The FinTech Crypto Briefing: Lord Sugar slams Bitcoin scam


Revolut brings cryptos to the mainstream

In what I can only describe as a massive victory for cryptocurrency enthusiasts everywhere, FinTech unicorn Revolut has decided to add Bitcoin Cash and XRP (otherwise known as Ripple) to its app.

Revolut’s 1.8 million users have been able to trade virtual currencies through the start-up’s app since last December – but the company has now thrown its weight behind these two emerging currencies.

The London-based company implied that the decision was a no-brainer and came after “overwhelming demand” from its community.

At a time when the future of cryptocurrencies is being questioned, I think this move is a real vote of confidence for the sector.

→ READ MORE: Revolut adds new cryptos after ‘overwhelming demand’

What are you playing at?

The appeal of digital currencies is the lack of centralised control or regulation – so I was more than a little surprised to hear that the US Justice Department had opened a criminal investigation into whether traders are manipulating the price of Bitcoin and other digital currencies.

The probe apparently surrounds the practice of spoofing – where an investor places orders that are intended to manipulate the price of an instrument – and flooding the market with fake orders.

Of course, these forms of cheating have existed for a long time but it looks like cryptocurrency’s lack of regulation and monitoring could be giving old scams a new place to thrive.

For anyone who follows the price of Bitcoin as obsessively as I do, you’ll have noticed that it’s struggled to stay above the $8,000 mark in recent weeks.

Needless to say that news of a criminal probe certainly didn’t help matters.

The rise of fraudulent ICOs

There’s no denying that the number of initial coin offerings (ICOs) has skyrocketed in the past two years, presenting an exciting new way for blockchain companies to raise capital.

But with that surge in popularity comes a growing risk of fraud.

The Wall Street Journal recently found that around one in five ICOs raised red flags including plagiarised investor documents or promises of guaranteed returns.

Even cryptocurrency critics find it difficult to dismiss the significance of blockchain technology, which has the potential to disrupt almost every sector imaginable.

One thing’s for sure: it’s more important than ever that the general public be made aware about the risks of fraudulent cryptocurrencies and ICOs.

→ READ MORE: What can we learn from the US government’s ‘ICO scam’?

Don’t Sugar coat it

Fake adverts claiming that Lord Alan Sugar is leaving The Apprentice after creating a new Bitcoin trading platform have left him understandably frustrated.

The business magnate is just one of many well-known figures whose names are being used by fraudsters to lure people into investment scams.

The fake ads are claiming that the businessman has invested in and helped to create a new ground-breaking programme called Bitcoin Trader, which of course is not true.

Lord Sugar warned his Twitter followers about the scam and said his lawyers are on the case.

Kidnappers demand ransom in Bitcoin

A South African gang that kidnapped a 13-year-old boy from a playground have demanded a ransom in Bitcoin.

The teenager was abducted on Sunday in the town of Witbank in the eastern province of Mpumalanga while he was playing with two friends near his home. 

Police said the ransom note, which was left at the scene, demanded to be paid 15 Bitcoins.

A police official was quoted by local media as saying the boy’s parents were “going through trauma” and that they “don’t even know what this Bitcoin is”.

The Ripple effect of generosity

Actor Ashton Kutcher surprised Ellen DeGeneres this week when he donated $4m worth of XRP (Ripple) to the US talk show host’s wildlife charity.

Kutcher surprised DeGeneres with the donation, on behalf of Ripple, live on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ on NBC.

The actor joked that such a large donation would typically be accompanied by a “big, giant cheque” but instead had DeGeneres push a button on his phone that transferred the cryptocurrency to the charity instantly.

Ripple’s XRP coin is currently the third most-valuable cryptocurrency on the market, behind Bitcoin and Ethereum.

World’s first crypto sculpture

As a way of educating the general public about the world of cryptocurrency, Swiss company Eidoo has commissioned the world’s first cryptocurrency sculpture to appear in London.

Eidoo, an established ICO platform and a multi-currency wallet, collaborated with renowned contemporary artist Federico Clapis to create the three-metre bronze statue.

The company says the project has been deemed one of the most ambitious marketing campaigns in the world.

The bronze sculpture will be unveiled at 4.30pm on 15th June at Observation Point on London’s Southbank, with the general public invites to attend and share their thoughts on the rise of cryptocurrencies using the hashtags #cryptoconnection #eidoo and #cryptobaby.

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