Wisly Wednesday Industry News

It’s been quite an eventful week in the world of crypto with some fascinating developments that are sure to dominate talk amongst crypto enthusiasts. PayPal allows UK users to trade cryptocurrencies; Google removes fake crypto apps from Play Store; Iran plans to lift the crypto mining ban, and China cuts off hydropower for illegal crypto mining.

Off the back of Bitcoin breaching the $50,000 mark earlier this week, PayPal has now enabled its UK users to trade cryptocurrencies on the global payment service platform. PayPal activated this feature for its US clients at the tail end of 2020 and has now extended this to its clients in Britain. Users will have the option of trading Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash.

This exciting news was announced on Monday and is the first time that PayPal has offered crypto-trading services in a country other than the US. By using the PayPal app, users can get real-time cryptocurrency pricing and will have access to educational content that helps them to better understand the risks of crypto trading. Trading fees and currency conversion will be added with trading starting from just £1. PayPal will not charge users to hold their cryptocurrencies in their accounts.

Jose Fernandez da Ponte, vice president of PayPal Crypto, was ecstatic as he said, “The pandemic has accelerated digital change and innovation across all aspects of our lives — including the digitisation of money and greater consumer adoption of digital financial services. We are committed to continue working closely with regulators in the UK, and around the world, to offer our support and meaningfully contribute to shaping the role digital currencies will play in the future of global finance and commerce.”

Google has taken strides to rid its Play Store of fake crypto-mining apps that appear to trick users out of their money. This has been a long-standing problem that Google faces with malicious apps in its Play Store that were previously removed now returning to the platform in a disguised format.

Eight crypto-related mobile apps were delisted by Google as they tricked crypto investors by charging bogus fees for cloud mining services that were deemed illegitimate. This appears to be a popular trend amongst crypto-scammers who have become more creative in disguising their devious methods.

The fraudulent crypto apps in question are BitFunds, Daily Bitcoin Rewards, Bitcoin Miner, Bitcoin 2021, Crypto Hollic, Ethereum Pool Mining Cloud, and MineBit Pro. Users were charged a monthly subscription fee and the app promised subscribers a share of the profits through their cloud mining services. It has since come to light that those users were tricked into watching online ads and paying for cloud mining services that were non-existent.

These scams were identified by Trend Micro as part of its latest research project and the results were forwarded to Google to stop the scammers. Google has now made drastic changes to reduce the number of fake crypto apps on its Play Store and has revised its ad policy on 3 August 2021. Moreover, crypto wallets and exchanges will only be allowed to market their products and services if they register with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Iran’s blanket ban on cryptocurrency mining in the country will be lifted by the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade on 22 September 2021, according to Iran Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company (Tavanir). The ban on crypto mining was imposed in May 2021 by the former Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, to ease the burden that crypto mining placed on the national power grid and prevent blackouts.

Iranian officials were unequivocal in blaming crypto-miners for the frequent power shortages that the country faced during the summer months because of their activities. With power consumption expected to decline by the end of summer, crypto-miners have been given the green light to resume their operations according to Tavanir’s spokesperson — Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi.

Crypto-miners in Iran are required to obtain licenses and pay their electricity bills according to export rates with 30 crypto mining units issued with licenses by the Ministry since 2019. Unlicensed crypto miners, however, have contributed to electricity shortages with reports stating that they use up to 3,000MW each day for their activities. Tavanir has seized over 200,000 pieces of mining equipment in the past year to curb electricity shortages caused by illegal crypto mining activities.

Officials in Yunnan Province, China have issued a warning that forbids hydropower stations from supplying cryptocurrency mining companies with illegal power supply. Moreover, they were instructed to remove crypto mining equipment from the power plant vicinity before Tuesday, 24 August 2021, and destroy any big data workshops.

This directive comes amidst the continued crackdown of crypto mining activities in China. Government officials in Yunnan Province have warned that if crypto mining equipment was not destroyed by the specified time frame, the authorities will instruct the relevant departments to forcibly destroy it and report that to the State Energy Bureau.

The County Development and Reform Bureau has also increased law enforcement presence in the region to make sure that the illegal supply of power for crypto miners is completely removed. The Yunnan Provincial Energy Bureau has previously warned crypto mining companies that it will investigate and punish illegal crypto mining activities. These activities include illegally relying on power generation companies, unauthorised access to electricity, evasion of national transmission, and the distribution of fees, funds, and additional profit-making.

This instruction follows the trend in other parts of China, such as Anhui Province, Sichuan Province, and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region that has cracked down on crypto mining activities in recent times.

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