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When the indictment of Russian intelligence officers for interfering with the US election broke, the recriminations were swift. Not only had the 12 allegedly hacked the Democratic National Committee, but they’d had the temerity to do so using servers paid with cryptocurrency. When politicians and mainstream media began finger pointing, they had only one culprit to blame – bitcoin.
Bitcoin is Tried and Convicted in the Court of Public Opinion
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II wasted no time in castigating the “crypto industry” for its role in the DNC hack. The fact that Russians had apparently used bitcoin to cover their tracks was of more concern than the numerous other failings that the indictment revealed, like the inability of Democrats to detect basic phishing attempts, or of DNC admins to detect the X-Agent malware that was installed. No, the biggest takeaway from all this was that bitcoin had facilitated one of the gravest nation state-orchestrated crimes in years.
As the detailed indictment against the Russian dozen reveals, however, bitcoin didn’t exactly enable the accused to cover their tracks. In fact, despite the extraordinary lengths they had gone to, bitcoin left an indelible trail that led right back to Russia, which the blockchain had gift-wrapped and handed to US investigators. The dozen accused purchased BTC on P2P exchanges, as well as mining the cryptocurrency themselves to pay for web hosting of dcleaks.com, and a VPN with which to operate the Guccifer 2.0 Twitter account. But this didn’t stop US officials from reconstructing the attackers’ every move, aided by the permanent record that the blockchain provides.
Blockchain, Bitcoin and Cognitive Dissonance
Chainalysis is a blockchain forensics company that is detested by many bitcoiners for its willingness to work hand-in-glove with law enforcement, helping to convict cryptocurrency users of victimless crimes such as the purchase of narcotics for personal use. Its co-founder, Jonathan Levin, despatched a trademark anti-bitcoin soundbite for CNBC, stating: “The fact that cryptocurrencies are global and real time means that you might only find out about these things after the fact. We need to think about the responsibilities that we all have in a world where payments move seamlessly across borders in the blink of an eye.”
Meanwhile, Wired, a publication that once mined 13 BTC and then inexplicably destroyed the wallet, issued a typical hit piece against bitcoin in its reporting of the hack. It began: “Bitcoin is a pain to spend. It is energy-guzzling, perilously slow and, with the prospect of dazzling returns (at least until recently), perhaps best to HODL ‘til you retire. But Bitcoin can count at least one group of spendthrifts among its users: Russian hackers accused of hacking in the 2016 election.”
Wading through the hyperbole, one could be forgiven for thinking that bitcoin had single-handedly phished John Podesta, hacked the DNC, brought down the Democrats, and swung the election for Trump.
Is Bitcoin a Help or a Hindrance to Criminals?
Anyone reading MSM reporting of the event, or the screeching from various congressmen, may have been left confused as to bitcoin’s role in the DNC hack. Did it enable Russian agents to commit the crime or did it enable law enforcement to catch them? The answer lies somewhere in between. There is no doubt that bitcoin is used by criminals. It’s been used to purchase all sorts of things that from a legal, if not a moral, standpoint are illicit. Like all currencies, bitcoin is also used for money laundering.
Whether bitcoin helps or hinders criminals depends, to a large extent, on the nature of the crime. If you’re buying a bit of weed on the deep web, even the most zealous of Chainalysis apparatchiks isn’t going to concern themselves with tracing your transaction. Law enforcement won’t give a damn either. If you’re perpetrating the most notorious hack of the decade, however, too right you’re gonna have your BTC purchases forensically analyzed. Had the Russian hackers used a stolen Paypal account or disposable Visa to go shopping, law enforcement would have had much less data to go on, and would have encountered greater difficulty in reconstructing the hackers’ actions.
To answer the question then, bitcoin is a pretty good tool for committing low level crime, where a basic degree of anonymity is required. But when it comes to committing major crimes that are sure to be scrutinized, not only is bitcoin bad for criminals – it’s downright dangerous.
Do you think bitcoin is a help or a hindrance to criminals? Let us know in the comments section below.
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The post Bitcoin is Great for Criminals. It’s Even Better for Law Enforcement appeared first on Bitcoin News.
Maxine Waters may have canceled events in Texas and Alabama this weekend over a ” very serious death threat ,” but she showed up to a Los Angeles rally against US immigration policy with a message: “I know that there are those who are talking about censuring me, talking about kicking me…
Millennial Living in 2018: Insights for the UK ‘Build-to-Rent’ Sector, a study in conjunction with FTI Consulting, commemorates real estate group Get Living’s 5th anniversary. Focusing on millennials, it found significant portions turning away from traditional stores of value, such as property and home ownership, in favor of crypto assets.
Millennials Turning from Traditional Investments and Toward Crypto
“For Millennials the soaring performance of Bitcoin – followed by an almost equally profound correction – holds more intrigue than the prospect of steady growth in house prices,” Get Living concludes. “This translated to 27% of male Millennials polled believing Bitcoin represents a better investment than property.”
Is this age group “in the vanguard of the new Sharing Society, where people are less interested in following in the footsteps of their home-owning parents and would rather make a fortune from Bitcoin?” asked build-to-rent advocates Get Living. The group “sought to answer these questions and a host of others about Millennials’ lifestyles in ground-breaking research carried out in cities across the UK in March and April 2018.”
That over a quarter of UK males polled, in the 3,065 universe of 21 to 35-year-olds, see crypto as favorable comports nicely with previous studies. In late March of this year, for example, “The Student Loan Report teamed with Pollfish to survey 1,000 current university students with related loan debt, asking one question: Have you ever used student loan money to invest in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin?” these pages explained. The survey “found that 21.2 percent of current college students with student loan debt have used financial aid money to fund a cryptocurrency investment.” That study itself confirmed a late 2017 Harris Poll, finding that 27% of all millennials preferred bitcoin core (BTC) to traditional stock and bonds.
“The rollercoaster ride in value for Bitcoin has excited many Millennials, with one in five seeing it as an appealing investment proposition compared with relatively slow-moving property values,” Get Living noted. And whatever the actual macroeconomic truth of the matter, a bare majority still hold to legacy investments such as real estate. As to whether still more males, and of course their female counterparts, will continue to move into crypto (and whether this will be for the long term) is anyone’s guess and well beyond the present study’s scope.
Will more millennials move into crypto? Let us know in the comments.
Images via the Pixabay.
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An initiative to break America’s most populous state into three smaller states gathered more than the required 402,468 signatures and earned the right this week to a spot on the Nov. 6 state election ballot.
Every month, more than 7,000 migrants and refugees from the Horn of Africa make the perilous journey across the Red Sea to Yemen in search of a better life. CNN’s Ben Wedeman reports from their journey.
CNN.com – RSS Channel – World
Companies like Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline are investing in automation with the hope of transforming drug discovery from an enterprise where humans do manual experiments to one where robots handle thousands of samples around the clock.
WSJ.com: US Business
Ride-sharing giants Uber and Lyft patted themselves on the back this week for adopting a totally #MeToo policy that victims of sexual assault and harassment won’t be held to the companies’ forced-arbitration requirement and will be able to seek their day in court.
“We have learned it’s important…
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With a new focus on security tokens and financial regulation, Keynote delivers their seventh World Blockchain Forum, the first ever in New York. Final ticket release begins 29th May.
Having produced two of 2018’s biggest bitcoin and blockchain events in Miami and Dubai, Keynote is honored to bring the World Blockchain Forum to the Big Apple as they host the first [WBF: Security Tokens & ICOs] on 12th and 13th June.
Held at Manhattan’s Metropolitan West, the intimate two day event includes a change in format with ‘ICO Pitch Panels’, where ICO projects will use a panel discussion platform to showcase their product moderated by blockchain visionary Moe Levin. Attendees will experience a comprehensive introduction from high profile industry experts including Vanessa Grellet, Bruce Fenton and Salil Donde, knowledgeable in not only blockchain and financial regulation but the complexities of Wall Street, offering invaluable insight into the future of security tokens.
Announcing lead partnerships with Victory Square Technologies and Polymath, this WBF speaker line up is set to deliver a groundbreaking agenda rounded off by Victory Square Director Peter Smyrniotis awarding the top 3 ICO/STO panelists with $ 100,000 shared investment.
In addition, WBF Dubai Environmental Sponsor Climate Futures, will return for WBF New York, after having retired over $ 14,000 in 1PLANET tokens to balance the carbon footprint of over 600 international flights to Dubai.
In a saturated environment of corporate blockchain events en masse, WBF maintains its 7-year long ambition to connect individuals and develop international relationships, giving sponsors a personal and rewarding experience long term. Projects wanting to exhibit alongside WBF regulars bitcoin.com and Academy School of Blockchain are advised to move quickly to secure limited last space in the vibrant Exhibiting & Networking Hall.
For final sponsorship and exhibiting availability please contact Tom Lunn at [firstname.lastname@example.org]
WBF New York speakers include:
Alex Mashinsky – Founder & CEO, Celsius
Bruce Fenton – Founder & CEO, Chainstone Labs
Salil Donde – CEO, AlphaPoint
Nick Spanos – Co-founder, Zap.org
Trevor Koverko – CEO, Polymath
Vanessa Grellet – Executive Director, ConsenSys
Halsey Minor – Founder, CNET
Oliver Gale – Executive Director, Bitt
Dawn Newton – COO, Netki
Veronica McGregor – Partner, Goodwin
Paul Puey – CEO, Edge
Jason King – Co-founder, Academy
Gabriel Abed – Chairman, Bitt
Steve Dakh – Ethereum, Aeternity, Kryptokit
“Though bitcoin and blockchain technology is rapidly becoming more understood, security tokens remain a black-box to most people. Which is strange, because as far as I can tell, the only real way to unlock the next trillion dollars of value in the ecosystem is by digitizing the traditional financial world through security tokens.” said Moe Levin, Founder and CEO of Keynote. “Showcasing the best and brightest in the industry has been the aim of Keynote since 2012, and we’re excited to be bringing the 7th edition of the World Blockchain Forum to New York City.”
Keynote was launched in 2012 by blockchain strategist Moe Levin. Further information and details about Keynote and their events can be found at keynote.ae
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