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A Familiar Tale as Bitcoin Extortionists Target German Bank’s Customers

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Bitcoin extortionists have hacked a high-end European bank several days ago, and now blackmailing its customers. Valartis, a Chinese-owned bank in Lichtenstein, has reportedly been hacked by unknown extortionists, according to the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

The hackers are demanding Valartis’ customers 10% of their life savings, paid in Bitcoin so they can  protect their anonymity. If they do not comply by the 7th of December, the hackers will reportedly release all of their account details. These will then be sent to finance authorities and the media.

According to Chief Financial Officer Fond Chi Wah, the bank did not know of any money losses and that customers who might have been affected were informed. He said in a statement:

The attacker did not obtain details of the account statement or asset data

The bank has recently sold a majority stake to CityChamp Watch & Jewellrey Group Ltd., a Hong-Kong holding company. The hackers obtained unauthorized access to the banks e-banking system, which therefore allowed them to obtain information on payment orders.

High Net worth Individuals among the Blackmailed

Valartis Banks’ customers include a lot of high net worth individuals, including German politicians and actors. 10% of their lifetime savings would amount to a lot of Bitcoins.

According to The Register, three letters written in German disclosed by Bild am Sonntag claim several gigabytes worth of account information have been taken since October. These letters threaten the victims with revealing evidence of alleged tax evasion.

The attackers have reportedly chosen the bank in Lichtenstein, squeezed in between Austria and Switzerland, because it refused to pay them for their security services. As a result, they resorted to extortion tactics in order to get paid.

The bitcoin addresses the bitcoin extortionists wanted the ransoms to go to were blocked by Bild. Hence, it’s for now impossible to tell if any ransom has been paid or not.

Image from Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.8 stars on average, based on 4 rated postsCryptocurrency enthusiast, writing about financial freedom and the future of money




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Update: Bitcoin Price Spikes 8% in One Hour as Momentum Builds

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The bitcoin price spiked on Tuesday shortly after Hacked predicted a possible bullish breakout for the world’s largest cryptocurrency.

BTC/USD Price Update

Bitcoin is up 10% over the last 24 hours, including an 8% spike between 13:39 UTC and 14:24 UTC. According to CCN, the currency peaked at $7,483, its highest in five weeks.

The bitcoin price would later consolidate around $7,340 for a total market capitalization of $126 billion.

Just a few hours earlier, Hacked predicted that an imminent breakout was likely after prices breached the 20-day and 50-day moving averages. At the time, the Relative Strength Index (RSI) was in the mid-60s, which confirmed the bullish pattern.

Crypto Market Rallies

In typical fashion, the broader cryptocurrency market followed bitcoin’s upward trajectory, with the majors reporting 24-hour gains of between 6% and 9%. The total cryptocurrency market is now valued at $292 billion, the highest since June 12.

Trade volumes have also spiked, reaching $17 billion over the past 24 hours. That too is the highest level since late June.

As Hacked previously reported, cryptocurrencies are being propelled higher on speculation that major institutions are planning to enter the blockchain arena.

On Monday, it was also reported that Coinbase received regulatory approval to start listing so-called security tokens, becoming the first U.S.-regulated platform to do so. The approval was granted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which felt that Coinbase’s strategic acquisition of three companies was enough to open regulatory pathways to securities listings.

The acquisitions included Keystone Capital Corp., Venovate Marketplace Inc. and Digital Wealth.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 498 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Frenzy to Get Bitcoin ETF Listed Is Clogging Up the SEC’s Email

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The Securities and Exchange Commission is apparently fielding a tidal wave of messages from crypto-currency enthusiasts after an exchange recently sought approval to list a Bitcoin ETF.

It has been three weeks since the SEC first asked for feedback on Cboe Global Markets Inc.’s request to change its listing rules and allow a crypto exchange-traded fund.

Since then, more than 90 individuals have submitted comments. That’s 10 times the number of responses the SEC previously received when it asked for opinions on another Bitcoin ETF listing back in April. It is apparent that the appetite for such a product is far higher then before.

The over-enthusiasm of the blockchain community is also spilling over into other areas of regulation. For instance, out of 19 of 21 comments left on the agency’s potential ETF rule change are desperately begging for the Bitcoin fund. Furthermore, the actual proposal for the ETF doesn’t mention Bitcoin, crypto or blockchain on any of its 286 pages whatsoever.

The SEC has spent much of the last 12 months preoccupied with damping attempts to bring a Bitcoin ETF to market.

After the currency’s precipitous climb to more than $18,000 last year, the commission in would-be issuers to withdraw their applications until asset managers could reliably answer a series of questions on custody, liquidity, market manipulation, valuation, and arbitrage. Bitcoin has since fallen to around $6,600, although it was rallying all of yesterday.

Although there were many alternately entertaining and informative comments, the commenter who best summed up the fervor of crypto left his comment under the pseudonym, “Noah’s Ark of Crypto.”

He said, “To all the Peter’s Bob’s, Linda’s and Nancy’s reviewing this bill, this all comes down to one thing: Innovation. Do you want to be at the forefront of historical financial technology or do you want to be left behind as the plebs of the western world?”

Brutal. But potentially warranted.

A more serious take was left by an analyst ostensibly employed by analyst firm Ernst Young. The commenter wrote, “Creating regulations for crypto ETF’s allows for certainty and reliability to emerge in a market that desperately needs it.

As the rise of crypto use-cases becomes more prolific it is of the utmost importance to the crypto community, as well as in the best interest of the United States financial system at large, to engage in drafting regulations to mitigate fraud, corruption, and dubious practices.

The SEC, coupled with other levers of regulation such as FINRA, hold the largest opportunity to propel cryptocurrency to new all-time highs by shoring up uncertainty in the market. Please don’t squander this opportunity. Thank you.”

Both comments seem to share the assessment that if the SEC does not relax its oppositional stance the only losers will be the United States relative to other countries.

Since this new filing was released for comment, the SEC has also postponed a decision on another prospective Bitcoin-related listing change until later this September.

Both requests were made by Cboe, which has repeatedly urged the SEC to consider approving crypto ETFs. It will be interesting to observe if the SEC has changed its mind and/or will bow to public pressure.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Bitcoin Price Rally Shows Promise After Technical Breakthrough

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Bitcoin is eyeing a potentially bigger breakout this week after prices crossed the 20-day and 50-day moving averages, signaling renewed momentum for the largest cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin Price Levels

The bitcoin price touched a new intraday high of $6,761 on Tuesday, as trading volumes topped $4.9 billion for the first time since July 6. More importantly, the recent uptrend pushed prices above their short-term moving averages. The 50-day MA was breached for the first time since May.

Relative strength has also shot up into bullish territory, with values rising above 60, according to Barchart data.

Bitcoin attempted a similar breakout last weekend but was eventually pushed back to the $6,100-$6,200 region as part of a market-wide breakdown that came to a head on July 12. However, BTC/USD continued to defend $6,000, a sign that the market had put a firm bottom on prices.

With a short-term bottom established, prices may be poised for a re-test of the July 8 high of $6,886. From there, the psychologically significant $7,000 comes in play.

Crypto Market Consolidates

The broader cryptocurrency market continued to show poise Tuesday as the majors continued to trade near weekly highs. As Hacked reported earlier, the cryptocurrency market cap swelled more than $20 billion at the start of the week amid reports that BlackRock is exploring a potential entry into the blockchain arena.

Positive news has kept coming after IBM confirmed it is working on a new stablecoin project to help banks streamline international payments.

Bitmain, China’s largest bitcoin mining manufacturer, was also in the headlines after announcing a stake in Block.one, the parent company behind EOS. CCN also reported Tuesday that Bitmain has set up a 20,000 square-foot facility in Silicon Valley ahead of its planned initial public offering (IPO) later this year.

Last month, the company concluded a successful $400 million funding round, which catapulted it to the top of the global blockchain ranks.

As Hacked previously reported, the cryptocurrency market has largely discounted the wave of positive developments taking place over the past three months, a sign that regulatory scrutiny was keeping investors on the sidelines. Trading activity at the start of the week suggests more capital is flowing into the market, though the absence of new traders is generally reflected in overall trade volumes.

That said, 24-hour trade volumes crossed $15 billion on Monday for the first time in over a week.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 498 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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