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Zoom’s China-born founder vaults to billionaire status after whiz bang IPO

April 19, 2019 |

After hearing Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates give a speech about the internet three decades ago, Eric Yuan decided he wanted to become part of the Silicon Valley dot-com boom.

Then the China-born entrepreneur hit a snag. The U.S. government denied his visa application — eight times.

After…


L.A. Times – Business

Silk Road 2 Founder Finally Sentenced 5 Years After His Arrest

April 12, 2019 |

Silk Road 2 Founder Finally Sentenced After His Arrest in 2014

Immediately after the Silk Road was taken down in 2013, a marketplace known as the Silk Road 2 launched. The new darknet market was run by a person who called himself the Dread Pirate Roberts 2 and he was arrested a few months later in November 2014. However, privacy advocate Thomas White, otherwise known as DPR2, was released on bail for the next five years and has only now been sentenced to 64 months in jail.

Also read: Wikileaks Bitcoin Donations Soar Following Assange Arrest

Silk Road 2 Founder Sentenced

The founder of the notorious Silk Road 2 marketplace has been sentenced to prison this week for operating the illegal website for over a year. Thomas White was known as DPR2 when he ran the underground marketplace Silk Road 2 back in 2014. SR2 was not affiliated with the original Silk Road (SR) but popped up on the invisible web roughly 30 days after SR was seized in October 2013. Similarly to the original, SR2 sold narcotics, fake ID cards, counterfeit merchandise, credit cards, and software. Law enforcement said that SR2 made roughly $ 8 million every month after it launched for a year.

Silk Road 2 Founder Finally Sentenced 5 Years After His Arrest

Law enforcement wasted no time investigating the newly created SR2 and arrested both White (a.k.a. ‘St Exo’ or ‘DPR2’) and Blake Benthall (a.k.a. ‘Defcon’) a year later in November 2014. However, White has been out on bail since his arrest and has remained in the public eye over the last five years. Benthall was charged with conspiracy to traffic narcotics and was released and has yet to be sentenced by any courts.

Silk Road 2 Founder Finally Sentenced 5 Years After His Arrest
Silk Road 2 creators mocking U.S. law enforcement.

According to multiple SR2 vendors and law enforcement officials, the website grew fast because of people’s admiration for the original SR and its leader the Dread Pirate Roberts. An investigator from the National Crime Agency (NCA), Paul Chowles, told the media this week that White told his band of companions that he would stop using his St Exo monicker and start calling himself DPR2. “DPR2, aka Thomas White, was the boss. He was the controlling mind in all of this, and he was the one driving it forward,” Chowles explained in a recent interview.

“Dread Pirate Roberts is now immortal and if you devote yourself to that ideal, and our enemies cannot stop it, then the idea becomes something else entirely,” DPR2 stated in 2014. The post continued:

They may have sunk one ship, but now they have awoken the kraken.

Silk Road 2 Founder Finally Sentenced 5 Years After His Arrest

Ulbricht Family Underscores the Contrast Between White’s Punishment and the Much Harsher Sentencing Ross Received

Reports detail that after White was released on bail, he also used the name ‘The Cthulhu’ online and commented regularly on tech articles, forums, and became known as a privacy expert. He also ran a few websites that focused on data breaches and ran numerous Tor nodes as well. Motherboard attempted to talk with White this week but he declined and also deleted his Cthulhu profile. White pleaded guilty for his involvement with the SR2 website which involved charges of money laundering and MDMA distribution. According to the courts, in Germany alone White earned 1% commission off $ 143,000 worth of class A drug sales stemming from the region. The NCA also revealed that White owned around 50 BTC ($ 255,000) at the time of his arrest in 2014.

Silk Road 2 Founder Finally Sentenced 5 Years After His Arrest

The case was a combined effort between U.S. law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, the Justice Department, and Homeland Security. But the SR2 server was identified by the government-funded Carnegie Mellon University’s Scientific Engineering Institute, which unmasked many Tor services that year. After the unmasking, the FBI and other three-letter agencies gained access to a large cache of IP addresses stemming from SR2 participants and other darknet markets. From here, law enforcement discovered White’s role as DPR2 and that Blake Benthall coded the website.

DPR2 did an exclusive interview with Motherboard reporter Jason Cox back when the site was raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars a day. DPR2 recounted the day he decided to launch SR2 and how he was extremely anxious when he published the site on the deep web. “I had the URL ready to launch,” DPR2 explained to Cox. “I think I must have sat there for five minutes staring at the screen. Once you hit that enter button, you’ve just launched something that you know there is going to be an absolutely fucking huge manhunt after you.”

Silk Road 2 Founder Finally Sentenced 5 Years After His Arrest

The Thomas White (DPR2) sentencing also affected the lives of Ross Ulbricht’s family members when they heard the news. With White being sentenced to five years and another SR2 admin Brian Farrell sentenced to eight, the Ulbricht family believes it is unfair that Ross is serving a double life sentence for his role in the original Silk Road. “Please sign Ross’s petition for clemency,” explained Freeross.org on Twitter this week. “This is his sixth year in prison, he deserves a second chance.” The tweet also displayed a picture of Ross sentenced to double life in prison and a picture of Thomas White sentenced to only five years. Moreover, the picture shared on Twitter shows how the SR2 marketplace run by White was filled with child pornography, which was something strictly prohibited on the original Silk Road market. White is required to register as a sex offender for 10 years in addition to his five-year prison sentence.

What do you think about the sentencing of Thomas White a.k.a. DPR2? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


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The post Silk Road 2 Founder Finally Sentenced 5 Years After His Arrest appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Founder of Mt. Gox Creditors Cooperative Resigns, Says Settlement Could Take Years

April 9, 2019 |

Founder of Mt. Gox Creditors Cooperative Resigns, Says Settlement Could Take Years

Four days ago, news.Bitcoin.com reported on the April 3 notice to Mt. Gox creditors from the court’s civil rehabilitation trustee Nobuaki Kobayashi. Now a disclosure stemming from the founder of Mt. Gox Legal explains that the coordinator, Andy Pag, is leaving the ongoing legal battle because he thinks the process could take years to settle the case.

Also read: Uyen T Nguyen: The Powerful Young Woman Behind the Alleged ‘Satoshi Affair’

Mt. Gox Legal’s Coordinator Leaves His Post Blaming the Coinlab Claim and Karpeles Schemes

The coordinator and founder of the largest group of Mt. Gox claimants will be leaving his post at the end of April and has disclosed he is selling his claim according to a document published on April 9. Andy Pag is the founder of Mt. Gox Legal, a cooperative of over 900 claimants with claims totaling more than 125,000 BTC. Pag and the organization represent a sizeable portion of the entire Mt. Gox creditor body who want to get their funds back as soon as possible. However, Pag is not so optimistic and has decided to step down from his post because the payout distribution could drag out to “18-24 months” and he feels it could possibly be much longer. Pag says in his recent letter that he strongly believes that the Coinlab claim for ¥1.7 trillion yen (US$ 16 billion) is the main reason behind his belief things will be stalled but there are others.

Founder of Mt. Gox Creditors Group Resigns, Says Settlement Could Take Years

Pag also noted that “Mark is scheming again” and he “suspects he’ll be the source of more costs and delays.” The Mt. Gox Legal founder is also selling his claim and has found a buyer willing to pay 15% or $ 600 per BTC. He also emphasized that he will leave at the end of April and a new coordinator will have to be elected, but added that Mt. Gox Legal may go into “hibernation for a while.” Pag explained when he was recently traveling to Tokyo he learned two things that made him make his decision and one of them “blindsided” him. One is that there will be no civil rehab until the Coinlab claim is settled and secondly Mark Karpeles allegedly told him he wanted help with bringing Tibanne (the Mt. Gox parent company) out of bankruptcy. According to Pag, Karpeles told him that specific move could help the creditor body battle Coinlab in court and get them to drop the claim.

Founder of Mt. Gox Creditors Group Resigns, Says Settlement Could Take Years

Never-Ending Litigation

Pag doesn’t seem to trust Karpeles’ new plan and called it an elevator full of manure saying that it is “shit on every level.” What really bothers Pag is the “scheming and conniving” is very similar to Karpeles’ prior actions in 2011-2014. “[Karpeles] is straight at it again trying to co-opt co-conspirators to rob Peter to pay Paul,” he claims. Overall, the main issue throughout most of Pag’s disclosure is that Coinlab’s claim is the main impediment to creditors getting a settlement any time soon. Coinlab’s claim has been a very controversial subject since it started and the firm and its founder Peter Vessenes recently upped the stakes filing a claim for $ 16 billion which is over and above every claimant’s filing.

Founder of Mt. Gox Creditors Group Resigns, Says Settlement Could Take Years
Peter Vessenes, CEO of Coinlab.

The reason Coinlab is a creditor is because in 2012, Coinlab made a deal with Tibanne which purportedly gave Coinlab and Vessenes the rights to both U.S. and Canadian Mt. Gox customers. Ultimately, the deal never materialized and both Coinlab and Tibanne sued each other and the disagreement found its way into the bankruptcy proceedings and then the rehabilitation process. A highlighted portion of the most recent ¥1.6 trillion Coinlab filing explains that the CEO is pursuing the funds for the “fiduciary” interest of the remaining Coinlab shareholders.

Pag also said that leaving his post was not a decision he came to lightly and Mt. Gox Legal was a big part of his life. In addition to selling his claim for $ 600 per BTC, the group’s coordinator detailed that the person buying his claim will consider buying other claims as well. Pag added that the individual was only offering the $ 600 per BTC deal for a month-long period and the next best deal is BE Capital purchasing claims at $ 400 per BTC. The Mt. Gox Legal founder further added that he can now concentrate more on other life plans and he “feels really positive about this new future.”

What do you think about the founder of Mt. Gox Legal leaving his post and selling his claim for $ 600 per BTC? What do you think about the opinion that the Coinlab claim will continue holding up the payout process?


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The post Founder of Mt. Gox Creditors Cooperative Resigns, Says Settlement Could Take Years appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Ecuador denies decision made to expel Wikileaks founder

April 5, 2019 |

A senior Ecuadorian official said no decision has been made to expel Julian Assange from the country’s London embassy despite tweets from Wikileaks that sources had told it he could be kicked out within “hours to days.”
FOX News

Bitcointopia Founder Admits Selling Government-Owned Land to Bitcoiners

March 10, 2019 |

‘Bitcointopia’ Founder Admits Selling Government-Owned Land to Bitcoiners

The founder of a scheme called Bitcointopia to sell land in the U.S. state of Nevada to bitcoiners has admitted in a federal court that some land was not his to sell. Previously arrested for selling BTC to an undercover agent through Localbitcoins, he also pleaded guilty to running an unlicensed money transmitting business.

Also read: SEC Chair Explains Key Upgrades Needed for Bitcoin ETF Approval

Bitcointopia Founder Admits Fraud

Morgan Rockcoons, a former Localbitcoins trader who was previously arrested for selling BTC to a U.S. federal agent, has reportedly pleaded guilty to perpetrating a scam selling land that he does not own.

The scheme, known as Bitcointopia, involved the sale of plots of land in the Nevada desert where Rockcoons advertised a vision of libertarians living together using only cryptocurrencies and observing as few laws as possible. The Los Angeles Times reported that Rockcoons pleaded guilty to several charges on Thursday in San Diego federal court, elaborating:

He sold land he never owned to investors.

‘Bitcointopia’ Founder Admits Selling Government-Owned Land to Bitcoiners

Elko, Nevada

Unlicensed Money Transmitter

Rockcoons, aka Morgan Rockwell and Metaballo, also pleaded guilty Thursday to operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, the Los Angeles Times also reported. On Feb. 9 last year, he was arrested for selling over $ 10,000 worth of BTC to an undercover U.S. Homeland Security Investigations agent.

‘Bitcointopia’ Founder Admits Selling Government-Owned Land to Bitcoiners

Under federal law, bitcoin exchanges must be registered as money transmitting businesses with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. They must conduct KYC and “report any transactions over $ 10,000 to the government,” the news outlet emphasized, adding that Rockcoons faces up to 20 years in prison on the wire fraud charge and up to five years on the money transmitting charge.

The Bitcointopia Scheme

While out on bail from his arrest for selling BTC to a federal agent, Rockcoons launched a real estate venture known as Bitcointopia. He advertised parcels of land in Nevada’s Elko County, selling 500- to 1,000-acre plots of undeveloped land for 0.5 BTC per acre. He promised to “build a city of the future around cryptocurrency, automation and technology. He was inspired by Walt Disney’s Tomorrowland,” the Los Angeles Times described.

In a blog post he made last May to promote the scheme, Rockcoons declared that “The long term goal is to establish an organization and government that can reach out from this land all the way to the Kuiper belt & eventually the Oort Cloud.”

‘Bitcointopia’ Founder Admits Selling Government-Owned Land to Bitcoiners

On Nov. 13 last year, he tweeted that he had been arrested again and asked bitcoiners to support him by showing up to his January court hearing.

His Thursday’s plea agreement, which came about a month before his trial was to start, reveals that at least 10 investors bought land from him incurring a loss of at least $ 45,600, the news outlet noted, adding:

Rockcoons owned less than 5 acres on two noncontiguous plots, prosecutors said. Much of the land in the area is actually owned by the federal government.

What do you think of this case? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Elko Convention and Visitors Authority.


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The post Bitcointopia Founder Admits Selling Government-Owned Land to Bitcoiners appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Blackwater Founder Admits to Trump Tower Meeting

March 10, 2019 |

Blackwater founder Erik Prince may have played a role in the Trump presidential campaign after all. Speaking Friday to Al Jazeera, Prince admitted to attending a controversial 2016 Trump Tower meeting to “talk about Iran policy”—a fact he left out when talking to the House Intelligence Committee in 2017,…
Newser

Florida Spa Founder Sells Access to Trump

March 9, 2019 |

The woman behind a now-infamous Florida day spa has been selling something a little more upscale: access to President Trump, Mother Jones reports. Li Yang, who started the spa-and-massage-parlor chain that recently ensnared New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft in a prostitution charge, has an investment business that offers Trump-family…
Newser

Tribeos Ad Platform Will Bring Commerce to Bitcoin Cash, Claims Founder

March 5, 2019 |

A new digital advertising marketplace called Tribeos aims to launch during Q3 of 2019 with ambitious plans to leverage the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) blockchain. This week news.Bitcoin.com spoke with Matt Gallant, chief executive officer of Tribeos, who explained that the platform will provide the BCH chain with a “ton of commerce.”

Also read: An In-Depth Look at Ethereum’s Maker and Dai Stablecoin

Tribeos Aims to Eliminate Ad Fraud and Provide Radical Transparency of Transaction Data Using Bitcoin Cash

Tribeos is a digital advertising provider headquartered in Bermuda that was founded by Matt Gallant in 2017. The project aims to provide a more efficient advertising system that’s competitive with advertising giants like Google Adwords. The company was funded by Bitmain Technologies during the first week of August 2018 when the mining manufacturer made a $ 3 million seed investment in Tribeos. The team has explained they are big fans of the BCH ecosystem and Tribeos will use BCH as an integral part of its infrastructure. News.Bitcoin.com spoke with Tribeos founder Matt Gallant and the startup’s technical advisor Jonald Fyookball, the founder of the Electron Cash wallet.

Tribeos Ad Platform Will Bring Commerce to Bitcoin Cash Claims Founder
Tribeos CEO Matt Gallant.

Gallant explained that the startup is building an advertising network using blockchain to create the transparency that’s desperately needed. “As it stands platforms like Google Adwords, Facebook or other platforms are all black boxes where nobody knows what’s happening,” Gallant told our newsdesk. “As a result, there’s an obscene amount of fraud within the industry and the numbers range from $ 19 billion to $ 100 billion.” Gallant added that Tribeos aims to stop the fraudulent activities tied to the online advertising industry and build a successful advertising network. “So stopping ad fraud is just part of the equation as we also plan to take market share away from the existing monopolies,” Gallant emphasized.

The founder of the digital advertising marketplace added:

As a side effect Bitcoin Cash will reap the benefits from a ton of commerce.

Tribeos Ad Platform Will Bring Commerce to Bitcoin Cash Claims Founder

Distributed Ledger Tech, Adshield and Gold Lantern

Jonald Fyookball, the founder and lead developer of Electron Cash, joined the conversation and explained he was working with the Tribeos engineering team. Basically, all Tribeos payments are performed onchain between advertisers and publishers, Fyookball explained. “Tribeos will take a fee between 10-12 percent which is really competitive compared to Google Adwords and other providers who take 30-50 percent,” the developer detailed.

“It’s going to be completely powered by the Bitcoin Cash chain,” Fyookball said. “We may accept payments in USD or something else but whatever they pay in, Tribeos will still be using BCH behind the scenes — So in certain circumstances, it could be like one of those things where people don’t know BCH is being used.”

Tribeos Ad Platform Will Bring Commerce to Bitcoin Cash Claims Founder

Gallant remarked that Tribeos is going to work everywhere. Unlike basic attention token (BAT) which works with the Brave browser, Tribeos will be able to work with any browser, mobile, and web platform. On the cybersecurity side, Tribeos has developed a suite of software tools like Adshield, which stops bots from clicking ads in order to drain budgets. “We’re also building something called atomic traceability, which basically reveals right down to the movement of the mouse or the movement of the browser and everything that’s happening so that behavior transparency is provided,” Gallant added.

Gold Lantern, another part of the Tribeos software suite, will provide bullet-proof tracking and analytics. Between the combination of those programs and utilizing the BCH protocol’s immutable ledger, the Tribeos software will fundamentally “deliver radical transparency of transaction data that can’t be manipulated.” The founder further stated that he expects the project to launch in Q3 this year and the company is already onboarding advertisers.

Tribeos has also launched a Security Token Offering (STO), which was approved by the Bermuda Minister of Finance under new digital asset laws. The startup detailed that the STO will provide an initial public offering (IPO) type of protection within a cryptographic asset. The STO, called “FIRE,” will be based on the Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP), explained Fyookball during the conversation about Tribeos. “We’re pretty excited about that,” Fyookball remarked. Overall, the Tribeos team has high hopes of tackling some of the biggest issues within the online advertising industry. If it catches on, the Bitcoin Cash network could capture a lot of traction on the web.

What do you think about the Tribeos platform and how it aims to utilize the BCH chain? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, and Tribeos.


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The post Tribeos Ad Platform Will Bring Commerce to Bitcoin Cash, Claims Founder appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Aboveboard Founder Claims ‘Nobody Is Buying’ STOs

February 21, 2019 |

Aboveboard Founder Claims "Nobody is Buying" STOs

Andy Singleton, the founder of securities exchanges Aboveboard, has published an article asserting that the security token offering (STO) market is “lifeless.” While Singleton acknowledges the efficiency savings facilitated by the introduction of distributed ledger technology to the securities industry, he argues that current offerings are plagued by poor liquidity and inadequate disclosure,. resulting in very little demand from investors.

Also Read: Coinbase Wallet App Adds Bitcoin Cash Support

‘Nobody Is Buying’

In an article titled “The real STO market outlook: near death,” Singleton states that despite the “squad of zombie startups” that are “announcing infrastructure and posting deals for sales … nobody is buying.”

Singleton asserts that the security token offerings conducted thus far comprise “bad investments” from the perspective of prospective buyers,” adding that the offerings do not have sufficient liquidity and typically incur significant fees.

Aboveboard Founder Claims 'Nobody Is Buying' STOs

The Aboveboard founder stated: “The non-tokenized private security market absorbs about $ 50B a day in new supply, proving that there is a massive base of buyers for desirable securities.” By contrast, Singleton estimates that less than 1,000 individuals have participated in security token offerings.

Inadequate Liquidity and Disclosure

Singleton states that security token offerings are not designed to trade with significant volume, also asserting that STOs fail to “disclose enough information to allow a buyer to determine a fair price.”

“Funds like Bcap and SpiceVC can only be purchased by US investors under special circumstances,” Singleton continued. “If they accept US accredited investors, they can only have 100 shareholders. They may create PFIC tax liabilities … And, they are tiny issues — under $ 20M in total float. The problem is not just that the market is early and it will grow. These securities are fundamentally not designed in a way that will allow much trading at any point in the future.”

Further, Singleton asserts that many unregulated initial coin offerings (ICOs) have tried to “relabel” their fundraising offers as “equity securities” following increasing action taken against ICOs.

STOs Facilitate ‘Important’ Technological Innovations

Despite his criticisms of current security token offerings, Singleton has stated that STOs facilitate a number of “important” technological innovations pertaining to the securities industry, emphasizing “the fact that you can have real-time royalties and voting” using security tokens.

Aboveboard Founder Claims 'Nobody Is Buying' STOs

Highlighting the need for STOs to add value to the securities sector, Singleton stated: “Putting an existing security into a blockchain wrapper doesn’t add much value to that security. The market will really take off when we see new types of deals and business models that require the flexibility of the tokenized format … Bitcoin is valuable because it did something completely new — it monetized and coordinated the efforts of an open source community.”

Do you think that STOs will supersede ICOs in coming years? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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The post Aboveboard Founder Claims ‘Nobody Is Buying’ STOs appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

$190 million is in limbo as Cryptocurrency exchange founder takes password to the grave

February 5, 2019 |

After the founder of Canada’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, QuadrigaCX, died unexpectedly, about 115,000 clients have been unable to retrieve $ 190 million in funds — because the owner was the only one who knew the password to access holdings, the company said.

Gerald Cotten, 30, died of complications…


L.A. Times – Business