KW 47: Bitcoins worth millions are stored in German evidence chambers, Dispute over blockchain in US elections, New York airport test pilots blockchain-based coronavirus cleanliness app


Bitcoins worth millions are stored in German evidence chambers: German security authorities are increasingly confiscating bitcoins from criminals. Due to the increase in the value of the cryptocurrency, there are currently potential millions in the state’s evidence rooms. Bitcoins amounting to more than 29 million euros were seized in 2019 and 2020 in the proceedings of the Central Office for Combating Internet Crime of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Frankfurt am Main. Prosecutors could order a sale and transfer the money raised to the state treasury. According to the regulation on emergency sale in the Code of Criminal Procedure, this would be legally compliant. However, it happens too rarely. The reason for this is the fact that the bitcoins are often in a password-protected wallet and are thus out of reach of the security authorities.

Dispute over blockchain in US elections: In the run-up to the US presidential elections on November 3, massive hacker attacks on the vote count were expected. Accusations of fraud, particularly with regard to postal voting, have come and continue to come from the Republican camp. And even if there is no evidence whatsoever for the allegations of the defeated Donald Trump, security authorities have fundamental concerns about the vulnerability of many counting devices to hacking. Some crypto experts repeatedly called for blockchain-based voting apps, hoping for more security and transparency in the counting of votes. Other blockchain experts strongly disagree.

New York airport test pilots blockchain-based coronavirus cleanliness app: With an eye towards the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic, Albany Airport has begun experimenting with the „Wellness Trace App“ to track the cleanliness of surfaces and objects inside the airport. The app, developed by General Electric Co. (GE) in partnership with TE-FOOD and Eurofins, is built using the Microsoft Azure enterprise blockchain. It aims to provide travelers with information about the cleanliness of surfaces prior to travelers touching them in real-time. Travelers will be able to gather this information by scanning QR code stickers scattered in and around the airport using their phones.

Hamburg startup uses blockchain to trace coffee’s origin: The startup Ourz uses blockchain technology to make the supply chains of food products more transparent. The Hamburg-based company has recently started working with Frosta boss Felix Ahlers. Its coffee Solano now promises interested parties an insight into the entire supply chain from bean cultivation to armaments via a QR code. The route of the product from Ethiopia via Bremerhaven or Hamburg can also be traced. In order for this to be the case, those involved in the product must enter their data and details about the production. The blockchain ensures that no incorrect information is transmitted. According to Ourz‘ founders, blockchain technology is worth more than any sustainability label.

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On Wednesday, Bitcoin crossed the 18,000-dollar mark for the first time since December 2017.


Possible uses of blockchain in pandemics: It is not surprising that the World Health Organization (WHO) is working in cooperation with blockchain companies to develop a platform on which data to combat the pandemic can be collected, evaluated and shared. The technology can be used in many ways in the fight against pandemics, as the year 2020 has impressively shown. With the blockchain, global supply chains, which collapsed many times when the pandemic broke out in the spring, can be traced in real time. This enables authorities and companies to react promptly to delivery bottlenecks and to check products for authenticity, for example in the case of counterfeit medicines. The economic consequences of fighting a pandemic could be mitigated with a blockchain infrastructure via a national identity and payment network. This could be used to quickly and effectively distribute cash injections or vouchers to companies in need. After all, chains of infection could be traced more quickly if the data exchange between people were possible anonymously and in a way that cannot be falsified between unknown, non-trusting and potentially infected people.

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Cryptocurrencies in sports – an astonishingly established partnership: Digital currencies are already firmly established in sports and among famous athletes. The Colombian international James Rodriguez from the English first division club Everton FC e.g. has released its own cryptocurrency called JR10 Token. The Champions League finalist and French long-time champion Paris St. Germain has also designed its own cryptocurrency for fans, which they can use to purchase merchandise, tickets and even meetings with players. However, cryptocurrencies are most widespread among e-athletes. In Japan, many professional video gamers are paid in digital currencies. Since many professional athletes only have a limited amount of time available to earn money with their profession, the increased interest in digital currencies can be interpreted as a sign that they are relying entirely on the future potential of the technology.


„We cannot come close to securing fake internet money that tech geeks play with and manipulate for fun while clipping their toenails. Do not think for a second we are ready to blockchain democracy.“
The founder of MyCrypto, Taylor Monahan, on Twitter about blockchain-based apps for conducting democratic elections.


UN allegation against North Korea: Stolen crypto money finances nuclear program: It is an open secret that the North Korean regime has massively increased its efforts and capabilities in the field of cyberwar over the past ten years. According to allegations by the United Nations (UN), Pyongyang is using hacking raids on banks and cryptocurrency exchanges to finance its own nuclear program. What sounds relatively easy with the appropriate know-how has its pitfalls in practice. Since weapons and other goods can rarely be paid for in cryptocurrencies, even on the black market, the captured bitcoins have to be moved, washed and exchanged for dollars, euros or yuan. The North Korean Lazarus Group is a specialist in this. To shake off investigators, they move stolen crypto money quickly and automatically to thousands of different digital wallets or exchange it for other cryptocurrencies that are secured with various blockchains.

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