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OM (Openbaar Ministerie) rounds up approximately 25 million in crypto

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  • The Public Prosecution Service of Netherlands landed a big loot on cryptocurrencies suspected to be part of criminal activities.
  • The authority stated the preference individuals have for cryptocurrencies in illicit proceedings due to their anonymity.

The past few months have been eventful for the Public Prosecution Service of the Netherlands, Openbaar Ministerie (OM). That’s after it seized crypto worth approximately $29 million in BTC and ETH. The OM worked with the National Criminal Investigation office and the Netherlands Fiscale Inlichtingen en Opsporingsdienst (FIOD).

The seized digital assets came from different investigations that have been going on for a while now. This loot also stands as the largest the authorities have managed this year. However, they have not yet arrested any culprits related to the seized crypto because of its anonymous nature. 

According to the OM report released on November 8, the involved parties were from the Netherlands and other countries. Nonetheless, the authorities are still working towards unveiling the criminals’ identities. The report also stated that the criminals used stablecoins instead of the two top cryptos to avoid hefty charges during the exchange. 

The OM is the Dutch body charged with investigating and prosecuting criminal offenses in the country. On the other hand, the Netherlands Fiscale Inlichtingen en Opsporingsdienst handles financial crimes investigations. Lastly, the National Criminal Investigation office is under the Netherlands National Police Unit. 

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OM issues in tracking down the perpetrators

The OM expressed the trouble the three authorities faced in tracking the crypto transactions related to a money-laundering ring. In its opinion, bad actors in the financial industry prefer cryptocurrencies due to their decentralized and anonymity features. 

Furthermore, they are a more efficient pathway to making cross-border money transfers, unlike fiat currencies. As such, the involved parties could exchange funds globally instantaneously without leaving much of a digital print.

The agencies have come across cryptocurrencies in cybercrime activities, such as ransomware attacks, as per the report. Additionally, they play a significant role in money laundering, financial fraud, tax evasion, human trafficking, and drug rings.

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However, it mentioned that exchanges globally assisted in investigations to take control of the wallets involved. It added in the report that the exchanges had to exercise their due diligence per the Dutch law; hence, their cooperation. 

On the question of the culprits, the OM expressed that international law dictates their transfer to their respective countries upon arrest. The investigations will continue with all hands on deck to ensure the conviction of the criminals.

Not the first money-laundering case in Holland

Late October this year found the Rotterdam District Court dealing with a similar case worth about $29 million. The involved couple was arrested for their involvement in money laundering on the Dark Web using Bitcoin. The court forced the couple to forfeit over 2500 BTC and approximately $290 000 in cash.

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Besides the court fining the couple heavily, they received 2 and 2 and a half years of prison time, respectively. The court estimates the couple’s two-year activity to have involved over 16M Euros. 

This incident proves the OM’s point that while crypto is legal, it still has a high affinity to crime-related transactions. It raises the question of whether this is why countries are working hard to have stringent crypto-related regulations. 

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Kimbal Musk, Elon Musk’s brother launches decentralized philanthropy platform

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  • Kimbal Musk launch decentralized philantrophy platform.
  • Says he launched platform after learning a lot from Web 3.
  • Crypto continues to integrate with philanthropy on many fronts.

Kimbal Musk, brother to the world’s richest man, Elon Musk, has announced the launch of a “Giving DAO.” He calls it an experiment in “decentralized philanthropy,” (Big Green DAO)

In a tweet he used to announce the DAO launch, Musk said he is deciding to launch the decentralized philanthropy after learning a lot from Web 3. During an interview, he said that one of the goals of the charity is to overhaul the philanthropy industry with the use of blockchain-based tooling – a sector he believes is plagued by inefficiencies.

“Wow, Web 3 has been teaching me a lot. I’ve decided to run an experiment to decentralize philanthropy. This Giving Tuesday, I’m launching the first Giving DAO,” Musk tweeted.

It is safe to say, like Elon, Kimbal Musk is also fascinated by cryptocurrencies and its potential. He called for constructive criticism on his decentralized philanthropy project.

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Who is Kimbal Musk?

Kimbal is Elon Musk’s younger brother and a restaurateur, chef, and entrepreneur. He owns The Kitchen Restaurant Group, a nest of “community” restaurant concepts located in Colorado, Chicago, Cleveland, Memphis, and Indianapolis. He is also a board member on Elon’s electric vehicle company, Tesla.

So far, his crypto foray has generated positive feedback on Twitter. “This sounds exciting! The true power of crypto and the blockchain to disrupt philanthropy is yet to be tapped, so it’s great to see you pioneering in this regard,” said one Floki Inu account.

Crypto continues to bond with charity

More and more people change the narrative of crypto being used for illegals by bad actors.

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Musk is not the first to integrate the Web 3 and crypto world with philanthropy and charity.

Months back, Médecins Sans Frontièrs (MSF) Doctors Without Borders—received $3.5 million worth of Ethereum from an NFT sale. “This game-changing crypto donation comes at a time where the COVID-19 emergency has compounded the already urgent medical needs of people around the world,” said Jennifer Tierney, MSF Australia’s executive director at the time.

A group of hackers also donated proceeds of their ransomware attacks to charities and NGOs.

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The giving block, a crypto charity organization, has been making giant strides providing leading solutions for nonprofits to accept crypto and a platform for donors to give cryptocurrency to their favorite causes. The Giving Block opens new revenue streams for charitable organizations while reducing the crypto tax burden for donors.

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El Salvador’s President Asks the Fed to Stop Printing Money

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El Salvador’s pro-crypto president commented on a report on the U.S. Fed’s response to escalating economic and financial woes.

On Dec. 1, the outspoken Nayib Bukele responded to a Bloomberg report detailing Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell’s comments on inflation. Interestingly, El Salvador’s president asked the Fed chief to stop printing so much money out of thin air.

Inflation a Growing Concern

A fresh round of economic anguish has been ignited by last week’s discovery of the new highly-transmissible Covid-19 variant named Omicron by the WHO.

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On Nov. 30, Bloomberg reported on the Fed chair’s comments before the Senate Banking Committee this week. Both Democrats and Republicans expressed concerns about high prices and inflation, it added. The central bank chair retired the word “transitory” to describe high inflation that remains a persistent issue in the U.S.

He added that the Fed should start to wrap up its bond purchasing scheme earlier than the scheduled mid-2022 target.

The word used was “tapering,” which refers to a gradual slowing down of purchases of securities and bonds. The central bank has been effectively printing money to buy bonds with the aim of pushing down interest rates which are currently at 0.25%.

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Lower interest rates mean more borrowing, which stimulates the economy and spending. However, money printing increases inflation and gradually erodes the value of the currency over time, hence Bukele’s comments today.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Economic Research (FRED), the five-year breakeven inflation rate surged to over 3% in November – its highest level for more than two decades. As a result, the consumer price index for all urban consumers (Core CPI) – which measures the average cost of goods less food and energy – is also at an all-time high.

The figures are a clear indication that the situation is not “transitory” despite what the Fed claims. The latest Omicron strain could exacerbate America’s economic woes even further if it runs rampant and more lockdowns are enforced.

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El Salvador Gains

Naturally, store of value assets that offer a hedge against the greenback and inflation are going strong. As reported by CryptoPotato, Nayib Bukele bought the dip adding 100 BTC to El Salvador’s treasury on Nov. 27.

It has worked out very well for the Latin American nation so far, despite a few protests. A tracking feed that measures the value of the $30 BTC airdrop Bukele gave citizens to spur adoption back in September is reporting a current profit of almost 15% in dollar terms.

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Facebook’s Head of Crypto Quits Weeks After Meta Rebranding

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Facebook, now known as Meta, has only begun its development, post the commencement of the company’s rebranding. However, shockingly, one of the core team members, i.e., the head executive of the cryptocurrency department, David Marcus has announced his departure from the company by the end of this month.

Marcus took to Twitter yesterday, unveiling the end of his seven-year long tenure at Meta. The market is raging with speculations that Marcus’ exit is because of Meta’s Hit-and-Miss, to launch its own cryptocurrency for cross border online payments via Facebook products.

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Did Crypto Executive Quit in lieu of Failure to Launch Native Crypto?

After serving as PayPal’s President, Marcus joined Meta in 2014. He worked at Meta’s popular online messaging application, Messenger, and eventually moved on to the financial department of the company. Under Marcus’ leadership, Meta announced two cryptocurrencies one after another. Both, the Libra blockchain currency and the Calibra digital wallet were expected to go live in the year 2020. However, neither succeeded in lieu of global backlash from policymakers and regulators. At present, Meta’s digital currency Diem, is run by an independent entity, separate from its digital wallet project, Novi. Furthermore, currently serving as the VP of product at Novi, Stephane Kasriel, will now be replacing Marcus as the head of crypto at Meta.

“While there’s still so much to do right on the heels of launching Novi — and I remain as passionate as ever about the need for change in our payments and financial systems — my entrepreneurial DNA has been nudging me for too many mornings in a row to continue ignoring it…I find comfort and confidence in knowing that they will continue to execute our important mission well under @skasriel’s leadership, and I can’t wait to witness this from the outside.”, Marcus tweeted in the thread containing his exit from Meta announcement. 

Towards the end of October, Facebook, the world’s largest social media platform, confirmed rebranding after changing its name to Meta. The name change was in line with the company’s focus on building the world’s first true metaverse.

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