Australian bank bars credit card purchase of cryptocurrency

The decision comes into effect as of February 14, 2018
14 February 2018   336

Commonwealth bank of Australia made an annoncement today of it blocking all CommBank credit cards from buying virtual currencies, like Bitcoin. Given the unpredictability and lack of regulation of the cryptocurrency market, customers of CBA as of today, February 14, will no longer be able to acquire this type of currency with CBA or Bankwest cards. The bank compared the standards of the traditional currencies and of the virtual ones and concluded that the virtual currencies do not satisfy even the minimum standards.

However, clients of CBA can still purchase the virtual currency via transaction accounts and debit cards. Besides, the situation with cryptocurrencies is highly dynamic and the bank’s position is constantly reviewed.

Thus, CBA has become the first Australian bank to officially forbid the purchase of the virtual currency to its clients. And in doing so joined a notorious list of UK (Lloyds) and US (JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citi) banks with similar restrictions. Despite the regretable decision, other Austalia banks like ANZ or Westpac have not and will not place any similar restrictions. So the CBA’s decision is highly unlikely to become a trend.

NSA Tracks BTC Users, Snowden Says

According to the documents from former NSA agent, BTC transaction monitoring is one of the main priorities of the agency
21 March 2018   218

The US National Security Agency monitors actions in the bitcoin blovkchain in order to identify users of crypto currency. This is reported by The Intercept, which received a set of documents from a former employee of the NSA Edward Snowden, according to which the monitoring of BTC transactions is one of the main priorities of the agency.

They also say that the work of the NSA in this direction may not be limited to analyzing the blockchain and include the detection of crypto users.

The published document indicates that the NSA has become more likely to collect passwords of bitcoin users, data about their activity on the Internet and the identity of their devices.

According to the report, the NSA monitors bitcoin users from 2013 through a program code-named OAKSTAR, as well as the MONKEYROCKET program, which is the OAKSTAR project. The data collected over the years can allow the NSA to accurately identify participants in crypto-currency transactions.

For information on bitcoin users, the NSA can use XKeyScore, a powerful system for monitoring Internet activity, which became known in 2013, when Snowden revealed information about the surveillance of the NSA.

The document says that the information collected by the Agency is stored in the file "Provider user full.csv", and details of identification of time stamps and Internet addresses of users for the purpose of determining their location are given.