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Crypto Moves — Bitcoin, Ether up; Europeans charged over North Korea crypto conspiracy

RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded higher on Tuesday, up 4.20 percent to $40,503 as of 09.45 a.m. Riyadh time.

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $2,995, up 5.52 percent, according to data from Coindesk.

US charges two Europeans over North Korea crypto conspiracy

North Korea is the subject of US sanctions (File/AFP)

The US Department of Justice on Monday announced the indictment of two Europeans for allegedly conspiring with a recently sentenced American cryptocurrency researcher to help North Korea evade US sanctions.

Alejandro Cao de Benos of Spain, who founded a pro-Pyongyang affinity organization, and Christopher Emms of Britain, a cryptocurrency businessman, were accused of recruiting the researcher Virgil Griffith to illegally provide cryptocurrency and blockchain technology services to North Korea.

Both defendants are at large. Lawyers for both could not immediately be identified.

Prosecutors said Cao de Benos and Emms arranged for Griffith, who holds a doctorate from the California Institute of Technology, to travel to North Korea via China in April 2019 to attend their Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference.

At the conference, Emms and Griffith allegedly taught members of North Korea’s government and other attendees about using cutting-edge blockchain and cryptocurrency technology to evade sanctions and launder money.

Such instruction was “all for the purpose of evading US sanctions meant to stop North Korea’s hostile nuclear ambitions” and protect American security interests, US Attorney Damian Williams in Manhattan said in a statement.

Canadian dollar to stay at core of financial system, not crypto: BoC

The Canadian dollar will remain at the center of the country’s financial system, the central bank chief said on Monday, responding to questions about a Conservative leadership candidate’s pledge to make the country the blockchain capital of the world.

“There are promising benefits from innovation in the financial sector. Having said that, we certainly expect the Canadian dollar will remain at the center of the Canadian financial system,” Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem said in testimony before a committee of the House of Commons.

The Bank of Canada is currently working on its own central bank digital currency, a so-called digital loonie, that could be launched if a private digital tender were to take off as a payment system.

Pierre Poilievre, a leading candidate for the leadership of the opposition Conservative Party, has said if elected he would back a “new, decentralized, bottom-up economy and allow people to take control of their money from bankers and politicians.”

He has posted videos of himself buying lunch with Bitcoin to make a point about its usability and regularly touts cryptocurrencies as a means for Canadians to “opt-out of inflation.”

(With inputs from Reuters) 

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