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COVID-19 Vaccine Certificates Sold on the Darkweb for BTC and ETH

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Fraudsters operating on the Darknet are now trading coronavirus vaccines and vaccination passports in exchange for digital assets.

Coinfirm revealed that some users on the notorious Darkweb have been selling falsified vaccine certificates for COVID-19 and stolen doses of vaccines in exchange for a variety of cryptocurrencies. Per the report, one can buy 10 shots of the AstraZeneca product for $250 or its crypto equivalent.

BTC in Exchange for a Coronavirus Shot

Criminals see the anonymous nature of the Darkweb as an attractive marketplace where they can execute a variety of illegal deals.

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The blockchain analytics company Coinfirm reported that such bad actors operate on that specific platform to sell falsified COVID-19 vaccine passports as well as stolen doses of vaccines. In exchange, they prefer to be paid in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Monero (XMR), and many more.

Coinfirm assumed that the criminals choose this payment method because of their anonymity and global popularity.

The blockchain company reported about one particular Darkweb vendor, under the name of “COVID-19 Vaccine Shop”, where buyers can find dozes of Pfizer-BionTech, AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. Interestingly, one can purchase even the Russian product Sputnik V.

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Per the research, the majority of the criminals selling on the Darknet are based in the Russian Federation or in the USA. Coinfirm further announced that Eastern Europeans are the ones who buy the most those vaccines and falsified passports. The estimated price of most products is $250 per 10 doses or the equivalent in digital currencies.

Crypto Transactions on The Darknet

The cryptocurrency transfers on the Darkweb reached an ATH in 2020. As CryptoPotato reported, last year such transactions equaled $1.5 billion. However, the number of illegal transactions was greater in 2019 than in 2020 – 12 million vs. 9 million. This means that while customers have made fewer purchases this year, they have spent larger sums.

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Monero, in its turn, is the most popular digital asset on the Darkweb. In the past, BTC was the most preferred for such transactions but over the years the focus shifted to assets like Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and especially Monero (XMR) – known for its enhanced privacy.

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El Salvador President Looking to Buy the Bitcoin Dip, But Wants a Better Discount

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Bitcoin ($BTC) price recorded a minor correction over the past 24-hours, falling to a daily low of $60,122. The retrace comes just days after $BTC posted a new ATH of $66,973 on Wednesday. The price correction is now being seen as an opportunity by many to stack more $BTC.

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Source: TradingView

Nayib Bukele, the president of El Salvador, the world’s first country with Bitcoin as its legal tender is also among many who wants to buy the Bitcoin dip. However, he thinks the correction is too small and might need a better discount to make the purchase.

Bukele’s interest in Bitcoin has been known the world over as he is seen as the main architect behind El Salvador’s BTC adoption. The small central American nation started buying $BTC right after it was formally inducted in September this year. They made a total of 700 BTC purchases throughout September when the top cryptocurrency was trading under $45K. At the time Bukele was criticized as their purchase value was on the decline.

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As $BTC touched new ATH,  El Salvador’s Bitcoin holding got into millions of profit which is now being used for building hospitals and other national projects. He also shared a photo of himself sitting on the throne depicting him as the king after BTC ATH.

El Salvador is Reaping the Benefits of Bitcoin Adoption Already

International media continues to show El Salvador’s BTC adoption in a bad light, focusing more on the protests and less on the benefits that Bitcoin adoption has given to the country. The national Chivo wallet is already being used by two-thirds of Salvadorans while the Bitcoin ATMs have been a great success too receiving millions in daily remittance.

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El Salvador has also invested in clean Bitcoin mining using abundant geothermal energy available in the country. The country has already set up the infrastructure and has mined its first Bitcoin as well, thus the adoption has proven to be a great win for the financially challenged nation, despite skepticism from all around.

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Ethereum

One Ethereum Competitor Is Showing Strength As Bitcoin Loses Ground, According to Crypto Trader Benjamin Cowen

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Crypto analyst Benjamin Cowen says an Ethereum rival is showing strength as Bitcoin pulls back from its all-time high.

Cowen tells his 576,000 YouTube subscribers that AVAX, the native token for the smart contract platform Avalanche, is “weathering the storm relatively well.”ADVERTISEMENT

The 12th-ranked asset by market cap is trading at $68.28 at time of writing, up over 5% in the past 24 hours and more than 20% in the past week, according to CoinGecko.

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Cowen notes that AVAX is trading well above both its 20-week simple moving average (SMA) and 21-week exponential moving average (EMA). Taken together, the two metrics are what Cowen refers to as the “bull market support band.”

“We also have some wiggle room in the sense that we are above the bull market support band of the AVAX/USD valuation. The 20-week SMA is at $35.85 and the 21-week EMA is at $43.47. What that tells you is that Avalanche has been performing pretty well for the last several weeks. 

A lot of coins are right above their bull market support band, and they haven’t been performing as well recently. A lot of these things can have some type of seasonality as the money ball just jumps around from project to project, and right now, clearly, AVAX is showing a decent amount of strength.” 

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Cowen doesn’t predict that AVAX will have a strong move against Bitcoin “in the next month or so,” but he does say that Avalanche can increase in value in terms of its relationship to the US dollar in the short term.

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This ransomware gang moved $6.8 million in Bitcoin amid regulatory overhaul

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Ransomware groups, Darkside and BlackMatter recently moved multi-million dollars worth of Bitcoin upon getting the news of REvil’s servers getting hacked by a global coalition of law enforcement agencies. According to the authorities, 107 BTC, which amounts to $6.8 million were moved earlier today by splitting the amount into several different wallets.

Furthermore, officials revealed that the gangs were already aware of regulators’ oversight and therefore had prepared the mentioned balance to be laundered or cashed out. According to The Record, officials noted that the breakdown of funds into smaller portions is usually used for money laundering operations as the regulators directly transfer the entire amount of confiscated funds instead of splitting them up.

“Basically, since 2AM UTC whoever controlled the wallet started to break the BTC into small chunks… At the time of this writing, the attackers split the funds into 7 wallets of 7-8 BTC and the rest (38BTC) is stored in the following wallet: bc1q9jy4pq5su9slh56gryydwkk0qjnqxvfwzm7xl6”, Omri Segev Moyal, CEO and co-founder of security firm Profero shared this data with The Record.

It is obvious that the Darkside and BlackMatter were next on the regulatory hitlist as Darkside was the ransomware strain developed by REvil associates that were used earlier this year in the infamous Colonial Pipeline incident of May. This attack indirectly led to fuel supply outages across the US East Coast.

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REvil ransomware group’s website went offline

Yesterday, the Reuters’ report about REvil’s servers being hijacked by the regulators went viral and threw other ransomware groups in a fit of panic. A multi-nation operation against cybercrime group, REvil was implemented and took down the group’s “Happy Blog” website, which was formerly used to leak victim data and extort companies.

“The FBI, in conjunction with Cyber Command, the Secret Service and like-minded countries, have truly engaged in significant disruptive actions against these groups,” said Tom Kellermann, an adviser to the U.S. Secret Service on cybercrime investigations and VMWare head of cybersecurity strategy. “REvil was top of the list.”, he added.

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