Global Tech Roundup; Fraudsters launder crypto worth $9bn in 2021, flying car certified


Hi there. Welcome to the end of another eventful week in the world of tech. We hope you had just as much fun as we did. 

As the week comes to an end, let’s take a quick look at some of the other major tech stories from around the world this week that you may have missed.

Flying car gets certification of airwothiness

The Slovak Transport Authority has awarded a certificate of airworthiness to a flying automobile prototype, bringing it one step closer to mass manufacturing.

Image Credit: Daily express

The Aircar, built by Nitra-based Klein Vision, has two seats and can travel at speeds of up to 190 kph at altitudes of over 8,000 feet.

According to the company, the automobile is the consequence of “pioneering excitement, inventive energy, and daring as well as superior engineering and personal understanding.”

The AirCar is a small plane that takes off and lands like a regular plane and requires a pilot’s license to operate.

The vehicle has undergone over 200 take-off and landing movements and 70 hours of flight testing. It is powered by a BMW-built 1.6-litre petrol engine. 

Klein Vision is also developing a more powerful prototype with a 300 horsepower engine, a top speed of 297 kph, and a range of 1,000 kilometers.

According to Klein Vision, the Aircar will be able to travel from London to Paris in the near future. Boeing, the American aerospace titan, has also backed the initiative.

Cybercriminals laundered $8.6bn worth of crypto in 2021

Cybercriminals laundered $8.6 billion in cryptocurrencies last year, up 30% from 2020, according to a report by blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis.

Details from the reports as published in Reuter’s show that since 2017, cybercriminals have laundered more than $33 billion in cryptocurrency, with the majority of the amount flowing to centralized exchanges over time.

Given the enormous expansion of both legitimate and illicit crypto activities last year, the report said the dramatic increase in money laundering activity in 2021 was not surprising.

According to Chainalysis, almost 17% of the $8.6 billion laundered went to decentralized finance applications, which permit crypto-denominated financial transactions outside of traditional institutions. This was an increase from 2% in 2020.

According to the study, the value received from unlawful addresses increased significantly in mining pools, high-risk exchanges, and mixers. 

Mixers blend potentially traceable or contaminated bitcoin money with others in order to obscure the fund’s original source.

The $8.6 billion laundered last year, according to Chainalysis, reflects cash earned through crypto-native crimes such as darknet market sales or ransomware operations, in which earnings are made in crypto rather than fiat currencies.

Russian authorities to regulate, not ban, cryptocurrencies 

According to a document obtained by Reuters, Russian officials have drafted a ‘roadmap’ that includes limits on cryptocurrencies but not a full ban, as the central bank has recommended.

Image Credit: Euronews

Politicians have pressured the central bank to change course after it recommended limiting cryptocurrency trading and mining due to worries that it may cause financial instability.

The finance, economics, digital, and interior ministries, as well as the FSB security service and the central bank, are all members of the working group that drafted this plan.

According to the document, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko has signed the roadmap, and his team has also acknowledged the document’s legitimacy.

“We note that all agencies, with the exception of the Bank of Russia, fully endorse the points of the road map,” the paper stated.

The working group’s plan would allow Russian financial institutions to be the exclusive providers of cryptocurrency buying and selling.

It recommends establishing mechanisms to prevent international crypto exchanges from providing services to Russian users. It also advises that foreign platforms that receive the necessary licenses be allowed to operate.

US bans telecom giant China Unicom over spying concerns

China Unicom is the latest Chinese telecommunications behemoth to be barred from entering the United States due to “significant” national security and espionage concerns.

According to reports, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it had unanimously decided to terminate the company’s authorization to operate in the United States.

Within 60 days, the company must cease offering telecommunications services in the United States.

The news comes after China Telecom’s license to operate in the United States was terminated in October.

US authorities have targeted Chinese technology and telecom corporations in recent years due to national security concerns.

President Joe Biden approved legislation in November prohibiting corporations deemed a security danger from obtaining new telecommunications equipment licenses.

The FCC should no longer evaluate applications from organizations deemed a danger under the Secure Equipment Act.

It means the equipment of Huawei, ZTE, and three other Chinese companies can’t be utilized in US telecommunications networks.

Toyota leads Volkswagen as the world’s largest automaker

Japan’s Toyota Motor Co. reported a 10.1 per cent increase in vehicle sales last year, making it the world’s largest automaker for the second year in a row. This also pushes it further ahead of its nearest rival, Volkswagen AG of Germany.

Image Credit: TechwireAsia

According to the company, it sold 10.5 million vehicles in 2021, including those produced by affiliates Daihatsu Motors and Hino Motors.

Volkswagen delivered 8.9 million vehicles during the same period, 5% fewer than in 2020 and the company’s lowest sales results in ten years.

A scarcity of semiconductors during the coronavirus pandemic disrupted supply chains. This led to increased competition for the critical component among producers of consumer electronic products, forcing carmakers to reduce output.

However, the Japanese firm has fared better than most other automakers in the wake of the epidemic since its home market, Japan, and portions of Asia, have been less affected than Europe.

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