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.
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).
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 email@example.com if you have a story to reveal or research to share
On Paxful you buy bitcoin from other people in real-time. Trading happens online via live chat. Paxful Vendors can earn six figures from the comfort of their home and many do. Once payment is made and verified by the seller, the bitcoin will be released to your wallet. We’ve built a feedback and reputation system on the advice of the very best traders in the space. Use the simplest bitcoin wallet on earth. You can’t make a mistake and know exactly where to go next.
The best way to lose money in the markets is to sell when you are scared and buy/hold when you are happy with your profits.
So it was for me a couple of days ago when bitcoin (BTC) was $9,500. I so wanted to close out 25% of my BTC and leave myself to run the rest, having taken out the cost of my position in cash and thereby run the rest as free carry. You can spin all sorts of narrative why that’s a smart idea or why that’s a dumb one, but the fall was the impetus and the desire to flee a normal human emotion. It is an instinct that traders and especially investors need to control.
Luckily, I’ve been playing the high risk game long enough to wait. When I want to sell an investment solely because it has dumped I wait at least two or three days before making such a move. If and when bitcoin hits $13,500, I will want to load up on more but I will likewise stop myself from buying into bullishness.
So I did nothing with my bitcoin and this happens:
Bitcoin jumped again on Monday
Once again doing nothing is the best move you can make with a good position.
So in my model, this is China and this is down to the trade war.
When bitcoin jumps, something bad has just happened in the U.S./China trade talks. We don’t know what it is, but soon enough we will find out.
Well today we get a Trump tweet and up BTC goes again. Yesterday, what happened? I guess whatever it was that made bitcoin pop, also left the U.S. president even more incandescent than normal.
This is still a theory, but it keeps on playing out. So what to do? In the short term the question is, is the China situation going to continue for long?
Continuation of the trade war means BTC up. The longer the war runs, the higher bitcoin will go.
For me it’s likely that the trade war is going to run and run. Both sides can’t buckle and like most wars, sides are prepared to take big losses, not to lose. This means holding through a rollercoaster ride of developments.
If we are in for a trade war of attrition, bitcoin will be above £20,000 by Christmas or sooner.
What we also have here if this theory is right is a gift to the extra greedy. When bitcoin flies, short the Dow, because when BTC flies, for no apparent reason, it is a high probability that something Dow slapping will come out of the trade war in a day or two’s time. While information may flow more slowly in the U.S., whatever goes wrong will nonetheless hit the U.S. equities market soon enough, but meanwhile the bad news will hit the Asia bitcoin market much sooner, about as long as it takes for the participants to get out of their meetings and past the revolving doors.
BTC down on Monday, should also give Dow up on a Tuesday and vice versa. Bitcoin is the gift that keeps on giving to traders.
Gold and the whole platinum group metals (PGM) will follow but at a much more refined and subdued pace; bitcoin delivering another leading signal to the stacker community or any trader that wants to play the dangerous game of levered commodities.
Signals like this don’t come by very often and can’t last for long, but while the stakes are in trillion dollar scale, quite a few million dollar crumbs are going to be left lying around the table.
I am the CEO of stocks and investment website ADVFN . As well as running Europe and South America’s leading financial market website I am a prolific financial writer. I wrote a stock column for WIRED – which described me as a ‘Market Maven’ – and am a regular columnist for numerous financial publications around the world. I have written for titles including: Working Money, Active Trader, SFO and Technical Analysis of Stocks & Commodities in the US and have written for pretty much every UK national newspaper. In the last few years I have become a financial thriller writer and have just had my first non-fiction title published: 101 ways to pick stock market winners. Find me here on US Amazon. You’ll also see me regularly on CNBC, CNN, SKY, Business News Network and the BBC giving my take on the markets.
Intelligent Investing is a contributor page dedicated to the insights and ideas of Forbes Investor Team. Forbes Investor Team is comprised of thought leaders in the areas of money, investing and markets.
“Unlike the internet, which you couldn’t buy a piece of, you can actually buy a piece of this new internet of money,” Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss told CNN.
“It’s still a retail-driven market, from day one. And a lot of people have done really well. Wall Street has been asleep at the wheel,” the twins warned.
Bitcoin’s epic 2017 bull run, which saw the bitcoin price soar from under $1,000 per bitcoin at the beginning of the year to almost $20,000 in December, was largely thought to be due to Wall Street and institutional investment could be poised to flow into bitcoin and crypto.
“We had to invest because we were afraid of missing out, we couldn’t miss out on this future,” the twins added.
Meanwhile, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss earlier said they are open to partnering with Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on the social media giant’s libra cryptocurrency project after it was revealed they have been in talks about joining the Libra Association.
The newly-created, independent governance consortium for Facebook’s planned token currently counts 28 founding members but is expected to swell to around 100 by the time of libra’s launch next year.
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.
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss talk with Ben Mezrich and Paul Vigna about Cryptocurrency and the Future of Money. Recorded July 9, 2019 at 92nd Street Y. What do bitcoin, ether, zcash, litecoin and other cryptocurrencies tell us about where capitalism is going next? And how did the Winklevoss twins see it coming? Cryptocurrency has emerged in the last decade as a powerful bellwether for what money might look like in the future—and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss are leading the way in how it’s being used. Join them for a fascinating discussion along with author Ben Mezrich (Bitcoin Billionaires) and the Wall Street Journal’s Paul Vigna about the origins of Gemini, their cryptocurrency exchange and custodian, and the future of money. Subscribe for more videos like this: http://bit.ly/1GpwawV Your support helps us keep our content free for all. Donate now: http://www.92y.org/donatenow?utm_sour… Facebook: http://facebook.com/92ndStreetY Instagram: http://Instagram.com/92ndStreetY Twitter: https://twitter.com/92Y Tumblr: http://92y.tumblr.com/ On Demand: http://www.92yondemand.org
Bitcoin, ETH, XRP, and LTC prices, will be on a roller coaster for a long time. Traders and investors will make and lose fortunes in record time, betting on them. In the end, say some analysts, these cryptocurrencies will either die on their own, or be killed by the ‘establishment’ — big governments and big banks around the world that defend sovereign currencies.
Take the case for Bitcoin.
The “people’s currency” holds a great promise: to become the first true global currency, free of the control of central banks that print money and big banks that generate credit. But to do that, Bitcoin must gain the trust of the “general public.“ This means it must be adopted as a medium of exchange, standard of value, and store of value, replacing national currencies.That isn’t easy, given the many obstacles Bitcoin has to overcome. Like lack of awareness, familiarity, and stability, etc. And that makes some experts bearish about the future of Bitcoin.
Bitcoin Price YTD
Lars Seier Christensen, Chairman of Concordium, the next-generation decentralized world computer, is one of them. “In the longer term, I am bearish on bitcoin as I believe it does not have the necessary characteristics of a longer-term valuable asset and, eventually, that reality will catch up” says Christensen.“But in the short term, price movements will likely be random as Bitcoin is affected by low liquidity and unpredictable bigger trades.”
Unpredictability will make it hard for Bitcoin to gain broad adoption as a medium of exchange. And without broad adoption, Bitcoin will remain a play for speculators and true believers, and eventually die on its own.
But even if Bitcoin overcomes all these obstacles and gains broad adoption by the general public, and was in a position to replace national currencies — ie, become the new currency — what would happen then?
Bears argue that the “establishment” cannot afford to let that happen.
For a couple of reasons, including the loss of Seigniorage” — simply put, the profit made by the national governments by printing currency. Then there’s the profit made by banks helping circulate that money and create credit.
The establishment will do whatever it takes to defend these profits from Bitcoin and any other cryptocurrency that seeks to replace it.
Recent Congressional hearings on Libra attests to the determination of the establishment to protect the dollar from competing cryptocurrencies. In a rare display of unity, Democrats and Republicans opposed Libra, and had many unkind words for Bitcoin.
“Cryptocurrencies that are ONLY there as a currency substitute, however, have no real long-term future,” says Christensen.“They will be outlawed by governments wanting to control the money supply and taxation, and in any case, cryptocurrencies have no intrinsic long-term value of significance. Hence, Bitcoin will only survive as a fringe activity.”
Not everyone agrees with this gloomy assessment, however. Dave Hodgson, Director and Co-Founder of NEM Ventures, is one of them.
“In my opinion, Bitcoin will never die nor be killed by the establishment, despite some people’s efforts to the contrary,” says Hodgson. “The recent drop we have seen in Bitcoin is within the boundaries of what our analysts were expecting from technical analysis. However, the timescale has been slightly skewed in light of recent announcements, primarily from US government representatives.”
Corentin Denoeud, CEO and Co-founder of Blockchain Studio, is another .
“The fact that governments around the world are even talking about crypto is a sign of progress for the blockchain industry in general,” says Denoeud. “While countries such as India have called for the outlawing of cryptocurrencies, representatives from Germany’s Central Bank have responded favourably and advanced the view that cryptocurrencies are not a threat to global monetary stability. Even China, who has previously banned ICOs and cryptocurrency trading, has called bitcoin a ‘safe-haven asset’ (via its state-run media agency) and is now reportedly stepping up its own efforts to create its own cryptocurrency, following Facebook’s unveiling of Libra.”
While it’s still unclear which side is right, one thing is clear: Bitcoin (and ETH, XRP, LTC, etc) true believers who think that cryptocurrency will eventually replace national currencies, need a 101 lesson in Money and Banking.
I’m Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics at LIU Post in New York. I also teach at Columbia University. I’ve published several articles in professional journals and magazines, including Barron’s, The New York Times, Japan Times, Newsday, Plain Dealer, Edge Singapore, European Management Review, Management International Review, and Journal of Risk and Insurance. I’ve have also published several books, including Collective Entrepreneurship, The Ten Golden Rules, WOM and Buzz Marketing, Business Strategy in a Semiglobal Economy, China’s Challenge: Imitation or Innovation in International Business, and New Emerging Japanese Economy: Opportunity and Strategy for World Business. I’ve traveled extensively throughout the world giving lectures and seminars for private and government organizations, including Beijing Academy of Social Science, Nagoya University, Tokyo Science University, Keimung University, University of Adelaide, Saint Gallen University, Duisburg University, University of Edinburgh, and Athens University of Economics and Business. Interests: Global markets, business, investment strategy, personal success.
Too easy!. You just have to deposit a quantity of Bitcoins and in 24 hours you will receive double this amount to your bitcoin address. Remember that for each referral we return (instantly) 50% of what they invest. INCOMPARABLE OPPORTUNITY. You just have to place your bitcoin address (which you receive from any bitcoin wallet) and click in invest. Without registration, without ads, fast and simple.
Click on invest now! and without waste of time make a deposit and you should only wait 24 hours to see your earnings. Double your deposit is made in 24 hours and 50% of the investment of your referral instantly. You will get a referral link with which you will generate 50% of the investments of your referrals.
New York is now home to the first crypto task force in the United States. Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York State has signed the Digital Currency Study Bill, which creates a digital currency task force to explore the effects of digital currencies on financial markets in the state. The task force, whose members are appointed by the Governor, Senate and Assembly, will submit reports by December 15, 2020. According to the announcement,
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.
Along with the sliding price of bitcoin – currently in the process of achieving new lows for the year near $5,000 – both the hashpower and mining difficulty on the Bitcoin network seem to have peaked. Both are now falling at rates which have become unusual for Bitcoin in 2018, even as prices have continued to shake out the rest of the market. Looking at bitinfocharts’ yearly hashrate chart tells a story of a broad and powerful uptrend stopped in its tracks………