Japanese bank Mizuho, as well as around 60 other financial institutions (FIs), have launched a new digital wallet called J-Coin Pay. According to Quartz, the wallet doesn't use crypto. Instead, it uses QR codes to process smartphone payments. Right now, digital payments make up only about 20 percent of transactions in Japan, but the government is working to double that rate by 2025. It also wants to work on an electronic overhaul in time for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
In other news, blockchain security company CipherTrace revealed details of the first Canadian court case to use a bitcoin expert witness. CipherTrace CEO David Jevans testified in a February 2019 forfeiture hearing that involved a defendant, Matthew Phan, who illegally purchased a handgun and trafficked drugs using bitcoin on two dark web sites. As a result, the Ontario Attorney General is seeking to confiscate 288 bitcoins.
“As the crypto market expands, Canadian policymakers and law enforcement officials need to leverage external parties who specialize in blockchain forensic analysis if they intend to build resistance to illicit activity,” said Dina Mainville, CipherTrace sales director for Canada, in a press release. “Dave Jevans demonstrated that CipherTrace can bring transparency and accountability to illegal and fraudulent cryptocurrency transactions.”
PwC has found proof that Iranian nationals linked to the SamSam ransomware were using the WEX exchange to launder their funds. The auditing giant used data from the U.S. Department of Justice to prove that the cybercriminals used WEX (then known as BTC-e) before the market closed in September 2018.
As Crytpovest reported, the BTC-e exchange was used to liquidate as much as 95 percent of ransomware payments since 2014, and allegedly laundered up to $4 billion, with $1.9 billion coming from the SamSam attack. In addition, PwC found evidence that BTC-e was used by Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) to hide transfers of bitcoin.