The government agency found that the machines are less regulated than crypto exchanges, and transactions are more difficult to track.
Crypto payments are increasingly being used to facilitate unlawful human and drug trafficking, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which is blaming crypto kiosks.
According to a new study issued Monday by the GAO, the kiosks, also known as crypto ATMs, are partly responsible for this increase because they are less regulated than crypto exchanges and transactions are more difficult to follow.
“As [crypto] market usage expands, FBI officials said they expect to see an increase in the use of virtual currency kiosks for illicit purposes, including for human and drug trafficking,” the report said.
The IRS and FinCEN, both part of the United States Department of Treasury, should collaborate to take a stronger hand in regulating the kiosks, according to FTC.
The study examined the use of cryptocurrencies in worldwide trafficking operations, as well as how the US Postal Service (USPS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the IRS are combating the increase in crypto-facilitated crime.
The GAO also took a look at the difficulties that authorities confront in combating crypto crime, noting that a widespread lack of knowledge, especially regarding crypto kiosks, was hampering law enforcement’s ability to identify and stop criminals.
The GAO’s inference that crypto-enabled criminal activity is on the rise contradicts a new study from crypto research firm Chainalysis, which alleges that although crypto crime is increasing by volume, it accounts for an all-time low proportion of all blockchain transactions in 2021. To summarize, as cryptocurrencies have grown more popular, cryptocurrency crime will continue to increase, but there has been significant growth in above-board crypto transactions compared to illicit transactions.
According to the GAO, crypto can be used as a payment mechanism for human trafficking – the catchall phrase that encompasses both labor and sex trafficking.
According to the GAO’s study, citing research from Polaris, a non-profit in the United States dedicated to combating human trafficking, out of 40 significant “commercial sex markets” that “may be utilized to facilitate sex trafficking,” over half (23 out of 40) accepted cryptocurrencies as a payment method.
According to the GAO’s findings, after the collapse of the online dark web marketplace Silk Road in 2013, the overall illegal drugs market has grown more stable and difficult for law enforcement to detect as a result of the development of numerous smaller markets.
“When law enforcement shuts down one marketplace, criminals can easily move operations to other established marketplaces,” the GAO report reads.
The US government has no trouble seizing cryptocurrencies used in drug trafficking. In 2021 alone, the IRS seized $3.5 billion in crypto, $1 billion of which was linked to Silk Road.
The GAO found that 36% of all ICE investigations involving crypto concerned drug trafficking, in its study. For the IRS, a quarter of crypto investigations were associated with drug dealing. And for the USPS, 85 percent of its crypto seizures involved drug trafficking.
According to the GAO, drug cartels and transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) are “increasingly using virtual currency because of its perceived anonymity and as a more efficient method to move money across international borders.”
Despite the fact that bulk cash smuggling and trade-based money laundering are still the most popular ways to launder money, cryptocurrencies are becoming more popular as a means of transporting money across borders without drawing the attention of law enforcement.
The popularity of crypto-enabled money laundering is attributed, in part, to the more unregulated kiosks that provide additional anonymity-enhancing features.
“Money couriers deposit large volumes of cash from illegal drug proceeds into a kiosk to convert the value to virtual currency,” the report said. “Once the illicit proceeds are in this form, the funds can easily be transferred to another virtual currency user’s wallet, reducing the risk associated with transporting bulk currency.”
Cracking down on kiosks
The GAO’s main concern with crypto kiosks is that, though kiosk operators must register with FinCEN, they are not required to keep any law enforcement agency informed about their locations. That “restricts federal agencies’ abilities to detect kiosks in high-risk areas.”
The Government Accounting Office (GAO) thinks that by tightening regulation of these cryptocurrency kiosks, law enforcement will be able to obtain better information and identify “potentially illegal transactions.”
The GAO made two suggestions for the IRS and FinCEN on how to improve crypto kiosk regulation.
According to the document, FinCEN’s director and IRS commissioner should jointly assess money services business (MSB) registration requirements for crypto kiosks and other exchanges, as well as new standards for kiosk operators to keep law enforcement informed about their physical locations.
The IRS and FinCEN agreed with the recommendations, according to the GAO.
The Real Deal on a Four-Day Workweek
For many people, it’s difficult to imagine a work week that doesn’t begin on Monday and end on Friday. For decades, millions of people across the world have built their week around Monday through Friday. However, as the pandemic continues to change Americans’ attitudes toward work, many are reconsidering how they may balance work and life.
After all of this research, I discovered that the concept of a five-day workweek was first proposed as early as the 1860s by many labor organizations in the United States seeking to pass legislation for an eight-hour working day. The Fair Labor Standards Act was amended in 1938 to limit the workweek to 40 hours per week, which resulted in the Monday through Friday, five-day work week that is well known today, according to Business Insider.
Despite the passage of this law, many individuals are still compelled to work more than 40 hours per week. According to a Gallup poll conducted in 2014, the typical salaried employee put in around 49 hours each week. Furthermore, according to Vox, workers are still clocking more than 40 hours per week even during the COVID-19 epidemic. Many people feel that achieving a work-life balance is difficult because they are either working from home or doing a hybrid arrangement that includes both in-office and at-home work.
A four-hour workweek might be in your future
In the previous decade, businesses and nations all over the world have started to reconsider the five-day workweek. More than 2,500 Icelandic employees were involved in a research in 2015 and 2019 that introduced them to a four-day workweek rather than the usual five-day week. The study’s findings suggested that those who took part in it reported feeling less stress and a better work-life balance, while their employers claimed that their productivity remained the same or improved. Many other countries around the world, such as New Zealand, Singapore, and Spain, subsequently looked into mandating a four-day workweek as a result of these studies. According to The Guardian, several American businesses, including Bolt Electric and Panasonic Electronics, are already adopting the four-day workweek. Microsoft, which offers a four-day workweek for its workers in Japan, states that the four-day workweek has boosted output by 40%.
Although many individuals tout the advantages of switching to a four-day week in place of a five-day one, the United States government has yet to push through any legislation establishing such a schedule in the country.But this may soon change, as more effort is put into protecting employee rights. The Great Resignation, which has seen millions of Americans leave their jobs in the past year, and the current movement for worker rights that has necessitated wage increases in many states have the potential to push forward further workplace reform in the near future, according to Vox.
The Best Valentine’s Day Gifts for Every Stage of Your Relationship, According to a Matchmaker
Rori Sassoon, a celebrity matchmaker and relationship expert, reveals the ideal Valentine’s Day presents for every stage of your love affair.
Valentine’s Day might be a significant event, especially if you’re new to each other. If you’re stumped as to what to get your lover this year, we’ve got you covered. Rori Sassoon, a celebrity matchmaker, offered us her top V-Day present ideas and you’ll want to check them out.
“When shopping for a Valentine’s Day gift, keep in mind that the gift is as big of a deal as your partner places on gift giving,” Rori shared. “Maybe they’re a fan of quality time over a luxury gift. Take that gesture of love and perhaps put it toward a shared experience. Most importantly, while you might strive to be the ultimate gift giver, stay within your means. If you have anxiety about being able to afford something over budget, rethink how you can find a similar item at a price point you’re comfortable with.”
Choosing the ideal present for your spouse on Valentine’s Day may be a difficult task, depending on where you are in your relationship. After all, if you’re just getting acquainted with someone, the presents you give won’t be at the same level as they’d be after a year.
Rori offered some advice on the finest types of presents to get your partner for each stage of your relationship, and we compiled a list of pointers to assist you get started.
It is good to note to learn your partners love language to help know what is the best gift to give to your partner.
Just Started Dating
When you’re starting to date someone around Valentine’s Day, you want to make a point of demonstrating that you care without being too cheesy (if that’s the case). Give them a card and a trifle. You’re indicating that you’d like to continue seeing them without unintentionally making them feel overwhelmed. Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day. However, keep in mind that there’s no need to be excessive—you’re just getting to know this individual.
We’re Not Really Strangers Card Game – 100% Realism Expansion Pack
This 50-card expansion pack for the wildly popular We’re Not Really Strangers Card Game was created for first dates to the “What are we?” phase of the relationship. It comes with all kinds of questions you’ve been dying to ask like “When’s the last time you ghosted someone and why?” and “What was the first thing you you noticed about me when we met in person?” It’s a great way to get to know your new love interest.
You Be My Valentine Pop-Up Card from YouBeBeloved is a lovely expression of love.
Lovepop has a variety of fun pop-up Valentine’s Day cards that are perfect for newly dating couples like this “Whale you be my Valentine?” card. All the options are really fun and colorful. You’ll definitely put a smile on their face.
We’ll See Where This Goes – Casually Dating
If you’re in a relationship or anything more casual, avoid wrapping gifts. Instead, create the ambiance for a raunchy night — lingerie, candles, romantic music, and maybe a sex toy or two. On this lovey-dovey day, capitalize on your physical attraction to each other. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on someone you don’t know if there’s going to be a long-term connection with. Have fun!
Tease Or Tumble Tower Game
The Tease Or Tumble Tower Game, which is simply a more grown-up version of the same thing, may be played by adults. Each brick has a hot question or activity such as “Remove an article of clothing” or “Massage your spouse for one minute.”
Box Of Dares
This box of challenges was created for couples at all stages and is especially enjoyable for individuals in a “where do we go from here” scenario. It includes 100 cards with dares that range from flirty to erotic, along with a box of 100 stickers.
Dating for at Least Six Months
When you’ve been dating someone for six months, it’s rather obvious that you care about each other. You want to give a gift that demonstrates the kind of giver you are. Gift-giving is one of love languages, and you should attempt to combine equal measures of sexy, fun, and thoughtful into your present. Regardless of the item, keep quality first! Consider a private spa trip or a concert at six months. Shared events will just bring you closer together.
Amorous Arcana: Valentine’s Tarot Lesson & Reading
What’s in store for your relationship in the future? Let the cards be your guide. This Valentine’s Day tarot lesson and reading will stay with you and your spouse forever. You’ll have the opportunity to do a tarot reading while Holly, the instructor and reader, assists you in interpreting the cards. If you already have a tarot deck, the procedure alone costs $25. If you don’t have one, a package including a deck and guidebook can be purchased for $50.
Tickets to a Concert or Event
If you want to give them something they’ll like, get them a ticket to a game, concert, or other event. It will be a shared experience that both of you can enjoy.
Committed for at Least One Year
If you’ve been with someone for a year, there’s always that lovely bright ring to it. You’re likely in love, and you see a hopeful future together. Purchase an outfit together for Valentine’s Day on a shopping trip. If you have a partner who is clueless about fashion, assist them in finding some trendy shoes or a designer belt.
Custom Couple’s Sweatshirts with Embroidered Roman Numeral Date and Initials
If you’re looking for a fun Valentine’s Day present for your significant other, consider getting them a pair of matching sweatshirts from Etsy. You may personalize it to include your initials, a date, and a heart. The New Bedtime Storybook by Leachco has a selection of colors ranging from black to white, light pink, navy, and gold. It’s a must-have for couples that have been together for at least one year.
Vertical and Horizontal Spotify Code Couples Necklace
What’s the song that holds a special meaning for you and your significant other? This personalized Spotify code necklace will always keep it close to your heart. The two necklaces are made of copper, and they’re ideal for keeping your favorite song on repeat. They’ll contain the Spotify code to your song so you can quickly scan and play whenever you want. You have the option of receiving them in rose, gold, or silver.
When you’re in a long-term relationship, you’ve celebrated many Valentine’s Day occasions. You know what your partner wants at this point. If your partner likes jewelry, add something to their collection. If your partner can’t say no to a watch, give it to them. Regardless of the price tag on the present, make sure to include a thoughtful note. Words of encouragement might be the most appealing turn-on. Your fire never has to go out!
Personalized Dinner Spinner Date Night Idea Board
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where it takes hours to figure out what to eat because one spouse is unable to make up his or her mind while the other is great with “whatever”? The Etsy-made personalized dinner spinner board can assist you with this. It’s completely alterable, and you can pick your own names and favorite restaurants. You’ll be wondering why you didn’t get it sooner once you have this!
Personalized Ticket To Love Box
If you enjoy the concept of love coupons, this outstanding personalized ticket box takes it to a new level. You may pick from 40 ticket themes ranging from “Free Back Rub” to “clothing-optional adventures,” and the box can be personalized with your partner’s name. It’s both amusing and distinctive.
The ideas are endless, but really the key is the more thoughtful the gift the better. As well as a gift that makes your partner feel like you really know them. Getting them a gift that is simple that you know is something related to what they like can be the meaningful.
Solana Slides 17% to Leading Losses as the Crypto Market Plunges
The cryptocurrency market fell on Monday, following a decline in the stock indices in the United States.
On Monday, the crypto market dropped significantly as U.S. stock index futures plunged by nearly 17%, according to CoinMarketCap. Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, fell to about $33,700 at the time of publication after rising more than $4,000 in Asian morning sessions.
The price of Solana’s SOL asset was down 17%, trading at $84.17, according to data from analytics platform CoinGecko. SOL was one of the year’s top performers, increasing from $3 in January to over $259 in November. The price of Bitcoin has dropped by more than 66% from its all-time high and almost 42% from last Monday’s.
Ethereum and the Cardano, Polkadot, and Binance Coin tokens all suffered losses of nearly 10% in the last 24 hours. DOGE, the currency of Dogecoin, fell 7% in the same period among the top ten cryptocurrencies by market capitalization.
Over $240 million in liquidations occurred since Asian morning hours, according to data from analytics tool Coinglass. Liquidations occur when exchanges are unable to meet margin demands because of a margin shortage. Following a few swings in the green, we witnessed several false breakouts and retests.
Bitcoin futures markets have liquidated over $63 million in assets since their inception, according to figures published by Cboe. Ether futures surpassed this, with more than $64 million in liquidation losses. BTC futures experienced significantly fewer losses, with SOL and XRP futures both losing around $5 million in liquidations.
The ratio of bitcoin traders who were long or betting on higher prices reached nearly 81 percent, according to several technical indicators, as bitcoin was seen as being oversold and a price rise was anticipated.
Meanwhile, others predicted that the market may fall further.
“Alarmingly, the sharp reversal on Friday was not followed by any meaningful bounce,” said Alex Kuptsikevich, senior financial analyst at FxPro, in an email to CoinDesk. “Some observers point out that this is a worrying signal, suggesting further market declines, as we have not seen a final capitulation. Without capitulation, the markets will remain with an overhang of sellers.”
“Events are developing in a bearish scenario, so far broadly repeating what we saw in 2018 in terms of overall sentiment,” Kuptsikevich said.