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Crypto crimes surge in Asia; Bitcoin cause for divorce in S. Korea | The Daily Forkast

Crypto crime is surging in Asia while Bitcoin is being blamed for splitting up married couples in South Korea.

US$5 billion has been lost in South Korea due to crypto-related crime over the past five years as fraud and scams surge across Asia. 

China’s Sichuan province looks to weigh the effects of a crypto mining ban on the region’s hydropower generation. 

Back in South Korea, crypto is becoming a reason for couples to get divorced.

We’ll have more on that story — and other news shaping the cryptocurrency and blockchain world — in this episode of The Daily Forkast, May 28.

Transcript

Welcome to The Daily Forkast, May 28, 2021. I'm Angie Lau. Let's get you up to speed, from Asia to the world.

As crypto grows in size and magnitude, we look deeper into scam's right now that are landing some more victims. Police in South Korea have arrested 14 individuals in a cryptocurrency fraud case estimated to have cost 69,000 investors, a total of US$3.85 billion.

That brings the country's losses to crypto fraud to — get this — US$5 billion over the past five years. This accounts for an increase from 41 cases in 2017 to 333 last year. And that is a huge jump.

This trend is not unique to Korea. In Singapore, police recorded 393 cases of crypto crimes last year. That's 60 more than South Korea.

Now, Singapore-based Fireblocks vice president Stephen Richardson explains why frauds and scams could rise during a bear market.

"You're looking for a return on Ethereum yield. You go all the way down to exchange number 333. You put your Ethereum there. That's a malicious actor that's basically launched an exchange and it's going to run away with your funds. And as you get towards bear markets right where people are looking for that increased yield, they're going further down into these places that aren't necessarily regulated."

Although growth comes with increasing adoption, bad actors will find ways to exploit the surging interest for personal gains. It's kind of a whack a mole problem for regulators to how to protect without inhibiting. And it's a challenge that continues to play out in Asia.

All right. Early weekend for Bitcoin, it seems. Taking it easy on a Friday after a rough few weeks in Asia. Down 3.5% as of 4:00 p.m. local Hong Kong time at the end of the Asian trading day. And in the top ten for cryptocurrencies — Polkadot representing the top ten today, up 0.4% while the rest of the top ten is in red.

And more developments in China's mining saga. Sichuan's energy regulators are actually getting together to discuss how a crypto mining shutdown will adversely affect their region. Sichuan is one of China's mining hot zones famous for its cheap hydroelectricity, especially during the wet season.

Well, one of the key components in this meeting's agenda, unused water in hydro electricity generation. This refers to abandoned water that could have potentially been used to generate hydroelectricity. So if miners move elsewhere, that could actually lead to more water waste in the region.

According to the National Energy Administration, the amount of water wasted in the river basins of Sichuan province was over 20 billion kilowatts last year. That's 5% of Sichuan's total hydropower production.

And finally this — back to Korea to wrap up an interesting week in crypto.

Bitcoin, Bitcoin, wherefore art thou Bitcoin? Crypto coming between Romeo and Juliet.

A reported four in 10 couples hiring divorce attorneys in Korea do so because of crypto troubles. Narae Yang is a divorce attorney in Seoul. She says she has handled a few crypto-related cases. But since the latest downturn on the markets, well, calls have increased. Yang says the reason is the loss of money, but also the loss of trust.

"Couples do not find divorce lawyers when there's profit. It's usually when there's money loss that they find me. Especially the case where one invests in crypto, not from savings, but with leverage, going further than one should, and losing all the money. But not telling the spouse about the leverage because he/she wanted to do something on their own."

I guess Bitcoin can't buy you love.

And that's The Daily Forkast. I'm Angie Lau. Until the next time.

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