The Darknet Cat and Mouse Game: Law Enforcement Gains More Traction

The Darknet Cat and Mouse Game: Law Enforcement Gains More Traction

Emerging Markets Since the dawn of the Silk Road and the myriad of darknet markets (DNM) that followed, it’s been a cat and mouse game between law enforcement and DNM vendors and users. Also read: Proof-of-Stake is a Rebranded Version of the Old Financial System Operation Bayonet For a while, after the Silk Road was taken down it seemed like law enforcement officials and many three-letter entities had a hard time keeping up with the myriad of DNMs that popped up afterward. But now authorities are seemingly getting much better, as they are busting vendors and users multiple times a week and claim to use blockchain analysis tools. Further DNM advocates saw the loss of two of the largest darknet markets last year — Hansa and Alphabay. Adding insult to injury, the authorities didn’t just take Hansa down — they took it over for over a long period of time, collecting information on all the vendors and users who visited, many of which flocked to Hansa after the Alphabay’s website went dark. Then, while DNM patrons were scurrying to find new vendors and markets, the firm Reddit shut down the most popular darknet market subreddit giving the ecosystem another low blow. The multinational law enforcement project ‘Operation Bayonet’ started in 2017 and managed to take down the Alphabay, Hansa, and some smaller DNMs. Today, according to the website Deepdotweb (DDW), the top three darknet markets are still fully operational with a 92 percent uptimes or higher. These markets include Dream (98.2%), Wall Street Market (97.7%), and Point (92.9%). However, scrolling through the DDW newsfeed there are also many DNM busts taking place multiple times a week. Law enforcement officials are arresting a ton of high up DNM vendors, while busting much smaller dealers and users as well. Additionally, back in July of 2017 news.Bitcoin.com reported on the Alphabay “public relations guy”, ‘Trappy,’ who warned users of faux Alphabay phishing sites, but did not explain the reason behind the market’s downtime. Ronald Wheeler III of Streamwood, Illinois who was also known as ‘Trappy’ was later busted, and this summer he was sentenced to four years in a federal prison. He also forfeited $27,000 cash, 13.9 BTC worth over $100K at the time. The top DNMs are still operational, most…

Crypto Market Stands Its Ground, Three of the Top 20 Coins by Market Cap See Gains

Crypto Market Stands Its Ground, Three of the Top 20 Coins by Market Cap See Gains

Saturday, September 8: after a recent sell-off, the crypto markets is standing its ground today, with three of top 20 coins by market cap in the green and Bitcoin (BTC) hovering around $6,400 support. Market visualization from Coin360 After facing a sharp decline on the week, Bitcoin is holding its position on the market, down around 0.7 percent over the past 24 hours and trades at around $6,394 at press time. Yesterday, the major cryptocurrency dropped to as low as $6,354. Weekly Bitcoin price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index Ethereum (ETH) keeps trading at around $210, down over 3 percent over the 24 hour period to press time. Weekly Ethereum price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index Total market cap is standing its ground, currently at the $203 billion point having seen some slight fluctuations around the $204 billion point today. Total market cap had an intraday low of $202 billion and high of $205 billion. Weekly total market capitalization chart. Source: CoinMarketCap After seeing a top dominance rate that surged to as high as 55.5 percent on September 6, Bitcoin currently holds 55.1 percent of the crypto markets, the total number of which constitutes 1,926 at press time. Weekly percentage of Total Market Cap (Dominance). Source: CoinMarketCap While the most of cryptocurrencies among top 20 coins by market cap are seeing slight losses, some coins have outperformed, seeing gains of over 5 percent over the past 24 hours. Dash (DASH) is up more than 5 percent over the past 24 hours, trading at around $196 at press time. The altcoin is still down more than 9 percent over the past week, according to CoinMarketCap. Dogecoin (DOGE), which has skyrocketed recently, is also among the leaders in terms of top 20 coins by market cap today. The digital currency is trading at $0.006 at press time, up about 5.5 percent over a 24 hour period, but at the same time almost 9 percent down over the week. In contrast, Stellar (XLM) and Cardano (ADA) are seeing the biggest losses over the top ten crypto by market cap. The sixth top coin, XLM is down around 2 percent over the past 24 hours, trading at around $0.20. Cardano is down around 2.7 percent, trading at…

Crypto is a ‘Poor Form of Money’ for Terrorists, Congressional Hearing Concludes

Crypto is a ‘Poor Form of Money’ for Terrorists, Congressional Hearing Concludes

The U.S. Congress Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance has discussed various methods of terrorism financing with cryptocurrency, according to an official press release on the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee September 7. In order to monitor threats and methods of terrorist financing, the hearing considered major means of transferring funds by terrorists, including traditional financial institutions and semi-formal methods, such as the hawala exchange system, as well as cryptocurrencies. However, while al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and other terrorist groups have all attempted to raise funds through crypto, they have not had great success, as Congress concluded in the meeting. Yaya Fanusie, director of analysis for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance, stressed that most terrorists, especially those that serve on “jihadist battlefields,” are currently living in environments where crypto is not operable, which means that fiat use is preferable for buying goods. Fanusie pinpointed fiat money as the most anonymous method for funding, claiming that it is very popular among terrorists. While Fanusie stated that crypto is a “poor form of money for jihadists” and “cold hard cash is still king,” according to a Forbes article, he still acknowledged that “there are multiple examples of terrorist cryptocurrency funding campaigns.” The expert further stated that in order to combat the potential successful use of crypto fundraising campaigns by terrorists, the U.S. government bodies that are responsible for terrorist finance investigation should become more skilled in analyzing cryptocurrency transactions. Fanusie noted: “By preparing now for terrorists’ increasing usage of cryptocurrencies, the U.S. can limit the ability to turn digital currency markets into a sanctuary for illicit finance.” At this point, Fanusie appeared to recommend that the authorities should focus on minor crypto exchanges that trade alternative tokens or “privacy coins” instead of major exchanges that have significantly boosted their anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) policies over the past few years. Earlier this year, risk management giant LexisNexis partnered with crypto exchange Blockbid in order to introduce security solution for exchanges dubbed “Trade with Confidence,” which intends to prevent terrorism financing, among other illicit activities. In January 2018, Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) of the House Financial Services Committee introduced a bill that aims to fight terrorism by…

Wendy McElroy: Crypto Is a Revolution of Hope – Which Is Why It Succeeds

Wendy McElroy: Crypto Is a Revolution of Hope – Which Is Why It Succeeds

News The Satoshi Revolution: A Revolution of Rising ExpectationsSection 4: State Versus SocietyChapter 10, Part 3Crypto Is a Revolution of Hope, Which Is Why It Succeeds The abolition of the market means not only that the consumers—that is all members of society—are robbed of virtually all choice of consumption and all influence over production; it also means that the information and communication are monopolized by the State, as they too need a vast material base in order to operate. The abolition of the market means, then, that both material and intellectual assets would be totally rationed. To say nothing of the inefficiency of production convincingly demonstrated in the history of communism, this economy requires an omnipotent police state. Briefly: the abolition of the market means a gulag society. –Leszek Kołakowski, The Self-Poisoning of the Open Society That’s what the obliteration of hope looks like: “the abolition of the market” in commerce, art, education, conscience, and all other social expressions. An abundance of hope looks like a market place on a busy weekend, buzzing with activity, colors, ideas, and people arguing about what is fair, what is new, and what is best. The opposite: the imposition of a uniformity that quashes whatever and whomever differs or sparkles. Kolakowski concluded that the “abolition of the market means a gulag society.” Such a gulag society may have wide-screen TV, sporting events, and fast food. Those are trimmings. Its defining core is the rule of, by, and for the elite, with the majority of people living in conformity, fear, or an apathy-induced grayness. Drab buildings, approved art, official slogans, political show events, redistributed wealth, false news, mandatory responses with the punishment of “wrong” ones, bureaucratic paperwork, puffed-up patriotism… A state monopoly is the spiritual death of individualism and of anyone who hopes to advance through merit, character, hard work, originality…or even luck. Grayness. And,then, the unexpected sparkle! It could be an artist, a lone voice, slogans written on walls at night, privately circulated pamphlets, or an esoteric block of code. If the new actor is an idea or an invention whose time has come, then its impact is revolutionary. (Here, an invention can be viewed as an executed idea). With 3D-printers, every individual is able to manufacture whatever fills…

The Daily: Coinbase Explores Crypto ETF, Changelly Verifies Monero Traders

The Daily: Coinbase Explores Crypto ETF, Changelly Verifies Monero Traders

The Daily US exchange Coinbase is reportedly exploring possibilities to create a cryptocurrency ETF and we’ve covered the details in The Daily. Also, Bittrex announces fiat pairs for cardano and zcash, Changelly admits requesting KYC documents from clients trading privacy coins like XMR, and Monero developers find another bug. Also read: EU Urged for Common Crypto Rules, EEU Ready for Common Crypto Coinbase Looking to Create Crypto ETF Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, a leading US trading platform, has been exploring the development of a crypto-related exchange traded product. The San Francisco-headquartered company has held talks with representatives of the assets manager Blackrock, Business Insider reported quoting knowledgeable sources. The Wall Street giant has extensive expertise in launching similar products and has set up a blockchain working group, despite previous statements it’s not interested in crypto. Earlier this year, Coinbase launched an index fund of cryptocurrencies aimed at accredited investors. An exchange traded fund (ETF) tied to cryptocurrency, which is likely to track multiple digital coins, would be targeted at and could facilitate the entrance of more mainstream, retail investors into the crypto market. If the company’s plans are confirmed, the California-based exchange will join a number of businesses from the space trying to launch crypto ETFs. The list already includes Gemini, Bitwise and Vaneck. Regulators have so far rejected a number of proposals. Last month, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued three decisions denying nine Bitcoin ETFs. A day after rejecting the proposed rule changes, however, the Commission initiated a review of all related decisions noting that the rejection orders from August 22 are stayed, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported. Bittrex Announces Fiat Pairs for Cardano and Zcash Another US-based exchange, Bittrex, has recently launched fiat trading pairs with two altcoins, cardano (ADA) and zcash (ZEC). Eligible Bittrex accounts, created before September 4, are enabled for trading, the platform announced on Twitter this week. New users will have to submit a request to add USD trading to their accounts after passing KYC procedures. “Cardano (ADA) and zcash (ZEC) have been added to USD (fiat) markets,” according to the post conveying the information about the launch. The crypto trading platform is compliant with the requirements for carrying out fiat transactions since March. Changelly Confirms KYC for XMR…

What to Expect If Ether Futures Become a Reality?

What to Expect If Ether Futures Become a Reality?

Less than a year after the launch of the first ever futures contracts for Bitcoin, Ethereum could be the second cryptocurrency to be traded on regulated futures exchanges. It’s understood that the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), the same platform that launched Bitcoin futures in December 2017, is waiting for the green light from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to launch Ethereum options by the end of 2018. The CBOE will base its ETH contracts on the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange market — the base it already uses for its Bitcoin futures. With the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) formally declaring that Ethereum was not classed as a security in June, the path ahead was seemingly paved for the prospective launch of ETH futures. At the time, CBOE president Chris Concannon hailed the decision, saying ETH contracts had been a talking point since late 2017: “We are pleased with the SEC’s decision to provide clarity with respect to current Ether transactions. This announcement clears a key stumbling block for Ether futures, the case for which we’ve been considering since we launched the first Bitcoin futures in December 2017.” Just three months later, there are very real grumblings that this could come to fruition, much like the build up to the eventual launch of Bitcoin futures in 2017. The CBOE has indicated to Cointelegraph that it is indeed looking at Ethereum futures, highlighting Concannon’s interview with Quarts in June, where he laid out their thoughts on the cryptocurrency and the possibility of a futures contract: “Ether is one of the more highly liquid cryptocurrencies out there. Along with Bitcoin, the demand is much higher in Ether than any other cryptocurrency on the market. We’ll look at launching futures in the near term, but there’s a process we have to go through before even announcing such a launch. That process is something we’ve talked to the CFTC about at length and certainly want to take steps along that process and make sure everybody is comfortable with the next product we announce.” According to Concannon, there is significant demand and appetite for Ether futures. Having successfully launched Bitcoin futures, the CBOE hopes to use that same product design and structure and apply it to any cryptocurrency…

Thai Government Approves Crypto Exchange, Wants Own Wallet

Thai Government Approves Crypto Exchange, Wants Own Wallet

Regulation The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission has approved another crypto exchange to legally operate in the country. There are now six exchanges that have been granted approval. Meanwhile, the government is considering maintaining its own wallet in order to confiscate cryptocurrencies from illegal sources. Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals Another Crypto Exchange Approved The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Thailand’s main crypto regulator, announced on Thursday, September 6, that another cryptocurrency firm has been approved to legally operate in the country. Southeast Asia Digital Exchange Co. Ltd. (Seadex) has become the sixth legal crypto exchange in Thailand. After reviewing Seadex’s information and concluding that the business existed before May 14 when the regulation took effect, the SEC granted approval to the exchange. The regulator allows crypto firms that were in business before the enforcement of the crypto regulation to continue operating while their applications are being reviewed, providing that they applied for approval before August 14. Last month, the regulator approved seven crypto firms, five of which were crypto exchanges. Thai Government Wants Its Own Crypto Wallet To combat crypto-related crime that is on the rise, the Thai government’s Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) is considering maintaining its own cryptocurrency wallet, the Nation reported this week. Mr. Witthaya Neetitham, Secretary of Amlo, said at a seminar on cryptocurrency crime and the legal system that officials are discussing how to obtain and safeguard a wallet for Amlo “to hold or confiscate digital currency from illegal sources.” The publication explained that there is currently “no law allowing the agency to freeze or seize digital currency, nor anywhere to keep it…As a result, Thai authorities can jail or extradite cybercriminals and confiscate their physical assets – but they cannot touch their digital assets.” Citing that earlier this year the Technology Crime Suppression Division of the Royal Thai Police and their Dutch counterparts arrested a Moldovan suspected of operating a child porn website, Police Captain Ekkanit Natethong revealed: We found bitcoin in his e-wallet, but had to leave it there because we don’t have any regulations [to seize the crypto]. ID Challenges in the Digital Age Seven cryptocurrencies have been legalized in Thailand. Neetitham claims that “Amlo does have measures to combat crimes involving [the]…

The Big Legal Issue Blockchain Developers Rarely Discuss

The Big Legal Issue Blockchain Developers Rarely Discuss

Mark Radcliffe and Victoria Lee are partners at the law firm of DLA Piper.  Software licensed under open source licenses (OSS) is fundamental to the success of blockchain projects. Such licenses permit collaborative, decentralized development, encourage swift adoption by users and enable the community to “fork” the project to resolve strategic disputes. In fact, OSS licenses are used by both of the two major public blockchains, ethereum and bitcoin, as well as many other major blockchain projects, including the HyperLedger programs and R3’s Corda. However, OSS licenses are generally quite different from traditional proprietary software licenses. The importance of selecting the right OSS license and complying with the terms of that license is rarely discussed by the blockchain community. If blockchain projects seek adoption by enterprises, the OSS license for the project will have a material impact on the rate of adoption. Even for established projects like ethereum, potential enterprise users carefully consider the OSS licenses that may be used. For example, Jerry Cuomo of IBM recently noted on Frederick Munawa’s Blockchain Innovation podcast that the complexity of the OSS licenses for ethereum was one of the reasons IBM decided to shift from ethereum to its own blockchain project, which eventually became part of the HyperLedger project. Prospective enterprise users of a blockchain project will decide which blockchain project to adopt by applying the same criteria that they use for adopting other OSS licensed projects: (1) the complexity of the OSS project license or licenses; (2) the potential difficulty of complying with the obligations of such OSS license; and (3) the potential challenges of integrating a blockchain project with other software projects. OSS licenses vary dramatically in their terms. The Open Source Initiative (OSI) has approved 83 licenses as “open source.” However, the full complexity of OSS licensing is suggested by the SPDX project, managed by the Linux Foundation, which has identified 345 “major” licenses; Black Duck Software lists 2,500 versions of OSS type licenses in its Knowledge Base, which covers more than 530 billion lines of OSS code from over 9,000 forges and repositories of open source projects. Black Duck notes that 94 percent of OSS projects are licensed under the top 10 OSS licenses. The two major types of OSS licenses are “copyleft”…

PR: Fabric Token Launches TokenGen 3.0 – The All in One Token Crowdsale Automation Tool

PR: Fabric Token Launches TokenGen 3.0 – The All in One Token Crowdsale Automation Tool

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release. TokenGen is now in a league of its own in terms of token crowdsale automation. The tool’s 3.0 version provides an all-in-one solution for anyone who wants to run and manage a token generation event, but doesn’t have the necessary programming know-how. TokenGen’s main two “competitors” provide the most comprehensive contact form on the market alongside a requestable UI (Rocket courtesy of EtherParty) and an escrow contract (dubbed Tabby Pay and brought to you by BlockCAT). These two projects aspired to achieve what TokenGen has already done, but have failed to deliver on their promise spectacularly. Instead they have accomplished pretty much nothing (in the case of EtherParty) or they’ve tried to sell a simple escrow contract as something innovative. Meanwhile, TokenGen, the first component of the Fabric Token platform, has already surpassed its initial conception as the FT team has been upgrading it constantly since its production release back in May this year. With the latest 3.0 update, TokenGen brings a completely new UI that is much more intuitive and user-friendly than its predecessor, alongside a ton of new features, which will further cement its place as the go-to-app for token crowdsale automation. Here’s a short preview of what TokenGen 3.0 offers: • One-click smart contract deployment to any Ethereum network. Test on Ropsten, raise capital on main net.• Smart contract management interface allowing transparent interaction with deployed smart contracts. Much faster and simpler than MyEtherWallet’s contract interaction feature.• Unlimited builds and deployments allowed for each project.• Simple and intuitive project creation process.• A highly customisable set of features for each project i.e. different projects, different functionality. You will only be charged for the features you actually use. The best part however, is the price. While some companies will expect you to sell your house in order to run your token crowdsale, a TokenGen project with all features will set you back a mere 4.7k Fabric Tokens (FT), which, at the time of writing, amount to $100. Close to…

This Tech Lets You Send Any Cryptocurrency to the Lightning Network

This Tech Lets You Send Any Cryptocurrency to the Lightning Network

Did you know? Lightning addresses and bitcoin addresses are not compatible. What that means is that a user can’t send money from their lightning address directly to a recipient bitcoin address, or vice versa, without going through an additional step to transferring their lightning funds into a bitcoin account of their own. Seems counterintuitive, especially since the layer-two technology for transacting off-chain, is touted as a way to revolutionize the protocol to scale – more users and more transactions. And yet, there’s this incompatibility between new off-chain lightning transactions and old-school on-chain bitcoin ones. One developer, though, has been working on a possible solution, and it was inspired by an interoperability technology that’s been slowly gaining steam – atomic swaps. Lightning Labs developer Alex Bosworth was looking into atomic swaps, a technology that allows the native cryptocurrency of one blockchain to be traded with another with no middleman when it hit him that it could be used to swap lightning for old-style on-chain bitcoins. Called “submarine swaps,” that technology is now being tested on the live lightning network. Although, trying it out might actually be dangerous. Much like even transacting on the still-nascent lightning network, Bosworth admitted when he announced the project’s mainnet launch that using submarine swaps at this stage is a risky venture. “There’s still lots to build, but it’s more fun to try on mainnet,” he tweeted, using the “reckless” hashtag, what’s become a rallying cry for developers utilizing the experimental technology with real money. For his work, Bosworth has set up a connection between the bitcoin blockchain and the lightning network with the technology. Currently, the tech only supports funds being sent from a blockchain to the lightning network, and not yet the other way around. But swapping lightning network payments for on-chain coins should be possible one day as well. And, far beyond that, Bosworth envisions a future when every bitcoin or cryptocurrency wallet someday supports the technology, and as such, it would be just as easy to send litecoin, dogecoin or any coin to a lightning address. An ethereum test Meanwhile, this multi-coin world Bosworth is itching for is already being tested. Jason Wong, an aviation software developer also interested in cryptocurrency, started playing with submarine swaps not long ago,…