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This week’s news has been refreshingly calm as the crypto markets see a period of growth and stability. Here are the headlines for this second week of July. 

Bitcoin rises above $30k

Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency, experienced a notable surge last Monday, reaching a peak of $31k before stabilising at around $30.5k. This sudden upward movement provided a much-needed sense of optimism and relief for the crypto industry, which had endured a tumultuous month plagued by lawsuits and scandal. Amidst the chaos, Bitcoin’s growth served as a beacon of hope, showcasing the resilience and potential of Web3-based finance.

The crypto industry had been grappling with a series of challenges and controversies throughout the past month. Lawsuits, regulatory uncertainties, and negative media attention had cast a shadow over the cryptocurrency market, causing uncertainty and apprehension among investors. However, the surge in Bitcoin’s value brought a welcome respite, suggesting that the industry could weather the storm and recover from the setbacks it had faced.

Adding to the positive sentiment surrounding Bitcoin, Standard Chartered Bank released a report on that very Monday, predicting a potential surge for the cryptocurrency in the coming years. The report proposed that Bitcoin could potentially reach a staggering value of $120k by the end of 2024. This optimistic forecast further bolstered the faith in Bitcoin’s long-term prospects and emphasised the continued relevance of cryptocurrencies in the evolving financial landscape.

The ability of Bitcoin to maintain its strength and demonstrate resilience in the face of adversity highlights the underlying power of Web3-based finance. Web3, which encompasses decentralised finance (DeFi) and blockchain technology, aims to create a more inclusive, transparent, and efficient financial system. Bitcoin’s enduring popularity and value appreciation provide a tangible testament to the transformative potential of this emerging paradigm.

As the crypto industry continues to evolve and mature, Bitcoin’s performance serves as a reminder that it remains a significant force within the digital asset landscape. Its widespread adoption, limited supply, and decentralised nature contribute to its appeal and longevity. Despite the challenges faced by the industry, Bitcoin’s ability to rebound and maintain its position as a leading cryptocurrency demonstrates the growing acceptance and recognition of digital currencies as a viable alternative to traditional finance.

United Kingdom’s financial regulator, FCA ramps up anti-crypto campaign. 

In recent months, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the United Kingdom has intensified its efforts to combat illegal cryptocurrency ATMs operating within the country. The FCA’s crackdown involved inspecting an additional 18 sites in May and June, bringing the total number of inspections for the year to 34. These actions reflect the regulatory body’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of the financial system and protecting consumers from potential risks associated with unregulated crypto services.

The FCA’s scrutiny of crypto ATMs stems from concerns regarding their compliance with existing financial regulations and the potential for fraudulent activities. At present, there are no registered crypto financial firms in the UK that are authorised to provide ATM services. Consequently, any crypto ATMs operating within the country are deemed to be illegal, as highlighted in a public warning issued by the FCA.

The public warning explicitly cautions consumers against using such crypto ATMs, emphasising that they operate outside the legal framework and lack the necessary regulatory oversight. The FCA’s statement also highlights the inherent risks associated with unregulated crypto services, particularly the absence of consumer protection measures. If individuals choose to use an illegal crypto ATM and encounter issues such as falling victim to a scam or financial loss, they will not have the safeguards typically provided by regulated financial institutions.

The FCA’s proactive approach in cracking down on illegal crypto ATMs demonstrates its commitment to safeguarding consumers and maintaining the integrity of the financial system. By conducting inspections and issuing public warnings, the regulatory body aims to educate the public about the risks associated with unregulated crypto services and deter the use of illegal ATMs. This concerted effort underscores the importance of adhering to established financial regulations and highlights the need for increased oversight in the rapidly evolving cryptocurrency space.

As the cryptocurrency market continues to expand and evolve, regulatory bodies like the FCA play a crucial role in ensuring consumer protection and market integrity. The crackdown on illegal crypto ATMs reflects a broader trend of regulatory scrutiny in the crypto industry, as authorities seek to strike a balance between fostering innovation and safeguarding against potential risks. By taking decisive action against unregistered crypto ATMs and issuing public warnings, the FCA aims to raise awareness among consumers and encourage responsible engagement with cryptocurrencies within the bounds of existing regulations.

Moroccan Man charged with stealing $450K in OpenSea spoofing scam. 

U.S. authorities have recently announced the indictment of an individual allegedly involved in a sophisticated cybercrime scheme targeting cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The U.S. Attorney’s Office, in a statement released on Monday, revealed that the accused individual had orchestrated the theft of approximately $450,000 worth of digital assets by creating a fraudulent website designed to mimic a popular NFT marketplace.

According to the statement, the man took advantage of the increasing popularity and value of NFTs, which are unique digital assets authenticated by blockchain technology. In his elaborate scheme, he created a lookalike website that closely resembled the legitimate NFT marketplace, with the intention of deceiving victims into believing they were interacting with a trusted platform for buying and selling digital art collectibles.

Once the victims accessed the fraudulent website, they unknowingly provided their sensitive personal information, including their account credentials and private keys. Armed with this valuable data, the perpetrator gained unauthorised access to the victims’ digital wallets and subsequently stole their cryptocurrencies and NFTs. The estimated value of the stolen digital assets amounted to approximately $450,000.

The indictment signifies the growing threat posed by cybercriminals who exploit the popularity and allure of cryptocurrencies and NFTs. These unique digital assets have garnered significant attention and value in recent years, attracting both investors and collectors. However, the increasing prominence of such assets also presents an opportunity for criminals to exploit unsuspecting individuals who may be unfamiliar with the complexities and security measures involved in the crypto space.

The case highlights the importance of exercising caution and conducting thorough due diligence when engaging in transactions involving cryptocurrencies and NFTs. It serves as a reminder that individuals should verify the authenticity and legitimacy of platforms and websites before sharing any personal or financial information. Utilising secure and reputable marketplaces, employing robust security measures such as two-factor authentication, and remaining vigilant against phishing attempts can help mitigate the risks associated with such cybercrimes.

Law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office, continue to invest resources and expertise in combating cybercrimes related to cryptocurrencies and digital assets. The indictment of the accused individual demonstrates their commitment to investigating and prosecuting those who engage in fraudulent activities within the crypto space. By holding individuals accountable for their actions, authorities aim to deter potential cybercriminals and protect innocent individuals from falling victim to similar schemes.