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Europol Cites Bitcoin, Darknet as Enhancing Cybercrime

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Cryptocurrencies, specifically Bitcoin, remain the currency of choice for much of cybercrime, Europol’s Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA) 2016 report says, adding that whether it is used as payment for criminal services or for receiving payments from extortion victims. Even so, key members of the Bitcoin community, such as exchangers, are increasingly finding themselves the victim of cyber-criminals.

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The report, which the Director of Europol, Rob Wainwright, says provides a predominantly law enforcement focused assessment of the key developments, changes and emerging threats in the field of cybercrime over the last year, is based on valuable contributions by EU Member States and the expert input of Europol staff, which has been further enhanced and combined with input from our partners in private industry, the financial sector and academia.

It states:

For criminal to criminal (C2C) payments, payment systems which ensure that both parties can maintain a high level of anonymity are preferred, with Bitcoin being the payment system of choice for many C2C transactions. Bitcoin has also become the standard solution for extortion payments, whether as a consequence of ransomware or DDoS attacks.

It also added that a variety of new and innovative modi operandi have been discovered which combine existing approaches, exploiting new technology or identifying new targets. This, it says, is evident in the proliferation and evolution of malware attacks directly against ATMs, indications of compromised payments involving contactless (NFC) cards and the recent attacks against the SWIFT system are examples of this development.

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Citing the growing misuse of legitimate anonymity and encryption services and tools for illegal purposes as posing a serious impediment to detection, investigation and prosecution, thereby creating a high level of threat cutting across all crime areas, the report says this creates a dichotomy of value, particularly for law enforcement since strong encryption is highly important to e-commerce and other cyberspace activity and adequate security depends on police having the ability to investigate criminal activity.

The use of end-to-end encrypted platforms for sharing media, coupled with the use of largely anonymous payment systems, is facilitating an escalation in the live streaming of child abuse as offenders target regions where there are high levels of poverty, limited domestic child protection measures and easy access to children.

Darknet

The Darknet is also increasingly becoming host to criminal forums and marketplaces usually operated in the open or Deep Web  to capitalize on its anonymity and availability of criminal tools which have made resourceful for terrorists’ use.

Even though law enforcement is not reporting a significant trend on this matter, the report says, certain investigations on the aftermath of some attacks indicate that terrorists are aware of the potential of this environment, namely to communicate undetected by law enforcement or to purchase illegal materials.

As a result, there is an increased demand for weapons that is fuelled by online markets where it is not difficult to purchase either gun parts or modified guns, demonstrating once again how online criminality is fuelling serious real world crime, such as terrorist attacks.

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Technical Analysis: Bitcoin Dumps and Pumps amid Broad Volatile Correction

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The crypto segment has been in turmoil today, as the most valuable coins turned significantly lower, leading to a mini-panic, but they rallied strongly off their slows as buyers stepped in the second half of the session.

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Bitcoin fell as low as $5100, for a 15% correction top-to-bottom, but it is now trading near the prior short-term support at $5400. As the long-term picture remains overbought, investors shouldn’t open new positions here, but traders could play a likely move towards the $6000 level, although we still advise small sizes, as correction risks remain elevated.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

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The other majors were also declining in early trading, led by Ripple, with only NEO and IOTA, holding up well during the sell-off.  Both of the latter coins faded away as the rest of the market recovered, but Ripple continued to suffer. For now, the long-term bullish picture is unchanged for the segment, but BTC’s overbought correction could still cause volatility in the coming period. Let’s see the short-term charts after the busy session.

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Bitcoin

Money Leads to More Money – Power to More Power

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Every 5 years the Central People’s Government of China has a grand political event to reshuffle the distribution of power in the world’s most populated country.

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In today’s 19th National Congress the most powerful man in the world just became even more powerful. President Xi delivered an eloquent three hour speech stressing the importance of globalization and China’s role of leadership going into the future.

The reaction from financial markets in Asia was rather muted given the recent gains in global markets.

@MatiGreenspan
eToro, Senior Market Analyst

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Please note: All data, figures & graphs are valid as of October 18th. All trading carries risk. Only risk capital you can afford to lose.

Market Overview

A brand new record high for the Dow Jones and a huge milestone of 23,000 points. The index is now up approximately 25% since Donald Trump was elected last November!!

Though Donald Trump might make a comment or tweet on this fact later today the rally may not be entirely Trump related.

Correlation does not equal causation!!

The Trump election did indeed wake the markets from a deep slumber that it was in with little movement between 2014 and 2016. However, if we zoom out and take a look, we’ll see that since the bottom of the market after the crash of 2008 we’re up 228%.

Many analysts agree that earnings ratios are at their peak yet investor sentiment remains extremely bullish on stocks.

Why are stocks going up?

The reasons are simple. First, there’s still plenty of cash ready for investment left over from the central bank injections over the past decade. Rates for borrowing money are still very cheap, which allows investment firms to borrow money easily and put it in the stocks.

Furthermore, any portfolio manager currently sitting on the sidelines is getting squashed. Try explaining to your clients that you missed out on a 25% rally because you think the markets are overvalued and watch them leave and go to a competitor.

This circle can indeed go on for a while as money does have a tendency to lead to more money.

In this cycle particularly, due to the ample assistance from the central banks, I’m not even certain that historic PE ratios are even a factor.

Bitcoin Volumes

The Crypto Market is pulling back a bit. After the incredible highs we saw over the weekend it only makes sense.

Specifically regarding bitcoin, we need to understand where the excitement and the action are coming from. Sure, many people are fed up with government backed money and I do believe that the financial revolution is well underway. But besides grandiose ideology, there is one country that stands above the rest as far as bitcoin adoption.

According to an article in bitcoin.com 60% of all volume on bitcoin is coming from Japan, with an additional 25% coming from the USA and 9% from South Korea.

Well, that makes sense. After legalizing bitcoin as a currency in April, Japanese vendors and businesses are adopting it at an incredible rate.

We continue to watch other interesting countries that seem to be on the verge of this type of adoption particularly Russia, Australia, and hopefully someday soon, India.

Many thanks to a local band that I’m fond of for the title of today’s update. And many thanks to everyone who continues to send me your comments, feedback, and relevant articles. Keep tagging me!!

This content is provided for information and educational purposes only and should not be considered to be investment advice or recommendation.
The outlook presented is a personal opinion of the analyst and does not represent an official position of eToro.

Past performance is not an indication of future results. All trading involves risk; only risk capital you are prepared to lose.

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Technical Analysis: NEO Jumps as Broad Markets Turns Lower

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As the new waves of regulatory changes keep on hitting the segment, the major cryptocurrencies are mostly lower today. After the major update of Ethereum, and the recent surge in the price of Bitcoin, choppy conditions developed, with no clear short-term trend in most of the coins.

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NEO is the best performing major today, as it surged back to the $30 level after a frustrating period that was dominated by a downward drift.  The coin is now just below the key resistance level, and it could be ready to test the $34 level, with a further target found at $40. The long-term picture still looks positive, with strong support levels at $27 and $25.

NEO/USDT, Daily Chart Analysis

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Ethereum is in a consolidation after the encouraging rally towards the end of last week, while Bitcoin is also correction after its stellar rise. The two largest coins pulled the rest of the majors lower, while Ripple remained very volatile after touching the $0.30 level yesterday, trading below the $0.26 again.

Litecoin, Dash, Monero, and IOTA are all a bit lower today, while Ethereum Classic found some relative strength, although it remains stuck in a declining short-term trend. All in all, the segment is still in a clear uptrend, so let’s see which coins are the most promising regarding the short-term picture.

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