The Dark Web Bust

2000 Bitcoins, Hard Cash & Gold Bars

I think we can lay rest the claim that Bitcoin is used for crimes only, considering cash and gold bars (fiat system) seems to be thriving in the latest Dark Web crimes bust.

The US Department of Justice, together with multiple government agencies such as the Homeland Security, The Secret Service, Postal Inspection Service, and the DEA have busted over 35 dark web drugs and arms dealers across the nation.

To be clear, these are the drugs and arms the government didn’t deal themselves, but notorious crime syndicates on the Dark Web (which is why this is a bust and not a government investigation into their own operations).

The different agencies confiscated military grade weapons, drugs and drugs manufacturing equipment.  On top of this they also seized over $30 million dollars in cash, gold bars and around 2000 Bitcoins (which alone totals to over $12 million)

The Department of Justice said in their press release that it was “a year long coordinated national operation that used the first nationwide undercover action to target vendors of illicit goods on the Darknet”.

Agents from the HSI acted as money launderers on the dark web marketplace such as the Silkroad, AlphaBay, Hansa and others, exchanging cryptocurrencies for cash.

Yes you read that right, the government itself used cryptocurrencies in crimes in order to lure in criminals. With this tactic the different levels of federal agencies were able to root out the network of black market dealers.

“Through this operation, HSI New York was able to identify numerous vendors of illicit goods, leading to the opening of more than 90 active cases around the country. The Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS) of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, working with more than 40 U.S. Attorney’s Offices throughout the country, coordinated the nationwide investigation of over 65 targets, that lead to the arrest and impending prosecution of more than 35 Darknet vendors,” the press release states.

Nearly all the charged individuals used bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies to some degree in their operations. In one case, the federal officials are seeking the forfeiture of an additional 4,000 bitcoin that they suspect to be tied to online drug sales. If seized, the supplementary stash will put the government’s cryptocurrency requisitions to just over $40 million.

“The Darknet is ever-changing and increasingly more intricate, making locating and targeting those selling illicit items on this platform more complicated. But in this case, HSI special agents were able to walk amongst those in the cyber underworld to find those vendors who sell highly addictive drugs for a profit, HSI Acting Executive Associate Director Derek Benner states in the official press release. “The veil has been lifted. HSI has infiltrated the Darknet, and together with its law enforcement partners nationwide, it has proven, once again, that every criminal is within arm’s reach of the law.”

This investigations findings came after Congress’ own efforts to police crimes online trafficking and the use of cryptocurrencies. The findings went public just a day after the House of Representatives passed the “Fight Illicit Networks & Detect (FIND) Trafficking Act of 2018 (H.R.6069). It’s a bipartisan bill : “to study how virtual currencies and online marketplaces are used to facilitate sex or drug trafficking and propose regulatory and legislative actions to put an end to these illicit activities.”

Rep. Juan Vargas who proposed the bill, expressed in a press release that the House’s approval is “an important first step in helping Congress understand the full extent of how virtual currencies are being used to facilitate drug and sex trafficking and will help us propose effective legislative solutions to fight these crimes.” As the bill moves up to Congress’ upper house, he “[hopes] to see the same level of support for this legislation in the Senate.”

In a 2017 National Drug Assessment, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration found that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Dash, ZCash and Monero —(with Dash, Zcash & Monero being relatively anonymous) — have become increasingly popular payment options for dark web trade. Along with fueling the human trafficking market, they are also funding marketplaces that are contributing to America’s growing opioid crisis, the administration claims.

This though implies that fiat and other methods such as wiring funds wasn’t also prominently used in human trafficking, drug trafficking and other crimes on the Dark Web. Cryptocurrencies aren’t new just this year, and have existed since 2009, Bitcoin being the most prominent. But of course the Deep Web existed before 2009, and was active and full of crimes and trafficking prior to Cryptocurrencies birth.

This investigation also implies that governments like the US don’t sell weapons to Dictators and genociders ,which we have seen a track record of throughout history. So the governments readiness to blame cryptocurrencies solely for crimes on the Dark Web is biased set to fit a narrative that ‘only the government can commit illicit crimes’.

The growing American opioid crisis also comes after the US illegal invasion and occupation of Afghanistan (which they remain in to this day).

What do you think? Yes cryptocurrencies are being used to commit crimes, but Fiat and gold bars also have track records of being used to commit crimes, both on the Dark Web and on the government level. Should we not then first deal with Fiat’s crisis with money laundering and crimes deals?

Cheers,
A.Yasir

John McAfee’s Not Dead

He’s Alive & McAfee’ing It

The crypto internet was a buzz these last few days after Cyber Security & crypto-expert John McAfee posted a picture of him at the hospital, after what he says was an attempted poisoning to end his life. He went on to say:

“My enemies managed to spike something that I ingested,”
“However, I am more difficult to kill than anyone can possibly imagine. I am back.”

johnmcafeescreenshot2

He’s been tweeting from the hospital, to let his fans and supporters know he’s alright and in stable condition in typical John McAfee style- strong, ‘no shit’ and in your face.

He bashed on panic sellers and continues to promote Docademic and even sent out a mini witch hunt for this guy.

johnmcafeescreenshot1

In all, John McAfee is in good spirits, back in the comfort of his home, and keeping it real for the cryptocurrency community. It’s left to see if this ‘assassination’ attempt pans out with any evidence given to the general public. But if this was indeed an assassination attempt, the implications are horrendous. It gives weight to McAfee’s position in cryptocurrency and his declaration for 2020 presidential candidate.

For now, I’m wishing Mr. McAfee a full recovery.

Cheers,
A.Yasir

16 Things To Improve Your Life

For Business, for work, for life.

There are many books out there that you  can buy and read.  They go on for 200 pages of what you need to do to become successful. I’ve read a few, and watched a few life coaches speak and yes they are very motivating. But it’s much harder to actually put their advice into play. Motivational gems like keep hustling and work hard are repeated and blared over and over again.

I found that life offers sometimes the best motivational gems, lessons learned through failing, or falling. You have to go through hard times- that’s just a given. You can’t complain when things fall to shit, that’s just the reality of life. But how you deal with it? What steps you take to prevent or deal with it, is how you know if you will become successful.

For business, for home, for work or just life in general,  you’ve got to sit down and think of which of the the many books out there you are going to follow.  There are so many methods. But through my own personal experiences, I think it boils down to a few key factors- the things you can control.  But the most important part is that you can’t just do it for a week, no you have to commit for 3 months- yes it takes 3 months to set a proper habit.

I offer you my 16 points of how to become a more successful person. Whether it’s for business goals, to work life to family. These 16 things can really change your life.

So here it goes. It’s quick and simple without a lot of fuss. I will make individual posts for each point, giving more examples of experiences from successful people to my own later on. But I wanted to make this clean and simple so you can start today.

I make no promises other than these worked for me and it can too for you. If it doesn’t make you millions of dollars or turn you into Brad Pitt, well maybe you did something wrong LOL

Kidding, but seriously, at the very least, you’ll have changed your life a bit for the better, become a bit more grounded and able to reach for those stars.

1) Multi- Tasking While Multi-Project’ing.
This happened to me, a lot. Tons of ideas and projects that I think can be successful but not enough time. I was doing bits and pieces of different projects, all the while supporting my company, staff and my family life. It was a mess and my brain was constantly in anxiety and a constant mess. Scheduling and micro-managing myself, writing down day after day in my daily planner. I was doing an Elon Musk, 10 mins for each thing….but nothing was getting done.
So I stopped multi-tasking while doing mult-projects. One project per day. I scheduled my 10-12 hour day into 2 hour project times, with 10 mins every hour to check with emails and staff.

So my schedule looked like this:
Monday

Keep your schedule clean and simple so it doesn’t overwhelm you. Anyone in IT knows, you can’t just work on something like coding or programing for 10 or 20min intervals, you have to dedicate strict time to it. And that’s what I did.

2. Spend Your Time Like You Appreciate it.
One of the concepts I saw written in book after book, barked on from ‘life specialist to life specialist’  is ‘grind and hustle, and work the 100 hours a week, work till you don’t have to introduce yourself’. Well here’s the dangerous side of that. You spend all your time ‘grinding’ that you don’t actually appreciate the time you have.
My wife, who I cherish, has been my biggest supporter and pillar. When we got married, she took on the task of helping me to get my business to what it is today. But it came at a price: Her health.
It broke me down when I heard the doctor say, she needs to rest, she’s burning out. At that moment it hit me. If something were to happen to her, what will I do? If something happened to me, what will she do?
So, we had to change the way we looked at success. Success should never come at the price of your health or your loved ones health. Success is something you get from working smart, not killing yourself for. The hours I put in, the stress I caused I wonder now how many years I took off my life.
Spend your time properly, even if you have to schedule in 20 mins to spend with your loved ones, or call your family or sit and do something you love. This is time well spent. This is time you will not regret. So if you have loved ones, schedule them in everyday- make it habit.

3. Your health Is Key To Your Success
Your mind is what it feed it. So if you feed it fast food and shit from the fridge, your mind will be shit. You’ll have trouble staying focused and won’t be able to process the information well enough to get things done.
Eating proper home cooked meals left me feeling better about myself and my health. It gave me a boost of confidence that I didn’t have when I was eating fast food. I was never overweight, but you would not believe how you feel when you eat crap all the time. The switch to good food with veggies and fruits really made a difference in how I worked. So if you want a clear focused mind, then eat properly. Don’t skip your meals. Can’t get to the gym, that’s okay, you need to get some weights, start walking and doing push ups.  If you think just getting some sweats on will motivate you, it won’t. So grab some real gear from www.GymOverEverything.com and start with the mindset of fit. The right exercise clothing can really get your motivation going.

4. Sleep!
I get it, I also wish there was 43 hours in a day, but there isn’t and guess what, your brain and body are going to be sluggish the next day and you can’t just run on coffee for the next 5 years trying to reach success.
No matter the business, or job or the goal you’re trying to achieve, you need to sleep. If you can’t commit to 7 full hours at night, then get 5hours at night and throw in a 20min nap at 2pm. I kid you not, this is going to make such a big difference. Imagine one of the most productive days you have ever had, where everything just went smoothly- that is going to be your everyday if you sleep. Your senses and thinking ability is so much better when you get that sleep.

5. Don’t Second Guess Yourself  But Think Properly
In 2009 my wife came to me and asked about this little thing called Bitcoin. Well I’ll be honest, I didn’t want any part of it. From an IT prespective, Bitcoin is a security nightmare. Bitcoin breaks each and every security protocol set to protect people online, and I could already see the wikileaks article going over the security issues, the open doors to fraud, money laundering etc etc. I wanted no part of it. My wife for whatever reason, thought it was a good idea. At the time, I thought ‘Is she nuts?’.
But then I sat down and thought about it properly, what if there is the off chance that this coin becomes the norm in money. Do I really want to miss out on something that literally will cost me nothing to mine? So I took out an old laptop and started to mine Bitcoin.
And then Dec of 2017 happened and the rest was history.
I don’t 2nd guess my assessment- it was correct, but I had to think from outside my prespective and properly assess my choices. Bitcoin mining took me no work to do. It didn’t cost me anything.
So think properly, it’s not second guessing yourself, it’s cutting outside of what you know to be correct, and seeing if there is potentional.

6. You Have Your Own Clock
From all the success stories you hear about people that made it, you forget that there was thousands more that didn’t. You put yourself under extreme pressure and anxiety about making it too without thinking of what it’s doing. You have your own time, and it’s not the same as everybody else. Maybe everybody is sailing the same direction, but maybe you’re meant to sail slow and steady and not risk those choppy waters and wind. Maybe you decide the risk is too big right now and you need a break on that Island to regroup and redefine your plans. You will achieve your success on your own time without wasting your time and life. This goes to my next point.

7. Keep Learning & Relearning
This happened to me. I was stuck in a rut in 2007. Thinking of how the hell was I ever going to compete with large names like freaking IBM. All my IT friends were in secured jobs steaming ahead away from me, while I was still trying to push my company forward. I decided to take a break from my company. So I got a job (that I hated but gave me data center access). It turned out to be the best decision I ever made. I learned a lot and garnered a ton of expereinece I didnt have. It helped me to create my first software for Microsoft Password Recovery, and the first year after making it, I made my first $100k. It was incredible. I took on other jobs related and unrelated to garner more experience and combined it with my ability to learn just about anything, I created compevo.com and several other software projects that allowed me to take my wife to several trips to China, Dubai and Japan. I’m not arrogant about what I have to do. If I have to even now take on a job to learn things about AI that I don’t know, I’ll do it. Even if my company already has some AI projects under it’s belt, it’s not all about just that, it’s also about learning and expanding my knowledge base. If you’re in sales, well learn some accounting. If you’re in marketing, learn some IT. If you’re in IT, learn marketing & accounting.

8. Don’t Be Arrogant.
Money can do 1 of 2 things. It can degrade you or upgrade you. It can degrade you in the way of arrogance or it can upgrade you in the way of being genuine.  Money changes people, and yes sometimes its frustrating when I see a person look at me like I have nothing and I feel like jumping to say “have a look at my bank account”, but then I relax. I realize they are working on a debt system only for the now and maybe their kids, but I’m working on a credit system where I want to build wealth for generations after. I also want my kids to understand the value of life with money and the value of life with just money.
You don’t need to be loud and proud, you don’t need to announce it to everyone, and you don’t need to dress in a $10,000 suit to show that you have money.
From a psychological point of view, it shows how low and unconfident you are in your genuine self, and need to pretty yourself with ‘things’ to make you sparkle. That isn’t right, and you need to put proper value on yourself, and not let things deteremine your value. My wife, my kids are what makes me valuable. And I don’t want to settle for a million dollar house in a shit market, I want that $2million house my wife liked back when we got married, and I intend to give it to her, paid in full cash not a mortgage that I leave her behind with.  I want to be able to pay in cash for my kids education should they persue it, or help them start a company without begging a bank. So don’t be arrogant, whether you have the money or not. In an age of social media, it’s hard not to place value on ‘the look’ of success, but don’t forget that even lottery winners can go down a shit hole if they don’t keep their arrogance in check.

9. Start With A Meeting End With A Meeting
Make mondays meeting days. The start of the week to revamp your plans for the week. What your main projects will be, and how will you schedule it all in. During this 30 minute with yourself or your team, write down your expectation for the week and what you intend to achieve. I usually failed at daily goals but always hit the mark with weekly goals simply because I felt like there was enough time to achieve the goal. Depending on what you’re doing, sometimes a daily goal is better or even a monthly goal. For a team project for work- a weekly goal for each member works best, so everyone can see if everyone’s on time, and if one isn’t, then the others can either help or extend the project frame. If it’s something like weight loss, then a monthly goal works better. You don’t need to stand on a scale every week battering yourself about the 1lbs you lost or didn’t lose. Check your measurements not your weight.  So really think about what you’re trying to achieve and then go from there. End your week with a meeting on friday. You should be able to go through your schedule, see all that you have done and be able to plan for the next week. You should make notes on what was achieved, what still needs work, and how you intend to solve issues. In IT there is a lot of detail work, I found writing down the different things I wanted to do, or have solved on my Tech Forum www.realtechtalk.com helped me a ton to keep myself on track and also helps others who run into similar issues.

10. Self Talk
This is bizaare but it works. If you’re hitting a wall, or getting frustrated, you need a 5 minute break. You need some cold water, and you need to talk to yourself. I cannot tell you how much I talked to myself when I hit wall after wall when coding- any coder out there will tell you how frustrating it is when shit doesn’t work and you don’t know why. But it helped me center my thoughts and get back on focus otherwise you’re just running in the same spot.
Things like “It’s fine, I will get this.” or “Don’t panic, you will find an answer” or “Nobody will be able to solve this but you so calm down and find the answer to save the damn world.” Well that last one is a bit much, but whatever it takes man.

11. Organize
Your home, your office space, your mind are all connected. If one of those are a mess, the others will follow. If your home is a mess- you’re gonna be a mess. If your office space is a mess, you’re gonna a be mess. Staying organized, keeping things neat and in their own space will greatly help you with not just productivity but also help your mind not be in constant chaos. It’s actually fact that having a messy working or living environment can cause depression and make you unable to focus. So clean up and declutter your mind.

12. Iron Your Clothes
For a long time, I just took something out of the clean basket and that was it. Then I got married 11 years ago, and suddenly things were being ironed and put away in their drawer (thanks Lazina) and I couldn’t believe how much more confident clean ironed clothes felt. You feel put together and good about not just your appearance but your overall mood feels more…well ironed out.

13. Play A Game
I have several games on my phone and at home. I play them especially during tough moments where I’m stuck on a project or can’t find a solution. I know when I’m losing it and that’s when I decide, time for a game. Not just any game, games that make your mind run. I like car racing games especially, but when I’m stuck on something, I actually play math or maze or puzzle games. This helps the proper side of my brain to relax but also refresh and be ready to solve the problem I’m having. This has literally saved me so many times. Try it.

14. Read A Proper Book
I get asked what books I’m reading and usually it’s just normal books, or kids books that my kids give to me, or the Harry Potter my wife made me read (yeah she bought the whole set and made me read it, and it explains a lot more than the movies so you should too). But you can’t just read self help, life coach, how to make money books all the time. It’s mind bogging, eventually it’s going to wear you out, especially because they are making money off you for buying their words. Read imaginative, creative things that will get your mind thinking creatively rather than in one track.

15. Be Awkward, its’ fine.
I’m an awkward type of person. Up until last year I didn’t have an Instagram account, and both my twitter and LinkedIn were bascially empty. I consider myself more of a lone wolf type, and don’t have a large circle of friends who I go to ‘night out parties’ with. No I have never been to Los Vegas, nor do I drink or smoke. I’m a practicing Muslim and listen to rap, I also tend to befriend genuine people not fake faces. When I speak, it’s geunine, I’m not trying to make you like me, and sometimes this might come off as akward because I’ll flat out say things like ‘it’s great to meet you, lets keep in touch because I like people like you’. It’s not the social norm, I’m sure there’s a better way of saying it, but I don’t have the mindset to change my honesty for social fluff. In 2018, we are too busy trying to be other people that we are losing our geuinine selves and you need to recover yourself from that.

16.  Promise Yourself, “You won’t give up”.
Never give up. I teach my kids that, but I mean it. You might not be happy with your progress, and you’ve made mistakes, and maybe you’re even failing or not acheiving what you wanted to achieve by now. That doesn’t mean give up. That just means you re-plan and get back to it. I have a lot of time on my hands, so I took on a 2 month teaching job at BCIT, this will give me great experience teaching others (which will help me to make a guide book to train staff) and gives me speaking experience. I find talking is one of my weakest points, so I found something that can stop me from being bored and help me improve myself. Back in 2007, if I had given up on the company just because I took on a job, I wouldn’t be where I am today. So don’t give up. Promise yourself that one thing. Even if your plans change, even if your goal changes, don’t give up. Push forward.

You got this. Now go and change your life.  Good luck friends!

Cheers,
A.Yasir

Bitcoin Fails To Defend 10K Mark

Let’s let the chart do the talking for the past 3 months where it currently sits at $9327.65

Bitcoin-2018-02-05-PriceChart

Back in February BTC posted the maximum high for the past 3 months of just over 11K.  As you can see from March to April the lowest moves of the recent past were posted around the 7K mark.  To me this looks like a classic sideways trading that eventually breaks out.  You can see since April there has been a steady upward trend.

BTC hasn’t been able to defend the 10K mark but I do believe we have stability around the 9K mark.  Some indicators claim BTC is currently neither overbought or oversold.  But common sense has to tell you that if the price is going down it appears we have more sellers than buyers at the $10K mark.  It could be people cashing out for fear of wondering when does BTC return back to the 20K mark?

Many people have said this  spells disaster but I really do think we are just getting started with the BTC rally and I think much higher prices are around the corner in the near future.  There has been a lot of positive news from around the world that seems to be increasingly towards accepting that BTC is here to stay.

Perhaps some regulators thought twice and realized that “like it or not BTC is too big and risky to ban”.  Because people can move BTC at will and it cannot be frozen or truly banned.  I think regulators are finding just as the case is with exchanges, if you put undue pressure on owners of cryptocurrency they will simply just move away to a friendlier jurisdiction.  I would imagine they should favor BTC as it is not anonymous and is easily and fully trackable.  If people switched to more private based coins they’ll have little chance at regulation such as with Monero.

Ripple Wants Government Regulation of Cryptocurrency

I have always believed regulation was inevitable and this is actually one of the reasons I invested in Ripple.  It’s no surprise that they are calling for regulation as they benefit the most.  As worried about them as I am (saving for another article) this is an excellent hedge against this inevitability.  Ripple stands to profit from this as it already has very good relationships with big finance and governments.  Any regulation is very likely to benefit Ripple the most.

Ripple’s, Ryan Zagone, ironically titled, “head of regulatory relations” has called on the UK to adopt 3-regulatory moves and has suggested they take a cue from Japan.  This is both good and bad, regulation, if fair and easy to follow can remove uncertainty and strengthen the countries that do it right.  I think Japan is a good example of regulation that has gone right and helped cryptocurrency flourish.

Zagone has called on the three issues to be regulated “namely consumer protection, financial stability and anti-money laundering “.  Consumer protection is a given and I wonder why no one has also said “insurance coverage” as this would take most of the risk out of holding cryptocurrency and the risk of theft and hacks.  When it comes to “financial stability” it depends on what he means and what the UK government would take it to mean?  I would take it that this would be the part that would help out Ripple and possibly stunt the growth of competitors to Ripple.  When it comes to anti-money laundering this is a given but again, how do you do it without harming or offending law abiding citizens?  Or will these laws and regulations be a pretext for both Ripple and Big Banking to squash the abilities of everyone else?

The UK Central Bank’s, Mark Carney has said the following about cryptocurrency.

  • “The time has come to hold the crypto-asset ecosystem to the same standards as the rest of the financial system. Being part of the financial system brings enormous privileges, but with them great responsibilities,” Carney said in a speech on Friday.
  • “A better path would be to regulate elements of the crypto-asset ecosystem to combat illicit activities, promote market integrity, and protect the safety and soundness of the financial system,” Carney said.
  • Carney also slammed the ability for cryptocurrencies to fulfil the role of money, saying they are “failing” as a medium of exchange and are “proving poor short-term stores of value.”
  • “This extreme volatility reflects in part that cryptocurrencies have neither intrinsic value nor any external backing. Their worth rests on beliefs regarding their future supply and demand —ultimately, whether they will be successful as money.”
  • “At present, in my view, crypto-assets do not appear to pose material risks to financial stability,” Carney said.

Well, Mr. Carney was as honest as he could be, from the banking sphere and without losing his job.  I agree that there is almost nothing backing most cryptocurrencies, aside from mining investment.  However, this is about the same, if not better than fiat which is printed without any backing of assets since the gold standard has long been abandoned.  But let’s read between the lines, he wants regulation and he wants cryptocurrency held to the same standards as traditional finance, but at the same time slams it as being a poor store of value (like Soros who now says he’s investing).  Regulation will be tricky, because you are then giving all cryptcurrency legitimacy as currency by regulating it as such or even to traditional financial standards.

Everyone has their own interest in all of this but it will be interesting to see how this plays out.  The game is different now and governments cannot easily seize crypto assets, nor can they shutdown major players who can move away from their jurisdiction with the click of a button.  If smart people are in charge of regulation they will do it right, but if bankers alone are involved, and continued to feel threatened, I predict carnage, and that it will ultimately harm or even topple our current financial system.

Let’s hope things go smooth and that regulators are not influenced too much more when it comes down to it.

 

Ripple Performance Beats Bitcoin and Ethereum!

Despite so much turbulence in the markets Ripple has returned 4.8% vs Bitcoin’s 2.64% in the last 24 hours or Ethereum’s -.75%.  Ripple is proving itself to be able to withstand strong headwinds after nearly hitting the $5 mark last year.  Of course $.70 is a far cry from its all time high but considering the market as of lately this is impressive.  I think despite the concerns over XRP’s future in terms of it being associated with large and central banking clients, there is value in it being a hedge.  This is one of the reasons I invested in Ripple as I feel with increasing government scrutiny, regulation, threats, bad news etc.. that this would all cause Ripple to return much better in the long-term.  However as I’ve said in past posts, there appears to be the very real fear and possibility that Ripple may just dump XRP if the banks tell or pay them to.  In fact I even e-mailed them with detailed concerns from another blog and they had no comment other than asking me to check their news, blog and website so at this point I feel it is very plausible.  Ripple’s affiliation with banks and government will either help it right to the top or it could weight down Ripple.  Besides that I feel Ripple is a fairly good currency but does suffer from a few other flaws that I won’t get into here.

 

CoinmarketCap-2018-03-20