European Cartel Busted Laundering Cash via Ancient Silk Road

One of the world’s largest criminal organizations is an old Irish band of gangsters known as the Kinahan Clan to some, the Kinahan Cartel to others and the Kinahan Organized Crime Group to those who want to prosecute them. The Kinahan Clan was founded by notorious drug dealer, money launderer and all around bad guy, Christy ‘the dapper Don’ Kinahan in the 1980s. He has since handed the reins to his son, Daniel Kinahan, who acts like your average, modern day cartel in that he runs a multinational drug operation that partners with other known Cartels from other countries in order to funnel up to a third of the cocaine into Europe.

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New DeFi Crypto Crimes & Exploits

Writing about the emerging world of decentralized finance (DeFi), with a focus on money laundering and fraud, is sort of like trick or treating. Each house (or in my case each passing week) offers more candy, or in my case news related to my chosen beat. Each week the DeFi market news reveals increasing levels of financial thuggery related to the millions of dollars (USD) worth of crypto assets being stolen from crypto exchanges, and the myriad rug pulls that are taking place in the NFT world. Because of this revolving door of financial thuggery, money laundering activity has skyrocketed in the last few years.

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Money Laundering Probe of Binace CEO? Just Another Day in DeFi

Changpeng Zhao, the founder and CEO of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, is under investigation for violating the Bank Secrecy Act. What does that mean? It means the company failed to implement programs that detect and prevent money laundering (AML), and never took the steps towards providing the government with the customer information (KYC) the Bank Secrecy Act requires. Sounds pretty serious, right? Well, based on the fact that the world of decentralized finance (DeFi) has ushered in, The Golden Age of Money Laundering, I would label this investigation just another day in the world of DeFi.

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Tinder’s Catfishing Craze Continues to Produce Money Laundering Mules

Catfishing, as a term, is not a hot and new strategy to score dates or romance on popular dating apps like Tinder, Bumble or Hinge. Could you imagine?

Rather, catfishing is a term that describes what happens when (mostly) middle aged and newly divorced adults engage with something as foreign as a dating app and then get used for criminal purposes. What used to involve a little bit of fear, a little bit of mystery and a whole lot of non-verbal signals — the old fashioned act of courting — is not possible in the virtual dating world. Non-verbal signals don’t exist and so some of us put too much weight on words and promises.

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Forbes’ Crypto Report Claims Half of All Bitcoin Trades are Fake

Can you still trust your crypto exchange or e-brokerage reports?

An ongoing study of the cryptocurrency market by Forbes magazine stated on Friday that its analysis of 157 different cryptocurrency exchanges revealed that more than half, 51% to be exact, of the daily trading volume being reported about Bitcoin is fake news. This is not at all surprising to me, but it has to be disheartening news for crypto and decentralized finance (DeFi) fans. Bitcoin’s price per coin today of $19.7k pales in comparison to last fall’s, when it was rocketing towards what would become its peak price of $67.5k in late November.

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Shotgun Investment Strategy Crowns a ‘Crypto Winter’ King?

When China banned all cryptocurrency related activities last September, the crypto market was thriving. The devastating shock waves from that decision took a couple of months to hit the market as Bitcoin hit its all-time peak of $67.5k per coin in November. Shortly thereafter its price took a nosedive. Just eight months later Bitcoins are going for just $21.5k per coin, victims of a financial avalanche that has sent the price of most crypto coins tumbling, not just Bitcoin.

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Are the Climate Claims Attached to Coming ETH ‘Merge’ Legit?

For months I have hammered the cryptocurrency market on its energy intensive business model, and especially the energy consumption involved in creating the most productive crypto product to date; its non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. In fact, I covered this topic last week in regards to the launch of Tiffany and Co.’s NFTtiffs and 18k gold pendants, which were offered exclusively to current CryptoPunk NFT owners. As I summarized in that post, $12.5 million buys a lot of carbon offsets, but are we really going to trust that buying carbon or wind offsets is going to put a stop to climate change?

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Tiffany & Co Earns $12.5 Million From CryptoPunk NFT Pendant While Releasing 38,000 kilograms of Carbon

Did you know that Ethereum’s (ETH) blockchain, which enables the existence of NFTs, owns an annual carbon footprint equal to the size of Hong Kong’s? Or that in order to create and sell a single NFT it costs roughly 660 kilowatt hours (kWh), which releases an estimated 153 kilograms (kgs) of CO-2 into the atmosphere? The voluntary target for personal annual carbon allowance (PACA) is about 4,660 kgs per person on earth, per year. Therefore the creation of a single NFT only uses about 3% of that allowance. The creation of 250 NFTs, however, blows that target out of the water by releasing over 38,000 kgs of CO-2.

Why is this relevant today? Last Friday the esteemed jeweler Tiffany & Co., released an opportunity for 250 CryptoPunk NFT owners to purchase an NFT pendant and unique NFT, both of which are based on the likeness of their CryptoPunk, and made out of 18k rose or yellow gold. Tiffany & Co.’s NFTs, known as NFTtiffs, sold out in a matter of minutes, raising $12.5 million (USD); a win for the Tiffany & Co. brand and for those lucky CryptoPunk owners that bought the pendant, provided they hold and increase their value.

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Is Tiffany’s CryptoPunk ‘Pendant’ Offering a Positive Sign for Troubled NFT Market?

Tomorrow the esteemed American jeweler, Tiffany & Co., is planning to launch itself into the NFT-sphere with the release of 250 digital passes offered exclusively to CryptoPunk NFT holders. These lucky investors can then mint their CryptoPunk into a custom pendant (available in 18k rose or yellow gold), plus a new NFT, both of which are created in the likeness of the holder’s CryptoPunk character. Tiffany & Co.’s NFTs, known as NFTiffs, are expected to launch with a floor price of 30 ETH, which is equivalent to $52k today.

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Summer Heats Up in Crypto Crime Craze

The only thing hotter than the temperature this July is the crypto crime spree impacting the world of decentralized finance (DeFi), especially DeFi’s foundational components — crypto coin offerings and NFTs. In just the last month we have witnessed a visible spike in the amount of fraud, deception and money laundering activity reported by the media. Either the amount of crypto crimes are increasing, which is both imaginable and ludicrous at the same time, or the media’s coverage of these crimes is rapidly increasing. I’m going to put my fiat money on the latter.

In my opinion, cryptocurrency and its ilk, NFTs, are wide open for interpretation. Some users of internet related things hide behind the web’s anonymity and commit crimes they would or could never commit offline. These people might be executives of big corporations, your kid’s soccer coach or even the president of your wife’s book club. The rest of us understand good versus evil and choose the side of good, even when offered potential anonymity to commit virtual crimes or abuses. Most of us don’t cross that line.

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