French agent accused of peddling state secrets on dark web for crypto

A security officer in France is accused of selling confidential state information on the dark net, according to local media reports.

On Friday, French news outlet Le Parisien described the officer as a member of a sensitive division of the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Intérieure (DGSI). The agent allegedly minted information to which he had access to, as well as potentially falsified administrative documents, which he sold on the dark web.

Sources close to the investigation told the news outlet there was evidence that the agent had been in contact with members of the organized crime world as well as “specialists of the economic intelligence” who were interested in obtaining such data. No link to terrorism has been found, according to the report.

Agents from the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police were the first to discover the leaks. This prompted the DGSI to use the agent’s personal code—which they use to connect to computers and perform consultations—to track his online activities. Internal security processes allow the authorities to trace the origin of file queries either in real time or in delayed manner.

Following the agent’s arrest, L’Office central pour la répression de l’immigration irrégulière et de l’emploi d’étrangers sans titre (Ocriest)—the agency in charge of monitoring “irregular immigration”—shut down the criminal network the suspect had been linked to, according to Le Monde.

It is not yet known how much information was sold or how much crypto the agent received. Data considered classified as “confidential defense” or “secret defense” within the DGSI, are punishable by up to seven years’ imprisonment and a fine of €100,000 ($115,393) if violated by any state agent.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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France blacklists 21 more websites promoting crypto scams

The French financial market authority, Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), has updated its official blacklist of fraudulent businesses operating in the country.

According to the publication, the list has 21 new names of businesses in the crypto space that are running illegal operations. Majority of these businesses are alleged to have offered investment opportunities in initial coin offering (ICOs), cryptocurrency trading and mining activities without getting approval from the relevant authorities.

The new list comes nearly six months after the AMF first published its blacklist of businesses allegedly involved in fraudulent schemes. The initial list had 15 cryptocurrency platforms, which were believed to have committed the same offence. Four more websites, all operating without licenses, were added to the AMF list in July.

The recently added businesses include bitcoin.co, acheterdubitcoin.com, adg-placemnet.com, cryptofrance.info, goodcoin.fr, investirvin.info and vinsimo.com, among others.

The AMF has been actively involved in making sure investors in the country do not fall victims to criminal activities in the crypto space—not an easy task given that France currently doesn’t have a legal framework that fully covers cryptocurrency activities. Under the French Law, cryptocurrencies are not considered as currencies. They are also not regarded as financial instruments. Despite lack of legal clarification on cryptocurrencies earlier this year, AMF concluded that crypto derivatives should be subjected to the rules applicable to financial instruments under the Monetary and Financial Code of France.

In September, lawmakers in Paris adopted a new legislation that introduced guidelines to regulate token sales in the country. The new law grants AMF power over businesses planning to conduct an ICO. According to the law, entities are required to meet certain conditions including proving specific guarantee to participants. Token issuers are required to publish all relevant information that will help the investor make an informed decision.

Authorities hope the new rules will provide a clear guideline on how to handle ICO matters. The new laws are also aimed at improving the cryptocurrency climate in the country. While the AMF is cracking down on businesses in the crypto space, the government is working to create a better environment—it recently lowered the tax rate on cryptocurrency capital gain from 45 percent to 19 percent.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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UNICEF France starts accepting donations in Bitcoin BCH, other cryptos

UNICEF France is now taking donations in cryptocurrencies. On its website, the humanitarian body said it accepts donations in nine cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin BCH, as well as BTC, ETH, EOS, Stellar, LTC, XRP, DASH and XMR. The decision to finally accept cryptocurrencies was partly due to the organization’s need to expand its circle of donors and sources of funding, according to UNICEF France.

The organization is also calling on its well-wishers to donate their computing power for the purpose of mining six crypto coins to directly to UNICEF France’s wallets. This concept of accepting crypto donations was born after the GameChaingers campaign in February. The campaign, launched by UNICEF to help children in the war torn country of Syria, asked gamers to contribute their mining power to mine cryptocurrency as part of the initiative. Interested gamers and donors had to install the Claymore mining software to mine ETH, the chosen crypto for the project. The campaign ended last March 31, with UNICEF mining 85 ETH.

Sébastien Lyon, the director of UNICEF France pointed out that while cryptocurrencies is an innovation in the fundraising sphere, it is being utilised by few organizations in the field. He noted, “Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology used for charitable purposes offer a new opportunity to appeal to the generosity of the public and continue to develop our operations with children in the countries of intervention.”

UNICEF France had taken a cue from UNICEF Australia, which, in April, created an initiative where crypto mining was conducted by visiting a website, HopePage, which had been set up for the specific purpose of mining Monero. Also in May, UNICEF announced that donors could use Coinhive to offer their donations to support refugees through mining cryptocurrency. The funds raised was used to help 400,000 children in Rohingya who were affected by the violence in Myanmar.

Jennifer Tierney, director of UNICEF Australia, explained, “The HopePage allows Australians to provide help and hope to vulnerable children by simply opening the page while they are online.” HopePage asks users for confirmation before using anybody’s system to mine for UNICEF Australia, and users can adjust how much computing power they are willing to donate or leave the browser tab open to keep contributing to the initiative.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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