Interpol wants to police metaverse crimes, reveals secretary general
The move to police the metaverse comes nearly four months after the international organization launched its own metaverse in October 2022

The International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO), or Interpol, is investigating how it could police crimes in the metaverse. However, a top Interpol executive believes there are issues with defining a metaverse crime.

According to BBC, Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock revealed the agency’s intent to oversee criminal activities on the metaverse. Stock highlighted the ability of “sophisticated and professional” criminals to adapt to new technological tools for committing crimes.

The move to police the metaverse comes nearly four months after Interpol launched its own metaverse in October 2022 at the 90th Interpol General Assembly in New Delhi, India.

During the launch, the announcement read:

“As the number of metaverse users grows and the technology further develops, the list of possible crimes will only expand to potentially include crimes against children, data theft, money laundering, financial fraud, counterfeiting, ransomware, phishing, and sexual assault and harassment.”

According to Stock, criminals have started targeting users on platforms similar to the metaverse, adding that “we need to sufficiently respond to that.” However, the organization faces issues with defining a metaverse crime. Madan Oberoi, Interpol’s executive director of technology and innovation, stated:

“There are crimes where I don’t know whether it can still be called a crime or not. If you look at the definitions of these crimes in physical space, and you try to apply it in the metaverse, there is a difficulty.”

Moreover, he revealed that Interpol is also challenged with raising awareness about possible metaverse crimes.

In parallel to launching into the metaverse in October 2022, the organization created a dedicated unit to fight crypto crimes.

#Crypto currencies are emerging as major threat across the globe: Jurgen Stock, Interpol chief

The Interpol global complex for innovation in Singapore is working on a mechanism to deal with challenges emerging from #Cryptocurency October 18, 2022

The initiatives followed Interpol’s “red notice” to global law enforcement in September for the arrest of Terraform Labs co-founder Do Kwon.


North Korea stole more crypto in 2022 than any other year: UN report
North Korea stole more cryptocurrency assets in 2022 than in any previous year, and targeted foreign aerospace and defense companies, according to a report submitted to the United Nations.

A confidential United Nations report has revealed North Korean hackers stole more crypto assets in 2022 than in any other year .

The UN report, seen by Reuters, was reportedly submitted to a 15-member North Korea sanctions committee last week.

It found North Korean-linked hackers were responsible for between $630 million and more than $1 billion in stolen crypto assets last year after targeting networks of foreign aerospace and defense companies.

The UN report also noted that cyber attacks were more sophisticated than in previous years, making tracing stolen funds more difficult than ever.

"[North Korea] used increasingly sophisticated cyber techniques both to gain access to digital networks involved in cyber finance, and to steal information of potential value, including to its weapons programmes,” the independent sanctions monitors saiin its report to the UN Security Council Committee.

Last week, a Feb. 1 report from blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis came to a similar conclusion, linking North Korean hackers to at least $1.7 billion worth of stolen crypto in 2022, making it the worst-ever year for crypto hacking.

The firm named the cybercriminal syndicates as the most “prolific cryptocurrency hackers over the last few years.”

“For context, North Korea’s total exports in 2020 totaled $142 million worth of goods, so it isn’t a stretch to say that cryptocurrency hacking is a sizable chunk of the nation’s economy,” Chainalysis said.

According to Chainalysis, at least $1.1 billion of the stolen loot was taken from hacks of decentralized financeprotocols, making North Korea one of the driving forces behind the DeFi hacking trend that intensified in 2022.

The firm also found that  North Korea-linked hackers tend to send large sums to mixers such as Tornado Cash and Sinbad.

“In fact, funds from hacks carried out by North Korea-linked hackers move to mixers at a much higher rate than funds stolen by other individuals or groups,” Chainalysis said.

North Korea has frequently denied allegations of being responsible for cyberattacks, but the new UN report alleged North Korea’s primary intelligence bureau, the Reconnaissance General Bureau uses several groups such as Kimsuky, Lazarus Group and Andariel specifically for cyberattacks.

“These actors continued illicitly to target victims to generate revenue and solicit information of value to the DPRK, including its weapons programmes,” the UN report said.

Submitted before the 15-member council's North Korea sanctions committee last week, the full report is reportedly due for public release later this month or early March.


UK’s digital pound would modernize payments but won’t replace cash: Minister
UK’s finance minister noted that the aim of the Digital Pound is to build a digital asset that is “trust, accessible and easy to use.”

The Bank of England (BoE) and the United Kingdom’s Treasury are gearing up plans to create a digital currency that could “provide a new way to pay” without necessarily replacing cash.

On Feb. 7, a joint consultation paper on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) is set to drop, with the BoE and Treasury seeking feedback on how — and if — they should proceed with building a CBDC.

In a Feb. 6 public statement, Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt indicated that the two entities would seek to develop a modernized digital payments system that doesn’t necessarily negate the use of cash.

“While cash is here to stay, a digital pound issued and backed by the Bank of England could be a new way to pay that’s trusted, accessible and easy to use,” he said, adding that “we want to investigate what is possible first, whilst always making sure we protect financial stability.”

Another key area of focus will be to provide a government-backed alternative to privately issued stablecoins, with officials from the BoE and Treasury expecting Big Tech companies to develop such in the coming years.

As part of the statement, BOE Governor Andrew Bailey emphasized that a “digital pound would provide a new way to pay, help businesses, maintain trust in money and better protect financial stability.”

“However, there are a number of implications which our technical work will need to carefully consider. This consultation and the further work the bank will now do will be the foundation for what would be a profound decision for the country on the way we use money.”

BoE Deputy Governor Jon Cunliffe is also set to give a speech on Feb. 7 to update the finance industry on the central bank and Treasurys’ CBDC work so far.

If they decide to move forward, it was suggested that the digital pound and its underlying blockchain-based system would not be built until at least 2025.

In April 2021, current prime minister and former finance minister Rishi Sunak directed the BoE and Treasury to collaborate and form the Central Bank Digital Currency Taskforce. Essentially the duo is tasked with overseeing the study and potential implementation of the digital pound.

While it appears to have been a slow burn so far, given how cautious the BoE and Treasury's stances are, the latter did post a job listing to LinkedIn on Jan. 24 calling for a team lead for its Payments and Fintech Team of roughly 20 people focused exploring on a “potential digital pound.”


This Daily Dose was brought to you by Cointelegraph.

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