Speculators targeted in cryptocurrency scams

More South Africans are being stung in cryptocurrency scams as the demand for virtual currencies such as bitcoin soars, writes Legalbrief. Debt counsellors are seeing a growing number of South Africans who have lost money gambling in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ripple, notes a BusinessLIVE report. It says some of them were victims of online scams, which resulted in their bank accounts getting raided by offshore hackers, or they were robbed by sellers who never actually delivered the digital currency after they had been paid. In most cases, however, it was simply the vast losses they incurred as a result of extreme volatility of these currencies, according to Debt Rescue CEO Neil Roets.

Kenyan national Eugene Mutai is well aware of the risks of mining virtual money.‘Sometimes I ask myself: will the bubble pop?’ CNN reports that Mutai is aware that cryptocurrencies are volatile but that hasn’t stopped him from operating in this shadowy and controversial corner of the global financial system. Mutai began researching cryptocurrencies last year. ‘I was curious about what was making these alternative coins drive. Bitcoin was hard to mine by that point in time,’ he said. For Mutai, Internet-based currencies are revolutionary. They open up a world of finance that might not have been accessible for a self-taught tech-obsessed kid from Kenya with no college degree.

The world’s biggest diamond producer is turning to the technology behind bitcoin to track gems from mine to retailer. A report on the Fin24 site notes that De Beers is running a pilot scheme using blockchain to create a virtual ledger of diamond sales. The technology made famous by the cryptocurrency is also seen as having the potential to reshape industries from finance to retailing. It will enable De Beers to show transactions to all participants while keeping their identities and the value of the sales hidden. The move could reassure buyers that the stones they are purchasing are neither synthetics being passed off as real nor so-called conflict diamonds.

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