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Crypto-Criminals on a rampage, capitalizing on COVID-19 Pandemic

This year has one of the ugliest incidences of crypto-related crimes recorded in the crypto industry.

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Bitcoin robbers move 3503 BTC worth $38.5 million, Twitter cyber hackers gained $100,000 worth of cryptos, SEC warns against illegal cryptocurrency operator and its products, Crypto-Criminals on a rampage, capitalizing on COVID-19 Pandemic

The dark side of the crypto-industry appears to be on the rise, as revealed in a report recently released by a digital-asset intelligence firm, CipherTrace.

The value of funds stolen through crypto-related crimes over the first five months in 2020, stood at $1.4 billion, thereby making this year one with the ugliest incidences of crypto-related crimes recorded in the crypto industry.

How Crypto-Criminals are taking advantage: Crypto-Criminals appear to take advantage of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to hit at unsuspecting victims by deceiving them with different methods of crypto-related crimes such as ransomware darknet marketplace fraud, and phishing campaigns.

John Jefferies, the chief financial analyst, and marketing officer at CipherTrace, stated in detail that the largest contributor to crypto crime in 2020 has been Wotoken’s alleged billion-dollar Ponzi scheme that emerged from China. He said:

“Retail investors should be wary of any company that uses hyperbolic statements and promises of extraordinary returns to lure them into participating.  

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“If WoToken had been required by regulatory agencies to provide detailed investment prospectus and audited financial statements, they wouldn’t have been able to launch their scheme and fool more than 700,000 victims.  

“Many VASPs have dramatically improved their security posture, making it harder for hackers to steal from the platforms themselves.” 

(READ MORE: U.S regulator invites Banking and Crypto industry leaders for partnership)

Crypto-Criminals on a rampage, capitalizing on COVID-19 Pandemic

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The co-founder and chief information officer of CoinFirm, a blockchain analytics company, Pawel Aleksander, told Cointelegraph that the volume of crypto crimes within Q1 2020 seems closer to the $2 billion mark, highlighting:

“Knowing the amounts related to the various frauds happening as a whole has its importance but the most important aspect is addressing how to solve them and providing entities with the tools and solutions to do so.” 

Pawel Aleksander stated that despite efforts by social media companies to clamp down and limit fraudulent schemes, there are still many challenges facing the crypto world in tackling the menace successfully.

“This can happen by achieving synergy between AML, fraud investigations, and an open data ecosystem that takes the security of crypto financial markets to a level never seen before or even thought possible in traditional finance.” 

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(READ MORE:Bitcoin loses $1500 in 3 mins, pigs get slaughtered in BTC market)

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Crypto-Criminals on a rampage, capitalizing on COVID-19 Pandemic

John Jefferies, the chief financial analyst, and marketing officer at CipherTrace explained why the surge of criminal activities is on the rise in the crypto space, as criminals use certain advantages crypto-assets offer. He said:

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“Even in spite of the growing availability of privacy coins like Monero and Zcash, criminals continue to use Bitcoin because of the abundance of Bitcoin-to-fiat off-ramps. Banks and money service businesses should pay attention to high-risk transactions originating from BATMs that lack proper AML compliance.” 

“The reality is that criminal use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is very low; less than 0.2% of the funds accepted by exchanges are directly from criminal sources,” John Jefferies added.

 

Olumide Adesina is a France-born Nigerian. He is a Certified Investment Trader, with more than 15 years of working expertise in Investment trading. Follow Olumide on Twitter @tokunboadesina or email [email protected] He is a Member of the Chartered Financial Analyst Society.

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Coronavirus

Combined Vaccine Manufacturing capacity to hit 6.8 billion doses in 2021

COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing capacity is expected to hit 6.8 billion doses in 2021.

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Covid-19: First world nations oppose waiving intellectual rights for vaccine development

Meristem Group disclosed that the combined effort in manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines for global use is expected to yield about 6.8 billion doses in 2021.

This was revealed in the Annual Outlook 2021 report presented by Meristem Group, titled Bracing for a different future.”

According to the report, the existing manufacturing capacity will only be sufficient enough to immunize about 44% of the global population, which would create obvious vaccination gap and make the pandemic last longer than necessary.

The report states,

  • The cold temperature requirements for vaccine storage pose major logistics concern particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and other low-income countries. WHO estimates that about 50% of vaccines are wasted every year, largely due to a lack of temperature control.”

According to the report, the estimated 6.8billion doses are expected to be collaboratively manufactured as follows:  CanSino – 0.2billion, AstraZeneca – 3.0 billion, Gamaleya – 0.3billion, Moderna – 0.4billion, Pfizer-BioNtech – 1.3billion, SinoPharm – 1billion, and SinoVac – 0.6billion.

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What you should know

  • The global population as of 2020 is 7.8billion and 70% is required to achieve herd immunity (otherwise called herd protection)
  • Herd Immunity or herd protection is achieved when you have most of the population immunized against an infectious disease.
  • 2 doses of the vaccines are required for each person for immunity.
  • It is expected that between 11 and 15 billion doses would be required to achieve the desired herd immunity, globally.
  • From all indications, herd immunity may not be achieved until mid or late 2022, with the subsisting 100% vaccine production capacity utilization in 2021 – with neither production nor distribution losses.
  • To achieve regulatory approval, a vaccine must undergo a three-stage clinical development process after the exploratory and pre-clinical stages and the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets a phase 3 efficacy benchmark of 50%.

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Coronavirus

Covid-19: Global deaths surpass 2 million

Global casualty record for the Covid-19 pandemic surpassed 2 million deaths on Friday.

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Nigeria blows past 40,000 COVID-19 cases

The Global casualty record for the Covid-19 pandemic surpassed 2 million deaths on Friday, with the United States accounting for 1 in every 5 deaths, as it has recorded over 386,000 casualties so far.

This was disclosed in a report by Reuters in its Covid-19 tally reported on Friday evening.

After the United States, Brazil, Mexico, India and the U.K contribute nearly 50% of the combined casualties.

The report also disclosed that an average of 11,900 casualties are recorded per day in year 2021, despite the fact that it took 9 months for the world to record 1 million casualties.

United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said the 2 million death count was “a heart-wrenching milestone.”

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  • “Behind this staggering number are names and faces: the smile now only a memory, the seat forever empty at the dinner table, the room that echoes with the silence of a loved one,” he added.

The WHO warned that 2021 could be tougher due to the nature of new variants which transmit the disease faster.

  • “We are going into a second year of this. It could even be tougher given the transmission dynamics and some of the issues that we are seeing,” WHO Chief, Mike Ryan, said.

Analysts expect the global death toll to surpass 3 million by April 2021.

What you should know 

  • Nairametrics reported that the total number of covid-19 cases in Nigeria had surpassed the 100,000 mark on Sunday 10th January 2021, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
  • The African Union stated that it secured 270 million Covid-19 vaccine doses for the continent from drug manufacturers to supplement the COVAX programme, a step towards the commencement of the complex task of vaccinating over 1.2 billion people with limited financial resources.
  • The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on Friday 15th January 2021, announced that 1,867 new cases of the covid-19 virus were recorded across 24 states in the country. This represents the highest number of cases recorded in a single day.

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Coronavirus

Nigeria records highest number of daily covid-19 cases

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control announced that 1,867 new cases of the covid-19 was recorded on Friday

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CBN, THE SILVER LININGS OF COVID-19

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on Friday 15th January 2021,  announced that 1,867 new cases of the covid-19 virus were recorded across 24 states in the country.

This represents the highest number of cases recorded in a single day. It also represents a 26.23% surge compared to 1,479 cases recorded on Thursday, 14th January 2021.

According to the NCDC, the cases were recorded across 24 states, with Lagos State recording the highest with 713 new cases, representing 38.2% of the total daily cases.

Others include: Plateau (273), FCT (199), Kaduna (117), Oyo (79), Enugu (58), Ondo (53), Kano (49), Sokoto (43), Ogun (37), Osun (37), Nasarawa (36), Rivers (28), Benue (24), Delta (24), Niger (24), Gombe (18), Edo (15), Taraba (12), Bayelsa (10), Ekiti (9), Borno (6), Zamfara (2), Jigawa (1).

The latest figure brings the total number of cases to date to 107,345 and 1,413 recorded deaths. A total of 84,535 patients have been discharged so far, while 21,397 patients are still on admission.

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What you should know

  • A total of 19,766 cases of the disease has been recorded in 2021, compared to 19,980 cases recorded in December 2020.
  • As of today, Nigeria records a fatality rate of 13.2 deaths per 1000 cases. This means that for every 1000 positive cases of covid-19 in Nigeria, 13 people died.
  • Meanwhile, the African Union stated that it secured 270 million Covid-19 vaccine doses for the continent from drug manufacturers to supplement the COVAX programme, a step towards the commencement of the complex task of vaccinating over 1.2 billion people with limited financial resources.

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