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The U.S. Government Tried To Shut Down Bitcoin

Bitcoin conspiracy theorists have long suspected the U.S. government, among others, would like to shut down bitcoin.

Bitcoin’s first decade has seen its price explode, making early adopters overnight millionaires, and prompting some of the world’s biggest technology companies to create their own versions of bitcoin.

Now, it’s been revealed federal prosecutor-turned bitcoin and cryptocurrency expert Katie Haun was asked to look into “shutting down” bitcoin by her boss at the U.S. attorney’s office in 2012.

“They said ‘we have this perfect assignment for you’–there’s this thing called bitcoin and we need to investigate it,” Haun told CNBC in a wide-ranging interview, adding a colleague asked her to take down bitcoin.

“That was the first time I’d ever heard of bitcoin.”

Over the next few years Haun would go on to sit on the board of U.S. bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase and teach a class on cryptocurrency at Stanford Law School.

Today In: Money

Any serious attempt made by the U.S. Department of Justice to shut down bitcoin inevitably came to naught, with Haun saying, “it would have been akin to saying ‘let’s go prosecute cash.'”

Haun, who is now the first female general partner at U.S. venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and co-heads its $350 million cryptocurrency fund, has worked closely with social media giant Facebook in development of its troubled libra cryptocurrency project.

U.S. government opposition to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies has become far more transparent since Donald Trump entered the White House.

Earlier this year, U.S. president Trump sent shockwaves throughout the bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry when he tweeted a vicious attack on Facebook’s bitcoin rival plans, branding it and bitcoin “unregulated crypto assets.”

Others in the U.S. government were quick to tow the line, with U.S. Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin adding his voice to the assault on bitcoin, Facebook’s planned Libra crypto project, and other cryptocurrencies, warning they pose a “national security” risk to the country.

Elsewhere, Apple chief executive Tim Cook has warned companies against creating their own cryptocurrencies.

“What we heard with libra were the same criticisms [I’d first heard about bitcoin]” Haun said.

“They were just heightened and they got more attention because of the high-profile nature of the project and the fact that Facebook was involved. I think it would be a really dangerous thing, and frankly a dangerous precedent to start shutting down technology before it’s built.”

Facebook’s libra has been under fire over the last week, with internet payments company PayPal, one of the Libra Association’s founding members, suddenly pulling out of the group on Friday.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and chief executive, had hoped to work with global regulators to clear libra’s path to launch in June 2020 but appears to have underestimated the level of opposition to the scheme.

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I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk I reported on how technology is changing business, political trends, and the latest culture and lifestyle. I have covered the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012 and have charted its emergence as a niche technology into the greatest threat to the established financial system the world has ever seen and the most important new technology since the internet itself. I have worked and written for CityAM, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, amongst others. Follow me on Twitter @billybambrough or email me on billyATbillybambrough.com. Disclosure: I occasionally hold some small amount of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Source: The U.S. Government Tried To Shut Down Bitcoin

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Here’s Where $800 Of Bitcoin Buys You $10,000 Cash

Researchers from cloud security-as-a-service provider Armor’s Threat Resistance Unit (TRU) have been taking a deep dive into a dozen dark markets and forums. Analysis of the data compiled from trawling these English and Russian-speaking criminal marketplaces has been published in the annual Armor Black Market Report. As well as the usual tracking of the prices for stolen credit cards, bank account credentials and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) for-hire operators, there was one surprising new trend: a Bitcoin to cash conversion scheme that offers criminal buyers the opportunity to buy cash for pennies on the dollar. Paying $800 (£647) in Bitcoin gets you $10,000 (£8,095) in cash.

The Black Market Report

The Armor Black Market Report is the result of researchers from the Armor TRU trawling through underground internet markets and criminal forums. These “dark markets” are notorious for selling just about anything that can be stolen online, from personal and financial data to illicit services such as articles of incorporation for creating shell companies, the distribution malicious spam and even hackers for hire who will scrub your credit history.

The TRU research team analyzed and compiled data from twelve dark markets and criminal forums visited between February and June 2019. It came as no surprise to me that they found cybercriminal after cybercriminal selling credentials for as yet “unhacked” Windows remote desktop (RDP) servers. These are often used by ransomware actors looking for an entry point into corporate networks. That these credentials were being sold for as little as $20 (£16) was unexpected though. The cost of entry, quite literally, to the ransomware threat sector has never been cheaper.

Today In: Innovation

Neither, for that matter, has the cost of cold, hard cash. The TRU researchers found that, partly to get noticed in a crowded market and partly to offset the risk of monetizing stolen banking and credit card accounts, entrepreneurial threat actors are selling cash for between 10 and 12 cents on the dollar. This isn’t, as you might have guessed, a case of criminal philanthropy.

Instead, it’s a method for criminals to offload the risk of monetizing stolen account credentials by transferring the funds available rather than taking possession of them. It’s still money laundering, and it’s illegal, but it puts the most significant weight of risk onto the buyer.

Here’s how the buy cash for Bitcoin scheme works

The seller offers bundles of cash in various amounts, from $2,500 (£2,020) to $10,000 (£8,095) in exchange for a pre-paid fee in Bitcoin. That fee varies between 10% and 12%. Which means that $10,000 of cold cash can be bought for $800 in Bitcoin.

The buyer makes the payment and then chooses how they would like to collect the cash. This can be a straightforward transfer of funds to a bank or PayPal account or wired via Western Union. As well as getting a significant return on their illicit investment, the purchaser no longer has to worry about monetizing online bank account or credit card credentials. It’s a turn-key service; there’s no risky logging into compromised accounts, no money mules to worry about, just the (totally illegal) collection of cash.

“For those scammers who don’t possess the technical skills and a robust money mule network to monetize online bank account or credit card credentials, this is an offer that can be very attractive,” Chris Hinkley, head of Armor’s TRU team said, “the threat actors are still selling financial account and credit card credentials outright, but this clever service gives them an additional channel for monetizing the large amounts of financial data available on the underground.”

Money mules served well by dark market documentation

One of the other interesting things to come out of this analysis was the fact that cybercriminals are selling articles of incorporation and sole proprietorship papers on the dark market. Not shocking, but interesting. While the cash for Bitcoin transactions gets rid of the money mule requirement, there are still plenty of people who adopt that role, and these papers are aimed at them. A money mule is someone who transfers stolen money between accounts in exchange for a fee of between 10% and 20% of the value. For a money mule to be successful, they need to open business bank accounts that don’t trigger fraud alerts on larger transfer volumes. To open these accounts, they need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) assigned by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, and that’s where the documentation to create shell companies enters the equation. The documentation does not come cheap, however. Sole proprietorship papers complete with EIN were found on sale for $1,611 (£1,298), and Articles of Incorporation with EIN were $811 (£653).

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I’m a three-decade veteran technology journalist and have been a contributing editor at PC Pro magazine since the first issue in 1994. A three-time winner of the BT Security Journalist of the Year award (2006, 2008, 2010) I was also fortunate enough to be named BT Technology Journalist of the Year in 1996 for a forward-looking feature in PC Pro called ‘Threats to the Internet.’ In 2011 I was honored with the Enigma Award for a lifetime contribution to IT security journalism. Contact me in confidence at davey@happygeek.com if you have a story to reveal or research to share

Source: Here’s Where $800 Of Bitcoin Buys You $10,000 Cash

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Something Very Strange Is Going On With Bitcoin And BTC Google Searches

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency prices are well known to be closely tied to media and general public interest–-though that could be changing.

The bitcoin price has been climbing so far this year, rising some 200% since January, though has recently plateaued at around $10,000 per bitcoin after peaking at more than $12,000 in June.

Now, it appears Google searches for bitcoin and BTC, the name used by traders for the bitcoin digital token, could be being manipulated–-possibly in order to move the bitcoin price.

Source: Something Very Strange Is Going On With Bitcoin And BTC Google Searches

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Blow To Bitcoin As Top Accountants Make Serious Facebook Warning

bitcoin, bitcoin price, Facebook, libra, image

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have been largely ignored by the world’s regulators over the last ten years, with only some small attempts to protect investors from wild bitcoin price swings and dodgy crypto exchanges.

The bitcoin price, up some 200% so far this year, has somewhat recovered after a terrible 2018 largely due to interest in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies from some of the world’s biggest tech companies, including social media giant Facebook which unveiled its planned libra cryptocurrency project last month and is scheduled for release some time in 2020—if the sandal-hit company can convince regulators of its merits.

Now, forensic accountancy firm BTVK has warned the bitcoin and crypto “wild west” could be coming to an end, with global regulators closing in on bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges as a result of the spotlight brought by Facebook’s libra project.

“Laws are in development as we speak,” Alex Hodgson, senior consultant at BTVK, told the Telegraph newspaper following the release of its report into bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. “Facebook has well-publicized issues in the past, and in response to that [regulators] are going above and beyond.”

“If cryptocurrency markets were like the ‘wild west’ in their early years, that period may be coming to a close as lawmakers look to toughen up the way in which markets are policed,” the report authors wrote. “In the meantime, it would be wrong to assume that investigators are powerless in the world of virtual currencies. They have many tools, old and new, at their disposal which mean that cryptocurrency markets should not be seen as a safe hiding place.”

Facebook is still reeling from a data-sharing scandal that saw many of its most senior executives hauled before governments around the world to answer questions on Facebook’s use of data and its work with third parties, such as Cambridge Analytica.

Earlier this month, U.S. president Donald Trump sent the bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry for a loop when he tweeted his opposition to bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and Facebook’s libra, suggesting they are all “unregulated crypto assets” that can “facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity.”

Following his comments, other senior U.S. officials echoed his comments, while U.S. senators called Facebook’s libra plans “unacceptable.”

Elsewhere, former International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde, who is set to replace Mario Draghi as president of the European Central Bank (ECB), earlier this year warned that bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are “shaking the system”—something that could signal a change in the ECB’s approach to bitcoin and crypto.

bitcoin, bitcoin price, Facebook, libra, chart

The bitcoin price has rallied hard this year but global regulators are “closing in.”

In the U.K. bitcoin and cryptocurrencies were placed under the oversight of the country’s banking regulator in January with it expected to issue final guidance sometime over the next couple of months.

Meanwhile, a government panel in India has recommended a ban on all “cryptocurrencies created by non-sovereigns” due to “serious concern [there is a] mushrooming of cryptocurrencies almost invariably issued abroad and numerous people in India investing in these cryptocurrencies.”

The report out of India does support the possibility of a state-issued digital currency in India, however.

Follow me on Twitter.

I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk

Source: Blow To Bitcoin As Top Accountants Make Serious Facebook Warning

You Can Now Buy Crypto With Visa and Mastercard via Binance App for Android – Siamak Masnavi

On Thursday (April 25), Binance announced that its mobile app for Android now lets you buy with Mastercard or Visa some of the most popular cryptocurrencies that are listed on Binance.com.

According to Binance, this support for cryptocurrency purchases via debit/credit cards, which is possible as a result of the partnership with Fintech startup Simplex that was announced on January 31, is available in version 1.5.8.0 or higher of the “Binance – Cryptocurrency Exchange” app for Android.

Since January 31, it is has been possible to buy on the main Binance website (Binance.com) Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCHABC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and XRP using debit/credit cards (Mastercard and Visa). Then, on March 12, it became possible to do the same on Trust Wallet (Binance’s official non-custodial wallet app). And now, the Binance app for Android joins the party by offering the same feature.

Here is what you need to do to buy crypto via debit/credit cards on the Binance app for Android:

  • Tap on the “Credit Card” button, which is the last button on the toolbar you see in the middle of the “Home” screen. This takes you to the “Buy Bitcoin” screen.

Binance App for Android - Screenshot 1 - 25 Apr 2019.jpg

  • On the “Buy Bitcoin” screen, you can choose from a dropdown list the cryptocurrency you want to buy (BTC, XRP, ETH, LTC, or BCHABC), specify the quantity of a particular cryptocurrency that you want to buy, and choose the fiat currency (USD or EUR) you want to pay with.

Binance App for Android - Screenshot 2 - 25 Apr 2019.jpg

  • You will then be shown the total amount (including the fee) that you will get charged if you go ahead with the purchase.

Binance App for Android - Screenshot 3 - 25 Apr 2019.jpg

  • Once you tap on the “Buy Now” button on this screen, you will be shown a “Confirm Your Order” screen.

Binance App for Android - Screenshot 5 - 25 Apr 2019.jpg

  • If you then tap on the “Accept, go to payment” button on the confirmation screen, you will be taken to the checkout screen on Simplex.com, where you will be asked to enter into a form your personal details (email, phone number, date of birth) and your card details.

Binance App for Android - Screenshot 6 - 25 Apr 2019.jpg

Source: CryptoGlobe

Twitter CEO believes internet will have its native currency, possibly Bitcoin

In an interview with Joe Rogan, Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey answers the question on whether or not he will create his own cryptocurrency. He said that he has no plans for that at the moment, however, he expressed his personal view towards cryptocurrency and the internet. Dorsey believes that the internet will have its native currency one day, although he doesn’t know what that would be………

Source: Twitter CEO believes internet will have its native currency, possibly Bitcoin

Crypto Analyst Brian Kelly: ‘No Shot’ for Bitcoin ETF in 2019

Crypto entrepreneur and regular contributor to CNBC, Brian Kelly, claimed that there is no chance for a Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) approval in 2019. Kelly made his remarks in an interview with Cointelegraph at the Crypto Finance Conference, Switzerland, Jan. 18. Discussing the overall state of the cryptocurrency market, Kelly predicted that 2019 will turn out better than 2018. The analyst argued that “we are somewhere close to the end of [the bear market]………

Source: Crypto Analyst Brian Kelly: ‘No Shot’ for Bitcoin ETF in 2019

Bitcoin Price Approaching $4,100, but Don’t Get Excited Yet, Analyst Warns

The new year has kicked off on the right foot for Bitcoin investors. The currency has continued with its rally, gaining $375 since the year turned. In the past 24 hours, the currency has gained 6.5 percent, finally hitting the $4,000 level again. The last time Bitcoin hit this level was December 25, after which it went down all the way to $3,650. The fightback is certainly noteworthy, but according to some analysts, it’s not yet time to pop the champagne.

Source: Bitcoin Price Approaching $4,100, but Don’t Get Excited Yet, Analyst Warns – NullTX

Chinese Analysts Say Bitcoin Bear Market Likely to Continue In 2019

Chinese analysts expect the current bitcoin bear market to continue in 2019, contradicting the bullish projections of crypto bulls like Mike Novogratz, who predicts that the bitcoin price will hit record highs this year. “In 2018, bitcoin became an investment black hole,” according to the state-run Beijing News. “Entering 2019, bitcoin prices are still showing signs of decline, and there is no obvious rebound……

For bitcoin’s trend in the new year, pessimism is more dominant.

Source: Chinese Analysts Say Bitcoin Bear Market Likely to Continue In 2019

Bitcoin Can’t Seem to Stay Above $4,000. Will This Change in 2019? – NullTX

Every time it has been dealt a blow, Bitcoin has bounced back. However, the blows have continuously driven the expectations lower. As the year began, many believed that the currency couldn’t go below $10,000. Then it breached this resistance level and the expectations were forced to be lowered. Then came $8,000 and the narrative was similar. In came $6,500 and even the Bitcoin bull Mike Novogratz said this was the bottom. He was wrong, and the market has since then halved and currently stands at $3,950……

Source: Bitcoin Can’t Seem to Stay Above $4,000. Will This Change in 2019? – NullTX

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