Criminals Abandon Bitcoin As Privacy Weakens

While the establishment would like the world to believe that only criminal masterminds and people with something to hide would prefer the decentralized freedom of Bitcoin (as opposed to the 'under government watch' banking system that floats Washington's boat), the truth is that the biggest cryptocurrency is considerably less 'anonymous' than is commonly exclaimed.

In fact, as more and more criminals become aware of the real privacy concerns of Bitcoin, they are increasingly turning to other - more private - coins.

 

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/20180106_monero2.jpg

As Bloomberg reports, privacy coins such as monero, designed to avoid tracking, have climbed faster over the past two months as law enforcers adopt software tools to monitor people using bitcoin. A slew of analytic firms such as Chainalysis are getting better at flagging digital hoards linked to crime or money laundering, alerting exchanges and preventing conversion into traditional cash.

 

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/20180106_monero.jpg

The European Union’s law-enforcement agency, Europol, raised alarms three months ago, writing in a report that “other cryptocurrencies such as monero, ethereum and Zcash are gaining popularity within the digital underground.” Online extortionists, who use ransomware to lock victims’ computers until they fork over a payment, have begun demanding those currencies instead. On Dec. 18 hackers attacked up to 190,000 WordPress sites per hour to get them to produce monero, according to security company Wordfence.

For ransomware attacks, monero is now “one of the favorites, if not the favorite,” Matt Suiche, founder of Dubai-based security firm Comae Technologies, said in a phone interview.

Monero quadrupled in value to $349 in the final two months of 2017, according to coinmarketcap.com, placing it among a number of upstart coins that rose faster than bitcoin, the world’s most valuable digital currency. Bitcoin roughly doubled in the same period, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Monero’s price has climbed another 7 percent so far this year, according to coinmarketcap.com.

 

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/20180106_monero1.jpg

 

In monero’s case, Bloomberg explains, criminals are snapping it up because bitcoin’s underlying technology can work against them. Called blockchain, the digital ledger meticulously records which addresses send and receive transactions, including the exact time and amount -- great data to use as evidence. Match an address to a crime and then watch the bitcoin universe carefully, and you can see the funds disappear and reappear in other locations.

Sleuths have developed databases and techniques for digesting that information to eventually nab wrongdoers. Say, for example, a coffee shop in Berkeley is known to have a certain bitcoin address, and a wallet used by an extortionist transfers the same amount there every morning at 9 a.m. Police can stop by and make an arrest.

Started in 2014, monero is very different. It encrypts the recipient’s address on its blockchain and generates fake addresses to obscure the real sender. It also obscures the amount of the transaction.

The techniques are so potent that software that flags coins suspected of being obtained through crime now tags just about anything converted into or out of monero as high risk, according to Pawel Kuskowski, chief executive officer of Coinfirm, which helps exchanges and other companies avoid tainted money. That compares with only about 10 percent of bitcoin, he said.

“What we treat ‘high risk’ is something that’s anonymizing funds,” he said in a phone interview. “How are you going to prove that these funds are not coming from illegal sources?”

Developers behind monero say they simply created a coin that protects privacy. Most people use it legitimately -- they just don’t want others to know whether they’re buying a coffee or a car, Riccardo Spagni, core developer at monero, said in a phone interview.

“As a community, we certainly don’t advocate for monero’s use by criminals,” Spagni said.

“At the same time if you have a decentralized currency, it’s not like you can prevent someone from using it. I imagine that monero provides massive advantages for criminals over bitcoin, so they would use monero.”

Comments

Greyhat auricle Jan 7, 2018 6:10 AM Permalink

The Coke industry had a massive cash management problem! :)

"Pablo was earning so much that each year we would write off 10% of the money because the rats would eat it in storage or it would be damaged by water or lost"

 

What ever crypto token banksters and brokers will have to use for their online snow orders is the token that wins this evolutionary race.

In reply to by auricle

bill1102inf FreeShitter Jan 6, 2018 6:33 PM Permalink

Bitcoin is a bunch of children trading garbage pale kid cards without the cards. Anyone with $100.00 can move the price of BTC upwards.  It was touted as being 'limited' to what? 21 million coins?  EXCEPT that in reality it is broken down by the penny and therefore is NOT limited whatsoever.  LIE #1.  Second, it was touted as being "anonymous", but that is a fabrication, with the PUBLIC LEDGER every transaction of every partial coin can be traced back to its mining. LIE #2

 

Those two things, plus the fact that again, you are 'trading' garbage pale kids cards, without the actual cards should be enough to bring it to ZERO.

In reply to by FreeShitter

swampmanlives USA USA Jan 6, 2018 9:00 PM Permalink

How is that the dumbest thing you have read? You can buy any amount of Bitcoin at any price. Buying $1 worth of Bitcoin at market price supports it at the price per coin of $17k. Do you not understand that if you actually had to fork out $20k for a whole coin that no one would be able to afford it?

In reply to by USA USA

BruntFCA swampmanlives Jan 7, 2018 6:09 AM Permalink

Stop talking out of your ass. Go to kraken.com. Take a look at the order book, then come back and talk about "shear" (think you meant sheer) volume of "poor folk". This is just one exchange; it's not uncommon to see buy and sell walls of millions of USD.

https://trade.kraken.com/kraken/btcusd

Some guy above talked about moving the price with 100 USD? WTF! People just pulling info from their asses.

In reply to by swampmanlives

fattail bill1102inf Jan 7, 2018 10:15 AM Permalink

I think the true problem with the purported limited number is the forking that keeps happening.  Of course the new forked coins go to the hodlers of BTC giving them a dividend that they can sell onto the market, increasing the overall volume of cryptos that can be traded or used.  

The fact that each of the 1300 cryptos is also just software or technology that can be replicated relatively cheaply now and cheaper in the future means there is a limited life to this trade.  As long as the money flows in the trade works, once the music stops it is going to be ugly.  

If the technology is adopted by banks, it will be on the bank's terms with the bank's crypto.  They will lock out every crypto that is not owned by their monopoly.  I suspect they will just hand it to their account holders for them to use in their transactions, converting their dollars, euros, won, yen into the internationally approved crypto at their bank in a seemless near costless transaction.  They are waiting for the bugs and security flaws to be worked out and the technology to perfect itself before they drop the crypto-bomb.

In reply to by bill1102inf

sessinpo fattail Jan 7, 2018 4:41 PM Permalink

fattail   As long as the money flows in the trade works, once the music stops it is going to be ugly.  

If the technology is adopted by banks, it will be on the bank's terms with the bank's crypto.  They will lock out every crypto that is not owned by their monopoly.  I suspect they will just hand it to their account holders for them to use in their transactions, converting their dollars, euros, won, yen into the internationally approved crypto at their bank in a seemless near costless transaction.  They are waiting for the bugs and security flaws to be worked out and the technology to perfect itself before they drop the crypto-bomb.

-----

This is true for any market.

Something else is there. It's called a black market. As long as others are willing to accept and trade in a particular medium, it can exist no matter what bankers or governments do. After all, we already have digital currency before bitcoin and other cryptos. The people's will or the banker's/government's will. Should be entertaining.

In reply to by fattail

Mr_Potatohead FreeShitter Jan 6, 2018 6:53 PM Permalink

LoL for sure.  If I'm not mistaken, the definition of being a criminal is actually being convicted of something.  Otherwise you're just exercising your rights under the rule of law to break any law that you wish provided that you're willing to pay the potential consequences for getting caught.  Somehow I suspect that real potential criminals know what their doing- whether they used crypto or not.  In contrast, the average crypto HODLer, who thinks they're going to be secure and able to avoid the tax man, definitely is likely to become a criminal.

In reply to by FreeShitter

HRClinton Mr_Potatohead Jan 7, 2018 3:11 AM Permalink

Speaking as a HODLer...

When I used fiat currency to acquire BTC, I acquired Non-Financial Assets.

What other people are willing to pay for such assets is their business. If people are willing to trade non-financial assets, is also their business. Especially... if these assets are in a different tax jurisdiction, then this clouds things further. Let me illustrate with an example:

Say I bought BTC years ago with cash (CNY) from a Chinese miner, while abroad. I then stored them in a Cold Wallet, unconnected to the internet. 100% legal.

Now let's say that I went abroad and traded some BTC for a stack of AU coins. An exchange of assets. No fiats were involved. All legal.

I then stored the coins in a secure facility. Still 100% legal.

I am not required to disclose what Non-Financial Assets I possess -- be it on my property, off-property or abroad.

Just as corporations are 100% within their legal and taxation rights to keep offshore assets in jurisdictions with better taxation, so we too have that same right. Especially if these assets are Non-Financial.

Now, if you Mericans lack smarts and imagination to keep Non-Financial Assets from making contact with taxable Fed fiats, then I can't help you. No one can.

In reply to by Mr_Potatohead

quadraspleen HRClinton Jan 7, 2018 5:03 AM Permalink

^^

this is exactly how I’ve played it. I bought 4 BTC like 4/5 years ago off some obscure site like localcoins or somewhere (I actually don’t remember) I paid money straight into some dudes bank account. 

I bought some ETH from coinbase last year (which is outside my jurisdiction) and I keep it all on a hw wallet. The wallet addresses changed quite a few times and they all use a variety of ip addresses through vpn. How HMRC gonna find any of that? I’m about to open a Hong Kong bank account too. The uk authorities are treating BTC profits as “foreign exchange transactions” which basically means they accept cryptos are currency. Good luck with the legal mine field that will open up

 

If you lot who keep bleating about the IRS/tax authorities wanna suck it up to the man and pay your slavery dues, be my guest. With a tiny bit of creative thinking, you don’t need to 

 

From my cold, dead hands

In reply to by HRClinton

Archive_file FreeShitter Jan 6, 2018 10:55 PM Permalink

Here’s why I give a shit about bitcoin:

”He's projecting. With the meteoric rise of rai he knows the people and the market are saying "we're tired of waiting" and they are putting a high price for a solution that works. He is afraid of becoming the redundant one if iota doesn't have progress soon, like VERY soon. You can smell the defensiveness and fear on his post. Rai is capturing the market quickly and as we all know with bitcoin, first mover advantage is everything. Once rai is cemented in the top 5 the only feasible thing that could remove it is exponential improvement, for example rai VS btc transactions. 1000x faster, 1000x more throughput, and completely free. We're at the top and almost nothing can beat those numbers dramatically enough to convince people to move on to a different currency after rai has taken over. 

 

This is THE coin, every exchange will list it, and every trader and investor will come in contact with it when moving money from exchange to exchange. Even if it does not overtake btc, armies of bots will be doing arbitrage with it and btc:rai pairings will always be a stable and liquid market during the 20~ seconds it will take to have btc from one exchange to the another. It will also increase healthy exchange competition by emphasizing their withdrawal fees, rai is free to send so there is no excuse for them to charge ridiculous fees for bitcoin or other withdrawals anymore. Millions will be saved on network fees between traders and exchanges, and it will be glorious. It's going to be universal. First it will start with the exchanges, and then through bigger and bigger businesses as usability improvements such as simpler keys, one click transactions, or clearer UI's are developed. It's exactly what every trader and short term investor has been waiting for.”

 

its name is RaiBlocks (XRB)

In reply to by FreeShitter