Australian PM Turnbull Tells Government Agency to Study Blockchain

Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, the country’s most powerful political official, has directed the government’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) to study potential applications of blockchain technology across government. Addressing a Senate Estimates committee on Monday night, DTA chief digital officer Peter Alexander revealed that PM Turnbull directly told the agency to explore blockchain applications after … Continued

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Australia Plans Blockchain Prototype to Deliver Welfare Payments in 2019

The Australian government’s digitization agency has revealed plans to explore the implementation of blockchain technology in delivering social security welfare payments to citizens. Speaking at a conference in Sydney last week, Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) chief executive Randall Brugeaud underlined welfare payment delivery as an early use case for its blockchain implementation effort. The DTA

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Crypto Scams, Fake ICOs Cost Australians Over AU$2 Million in 2017: Consumer Watchdog

In its annual report on scams, Australia’s national consumer watchdog has revealed that cryptocurrency-related fraud has cost Australians over AUD $2.1 million in losses last year. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has published its annual ‘targeting scams’ report on Monday, revealing accumulated total losses of some AUD $340 million to scammers from 200,000 … Continued

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Will Australia’s Ban On Cash Purchases Over $7,500USD Boost Crypto Adoption?

Crypto Adoption in Australia

Crypto Adoption in Australia: The Australian government’s work to prevent tax evasion is growing. Efforts seem to be moving towards a gradual decline in cash availability, which represents an essential opportunity of growth for cryptos and alternative means of payment.

As part of an initiative to prevent undeclared business from being conducted in the country, the Australian government has issued some economic measures to restrict specific conditions that could be harmful to the people. In an official statement entitled “Tackling illegal behavior in the Black Economy” Australia’s Ministry of Revenue and Financial Services mentioned that the ...

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Bitcoin in Brief Monday: Belgium Expands List of Fraudulent Crypto Platforms, Plot to Kill Vinnik Uncovered in Greece

Bitcoin in Brief Monday: Belgium Expands List of Fraudulent Crypto Platforms, Plot to Kill Vinnik Uncovered in Greece

In Monday’s Bitcoin in Brief, Belgium’s financial watchdog, which earlier this year published a warning about potentially fraudulent platforms promising fast and easy profits to crypto investors, has just expanded its blacklist. In Russia, reports have surfaced of a plot to assassinate Alexander Vinnik in Greece, where he fights an extradition request from US authorities accusing him of laundering billions of dollars, including funds from the hacked Mt. Gox. Elsewhere, Australia allocates budget for blockchain research, and Dubai-based exchange Bitoasis suspends dirham withdrawals.

Also read: This Week in Bitcoin: Ghost Scares Markets, Facebook Mulls Coin

Belgium Expands List of Fraudulent Crypto Platforms

Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority has expanded its list of unauthorized and potentially fraudulent crypto companies operating in the country. The financial watchdog has recently published a new warning noting that “the FSMA is receiving an increasing number of consumer complaints regarding investments in cryptocurrencies [and] once again warns the public about these platforms, often operated by fraudsters who are now resorting to cryptocurrencies to swindle consumers.” The regulator also said that people who have invested through these platforms often complain they never recover their funds.

Bitcoin in Brief Monday: Belgium Expands List of Fraudulent Crypto Platforms, Plot to Kill Vinnik Uncovered in Greece

In March, the FSMA published its first list of 19 suspicious crypto platforms saying it had received “questions or complaints from consumers and has established indications of fraud,” as reported. The agency stressed that the compilation does not include all questionable crypto trading platforms, but only those whose fraudulent practices have been reported by consumers. Last week the Belgian financial authority reminded investors that these companies usually claim to offer the best trading platforms for both beginners and professionals.

Plot to Assassinate Vinnik Uncovered in Greece

Law enforcement authorities in Greece have reportedly uncovered a plot to kill Alexander Vinnik in jail. The Russian national was detained in Greece at the request of the United States on suspicions of money laundering in connection with the Mt. Gox hack. “Greek law enforcement received intelligence on plans to prepare an assassination via poisoning with the help of criminals. The head of the prison and the prosecutor of the city of Thessaloniki have summoned Vinnik and informed him about the plot. Special security measures were taken in connection with that,” a source familiar with the details told Sputnik.

Bitcoin in Brief Monday: Belgium Expands List of Fraudulent Crypto Platforms, Plot to Kill Vinnik Uncovered in GreeceAccording to the report, Vinnik is not allowed to accept any items, including food or beverages, from people he doesn’t know. His contacts with other inmates have been limited and measures have been taken to improve his personal security. Greek police received information about the murder plot earlier this year but it was not made public in order to help the investigation. The presumed murder attempt is said to be linked to the criminal underground and not the special services of any country. According to the quoted source, the assassination has been ordered by someone in Russia. Vinnik has recently expressed readiness to testify to Russian authorities for fintech-related crimes in his home country.

Alexander Vinnik was arrested in Greece in July last year at the request of authorities in the US, where he is suspected of laundering between $4 and $9 billion dollars through the now defunct cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e, including funds obtained from the notoriously hacked bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox. Russia has also asked for his extradition on other charges and Vinnik himself prefers to cooperate with law enforcement agencies in Moscow. The Russian IT specialist has also filed a petition for political asylum in Greece hoping to avoid extradition to the United States.

Australia to Finance Blockchain Research Through Budget

Australian authorities intend to finance the research of blockchain technologies through the federal budget for 2018/2019. According to the annual budget report, the government will provide additional $0.7 million AUD (>$0.5 million USD) for the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) which will be tasked to investigate areas where blockchain technology could offer the most value for government services. The agency is expected to use the funds to conduct “research to determine the current maturity of blockchain, assess the readiness for government to adopt the technology, and identify problems that blockchain might be able to solve,” and also, to “understand the potential of using blockchain to support government services.”

Bitcoin in Brief Monday: Belgium Expands List of Fraudulent Crypto Platforms, Plot to Kill Vinnik Uncovered in Greece

Set up in 2015, DTA aims to facilitate the digitization of the Australian government. The agency has received a total of $92.4 million AUD (almost $70 million USD) in this year’s budget. That means the funds allocated for blockchain research are less than 1%. Nevertheless, the country has already recognized cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and passed legislation that treats cryptos like fiat money in the context of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing policies. In April, Australia introduced regulations for cryptocurrency exchanges. The country’s financial regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, has taken measures against “deceptive and misleading initial coin offerings.”

Dubai Exchange Bitoasis Suspends Dirham Withdrawals

Bitcoin in Brief Monday: Belgium Expands List of Fraudulent Crypto Platforms, Plot to Kill Vinnik Uncovered in GreeceDubai-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitoasis has announced a temporary suspension of deposits and withdrawals in UAE dirhams. The trading platform warned its customers that if they want to access their dirham balances or deposit dirhams into in their accounts via wire transfers they will have to initiate an order no later than Tuesday, May 15. Such transactions will not be processed after that date. According to the notice sent to account holders, credit card deposits will be possible until June 16.

In the letter, quoted by Arabian Business, Bitoasis claims the restrictions were imposed due to issues with the bank it works with. Other means of buying and selling cryptocurrencies on the platform, as well as digital coin withdrawals to other wallets, are not affected, the exchange noted. “If you decide to leave your fiat balances, the only way for you to withdraw your funds at any time after May 15 would be to convert them to cryptocurrency and send them to an external wallet,” the statement reads. Bitoasis warns clients that it cannot provide a specific date for reactivating AED fiat withdrawals.

What are your thoughts on today’s Bitcoin in Brief stories? Tells in the comments section below.   

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The UK and USA need to extend their “special relationship” to technology development

The UK and the USA have always had an enduring bond, with diplomatic, cultural and economic ties that have remained firm for centuries.

We live in an era of profound change, and are living with technologies set to change things ever faster. If Britain and America work together to develop these technologies for the good of mankind, in a way that is open and free, yet also safe and good for our citizens, we can maintain the global lead our nations have enjoyed in the fields of innovation.

Over past months we have seen some very significant strides forward in this business relationship. All of the biggest US companies have made decisions to invest in the UK. Apple is developing a new HQ in the iconic Battersea Power Station, close to the new US embassy, while Google is building a billion dollar new HQ in the increasingly fashionable King’s Cross. Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft are all extending their operations, and a multitude of smaller US firms are basing their international headquarters in London.

They are all coming here because as we prepare to leave the EU we are building a forward looking Britain that is open to the wider world, and tech is at the heart of this.

Similarly, there have been major expansions or new investment from British firms into the US. Jaguar Land Rover, the UK’s largest automotive manufacturer, supports more than 9,000 jobs in the USA and have recently opened their new multimillion-dollar corporate North America HQ in New Jersey.  iProov, a leading British provider of biometric facial verification technology, became the first international company to be awarded a contract from the US Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program last month.

We want to work with our global partners – to share expertise, and encourage investment – as we harness technology for the wider good. And that of course includes our old friend and closest ally, the USA.

We have a great deal to offer.

The UK was recently ranked the most AI ready nation among all the OECD countries. In the past three years, new AI start-ups have been created in the UK on an almost weekly basis.

Recently, UK government and industry together committed over $1 billion to support our AI sector, much of which will go towards entrepreneurs. Funding has been set aside to create a nationwide network of tech incubators, that we’re calling “Tech Nation”, which will support new AI businesses as they get off the ground.

We are also excited by — and I am a firm advocate for — the development of blockchain and similar technologies. The UK is leading the way in many areas where blockchain has the potential to be used, such as Fintech. There are now more people working in UK Fintech than in New York or in Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia combined.

And we are eminent in the development of immersive technologies, like Augmented and Virtual Reality, which look set to radically improve many areas of life in coming years, with applications as varied as flight simulation and surgical training techniques.

There is so much to be gained from close collaboration between our two countries on these new technologies and from sharing our expertise.

Together, we can reap the economic benefits of stealing an early lead in their development. We estimate that AI, for example, if widely adopted, could add $33 billion to the UK economy. But, perhaps most importantly, we can also work together to build a strong regulatory and ethical frameworks for their wider application.

It is the role of governments across the world, the UK and US included, to set frameworks for these decentralised, cross border systems so we can manage their use in a safe and effective way.

Our aim should be to harness the power and capability of technology but always for the benefit of, and in service to the populace.

We in the UK are avowedly pro-tech, always seeking to put its power in the hands of our citizens.

We have all learned valuable lessons from the recent scandals regarding data use, most recently around Facebook’s use of data.

We want to build a system that protects and cherishes the freedom of the Internet while protecting the rights of individuals, and their property, including intellectual property.

We want to see freedom in a framework; where our tech entrepreneurs have the space to innovate, knowing they do so with full public trust. Trust underpins a strong economy, and trust in data underpins a strong digital economy.

So in the UK we are developing a Digital Charter, to agree norms and rules for the online world and put them into practice. Our starting point is that what is unacceptable offline should not be tolerated in the online world. That includes how tech companies treat private citizens and use their data, as well as how people treat each other online.

Important changes like these cannot be agreed by one country alone. It is more important than ever that we work together and find common ground so we can make sure that tech continues to change the world for the better. Based on our mutual love of freedom and individual rights Britain and America have through history risen to challenges together. I firmly believe working together we can build that brighter future.

PR: Skrumble Network Crowdfunding Sells out in 1 Hour with the Help of LEEKICO and Announces First Exchange Listing

Skrumble Network Crowdfunding Sells out in 1 Hour with the Help of LEEKICO and Announces First Exchange Listing

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. does not endorse nor support this product/service. is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

Sydney, Australia – LEEKICO, a one-stop-service ICO platform, successfully supported Skrumble Network (SKM), a project aiming to solve the data ownership crisis with a secure blockchain and application, in completing its highly anticipated token sale on May 5th, 2018. With LEEKICO’s support, Skrumble Network (SKM) reached their hard cap of 20,000 ETH, securing about $15 Million USD.

Following the incredible success of their public sale, Skrumble Network announced via their 48,000 members Telegram group that they’ll be exclusive main board listing on the exchange starting on May 10th, 2018.

Skrumble Network (SKM) is a completely new and innovative blockchain and application that centers on creating the most secure connections for communication possible. Skrumble Network addresses the issues with current centralized communication systems that pose data security challenges, solves issues with data ownership and creates a safe haven for marginalized communication who seek free discussion and trusted connections.

“Our users desire a secure community where they can feel comfortable enough sharing their personal data and won’t need to worry about who else has access to it, because no one else will,” says Skrumble Network Co-Founder Eric Lifson. “It is our mission to give users back ownership of their data, and we could not have done it without the incredible support from our partnership with LEEKICO to help us run the token sale while we focus on this mission.”

Skrumble Network is an open source community-driven blockchain and application which will allow users to perform communication and financial transactions more securely as well as build their own application using the network. The project is spearheaded by experienced innovative communication technology specialists David and Eric Lifson, supported by a team of 40 people behind their existing infrastructure.

The LEEKICO platform has successfully helped over 30 projects to complete successful crowdfunding campaigns. Thanks to its strict KYC/AML policies, comprehensive and convenient service as well as friendly customer support, some remarkable blockchain companies chose to cooperate with LEEKICO. The platform offers exclusive crowdfunding channels for both ‘Early Bird’ and main ICO services for highly rated projects, including NKN and SKM.

LEEKICO’s unique services attract more high-quality ICOs to raise funds via their platform. The next project the LEEKICO team is supporting is Befund (, coming on May 16th, is a decentralised cryptocurrency fund service platform which is built on blockchain technology and uses smart contracts to improve the various processes of fund services, investment, and fund management.

LEEKICO not only provide services to the project team, but also to investors. The LEEKICO team selects project after they undergo a rigorous due diligence process, ensuring the quality of each project it supports. Their customer service helps investors understand the project both during the ICO stage and post-ICO stage and use the platform. The LEEKICO platform now boasts a user base of over 35,000 people across the world.

LEEKICO shares the belief of asset decentralization and commits to promoting the wave of global cryptocurrency start-up companies. LEEKICO aims to build an initial coin offering platform with ensured security, integrity, fairness and transparency for both start-up companies and investors. LEEKICO provides cryptocurrency and blockchain start-up companies with crowdfunding services, and provides investors with comprehensive cryptocurrency consulting services, pre-ICO, and post-ICO management service. Both start-up companies who are planning to go through an ICO process and investors who are involved in ICO projects will enjoy the best experience with LEEKICO’s one-stop service provided by the LEEKICO platform.

About Skrumble Network
Skrumble Network (SKM) is a completely new, innovative blockchain and application that centers on creating the most secure connections for communication possible. It will be a blockchain uniquely optimized for secure communication-centric connections and transactions, a decentralized social media communication application, and a communication layer for developers to build into any application. With no middle entity or centralized server host in between to censor, block or manipulate any data, Skrumble Network’s blockchain and application will be a catalyst for data privacy and help to truly democratize communication on a global scale.

Learn more about Skrumble Network by visiting or visit their Telegram group at

Contact Email Address
Supporting Link

This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

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Australian Government Budget Injects $700,000 for Blockchain Research

The government of Australia has allocated AUD $700,000 (approx. $520,000) from its federal budget to its Digital Transformation Agency to research blockchain applications in government services. Announced as a part of its 2018-19 federal budget, the government will use the funds from the Agency’s existing resources over the next four years. An excerpt from the … Continued

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Australian Blockchain Firm Strikes $190 Million Crypto Mining Deal

Sydney-based IoT Group, an ASX-listed firm, has inked a deal with the Australian reseller of Bitfury’s bitcoin mining hardware to kickstart a mining operation if it can get a decommissioned coal plant up and running again. In an announcement and disclosure on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) on Monday, the IoT Group revealed its subsidiary … Continued

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Australia Cracks Down on Misleading and Deceptive Initial Coin Offerings

Australia Cracks Down on Misleading and Deceptive Initial Coin Offerings

Australia’s financial regulator is cracking down on deceptive and misleading initial coin offerings (ICOs), citing “a serious breach of the Australian law.” As a result of the regulator’s inquiries, some issuers have halted their token sales or are modifying their structures.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

ASIC Takes Action Against ICOs

Australia Cracks Down on Misleading and Deceptive Initial Coin OfferingsThe Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) announced on Tuesday that it is taking action “on misleading or deceptive conduct in the marketing and selling of digital or virtual tokens via initial coin offerings (ICOs).”

ASIC is an independent Australian government body that acts as the country’s corporate regulator. Citing that “these offers can involve significant risks for investors that are often not disclosed or well understood,” the Commission wrote:

ASIC is issuing inquiries to ICO issuers and their advisers where we identify conduct or statements that may be misleading or deceptive. This is in addition to our inquiries where we identify potentially unlicensed conduct. As a result of our inquiries, some issuers have halted their ICOs or have indicated the ICO structure will be modified.

ASIC Has the Power

Australia Cracks Down on Misleading and Deceptive Initial Coin OfferingsThe Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) delegated powers to ASIC on April 19 to take action under the Australian Consumer Law relating to crypto-assets. “The delegation from the ACCC enables ASIC to take action against misleading or deceptive conduct in marketing or selling of ICOs, even if the ICO does not involve a financial product,” ASIC described.

ASIC Commissioner John Price elaborated:

If you are acting with someone else’s money, or selling something to someone, you have obligations. Regardless of the structure of the ICO, there is one law that will always apply: you cannot make misleading or deceptive statements about the product. This is going to be a key focus for us as this sector develops.

Misleading or Deceptive Conduct

Australia Cracks Down on Misleading and Deceptive Initial Coin OfferingsASIC has also updated its information sheet on ICOs and cryptocurrency which defines “misleading or deceptive conduct.” The Commission notes that “it does not consider bitcoin to be a financial product,” so the prohibitions against misleading or deceptive conduct relating to bitcoin fall under the Australian Consumer Law and the ASIC Act.

The Commission gave four examples of what this conduct may entail. “The use of social media to generate the appearance of a greater level of public interest in an ICO” is the first on the list, followed by “undertaking or arranging for a group to engage in trading strategies to generate the appearance of a greater level of buying and selling activity for an ICO or a crypto-asset.” In addition, “failing to disclose adequate information about the ICO” and “suggesting that the ICO is a regulated product or the regulator has approved the ICO if that is not the case” are also prohibited.

The Commission emphasized:

It is a serious breach of the Australian law to undertake misleading or deceptive conduct.

What do you think of ASIC cracking down on misleading and deceptive ICOs? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, ACCC, and ASIC.

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Unicef Australia Launches Crypto Mining Donation Platform

Unicef Australia Launches Crypto Mining Donation Platform

Unicef Australia has launched a platform through which third-party donations are made in the form of in-browser computing power which is used for cryptocurrency mining. The website, The Hopepage, allows donors to designate a set percentage of computing power to divert to mining Monero on behalf of Unicef.

Also Read: Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund Thinks Institutional Investors Want In On Bitcoin

Unicef Australia Encourages Donations of Computing Power Through In-Browser Monero Mining

Unicef Australia Launches Crypto Mining Donation Platform Unicef Australia has launched The Hopepage, a website that the company states will “allow Australians to provide help and hope to vulnerable children by simply opening the page while they are online.”

The website states that users “select how much compute power they are willing to donate to the mining, safe in the knowledge the process will not store any personal information,” adding that “The longer you stay on the page and the more processor power you donate, the more algorithms get solved, which earns cryptocurrency.”

Unicef Australia director of fundraising and communications, Jennifer Tierney, stated “We wanted to leverage new emerging technologies to raise awareness about current humanitarian crises and raise funds to support children caught up in them. The Hopepage allows Australians to provide help and hope to vulnerable children by simply opening the page while they are online.”

Unicef Adopts Opt-In Coinhive Script

Unicef Australia Launches Crypto Mining Donation Platform The platform utilizes AuthedMine – an opt-in version of Coinhive’s API which was released by the company in order to fend off criticism of its product and to justify seeking lenient treatment from adblockers and antivirus products.

Unicef has advised that donors “may need to disable [their] ad blocker” in order to use The Hopepage. Unicef Australia digital engagement and content manager, Tony Tang, told local media that “Some ad blockers do disable the script, however, we ask that people that seek to donate disable this for our website. This is not dissimilar to media and news outlets requesting you to disable ad blockers to view their content. While it has potential to limit some users, we are still capturing new audiences we wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach.”

Unicef initially did not disclose that it was using Authedmine for The Hopepage, with Mr. Tang stating that the organization chose not to do such “in the same way we wouldn’t disclose server setups or configurations.”

Mr. Tang defended the transparency of the platform, stating “We are transparent in the fact we are borrowing a computer’s processing power, and provide the ability to choose how much power is donated. The donation is a one-time session, and needs to be approved by the user each time they visit the site. The Hopepage is entirely user-initiated, and they have the ultimate power to decide whether to participate or not.”

Unicef Experiments With Cryptocurrency Mining Donations

Unicef Australia Launches Crypto Mining Donation Platform In February, Unicef launched the Gamechangers program – through which the organization sought to recruit gamers to allocate processing power to mine Ethereum on behalf of Unicef.

According to Unicef Australia, funds raised through The Hopepage are currently being allocated to support organization’s efforts in responding to the crisis in Rohingya.

At the time of writing, 2,303 people were actively donating processing power through the platform.

Do you think that other charitable organization will seek to emulate The Hopepage and develop their own platforms through which donors can offer computing power for crypto mining? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Australia’s Financial Watchdog Cracks Down on ‘Misleading or Deceptive’ ICOs

Australia’s financial regulator and watchdog is turning up its scrutiny on fraudulent practices in the initial coin offering (ICO) space. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has forced “some” ICO issuers to modify or halt their coin offerings altogether after the regulator sent inquires scrutinizing their marketing practices, the ASIC said in a statement

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