The Truth About Laundering Bitcoin

It’s The Same As Laundering Fiat, Just Smaller.

CCN.com reported that CipherTrace released their Q2 2018 report that noted the rise of cryptocurrency crime, money laundering and other illicit activities. One particular glaring item was a $1.2 billion figure, that had been laundered through cryptocurrency tools such as Bitcoin Tumblers and privacy coins like Zcash and Monero.

Now this isn’t really news. We already know about Drug trafficking busts, weapons and human trafficking busts, which the different levels of the US government have made on the dark web. But what this is suggesting is that not only is crime up using Bitcoin, but ransom is also up. And it’s implying that it’s only happening to Cryptocurrencies and not really happening to such an extent to Fiat- which is incorrect.

The Problem
The problem I have with CipherTrace’s reports and other reports of such nature, is the idea that only cryptocurrency is used to do crimes. Now the report isn’t suggesting that, but it’s implying it. Fiat money has been doing daily orders of crimes for decades. Just recently a large scale report in British Columbia revealed that the Liberal government looked the other way while criminals used casino’s to launder millions of dollars- literally duffel bags of $5, $10 and $20 bills, and the casino staff were told to turn the camera’s away. The government let this slide, even the RCMP, because it created a booming economy in B.C. The results cost lives and livelihoods:

“At an event Wednesday to release the report, Eby said money laundering in casinos was linked to the opioid crisis that has claimed thousands of lives and to escalating housing prices that have made life unaffordable for British Columbians.”

Which is serious considering houses that should actually be worth $500,000 are now worth over $1million in a mere 6 years.

Fiat’s Way Worse
Fiats been used to launder money, crimes, wars, arms deals, genocides, human and sex trafficking of children and much more for decades. Anyone willing to stop investing in real estate because of the money it’s laundered? Anyone willing to stop using a bank because of their very real crimes of over charging people on transactions and NSF’s? Anyone willing to stop paying their government taxes because of their illegal invasions and human rights violations?

NO? Well stop complaining about crimes with cryptocurrency. Its not good and slowly a system will be created to hopefully limit such crimes. At least cryptocurrency will grow and smooth this out, Fiat money has had decades to fix their crime issues, and now it’s 2018 and nothings been solved.

Just because cryptocurrency is being used by ‘some’ to do terrible things doesn’t mean we all are- the majority aren’t. The ugly truth is that crime happens, and we can’t really stop it, whether it’s with cryptocurrency or not. Some will argue and say ‘well it’s easier now with privacy coins’ and they aren’t wrong, but these ‘privacy coins’ can be watched for the most to see where it’s going. Eventually they’re going to need to collect the value of those coins, and undercover government Exchanges on the dark web will nab them, and then collect those coins for their government wallet (valued over $40 million). Read my “Dark Web Bust” post for more details.

Then there will be those who say ‘well you can’t compare fiat and cyrptocurrency as a proper excuse’. Yeah actually we can. Because most people who do cryptocurrency aren’t criminals. The biggest criminal we have in the crypto scene is probably George Soros who was responsible for the Asian Financial Crisis- he was never held responsible, never faced any criminal charges or jailed. He continued on, making his millions. He suspiciously entered the crypto world just after Dec 2017 highs….not sure if there’s a link, buuuut that is for sure a link….

Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Have Value
If old socks become a hot valued commodity, guess what, they’re going to use it for crimes. Criminals only use things that have value, well cryptocurrency has value, just like fiat and that’s why it’s being used.  Love it or hate it, cryptocurrency is not going to die. You can argue that Tokens and ICO’s will (if they haven’t already) die, but the major players like Bitcoin, Monero, Dash, Dogecoin (yes even Dogecoin) Litecoin and even the expensive gas induced Ethereum, will last.

Bitcoin isn’t all just crimes. Just like Fiat money isn’t all just crimes. Keep that in mind when you’re thinking FUD thoughts.

Cheers,
A.Yasir

BITCOIN’S VALUE WAS FRAUD?

 The Coordinated Manipulation
According to research done by Professor John Griffin of Texas Finance, last years epic rise for Bitcoin was actually done by coordinated market manipulation.

Professor Griffin goes on to explain that he examined millions of transactions on cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, and says that “the US dollar pegged cryptocurrency Tether was used to buy Bitcoin at the times that the latter was falling- which helped ‘stabilize and manipulate’ the price”

First I’ll explain what Griffin’s said, and then I’ll explain why he’s wrong about Bitcoin but right about Tether. And it boils down to his understanding of how Exchanges work and how Bitcoin works.

Griffin said “Fraud and manipulation often leave footprints in the data and it’s nice to have the blockchain to track things,” Griffin told CNBC. Whenever bitcoin fell, Tether was used to buy it to prop up the price again.

“It was creating price support for bitcoin and, over the period that we examined, had huge price effects. Our research would indicate that there are sophisticated people harnessing investor interest for their benefit.”

Bitcoin started 2017 at below $1,000 and by Dec 2017 hit 20,000. But as if February to June 2018 it’s been jumping back and fourth from it’s lowest at $6k to the highest $10k (which didn’t even last)  Tether is the 11th largest cryptocurrency and is pegged to the US dollar. Some critics say Tether owners don’t have enough fiat currency to back its $2.5 billion market capitalization.

Bitfinex CEO J.L. van der Velde told CNBC that neither the exchange nor tether helped to boost bitcoin prices. “Bitfinex nor tether is, or has ever, engaged in any sort of market or price manipulation. Tether issuances cannot be used to prop up the price of bitcoin or any other coin/token on Bitfinex,”

Now here’s what I think:

I’ve personally used Tether but I do worry about it. A lot of people have accused Tether of fraud, and Tether certainly hasn’t proven the naysayers.  Do they have the 2.5 billion USD and how are they raising funds?  Essentially as far as I can see, Tether is a non-backed, way of essentially printing virtual USD.  I think Griffin is way off on this one.  USDT (Tether) is a convenient trading pair that can be used with some of the top cryptocurrencies to trade and exchange directly for other coins.

The issue is that a lot of people don’t realize most tokens and currencies are not directly convertible or tradeable for others on exchanges.  Generally you’ll have to sell your ABC alt-coin or tokens for Bitcoin, or USDT and then use the major currency you sold or exchanged to buy say another coin such as Ripple, Litecoin, Lisk etc..  So this is where USDT comes in, if Griffin thinks it propped up Bitcoin I think he is misunderstanding how the exchanges work.  Yes a lot of people are using USDT to buy other currencies but is USDT a market factor?  No, I don’t think so, it’s just simply convenient and I agree with Bitfinex that it doesn’t appear they are using it to prop up Bitcoin.

However, USDT could not be used in such a way if it wasn’t given prominence and primary trading pairs like Bitfinex and other major exchanges have used.  Could some of the exchanges be in cahoots with currencies like USDT and others?  Absolutely, and this is the more likely scenario of market manipulation in the sense that they essentially largely control which currencies fail and flourish.

Any coin that is used as a primary trading pair or in other words directly convertible has more value and will intrinsically be used more as a vehicle to buy coins like Bitcoin.

I think Griffin just raises the simple question about USDT being a fraud and this is the biggest concern but I highly doubt USDT’s existence or trading patterns are responsible for Bitcoin fluctuations directly.  He may derive this from trading patterns but I really just think USDT is a convenient and easy to understand intermediary trading pair vs how you wrap your mind around how many BTC another coin like Ripple, Ethereum or Litcoin is worth etc…

What do you think?

Cheers!
-A. Yasir

Psychopath CEO’s

The Jobs Psychopaths Are In the Most

A person with a Psychopathic personality is defined as having an inflated, narcissistic sense of themselves and are very good at manipulating people. And with the world naturally turning more and more narcissistic with social media and the images of ‘your best self’ (or rather your fake self), it’s getting to be a pretty psychopathic world.

We once considered Ted Bundy and psychopath murderers and honestly world leaders as general well known psychopathy. But as it turns out, the world is filled with psychopaths, and you might just be working next to one. And most surprisingly, is that CEO was ranked #1 for the most psychopaths…I’m a CEO and I’m both worried and fascinated…

So why are there so many psychopathic CEO’s? Well psychopaths tend to go for jobs or careers that put them in leadership positions because they have charisma, are good at making on the spot decisions and are fearless.  They have a goal and they can make it happen and will stop at nothing (including stomping out others) to get what they want.

Kevin Dutton, a British psychologist and writer, specialises in the study of psychopathy, made a list of the types of jobs that attract the MOST PSYCHOPATHS.  In his book “The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success.”

“Functional psychopaths,” as Dutton calls them, “use their detached, unflinching, and charismatic personalities to succeed in mainstream society.”  Basically, psychopaths are normal people but have a few traits that make them ‘different’.

10. Civil Servant:
Fun fact, in 2014, UK Government officials considered recruiting psychopaths specifically “to keep order,” because they are “very good in crises” and have “no feelings for others, nor moral code, and tend to be very intelligent and logical.”  Ouch.

9. Chef:
Should they really be in charge of our food and knives? But apparently the 9th most popular job for psychopaths is being a chef. According to Dutton, they thrive in chaos. And the chaos of the kitchen is right up their alley.

8. Clergy Person:
This may come as a surprise because we don’t normally associate such a personality type with this job. But according to FBI veteran Joe Navarro, ‘religious organisations may provide a means for people to exploit others, while also giving legitimacy to their actions.’ It’s also very easy to make alliances.

7. Police Officer:
If you thought clergy person was insane, police officer isn’t too far off.  Keeping calm during a stressful situation comes with the job as police offer. And in this dangerous and high intensity job, being able to control your emotions and think before you act comes as a huge benefit.

6. Journalist – it all makes sense now.
If you thought Elon Musk was right to call out mainstream media who then got a lashing out from media personalities, and thought to yourself, wow these media people aren’t professional at all- then you were right. They’re not professional because they are literal psychopaths. Journalism is yet another popular job for a psychopath.

5. Surgeon:
If you’re in need of a surgery, well don’t worry you’re in good hands.  It’s not what you think, again psychopaths are people who do well in keeping calm during stressful situations and can make quick difficult situations, which they have to make everyday. In this respect, be glad you’re in the caring hands of a psychopath. :)

4. Salesperson
Are you a shameless self promoter, who has no qualms of stealing other peoples work or contracts, have a intense desire to earn the most money and can’t be over shot by anyone? Are you in sales? You should be.

3. Media Person in TV or Audio
Narcissism can be a trait of a psychopath, which you can say is an important part of being a public figure. Being a TV anchor or a radio personality is the 5th job with the most psychopaths.

2. Lawyer
Somehow this doesn’t come as a surprise. You’re going to have to be a very motivated person who can manipulate the ‘truth’ and ‘facts’ to fit the narrative you need. Self confidence and deceitful charm can help create a good lawyer.

And lastly,

1. CEO
Yes, that’s right, CEO’s are the #1 job for psychopaths. I never really viewed myself as a psychopath but here’s some of the traits:
Cool headed during stressful situations.
Able to make decisions quickly during intense situations.
Being able to overcome emotions.
Able to remove emotions during situations and focus on the issue at hand.
Able to maneuver using charm and manipulation.
You get gist. But on top of this, is resilience to chaos.
Resilience to chaos is something we CEO’s have.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re cool headed under stress, it can mean that you cause a lot of crazy for others too because it makes you feel good when everybody around you is struggling…OUCH that hurts my heart.
But some CEO’s use this method to climb that ladder all the way to the very top.  Now this isn’t indicative of all CEO’s, since self confidence, resilience and determined for a end goal is also high drivers of a CEO, but these are eye openers of how others might view their leader.

What do you think? Did your job make the cut? Did you find out a little about yourself? Or do you disagree with the findings?

Cheers!
– A. Yasir