As Bitcoin and other crypto prices plummet, US federal prosecutors have homed in on suspicions that a link between Bitcoin, Tether and crypto exchange Bitfinex might have been used to illegally move prices. Photo: US Department of Justice
New York’s attorney general has announced an $850 million fraud investigation into the Hong Kong-linked cryptocurrency Tether. Photo: US Department of Justice

Crypto asset markets cooled off earlier this week after New York’s attorney general announced a fraud investigation into digital coin Tether, first launched in Hong Kong in 2014, and the crypto exchange Bitfinex, that it is allegedly linked with. Tether has over the last two years been accused of all sorts of crypto skullduggery and this latest investigation concerns an “apparent loss” of US$850 million of investor’s money.

Despite the New York investigation, several technical analysts have been predicting a market pullback anyway, as Bitcoin hit heavy resistance on the long term charts. However, this has yet to fully materialize as the majority of digital currencies remain range bound and have even been starting to push higher as the week draws to a close.

Developments in the Middle East and Southeast Asia have been keeping the region at the forefront of the industry, while India has reconfirmed its negative stance on all things crypto. Recent statistics indicate that the United Arab Emirates has been the top nation for funds raised in token sales over the past few months.

According to reports, more than $200 million has been raised in the UAE in two large token sales for crypto-related finance and insurance products. The US has dropped down the list due to regulatory uncertainty and a certain amount of feet dragging by government departments. Singapore also came out on the top of a list for initial coin offerings and has had 12 so far this year.

Also in Singapore, police have been busy tracking down crypto scammers preying on users of Bitcoin ATMs at a local mall. The investigation, involving Bitcoin machines at Tampines One Mall, saved at least two citizens from getting swindled by Chinese scammers posing as officials. Police were alerted after a potential victim received a bogus call asking him to transfer funds using the machine. The real authorities have advised the public to ignore such calls, as they would never demand any payments over the phone or via social networks.

And still in Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Bank of Canada have successfully completed the first central bank trial of a blockchain-based cryptocurrency transfer. The Canadian bank’s “Project Jasper” linked with Singapore’s “Project Ubin” to make a transfer that was made in partnership with Accenture and JP Morgan Chase. The actual token used in the trial was not specified.

The Malaysian city of Malacca is aiming to become the world’s first crypto and blockchain tourist city and will do so with a lot of backing from the Chinese. The project, launched by China Wuyi and SWT International Sdn Bhd, is also supported by the Chinese state and several major PRC corporations. According to reports, 635 acres of reclaimed land will be used for the construction of Malacca Straits City, with a further 200 acres of marine area dedicated to building chalets and water recreation facilities.

The Chinese will reportedly be funding and developing the entire project. The entire infrastructure of the city will be based on blockchain technology, using a platform called DMI that has a native digital coin of the same name. The crypto coin can be used to pay government-based services within the new city and there will also be an exchange enabling tourists to change their fiat currencies for DMI coins.

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