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TOPIC: cryptocurrency


Will Hack For Nukes: Inside North Korea's Cryptocurrency Extortion Ring

North Korea has industrialized the theft of cryptocurrency to finance its nuclear weapons program and its state-sponsored hackers are getting better at emptying digital wallets. But global law enforcement agents are in hot pursuit, and cashing in crypto is harder than ever.

The threat on the screen was clear and simple enough: I've encrypted your files — and if you don't pay me within a week, you'll never be able to recover them.

At noon on May 12, 2017, a red alert page popped up on the computer screens of more than 300,000 Windows users worldwide, asking them to transfer approximately $300 worth of Bitcoin to recover their files.

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NFTs Are Not Dead — They May Be Coming Soon To A Theater Near You

Despite turbulence in the crypto market, NFT advocates think the digital objects could revolutionize how films and television series are financed and produced.

PARIS — Advocates of a "participatory internet" (or Web 3.0) dream of an NFT future for cinematic works and animated films, despite the fact that Bitcoin (and cryptocurrency generally) is struggling. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are digital assets based on blockchain technology.

NFT converts say that digital objects could profoundly change the link between the general public and creators of cinematic content by revolutionizing the way animated films and TV series are financed. Even if, by their own admission, none of the experiments currently underway have so far amounted to much.

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FTX Founder Arrested, EU Offices Searched, Fusion Breakthrough

👋 Yáʼátʼééh!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where disgraced crypto entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried is arrested in the Bahamas, the EU parliament faces its worst corruption scandal in decades, and U.S. scientists are expected to announce a nuclear fusion breakthrough with huge clean energy implications. Meanwhile, Warsaw-based daily Gazeta Wyborcza unpacks the new law that sees Poland try to slap blasphemers with jail time.


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China Eases COVID Restrictions, Ramaphosa In Turmoil, RIP Christine McVie

👋 Halito!*

Welcome to Thursday, where China eases COVID restrictions in several major cities, South Africa’s president faces impeachment, and Fleetwood Mac bids adieu to its songbird Christine McVie. Meanwhile, in Denmark, we look at a controversy surrounding a blackface scene featured in a beloved Christmas TV special.

[*Choctaw, Native American]

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In The News
Renate Mattar, Emma Albright, Sophia Constantino and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Ukraine Cities Targeted, Xi v. Trudeau, Lego Eiffel

👋 Բարև*

Welcome to Thursday, where Russia continues major airstrikes of Ukrainian cities, the Republicans win control of the U.S. House of Representatives with a slim majority, and Lego releases its tallest set ever. Meanwhile, Global Press Journal zooms in on an unlikely leading candidate ahead of next year’s presidential election in Zimbabwe.

[*Barev - Armenian]

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Agrotokens Let Farmers Turn Surplus Grain Into Tangible Cryptocurrency

Digital currencies may be volatile, but one company in Argentina has found a way to allow farmers to purchase goods and services online using surplus grain.

BUENOS AIRES — Amid a boom in the price of farming products, an Argentine firm has devised a way for local farmers to turn surplus grain into digital credits that can be used to purchase goods with a debit card.

In partnership with Visa, Agrotoken, a firm founded by Eduardo Novillo Astrada and Ariel Scaliter, has created a card accepted by 80 million shops and businesses associated with its tokenized grains program. The firm is effectively linking Argentine farmers and exporters who have surplus grains with a global business network.

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In The News

Le Weekend ➡️ Crypto Is Dead, Long Live Crypto

An estimate one trillion dollars was wiped off crypto value this past week. But there may actually be more signs now than ever that Bitcoin and company are here to stay...

May 14-15

  • Putin’s nuclear option
  • Tracking heat waves
  • Trending sad face
  • … and much more.
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Laura-Mai Gaveriaux

Dubai Postcard: Russian Oligarchs Find Refuge From Sanctions In UAE

Hit with Western sanctions, Russian oligarchs are racing against time to relocate their assets to tax havens. They turn to private banks where transactions, opaque as they are in the UAE for instance, make it almost impossible to trace funds.

DUBAI — In the neo-baroque hall of the Burj Al Arab hotel, surrounded by colored marbles, one can hear all the world’s languages. A mirroring image of this cosmopolitan bubble that Dubai has become over the past 30 years, a sort of Monaco of the Middle East. But from large red armchairs, it’s a Slavic atmosphere that stands out the most.

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At 2,000 to 12,000 euros a night, the rooms at the Burj Al Arab, situated on an artificial island, make it the most expensive palace in the emirate of Dubai — and the preferred meeting site of Russia’s richest businessmen. They are, of course, close to the Kremlin’s networks since it is virtually impossible to make a fortune, and above all, to keep it, without at least getting Vladimir Putin’s seal of approval first.

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In The News
Lorraine Olaya, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Lila Paulou and Emma Albright

Russia Vows New Attacks On Kyiv After Moskva Warship Sinks

👋 Сайн уу*

Welcome to Friday, where Russia warns of more strikes on Kyiv as Ukraine claims responsibility for the sinking of the Moskva warship, hundreds are wounded in clashes at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque, and “Houston, we have a kebab.” In German daily Die Welt, Michael Brendler explores the end-of-life ethical question that has gained new attention during the pandemic: When is it better to turn off life-support equipment?

[*Sain uu - Mongolian]

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Nessim Aït-Kacimi

Russian Oligarchs Turn To Crypto To Skirt Sanctions

Faced with a $32 billion drop in their wealth this year, Russian oligarchs are looking for assets to allow them to overcome sanctions that will increase with the invasion of Ukraine. Familiar with crises, they see bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as an escape from the hegemony of the dollar, and a way to diversify their holdings.

With the European Union and the United States delivering the harshest ever sanctions on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine, ultra-wealthy Russians are turning to new tech to preserve their financial assets. Cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin (circa $32,000) and ethereum (circa $2,470) can be seen, rightly or wrongly, as life savers during financial and geopolitical crises that threaten private assets.

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In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet and Jane Herbelin

U.S.-Russia Stalemate, Asymptomatic Omicron, Pig Heart Breakthrough

👋 Bozhoo!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where the U.S breaks a new COVID record, “no progress” in tense talks between Russian and American officials over Ukraine and a medical breakthrough crosses the animal kingdom. Meanwhile, we look at why more and more countries around the world are loosening laws on assisted suicide and euthanasia.

[*Ojibwe - Canada]

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Béatrice Brasseur

Blockchain Uncorked, Champagne And Fine Wine Hit The NFT Market

In just a few months, NFTs, the digital equivalent of collectables, have generated over $10 billion. Now, luxury champagne and wine brands are moving into the world of digital assets. But as investors and vineyards toast to the future, will the concept pop or fizzle?

PARIS — What's new in champagne? Tokenized bubbles!

In October, Dom Pérignon demonstrated it perpetual creative effervescence by launching limited edition boxes of its 2010 vintage and its 2006 rosé, which were "designed" in collaboration with the megastar Lady Gaga (available only on the French market). The 100 bottles — a few drops in the ocean of bubbles produced by Dom Pérignon — and their digital versions were offered for sale in a 100% virtual space. In search of new fans and eager to "create rarity within rarity," the champagne brand has thus become the very first in its sector to take the plunge into NFTs, the digital answer to collectibles.

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