Venezuelans to Be Paid at Least Half a Petro a Month

Venezuelans to Be Paid at Least Half a Petro a Month

Economy & Regulation

Announcing a 60-fold increase of the minimum monthly salary, President Maduro promised Venezuelans they will be paid at least 0.5 petro, once his monetary reforms are in place next week. The national crypto will be exchanged at a rate of $60 USD and the new “sovereign bolivar” will be pegged to the digital coin.   

Also read: This Fall May Bring More Crypto-Friendly Jurisdictions

1 Petro = 60 Dollars = 1 Barrel

Venezuelans to Be Paid at Least Half a Petro a MonthNicolás Maduro

Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro revealed the fixed price of the country’s cryptocurrency, the petro, and a new minimum wage as part of a package of measures aimed at improving the socio-economic conditions in the South American country. The policies will be implemented on Monday, when the new, denominated brolivar will be introduced to replace the highly inflated national fiat.

Starting from August 20, 1 PTR will be officially exchanged for $60 US dollars – approximately the value of a barrel of oil on the international markets. The state-issued digital coin can also be purchased with the newly issued “sovereign bolivar” which takes away five zeros from the current “strong bolivar.” One petro will cost 3,600 new bolivars (now 360 million).

With inflation expected to reach 1 million percent by the end of the year, according to the IMF, bolívar fuerte is one of the fastest depreciating national currencies in the world. However, the new bolívar soberano will be “anchored” to El Petro, the oil-backed cryptocurrency introduced by the administration of the leftist Venezuelan leader earlier this year.

60-Fold Increase of the Minimum Salary

President Maduro also announced that the minimum monthly wage in the country will be raised to 0.5 PTR, 1,800 sovereign bolivars or $30 USD. That’s 60 times more than the current 3 million old bolivars (30 after the denomination). The Venezuelan head of state also said the government will compensate small and medium-sized enterprises for the difference in the basic wages in the next 90 days. It will also raise the VAT from 12 to 16 percent.

The changes come after Nicolás Maduro shared his intentions to denominate the bolivar back in March. The new banknotes were expected to have three zeros less than the current and were supposed to be issued in early June. The monetary conversion was subsequently postponed and in late July Venezuelan authorities announced that the petro-pegged bolivar will be introduced on August 20, getting rid of five zeros.

State Retaking Control of Economy

Venezuelans to Be Paid at Least Half a Petro a MonthEarlier this week, the Venezuelan president said that starting from Monday his economically troubled country will have two official units of account – the petro, and the sovereign bolivar. The old and the new version of the national fiat will be circulating together for some time before the “strong bolivar” is phased out.

Maduro assured his compatriots that Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) and all public and private banks already had the new banknotes and were actively preparing to implement the changes. He added that besides salaries, pricing will also be adjusted and the price ceiling mechanism will be restored. On Friday, the president warned merchants there would be no excuses for any price hikes. Quoted by El Nacional, he stated:

There has to be a government, we have to retake the regulatory role, the authority of the state and the government to enforce economic rules.

Venezuela issued the petro in February becoming the first nation to adopt its own cryptocurrency. The crypto is backed by its oil reserves, one of the largest in the world. Caracas has been trying to introduce the coin in bilateral trade with countries like Russia and India but official agreements have not been reached yet.

According to resent reports, the Islamic Republic of Iran, another country hit by US lsanctions with which Venezuela maintains close relations, is stepping up efforts to develop its cryptocurrency. Iranian government wants to use the coin to circumvent the restrictions reimposed by Washington this month which are mainly targeting its ability to acquire US dollars.

What do you think will be the effect of the reforms Maduro’s administration is introducing? Share your opinions in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Korean Government: 11 out of 21 Crypto Exchanges Complete Security Measures

Korean Government: 11 out of 21 Crypto Exchanges Complete Security Measures

Security

The South Korean government has announced the outcome of its inspection of 21 cryptocurrency exchanges. While a number of exchanges have completed implementing both short-term and wallet management measures, many security vulnerabilities remain at most exchanges.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

21 Exchanges Inspected

Korean Government: 11 out of 21 Crypto Exchanges Complete Security MeasuresSouth Korea’s government has announced the result of its mid-term review of 21 cryptocurrency exchanges. The inspection was conducted in June and July by the Korea Internet and Security Agency (KISA) and the Korean Ministry of Science and Technology.

KISA security experts visited each exchange to check on the 85 items identified during its previous crypto exchange inspection, conducted between January and March. They focused on 17 items which needed immediate implementation; six were short-term measures and 11 concerned crypto wallet management.

Korean Government: 11 out of 21 Crypto Exchanges Complete Security Measures“Intermediate checks were carried out in such a way as to confirm whether improvements had been made, focusing on the 17 security items recommended for quick action,” the government explained. These items include dedicated security and management staff, a password management system, crypto deposit and withdrawal controls, and a system to monitor wallets for abnormalities.

The agencies revealed that 11 out of 21 exchanges have completed the short-term measures. In addition, eight of them have also improved their wallet management systems. The eight are Upbit, Bithumb, Korbit, Coinnest, Coinlink, Coinone, Coinplug, and Huobi Korea, local media detailed. The government reiterated:

In the management of virtual currency wallets, most of the vulnerabilities in the business have not yet been improved.

Furthermore, twelve companies have been found to have insufficient security procedures to prevent data leakage and loss of funds from their cold wallets. Ten companies have inadequate systems to monitor hot wallets for suspicious activities. In addition, at least ten businesses lack wallet backup and recovery measures.

Further Inspections Planned

The final check on the implementation of recommended measures will be carried out next month, the agencies noted, adding that any new crypto exchanges will also be inspected.

Korean Government: 11 out of 21 Crypto Exchanges Complete Security Measures“Because of the weak security of virtual currency exchanges, we should be careful in investing,” Kim Jong-sam, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Information and Communication, commented. “We will continue to check virtual currency exchanges to improve security.”

Referencing the hack of Coinrail and Bithumb in June, KISA described that “the leakage of virtual currency due to the hacking of recent dealers has directly led to the damage of users,” adding that after checking 85 security items, “there are many dealers with low security.”

Emphasizing that they have been asking crypto exchanges to “improve security levels by completing the recommendations for improvement,” the agencies revealed:

We plan to support the improvement of the security level of the dealers through continuous inspection of the dealers.

What do you think of the Korean government’s review? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Kisa.


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US Judge Orders Alleged Hacker to Pay Bail in Cryptocurrency

US Judge Orders Alleged Hacker to Pay Bail in Cryptocurrency

Regulation

A US federal judge has ordered an alleged hacker to pay the equivalent of $750,000 in cryptocurrency for bail. The man was charged with hacking video game company Electronic Arts (EA), obtaining in-game currency used to buy and sell in-game items, and selling access to online games though black-market websites.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Judge Orders Bail Payment in Crypto

US Judge Orders Alleged Hacker to Pay Bail in CryptocurrencyFederal Judge Jacqueline Corley has ordered a “hacker charged with illegally accessing computer network of [a] Bay Area company” to pay bail in cryptocurrency, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced last week.

Martin Marsich, a 25-year-old Serbian and Italian national whose last known residence was in Udine, Italy, was arrested at the San Francisco International Airport on August 8 while boarding a flight to Serbia. At the federal court in San Francisco where he made his first appearance the next day, the DOJ described:

Magistrate Judge Corley ordered Marsich released to a half-way house on the condition that he post the equivalent of $750,000 in cryptocurrency for bail.

Judge Corley was frequently in the news last November for ruling in favor of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) against Coinbase. She ordered the crypto exchange to turn over information about U.S. taxpayers who conducted crypto transactions during the years 2013 to 2015.

The Case and FBI Complaint

A Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent filed an affidavit in connection with the criminal complaint against Marsich on March 25. It states that “a video-game company headquartered in the Bay Area discovered that an individual had illegally accessed its internal computer network and granted access to parts of the company’s systems,” the Justice Department conveyed. “The intruder, later identified as Marsich, gained access to 25,000 accounts that allow customers to purchase items for use in video games.”

US Judge Orders Alleged Hacker to Pay Bail in CryptocurrencyFurthermore, the FBI complaint outlines that “Marsich allegedly used some of the information he obtained from the computer system to obtain in-game currency, used to buy and sell in-game items.” He was also accused of selling “access to the on-line game on black-market websites.”

According to the Daily Post, the Bay Area company is Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), a well-known American video game company headquartered in Redwood City, California. “After making the discovery of the intrusion, the company allegedly closed the stolen accounts and suffered a loss of approximately $324,000,” the DOJ further revealed, adding:

The complaint charges Marsich with intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization to obtain information for the purposes of commercial advantage and private financial gain…and accessing a protected computer to defraud and obtain anything of value.

While clarifying that “a complaint merely alleges that crimes have been committed,” the agency noted that “If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution if appropriate for each violation.”

Why Did the Judge Order Payment in Crypto?

US Judge Orders Alleged Hacker to Pay Bail in CryptocurrencySan Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe was quoted by the Daily Post saying that he “had never heard of anyone bailing out of jail with cryptocurrency in any courtroom.” While acknowledging that cryptocurrency is now acceptable in a federal court, he believes that “a cryptocurrency bail would fly in San Mateo County Superior Court.”

Although the DOJ’s announcement does not specify the reason for bail payment in crypto, U.S. Assistant District Attorney Abraham Simmons explained that “judges can order many kinds of bail, including real estate owned by another person,” the publication conveyed and quoted him describing:

The judge could order just about anything…It really is quite broad…What the objective is is to get the defendant to comply with an order to appear later.

Simmons also said he was “certain” that if the value of the cryptocurrency were to fluctuate dramatically, either party could file a motion to change the bail amount. “I would imagine that either side would alert the court of an extreme change in the value of the asset, but it doesn’t mean that the court would care one way or the other.”

What do you think of Judge Corley ordering bail payment in cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Yahoo.


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