Police in the Philippines bust six foreigners for crypto theft

A small group of foreigners in Pasay City in the Philippines have been arrested after allegedly stealing almost $100,000 (five million pesos) worth of cryptocurrency. The thieves, who were identified as Chinese nationals, were turned over to the Chinese embassy for further processing. However, the subsequent investigation revealed that they were all simply pawns for another criminal.

According to the Pasay Assistant Chief of Police for Operations, Superintendent Gene Licud, another Chinese citizen, You Jin Gai, approached the Station Investigation Division Management Branch (SIDMB) over the weekend, claiming that his cryptocurrency had been stolen. The victim was able to identify the suspects, and gave the police their names. They were identified as Lai Ze Lin, Chen Xiao Yu, Cheu Zhi Pens, Wu Zhao Hua, Zhou Jin Lian and Xu Bao Yi.

All six were rounded up on Sunday by the SIDMB. Investigators determined that they had not perpetrated any crimes, but that they were only employees of the real criminal, Chen Yi. They all subsequently turned to the police for help, claiming that Chen had “promised them an honest work here in Philippines.” Chen has not yet been located.

South Korea has been cracking down on all types of illegal activity, particularly that associated with cryptocurrencies. It busted a major ring of Chinese and South Korean nationals last month that were involved in a $33-million crypto scam. Immigration Commissioner, Jamie Morente, said at the time, “We reiterate our warning to all foreign criminals who are hiding in the country that the long arm of the law will eventually catch you and we will send you back to your homelands.”

Pasay City is taking an especially hard stance against illegal activity. The city’s police chief, Senior Superintendent Noel Flores, said after the latest crackdown, “We will always continue our mandate in serving the Pasay City through our relentless anti-criminality and anti-illegal drugs operation with the observance of human rights in all our police operations in order to maintain peace and order and public safety.”

While there is no way to permanently rid the world of scammers, fraudsters and thieves, the efforts of law enforcement offices around the globe to clean up the cryptocurrency industry will go a long way to ensure crypto can mature and evolve as a viable alternative to fiat.

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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CoinGeek-backed StackTrek brings blockchain education to tier 2 cities

Cryptocurrency and blockchain are more than buzzwords—they’re also job-generating industries. In fact, recent studies revealed that there have been more than 300% jump in job openings within the cryptocurrency and blockchain sectors, and the continued growth showed blockchain employers are confident in the market opportunity and in their teams.

Topping the leaderboard with most job openings are San Francisco and New York, according to employer review site Glassdoor. Outside of the United States, London leads the pack followed by Singapore, Hong Kong and Toronto. That’s not surprising, given that these locations are considered the big tech cities of the world. However, new and mid-sized cities are now poised to be the next-generation tech hubs, all thanks to blockchain technology.

Case in point is the city of Iloilo in the central part of the Philippines, a country that is considered to be the world’s second largest IT outsourcing destination. And it is in this city that StackTrek launched its blockchain-focused training program, StackLab, to help the pool of developers and engineers build their skillset and work on blockchain tech—with particular focus on Bitcoin BCH, the one true public blockchain.

StackLab is supported by CoinGeek.com and its owner, Antiguan entrepreneur Calvin Ayre, who contributed over $150,000 to fund the initiative whose goal is to create technology hubs in next-generation cities of the Philippines. nChain is helping shape the training program curriculum, and is also providing projects for the trainees to work on.

A total of 650 people took part in StackLab’s pre-training tournament, which screens the trainee candidates using the world’s most unbiased programmer capability evaluation test funded by the World Bank and recognized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The pre-training coding tournament was held city-wide, and supported by the mayor of Iloilo City and the chairwoman of the Education Council.

After completing the six-month training program, the developer trainees will receive support from StackLab to find employment.

StackLab, however, is more than just training the future blockchain tech developers. Co-founder Bill Yuen said, “We also toured different schools with our blockchain speaking series, affecting 1,000-plus students.”

This initiative is another of Calvin Ayre’s many social initiatives for the Philippines. If you want to learn more about StackLab and how you can help spread the adoption of Bitcoin BCH, why not join the upcoming CoinGeek Week Conference, happening in London this November? Tickets to the conference are still available via Eventbrite.

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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The second Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Philippines: Crypto Event in Manila by Smile-Expo

On December 6, the international company Smile-Expo will conduct the second Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Philippines, a large-scale event about DLT and cryptocurrencies. The conference will gather top industry experts who will talk about the relevant issues regarding the technology.

Why the Philippines?

Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference returns to Manila for the second time as the Philippines has a big potential for DLT development.

The country has an established Blockchain Association of the Philippines (BAP), which aims at educating the population about the technology and connecting crypto businesses to enhance further innovations.

More than that, Philippines’ Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) has already given licenses to 19 different crypto exchanges. One of the DLT-based companies is an advanced crypto payment app – Coins.ph.

What is Waiting for Guests at the Conference?

The event will be visited by technology developers, entrepreneurs, investors and miners. Among the participants, there will be representatives of the leading organizations and top industry specialists.

Speakers

Professionals in the DLT sector will deliver presentations on the main issues regarding the crypto sphere.

The event will be attended by Arvie de Vera, the Head of Fintech Business Group at UnionBank of the Philippines. The financial organization is one of the largest banks in the country. It has already integrated DLT into different internal processes and plans to expand technological applications.

The speakers will also include James Florentino, CEO at MergeCommit – a company that plans to become the first DLT-based organization in Southeast Asia by 2025.

Lito Villanueva, Chairman at FinTechAlliance.ph – a collaboration of digital finance experts who plan to improve the country’s economy, will talk during the conference.

Luis Buenaventura, CTO of BloomSolutions, will emphasize topical DLT issues in his presentation as well. His company allows its clients to transform remittance business in a unique way. Its total volume processed since inception has exceeded $125,000,000 as of March 2018, making it one of the most successful DLT remittance startups in the world.

The event will also be joined by the Business Owner at crypto wallet provider Tagcash – Mark Vernon.

The conference’s program will also feature the panel discussion where professionals will talk about smart and legal contracts. One of the discussion’s participants will be Rafael Padilla who has been one of the founders of BAP.

Exhibition Area and Pitch Sessions

Innovative developments will be presented in the exhibition area. Visitors will have a chance to discover new mining hardware, crypto payments solutions and DLT-based apps.

Startups will get a unique opportunity to find investments, as they will share ideas and introduce their brands during the pitch sessions. The most interesting initiative will get the capital for further development of the project.

Event’s guests will be able to find new business partners to cooperate in the future. They can use this opportunity during networking.

Results of the Previous Event in the Philippines

The first Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Philippines was attended by 300 visitors, and 12 top companies introduced their projects.

Professionals from major corporations delivered speeches. Business Group Lead at Microsoft Philippines, Herns Hermida, was among them.

The unique feature of the event was the focus on DLT applications apart from financial sphere. Experts discussed technology’s integration into business, marketing and government.

Organizer

The event will be coordinated by Smile-Expo, an organizer of 47 successful Blockchain & Bitcoin Conferences in 25 countries.

More information about the event and registration are on the official website of the conference.

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19 crypto exchanges secure provisional license in Philippines’ economic zone

The number of companies that have been granted provisional licenses by the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), which operates the Philippine government-owned Cagayan Special Economic Zone (CSEZ), has jumped to 19.

Last week, CEZA published a list of firms that have been issued with Financial Technology Solutions and Offshore Virtual Currency (Ftsovc) licenses and the Offshore Virtual Currency (OVC) licenses. The list also contains names of companies who have paid the applicator fees and are still being reviewed.

According to the publication, a total of 19 companies have been awarded the provisional license. Of that number, 17 were issued with provisional principal licenses while two were given provisional regular licenses. Companies holding the provisional principal license can “conduct offshore financial technology solutions business activities and offshore virtual currency exchange activities,” while those with provisional regular license can only offer offshore virtual currency exchange services.

The 17 companies with the Ftsovc provisional principal licenses include Tiger Wheel, Golden Millennial Quickpay, Hong Kong Yuen Shing Hong, Ultra-Precise Investment, Digifin Technologies, Liannet Technology, Rare Earth Asia Technologies Corp., Formosa Financial Holdings, Cr8tiv Solutions Management, Sino-Phil Economic Zone Agency Development, Tanzer Holdings, Asia Premiere International, Ipe Global, Orient Express Global, White Ranch Limited, Dragon Empire Developments, and Galaxy Plus Developments.

The two companies’ awarded with the Ovc licenses were Unicorn Venture Investment Ltd and Cezex Trading Pte. Ltd.

Companies awarded with the principal license for Ftsovc had to pay $360,000 while those awarded with the regular licenses had to pay $85,000, CEZA previously stated. The awarded licenses will be valid for the next six months. Companies that require permanent licenses will have to prove to the authority that they are in compliance with Philippine laws.

While speaking to reporters in July, CEZA Board Secretary Catherine Joy Alameda explained that the licensees must have authorized capital stock of $500,000 with paid-in capital of $200,000. In addition to this, the companies should invest at least $1 million in a period of two years in the country. They should also set up a back office in the Philippines.

In addition to the 19 companies, CEZA publication also included seight companies that are still under review. From the eight, six are being reviewed for provisional principal licenses while two are being reviewed for provisional regular licenses.

In July, CEZA granted provisional licenses to three cryptocurrency exchanges. The authority has been taking measures to create a legal framework in which crypto related business can operate.

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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Philippines deports South Korean, Chinese suspects in $33M crypto scam

The Philippine government, through its Bureau of Immigration (BI), has deported South Korean and Chinese nationals back to their respective countries on charges of scamming investors of $33 million that was supposedly used to purchase BTC.

According to news outlet Manila Bulletin, South Korean national Go Yongsung, 48, and Chinese national Lian Lilong, 36, were two of six suspects who had gotten their South Korean victims to put their money in a pyramiding scheme, promising large returns with BTC that turned out didn’t exist. The total of $33 million was said to have been collected from December 2015 to June 2016. The four other suspects, said to be of Chinese nationality, remain at large.

The South Korean government is expected to charge Go of large-scale fraud. The Chinese embassy, meanwhile, is charging Lian over his involvement in economic crimes. Their passports had been revoked, allowing the Immigration bureau to arrest them on charges of undesirable and undocumented aliens. The arrests were made in separate operations in different parts of Metro Manila.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said, “We reiterate our warning to all foreign criminals who are hiding in the country that the long arm of the law will eventually catch you and we will send you back to your homelands.”

Similar pyramid schemes have proliferated worldwide, some involving the actual purchase of cryptocurrencies, others merely using ‘Bitcoin’ as a buzzword to pique investor interest. Seoul-based Shinil Group used an elaborate fantasy of having found the remains of an old Russian cruiser that contained $131 billion worth of gold. The treasure was promised to the investors of the ‘Shinil Gold’ coin, who had forked out a total of $53.1 million to Shinil, even without evidence of anything of value in the ship.

Last April, Philippine police arrested a couple that had been accused of taking about $17 million from investors who had been promised a 30% return every 15 days, supposedly through buying BTC.

In Vietnam, a cryptocurrency mining company called Sky Mining ran off with a total of about $35 million, after promising investors annual profits of 300%.

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Philippines’ SEC eyes September release for crypto exchange draft rules

The Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will soon release draft rules for cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.

According to news outlet BusinessWorld, Commissioner Ephyro Luis Amatong said after an en banc meeting that the draft guidelines are to be released “hopefully within the first half of September,” with the intention of receiving input for changes to be made. The SEC will then issue its finalized regulations by the end of the year.

The SEC will be basing the draft guidelines on regulations already being implemented in the U.S., Australia and Switzerland. “We want to create an environment where investors can feel more or less safe in investing in what are essentially securities that have a digital form… Instead of paper or securities that are housed within PDTC [Philippine Depository & Trust Corp.], the depository [will be] housed on a blockchain,” Amatong said.

The commissioner also noted that SEC has started discussions with the Philippine central bank, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), about sharing oversight on cryptocurrency exchanges. Already, the BSP has its regulations on cryptocurrency exchanges, released back in February 2017. In its circular, each “virtual currency exchange” (VCE) must register with the BSP “to operate as a remittance and transfer company,” and file annual and quarterly reports. As of July, there are five exchanges registered with the BSP.

Amatong pointed out that the BSP’s role was limited to the aspect of money changing in cryptocurrency exchanges. “But… all of the VCEs are applying to allow them to act as trading platforms. When it comes to trading platforms, it is a concern of the SEC to be discussed with the BSP,” he said.

In August, the SEC released its draft guidelines on initial coin offerings (ICOs), in which it outlines requirements for proposing an ICO, including the submission of a whitepaper to be updated as necessary.

The Philippines is among the first countries to issue its regulations in cooperation with existing industry players. The BSP has merely cautioned of the risks associated with investing in cryptocurrencies, but has not prescribed prohibitions on the matter.

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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