Crypto News Headlines (31-Aug-2022)

Christopher Hamilton, a British national accused of money laundering and wire fraud related to the $4 billion OneCoin scam, lost his bid to avoid extradition to the U.S. on Tuesday, according to a report from Law360.

U.K. District Judge Nicholas Rimmer rejected Hamilton’s plea that he should be tried in the country since the fraud he committed occurred outside the U.S.

“Wherever victims are based, it is in their interests for perpetrators involved to be prosecuted rather than not to be,” Judge Rimmer wrote, according to Law360. “This factor weighs in favor of extradition.”

The extradition may not be final if Hamilton decides to file an appeal. Additionally, the case will now be sent to the Secretary of State for a final decision.

Robert McDonald, a co-accused, avoided extradition on human rights grounds. McDonald is the prime carer for his “extremely ill” wife and has expressed “clear and genuine suicidal intent, in the event he were to be extradited,” according to the judgment cited in the Law360 report. The judge also stated that “there is no apparent evidence of monetary gain by Robert MacDonald.”

Data centers mining cryptocurrencies in Russia’s oil fields have a combined power rating of 85 megawatts, which is 23% of the market, according to analysts at Vygon Consulting, an independent consultancy working on the development of the Russian fuel and energy complex.

These crypto farms are supplied with electricity generated by small power plants burning associated petroleum gas (APG), a by-product of the extraction of black gold, that oil companies are required to dispose of. While it costs them almost nothing, they can sell it to miners.

Russian oil producers use around 17 billion cubic meters of APG annually to power facilities at drilling sites. Researchers say cryptocurrency mining accounts for 279 million cubic meters of consumption at the moment, the Russian business daily Kommersant reported, quoting the study conducted by Vygon Consulting.

The National Police of Ukraine (NPU) successfully took down a network of “call centers” on Tuesday that targeted Ukrainian and European Union citizens who had been victims of crypto scams.

The fraudulent call center allegedly offered to help those affected by crypto scams as well as recommending investment packages in crypto, gold, oil, and other securities, according to the NPU official announcement

Ukraine’s national police stated that this group spoofed countries’ national banks and used websites and exchanges to lure in European customers and get their confidential data.

Iran has now finally given a green signal to the use of cryptocurrency for imports into the nation while international trade sanctions are underway.

This approval has come from Iran’s Industry, Mines and Trade Ministry.

Trade Minister Reza Fatemi Amin gave confirmation that these regulations which are quite detailed have been approved and were in sync with the use of cryptocurrencies for trade and supplying fuel and electricity to Bitcoin and crypto miners in the country.

The regulatory change was mentioned in the automotive industry exhibition which was just a week later when Iran had placed its first-ever import order for vehicles which were nearly amounting to $10 million, paid through cryptocurrency as a method of payment.

It was previously mentioned by the Iranian trade ministry that cryptocurrencies and smart contracts would have gained popularity in foreign trade by the end of this year itself.

Paraguay’s president, Mario Abdo Benítez, vetoed a bill that sought to recognize cryptocurrency mining as an industrial activity on Monday. He reasoned that mining’s high electricity consumption could hinder the expansion of a sustainable national industry.

The decree stated that crypto mining uses intensive capital with low manpower usage and, therefore, would not generate added value on par with other industrial activities. Around the world, cryptocurrency is one of the largest job creators. LinkedIn’s Economic Graph shows that crypto and blockchain jobs listing rose 615% in 2021 compared to 2020 in the United States.

In accordance with the bill’s sponsor, Senator Fernando Silva Facetti, the law aimed to promote crypto mining through the use of surplus electricity, but the Paraguayan government chose to ignore the activity in the country.

The difficulty of mining bitcoin (BTC) is expected to grow by around 9% on Wednesday as miners in North America begin ramping up production ahead of the cooler months.

It will be one of the biggest upticks since August 2021, when miners began to come back online after the industry was banned in China, which at the time was home to 44% of mining activity.

Bitcoin’s difficulty adjusts automatically to keep the time required to mine a bitcoin block to roughly around 10 minutes, depending on the amount of computing power on the network. The higher the hashrate, a measure of computing power, the higher the difficulty; similarly, as hashrate drops, so does the difficulty level.

So far this year, the network difficulty’s highest increase was in January (9.32%).

This time, the metric will grow by around 9% to reach around 31 trillion, according to estimates from Bitrawr, Coinwarz and Luxor’s Hashrate Index. That’s very close to the metric’s all-time high of 31,25 trillion on May 5, according to data from mining pool

Bitcoin Beach, a beach in El Zonte, El Salvador, is getting a set of infrastructure upgrades from the country’s government. The beach is iconic due to its adoption of bitcoin to build a circular economy in the area. These investments will be directed toward building a new set of facilities for tourists to better enjoy the location.

Regarding the execution of these investments, President Nayib Bukele stated:

El Zonte for many is known as Bitcoin Beach; we are going to fix an area of 15,000 square meters, where there will be a shopping center, parking, beach club, treatment plant, to revitalize the area.

Surf City, a beach also known as El Tunco, will also benefit from these investments that will extend alongside the La Libertad region. This is part of the second phase of the Surf City project, which aims to bring strategic developments to the area to help tourism thrive.

Helium, the blockchain platform that uses crypto token incentives to fuel decentralized wireless networks, may soon undergo a significant transformation if a newly-revealed proposal passes: it could move from its own blockchain to Solana.

Published today, the HIP 70 proposal details why Helium’s core developers want to move the network from its own bespoke chain to Solana, a leading smart contract platform used for decentralized apps (dapps), NFTs, and decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols. In short, the developers think it will improve Helium’s speed, stability, and ability to serve more users.

“Solana offers significant benefits to Helium that include, but are not limited to, scale, community, and composability,” reads a blog post from The Helium Foundation. “This change will be momentous in scope, impact, and benefit to the Helium network and its users.”

The Committee, led by Illinois eighth district congressional representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, sent letters to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler, Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan, and Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chair Rostin Behnam. His message also went to crypto trading platforms like Coinbase, FTX, Binance.US, Kraken, and KuCoin demanding an explanation of the measures taken to curb the fraud and scams that are prevalent in the sector.

“As stories of skyrocketing prices and overnight riches have attracted both professional and amateur investors to cryptocurrencies, scammers have cashed in,” wrote Krishnamoorthi. “The lack of a central authority to flag suspicious transactions in many situations, the irreversibility of transactions, and the limited understanding many consumers and investors have of the underlying technology make cryptocurrency a preferred transaction method for scammers,” he added.

The Ethereum Merge is slated for Sept. 15, which will see the Ethereum blockchain move from its current proof-of-work (PoW) mining consensus to proof-of-stake (PoS).

The Merge is being touted as one of the biggest upgrades for the Ethereum blockchain as it would help the network move to a more energy-efficient way of verifying transactions and eliminate PoW mining completely. With the Merge date approaching, Ether (ETH) miner’s balance has touched a new four-year high.

According to Oklink data, the balance of Ethereum miner addresses exceeded 260,000 ETH with a total of 261,848 ETH valued at over $415 million at the current price. Miner accumulation reached a new four-year high with similar levels seen last in April 2018.

Miners’ growing accumulation of ETH has been attributed to a few factors, the first being anticipation of a price surge in the wake of the key upgrade. While many pundits have called the Merge a “buy the rumor and sell the news” kind of event, miners’ accumulation indicates growing bullish sentiment.