In today’s edition of Bitmama’s weekly crypto news roundup, we cover interesting developments in the cryptocurrency industry. Top picks – Ukraine’s largest bank suspends money transfers to crypto exchanges, Kenyans lost $120 million to cryptocurrency scams in the past financial year, and Facebook sued over ‘scam celebrity crypto ads’.
Let’s get started.
Ukraine’s largest bank suspends money transfers to crypto exchanges
Ukraine’s largest bank in terms of assets, Privatbank, has prohibited its clients from transferring funds in Ukrainian Hryvnia, the national fiat currency, to exchanges trading cryptocurrencies. The temporary ban was introduced on March 16.
According to a statement, quoted by the crypto news outlet Forklog, the measure stems from a resolution issued by the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) on Feb. 24, the day when Russia launched its military invasion of the country.
Although it does not specifically mention crypto-related transactions, the document regulates the operation of the banking system under martial law and introduces stricter rules for bank operations. For example, cash withdrawals were limited to 100,000 hryvnia (approx. $3,400) daily and the hryvnia’s exchange rate was fixed.
Banks are prohibited from carrying out cross-border transfers of currency from Ukraine on behalf of clients, Privatbank stated in its announcement. The bank added that transferring funds for use on cryptocurrency exchanges is no exception.
The report notes that Binance, the world’s leading crypto exchange by trading volume, has confirmed the news of Privatbank’s decision regarding hryvnia deposits. The company is warning users that other banks may do the same and recommending they turn to peer-to-peer trading.
Kenyans lost $120 million to cryptocurrency scams in the past financial year – Government Official
A Kenyan cabinet secretary has claimed his fellow countrymen lost about $120 million to crypto scammers in the last financial year. The secretary, Joe Mucheru, added that many Kenyans are getting scammed because they lack the proper information.
In his remarks while speaking at a conference focused on law and order, Mucheru suggested the number of those suffering after losing funds to criminals can be reduced if the media plays its part. He explained:
‘’I think even as you report and investigate these issues, you can also be giving people guidance on the direction, where they need to invest, how they need to protect themselves’’
Mucheru also encouraged the sharing of ideas and information between the government and the media. Doing this, he said, enables the parties to collaborate even further.
Kenya, just like many other African countries, is plagued with scams that are packaged as legitimate cryptocurrency projects. For instance, in December 2021, a report from Bitcoin.com News stated that a Kenyan businessman was facing allegations of defrauding investors through his Aidos Kuneen cryptocurrency. The report said investors in the businessman’s scam crypto lost over $140 million.
Facebook sued over ‘scam celebrity crypto ads’
Facebook is accused of running ads that encouraged people to invest in cryptocurrency and other money-making schemes that were actually scams, leading to one consumer losing more than $650,000 AUS .
The ads Facebook is accused of running in Australia took “users to a fake media article that included quotes attributed to the public figure featured in the ad endorsing a cryptocurrency or money-making scheme,” said the ACCC.
“Users were then invited to sign up and were subsequently contacted by scammers who used high pressure tactics, such as repeated phone calls, to convince users to deposit funds into the fake schemes,” the watchdog added.
The regulator’s chair Rod Sims – who launched the action on his last day at the regulator – said: “The essence of our case is that Meta is responsible for these ads that it publishes on its platform.”
The social media platform is being accused of knowing that the celebrity endorsement scams were being run on Facebook but not doing enough to address the issue.
A spokesperson for Meta said: “We don’t want ads seeking to scam people out of money or mislead people on Facebook – they violate our policies and are not good for our community”.