India: Fourth Suspect Arrested Following Alleged $70+ Million Crypto Scam

Indian police have arrested an associate of a group accused of conducting a crypto scam involving 5 billion rupees (about $71.6 million), English-language local media The Indian Express reports Jan. 7.

This is the fourth arrest of the ongoing case and reportedly occurred a year after Thane police uncovered the alleged scam in Mumbai. The man, Rohit Kumar, has reportedly been arrested by Delhi police acting on a complaint from a Kanpur resident.

According to the police, Amit Lakhanpal — the man who launched the allegedly scam cryptocurrency — is the CEO of a real estate firm. The police also reportedly said that the token, dubbed Money Trade Coin (MTC), allegedly was never listed on a cryptocurrency exchange.

An unspecified police source, cited by The Indian Express, declared that “the accused had set up office in Delhi’s Vikram Nagar and used [it] to collect money from investors promising high returns.”

According to the police, the organization inflated the price of the token to prop investments. When the price of the token fell, investors were reportedly unable to sell them. A first information report from the police, registered Dec. 31, reportedly charges the accused with cheating, criminal conspiracy and banning.

According to reported police statements, Lakhanpal conducted events in Dubai that were attended by members of the royal family. Furthermore, an unnamed police officer reportedly claimed that “the accused also showed prospective clients an article in an international magazine, which claimed that one of the royals was his partner.”

As Cointelegraph recently reported, the police of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir issued a public statement warning the public against investing in cryptocurrencies.

In December, an government committee in India reportedly suggested that cryptocurrencies should be legalized in the country.

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China: World’s Fourth Largest Bank by Assets Trials Blockchain Loans Backed by Land

The Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), the world’s fourth-largest bank by assets, has issued its first loan on blockchain, local news outlet Financial News reported July 31.

State-owned ABC, which counts itself among China’s “Big Four” lenders, revealed it had issued a loan worth around $300,000 backed by a piece of agricultural land in the Guizhou province.

According to Financial News, the bank will “buil[d] blocks with local people, pilot land and resources bureaus, and agriculture and animal husbandry bureaus,” through the blockchain system, adding that the loan aimed to “support the local tea industry.”

The blockchain project received participation from third parties, including the provincial branch of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), acting as nodes to keep tabs on the validity of loan data.

In the future, the bank says, other types of loans will come under the auspices of blockchain, the decentralized ledger technology allowing ABC to prevent the issue of clients applying for loans at different banks using the same piece of land as collateral.

China continues to adopt blockchain technology with considerable speed, with the government keen to deploy industry-wide standards next year.

In July, China’s joint technical committee of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) announced they would lead an international research group on the standardization of the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain technology.

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