AugRay’s XR enables product experiences in retail industry
Technology is advancing in leaps and bounds. Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) are now termed as eXtended reality – XR.
This technology is disrupting all the major industries with its innovative offerings and the retail industry is at the forefront of these solutions that AugRay provides.
Our strategies ensure that ER redefines customer engagement rules and provides retail brands with the opportunity to attract, win and retain customers.
We also aid in developing omni-channel-immersive experiences with product interactions at various interaction points – both in the online (e-commerce) and offline world (in-store/brick & mortar).
Strategic Moves in Retail
Today’s customers are savvier than before and their requirements have to be customized at the blink of an eye-lid and if not done, businesses conversion rates are going to plummet like never before.
Our XR solutions enable retailers to meet these ever-increasing consumers’ demands which have risen with accelerated technology and futuristic advancements.
XR also helps in designing products – virtually and reduces the cost of design, development and trial products. It offers new ways to solve market challenges and selling products with the ability to reduce wear and tear or theft on product samples
Application of XR across different touch points of retail
As highlighted before, these solutions benefit both customers and retailers, across in-store and e-commerce platforms. The solutions are product agnostic – fashion / footwear / automotive / grocery shopping.
eXtended reality is reducing the gap in decision making for consumers and increasing efficiency in various ways on every aspect of retail through augmented personalisation and immersive experiences for customers.
Recent XR technology enables consumers to be part of the advertisement using VideoXR. VideoXR captures consumers face and engages them in celebrity endorsement campaigns.
This is done along with their favorite movie stars, sports icons, brand mascots, and animated characters.
Video XR uses face morphing technique where users take a selfie of themselves and the face morphing technology builds the user’s avatar and includes that in predefined XR-enabled videos.
Such Video XR campaign improves both digital & non-digital campaign performance with increased dwell time, immersive experiences and participation. (As it personalizes).
Enhancing Personalization and Engagements
XR generates highly personalized engagement and user-generated content. It also accelerates online reach by triggering excitement of audiences to invite and share it with their friends and family.
Any Digital Marketing solution (SMM / SEO / SEM / Whats App / Email / Affiliate) is now being amplified with two key XR directions. The consumer’s consuming the content and taking an action due to their Immersive Experience.
The forms include entertainment, product visualization or other directions. The technology further provides the immersive experience with just a web-link click or a scan of a QR code from the mobile device.
XR helps uplift sales across the retail industry and increases the Click-Through Rate (CTR) while creating a relatively strong link between brand, product, and consumer. Providing innovative and immersive experiences, eXtended reality enhances customer engagement rate and Return-On-Ad Spend (ROAS).
When it comes to the in-store shopping experience, XR serves as a consumer’s personal shopping assistant which displays information about where products can be found along with information that can benefit customers.
Redefined Customer Experience
Apart from benefiting customers, it can prove to be advantageous for retailers by empowering sales associates to provide superior and faster customer service. Moreover, it helps executives collaborate with customers on unique configurations and designs.
A case of VR-enabled merchandising is Kellogg’s and Qualcomm. Both of them developed Virtual Reality (VR) solutions with embedded eye-tracking. This offer also provided a glimpse at a new reality for brands, retailers and consumer testing.
Through this tool, shoppers can walk through a realistic virtual store model, view the shelves, pick up and examine products virtually and place selections directly into their carts – A complete immersive virtual shopping experience, as in real time.
For post-purchase solutions, the technology can extend its support to customers through directions such as AR-enabled manual or AR step-by-step instructions for product assembly or trouble shooting or experiencing product variation.
Other industries implementing XR solutions – Automobile
Across the automobile industry, eXtended reality is making deep in-roads for online customers and also for those visiting brick-and-mortar shops. Automotive companies are looking forward to developing more personalized and customized marketing models to satisfy the customers by applying XR solutions.
Automakers are now able to offer augmented and virtual car configurators by displaying virtual test-driving, and virtual showrooms. Through this technology, customers can explore different features and options in a vehicle, to see a vehicle in different real-world settings via digitized showrooms.
A case in point: The most renowned automaker, Audi and its dealership network has deployed functional VR applications focusing on customer-consultation. One of the smallest Audi dealerships in London, Audi City showroom has implemented a VR-embedded solution.
It provides its customers with a realistic experience of their individually configured vehicle providing the details, a sales tool that has significant results and improved efficiency for the customer experience and influencing their purchase decision.
Other industries implementing XR solutions – Fashion
In fashion and accessories, XR allows shoppers to virtually try on products in real-time and provides an opportunity to customize their items in the show room and homes. All what is needed is a smartphone.
Such a comprehensive and seamless experience by brands caters to the great foundation of loyalty with the customers.
For example: Kate Spade (New York) has created a “Make It Mine” line of personalized handbags. Once the customer picks up a handbag, the XR display immediately detects it and exhibits it on an interactive touch screen.
From here, the customers can explore the variety of straps, colors, and patterns to create their own unique handbag. This personalization service was launched in 2018 and since then it’s been thriving in an innovative arena.
With its Virtual Catwalk, (an app) aims to offer customers a new way of viewing its products in real life. Much like the above examples, Warby Parker, last year unveiled an XR tool that allows customers to try on frames in its app using augmented reality.
This technology imposes computer-generated images onto real-world imagery – which means the customer’s face on camera with varied pairs of virtual Warby Parker glasses.
Other industries implementing XR solutions – Footwear
Apart from industries like retail, footwear stores have moved towards personalization. It offers customers virtual try-on experience to assure their product satisfaction before buying it.
With the combination of computer vision, data science, AI/ML (Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning) and recommendation algorithms are utilized to gauge the entire orientation of the user’s feet and guide with the perfect fit for each shoe style.
Moreover, the intelligent system can store the foot dimensions in a user’s account for future shopping (online and in-store) as well. Such app-based solutions have been implemented by Nike and others.
Other industries implementing XR solutions – Groceries
When it comes to grocery retail, eXtended reality has proved to be a game-changer. People who struggle to locate specific items in large department/grocery stores can use the technology for simple and reliable in-store navigation.
It has been predicted that the indoor location market including indoor navigation and data tracking will be worth US$ 41 billion by 2022.
For instance, Lowe’s implemented an in-store navigation app in 2017 which leverages AR indoor mapping and utilizes motion-tracking technology to provide users with efficient directions while navigating them to their desired place in real-time.
This boon of XR saves a lot of time and energy of customers while augmenting their overall shopping experience. Consumers can avail its ingenious benefits sitting at home, over e-commerce platforms, while relaxing in their recliners.
As the e-commerce players started enhancing their services to customers online using XR applications; IKEA has used eXtended reality, specifically AR, to give customers a preview of its furniture in their homes.
Consumers can tap into their smartphone camera to show the space where they desire to place the item and a 3D content of the furniture will provide them the clear idea of its placement or reposition the 3D content on the floor to decide on the ideal positioning of the furniture.
CoverGirl opted for same approach to attract customers online. Using their mobile cameras, the customers can apply beauty products over a live image of their face.
The brand facilitates customers with advantage to try on different makeup combinations, sparing their actual skin.
It also saves time that gets wasted in applying makeup in reality. Shopify is an e-commerce platform that offers innovation of XR.
Through Shopify AR, brands can leverage unique ways to experience their products while showcasing their realistic versions.
With this feature, consumers can understand the actual size or scale of the items which will subsequently help brands increase engagement and improve purchase-confidence.
AugRay’s eXtended Reality Serves Retail Industry
AugRay has always been re-innovating and revamping itself with new emerging technologies while developing immersive platforms for better customer engagements.
We have introduced various XR-powered platforms across the retail industry to help brands and customers develop better relations and shopping experiences.
AugRay’s WebAR platform allows retail brands to connect with their customers and provide 3D product visualization and specs across e-commerce and brick & mortar.
The platform also helps create an omni-channel journey with an immersive experience at multiple touch points bridging the gap for online and in-store shoppers.
The WebAR platform has all images of products that can now be converted to provide XR experience using WebAR.
This amplifies sales and enhances customer engagement while providing a faster and seamless experience to customers.
From online click-throughs to conversions and from store walk-ins to increasing the dwell-time on the product, XR-enabled platform is well positioned to impact the sales results and with measurable intelligence and great insights.
The marketing efforts are more efficient in saving cost and improving results. In space of brick & mortar, AugRay’s RetailXR continues to play an important role in providing unique in-store shopping experience to customers.
This offering of eXtended reality solutions to retailers enhances their ability to engage with their customers, by creating an in-store immersive experience.
Such experiences potentially include visual & virtual display of the products and specifications to try-on’s and in-store navigation to find product information to avail best deals & rewards.
This subsequently creates a great impact on the customer which he carries home to further engage virtually and increases the probability of product consideration, reducing the time in making a buying decision.
RetailXR’s gamification and reward platform create omni-channel gamification of customers’ product experience and brand campaigns in an effort to enhance sales and retain customers with loyalty points & rewards.
The technique also enables brands to engage their customers with tailor-made gamified campaigns to tell their brand stories as part of the game and engage users for a longer duration increasing the brand recall factor and or to pursue in considering the product by rewarding mechanism.
Retail XR features helps up sell and cross sell business products and reengage consumers at their next buy cycle and increases customer retention and advocacy.
Branded Gamefication takes it to next level in providing unique, personalized and emotional games such as virtual buddy to consumers which can be taken home and trained.
This virtual buddy is a hook for consumers to engage in product consideration, retention, creating repeat customers and creating internal influencers who would entice decision makers to consider a buy or become external influencers to advocate.
AugRay’s XR capabilities transform mobile games into a seamless playground where experiences change depending on the place, persona, and context.
In order to drive exciting customer engagements, its RetailXR platform provides an immersive experience to the audience like playing football virtually with favorite stars and taking a selfie together and endless opportunities by amplifying the returns on celebrity endorsements when possible and much more
We work on several different customer excitement experiences. All are based on XR (Extended Reality) technologies. These are
- Showcasing how your products look like: Product Visualization
- Creating virtual experiences for your customers, like they are playing their favorite game: Exciting Engagements
- For retail stores, customers can decide their purchase through virtual experience: AR-Aided Retail
- For E-Commerce companies, we provide solutions that can enable your customers to see how it feels before buying the product: Online Product Fit
- For travel companies, we bring to life, the real-world experience when they take the tour: Wander VR
- For gaming companies, our product will aid your customer to have a customized engagement based on the levels of interaction: Virtual Buddy
Mission: Enhance revenues of 1 million businesses using AR, VR and MR technologies
Vision 2030: Set up cost-effective mediums in any Digital platform to enhance the virtual experience of all consumers in any business to realize the actual real-world solution
Alleged Fiat Gateway of MT Gox Hackers Tops SAR Reports in Leaked FinCEN Files
The entity that has received the most Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) in some 2,000 leaked FinCEN documents happens to be an online payment processing company that allegedly served clients involved…
The entity that has received the most Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) in some 2,000 leaked FinCEN documents happens to be an online payment processing company that allegedly served clients involved in the MT Gox hacked bitcoin money laundering scandal.
Mayzus Financial Services (MFS) had a corporate account at BTC-e, according to a report from last year, as did some of its employees, with this fiat gateway suspected of being the chief way hacked bitcoins were turned into dollars.
The company itself denied any wrongdoing in 2017 following the arrest of Alexander Vinnek, the alleged owner of BTC-e, with MFS stating at the time:
“MAYZUS Financial Services Ltd. might have had among its clients, through the services of MoneyPolo and OKPAY, legal entities who could be operators of the BTC-E exchange, or private persons who could be owners or employees of the BTC-E exchange, however, all accounts of legal entities or individuals whom we considered as possibly related to the BTC-E exchange, are blocked, which was properly reported to the financial regulatory authorities. In addition, information about these individuals and legal entities was forwarded to the law-enforcement agencies of Great Britain.”
That they may well have indeed done so could be corroborated by these leaked files which have not been published as far as we can see, but Buzzfeed and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists say they have analyzed the documents for the past year. They say:
“Some entities have been flagged numerous times in the FinCEN Files. Mayzus Financial Services sets the record, appearing as a subject of 36 SARs.”
What the nature of these SARs was is not clear, but it raises questions about whether any of them was investigated especially considering the volumes concerned.
Michael German, a former FBI special agent who is a national security and privacy expert, is quoted as saying that in the naughties “the SAR program became more about mass surveillance than identifying discrete transactions to disrupt money launderers.”
Volumes have ballooned with some two million such suspicious activity reports filed every year, an almost impossible number to swift through.
In addition even after wrongdoing is ascertained and they get a fine, banks like JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank, and Bank of New York Mellon continued to move money for suspected criminals, Buzzfeed says.
Two trillion dollars of such reports have been filed within this somewhat limited set of leaked documents with such suspicious reports not quite being proof of wrong doing, but more something to potentially look at.
In the case of BTC-e, there was a lot to look at because they had no anti-money laundering measures at all, with MFS seemingly serving them.
The alleged owner of BTC-e is now to go through trial in France where this relationship may well come under more scrutiny, especially now that these documents bring them to the spotlight once more.
However senator Ron Wyden, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee which requested some of these SARs, is quoted as saying that the FinCEN Files investigation “reinforces the fact that we now have two systems of law enforcement and justice in the country.”
Drug cartels move millions through US banks; poor people go to jail for possession. “If you’re wealthy and well-connected, you can figure out how to do an enormous amount of harm to society at large and ensure that it accrues to enormous financial benefit for all of you.”
SARs are meant to act as some sort of a ‘zoom in’ suggestion that can potentially give enforcement the ability to do what we’ll call analogue blockchain analysis through spreadsheets.
In crypto of course these ‘spreadsheets’ are available to anyone and can be analyzed by anyone, as was the case with the revelation that MT Gox still had 200,000 bitcoins, rather than losing them all as they initially suggested.
In fiat, these spreadsheets are secret but the law requires unusual transactions to be revealed to law enforcement with such revelation in itself being sufficient, leaving the bank free to continue facilitating transactions from entities or individuals that they filed as suspicious.
It’s up to law enforcement at that point to then follow the lead, but considering for MFS there have been 36 such suspicious activity reports from eight filers, you’d think either the leads are not being followed or the filers are abusing the SAR system.
Meet in the Middle: Crypto Companies and Banks Are Evolving Together
Some say that meaningful change happens gradually. Others insist it erupts unexpectedly. This week, we saw that both are true.
Earlier this week, the Wyoming Banking Board voted to approve the application from San Francisco-based crypto exchange Kraken for a Special Purpose Depositary Institution (SPDI) banking charter. Yes, one of the crypto industry’s oldest exchanges has become a bank.
This is a big deal, one that heralds a coming transformation of the crypto asset industry. Market participants and commentators understandably reacted with glee and surprise. Both are warranted, yet both overlook the bigger shift that has been building up for some time, and which will have an even more significant change on how finance functions.
First, to understand the excitement, let’s look at what this means for Kraken.
A SPDI is a bank charter, but it is not a traditional bank in that it can’t make loans. It also is not required to have FDIC insurance, since there is no solvency risk stemming from fractional reserve banking – 100% of its deposits have to be backed by assets on hand.
Pending approval, this should give the firm’s subsidiary Kraken Finance access to an account at the Kansas City Federal Reserve, which gives it access to the U.S. payments system. This will make it easier for clients to move funds on and off the exchange, as well as allow for the launch of new products such as debit cards, IRA accounts and wealth management services.
Also, Kraken Finance will be able to custody both fiat and crypto assets, with more oversight and legal protection for clients than a trust company can offer. Client confidence will get a further boost through the additional capital that banks are required to hold, and through the required contingency account.
And, although it is chartered in Wyoming, Kraken Finance will be able to operate in most U.S. states under a unified regulatory framework through reciprocity agreements, possibly even returning to operate in New York, more than five years after its public departure in response to the BitLicense.
This is good for Kraken, but also for the industry as a whole, as it will facilitate onboarding for a range of businesses and institutions that are only comfortable entrusting financial transactions to a bank. It also takes steps towards solving the perennial problem many crypto businesses have in getting a banking license for operational needs. Opening an account at a digital asset bank should support both fiat and crypto liquidity. And the emergence of a competitor to the few banks serving digital asset businesses should give customers greater choice and better conditions.
And finally, Kraken is likely to be the first of many firms moving to take advantage of the business opportunity that being a digital asset bank promises. This will continue to boost institutional confidence in the crypto industry, and support the growth of related banking services that further incorporate digital assets into users’ daily lives.
Now, let’s look at why this was a surprise.
A group of visionary regulators and advocates started work in 2018 on the painstakingly detailed process of drawing up legislation that takes crypto assets into account. Caitlin Long, one of the aforementioned advocates, hosted a panel at our Invest conference last year that went into many of the details, and has both written and spoken about it at length. So, no surprise there.
And a Kraken job ad in December of last year hinted that applying for the SPDI charter was in their plans. Yet Kraken’s win in being the first caught many off guard, because Kraken has not traditionally been seen as, well, the type to choose the banking route.
The exchange was founded in 2011 (when the bitcoin price averaged $5.60) by Jesse Powell, one of the industry’s earliest advocates, and an outspoken critic of regulatory overreach.
What is one of the original crypto companies doing becoming a bank? Has it given up its principles to join the “system” bitcoin was supposed to circumvent?
The answer is no, it hasn’t. On the one hand, Powell has shown from the beginning that he will take steps to ensure fair access to cryptocurrencies, and has worked at getting strong banking relationships to support his business. Becoming a bank is an efficient way to cement the firm’s standing in the financial community, which benefits its clients.
On the other hand, the “system” that Kraken is joining is changing. And that has been the point all along.
Here we get a glimpse of the bigger shift I mentioned above. It’s not that crypto businesses are jumping through hoops to become respectable. That is happening to some extent, and it’s good for the industry. Respectability brings mainstream acceptance and investment inflow. And with its SPDI application, Kraken is reinforcing its reputation as one of the more innovative institutions in our sector.
The bigger shift is that traditional finance is changing to adapt to the crypto industry.
The SPDI is a new type of bank charter that was created with the crypto industry in mind. A new set of definitions and protections was drawn up to take into account crypto asset characteristics. A state passed financial legislation for the crypto industry.
What happened this week is not so much confirmation that crypto businesses are joining traditional finance. It’s more, to some extent, the other way around.
Many of us working in this industry are here because we believe that we are witnessing the emergence of a new economic system that will reform capital markets and finance. We have all faced cynics who insist that traditional finance won’t change, that cryptocurrencies are a threat to stability and order and that authorities won’t let this scale of innovation take root.
This week proved the cynics wrong.
The main story is not that one of the original cryptocurrency businesses, which supports the underlying principles of distributed governance, has joined the legacy financial system.
The story is more one of traditional finance adapting.
So far, this is both a small step (Kraken is one company, Wyoming is one state, the U.S. is one country) and a big one. The crypto industry wants reasonable regulation, for security and respectability. But it knows that traditional rules can’t apply. So it has convinced the rule makers to make new ones.
This week it showed that it can get the traditional side to meet it halfway. If you were wondering how the crypto industry could transform traditional finance, this is how it happens.
Anyone know what’s going on yet?
Bitcoin started to recover some ground this week, although it is still down for the month.
Stocks generally continue to languish, with the tech sector suffering a drawn-out hangover from recent exuberance. The market as a whole seemed to be feeling frustration that the U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Powell’s remarks this week – in his last scheduled public appearance before the U.S. election – didn’t offer more clarity on inflation expectations.
Amid deepening fatigue around the persistent uncertainty (not just about inflation but also about the economic recovery, a vaccine, can our kids stay in school and so much more), concern about the fate of the U.S. dollar seems to be gathering strength. Even renowned fund manager Ray Dalio was caught hinting that “other asset classes” will pick up strength from the loss of faith in fiat currencies.
The question remains how long before this growing tension starts to really overrule the persistent faith that the Fed will keep stock markets afloat. The declines we’ve seen so far this month may hint that the concern is starting to make itself felt in the indices – or, they could just be a breather before another spurt of energy.
Be sure to listen to my colleague Nathaniel Whittemore interview Raoul Pal for a harsh take on the inefficacy of monetary policy and the need for a new economic paradigm.
Michael Saylor, the founder of MicroStrategy, revealed that his company has acquired an additional $175 million in bitcoin, which brings his firm’s total spend on cryptocurrency to approximately $425 million. TAKEAWAY: While it is exciting to see such public validation coming from outside our industry, it is a bit worrying when corporate treasury decisions start to be treated as publicity for a concept. It’s also disconcerting to see the resulting (or coincidental?) bump in the share price touted as a reason other corporate treasurers should put company funds into cryptocurrencies. I say this as someone who believes in bitcoin’s long-term potential (not investment advice!). I also say this as someone concerned about the pressures CFOs face in their daily jobs, and the implied assumption that putting corporate funds into bitcoin is risk-free. It isn’t.
(Nathaniel Whittemore’s interview of Michael Saylor is a compelling listen.)
Over $1 billion worth of bitcoin has been tokenized on Ethereum, equivalent to 0.42% of the total BTC supply and up from less than $7 million in January. TAKEAWAY: This is astonishing growth. The concept is compelling. It’s not just about depositing your bitcoin into a specific wallet in order to get a corresponding amount of an Ethereum-based token that you can then deposit in another wallet to get yield. It’s also fascinating for the way assets can “live” on more than one blockchain at once, even if just temporarily. We’ll no doubt be hearing a lot more about this.
The RGB protocol, currently in beta, is a second layer network that aims to bring smart contracts and tokenized assets to Bitcoin. TAKEAWAY: This reminds us that Bitcoin may have a simple and resilient protocol, but it is also an evolving technology. While the base code may be difficult to change, developers are working on code layers that connect to the Bitcoin blockchain and that allow for additional functionalities. Some of these may one day end up being a key driver for bitcoin demand, much like the growing demand for applications on the Ethereum blockchain was one of the factors that boosted the price of its native token, ETH.
A leaked version of rules to be issued later this month by the European Commissionproposes an all-encompassing set of regulations covering the trading or issuance of digital assets, effectively treating them the same as any other regulated financial instrument. TAKEAWAY: The legal clarity will be welcomed by many, although Europe has a well-earned reputation for passing blanket rules with good intentions that end up having the opposite effect than that intended. That said, European regulators have on the whole been supportive of blockchain technology, and some countries have encouraged the development of digital asset market infrastructure, so this could end up being a positive development.
Blockchain services firm Diginex is officially merging with publicly traded 8i Enterprises Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The merger is a key part of its plan for a “backdoor” Nasdaq listing. TAKEAWAY: Diginex’s businesses include crypto derivatives exchange EQUOS.io, digital asset trading technology platform Diginex Access, securitization advisory firm Diginex Capital, as well as a digital asset custody provider and an investment management business. Some see irony, as it represents the merging of decentralized assets with centralized markets (a crypto company listing on Nasdaq). Others see perfect synergy, however, as Diginex covers a range of crypto-focused businesses that are pushing the innovation envelope for capital markets. Either way, it heralds the eventual merging of decentralized and centralized concepts, and a maturation of crypto market infrastructure.
According to blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis, the number of “young investment” wallets (those that are one to three months old and rarely send bitcoins) has jumped to the highest level since February 2018, double that of six months ago. TAKEAWAY: While it’s hard to draw clear conclusions from address data, this does hint at growth in interest in cryptocurrency from new entrants into the market. The theory is that new addresses used for transactional purposes would have outgoing as well as incoming transactions – those that are almost all incoming are more likely to be investment accounts.
According to a report in Bloomberg,India plans to ban trading in cryptocurrencies. TAKEAWAY: So, India has been sending mixed signals. It allows banks to offer services to crypto exchanges. And then leaks a possible ban on crypto exchange activity? This is worth watching because India is a potentially massive market. Even apart from the sheer size of the population, there’s the recent painful experience with demonetization and the relatively high inflation rate.
Leading crypto derivatives exchange Deribit is seeing increasing investor interest in bitcoin options that would profit from prices rallying as high as $36,000 by the end of 2020. TAKEAWAY: I’d say this is nuts, but it obviously makes sense to some people.
For those looking for more clarity as to what’s going on in crypto market infrastructure, this is your week.
- Ark Invest published, in collaboration with Coin Metrics, a paper that explores bitcoin as a monetary asset, focusing on its trading volume evolution and outlook, liquidity and the potential impact of institutional investment.
- Binance Research put out an overview of crypto market infrastructure, with a focus on the evolving role of prime brokers, and a prediction that traditional brokers will continue to move into the crypto industry.
- Deribit published a note that points out how blockchains’ relatively slow responses hinder trading opportunities, given the need to move collateral around for leveraged positions – and how custody services are evolving to solve for this.
Podcast episodes worth listening to:
The United States Gets Its Crypto Back from Two Russian Hackers
The United States appears to be angry with crypto hackers as of late, and the country is making it clear that it’s not going to put up with bad actors anymore. The U.S. is presently accusing two Russian hackers of making off with roughly $17 million in assorted crypto units. The accusations come from the Justice, State and Treasury Departments.
The United States Will Not Put Up with Crypto Theft
The Treasury has identified two individuals allegedly involved in the scheme. They are Danil Potekhin, 25 years of age and living within the region of Voronezh; and Dmitirii Karasavidi of Moscow, who is presently 35 years of age. The two are accused of conducting cyberattacks a year apart from each other in 2017 and 2018 that ultimately deprived two U.S. crypto exchanges of more than $16 million.
The attacks on the exchanges sound rather complicated in that the pair created websites similar with those of the trading platforms they were targeting. These websites mimicked those of the original sources, and thus people who initially signed up or logged in on the copy sites gave the attackers their information, thereby giving the pair access to dozens of accounts and allowing them to make off with the funds.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin explained in a statement:
The individuals who administered this scheme defrauded American citizens, businesses and others by deceiving them and stealing virtual currency from their accounts… Ultimately, the stolen virtual currency was traced to Karasavidi’s account, and millions of dollars in virtual currency and U.S. dollars were seized in a forfeiture action by the United States Secret Service.
While it’s believed that the two initially tried to hide the stolen money by keeping it stored in several accounts on several different blockchains, the story is unique in that the U.S. officials in charge of the case appear to have gotten the money back. This is huge in that typically money stolen from a crypto platform or exchange is often lost for good. This is just more proof that the United States is not messing around.
This marks the second time in a while that the United States has managed to take effective action against nations that look to steal from American reserves. Recently, the country announced that it had garnered several million in crypto funds back from North Korea after the nuclear state stole a hefty digital sum as a means of building up its arsenal.
Trying to Prevent Future Crime
Right now, the two Russian men are facing a maximum 59 years in prison if they are convicted. At the time of writing, they are facing charges of conspiracy to commit computer fraud, among others. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commented:
The United States will continue to promote accountability among malign actors seeking to undermine our economic security. Today’s coordinated action demonstrates our commitment to deterring cybercrimes.
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