Monero lost more than 50% of its network hash rate

This is old news to many but I’ve been watching it, the hash rate on Monero was just over 1000 MH/s prior to the algorithm update as a way to combat ASIC mining by companies like Bitmain.  It plunged to as a little as 157MH/s initially but as of now (2018-08-08) 461 MH/s.

Monero-Hash-Rate-460Mhs-2018-08-09

This is significant and the move wasn’t without controversy but I think it was the right way to go.  Monero wanted to stop giant mining farms like you see for Bitcoin and Litecoin.

I think it worked, initially and clearly a lot of mining was disrupted because all the mining software had to be updated such as xmr-stak or xmrig etc.. Today if you use a pre April 2018 miner you will get “invalid results” or “share not accepted” from the pool because the algorithm has changed.  This effectively bricked Bitmain’s Monero miners but all was not lost for them as it is believed they were probably mining with them for several months if not more before releasing them publicly.  For any critics at least Monero clearly communicated almost immediately after Bitmain’s announcement that they would update the algorithm and would be sure to brick them.  And in all fairness at least Bitmain warned of this on their own sales page so it is nice to see an issue like this handled well by the main parties involved (of course those who still bought a Monero miner are out of their money).

Considering that months later the old hash rate of 1+ GH/s is now only about 460MH/s I think it is fair to say there were ASIC mining farms controlling over half of Monero!  This very well could have been Bitmain and other manufacturers themselves.  But going back to the whole mining thing, most know I am against it.  One inherent vulnerability of any mineable coin is that whoever has the most hashing power wins or controls the network allowing them to steal from others essentially.  As illustrated in my picture earlier one pool supportxmr.com has 80 MH/s, Nanopool 95MH/s, minexmr 94 MH/s so essentially 3 pools control about 60% of the hashing rate or about 20% each on average.  If you check out the list of Monero pools essentially the hash rate is concentrated among numerous pools which puts it in a similar situation as Bitcoin in a sense.

The current situation is better but nothing stops people from spending millions on GPUs and CPUs in order to dominate the network. With Monero only worth around $100 USD at the moment there is little incentive to do so unless an organization simply wanted to kill Monero.  I would imagine criminal organizations like the ones who targeted Bitcoin Gold and other coins will be ready and waiting to do the same though.

What do you think?

Cheers,
A. Yasir

“The Future Of Money”

US House Of Representatives

The United States will begin official hearings on cryptocurrency on July 18 2018, on a live stream for the general public to listen on the hearings. The title of this hearing is “The Future of Money: Digital Currency’, somewhat acknowledging that bitcoin and cryptocurrency at least has the potential of being the ‘new cash’ if not the only ‘cash’ of the future. As technology develops, having digital cash is the next natural course.

The exact list of people attending hasn’t been released, but it’s expected to be presided over by the legislators and cyprtocurreny experts. When I hear cryptocurrency experts though, there’s a few worries that come to mind.
The first is that ‘most’ if not all cryptocurrency ‘experts’ tend to completely negate the security portion of digital currency, upselling completely unsafe technology. Which is a legitimate concern surround cyprtocurrency. It’s not fully anonymous like people think, Bitcoin is traceable for example. Public ledgers, permissionless public blockchain, and no central authority within the community to protect the currency itself, are all concerns. Ripple does this fairly well, but still lacks considering their bank affiliations and their motivation to dump XRP (which is unlikely but still worrying).

This hearing will look into the security concerns related to cryptocurrency and curbing issues like money laundering, but experts would have to present a solid case, to show that it’s not different than laundering fiat or gold bars for that matter.

The US congress had released an economic report in March of this year that highlighted the benefits of cryptocurrency and why using it would be good for the economy. Which is a surprising change of mood considering how the Federal Reserve has been on behaving towards it. Perhaps fear that the debt system that they created for over a century is going to break down.

What do you think? Will this hearing  finally give Bitcoin and cryptocurrency the boost it needs after 6 months of FUD?

Cheers!
A.Yasir

I got TRON’d: The TRX Fiasco

TRX & Investors

I don’t normally get this upset. The last time I was this upset, was with FINOM (which I still don’t have my tokens for and may never, and no help from their support or the creator).  I’ve also reached out to the TRON Team and it doesn’t look like there will be a response.

TRX is moving, to Binance.  On April 15th they made an announcement that they would be moving to their own blockchain. They told their Tron investors to move their now useless tokens to Binance, or risk losing their investment.

Migration will occur on June 21st-June 25th.

“you must deposit your TRX to an exchange before June 24, 2018 to avoid any losses”.

This is a quote I pulled from  tron.network and it’s not on the homepage, you have to click on TRX to learn this.

That is extremely dire and stressful when you’ve come upon this after the fact.  I was frustrated to see this, and I’m not alone. There is apparently a lot of frustrated investors venting at Justin Sun on Social Media that demonstrated a lack of respect and care for us investors.  The announcement back in April made no mention of the exact process or even which Exchanges would support this process. To add insult to injury they are causing a direct loss since we all have to pay fees to the Ethereum Network and Exchanger to get our real TRX and if you have get a TRX wallet, pay to take TRX out again.  Whether you have 1 TRX or 120,000 it is yours and they should be protecting your investment and you as an investor and they’ve clearly failed.

I suspect it is completely intentional as this will free up a huge amount of supply once they say “sorry you weren’t watching our social profiles 24/7 your TRX tokens are worthless it’s your fault” which is essentially the response of TRON shills at the moment or that “Binance is EOY”.  EOY (End of Year) is still not a lot of time, but the ‘kind shill’ who told me didn’t point me to where he found this information- just randomly saying that Binance announced it. Oh, so another place I have to go find information from just to figure out how to protect my TRX investment.

Then more assuringly they say “If your TRX is held in a wallet and you were not aware of the migration notice, or saw the migration notice after June 25th, please visit our permanent token-exchange counter to exchange your tokens for Mainnet TRX.

Great!. Where is the permanent exchange counter?  There is no link or information readily available.  I’m sure some shill will point out it is probably buried in some other URL but non-shills or 24/7 supporters like me, shouldn’t have to go through all of this.

Tron-TRX-Scam-Screenshot at 2018-07-09 10-33-34

The Shills & Supporters of Tron
When you go on social media to find information directly and vent your frustrations with the lack of care Tron team put into securing investors money, you’re automatically hammered by shills who think that Tron is God and they did no wrong.

Unsurprisingly, me and others who complained were berated:

Tron-Reddit-Shill

I don’t think they got the point that “normal” users and investors shouldn’t need to watch all of Tron’s myriad of social accounts and websites constantly to avoid a loss. Tron isn’t the only coin I have invested tons into, and cryptocurrencies aren’t my only investments. I shouldn’t have to worry that if I don’t pay attention for a couple of months, my investment might disappear because Justin Sun struck up a pump deal with Binance.

The shills and supporters completely devoid Tron of any wrong, and insist Justin Sun did what was mutually right for Tron and for Investors…How? By screwing investors, that’s how. By forcing us to move to Binance and lose money in doing so, where the potential for scams, fraud and hacks to happen, increase.  All the while Justin Sun’s team could have made a registered account system with the millions of ICO money he collected by Investors. The registered account process would have eliminated any risk of fraud, money spent, and saved time for both TRON and Investors. On top of this, there would be NO potential risk of losing your Tron Token.

The Tron dogs focus only on the sole responsibility of the investor to be watching all of Justin Sun’s and Tron’s multiple social media platforms and websites, instead of calling out Tron’s incompetence and lack of respect for the Investors. It’s this general acceptance of ‘disrespect’ is why cryptocurrency teams do not feel responsible to do the right thing for the Investors, but for themselves.

Conflicting And Incomplete Information
Every one of Tron’s sites has conflicting or incomplete information.  We shouldn’t have to go digging to learn that Binance supposedly honors this until the end of the year (2018, which I learned from a Reddit user, he couldn’t point me to where he got that information from though).

I think common sense says the communication was horrible on this one and they’ve made it a lot more stressful and difficult than it had to be.  This shakes investors like me very quickly since there are so many scams even with ‘good ICO projects’.  It doesn’t matter if it’s “Justin Sun” behind the project, in fact it makes it worse.  How is he managing any of this if this is the best he can do?

The Tron supporters who ignore these glaring responsibilities that Tron has to its Investors, reminds me of Bitconnect. Many people called it out for what it was, a scam and pyramid scheme, but Bitconnect shills and supporters ruthlessly defended it as a trustworthy project.  Bitconnect, unpredictably came to an end.  It was a coin that produced nothing and who’s sole value was derived from shills who pumped and dumped it as part of the pyramid scheme/scam. Making millions and screwing real investors in the process.

The shills would have you think something is wrong with you for being upset or out of the loop for a few months but clearly there has been nothing but confusion and frustration since the start of the very unclear path forward:

Justin Sun Announces Tron Migration, Confusion Reigns

https://medium.com/tron-foundation/trx-migration-notice-34de281ebbbd

I’m not saying TRX or TRON is a complete scam but it operates in a very shady way in my opinion.  I’ve taken a blasting by their supporters (AKA shills who find it unreasonable that I am not on multiple social platforms every day glued to see if I can potentially lose my investment).  That’s ridiculous and I don’t think anyone should accept this.

On top of this, I and many Investors do not like keeping things on Exchanges where hacks are often. If you have never lost from a hack, then you don’t know what it feels like, so I’d like for you to sit back down. But Luckily there is a TRX wallet at least to move your real TRX to once you have moved it to Binance.

So Why Did Tron Do This?
Here’s what happened.  In April the Tron Team announced the move to MAINNET or essentially their own cryptocurrency blockchain separate from Ethereum tokens (the worthless ones they gave us in place of the real TRX).  I think it’s wrong to do it this way, since their website has a dire prediction that if you don’t move your tokens to an exchange like Binance, then you’ll lose your investment because they are literally burning and killing the Ethereum tokens they sold you.  What if you don’t have Binance or can’t get on? They didn’t take that into consideration or care.

This is completely wrong!

The Way It Should Have Been Done?
They should have registered all of their investors and token holders in their own system and simply e-mailed everyone or based it on the Ethereum blockchain token holders.

It’s like the bank telling you they closed your account, now you have to exchange all your money for real money at a cost to you, and you should have known because you should have been following their multiple social profiles and websites, all with differing and conflicting information.

Yes, Tron’s literally telling Investors ‘ you should have been able to piece it altogether after some detective work because we struck a deal with Binance and couldn’t be bothered to make a registration system, which would have been at no cost to you and at no risk to you….And yes Tron supporters are literally saying this with gusto, even hashtagging Justin Sun to garner attention for their undying and blind support.

The Good News Though?
It looks like you have until the end of the year with Binance to do this, but as mentioned their site says if you didn’t do it in June you’re done for. So if you haven’t done it already, do it now. Since I don’t like keeping stuff on Exchanges, I’ll be moving it into a wallet quickly.

It’s really simple, all TRON had to do was create a unified system that would just directly e-mail their users this information.  They surely collected enough of our coins to the tune of millions to have the resources to make that system. Besides that, I think a few months is completely inadequate notification. What if someone went overseas or on vacation?  I imagine there will be some in this category who come back in 2019 and ask how their TRON tokens disappeared and they didn’t get their TRX.

I think it could be argued it was ill-thought, ill-mannered and essentially negligent to force users to move their tokens with such short notice.  If they were going to do it this way, they at least should given an unlimited amount of time to exchange the worthless Ethereum tokens to the real TRX.

Justin Sun
This move is a a huge security issue.  How on earth do they go and ask people to move their tokens to an exchange where they could be hacked?  How about all of the typical phishing scams which I am sure we will see, that will be tricking people into sending their tokens and coins into the hands of hackers.  By encouraging people to only go on Social Media which is insecure and commonly hacked, it is simply inexcusable that Justin Sun’s team would do things this way.  The website doesn’t make things clear enough and it should be the main or primary source of easy to find information about these issues.

I think people look too much at “Justin Sun” is behind this and don’t actually look at how the project is being managed.  It’s definitely lost my confidence now.

I do think TRON is a good project and a good idea.  Will it last and succeed? Maybe and I hope my investment will succeed.  But it reeks of the typical issues that a lack of common sense is being used to handle the very basic aspects of this project. Not to mention of lack of respect for the Investors, and anyone who calls them out is automatically bashed, or accused of spreading FUD.

Cryptocurrency companies and teams have to start valuing the investor and do things in a simple and common sense way that protects us and makes us feel confident in our investment.  TRX has lost my trust over this and clearly a lot of others who are frustrated (at least the normal ones who don’t monitor the TRON social accounts 24/7).

The future is bleak for Tron if this kind of ‘care’ is given to investors. But I’m hopeful that this will be the last time something like this will be handled in such a poor way.

Amazon’s Racist Shop

Shopping For Hate

Despite Amazon’s strict policies against the sales of racist, homophobic, anti-semitic, Islamaphobic and general ‘hate glorifying’ goods, these items are still for sale and are being bought on Amazon.  According to Reuters, Action Center on Race & The Economy and the Partnership for Working Families, released the report today hammering Amazon the online shopping king, for failing miserably to enforce their policies.

Amazon’s policy prohibits:

“Products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views.” The two groups say they found toys with propaganda symbols, books and other products aimed at children to further normalize these intolerant or racist beliefs.

The report criticized that Amazon was profiting from sales of these items since it takes a cut of the sales, and that it, “provides a number of channels through which hate groups can generate revenue, propagate their ideas and grow their movements.”

Through writing e-books and through Amazon’s Music store, they are giving these hate groups the ability to spread their hateful speech and message. Using these Amazon platforms, racist writers, musicians and ‘racist activists’ including violence against black people, Muslim, Jewish & LGBTQ people, supporters are able to sell their hate and make Amazon millions in profits, as well as fund the racist/hate groups.

The two watchdog groups that reported Amazons dirty shopping, through their report insist that Amazon take down these hate sellers, and also make a public stance against these hateful, racist, intolerant ideologies, as well as promising not to profit from them. They’re asking Amazon to remove these items from their platforms as well as destroy any physical products that are currently in their warehouses.

 Amazon spokesman did say that they will shut down anyone breaking their rules, it’s a weak statement considering they should have been already removed.  Another spokesperson said they are currently removing some neo-Nazi bands that had been identified from its music platform.

Spotify, Google and Deezer all purged their libraries of racist music back in August 2017. In the same month, Apple removed Apple Pay support from white nationalist sites and Squarespace culled hate sites from its web hosting service.

Amazon also has a track record of holding payments for small businesses for small infringements or sometimes no particular reason, or even shut them down completely. It makes me wonder why it’s taken so long for them to purge the hate sellers.

It remains to be seen how much is actually left over, or how many try to circumvent the rules. Nobody thought tiki torches would ever be used a white supremacist march- but here it is. Of course this tiki torche company had nothing to do with the group.

tikitorchesracist

Shatner’s Not Giving ETH

Shatner Scam Smack Down

With the release of new cryptocurrency reports, we have seen a total failure of multiple projects that either were flat out scams or failed projects that made billions of dollars with no intention of ever following through.

But it’s not just ICO projects that took billions in revenue from scamming or not producing their projects, it’s the flat out Multi Level Scams (which are basically pyramid schemes) or businesses that promise to send you 20 ETH or Bitcoins after you send .05 of the said cryptocurrency. Most people know, this is a warning sign. Even if they insist they need that 0.5 to confirm your address, it’s still a warning sign that many people have obviously missed. Millions are said to be lost this way.

Privacy coin “Verge coin”, set up a twitter account earlier this year, and 2 days later it was hacked.

QJdhPNbz59E0i_ZWxAPvEwVazlDHU0-GOBzrsWj3jXo

Of course, they regained control of their account, but the damage had been done. And this alone should have killed Verge, as a privacy coin token to get so easily hacked by scammers who told people to send any amount of XVG to get double back. We can only hope that the people investing weren’t stupid, but it happens. After all this is their official account that these hackers took over.

In my opinion this alone should have killed the Verge token altogether, but I guess people were able to forgive it and continue on, after all, people had invested heavily in this project and need it to succeed. I had demanded my investment back, as I demanded from Finom– another scam project that has no intention of actually producing the project. To Tron, that suddenly threw a curve ball to have people transfer their money from their wallet to the Exchange or risk losing your entire investment…yeah these aren’t good signs and it makes me extremely distrusting of their project. If this were a bank, people would be outraged and the lack of outrage is why these Projects like Tron are getting away with it.

Then we have celebrity endorsements? Should we hold celebrities like Mayweather responsible for supporting projects, even if they are scams without their knowledge or with? Most celebrities endorse products and services that they don’t necessarily believe in, but aren’t held responsible for those endorsements.

And then there’s the celebrities that without their knowledge had their name hijacked to sell a scam. William Shatner was one said victim, Shatner posted on twitter:

“BTW another fake me is pushing a pump and dump crypto Ponzi scheme: @Wiliiamshatners
– William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) July 2, 2018

Other celebrities who have been impersonated include John McAfee (who is very active in the cryptocurrency world); Elon Musk, Vitalik Buterin, one of the founders of Ethereum; Sir Richard Branson and even Donald Trump.

When choosing a project to buy into or invest in, you have to make proper choices. If an account like @WiliamShatners is tooting that they will give you 20 ETH if you send 0.5 ETH, do some due diligence. Confirm if this is an official account, go on reddit and see what people have to say about it. Directly message your doubts and concerns. If it’s the real deal, well then they should have to prove it.

But sometimes even with all the proper research, you will still fall victim to shitty projects and scams, but that’s life. I’m sure even though Mr. Shatner from his official twitter account posted that he isn’t the scam twitter account giving ETH, people will have probably still bought from it before it was taken down. How many thousands? Or millions? I guess we won’t know.

But this is just another reminder, that we need to centralize cryptocurrency under the general crypto community, or have these scams continue under the guise of decentralized. Nothing, not even Bitcoin or Ethereum is truly decentralized.  And even real coins can act like scams with their policies and sudden changes to the scope of the project. If the project no longer values the investor, it’s a shit coin and you should dump it. If a celebrity is endorsing a project, find out if its really them- reddit is usually a good place to filter the garbage or see some garbage.

And in the end, you have to do your own research. RESEARCH is key.

Cheers,
A.Yasir

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

Dogecon 2018: Vancouver

Such Wow! Much Conference!

Amongst the sea of self serving blockchain conferences, and large scale multi-million dollar Internet of Things conferences and expo’s, was a refreshing Dogecon held in Vancouver that captured the heart of cryptocurrency. The meme essence came to life.

What started off as a fork of Bitcoin, and a running meme joke, became the largest most dedicated community of cryptocurrencers ever. More than Bitcoin, more than Ethereum, Dogecoin’s strong and proudly loved. It’s community strong, not just about value, but about substance. From tipping to charity, to car racing, the Dogecoin is actually the most viable coin out there. And to celebrate the ‘such wow’, Dogecon was held in Vancouver BC.

A conference where nobody talked about panic selling or the market crashing, instead dance parties, rap shows, dinner and a freaking puppy parade- that’s right, a freaking Shibu Inu parade, was held. You can only wish in your dreams that you had seen it in real life, it was just that amazing.

It wasn’t ‘tradition’, with high rolling investors in thousand dollar suits, no this conference was down to earth, honest and genuine- something you don’t see often in the superficial world of Instagram cryptocurrency.

No twitter cryptoinvestors and enthusiasts had lots of good genuine things to say. Four days of celebrations, real discussions, and Dogecoin worship took place in Vancouver British Columbia. And the reviews are in: It was awesome.
Yes Rocco, this is what it should look like.

Even the sponsors proudly stood by Dogecon with ETH Classic joining in.

Just over 200 participants attended Dogecon, and tickets were sold out by the time I posted about it- sorry about that…  It was a breath of fresh air from the stuffy blockchain conferences, it was relaxed and real, and showed what this amazing Dogecoin community is.

So if you’re looking to invest in a good coin, Dogecoin is it.

Why do I say this:
1. Dogecoin is used more frequently than even Bitcoin cash
2. 40th in Market Cap
3. Has been in use since 2010 for tipping, charities, to car racing etc etc
4. It’s the 4th most popular cryptocurrency (yes that’s right, Dogecoin is the 4th)
5. More viable since the community even after the Creator abandoned it, kept it up.
6. Unapologetically a joke currency that became seriously serious.
7. Doesn’t fall under SEC regulations as a original coin
8. Faster and cheaper to use
9. Dogecon!!!
10. It’s a freaking Shibu Inu, who doesn’t like dogs!
11. It’s not all about ‘Bitcoin level value, or pumping and dumping’, its about the coin itself.

Such wisdom! So get yourself some Dogecoin, and bow to Lord Doge.

It’s safe to say that Dogecon 2019 is going to be even larger and better! What do you think of Dogecoin? Is it still a joke coin to you or are you showing some Doge love! I personally mined and owned Dogecoin, and I’ve easily used it, and it’s honestly one of my top 5 favorite coins. If I had to pick something to invest in, I’d skip the ICO’s and Ethereum tokens, and go straight to Dogecoin.

Cheers!
A. Yasir

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.”

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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.

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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

Tech Employee’s Aren’t Down With ICE

Tech Avengers, Avenging!

It’s been a wild ride these past several months with Trump in power as the US President. We have seen everything from admitted sexual assault, to lying, to downright insults & crimes against humanity. And in his latest project, the kidnapping of illegal children and separating them from their families as they flee into the US border by ICE- US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

This sets a dangerous precedent. Of course like good humans, most of humanity is outraged.
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But the division is pretty big in the United States, and the issues Trump has created has affected everything from US citizens to its allies. And it’s becoming a very large problem.

But what role does Tech play in this? Lets start first with Wikileaks.

Wikileaks as the world knows, is the best and most accurate source of undisclosed information, with disclosure and documents pouring in, revealing the very harsh reality of how governments actually work. From these documents was revealed, that 7 nations had invasion plans, that the US government formulated decades before 9/11. These countries include, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and of course Iran was the last. This seems to be playing out under the guise of liberation and false ‘jasmine springs’ being instigated in said nations.

From Wikileaks we also learned damning NSA secrets, that the US government is spying on you in every aspect of your life. This was for decades thought to be a conspiracy theory.  Turned out, the government is spying on you, on an epic scale.

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Facebook, Google to Apple and Amazon, all these companies have a legal obligation to give backdoor access to the United States government. It’s actually legal and you don’t have a say in it, and yet the gong show that was Cambridge Analytica was put on to show that the government cared. Anyone in IT knew what was really happening: a large scale propaganda campaign using Facebook as a scapegoat to ‘ensure that the majority population didn’t catch on to the fact that Facebook’s legally obligated to give that same information to the government’.

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But most recently, Wikileaks released in full, all ICE employees’ information including their LinkedIn profile for full view of the internet- and thousands of activists and anonymous hackers.  https://ice.wikileaks.org/

This is actually very big and concerning. Many of these employee’s are just like any other employee working for any other company, and they have to feed their families too. They might disagree with ICE but they also have to eat. Was this a good move for Wikileaks?

Yes, despite it being wrong, it’s pressure. It’s pressure on the Employees of ICE to voice their outrage to stop this program of kidnapping these kids- who by the way, only the boys have been seen so far, no one knows where the little girls and babies are. Which is concerning because of “Pizzagate”.

So what role does Tech play now in ICE, if any? Well Microsoft has a $39 million contract (one of many) as does Dell and even Amazon with their face recognition tools. A big government agency like ICE will of course have contracts with large scale Tech companies. But now the outrage is so intense, that employees of these Tech companies are demanding their employer cancel their contracts with ICE. This is huge.

Because if Tech companies all pull out, and the Internet shames anyone who does do business with ICE,  global citizens can actually kill ICE’s kidnapping program.

Whether you agree with Trumps justification, and the republican party’s position, there is no agreeing with kidnapping. Under no circumstances is it justified. Just like rape, apartheid, or the holocaust, these things are not justifiable under any circumstance. So why are they working so hard to justify this? Because it’s wrong, and they know it.

Each and every Tech giant that has contracts with ICE, should end their contracts. Large public figures such as Bill Gates, Elon Musk, to the Pope should lash out at Trump’s policies. The regular person should scream their outrage. Because this is not just a cage with kids, this is the first step in dehumanizing them. The next step, is slaughter.

So if you have a soul, and moral sense, then please do voice your outrage too. This isn’t about politics, this is about right and wrong. And this, is very wrong and it needs to be ended.

If I can use the Avengers here for a moment without any copyright infringement: If Thanos is Trump, well we’re all the Avengers (+ Deadpool)  together. Right now, humanity really needs some good heroes like the Tech employee’s, to make a stand.

What do you think? Are you in support of Trump’s kidnapping and separation of families policies? Or against it?

Cheers,
A.Yasir