A fake exchange website has managed to steal €24 million (over $27 million) in cryptocurrency from thousands of victims.
European law enforcement agency Europol said in a press release Wednesday that six individuals have now been arrested over the scam in an operation that also involved the UK’s South West Regional Cyber Crime Unit and National Crime Agency, along with Dutch police and Eurojust.
Five men and one woman were simultaneously arrested yesterday at their homes in several U.K. locations, as well as Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
Europol said the criminal endeavor involved a “typosquatting” scam in which a “well-known” (but unnamed) online crypto exchange was cloned in order to gain access to victims’ crypto wallet login details and steal funds.
All in, the scam is thought to have led to at least 4,000 victims in 12 countries losing bitcoin to the scam, though Europol says the number of known victims are still growing.
The case was initially referred to the European Cybercrime Centre and the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce at Europol after U.K. authorities identified possible suspects living in the Netherlands.
Operational meetings organised at Europol’s headquarters between the U.K. and Dutch authorities allowed for the “smooth exchange of intelligence and evidence which led to these successful arrests,” according to the release.
WATCH: MyCrypto CEO Taylor Monahan on Crypto Adoption and Ethereum
At Devcon 5 last week, CoinDesk’s Leigh Cuen sat down with MyCrypto CEO Taylor Monahan to chat about user adoption and the state of ethereum.
Founded in 2015, MyCrypto makes the blockchain more accessible through customer-first products for ethereum and ERC-20 tokens.
As Monahan told CoinDesk, MyCrypto focuses on the customer experience:
“People are used to the Googles and the Facebooks and you type in your username and your password and if you forget it like they’ll recover it for you and everything’s fine. And then they enter crypto and it’s like, ‘No, that’s not how the world works.’”
As a wallet provider, MyCrypto is the first touching point for many crypto newbies, and onboarding non-crypto customers to crypto has its own set of unique challenges.
“How can we make this similar to existing systems? And where it just is different, how can we educate the user? Because at the end of the day, we do want people to hold their own crypto.”
Crypto Analyst: Ethereum Has Bottomed, Expected To See Extended Rally
2019 has been the year of Bitcoin, while altcoins like Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, and others have continued to suffer and fall further from their all-time high prices set back at the height of the crypto hype bubble in late 2017 and early 2018.
But according to one crypto analyst, Ethereum may have bottomed and an extended bullish rally may be ahead as the second-largest crypto by market cap catches up on ground it lost against Bitcoin during the year.
Ethereum Primed for Parabolic Rally After Pullback Following Disbelief Phase
At the start of the year, the entire crypto market appeared to be rebounding out of the crypto winter it had long been trapped in and started showing signs of a bullish uptrend forming once again. But starting in April, Bitcoin and altcoins like Ethereum diverged, and the alternative crypto assets began to plummet even further, erasing what little gains had amounted during the year thus far.
Since then, Bitcoin sucked the life out of the altcoin market, including Ethereum, and only now that Bitcoin is once again falling too are altcoins beginning to show a glimmer of hope that their ongoing downtrend may finally be coming to an abrupt end.
According to one popular crypto industry analyst, that is true for Ethereum, which may have bottomed and is ready to break out of a consolidation pattern it has been trading in. The crypto analyst also expects Ethereum to go on to experience “parabolic price growth,” on the ETH/USD trading pair.
ETH Prices Could Revisit All-Time High in Less Than One Year
After fully bottoming in December 2018 along with the rest of the market, the crypto analyst says that Ethereum has just experienced its first pullback after the disbelief stage, and following that phase in normal market cycles typically comes a revival of hope that ultimately becomes a full-blown bull market.
If Ethereum has indeed bottomed and has just confirmed former resistance as support during a pullback ahead of a rally, the analyst believes that not only will the smart contract-focused crypto-asset rise in the coming days ahead, but could revisit its all-time high of over $1,400 per ETH within less than one year’s time.
Such performance in Ethereum markets would result in an over 650% return on investment from current prices of $180 per ETH to the asset’s previous all-time high of $1,400 it set at the start of 2018 – before the bear market took hold and eliminated as much as 99% of the value from most altcoins – including Ethereum.
Ethereum, like Bitcoin, often moves the entire crypto market and an extended rally for Ethereum may also mean an extended rally in the overall crypto market may be around the corner.
Altcoins Energized as XRP, XLM and ZRX Leave Bitcoin Behind
Another day of inactivity and consolidation for Bitcoin has kept the king of crypto just above support. Its lethargy has resulted in another dip in market share as a few of the altcoins start to make bigger moves. Ripple’s XRP, Stellar Lumens and 0x are among them.
Bitcoin Dominance Dip Good For XRP
A couple of very brief touches of $8,400 was all that BTC could muster over the past 24 hours. Clearly there are too many bears lurking here and resistance is proving too strong for another day. On the low side Bitcoin dropped to $8,240 but recovered back to site smack in the middle of its ranging channel at just over $8,300 again.
The continued tedium on BTC markets has been music to the ears of altcoin traders, especially those into XRP. The Ripple token has made over 11% since the weekend, adding half of that today as it approaches strong resistance.
According to Tradingview.com XRP is one of the day’s top performing digital assets as it hit $0.298 a couple of hours ago. The move has invigorated the ‘XRP Army’ on CT who has turned bullish on their baby which has posted a 20% gain in October.
XRP price October 2019 – Tradingview.com
What should be noted however is that even after this increase, the Ripple token is still down 15% since the beginning of the year so has a long way to go.
The upcoming Ripple Swell event in Singapore early this month appears to be driving momentum as it has done in previous years. The gathering of Ripple executives and XRP advocates is the most bullish event of the year for the company and its token deserves some long awaited love.
There is a massive wall of resistance at $0.30 which is currently being tested, but a break of this could see a bigger pump for XRP.
Stellar, 0x Lifting Off
As usual when XRP moves, its little sister follows. XLM has made 8% over the past 24 hours as it climbs to $0.065, however it too is way down from previous highs and has a long way to go. Stellar momentum is likely to mimic Ripple’s as the two tokens often move in tandem.
There is little fundamentally driving XLM at the moment so the Swell event could be beneficial to it too. Stellar is currently ranked tenth in terms of market cap which has reached $1.3 billion today.
Today’s other big mover is ZRX which has made a larger 10% jump to reach $0.337. Daily volume for the DEX protocol token has doubled to $64 million as it creeps back up the market cap charts outperforming those around it. Plenty of updates were announced at Devcon 5 as development on the protocol continues.
Bitcoin’s slowdown is finally starting to benefit some of the altcoins with XRP, XLM and ZRX leading the way today.