Europol Announces Arrest Of Suspected $11 Million IOTA Thief

Police across Europe have worked together to succesfully arrest the suspect behind a multi-million dollar IOTA theft, according to a press release from Europol.

The law enforcement agency said authorities in Germany and the United Kingdom managed to arrest an anonymous 36-year old man who allegedly stole around €10 million in IOTA (roughly $11,386,000).The suspect was detained by police who carried out a search warrant in the UK city of Oxford. A number of computers and electronics were seized during the arrest

According to Europol, the suspected thief managed to steal IOTA from at least 85 victims in a long-running theft scheme that started back in January 2018.

Police Investigated And Closed In On The Suspect Across 2018

Authorities began to devote time to the case after the Hessen State Police received a number of notices from citizens about stolen cryptocurrency.

A deeper investigation revealed fraud around the website Iotaseed.io, which had a malicious seed-generator running on it. The website allegedly offered to help IOTA users make the 81-digit-long passwords. However, analysis showed the website was operating fraudently, and in fact simply made passwords that were logged by the hacker.

After secretly collecting wallet seeds from August 2017-January 2018, he started to steal money on January 19th, 2018. Zdnet said some of the first thefts were not detected because a DDoS attack against IOTA servers was keeping administrators busy.

In summer 2018, German police notified their British counterparts that a possible suspect was living in the United Kingdom. The suspect has been charged with fraud, theft, and money laundering and is facing extradition to Germany.

Cryptocurrency Thefts Continue To Make News

While authorities seemed to have cracked the case concerning the stolen IOTA, officials are not having as much luck so far getting to the bottom of the hack on New Zealand-based exchange Cryptopia. CryptoGlobe reported on an analysis by Elementus.io that asserted the hack and theft was unusually widespread and had a longer duration than usual hacks.

Some of the unique nuances of the situation have led some to speculate the was an exit scam, but there is not any sort of public evidence at this point in time to support this claim.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao took to Twitter last week to again plug the exchange’s decentralized exchange in light of news about exchange hacks.  

Santander Clarifies It Isn't Using XRP for International Payments

Spanish bank Santander has recently clarified via microblogging platform Twitter that it isn’t using the XRP cryptocurrency for international payments, but is instead using a product developed by Ripple, the firm behind the token.

Santander’s clarification came shortly after it mistakenly told a Twitter user who asked whether it was using XRP that it was using the cryptocurrency for “international payments to 18 EU countries and the USA” through its One Pay FX app.

Given the attention the tweet received, Santander clarified the very next day it was a misunderstanding, and that its One Pay FX app uses Ripple’s xCurrent technology, and not the XRP token.

In its tweet Santander linked to a press release from last year, in which it revealed it was going to use blockchain-based technology to conduct international transfers for clients “on the same day in many cases or by the next day.” Per the document, Santander was the first bank to “roll out a blockchain-based international payments service to retail customers in multiple countries simultaneously.”

As CryptoGlobe covered in March of last year, the Spanish bank partnered with Ripple to launch the One Pay FX app, which is said to rely solely on Ripple’s xCurrent and RippleNet products, not XRP. The app’s users aren’t just able to see their transactions get settled in a short amount of time, they’re also able to see how much each transfer will cost.

One Pay FX was initially available to users  in Spain, the UK, Brazil, and Poland. Over time, Banco Santander revealed it was set to roll it out to more countries throughout the world. Notably, Santander has invested in Ripple back in 2015 and 2016.

Last year, Ripple formed various partnerships to see financial institutions use its products. Among them was MoneyGram, with the goal of speeding up fiat currency settlements. It also joined a consortium of 61 Japanese banks to create an instant payments app.