German Police Seize $30M in Crypto From Streaming Site Operator

German Police Seize $30M in Crypto From Streaming Site Operator

One of the main operators of the now-shuttered streaming site movie2k.to has forfeited over $30 million worth of crypto to German police.

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After a lengthy joint investigation with the American FBI, German police have seized over 25 millions euros worth of cryptocurrency associated with the illegal movie streaming site movie2k.to.

Shuttered in spring 2013 due to copyright infringement concerns, the site’s two main operators are accused of having distributed over 880,000 pirated copies of films, together with their accomplices, via the site between fall 2018 and spring 2013. They have been charged with operating an illegal streaming service, which enabled users to watch pirated films without downloading them.

One of the two, who worked as the site’s programmer, has been in police custody since November 2019. 

Streaming site revenue was used to acquire Bitcoin and real estate

On Aug. 3, the Dresden Public Prosecutor’s Office, supported by the State Criminal Police Office in Saxony and the Leipzig Tax Investigation Department announced that the programmer had cooperated in forfeiting over 25 million euros ($29.6 million) worth of Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

Since mid-2012, the two main operators are alleged to have used profits from advertising fees on movie2k.to and subscription revenue to buy large amounts of Bitcoin. 

The site’s programmer is alleged to have acquired in excess of 22,000 BTC from this, later using the crypto primarily to acquire various properties via a Berlin real estate firm.

He is also reportedly under suspicion of commercial money laundering in connection with his activities as a real estate entrepreneur in Berlin.

Tracing and identifying the associated Bitcoin was reportedly carried out through joint investigative work between the German Federal Criminal Police Office and the FBI.

The forfeited Bitcoin has been seized as damage reparation by the public prosecutor after their voluntary release by the defendant. 

The programmer has now comprehensively confessed to the charges and is reported to be supporting  law enforcement authorities in their further investigations into the second main operator, who remains on the run.

As German newspaper Der Spiegel has reported, movie2k.to was — alongside kino.to and neu.to — one of the world’s leading platforms for the distribution of illegal pirated movies for years . 

In 2012, the main founder and operator of kino.to was sentenced to a prison term of up to four and a half years.


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One of the main operators of the now-shuttered streaming site movie2k.to has forfeited over $30 million worth of crypto to German police.

The BCH Question: How to Recover After $30M Hack and Mining Tax Row?

The BCH Question: How to Recover After $30M Hack and Mining Tax Row?

Security expert backs BCH following $30-million hack: “BCH is based on the same principles as BTC. The most vulnerable element is still a human.”

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Each crypto token commands a small army of fierce supporters. For many, the sole cryptocurrency that is worthy of such staunch support is Bitcoin (BTC). But what truly is Bitcoin, what is its purpose, and how can it be fully optimized?

The division among those trying to answer these questions led to the creation of Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin’s most successful offshoot. While for some, BCH has been the answer to crypto’s woes, but the coin has had some significant issues of its own over the past few months. From a multimillion-dollar hack to a new mining tax, BCH is dividing its community like never before.

Bitcoin Cash: Divisive by nature

Bitcoin, in its original form, was invented by a mysterious figure known only as Satoshi Nakamoto. Its creation went from an ambitious project whispered about in libertarian and cypherpunk circles to the global financial industry in its own right. But, while Bitcoin was developing, arguments broke out over the direction in which it was growing, and about the fundamental parameters of the technology.

Scalability is one of the most fundamental issues for any cryptocurrency. Although Bitcoin is the biggest and best-known cryptocurrency, it still struggles with the same scalability issues. Bitcoin’s block size was limited to 1 megabyte, but such a limit creates long delays in transaction processing times, as it reduces the total number of transactions that can be carried out in each block.

Here’s where BCH comes in. Developers changed the block size from 1 MB to 8 MB. They hoped that this would boost the number of transactions per second to rival payment titans like PayPal and Visa. But, inevitably, philosophical differences arose. The crux of the issue was found over what people consider the purpose of Bitcoin to be. For those who believe Bitcoin is a store of value, slower transaction times are not much of an issue. But for those who think Bitcoin is an exchange of value, slashing processing speeds and costs — thereby maximizing practical applicability — is paramount.

Related: Defining Bitcoin: Money, Currency or Store of Value

Consequently, Bitcoin Cash was pioneered in 2017 by Roger Ver. A cursory glance through Crypto Twitter reveals that vehement disagreement between the two Bitcoin camps still runs rife. But the dispute is not limited to the core nature of Bitcoin. New crypto projects face not only new security issues but also the challenges of living up to the ideals of their creators. And, as recent weeks have shown, it’s no different for BCH.

Ver weighs in on the BCH hack

Investing in cryptocurrency is notoriously risky. Although security has been advancing in leaps and bounds, investors are still at significant risk of being hacked. With what feels like a high-profile hack taking place almost every week in the crypto world, not even the most experienced investors are safe from cybercriminals. Earlier this week, BCH was back in the spotlight after an attacker stole $30 million in crypto from one prominent investor in a wallet hack.

While rumors initially swirled about the victim of the multimillion-dollar hack, a now-deleted Reddit post from Feb. 22 revealed that the victim is Josh Jones, founder of web hosting company Dreamhost. The hacker appeared to compromise Jones’s SIM card, but it is not yet known whether this was the result of a so-called “SIM swap.” In the deleted Reddit post, Jones called for help, requesting that BCH miners not validate the transactions:

“It’s only had 3 confirmations. If any miners/the community can help somehow, I’ve got the private keys. Help help help.. Big reward obviously.”

Hacks occur depressingly often in the crypto world. But when such a targeted attack carries off millions of dollars in one of the most prominent cryptocurrencies, it draws attention at the very highest level — though perhaps not for the obvious reasons. In an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, Ver appeared to see the silver lining in Jones’s poor fortune:

“Here’s someone who’s worth at least $45 million, and he’s choosing to keep the majority of that in Bitcoin Cash, not what everybody is calling Bitcoin today. So, that’s a really, really bullish sign for Bitcoin Cash — that somebody with that much money is keeping it in Bitcoin Cash and not the same amount in Bitcoin, BTC. That’s a really, really big deal.”

In fact, Ver’s enthusiasm extended beyond his support for Jones having kept such a vast amount of BCH. Ver told Cointelegraph that the attack could have positive implications for the cryptocurrency, indicating that despite the tragedy, its intrinsic value is high enough to attract criminal interest:

“The fact that hackers are willing to go and steal Bitcoin Cash means that it’s something worth stealing, that it’s something valuable. If it wasn’t valuable, wasn’t worthwhile, hackers wouldn’t be trying to steal it.”

Ver was not sanguine about Jones’s ability to recover the stolen funds. Ver admitted that he thought the impossibility of recovery was down to the intrinsic nature of cryptocurrencies. Responding to a question from Cointelegraph, Ver conceded that there is nothing that can be done:

“No, and I wish, I wish there was to some extent. But, on the other side, that’s kind of the whole point of cryptocurrencies — that transactions are irreversible.”

While Ver might not have any wise words for the victim of the attack, he inadvertently appeared to give the hacker tips about how to effectively avoid being brought to justice:

“The fact of the matter is there really isn’t anything anybody can do unless the hacker is dumb enough to deposit the coins directly to an exchange without sending them through any sort of, you know, fungibility tool of any sort. Something like, you know, CoinShuffle or CashFusion on Bitcoin Cash. There’s a lot of cool tools on Bitcoin Cash to enable that. In this instance, it’s a little bit sad that those tools will be used to help a hacker.”

Twitter critics discuss the consequences for BCH

Dovey Wan, a founding partner at crypto asset fund Primitive Crypto and vociferous Twitter commentator, was quick on the draw when laying out her views on the multimillion-dollar hack. Jones’s deleted Reddit post did not escape Wan’s eagle-eye for a screenshot opportunity. Wan attached the post in a thread, criticizing him for keeping such a vast amount of crypto in a mobile-accessible wallet.

But the targets of Wan’s pointed criticism were not restricted to Jones alone. Wan postulated that the hacker was likely in the process of splitting up the stolen funds in order to make them easier to sell on exchanges.

Wan, a firm Bitcoin maximalist, also appeared to hint that the hack could have dire consequences for BCH, writing that only a “double-spent can help this poor guy now.” Wan also tweeted that the hack, along with an unspecified dispute between Ver and Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu, could cause a “slow death” for the cryptocurrency.

Is security in crypto up to scratch?

The BCH hack brings the issue of security back to the fore. Wan appeared to criticize the mobile nature of Jones’s wallet, but according to Kaspersky’s security team lead, Pavel Pokrovsky, mobile wallets are not inherently risky — it depends on implementation:

“Normally, wallets developed by larger crypto-companies that have passed security assessments can be considered more trustworthy compared to wallets that are developed by individuals. Quite often, we deal with phishing cases when wallet applications are developed specifically with purpose to steal funds. Targeted attacks also occur, although they are not specifically related to mobile wallets.”

While Pokrovsky doesn’t believe that the mobile nature of the wallet is to blame for the hack, he admitted to Cointelegraph that the BCH hack was unusual, adding: “This situation should be evaluated deeper. For example, this might be a case where funds were stored on an abandoned wallet or were a subject to targeted attack.” Pokrovsky explained to Cointelegraph that Jones may have been targeted by hackers because his SIM card was reportedly compromised:

“In this case, some sources state that SIM swap took place. So, if this is the case, then most likely, the victim was subject to a targeted attack. Someone knew that their wallet was connected to a specific phone number and arranged fraud with SIM swap. Again, if this is true, then it could have been easily prevented by keeping funds on cold storage, e.g. paper wallet.”

Although efforts are being made across the sector to ramp up security, the skills of cybercriminals are continually adapting. Pokrovsky told Cointelegraph that by virtue of their digital nature and as long as cryptocurrencies continue to grow in value, they will face many of the same security issues as the mainstream financial industry. Despite the security challenges across the entire sector, Pokrovsky believes that BCH is not easier to steal than other cryptocurrencies:

“BCH is based on the same principles as BTC. The most vulnerable element is still a human. In this case, if it was indeed a SIM-related fraud, it could have been any cryptocurrency: BTC, ETH, etc.”

The taxman cometh

It’s said that only two things are guaranteed in life: death and taxes. While it’s likely that BCH investors will live to see another day, the taxman came knocking earlier than expected. Last month, leading BCH figures, including Jihan Wu and Roger Ver, proposed a 12.5% mining tax on the community.

Posted on Jan. 22, the “infrastructure funding plan” would see a percentage of the mining rewards go to a Hong Kong-based entity. Co-signing entities represented 27% of hash rates. The most controversial aspect of the proposal was its intention to “orphan” noncompliant miners by removing blocks from the chain.

Plans for the tax quickly drew criticism from some high-profile individuals. Brad Mills, a crypto commentator and partner at Xsquared Ventures, appeared to lay the blame at Ver’s feet and accused BCH of a number of flaws — including a lack of decentralization and security — in a Jan. 23 tweet:

“A [couple of months] ago Roger announced a huge BCash fund. I knew there was a catch. Today, Roger put a 12.5% tax on BCH! Roger has become everything & worse than what he accused Blockstream of during 2016/2017. Tax, Checkpoints, EDA, Centralized, 51% attacked. BCash is NOT Bitcoin.”

Only four days later, Ver disassociated himself from the controversial tax initiative in a statement posted on Bitcoin.com, in which he roundly rejected the proposed tax until fundamental changes are made: “As it stands now, Bitcoin.com will not go through with supporting any plan unless there is more agreement in the ecosystem such that the risk of a chain split is negligible.”

While Bitcoin.com acknowledged the visceral reaction from community members, the post went on to hint that, at some point, changes would have to be made: “Developer funding is an important issue to solve and that a proper funding mechanism will help Bitcoin Cash continue to grow as fast, reliable cash for the world.” The post concluded with a call for flexibility about how to come to an effective, permanent conclusion:

“A permanent proposal would be in effect a carte blanche on development and would incentivise ‘development for development’s sake,’ which would defeat the purpose of the fundraising […] to create fast, reliable, digital cash upon a stable, largely unchanging, economically rational Bitcoin protocol.”

Leaving the red zone?

It has been a tumultuous month for investors in the BCH community. The token is firmly in the red, although this could partly be attributed to the instability currently being witnessed across global markets because of the effects of the coronavirus worldwide.

The community might have claimed a small victory after Ver’s climb down from the mining tax, but reading between the lines, it appears that change will have to come in order to address the issues surrounding ecosystem agreement.

Regardless of whether the $30-million hack was specifically targeting BCH or Jones himself, faith in the token has been somewhat shaken and is likely to have played a role in the 23% price drop the coin saw this week (as of press time). Recent analysis has shown that bulls will attempt to push the token to $360, but whether the bulls can succeed and investors are able to once again put their weight behind the embattled crypto remains to be seen.


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Security expert backs BCH following $30-million hack: “BCH is based on the same principles as BTC. The most vulnerable element is still a human.”

Bitcoin Cash Faces ‘Slow Death’ After Alleged $30M Hack — Commentator

Bitcoin Cash Faces ‘Slow Death’ After Alleged $30M Hack — Commentator

Dovey Wan thinks that a reported $30 million hack on a Bitcoin Cash wallet will pile pressure on the altcoin

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Altcoin Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has become the subject of intense speculation after a major investor claimed he lost $30 million in a wallet hack. 

In a now-deleted Reddit post from Feb. 22, the investor, who appears to be Dreamhost founder Josh Jones, said the attacker also stole 1,500 Bitcoin (BTC) worth $14.4 million. 

Hacker steals reported $45M 

The hack came in the form of Jones’ SIM card being compromised. So far, he has not confirmed whether this was a so-called “SIM swap,” or whether the funds were commandeered by other means.

In the deleted post, Jones appealed to BCH miners not to validate the transactions. He wrote:

“It’s only had 3 confirmations, if any miners/the community can help somehow, I’ve got the private keys. Help help help.. Big reward obviously.”

Commenting on the events, Dovey Wan, founding partner at crypto asset fund Primitive Ventures, warned that the impact would go far beyond Jones himself. 

In a series of tweets, Wan reproduced the Reddit post, criticizing Jones for keeping such a large amount of cryptocurrency in a wallet accessible simply from his smartphone. She described the attack as “really brutal.”

Wan: BCH drama will result in “slow death”

Subsequently, Wan added that the hacker was splitting up the stolen funds, likely in an attempt to conceal their origin and make them easier to sell on exchanges.

“RIP BCH .. only a double-spent can help this poor guy now,” she wrote, continuing that Bitcoin Cash as a cryptocurrency faced a significant threat:

“No matter what, this 60000 $BCH hack, the dispute among BCH camp between Ver and Jihan, all these will mark a slow death of it.”

As Cointelegraph reported, Bitcoin Cash has seen various contentious events throughout its lifespan, including a hard fork in 2018 which resulted in the creation of another altcoin, Bitcoin SV (BSV).

It is unclear which other problems Wan was referencing when she mentioned two of its leading figures — Bitmain executive Jihan Wu and Bitcoin.com founder Roger Ver.

At press time, BCH/USD had barely reacted to the hack, slipping just 1% on the day to trade at $373. Year to date, the pair is still up over 80%.


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Dovey Wan thinks that a reported $30 million hack on a Bitcoin Cash wallet will pile pressure on the altcoin

Crypto Lending Firm BlockFi Secures $30M to Facilitate Mainstream Adoption

Crypto Lending Firm BlockFi Secures $30M to Facilitate Mainstream Adoption

BlockFi has raised $30 million from an array of investors, including Morgan Creek Digital, Winklevoss Capital and Arrington XRP Capital

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Cryptocurrency-lending startup BlockFi has secured $30 million from an array of investors, including Morgan Creek Digital, Winklevoss Capital and Arrington XRP Capital.

The Series B funding round was led by United States-based capital fund Valar Ventures, with participation of Akuna Capital, CMT Digital, Avon Ventures, Castle Island Ventures, Purple Arch Ventures, Kenetic Capital, and Hong Kong-based HashKey Capital, among others, according to a Feb. 13 announcement shared with Cointelegraph.

With a view to launch products for mainstream

With the raised funds, BlockFi — whose users can earn compound interest on and trade loans backed by assets — now has more than $650 million in assets on the platform. The company is planning to allocate the secured funds to the enhancement of its staff and expansion of its offerings.

BlockFi hinted in the release that it will roll out products accessible to a mainstream audience, starting with a mobile app in the coming months. “We’ve demonstrated that we can build financial products around cryptocurrency that can look and feel like the apps you already have on your phone, and we’re well-positioned to drive mainstream adoption,” said Flori Marquez, VP of operations and co-Founder of BlockFi.

At this point, BlockFi’s initial annual percentage yield on assets is 8.6% for Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH) and stablecoins, while the company also provides crypto-backed loans which allow investors to access liquidity up to 50% of an asset’s value in USD, and zero-fee trading.

Crypto loans sector proliferates

Previously, founder of hedge fund Arrington XRP Capital, Michael Arrington, told Cointelegraph that he sees great potential for crypto lending companies.

Arrington noted that higher interest rates are already driving adoption. “I know of first-time crypto users who are buying stablecoins to get higher interest rates than they normally would be able to with fiat,” he said.

Cryptocurrency loans and lending began gaining traction during the 2018 bear market. As a recent analysis by Cointelegraph showed, the entire crypto loan industry is estimated to be worth nearly $4.7 billion, with demand for crypto loans rapidly increasing.


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BlockFi has raised $30 million from an array of investors, including Morgan Creek Digital, Winklevoss Capital and Arrington XRP Capital

US SEC Charges Convict and Associates for $30M Fraudulent ICO

US SEC Charges Convict and Associates for $30M Fraudulent ICO

The U.S. SEC has charged Boaz Manor and his associates with raising over $30 million through a fraudulent ICO

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The United States Securities and Exchange Commision has charged a group of criminals, who raised over $30 million through a fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO).

Per a Jan. 12 press release, the SEC charged convicted Boaz Manor, his business associate, and two companies, CG Blockchain Inc. and BCT Inc. SEZC, with violating the antifraud and securities registration provisions of the federal securities laws. Manor is a dual citizen of Canada and Israel. 

The entities allegedly raised more than $30 million in a fraudulent ICO, conducted with the objective to launch hedge funds testing technology to record transactions on blockchain.

In an effort to develop a “blockchain terminal”

The SEC’s complaint reads that between August 2017 and September 2018, the defendants promoted and sold digital asset securities in an effort to develop technologies for hedge funds. Manor misrepresented himself as “Shaun MacDonald,” an employee of his New Jersey-based associate Edith Pardo, an Israeli citizen, who allegedly ran the company.

At the time, the defendants claimed that they possessed 20 hedge funds testing technology to record transactions on blockchain, while in fact they only sent a prototype to a number of funds, which did not use it. Commenting on the matter, Joseph G. Sansone, chief of the SEC’s Market Abuse Unit, said:

“As alleged in our complaint, Manor’s brazen scheme to conceal his identity and criminal history deprived investors of essential information and allowed defendants to take over $30 million from investors’ pockets.”

The SEC’s requirements

Also today, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey announced criminal charges against Manor and Pardo, in a parallel action.

The SEC thus seeks disgorgement of illegally obtained profits plus interest, penalties, and injunctive relief, as well as bars Manor and Pardo from acting as officers or directors of public companies and from participating in future securities offerings.

As Contelegraph previously reported, Manor received a four-year prison sentence in Canada in 2012 for siphoning $106 million from a Toronto-based hedge fund that he co-founded. The Canadian fund reportedly had $800 million in assets under management at its peak from 26,000 investors.

On Jan. 14, the SEC sent out a warning from its Investor Education and Advocacy wing, urging citizens to be wary of initial coin offerings.


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The U.S. SEC has charged Boaz Manor and his associates with raising over $30 million through a fraudulent ICO

Venezuelan Investors File Lawsuit With US Court in Connection With $30M Crypto Fraud

Venezuelan Investors File Lawsuit With US Court in Connection With $30M Crypto Fraud

Seven Venezuelans claim to have been lured into a $30 million Ponzi scheme with a cryptocurrency pegged to diamonds

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A group of Venezuelans has filed a lawsuit with a Florida Federal Court in connection with a Ponzi scheme involving $30 million in cryptocurrency promoted by Canadian investment radio host Harold Seigel.

Payment and commerce news outlet Pymnts.com reported today, July 16, that seven Venezuelans claim to have been lured into a $30 million worth digital currency Ponzi scheme conducted by companies such as Eagle Financial Diamond Group Inc. and Argyle Coin. The cryptocurrency involved into the fraud was reportedly pegged to diamonds.

The frauds allegedly used raised funds to pay back earlier investors

The plaintiffs accuse Canadian financial commentator Harold Seigel, his son Jonathan Seigel and his partner Jose Angel Aman — the principal behind Argyle Coin — of misleading with promises of huge returns on the investments.

The plaintiffs have reportedly never seen documentation indicating allocation of the invested funds, nor have they had access to their crypto wallets holding claimed Argyle Coins. The fraudulent investment scheme operators allegedly used the raised funds to pay back earlier investors. The complaint reportedly reads:

“The plaintiffs bring this lawsuit to get back not only their initial investment money, but also their owed interest on their invested funds, as per their contracts, and their owed attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in bringing forth this action.”

The U.S. SEC’s crackdown on the confirmed cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme

In late May, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) halted the aforementioned crypto Ponzi scheme after it had taken funds worth $30 million, with Aman becoming subject to legal action in connection with the fraud. Eric I. Bustillo, director of the SEC’s Miami Regional Office, said at the time:

“As alleged, Aman operated a complicated web of fraudulent companies in an effort to continually loot retail investors and perpetuate the Ponzi schemes as well as divert money to himself.”

That same month, the SEC initiated court proceedings against California resident Daniel Pacheco for allegedly operating a multimillion-dollar crypto pyramid scheme. The SEC accused Pacheco of conducting a fraudulent, unregistered offering of securities through two California-based companies, IPro Solutions LLC and IPro Network LLC, from January 2017 through March 2018.


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Seven Venezuelans claim to have been lured into a $30 million Ponzi scheme with a cryptocurrency pegged to diamonds

Block.One Pays $30M for New Blockchain-Powered Social Media Platform’s Domain Name

Block.One Pays $30M for New Blockchain-Powered Social Media Platform’s Domain Name

Eos developer Block.one has paid $30 million in cash to purchase the voice.com domain name for its new blockchain-based social media, called “Voice”

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Eos (EOS) developer Block.one has paid $30 million in cash to purchase a domain name for its new blockchain-based social media, called “Voice.” The development was revealed in a filing published by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on June 18.

According to the SEC filing, submitted by enterprise analytics and mobility software provider MicroStrategy, Block.one’s domain name purchase of “voice.com” was enabled by web domain registrar GoDaddy and concluded on May 30, 2019.

In an official statement, Marge Breya —  senior executive vice president and chief marketing officer at MicroStrategy — outlined what she believes to be the advantages of the purchase:

“The word ‘voice’ is simple and universally understood. It’s also ubiquitous — as a search term, it returns billions of results on the internet. An ultra-premium domain name like Voice.com can help a company achieve instant brand recognition, ignite a business, and massively accelerate value creation.”

As reported, Block.one announced the creation of Voice at the beginning of June, claiming that its basis on the EOS blockchain will provide more transparency than traditional social media platforms.

In the wider social media and blockchain space, Facebook has this week published the white paper for its long-awaited cryptocurrency and blockchain-based financial infrastructure project, dubbed “libra.”

Soon after publication, the chairwoman of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Financial Services Committee requested that Facebook halt development of the token until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to evaluate related issues.


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Eos developer Block.one has paid $30 million in cash to purchase the voice.com domain name for its new blockchain-based social media, called “Voice”