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Drug Dealer Ordered By Court To Surrender His Bitcoin

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Drug Dealer Ordered By Court To Surrender His Bitcoin
Drug Dealer Ordered By Court To Surrender His Bitcoin

A United States court has ordered Christopher Bania, who recently pleaded guilty to drug distribution, to give up almost 17 Bitcoin (BTC) — worth roughly $150,000 at press time.

Per the Oct. 19 order from a court in Wisconsin, Bania will need to forfeit “Approximately 16.91880054 Bitcoin seized from Bania’s ‘Local Bitcoins’ account.” Though worth roughly $153,100 as of publication, it is much less than the 124 BTC that the court is returning to the defendant, alongside various other cryptocurrencies and over $50,000 in cash seized from his residence upon arrest.

Image result for bitcoin illegal

Though originally charged with money laundering, importation of controlled substances and maintaining a drug property, Bania’s plea on Sept. 6 was to the single charge of possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail. Bania’s plea admits to selling marijuana, cocaine, MDMA, and LSD on the dark web. However, he denies distributing the methamphetamines, heroin and cocaine base that authorities also found at his home. 

U.S. border patrol originally launched the investigation into Bania’s dealings after intercepting two packages from Belgium containing MDMA. Investigators were able to trace Bania’s use of dark web distribution networks thanks to his transaction notebooks, which the court filings describe as “meticulous.” Sentencing is currently scheduled for Dec. 9.

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Crypto Expert Says There Is 60 Percent Chance of Bitcoin Miner Capitulation

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Crypto Expert Says There Is 60 Percent Chance of Bitcoin Miner Capitulation

Cryptocurrency analyst Charles Edwards has estimated that there is a 60 percent chance that another miner capitulation, the dramatic drop of Bitcoin’s hash rate, will take place soon. Miners have to decide whether they want to call it quits or run their operations at a loss in order not to miss out on a potential bull run.

In his Medium article, Edwards opined that there was an intrinsic link between hash rate and price. The new price bottom tends to coincide with miners leaving the Bitcoin network en masse. Hence, buying new coins when the hash rate reaches a local low could be an excellent opportunity to generate big returns (as the table below shows).

Potential returns

Hash rate is not as volatile as price. The biggest drop that has been recorded since 2010 is only 53 percent (a world of difference compared to Bitcoin’s record-holding 93 percent drop).

Bitcoin’s mining difficulty, which gauges the amount of computational power that is required for solving one BTC block, declined by seven percent on Nov. 7. However, Dutch permabull “Plan B” predicted that the next adjustment would be positive for Bitcoin based on its growing hash rate.

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Bitcoin ATMs Top 6,000 Worldwide

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Bitcoin ATMs Top 6,000 Worldwide

There are now more than 6,000 bitcoin and crypto ATMs available to users worldwide.

According to data compiled by CoinATMRadar, there have been 6,003 crypto-based ATMs installed worldwide as of Nov. 17.

The United States continues to lead the rest of the world in bitcoin ATMs, with more than 3,900 machines installed. Canada has the second most 653, followed by the United Kingdom with 272 crypto ATM installations.

As previously reported, bitcoin ATMs have experienced a resurgence in growth throughout 2019, alongside the rising price of crypto-assets. In September, the total number of crypto ATMs worldwide topped 5,500, marking a 500 percent increase in installations since 2016.

Compared to traditional exchanges, ATMs charge higher fees on transactions that can reach as much as 15%. However, they also provide a convenient, physical kiosk for the transfer of bitcoin to fiat, and vice-versa, in addition to buying and selling crypto-assets.

Many members of the crypto community have looked at the rise in ATMs as a positive indicator of growing demand.

 

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Russian Intelligence Agency FSB Linked to $450 Million in Missing Bitcoin

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Russian Intelligence Agency FSB Linked to $450 Million in Missing Bitcoin

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has been linked to the disappearance of $450 million in bitcoin from the controversial crypto exchange World Exchange Services (WEX).

Controversial Exchange WEX/BTC-e

In late 2018, Russian-based crypto exchange WEX collapsed amidst accusations of money-laundering the disappearance of hundreds of millions of dollars in bitcoin and other crypto assets. According to a BBC report published Nov. 15, the Russian FSB intelligence agency may have played a role in misappropriating the lost funds.

WEX was previously known as BTC-e before being shut down in 2017 by international authorities for its alleged involvement in money-laundering activities. Alexander Vinnik, the exchange’s alleged operator, was arrested at the time and accused of laundering more than $4 billion in cryptocurrency since the exchange’s launch in 2011.

A PwC report earlier in the year said,

WEX is most notably known for its alleged involvement in the laundering of some $4 billion, transferring of funds to facilitate operations of the threat actor tracked by PwC as Blue Athena, and being responsible for cashing out 95% of all ransomware payments made since 2014.

FSB Crypto Fund

According to the BBC report, WEX/BTC-e co-founder Alexey Bilyuchenko says he was forced to hand over information about customer’s digital wallets to members of the FSB in 2018, which the intelligence agency allegedly used to obtain more than $450 million in user funds.

The BBC claims to have obtained audio recordings from individuals discussing the importance of bringing WEX under FSB control, including one man the BBC identifies as Konstantin Malofeev, a pro-Kremlin Russian billionaire currently under U.S. sanctions.

Bilyuchenko reportedly received multiple calls threatening to close the WEX exchange if he did not comply. According to the report, the WEX co-founder was taken to FSB offices in Moscow over the course of three days in April 2018, where he handed over flash drives containing details on accessing exchange user funds.

Bilyuchenko says he was told that WEX client money would be transferred to the “FSB Russia Fund.” Several months after handing over the data, WEX froze customer funds and withdrawals, before completely shutting down in late 2018.

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