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Kidnappers Kill Venezuelan Citizen for Not Paying Ransom Requested in Bitcoin

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Kidnappers Kill Venezuelan Citizen for Not Paying Ransom Requested in Bitcoin

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A Venezuelan merchant was kidnapped and killed after his family failed to gather a ransom that kidnappers explicitly asked to be paid in bitcoin. The perpetrators asked for a sum of 1.5 bitcoin to release the hostage, later lowering the ransom to 0.5 bitcoin. The family of the victim finally was unable to gather the ransom money.

Venezuelan Citizen Abducted, Bitcoin Ransom Demanded

A Venezuelan citizen identified as Gustavo Torres González was murdered yesterday when his family failed to gather ransom money that kidnappers requested be paid in bitcoin. Torres was abducted on August 10 when he was presumably heading home in the Zulia state, according to police. The kidnappers quickly communicated with Torres’ family and asked to be paid 1.5 bitcoin to release him, according to local media. However, his family was not able to gather the funds, and in communications with the kidnappers, managed to lower the ransom to 0.5 bitcoin.

Still, this was tragically a sum too hefty for his family to acquire, who only managed to gather 0.062 bitcoin ($2,750). Torres’ corpse was later discovered with six gunshot wounds on a local highway on August 11.

No Apparent Relation With Crypto

While the kidnappers explicitly stated they would only take the ransom money in bitcoin, Torres had no apparent relation with cryptocurrencies. He was the owner of a local ISP internet company in the area, called Tutonet Investments. However, it is unclear if the Venezuelan citizen had any relationship with cryptocurrency mining operations, or if he accepted payments in cryptocurrency for his services.

The popularity of cryptocurrency in the country has caused an increase in scams and crime using these new assets. Cryptocurrencies, due to their innovative design, can sometimes be more difficult to track than money moved via traditional fiat avenues. Still, statistics show that the overwhelming majority of crimes are still conducted by way of fiat money, and not cryptocurrencies.

This is not the first time that a crime like this has happened. William Creighton, founder of an online gambling site called 5Dimes, was also kidnapped in Costa Rica in September 2018. Kidnappers asked for a ransom of $5 million dollars paid in bitcoin, but his family could only pay $1 million. His body was found in a nearby cemetery one year later, buried beneath a nameless tombstone.

What are your thoughts on this tragic story? Should bitcoin be blamed for violent crimes such as this one? Tell us in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

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Record Crypto Inflows of $1.47B Last Week Boosted by Bitcoin ETFs

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Record Crypto Inflows of $1.47B Last Week Boosted by Bitcoin ETFs

Cryptocurrency investment products and funds saw record inflows from investors last week, according to the latest CoinShares data.

During the tenth straight week of crypto inflows last week, digital asset investment products saw inflows amounting to $1.47 billion, a new record by a significant margin. According to the weekly report from CoinShares, this is more than double the previous record of $640 million set earlier this year in February. Over the course of the week, total assets under management peaked at a new record of $79.2 billion, but finished the week at $76.7 billion. Year-to-date inflows now amount to $8 billion, far exceeding that of $6.7 billion in 2020.

The majority of inflows went to Bitcoin, amounting to $1.45 billion, while Ethereum saw outflows for a third consecutive week totaling $1.4 million. Altcoins Solana, Cardano and Binance also saw significant inflows at $8.1 million, $5.3 million and $1.8 million respectively.

Boosted by Bitcoin ETF approval

CoinShares attributes the outsized demand to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approving the first Bitcoin-based exchange traded funds (ETFs). This enabled the listing of two such Bitcoin investment products, whose inflows totaled $1.24 billion. This also contributed to Bitcoin achieving a new all-time high of over $67,000 last week.

“Bitcoin hitting new all-time highs shows both how far we’ve come and the capacity bitcoin has to upend the financial system and create a global economy, linking the developed and emerging markets like never before,” said co-founder and CEO of Paxful Ray Youssef. “While this recent price rally can be attributed to movements like the approval of the first bitcoin ETF for institutional investors, we can’t ignore the impact of significant development and adoption in emerging markets.”

After its debut, the ProShares Bitcoin-futures-based ETF became the second-highest traded fund in history, attracting a staggering 24 million shares. It proved so successful that it was already approaching the limit on the number of futures contracts permitted by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. However, following this act proved difficult as Valkyrie’s Bitcoin futures-based ETF opened at $25, but only fell from there.

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South Korean pension fund to invest in Bitcoin ETF: Report

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South Korean pension fund to invest in Bitcoin ETF: Report

KTCU plans to invest in Bitcoin ETF products after consultation with domestic asset managers,” an executive reportedly said.

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South Korean pension fund to invest in Bitcoin ETF: Report

South Korea’s public pension fund, the Korean Teachers’ Credit Union (KTCU), is reportedly looking to gain exposure to Bitcoin (BTC) via a crypto exchange-traded fund (ETF).

KTCU, one of the largest institutional investors in South Korea, is considering investing in a pure Bitcoin ETF or Bitcoin-linked ETFs in the first half of 2022, local news agency The Korea Economic Daily reported Monday.

According to the report, KTCU is considering investing in several Bitcoin ETF products, including those by South Korean asset management firm Mirae Asset Global Investments. The company launched two ETFs tracking the value of Bitcoin futures via its Canadian subsidiary, Horizons ETFs, in April 2021.

“As there are some well-made cryptocurrency-linked ETF products by asset managers such as Korea’s Mirae Asset Global Investments, we plan to invest in the ETF products after consultation with domestic asset managers,” an executive at KTCU reportedly said.

The official also mentioned potential investment in a Bitcoin ETF by Mirae Asset’s subsidiary, Global X ETFs, which filed for a Bitcoin ETF with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission in July.

According to the report, KTCU is the second-largest institutional investor in South Korea, with $40.2 billion in assets under management. The pension fund has allocated 40% of its investments in alternative assets, 10% domestic and 9% international stocks. KTCU has yet to determine the size and other details of its potential Bitcoin ETF investment.

Related: Why now? SEC took eight years to authorize a Bitcoin ETF in the US

The news comes amid global pension funds getting increasingly interested in gaining exposure to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and major companies in the industry. Last week, the Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund reportedly purchased $25 million in Bitcoin and Ether (ETH). Canada’s Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board participated in a $420-million funding round for major crypto exchange FTX, the firm announced on Thursday.

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Dubai regulator announces new regulations for investment tokens

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Dubai regulator announces new regulations for investment tokens

The UAE continues to be one of the friendliest jurisdictions worldwide for the digital asset industry.

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Dubai regulator announces new regulations for investment tokens

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has established a regulatory framework for investment tokens as part of its efforts to stimulate the digital financial and technological environment while also meeting market players’ demands and requirements.

The DFSA is an independent regulatory body in Dubai that is in charge of monitoring and regulating financial services companies wanting to operate in the city. It also licenses and regulates its products and services.

According to a report by Emirati news agency WAM, the DFSA’s regulatory framework defines investment tokens as either “a Security Token or Derivative Token.”

The report notes that the creation of a new regulatory structure is the first step in the DFSA’s Digital Assets Regime, which reflects the suggestions made in Consultation Paper 138 published in March 2021. The consultation paper sought public input on the DFSA’s plans for regulating security Tokens. 

As reported by Cointelegraph in March, the financial regulator in Dubai called on members of the public to submit comments on its proposed rules for cryptocurrencies considered to be security tokens.

The investment token framework is designed to safeguard investors and provide legal certainty for market operators. 

Related: UAE regulators approve crypto trading in Dubai free zone

It specifies the sort of investment tokens that are permitted and which may be listed on a Digital Asset Exchange in the Dubai International Financial Centre, as well as other pertinent information.

The DFSA is also working on plans for unlisted securities not covered by the investment tokens regulatory framework. These are anticipated to include cryptocurrencies, utility tokens and certain stablecoins. The DFSA is expected to publish a follow-up consultation paper in the fourth quarter of this year.

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