Pakistan Investigates Binance Multi-Million USD Crypto Scam
The Federal Agency of Pakistan began a criminal investigation after receiving many complaints against an ongoing crypto scam. The scam involved misleading investors in sending funds from Binance Wallet to an unknown third-party wallet.
The FIA’s cybercrime department has issued an attendance order to Hamza Khan, the general manager of Binance Pakistan. The purpose was to determine the exchange’s connection with the fraudulent online investment mobile application.
Based on complaints, Pakistani agencies have identified at least 11 fraudulent mobile applications that suddenly stopped working after successfully stealing user funds. The applications recognized by FIA are MCX, HFC, HTFOX, FXCOPY, OKIMINI, BB001, AVG86C, BX66, UG, TASKTOK, and 91fp.
Scammers guided users to register on Binance to transfer funds. Additionally, fraudsters added victims to Telegram groups to provide expert betting signals. Each application hosts approximately 5,000 customers on average.
Binance was also asked to provide detailed information, including official supporting documents and integration mechanisms for the API used by fraudsters to connect to Binance services. The FIA voluntarily blocked bank accounts associated with suspicious applications.
In December 2021, Nasir Hayat Magoon, chairman of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), revealed that Pakistani citizens’ total value of crypto assets is $20 billion.
The FPCCI chairman confirmed the figures based on a research paper published by the chamber. Backing up this claim, the 2021 Chainalysis Global Cryptocurrency Adoption Index ranks Pakistan with the third-highest index score after Vietnam and India.
Hong Kong Cryptocurrency Exchange Allegedly Hit with Frozen Funds
Customers of a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange said they could not withdraw funds or tokens from the exchange. At least seven people have made police reports.
Dozens of customers have been unable to withdraw money from Coinsuper since late November. Five customers said they filed police reports that the withdrawal procedure froze. It prevented them from getting back a total of about $55,000 in tokens and cash.
The uproar around Coinsuper, backed by Pantera Capital, could spark calls for broader regulation of Hong Kong. The head of the city’s securities regulator said in November 2020 that a licensing regime for all crypto trading platforms would be proposed, an approach also being pursued by rival financial centers in Singapore.
A Hong Kong police spokesperson said via email that they are investigating a case in which a person who purchased cryptocurrency through an investment company could not withdraw funds since December.
In Coinsuper’s Telegram chat, the administrator stopped responding to inquiries about failed withdrawals at the end of November. Then they reappeared in the past week, asking affected users to provide their email addresses.
Kosovo Police Are Seizing 300 Crypto Miners Amid Power Shortage
Kosovo police stepped up efforts to crack down on crypto miners in the country, confiscating more than 300 miners on January 8 alone.
According to an announcement issued by the Kosovo police on January 8, 272 “Antminer” bitcoin mining machines have been seized in the city of Leposavic, and 39 mining machines have been seized near Pristina.
Meanwhile, police stopped a driver carrying six crypto miners with 42 graphics cards (GPUs) near Druar in Vushtrri. Later, they have interviewed and released the driver.
Kosovo declared a 60-day emergency in December due to an energy crisis and power shortages. Since then, the economy minister imposed a blanket ban on crypto mining on January 5. Kosovo currently imports more than 40 percent of its energy.
Bitcoin mining uses 101 TWh of energy per year or more than the entire country of the Philippines. Still, miners are increasingly turning to renewable energy, especially in the U.S., the new center of mining operations.
Cryptocurrency mining in Kosovo has been on the rise for some time now, according to Netherlands-based news platform The Paypers. Since the end of the Kosovo war in 1999, the Serb-majority northern city residents have had free access to electricity.
At the end of November 2021, the grid system operator KOSTT announced that it would no longer provide free electricity to four cities in the north of the country: Mitrovica Norte, Zwickan, Zubin Potok, and Leposavic.
The Balkan country was part of Serbia until it declared independence in 2008 and maintained these subsidies. Several other countries, including Iran and Kazakhstan, have also raised concerns about mining-related outages in recent months.
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