Čvc 26

Russian National Arrested in Greece with Ties to Money Laundering, BTC-e, Mt. Gox Theft

· July 26, 2017 · 4:30 pm

Alexander Vinnik, 38, has been arrested in Greece on a U.S. warrant. While he is suspected of running one of the largest online money laundering operations, additional reports are emerging naming him as the mastermind behind the Mt. Gox heist that sent Bitcoin spiraling out of control in 2013.


The Man Behind the BTC-e Exchange

For almost seven years, BTC-e has operated as one of the oldest digital currency exchanges in the world. During that entire time, the people behind the company have been completely anonymous.

Until today.

The alleged mastermind behind a multi-billion dollar money laundering scheme and, according to sources close to the exchange, a key person behind BTC-e has been unmasked as Alexander Vinnik, a Russian national who was arrested today in Greece. Vinnik is wanted in the United States on suspicion of money laundering at least $4 billion USD through bitcoin transactions.

Vinnik is currently being held in custody by Greek authorities pending a U.S. extradition request.

Greek police have stated:

An internationally sought ‘mastermind’ of a crime organization has been arrested. Since 2011 the 38-year-old has been running a criminal organization which administers one of the most important websites of electronic crime in the world.

With Vinnik’s extradition, the U.S. investigation will go into full swing. This is the latest in a series of U.S. efforts to curb cybercrime worldwide. Last week, a multi-national coordinated raid involving the U.S. and several other countries resulted in the takedown of the Darknet site known as Alphabay.

BTC-e have long been known for their lax regulations user identity verification and their uncooperative nature when it comes to anti-money laundering organizations. Perhaps coincidentally, the exchange has conspicuously been offline since last Thursday, with the website currently citing “unscheduled maintenance” as the cause of the interruption of service.

A feed of tweets from the BTC-e is on the site as well to keep users informed.

Ties to the Mt. Gox Bitcoin Hack

Vinnik was also found to be in control of a sizable number of Bitcoins that could possibly be traced back to the hack of the Mt. Gox exchange back in 2013. A group of security experts known as WizSec published a blog post earlier today detailing how the hack took place. The group maintains that Vinnik has been their prime suspect in their years-long investigation into the Bitcoin theft and that the same conclusions about his involvement were made independently by other teams working to uncover what really happened.

WizSec explains:

In September 2011, the MtGox hot wallet private keys were stolen, in a case of a simple copied wallet.dat file. This gave the hacker access to a sizable number of bitcoins immediately, but also were able to spend the incoming trickle of bitcoins deposited to any of the addresses contained. […] By mid-2013 when the funds spendable from the compromised keys had slowed to a near halt, the thief had taken out about 630,000 BTC from MtGox.

Mt. Gox Where is Our Money

Not only can the Mt. Gox coins be traced to Vinnik, but other less known heists can be traced to him as well.

According to WizSec:

Coins stolen from Bitcoinica, Bitfloor and several other thefts from back in 2011 and 2012 were all laundered through the same wallets.

Vinnik has denied all accusations against him in a Greek court of law. More information on this story will surely be released in the coming days, so make sure to stay tuned.

Do you think that Vinnik will be extradited to the States? Or will other countries try and lay their claim to prosecute? Let us know in the comments below, and make sure to check back at Bitcoinist.com for more information on this story as it unfolds.


Images courtesy of Japan Times, Reuters/Alexandros Avramidis, Shutterstock

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Říj 30

Bitcoin Price Hits $700 for the Second Time This Year

Source: bitcoin

happy trader bitcoin price

The bitcoin price has increased by an additional $20 since our last  report and is now hovering at the $700 mark. This makes it official: bitcoin has reached the point projected, and crypto-fans are breaking out the champagne.

Also read: Bitcoin Price Keeps Booming, Another $30 Rise in the Books

One source explains the action:

“Well, there we go. . .As we said this morning, it’s been a great week for our breakout strategy. When tings move like they have done this week, it’s difficult not to profit from the volatility. All we needed to do was set up our key levels and wait. That’s all we ever really do.”

Bitcoin Price Rallies as China’s Monetary Problems Worsen

Activity in China is still believed to be the cause of bitcoin’s subsequent jumps. The yuan just hit a six-year low, and investors are rushing like crazy to purchase bitcoins and “circumvent capital controls.”

Chief strategy officer at OKCoin Jack Liu explains:

“There is a premium in bitcoin pricing in China as a hedge against the yuan… Strength is likely to carry into year-end.”

What’s particularly impressive about bitcoin this time around is that it could not only reach $700 in such a short period but that it could accomplish such a feat twice within the same year. Many of you might remember that bitcoin wandered into $700 territory over the summer before the Bitfinex hack.

The unexpected jumps caused many to up their respective purchasing and further add to their growing portfolios, but once disaster struck in Hong Kong, people began speculating on the legitimacy of the expansion. Was it possible executives had been tampering with the markets and the price like what allegedly occurred before Mt. Gox?

This became the subject of much debate, but now it’s probably safe to say that bitcoin’s rise isn’t necessarily a fluke. Yes, Asian influence is again being witnessed, but bitcoin has managed to reach the same territory within four months, and investors feel comfortable that the stagnant market of 2015 did indeed run its course and disappear for good. Last year brought virtually little to no change to bitcoin over a span of ten months, and enthusiasts would like to avoid that same route as best they can.

To make matters better, analysts are predicting that bitcoin will remain steady, and reach potentially stronger points before 2016 ceases:

“The long-term bullish trend continues to develop… An immense volume breakout has not affected the price. This is considered bullish divergence. If sellers become exhausted in the coming weeks, the price should make new highs for the year… The long-term Bitcoin chart is extremely bullish, with solid support for the current bull market in the form of extreme volume.”

How much further will bitcoin go before 2017 begins? Post your comments below!


Image courtesy of Bitcoinist.

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Čvc 31

Japan: The Newest Bitcoin Price Influencer?

Source: bitcoin

Japan

The price of bitcoin has reached a steady point. At press time, the price has halted at $656 after hovering around $658 for most of the week. A mere $2 drop is nothing to panic about, though bitcoin has become somewhat stagnant as the financial market continues to play its course. However, as Japan faces continuing inflation, the country’s investors may give the bitcoin price a kick-start in the near future.

Also read: Bitcoin Price Falls as Altcoins Push Ahead

Japan Investors Flocking to Bitcoin?

One platform describes every bitcoin advocate’s nightmare — that while bitcoin reaches a still point, stocks and bonds are likely to start gaining momentum:

“Bitcoin price remains in sideways indecision. Yesterday… indicated that the Fed sees a general improvement in the U.S. economy, but that they await further improvement to raise rates. Hence, there is a general perception of low risk in the global economy which should see stocks and commodities rise while gold and Bitcoin slump.”

Recent waves of monetary innovation are making headway in Japan, and many wonder if perhaps these will hold sway over bitcoin’s future. An economic stimulus package totaling more than $250 billion has been introduced by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“The BOJ [Bank of Japan] is likely to ease policy, including increasing government debt purchases, so you could say the BOJ can absorb the new debt,” Economist Hiroshi Miyazaki said. “It also makes it easier to show that the BOJ and the government are working together.”

So there’s an attitude of hand-holding and Kumbaya within the region. That’s great, but what will it do for digital currency? The problem attached to the stimulus is that the money will be shelled out over the span of several years, which likely won’t bear any major impacts on the economy’s well-being. Some say the stimulus package’s lack of effectual power will make the yen plummet even further, causing inflation and leading more people into the welcoming arms of bitcoin.

Japan is proving to be a major center for cryptocurrency action. Last April, the country declared bitcoin and all related digital currencies “money” rather than commodities. Officials later passed a bill that regulated cryptocurrency exchanges. Within the last few months, Bitcoin has gained newfound respect in a country whose embarrassment over Mt. Gox was deemed likely to create a fiat reign for years to come.

But all that appears to be changing. Bitcoin may be kicking back now, but with enough time, a little Japanese influence may be all it needs to whip itself back into shape.

Will Japan help bitcoin’s price to rise? Post your thoughts and comments below!


Images courtesy of WallpaperFoler, leftovercurrency.com.

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Čvn 18

Industry Report: Digital Currency Is Booming Across the Globe

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoin Industry Report

Japan won’t let Mt. Gox bring it down, MGT brings Bruce Fenton on board, and a digital bank says “yes” to Bitcoin. Want to catch up on the latest digital currency news? Take a gander at the stories below.

Also read: Industry Report: Bitcoin Continues Breaking Boundaries

TOKYO – MITSUBISHI GOES IN ON DIGITAL CURRENCY

Despite its gruesome history with Mt. Gox, Japan is refusing to give up on digital currency. In a statement on Tuesday, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ confirmed that it is experimenting with a new digital currency that utilizes Bitcoin technology to process transactions.

A spokesman for the bank explained:

“The details have not been decided. . .We can only say that it’s true that MUFG is conducting demonstration experiments on the ‘Coin’ within the company utilizing a block chain technology.”

The system will work much like pre-paid electronic money, and will also include an app that will allow users to withdraw funds from their bank accounts via their smartphones.

BRUCE FENTON

Bruce Fenton

MGT Capital Investments, Inc. is bringing Bruce Fenton, the executive director of the Bitcoin Foundation, onto its cryptocurrency advisory board.

Fenton, who is an economic strategist and advisor, has also worked with leading private equity firms and global charities. He holds his roots in Morgan Dean Stanley, where he was a specialist in managed accounts and one of the “youngest stockbrokers ever to work for the company.”

In a statement, Fenton enthusiastically mentioned:

“As an active member of the cyber-currency industry through my Bitcoin business ventures and position as Executive Director of the Bitcoin Foundation, I am honored to support the efforts of John McAfee in providing advanced cyber security for this burgeoning industry… I have long been an enthusiast of cyber-currency technology and believe cyber security will play a role in advancing the broad trust and use of currencies such as Bitcoin.”

WB21

WB21 is now the first digital bank to accept bitcoin deposits.

As a result, customers can now use Bitcoin to transfer and deposit funds into their checking accounts, and with zero confirmations needed, a speedy transaction process is ensured for all. Thus far, the bank has accumulated about half a million customers from around the globe.

Founder and CEO Michael Gastauer explained:

“A bank accepting bitcoin is quite unusual. However, it makes total sense for us and provides huge benefits to our clients. . .By accepting bitcoin, our customers can instantly transfer funds to their WB21 account from any country in the world. . .As soon as they send bitcoin to our address, we credit the value in the currency the customer has selected to their checking account. . .The process to convert bitcoin into cash on a bank account is the fastest I am aware of. For us, the acceptance of Bitcoin is a great way to support our global roll-out and improve customers’ fund depositing experience.”

Know of any stories that deserve to be included in our regular industry reports? Post your thoughts and comments below!


Images courtesy of www.tu.bk.mufg.jpwww.keynote2016.comwww.wb21.com.

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Čvn 02

Spoofed Kraken Email Is A Mt.Gox Victims Phishing Attempt

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Email Phishing

It appears as if there is a phishing email making the rounds regarding the ongoing Mt. Gox investigation. These emails are allegedly coming from the Kraken exchange, and contain a link to a Google Drive file.

Also read: Six Russian Banks Lose US$25.7m To Hacker Collective

That file supposedly holds the list of all accepted and rejected Mt. Gox claims, but there is a likely chance this is an attempt to infect users with malware or ransomware.The incident was initially reported on the Bitcoin subreddit and seems to be targeting email address found on the Bitcointalk forum.

Malicious File Claiming To Hold Mt.Gox Information

What is even more disconcerting is how these messages allegedly are coming from the Kraken exchange platform. People who have been following the Mt. Gox bankruptcy proceedings will recall the exchange was appointed to aid in collecting affected customer’s claims for the trustee.

The phishing email contains a link to a Google Drive file, which should hold a list of all accepted and rejected Mt. Gox claims. It is not the first time a document like that is trying to make the rounds among Bitcoin members. The real information can be found here. Users should always be extra careful when facing these types of files and documents, as there is a high chance someone wants to hack your computer and steal your Bitcoin.

What is rather strange is how these emails are allegedly only sent out to members of the Bitcointalk forum, rather than those who have filed a Mt. Gox claim. There will be plenty of forum members who are affected by the defunct exchange. However, the vast majority of users may have used a different email address, which raises a lot of flags regarding this phishing attempt.

It is unclear as to why these messages are being sent to Bitcointalk users, or where the assailants got the email list from in the first place. Moreover, not every member of Bitcointalk has received the message to their email address on file either. A very strange phishing attempt, to say the least.

Did you receive a similar phishing email in the past 48 hours? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Reddit

Images courtesy of Kraken, Shutterstock

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Kvě 25

Kraken Details the Latest Mt Gox Creditors Meeting

Source: bitcoin

Mt Gox

The leading cryptocurrency exchange Kraken and Tokyo’s court-appointed trustee has announced the current status of all Mt Gox claims have been determined. For the first time, thousands of claimants will be able to see if their claim has been accepted and will soon be processed.

Also read: Blockchain-based Remittance App AirPocket Comes To Latin America

The Mt Gox Creditors Meeting in Tokyo Determines All Claims

The San Francisco-based Kraken has revealed the news today concerning the long awaited Mt Gox claims. During the creditor’s meeting in Tokyo, Trustee Nobuaki Kobayashi has detailed that over 24 thousand claims were filed. Out of all the claims, a very interesting application of 260 trillion yen by one individual is “likely to be denied.” Kraken states in the announcement what will be released:

“Overall, the amount of bitcoin held by the MtGox estate is approximately 202,185 XBT, or $91,185,435 USD at today’s bitcoin price of approximately $451, which Kraken will help to distribute.”

The report also notes that the investigations are still ongoing with the Trustee is working with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department concerning the case and Mark Karpeles. Not only is Kraken working with investigators but the team also has help from Deloitte and ReEx Accounting looking for possible other lost Bitcoins. Kraken says details of the investigations will remain classified along with the addresses from Mt Gox records. Trustee Nobuaki Kobayashi explains the latest revelations:

“My office and my partners on the Kraken team worldwide are proud to report outstanding news to thousands of MtGox creditors. During our thorough bankruptcy investigation, we have carefully reviewed over 24,000 individual claims and made individual determinations on their validity. In the near future, claimants will be able to browse the MtGox claims website to confirm their status. While the detailed schedule will inevitably be affected by each creditor’s response, we wish to proceed to the distribution process as soon as possible.”

Kraken’s CEO Jesse Powell told the press, “Kraken is honored to provide support to the Trustee on behalf of the community and Mt.Gox clients.” The exchange is pleased with the announcements from the creditors meeting today and look forward to returning assets to customers who suffered losses. Powell says Kraken will be there for the long haul, and the exchange will “continue to offer our assistance wherever possible, and I look forward a speedy resolution from here.”

What do you think about the Mt Gox claims being determined by the creditors meeting? Let us know in the comments below.


Images via Kraken, and Pixabay

 

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Bře 31

Mt. Gox Bankruptcy Trustee In Favor Of Publicizing Exchange’s Bitcoin Addresses

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Bitcoin Transparency

The Mt. Gox bankruptcy process that is currently taking place has been receiving a lot of attention from both Bitcoin enthusiasts and mainstream media outlets. Now that more and more information has become available, there is a new question waiting to be answered: should the identified Mt. Gox Bitcoin addresses be made accessible to the public? Some Bitcoin members seem to be for this proposal, whereas others are wondering what the of doing so would be.

Also read: Recent PayPal Exploit Shows Benefits of Decentralized Payment Solutions

Publicizing Mt. Gox Bitcoin Addresses

Considering how the bankruptcy trustee has collected most of the necessary information related to the Mt. Gox case, it seems to make sense if all of the identified Bitcoin wallet addresses are revealed to the public. After all, there are lots of people who would like to determine what has happened to the vast amounts of funds this exchange once held.

All of the bankruptcy reports make mention of how former Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles claimed a hacker stole most of the funds, but it later turned out he took the funds himself. However, given the amount of bitcoins recovered to date, numbers do not seem to add compared to the total number of coins that were stolen.

Even though law enforcement agencies are working hard to find out where all of the missing funds has ended up, Bitcoin community members know a thing or two about tracking funds on the blockchain. Moreover, the bankruptcy trustee himself has shown an interest in releasing the complete list of Bitcoin wallet addresses identified with the Mt. Gox exchange.

A crowdsourced investigation into what has happened with the funds exactly would be kind of interesting although not everyone seems to be for this proposal. A lot of people want to keep this information private for privacy reasons, according to the thread on Reddit, which was to be expected. It is equally interesting to note how very few people have chosen to keep the addresses private for other reasons.

In total, over 80% of the people voting on this Reddit thread are for publicizing the Mt. Gox Bitcoin wallet addresses, which is quite a significant number. It remains to be seen how much good it would do if this list were to be publicized, although it might shed some additional light on the situation.

Are you for publicizing these Mt. Gox Bitcoin wallet addresses, or would it be a futile effort? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Reddit

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Mt. Gox

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Úno 22

What’s Causing Bitcoin’s Current Bullish Run?

Source: bitcoin

What’s Causing Bitcoin’s Current Bullish Run?

The price of Bitcoin has been trending upwards for the past couple days giving some people the opinion that it is in a bullish phase. The value of the cryptocurrency has been quite eventful as it had been sitting at USD $375 over the past couple of weeks until just recently bumping up over the $400 mark. On the 21st of February, the price had touched $450 per BTC and seemed to be edging towards the $500 mark. However, the market value hit resistance and now is hovering in the $425-435 range.

Also read: Linux Mint Backdoor Puts Users and Bitcoin Miners at Risk

Bitcoin’s Bullish Run Trends Upwards

A few publications including Forbes believe that it’s possible the recent Miners agreement, and the Bitcoin Classic node adoption has increased the price. Sentiment has seemed to be in good spirits from some camps and others have been negative about the two subjects. Speculation on the fact that these two proposals are lifting the price doesn’t seem to be the case as both sides still have disagreements. The early discussions of consensus possibly coming to a conclusion could be making the price rally, but it’s not too clear if this is the reasoning behind it. There have been a few positive write-ups by mainstream media at times but nothing too sensational that has seemed to be the direct cause of the price spike.

Others have felt that institutional awareness has brought the price up a touch from corporate entities such as Microsoft and IBM. However, these two companies in particular and a whole slew of other businesses have clearly established they are not too interested in the Bitcoin blockchain. Most of these firms are creating and using other distributed ledgers that are permissioned by design. Some are using altcoin blockchains such as Ethereum, and this has caused a spike in price with ETH bringing it just below Bitcoin’s market capitalization.

As said above a few Bitcoin announcements have been made that have created enthusiasm within the crypto-community such as Steam integrating the digital currency. Other announcements like the fast-food restaurant Burger King accepting the virtual money in “Bitcoin City” of Arnhem has also made headlines. One positive outcome this past week was an announcement from Kraken explaining that the Mt Gox bankruptcy claims were moving along making “significant progress.” 21inc has revealed some new Bitcoin developments with its 21 computer such as a fee prediction service and micropayment platform. Despite the few announcements concerning the digital currency most news in the industry pertained to just blockchain technology.

As the Bitcoin Reward Halving Approaches Hashrate Decreases

The Bitcoin price after rallying to the $450 mark has corrected but shows there still may be some uptrend in the near future. There could possibly be a second spike shortly with current Relative Strength Index (RSI) levels looking positive. The value could still make it to the sought after $500 mark this week if it can eat through market resistance. The weekly chart looks like a steady bullish trend, and the 4-hour chart look as though there may be a breakout but it may go downward.

The upcoming reward halving is taking place soon, and miners are getting prepared for this as we speak. Many believe there currently is a shift in the mining space due to the changes coming, and some say this has, in turn, lowered the hashrate at the moment. At press time, we are seeing a slight advance from last night’s drop so a second run up may be coming soon. Currently, the price is at $438 per BTC via Bitstamp at the time of this writing.

 

What do you think about what’s causing the upswing in Bitcoin price? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Pixbay, Blockchain.info, and BitcoinCharts.com

 

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What’s Causing Bitcoin’s Current Bullish Run?

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