CG Pulse Ep. 99

The CoinGeek Pulse Episode 99: Tornado Cash sanctioned, Hodlnaut halts withdrawals, NFTs on Instagram

The U.S. Treasury sanctions digital currency mixer Tornado Cash over allegedly laundering more than US$7 billion since 2019.

On August 8, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said that cybercriminals regularly used Tornado Cash to launder money. According to OFAC, the total amount laundered through the mixer includes US$455 million, which was allegedly taken by North Korea-backed hackers Lazarus Group. This was followed by US$96 million worth of funds from June’s heist of Harmony Bridge and at least nearly US$8 million from last week’s Nomad attack.

Brian E. Nelson, Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said Tornado Cash has repeatedly failed to impose effective controls designed to stop it from laundering funds for malicious cyber actors on a regular basis. He added that it also failed to impose basic measures to address its risks. The United States Treasury is the latest government agency to attempt to prevent illicit activities in the digital assets space.

Across the globe, nearly 13,000 social media accounts were shut down for promoting digital assets investments in China. 

On August 9, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) announced they took down social media accounts and websites to suppress illegal activities related to digital currency investment promotion. Based on the tips from other social media users, the CAC deleted 989 microblogs and over 50,000 posts, as well as reportedly shutting down more than 100 websites.

In Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued another warning against the dangers of dealing with digital currency. The regulator confirmed that it is taking back its initial ‘in-principle’ approval for digital currency lender Hodlnaut. The warning comes after Hodlnaut announced on Monday that they are stopping customer withdrawals. The lender aims to obtain a license for its token services under the Payment Services Act 2019.

In a media statement, MAS said they had been repeatedly reminding the public of the risks and hazards of dealing with digital currencies. “Not only are the values of cryptocurrencies extremely volatile, customers’ monies are not protected under the law,” according to a MAS spokesperson in relation to Hodlnaut’s halting of customers’ withdrawal.

In other news, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are now supported on Meta’s (NASDAQ: META) Instagram in more than a hundred countries. Mark Zuckerberg, META’s CEO, announced that the company had expanded its NFT support to over 100 countries within Asia-Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, and America.

This means that users in this region are now able to share their NFTs on Instagram—in the feed, in stories, and even in messages. The feature also allows users to connect to a digital currency wallet.

And before you go, check out the latest episode of the Blockchain Beat at the recent Global IoT Summit Dublin 2022 with Becky Liggero Fontana. Plus, watch Patrick Thompson and Tal Elyashiv from SPiCE VC talk about investing in blockchain companies at More than Money.

Watch these videos on the CoinGeek YouTube Channel.

Watch: More Than Money Ep. 12 with SPiCE VC’s Tal Elyashiv

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

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