South Korean Gaming Firm to Buy Bithumb for $460 Million

Nexon, a South Korean multi-billion gaming company, is reportedly planning to buy a 65% stake in the Bithumb cryptocurrency exchange. As per the announcement, Nexon is planning to pay 500 billion won, about $460 million for the acquisition.

Nexon plans to buy all the shares owned by Bithumb chairman Lee Jung Hoon and some owned by other shareholders. So far, NXC, the holding company of Nexon, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Bithumb earlier this month.

Bithumb has seen rocky days following fraud issues allegedly caused by its top officials. Lee Jung Hoon, the chairman, is reportedly accused of pocketing millions of dollars by selling Bithumb’s tokens to clients without listing them. The platform is currently being investigated for financial fraud involving $25 million. Notably, the exchange was put for sale last year following the ongoing cases.

Nexon already has two crypto exchanges, Korbit and Bitstamp. The gaming company bought the two exchanges three years ago for around $180 million and $400 million, respectively.

Hackers New Ploy to Draining Crypto Wallets

Intezer reports on new ploy by hackers to drain crypto wallets

Intezer Labs, a security firm, recently revealed the new ways hackers are using to steal money from crypto users. As per their report, Intezer explained that hackers have been using malware with sophisticated marketing campaigns to steal money from crypto users. This has been reportedly being used since January 2020.

The report outlined that hackers use three cryptocurrency-related apps to spread a Remote Access Tool (RAT) malware named ElectroRAT.  The program drains victims’ crypto-wallets. Jamm and eTrade (Kintum) are the sites being used, which are both fake crypto trading platforms. The third platform is DaoPoker, which is a fake crypto poker app.

Additionally, cybercriminals are developing their version of the software for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The new version is reportedly aimed at increasing their activities and targeting a more comprehensive range of victims. Intezer explained:

“ElectroRAT is exceptionally intrusive. It has various capabilities such as keylogging, taking screenshots, uploading files from disk, downloading files, and executing commands on the victim’s console. The malware has similar capabilities for its Windows, Linux, and macOS variants.”

The firm further explained that this type of malware is “rarer to see such a wide-ranging and targeted campaign that includes various components.”

South Korea to Introduce a 20% Tax on Crypto Trading

South Korea amended law for 20% crypto taxation

Authorities in South Korea recently proposed a new amendment to include a tax on profits from crypto trading. In February, the new amendment will be enacted, with authorities planning to levy taxes on crypto in 2023, as reported by local news outlets.

The proposed tax regime was anticipated and delayed several times last year, with the government pushing back the implementation until 2022. Now the government seems to have made up its mind.

The proposed changes will also introduce additional taxes on capital gains with progressive taxation for gains in stocks. For crypto holders, persons making an annual income of more than 2.5 million won ($2300) from crypto profits will be taxed at 20%.

UK Derivative Ban Goes into Effect

UK FCA bans crypto derivates

Earlier this week, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK effected the ban on crypto futures and exchange-traded notes (ETNs) that refers to specific types of crypto-assets to retail consumers. The ban was officially announced last year in October after authorities discussed the matter for a year.

During their deliberation, the FCA cited “the harm they pose” as a cause for its decision. The authority termed crypto derivatives and ETNs as “ill-suited” to retail consumers as the “inherent nature” of underlying assets. The FCA added:

“These features mean retail consumers might suffer harm from sudden and unexpected losses if they invest in these products.”

The FCA predicts that retail investors will save around $70 million after the recent ban on illegal crypto products. The authority further explained:

“We have evidence of this happening on a significant scale. The ban provides an appropriate level of protection.”

Following the ban, several brokers stopped offering crypto CFDs to retail investors.

Ethereum searches on Google Hit an All-Time High

Ethereum hits all-time high search in Google search

The cryptocurrency bull run has seen many currencies gain popularity. One token, however, seems to be gaining more attention than most. According to reports by Google Trends, the number of google searches currently being performed for “Ethereum” is at an all-time high as the token nears its all-time high.

As per the data, areas leading in the search for the term “Ethereum” include Kosovo, North Macedonia, Slovenia, China, and Nigeria. The last time ETH (Ethereum) saw such attention was on January 13, 2018. Notably, increased popularity for the crypto asset could fuel the ongoing crypto bull run, and more investors rush in for a stake in the market.