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Mob Burns Down Purported Crypto Ponzi Schemer’s House in South Africa

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An angry mob in Ladysmith, South Africa has reportedly torched the residence of Sphelele Mbatha, known as Sgumza, a manager of alleged crypto Ponzi scheme Bitcoin Wallet. The mob was likely a collection of victims who lost money through Bitcoin Wallet, according to the report by Ladysmith Gazette on July 10. 

The local police have been investigating an unnamed Ponzi Scheme in Ladysmith, as reported by IOL. According to the report, however, Bitcoin Wallet minimally appears to have made get-rich-quick promises to prospective investors. 

An unnamed community member reportedly told the publication that Bitcoin Wallet promised to double investors’ money within a matter of weeks: 

“From what we have heard, Bitcoin Wallet is an investment, not a pyramid scheme. […] He (the owner) has spoken in the media, that he invests the money in bitcoins and is able to double that money within three hours. […] If you put in an amount of R100000, you get back an amount of R200000 in 15 days.”

As per an earlier announcement, Sgumza told Ladysmith Gazette, just five days prior to the arson event, that he was simply a manager, without knowledge or power over the company’s alleged back-end troubles:

“I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know online or how this system works. I have to be workshopped. The owner of the company is operating the online business. I was only the manager of the Ladysmith branch.”

Sgumza further claimed that he himself lost money and was now out of a job:

“I won’t continue working. I don’t have cash anymore. The owner says people must go online and collect their money online. I, myself, have invested my money in there. I submitted my banking details online and now I am also waiting.”

Tensions have reportedly been high in the area, with a communications officer receiving complaints about crowds, public disturbance, and traffic congestion. Moreover, clients reportedly engaged in a scuffle when Bitcoin Wallets staff turned them away while they tried to enter the company offices.

Sgumza reportedly said in a radio interview on July 9 that Bitcoin Wallets customers were being defrauded by a presumably unrelated scam. The scam reportedly targeted people who were creditors of Bitcoin Wallets, saying they needed to log onto a website to collect their funds. 

As reported by Cointelegraph on July 2, South Africa was trading Bitcoin at almost $11,000 on the crypto exchange Luno, which was 10.5% higher than Cointelegraph’s price index at the time. Adamant Capital partner Tuur Demeester, however, cautioned that the listed price likely represents “inflation that is simply not recognized by the government.”





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Bitcoin Retakes $11,000 Following Turbulent Week in Crypto

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Charts Courtesy of Coin360.com

Charts Courtesy of Coin360.com

July 20 — Bitcoin (BTC) has retaken the $11,000 price point on the heels of a turbulent week. 

Charts Courtesy of Coin360.com

Charts Courtesy of Coin360.com

After a bull market at the end of June brought the price of BTC to almost $14,000, the coin had largely been maintaining between $10,000 and $13,000 for most of the past month, briefly cracking $11,000 on July 15 before slipping below the $10,000 price point on July 16. For the past three days, BTC has been in the $10,000 range, but had faltered at the $11,000 resistance until now.

Charts Courtesy of Coin360.com

Charts Courtesy of Coin360.com

The past week has seen some major hurdles for cryptocurrency at large, particularly within the United States. On July 11, President Donald Trump voiced his opposition to cryptocurrencies, particularly BTC and Facebook’s planned Libra, in a series of tweets, saying:

“I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air.” 

Trump’s tweets came days before hearings on Facebook’s Libra before the US Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, July 16 and the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday, July 17. The two hearings left little doubt as to Congress’s attitude toward Libra, which was overwhelmingly negative. Representative Madeleine Dean commented:

“It’s tough to trust when the collection, storage and misuse of the information of your customers generated a $5 billion fine.”

While Libra’s outlook may be bleak, the significance of the hearings for Bitcoin — with a market cap of $196,266,374,749 as of press time, the largest cryptocurrency — has remained unclear. 

Today’s price rally may mean that the storm has passed for BTC.





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Coinbase CEO Wants Firm to Move Beyond Trading in Next 5 Years

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Brian Armstrong, CEO of major American crypto exchange and wallet service Coinbase,  believes that the firm will be less about trading and more about adoption five years from now.

Armstrong wants the firm to connect people in crypto industry

 In an AMA session on July 19, Armstrong presented his vision of the company in five years, claiming that he sees Coinbase as not just a crypto trading service provider, but rather a more universal entity driving adoption to crypto.

Armstrong pointed out Coinbase’s mission to help grow the global crypto economy by connecting people in the market and expanding crypto community to help people use cryptocurrencies for more than just buying and selling. In this regard, Armstrong cited some recent Coinbase developments, such as incentivized crypto educational program Coinbase Earn, as well as preparations to soon enable crypto lending and margin trading on Coinbase. Armstrong explained:

“In five years I hope that we’ll have it even further beyond that. There’ll be thousands of companies that’ll be crypto-first.”

Armstrong supports people who left Coinbase to run their own crypto projects

As a part of Coinbase’s crypto adoption driver mission, Armstrong has also expressed his positive stance to former Coinbase employees who decided to leave the company to launch a new successful crypto project. Coinbase CEO noted the existing term of Coinbase mafia, recalling roughly ten people who have quit Coinbase to run successful crypto companies.

Armstrong appeared to encourage these former employees, claiming that he really wants people to learn from Coinbase and spread their knowledge to bring more adoption. “We‘re just gonna keep doing more and more of that,” Armstrong said, still adding that Coinbase is a multi product company.

On July 12, Armstrong said that a recent anti-Bitcoin (BTC) tweet by United States President Donald Trump unlocked another achievement for crypto industry, indicating that crypto industry is independent of global powers and that those powers cannot shut crypto down.





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Bitcoin Approaches $11,000 With All Top 20 in Green

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Saturday, July 20 — crypto markets have seen another upward move, with all top 20 coins by market cap seeing major gains, while Bitcoin (BTC) has approached $11,000 mark again.

Market visualization from Coin360

Market visualization from Coin360

After dipping below the $11,000 threshold on July 14, Bitcoin has approached the price point today, with its intraday high of $10,944, according to data from CoinMarketCap. The biggest cryptocurrency added 3.7% to its price to trade at $10,922 at press time. As Bitcoin has seen significant volatility this week, with its price having dipped below $9,500, the cryptocurrency is down around 3% over the past 7 days at press time.

Bitcoin 24-hour price chart. Source: Coin360

Bitcoin 24-hour price chart. Source: Coin360

Ether (ETH), the second cryptocurrency by market cap, is up over 5% and trading at $232 at press time. The top altcoin is down 13.4% over the past 7 days.

Ether 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Ether 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Ripple (XRP), the third top cryptocurrency by market cap, added 6.4% to trade at $0.339, also seeing a notable growth over the past 7 days, adding up to about 2.6%.

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Bitcoin SV (BSV), the ninth top cryptocurrency by market cap, has added over 25% to its value today, seeing the biggest growth among the top 20 coins by market cap.

As of press time, total market capitalization amounts to $298 billion after that number dropped below $250 billion earlier this week. Daily trade volume amounts to around $63 billion.

The new wave of green on crypto markets follows a recent bullish prediction by managing director and quant strategist at Fundstrat Global Advisors Sam Doctor, who suggested that much-anticipated Bakkt’s Bitcoin futures contracts will launch in Q3 2019.

Additionally, India’s Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur said yesterday that there is no legislation in India that expressly bans citizens from using cryptocurrencies.

Keep track of top crypto markets in real time here





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