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1Broker to Launch ”Read-Only” Version of Bitcoin Futures After SEC Charges

After the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed charges against Bitcoin futures firm 1Broker last week, the website now has plans to re-launch on a ”read-only” basis.

At the time of the SEC filing charges, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) seized the website, with customers left without access to their funds. A slight relief came Tuesday in the way of 1Broker’s lawyers recommending that the brokerage website can go back online in a read-only format, meaning that customers can view balances and transaction history but cannot pursue any active trades or retrieve funds.

1Broker has been adamant that customers funds remain safe despite the legal action taken against them, saying that its top priority is allowing customers to withdraw from their accounts.

A post on parent company 1Pool’s website outlining the current situation of the company details its priority to protect customers and retrieving their funds: ”The company holds enough funds to cover all withdrawal requests, of course. Before we can take the required steps to do that, we have to seek permission from the authorities.” Balances will have to be paid out via an alternative domain also, its message reads.

CEO of 1Broker Patrick Brunner spoke to CoinDesk on the subject, saying that the company is asking for patience while the process transpires. “Unfortunately, such matters take some time – from our point of view, we are ready to process withdrawals right now,” Brunner told CoinDesk.

The read-only version of the website is expected to go live today on Wednesday.

The charges

The SEC claims that 1Broker violated federal law by allowing US traders to exchange on its platform.

An FBI agent created an account on 1Broker and made a purchase of what they claim are classified as securities, for which the company does not hold the correct licenses from the SEC. The FBI cited an additional grievance in that 1Broker only required an email address and username to open an account – a lack of any know-your-customer compliance.

 

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US Spent Over $5 Million on Blockchain Espionage in 2018

The United States government has spent USD 5.7 million with blockchain analytics firms so far in 2018 and this spending is accelerating, according to a report by digital currency publication Diar. Blockchain analytics firms are paid to conduct blockchain espionage, for criminal prosecution, taxes, and to ensure crypto regulations are being followed.

Bitcoin has a public blockchain ledger, where every transaction and address can be viewed by anyone. Firms like Chainalysis, Elliptic, CipherTrace, Scorechain, Coinfirm, Blockchain Intelligence Group, Bloq, and DMG Blockchain Solutions have developed advanced software which can attach identities to Bitcoin transactions, and transactions for other cryptocurrencies as well. The biggest customers of these firms are banks and financial institutions, who use blockchain analytics to ensure no breach of know your customer (KYC) or anti-money laundering (AML) policies. Collectively, the major blockchain analytics firms listed have received USD 28.8 million of contracts.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the biggest spender relative to other US government agencies at USD 2.19 million. The IRS is in charge of taxes in the United States, and it seems it is using the most advanced blockchain tracing technology people to build cases against crypto users who are not paying taxes. This despite members of the United States congress requesting that the IRS make its crypto tax guidelines clearer, since at this point the crypto tax code issued by the IRS is so unclear, prohibitive, and arduous that most crypto users don’t know how to pay crypto taxes.

The second biggest government spender is Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at USD 1.54 million. This is probably because the ICE seizes drugs and other illegal goods at customs, and sometimes these packages are linked to crypto payments done over the darkweb.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) takes third place in spending with USD 1.14 million, and this is probably related to crypto activity associated with criminal suspects and crime organizations. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), in fifth position with USD 0.22 million, probably uses blockchain analytics firms for the same reasons the FBI does. The FBI and DEA can actually use blockchain analytics data in court for criminal prosecution.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is at sixth place at USD 0.18 million. The SEC is cracking down hard on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and other fraudulent crypto-related securities, so it makes sense they’re spending some money on blockchain analytics. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) spends USD 0.12 million, likely to ensure exchanges are maintaining regulatory compliance, since Bitcoin trading is regulated under commodity laws.

 

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Kiev Wants His Statue, the CIA Is Tight-Lipped. So Who Is Satoshi Nakamoto?

In Ukraine’s Capital, Kiev plans are underway to install a statue of the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto in the same location where a statue of Russian communist revolutionary Lenin, used to stand, writes CNN.

Father of the Russian nation, Lenin, had stood on the spot until it was torn down by Ukrainians during the 2014 Revolution of Dignity when the government of the day was overturned.

The idea of the erection of a statue to honor Bitcoin’s reputed founder was down to a group known dramatically as the Satoshi Nakamoto Republic. The initial idea is to have a virtual monument on the site which can be viewed using tech such as smartphones and tablets, with an app developed by Raccoon World.

The hope is that an actual statue might one day follow, to be located on Lenin’s empty plinth. The same group is raising a petition to present to Kiev municipal authorities, the Kyiv City State Administration, in the hope a real statue can be mounted at the site.

Satoshi Nakamoto Republic, Andriy Moroz, co-founder of the group, suggested that Satoshi Nakamoto symbolizes the future:

“The monument to Lenin was a symbol of last centuries that had already passed, leaving conflicting feelings in the hearts of people. Satoshi and the decentralization of society are a new era and new opportunities,” Moroz, who also serves as the First Ambassador of the Republic, told Radio Free Europe.

The group’s plans don’t end there, with the announcement that they are looking to establish Satoshi Nakamoto City, which will be located on an island, once a suitable location has been found. Once established they plan to start a blockchain “republic” of their own.

It’s been reported that the Nakamoto statue concept is open for all comers, including at present Beijing, Dubai, New York, and Tokyo.

Only Satoshi Nakamoto can reveal his true identity, or so say Ethereum News, or perhaps the CIA may be helpful. This was certainly the view of Daniel Oberhouse, a Motherboard writer, who actually went to those lengths by asking both the FBI and the CIA if they could shed any light on the enigmatic Bitcoin creators whereabouts.

Rebuffed by the FBI, he did, however, have more success -at least receiving a response- with the US’ own enigma, The Central Intelligence Agency. Unfortunately, the agency was less than helpful:

“The request has been rejected, with the agency stating that it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of the requested documents.”

Apparently such a statement, according to an ex CIA operative, actually has a name and is a procedure used when the agency has no desire to look into a query due to security issues. A rejection of a request on security grounds implicitly suggests that the documents the requester are seeking indeed exist, but to confirm their existence would mandate their disclosure.

It’s called the “Glomar Response.” And for now, the search continues.

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FBI Warns of Crypto Exchange Fraudulent Support Staff

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced last week that a “problematic and widespread scam” using fraudulent cryptocurrency exchange support workers was currently active.

In its 28 March notice, the bureau’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) stated that consumers had submitted numerous complaints, claiming losses of USD 11 million connected to tech fraud in 2017. The statement went on to indicate that it was often individual investors who were targetted by the scammers. Individual losses were often in the thousands of dollars.

In a typical scam, the fraudulent support worker asks for access to an individual’s wallet having posted a fake support number online. The scammer then posts the funds to another “temporary” wallet. The virtual currency is never returned to the customer.

Recent moves by some search engines and social network companies including Google to ban cryptocurrency advertising were initiated in part to alleviate similar problems. The FBI warned that scammers will use exhaustive means to locate and target individuals and companies. The IC3 reported receiving an average of 800 complaints a day in the United States on one particular scam site. It also suggested that scams are heavily underreported.

FBI agent Eimiller reported that one scam can represent only 15% of active scams at one given time: “If only one percent of people send money to them, there’s no overhead for them. That is money is in the bank.”.

Some precautionary tips

Be especially wary of offerings where a digital currency is below its market price, double check using reputable sources such as CoinMarketCap.

1. Check URLs and web addresses carefully to avoid being taken to a copy of an otherwise trustworthy site and bookmark these for future use. Look for a small spelling difference which can be a giveaway.

2. Some wallets have been created by scammers. Always use wallets recommended by the developers of a cryptocurrency and downloaded from the official source.

3. In general, don’t send cryptocurrency to random people over the internet unless you are donating or paying for a service which you have checked is reputable.

The FBI’s IC3 site includes a news and press room dropdown where warnings about current scams are listed. This includes a section for internet crime complaints.

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Brian Krebs – Feds Arrest Silk Road Founder, Shutter Website

Brian Krebs – Feds Arrest Silk Road Founder, Shutter Website:

Security expert Brian Krebs (@BrianKrebs) was first with news that the FBI had taken over the Silk Road marketplace website and later that the site’s founder was arrested by U.S. authorities. Excerpts:

“Federal agents in San Francisco arrested the Silk Road’s alleged mastermind. Prosecutors say 29-year-old Ross William Ulbricht, a.k.a “Dread Pirate Roberts” (DPR), will be charged with a range of criminal violations, including conspiracy to commit drug trafficking, money laundering, computer hacking and murder for hire.”

“[The FBI’s big break came] on July 23, 2013, when investigators gained access to a Silk Road server and made a complete copy of the data on the machine.”

“Finally, DPR tripped himself up when he ordered some fake IDs from an international Silk Road vendor and had them sent to his residence. The fraudulent IDs were intercepted at the border by customs agents working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which paid a visit to the address to which the documents were to be delivered.”

“Ulbrich graduated from the University of Texas with a bachelors degree in Physics in 2006, and that from 2006 to 2010, he attended graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania School of Materials Science and Engineering.”

“The government also announced today that pursuant to this action, it has also seized approximately 26,000 Bitcoins worth roughly $3.6 million, in what it’s calling the largest ever seizure of Bitcoins.”

 – http://bit.ly/17tnJgs
 – http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=306331.0 (Further discussion on the topic)

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