Category Archives: politics

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Bitcoin Used by Russia To Hack 2016 US Elections, New Indictment Reveals

A 29-page Indictment has been released recently, stating Bitcoin’s huge role when it came to Russian interference in the 2016  US presidential elections.

The documents accuse 12 Russian agents of hacking into Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s computers and stealing information of over 500,000 voters. Aides close to Hillary Clinton were then tricked into handing over this information by the Russian intelligence officers.

11 of the 12 accused are being charged with breaking into computers and releasing documents with the intent of influencing the last presidential election. The 12th was charged with conspiring to penetrate organizations that directly handled the elections.

“…had multiple units, including Units 26165 and 74455, engage in cyber operations that involve stage releases of document stolen through computer intrusions. These units conducted large-scale cyber operations to interfere with the 2016 US presidential election.”

Bitcoin was mentioned extensively in count 10 (Conspiracy to Launder Money). Money was required for the Russian operatives to acquire infrastructure needed for later actions.

More than $95,000 was laundered through Bitcoin, which was then used to buy servers, register domains, and other online payments. The documents state other currencies like the USD was used as well, but it seems Bitcoin was used primarily due to the enhanced levels of privacy it affords over other payment methods.

Some of the funds were also used to purchase computing hardware to mine Bitcoin, to help supplement their income for hacking activities. Bitcoin mined by the GRU (Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff) were used to purchase the domain through a Romanian company.

Besides the purchase of the domain and hardware to mine Bitcoin, other notable purchases described in the pages was a VPN to log into the @Guccifer_2 Twitter account, a Malaysian server to host the dcleaks domain, as well as the leasing of another server for X-Tunnel malware injected into DCCC and DNC networks.

An additional two servers were also acquired to hack in the DNC’s cloud network.

The effects this will have on a meeting between the two presidents planned for next week are yet to be determined. Trump and Putin are scheduled to meet Monday in Helsinki, and nothing has changed despite the emergence of this indictment.

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Anti-Bitcoin Ads Target Former Obama Advisor

Brian Forde is under attack by his opposition for accepting donations in Bitcoin.

While the Federal Election Commission (FEC) gave Bitcoin donations the greenlight in a ruling back in 2014, this hasn’t stopped Dave Min from using it as the foundation of an anti-ad campaign.

Min is a rival Democrat, also competing for a seat in the House of Representatives in the upcoming 2018 elections.

The ad campaign features a headshot of the Democrat layered on top of a malicious looking background with lines of code and a hacker. The ad claims that Forde’s donors are “Bitcoin speculators that oppose cracking down on drug deals and human trafficking”.

In response, the crypto candidate told Motherboard:

“These comments about my supporters are sensationalist, wildly inaccurate, and in line with my opponent’s lack of understanding of the technology… If they were speculating, they wouldn’t have donated to my campaign in Bitcoin. They didn’t HODL, they donated to my campaign in Bitcoin because they believe in the technology.”

Misunderstanding of the technology, especially in the political sector, is part of the reason why he’s running for office.

Forde continued, discussing that even the United Nations is using Bitcoin to help solve human trafficking in Moldova. One of the poorest countries, in Europe, the UN has put Moldova on their watch list of countries not doing enough to fight human trafficking.

The project being referenced is a blockchain-based system for paperless identification documents. The project would use biometric data and prevent traffickers from smuggling children with fake documents.

“We need more rational scientists and technologists in Congress armed with evidence-based policymaking, not politicians making irrational decisions based on their emotions,” said Forde.

Forde was previously a technology advisor for the Obama administration and before that director of digital currency for MIT Media Lab. Dubbed “The Crypto Candidate”, his received Bitcoin donations make up around a quarter of overall funds raised.


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Alec Ross and Jonathan Luff – Why Bitcoin Is On The Money

Alec Ross and Jonathan Luff – Why Bitcoin Is On The Money:

The Telegraph (UK) published an essay by Alec Ross (@AlecJRoss) and Jonathan Luff (@JILuff) on the geopolitics of Bitcoin.  Excerpts:

“An interesting advert appeared in a handbook accompanying [last week’s G8 meeting], placed by a company that was until recently known only to a small number of technology entrepreneurs and early adopters. The advertiser was Mt Gox.”

“Alternative currencies are, of course, nothing new. Many Londoners carry an Oyster Card, which they load with traditional currency and then exchange for travel.”

“In the developing world, value transfer via SMS is already replacing cash. With virtual currencies like BitCoin now operable without the need for a bank account, why would you open one?”

“The rise of digital currencies like BitCoin threatens to render obsolete even the modest progress made by the G8. BitCoin’s distributed network structure makes it hard for any one country or group of countries to regulate its activities.”

“Unless the issues that BitCoin raises are addressed in a thoughtful and proactive manner by existing authorities, the disintermediating power of technology is likely to have a disruptive impact on currency systems and those that regulate and rely on them.”


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