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UK Watchdog Warns of Crypto Scams Using ‘Prestigious’ London Addresses as Smokescreen

The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said that crypto investment scams are increasingly targeting British investors, in an official warning published August 17.

The watchdog warns that fraudsters often use celebrity images, slick websites or “prestigious” City of London addresses as a smokescreen through which to lure prospective investors. It adds:

“Scam firms can manipulate software to distort prices and investment returns. They may scam people into buying non-existent cryptocurrencies. They are also known to suddenly close consumers’ online accounts and refuse to transfer the funds to them or ask for more money before the funds can be transferred.”

The FCA notes that cryptocurrencies themselves are not currently regulated by the agency, meaning that many crypto exchanges and other brokers fall beyond its remit. The agency does however regulate crypto derivatives — including futures, contracts for difference (CFDs), and options.

In these cases, the FCA advises investors to check whether the firm in question has received the required authorization to sell or advertise these products, or to go through its ScamSmart warning list of firms to avoid.

This month, the agency has already issued two warnings over so-called crypto “clone firms” falsely claiming to have FCA authorization.

The FCA further advises that anyone who has already invested in а scam is likely to be a target for a “follow-up.” This “may be completely separate or [otherwise] related to the previous fraud, such as an offer to get your money back or to buy back the investment after you pay a fee.”

Just last week, U.K. police issued their own warning to the British public over fraudulent crypto investment schemes, after statistics from the Action Fraud national reporting center showed that U.K. victims reported crypto-scam related losses of $2.5 million in June and July 2018 alone.

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Nano (NANO) Updates: $5,750 Treasure Hunt in London and Amazing NANO Community Efforts

On the 7th of August, the London Block Exchange (LBX) teamed up with NANO to offer the first paring of Nano (NANO) with the GBP (British Pound). The LBX exchange allows users to also access their UK bank accounts in an efficient manner. To celebrate the listing of NANO on the exchange, LBX is launching the first ever UK Crypto hunt in London.

The treasure will be a Ledger Nano S that will be pre-loaded with £5,000 (Approximately $5,725) worth of NANO. LBX has issued the following instructions as to how the treasure hunt works:

London Block Exchange will release a series of FIVE cryptic riddles across various media channels over the next few weeks. The clues will hint at a special location in London and to win you’ll need to solve them and work out the winning password – which is written at the secret location. Clues have been deliberately constructed to have hidden/double meanings and every riddle has been carefully designed to become progressively easier to solve… so read them very carefully!

The first clue has already been provided by LBX:

Enter the dragon, ten corners his lair 
where 18th century stories are told
of traders and drinking,
of silver, of gold,
the riches in Nano are what you’ll find there

The second clue has also been released:

Head East from the beast that bears different form to the nine of its siblings in circular track. This journey will take you from cold towards warm, an indelible scripture, a linguistic picture; Go 17 forward and then look 4 back.

Anyone who cracks any of the 5 riddles will need to do the following to claim the prize.

  1. Write down the password onto a piece of paper
  2. Below the password write the phrase “NANO/GBP only at LBX.com”
  3. Take a selfie with the paper
  4. Tweet the photo to @LBXSocial using the hashtag #RealCryptoHunt
  5. More information to be obtained from the tweeter page of LBX

Nano Community creates website (NanoMate.co) to introduce anyone to Nano

Angus Russell, who is a software developer, has created a website that makes it easy for anyone to introduce their friends and family to NANO. All you have to do is send any of your non-crypto savvy friends and family some NANO via the site and they will receive a step-by-step guide as to how to retrieve it.

More information can be found on NanoMate.co.

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Study: Only 5% Of U.K. Crypto Investors Turn A Profit

Despite the seemingly endless supply of stories of investors making millions of dollars through cryptocurrencies, a recent report from a U.K.-based news source seems to tell a different story.

As per an article from Express U.K, IW Capital, a legacy markets investment house based in London, recently researched information highlighting the state of cryptocurrency investors in the Western European powerhouse. The data, which was divulged exclusively to Express U.K. reporters, paints a picture that doesn’t seem to be too positive for this nascent industry.

One-third of all of the survey’s respondents noted that they believe that the so-called “Bitcoin bubble” will burst very shortly. Another key figure which was found out in the report was that 38% of the 2,007 surveyed, likely part of the aforementioned group of naysayers, claim to not understand the slightest bit about cryptocurrencies, and the technology behind them. This figure brings up the issue of education, and how many experts note that widespread adoption cannot be achieved without education regarding crypto first.

As IW Capital alludes to, there is a large issue with the levels of knowledge seen in the industry. The report notes:

The data reveals that, fundamentally, Brits do not have enough information or knowledge on the topic of cryptocurrency. In fact, many have no knowledge about the subject whatsoever. Despite a widespread dearth of knowledge surrounding this particular asset class, disconcertingly, 1 in 20 Brits – nearly 3 million – have invested in cryptocurrency without fully understanding it, with only 5 percent having taken advice from a financial adviser when investing in cryptocurrencies.

The report later added that a wide majority of investors in the U.K. see cryptocurrency as an “inferior” investment, while directly comparing this new breed of assets to something like a stock or a government-issued bond. In accordance with the statistics given by IW Capital, only 7% of those involved in the survey see more value in cryptocurrencies in comparison with the investment opportunities offered in traditional markets. It is likely that this aversion towards crypto assets is the direct result of only a small portion of U.K.-based cryptocurrency investors turning a financial profit, just a measly 5% in fact.

However, it is important to note that over 2.5 million Brits have “casually invested” into this asset class, driving a figure that was likely higher before, straight into the ground.

While the 2,007 surveyed may not be fully representative of the entirety of the U.K. population, it is likely that the unfortunate pattern of losses and misunderstanding is prevalent all crypto investors in the country.

These Figures Are “Shocking, But Not Surprising” 

Luke Davis, the CEO of the firm conducting the survey, gave Express a statement regarding the statistics, noting:

It is shocking, but not surprising, to see so much confusion around the topic of cryptocurrency. I do not believe this is a reflection of UK investors’ risk profile, as a positive appetite for alternative finance remains, but to see that investments have been made without proper financial advice and a lack of facts and education is very concerning.

Although it wasn’t explicitly stated, this statement hints that the firm may be slightly anti-crypto, as many other legacy market firms can be. Whether this is due to the reason that they don’t understand this industry, or that they feel rising pressure from crypto assets on their traditional business structure, it is likely that IW may continue to push an agenda that isn’t kind to the cryptocurrency industry.

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London School of Economics Introduces Online Course on Crypto

The London School of Economics (LSE) will be offering an online course on cryptocurrency investing, starting in August 2018, Financial Times reports Monday, July 9.

According to the announcement, the new course dubbed “Cryptocurrency Investment and Disruption,” will help students learn some “practical skills to interact with cryptocurrency exchanges,” including how to use cryptocurrency wallets, as well as “evaluate the analytics” of initial coin offerings (ICOs).

The LSE, which is alma mater to 36 “world leaders” and 18 Nobel Prize laureates, claims it is known for its motto to “understand the causes of things.” By introducing the course, the university intends to help global “private organisations, individual investors, financial service firms, governments,” as well as “regulatory bodies” to make sense of the “highly disruptive trend” of crypto.

“The exponential growth and volatility of cryptocurrencies and the distributed ledger technology underpinning them has led to a global interest in cryptoassets, ICOs and the distribution of digital wealth.”

The online course is set to be led by Dr Carsten Sørensen, Associate Professor of Information Systems and Innovation. Consisting of six modules that add up to 60 hours of class time, participation in the course will cost €1,800, or roughly $2,116.

The University of Malta was also reported today to announce a blockchain degree that will be taught starting in October 2018.

In February, Australian public research university RMIT launched the country’s first university course on blockchain technology. The 8-week course, dubbed “Developing Blockchain Strategy”, intends to teach not only theoretical aspects of blockchain, but also the practical skills needed to use the technology.

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Third Largest Crypto Exchange Huobi Opens London Office, Sets OTC Trading for Q3 2018

Chinese cryptocurrency exchange Huobi confirmed the opening of its London office June 28, with over-the-counter (OTC) trading tests set to begin in Q3 this year.

In a press release shared with Cointelegraph, Huobi, which claims to have a global user base of “more that five million,” continued its recent narrative that expansion into Europe was a priority, with London a deliberate choice for basing its new operations.

“London was selected as the first office in Europe, due to its preeminence as a global financial center and the largest cryptocurrency trading centre in the region with an active blockchain community and fast developing market,” the exchange wrote in praise of the local UK landscape.

“Huobi’s UK growth will be supported by high quality finance and technology talent pools and an open cryptocurrency regulatory environment.”

The move follows similar decisions from other major exchange industry players, most conspicuous among which is Binance, once the world’s biggest operator by volume, which moved to Malta in April.

At the same time, Cointelegraph reported, Huobi set its sights on London, privileging the location above all others as its “Europe gateway.”

“Not Malta, not Switzerland. Absolutely London, more precisely Britain,” Huobi Group vice president Peng Hu said.

Huobi plans to offer OTC trading throughout the European market. Its new presence in London should “provide improved access to European financial markets and will enable UK-based blockchain and crypto asset startups to benefit from Huobi Labs and the Huobi Ecosystem Fund,” it added.

Spearheading the operation will be Lester Li as European Exchange Director and Josh Goodbody as General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Huobi UK.

As of press time, Huobi is the third largest crypto exchange in the world at around $500 million in daily trade volume, according to Coinmarketcap.

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Number of Women Eyeing Crypto Investing Doubled Since Start of Year

Over the last six months, the amount of women considering an investment in cryptocurrencies has gone from 6% to 13%, reports City A.M. June 9.

The report was based on a market research conducted by a UK cryptocurrency exchange London Block Exchange, which shows that cryptocurrency is most popular with women in the millennial generation, one out of five of whom express a desire to invest.

The research also suggests a difference in the way men and women invest, with women taking a more strategic approach as they are 50% less likely than men to suffer from a “fear of missing out” (FOMO). In addition, the research shows that women are more collaborative than men, as they are twice as likely to consult family and friends about their potential investments compared to men, who are statistically more likely to “go it alone.”

An earlier research from etoro crypto exchange suggests that up until recently, the industry was male-dominated — with men making up 91.5% of all investors and women only accounting for 8.5%.

London Block Exchange’s senior business analyst Agnes de Roeyer, however, believes this trend could be undergoing a change. According to City A.M., Roeyer said,

“There’s still a common misconception that cryptocurrency is a game for men, but we’ve seen hundreds of women sign up for our exchange in the last few months and some of the most inspiring and knowledgeable investors, leading the way in the industry are female.”

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University College London Cuts Ties With IOTA, Cites ‘Support For Open Security Research’

The Centre for Blockchain Technologies (CBT) at University College London (UCL) has posted an announcement on its website that it has dissolved its ties with the IOTA Foundation, TNW reported April 28.

The note emphasizes CBT’s commitment to “open security research,” and reads in full as follows:

“UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies is no longer associated with the IOTA Foundation. In relation to recent news report [sic], we reaffirm our support for open security research, as a prerequisite for understanding the assurances provided by any blockchain technology. It is inappropriate for security researchers to be subject to threats of legal action for disclosing their results”

While it remains unconfirmed, CBT’s allusion to “recent news reports” and researchers being subjected to “threats of legal action” appears to be a reference to the controversial fall-out over an IOTA vulnerability report that was published last September as part of MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative (DCI) that found a vulnerability in IOTA’s open source repositories on GitHub.

Though IOTA responded by fixing the vulnerability and did not initially deny the Curl hash function could be compromised, they suggested such an attack would be impractically complex and that users’ funds were not seriously at risk.

The situation deteriorated in Oct. 17, when leaked correspondence appeared to show IOTA’s lead cryptographer Sergey Ivancheglo, acting independently of the IOTA foundation, threatening one of the researchers with legal action.

In addition to deciding to sever ties with IOTA, the University College of London appears to have now removed all entries on IOTA from the CBT website, as TNW further reports. IOTA’s page on the CBT site now returns a 404 error, but an archived version can still be retrieved.

In response to Cointelegraph’s requests for comments, CBT clarified:

“UCL CBT was not affiliated with the IOTA foundation. Instead, the IOTA foundation was a member of the “UCL CBT Industry Alliance. We don’t have [anything] to add with respect to what we already posted on our website. We can simply add that UCL CBT has interrupted association with IOTA foundation until further notice.”

As of press time, no representatives from the IOTA foundation have responded to requests for comment on UCL’s decision.

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World’s 4th Largest Crypto Exchange Huobi Expands To London As ‘Entry Point’ To EU Market

Beijing-born crypto exchange Huobi has announced that it is planning to open an office in London, as it continues its expansion overseas, Finance Magnates reported April 18.

Explaining he vice president of Huobi Group, Peng Hu, told reporters:

“Not Malta, not Switzerland. Absolutely London, more precisely Britain, is the entry point for the European market for us. Soon we will have an office here.”

Financial Magnates further reports that Chern Chung, Huobi’s senior business development manager for Europe, explained that the exchange “wants to have a presence” in the city because “our statistics show that London is the most active trading scene across all of Europe.”

The choice of London sends a clear message, according to Chung, that the exchange wants to “go mainstream” by being compliant with relevant regulations. He told reporters, “[w]e are not afraid of regulation nor are we escaping regulation.”

Huobi is currently the world’s fourth largest crypto-exchange by trade volume, according to data from CoinMarketCap, trading about $1.2 billion in the past 24 hours to press time. Huobi group launched its Huobi Pro Global exchange, headquartered in Singapore, after the Chinese government banned ICOs and domestic crypto-fiat exchanges in September 2017.

Arguably, a robust and transparent regulatory climate that has crypto-particular guidelines – rather than shirking regulation altogether – is what the major international crypto-exchanges are now after. In late March, Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, announced it was opening its headquarters in Malta, which has been proactive in providing legal and regulatory frameworks for Blockchain and virtual currencies.  

Huobi Pro opened a South Korean subsidiary on on March 30, and unveiled plans earlier this year to open an office in San Francisco.