” Colas said in an interview/conversation with the CNBC.

But, as the cryptocurrency community has seen a bearish short term downtrend, interest in the crypto has apparently started to cool off in the mainstream world.

“Bitcoin” searches are down by 75 percent from their comfortable spot just a few weeks ago, per Colas. And he doesn’t seem to be waiting for any signs of a resurgence of interest any time soon, as he states:

“It’s very much a case where you have to hold interest in new bitcoin owners to get bitcoin to go up. Right now [Google] is telling me there’s not really that next leg up in bitcoin because there’s not that leg up in interest that leads to wallet growth that leads to price appreciation.”

Maybe it’s not such bad news for the famous cryptocurrency, however it does indicate that its mainstream presence has gone quite a bit, since any newcomer would be tempted to see, “what is Bitcoin?”. But since there are no many searches it’s safe to say that interest is not as strong as it once was, at least for now

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