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Summary of Past Week Articles August 26, 2022

178 South Korean Darkweb Users Arrested on Drug Trafficking Charges:

Police in Seoul, South Korea, have arrested 178 people on suspicion of using crypto assets to acquire and sell drugs online.

According to JTBC, Seoul Metropolitan Police officers stated they apprehended 12 suspected drug sellers and 166 of their accused customers, all of whom used dark web platforms and crypto payments.

The authorities also claimed to have seized tokens, approximately USD 8,500 in cash, 12kg of marijuana, and considerable quantities of narcotics such as synthetic cannabinoids, ketamine, and MDMA (ecstasy).

Several drug purchases appear to have been made in bitcoin (BTC). The vast majority of accused drug buyers were in their 20s and 30s, with a small number of people aged 40 to 59.

The detectives said that the suspects had all used a dark web platform that allowed would-be dealers to post for free but charged a 10% commission on all transactions – which were paid in cryptocurrency and completed through the platform.

While the traffickers have been identified, the operators of the dark web portal have so far escaped detection. Like many other East Asian countries, South Korea has strict narcotics regulations. Officers also stated that they believe some dark web users may have connections to some of Seoul’s busiest nightclubs.

In Brazil, Ripio has launched a Visa Bitcoin Cashback Crypto Card:

Ripio, an Argentine crypto startup, has launched a Visa card in Brazil that allows users to pay in crypto and receive bitcoin (BTC) cashback benefits.

The card is a prepaid debit card used at any Visa-accepting merchant.

According to a statement made by Ripio, the card will be compatible with all 28 of the tokens listed on Ripio’s crypto trading platform.

Ripio plans to issue 250,000 of the new cards, dubbed the Ripio Card, before the end of the year to convince its 1 million Brazilian consumers to use the new service. Customers can now use the same card to pay in fiat currency and receive 5% BTC cashback on all purchases.

However, according to the business, BTC awards will not be available until late October and will be capped monthly at about USD 50 per user.

Plant a Tree in-Game, Plant It in Real Life: A New Metaverse, NFT Game Where Real-World Actions Mirror Digital Actions Will Be Released in 2023:

Alóki, a blockchain business, has purchased 750 acres of land in Costa Rica and is constructing a new play-to-own metaverse, which is nearing completion.

As global awareness of the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions grows, Alóki is working on a project that will allow users to contribute to sustainable development through a blockchain-based game in which real-world actions mirror those digital ones via non-fungible token (NFT) ownership.

According to statistics gathered by Alóki, the 750-acre property is located in a jungle in the middle of Costa Rica, one of the leading countries in terms of sustainability. It obtains 98% of its energy from renewable sources. According to the corporation, planting a tree in the Alóki metaverse would result in a real tree in the Alóki Sanctuary of Costa Rica.

As per the company’s CO, Maurycy Krzastek, preliminary activities of the new metaverse will be launched throughout the third quarter of 2022, ensuring a smooth transition toward the metaverse’s full launch, which is scheduled to take place around the second and third quarters of 2023, when Alóki will introduce land-based gameplay.

Krzastek claims the game will be released in the fourth quarter of 2023.

When asked about the project’s funding, Lechowski stated that it would be funded by various critical avenues that rely on using its native Prana coin.

According to the company, planting a tree in the Alóki metaverse will result in a real tree being planted in the Alóki Sanctuary of Costa Rica.

Preliminary activities for the new metaverse will be launched throughout the third quarter of 2022, ensuring a smooth transition toward the metaverse’s full launch, which is scheduled for the second and third quarters of 2023, when Alóki will introduce land-based gameplay, according to the company’s CO.

Krzastek claims The game will be released in the fourth quarter of 2023.

When asked about the project’s funding, Lechowski stated that it would be funded by various critical avenues that rely on using its native Prana coin.

Whistleblower Claims Twitter Lied to Elon Musk About Bots; CEO Agrawal Calls the Accusations “False Narrative”:

Twitter’s former head of security has blown the whistle on the social media site, stating that the company’s security policies are flawed and deceived the US government and Elon Musk about its vulnerability.

Peiter Zatko, Twitter’s former security chief, has filed a whistleblower complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Department of Justice.

According to Zatko, a well-known hacker known as “Mudge,” the social networking platform has “severe, egregious faults” in security, privacy, and content moderation.

The paper also mentions the Elon Musk-Twitter feud, accusing Twitter of lying about bots to Elon Musk.

Agrawal allegedly responded to the claims in an email sent to staff, which CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan shared on Twitter.

As previously reported, Musk announced his takeover proposal for Twitter on April 14, seeking to buy 100% of the company’s shares for USD 54.20 per share.

Telegram Could Launch a Toncoin-Powered Marketplace, According to Durov:

Pavel Durov, the creator of the Telegram chat app and messaging platform, has hinted that the company may one day establish a blockchain-powered marketplace for usernames, emojis, and other app-based commodities.

In addition, Durov has lauded the efforts of the TON network, a blockchain project built on the ruins of his concept of a worldwide stablecoin.

Durov said on his Telegram channel that such a marketplace would ensure username ownership was “protected on the blockchain” through non-fungible tokens (NFT)-like smart contracts.

Although TON has the same name as Durov’s previous scheme, which was thwarted at the last minute by American regulators in 2020, it no longer stands for Telegram Open Network. 

Instead, it has been dubbed “The Open Network” by the project’s breakaway developers, who have repurposed it.

Durov is known as the Russian Mark Zuckerberg, although he no longer resides in Russia and is granted French and UAE citizenship last year.

The Metro in a Major Chinese City Has Begun Accepting Digital Yuan Payments:

In China’s Northeast Zhejiang Province, Ningbo has announced that all 125 of its metro stations now accept digital yuan payment as the Chinese central bank digital currency (CBDC) adoption drive continues.

Residents who wish to pay with the token must do so through the subway system’s dedicated app, according to an official release from the operator, Ningbo Rail Transit.

Residents can scan QR codes on their mobile phones at ticket barriers, automatically deducting the applicable fee from their wallets.

The metro operator emphasized that the payment option was being handed out as a “pilot,” but it appeared eager to persuade commuters to use the digital yuan.

Commuters paying with the digital yuan have been advised that as part of an initial promotion, a specific number of commuters – picked at random – will be paid only “one penny” (fractions of USD 1) to ride the metro until September 4. The rail operator did not say if riders would soon be able to pay their metro fees straight from their digital yuan wallets.

With this change, commuters in nine city subway systems throughout China’s rapidly expanding digital yuan pilot zone can now pay with the CBDC.

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