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Ex Uber CSO Charged With Covering Up A Hack With Bitcoin

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The ex Uber CSO (Chief Security Officer) Joseph Sullivan, got charged with obstruction of justice for covering up a 2016 hack where he didn’t contact the authorities but decided to pay the hackers in Bitcoin so let’s find out more in the upcoming Bitcoin news today.

The US Department of Justice alleged that the ex Uber CSO Sullivan, covered up a 2016 hack on the company that compromised data of millions of users and drives and according to the reports by the DOJ, he paid the hackers a ransom worth $100,000 in Bitcoin. The announcement from the DOJ informed about the recently filed complaint against Sullivan who served s the Uber CSO from 2015 to 2017 and charged him with “obstruction of justice and misprision of a felony in connection with the attempted cover-up of the 2016 hack of Uber Technologies Incorporated.”

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Uber Building. Source Uber

The hackers contacted Joseph Sullivan at the time and revealed that they accessed and downloaded and Uber database containing personally identifying information associated with more than 60 million Uber users and drivers. The database included more than 600,000 drivers’ license numbers for people that are driving for the company. The hackers demanded a six-figure payment not to go to the public and share the data. Sullivan failed to contact the proper authorities so he “took deliberate steps to conceal, deflect and mislead the Federal Trade Commission about the breach.” The US Attorney David Anderson said:

 “Silicon Valley is not the Wild West. We expect good corporate citizenship. We expect prompt reporting of criminal conduct. We expect cooperation with our investigations. We will not tolerate corporate cover-ups. We will not tolerate illegal hush-money payments.”

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FBI Deputy Special Agent in Charge Craig Fair said that Sullivan’s actions are a crime and warned other companies not to follow his example because it will only worsen the problems for the companies and the customers. DOJ’s statement explained that instead of reaching for the regulator, Sullivan paid off the hackers by funneling the ransom via a bug bounty program. This means that he employed a third-party intermediary to arrange the payment process. At the end, Uber paid the hackers $100,000 in BTC in 2016 even though they refused to disclose their names. Sullivan demanded that they sign a non-discourse agreement with false representation that the hackers didn’t take or store any valuable data.

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Source: https://www.dcforecasts.com/bitcoin-scams/ex-uber-cso-charged-with-covering-up-a-hack-with-bitcoin/

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Audio Streaming Mogul Spotify Considering Cryptocurrency Payments

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Joining the tech and financial services bigwigs in the payments revolution, Spotify too is going the crypto way. The Swedish audio streaming and music services giant just put up a job offer for an Associate Director, Payments Strategy & Innovation. The desired candidate will play a key role in ‘navigating the company’s payments rudder’ through the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Spotify Looking To Be A ‘Leading Player In The Cryptocurrency Space’

As per an official job opening that Spotify just posted, the company is looking for an Associate Director for their Payments Strategy & Innovation Team. The said individual would report to the Director of the same team. And will be instrumental in Spotify gaining a considerable foothold wrt integration of cryptocurrency payments. According to the description:

We are now looking for an outstanding Associate Director to join our Payments Strategy & Innovation team. This role will report to the Director, Payments Strategy & Innovation and will play a key part in defining and implementing Spotify’s payments strategy as well as leading Spotify’s activity within the Libra stablecoin project and wider digital asset & cryptocurrency space.

The objective is to address the company’s plan of ‘enabling new monetization opportunities’ for music creators. Also, Spotify wants its platform to become accessible to a larger section of potential users.

Spotify intends to inculcate all the latest fintech trends in their payments strategy, including cryptocurrencies. So that users from all sections of the society can access the music streaming platform.

Crypto Agenda Involves Libra As Well

One of the designated roles of the incoming Associate Payments Strategy Director would be to lead ‘Spotify’s day-to-day engagement with the Libra Association.’ This is due to the ongoing alliance of the company with Facebook’s digital currency project.

Along with this, the company is looking to leverage all the blue-chip aspects of the blockchain and cryptocurrency space. This includes stablecoins and Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs). It is to streamline its transition to the most advanced payment methods available in finance at the moment.

The Associate Payments Strategy Director would be required to fulfill the above roadmap by making use of

Spotify’s global footprint to seek out innovation in the payments domain globally as well as emerging regulatory & market trends that could influence Spotify’s approach to payments.

Through all the above, the company actually intends to elevate its ‘reputation as a market leader in payments’, the website said. And give giant payments players like PayPal a run for their money.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/audio-streaming-mogul-spotify-considering-cryptocurrency-payments/

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India Reportedly Plans to Tax Crypto Investors As Bitcoin Price and Trading Activities Soar

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Barely ten months after the Indian Supreme Court lifted the RBI’s ban on cryptocurrency transactions, fresh reports from yesterday revealed that the country’s tax authority is now keeping a close watch on crypto traders as Bitcoin’s price continues its bullish trend.

Taxing Crypto Gains

According to local media, the Indian Tax Department is already in possession of data belonging to investors who invested in Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies through banking channels before the RBI’s ban in 2018. 

This development is coming after data shows a tremendous increase in crypto trading activities in India. Since the crypto ban was lifted earlier this year, retail investors between the ages of 25 and 40 have been spending millions of dollars on crypto trading every day. 

Over $25 Million Daily

Two of India’s largest crypto trading platforms, Binance-acquired WazirX and CoinDCX, saw a significant increase in activities over the last six months. According to an earlier report, WazirX recorded a massive 125% increase in user signups in the last two quarters. The exchange also has a daily trading volume of $19-26 million, with more than 85% of the transaction coming from Indian traders. 

Some experts believe it will be difficult for the country to tax crypto because there’s no regulation in place for crypto dealings. They feel a regulatory framework will provide the needed clarity to make taxation easier. While India is yet to release its crypto regulation, an earlier report suggests that the country may regulate crypto as commodities.

Declaring Bitcoin Profits As Capital Gains

Although it is unclear how India plans to implement the tax law, sources familiar with the matter claimed that the country’s taxman is already preparing to collect tax on the gains made from Bitcoin. And notice may be sent out to investors if “something goes out of this.”

Experts believe that the tax authorities may classify crypto gains as business income, and investors may have to pay up to 30% tax on profits made from selling cryptocurrencies. 

However, some tax experts are advising their clients to declare their Bitcoin earnings as capital gains, which is similar to profits generated from shares.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/india-reportedly-plans-to-tax-crypto-investors-as-bitcoin-price-and-trading-activities-soar/

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Why Cuba Is Primed for Bitcoin Adoption

Like much of the rest of the world, Cuba is undergoing one of its worst financial years in some time. But unique circumstances may lead it down a path to Bitcoin.

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About the Author

Boaz Sobrado is a data analyst and the founder of WhyNotCuba.com, a Cuban tourism site. The opinions expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Decrypt.

Cuba is having one of its worst years in recent memory—but, as a consequence, a perfect storm is brewing on the island nation with regard to Bitcoin adoption.

Cubans live under a high level of financial censorship, as well as rampant inflation. Meanwhile, their access to foreign currencies has been heavily curtailed this year due to COVID and US sanctions. This has increased the appeal of cryptocurrencies, many of which act as censorship-resistant stores of value.

The usefulness of censorship-resistant technology may not be clear to people living in advanced economies, but it is perfectly clear to Cubans. Cuba is a country where people live under oppressive financial censorship. This is partly due to the communist government, which has strict rules on how private businesses can operate and what people can do with their money. 

But it is also due to the censorship imposed by the American embargo, which makes doing international transactions nearly impossible for ordinary Cubans. Just recently the Trump administration announced measures that forced Western Union to cease operations in Cuba in this month, making it nearly impossible for millions of Cuban Americans to send remittances back home.

This measure comes at the worst possible time. 

The Cuban economy is expected to contract by 8% in 2020, on the back of an already weak performance in 2019. COVID-19 has put a dent in two important industries: tourism and remittances. Havana’s airport was closed from March until November. Remittance flows from the US to Cuba dropped approx 50% from $6 billion in 2019 to $3 billion in 2020.

Further, the government’s attempts at reform are leading to the early stages of hyperinflation. Food prices have gone up by several multiples within this year and the Cuban peso has lost half its value against the US dollar in the last 12 months in informal markets.

In the 1990s, when inflation was rampant in Cuba, Cubans looking to preserve the value of their savings turned to foreign hard currencies such as the US dollar. However, COVID-19 has effectively destroyed tourism, which was one of the main sources of hard currency for the population.

We now have a situation where many Cubans are looking for a way to both receive money from abroad and preserve the value of their savings. And they are increasingly turning toward cryptocurrencies. The popularity of Bitcoin in Google Trends is at an all time high. New services, such as Bitremesas.com, make it easy for Cuban Americans to send money back home using cryptocurrencies. 

The trade works in the following way: Cuban Americans buy Bitcoin in the US and sell it for cash in Cuba. This way they can help their friends and family pay bills and buy food. On the other side of the transaction are Cubans buying Bitcoin because they are looking to speculate, preserve their wealth, or transact with the outside world.

Most Cubans would prefer to hold on to US dollars, either digital or physical, like many Venezuelans do. But often the reality is that they can hardly get access to them, and even if they do, they constantly have to be wary of their funds being seized—either by domestic authorities in the case of physical dollar bills, or by over-compliant foreign financial institutions enforcing US sanctions. 

For these reasons it may be a great irony of the 21st century that one of the first countries with widespread adoption of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could be a communist country where the average car is older than the average person.

Disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed by the author are for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial, investment, or other advice.

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