Russian ‘bitcoin fraud’ suspect held in Greece says prison security beefed up over ‘kill order’

Washington accuses Vinnik of laundering $4 billion with the help of the BTC-e bitcoin trading platform. The Russian denies any wrongdoing. Speaking to RIA Novosti via his lawyer, Vinnik confirmed that there is a threat on his life in Greece where he is currently in jail. The prison, however, beefed up security measures to protect him.

READ MORE: Greek ruling to extradite Russian Bitcoin expert to US violates int’l law – Moscow

“These special measures have been taken since early February, the head of the prison told me in the presence of the Thessaloniki city prosecutor. He explained that someone wants to poison me, there is a kill order for me. This information was official,” Vinnik said in comments sent to RIA. The Russian stressed that he also received threats via phone.

The entrepreneur says that in order to minimize the poisoning threat, he is forced to drink tap water, despite having an opportunity to buy water in the prison shop. He is escorted by a security guard in prison to exclude any contacts with other prisoners.

Vinnik was arrested in the resort area of Halkidiki, near the city of Thessaloniki in northern Greece in July 2017. It was claimed that he had links to BTC-e digital currency trading and exchange platform, which he allegedly used for money laundering. The US also claims that Vinnik is behind the hack of Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange Mt Gox.

In the meantime, Russian authorities have also requested Vinnik’s extradition, accusing him of stealing 600,000 rubles ($10,500) from an unidentified entity “using… deception and the internet.” Vinnik says that he is ready to be extradited to Russia, confirming that he wrote to the Russian Interior Ministry and General Prosecutor’s office.

In February this year the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a warning to all citizens about the threat of being detained or arrested in foreign countries at the request of US special services. Vinnik’s arrest was one of the examples given by the ministry.

It also warned that after being handed over to the US justice system, Russian citizens often encounter extremely biased attitudes. “Through various means, including direct threats, they attempt to coerce Russians into pleading guilty, despite the fact that the charges of them are far-fetched. Those who refuse get sentenced to long prison terms,” the statement stressed.

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Bitcoin stronger than ever as Wealthy are Hoarding $10 Billion of Bitcoin in Bunkers

Home » Economy, Manipulation, North America, Survival » Bitcoin stronger than ever as Wealthy are Hoarding $10 Billion of Bitcoin in Bunkers

Posted by on May 11th, 2018 // No Comment


Behind the guards, the blast doors and down corridors of reinforced concrete, sit the encrypted computer servers — connected to nothing — that hold keys to a vast digital fortune.

Argentine entrepreneur Wences Casares has spent the past several years persuading Silicon Valley millionaires and billionaires that Bitcoin is the global currency of the future, that they need to buy some, and that he’s the man to safeguard it. His startup, Xapo, has built a network of underground vaults on five continents, including one in a decommissioned Swiss military bunker.

In the rarefied world of wealth management, Xapo is known for a client list studded with family offices, and for occasionally letting a journalist peek into a stronghold to write about its security. But one secret has proven elusive: how much digital cash does it really hold?



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Amazon filed a patent to de-anonymize Bitcoin transactions and sell the data to law enforcement

DCC–In 2014, Amazon applied for a patent that would help de-anonymize crypto currency transactions and then sell that information to law enforcement and government agencies. Although Bitcoin was never meant to be totally private, the patent looks to remove almost all levels of anonymity from crypto currency transactions if possible.

The patent explains a “streaming digital marketplace” where data points form different sources are used to pinpoint users identities. Below is a quote from the patent application.

One example is a data stream that publishes or includes global bitcoin transactions (or any crypto currency transaction). These transactions are completely visible to each participant in the network. The raw transaction data may have little meaning to a customer unless the customer has a way to correlate various elements of the stream with other useful data. For example, a group of electronic or internet retailers who accept bitcoin transactions may have a shipping address that may correlate with the bitcoin address. The electronic retailers may combine the shipping address with the bitcoin transaction data to create correlated data and republish the combined data as a combined data stream. A group of telecommunications providers may subscribe downstream to the combined data stream and be able to correlate the IP (Internet Protocol) addresses of the transactions to countries of origin. Government agencies may be able to subscribe downstream and correlate tax transaction data to help identify transaction participants.

The purpose here would be to combine data from different retailers and look for common points, such as a shipping address or IP logs and then start to put together a picture of the real identity of the person using Bitcoin or any other crypto currency.

Whatever their intention was with this patent, it seems like an odd patent for a retailer who doesn’t even accept crypto currency. Last year, Amazon made headlines when they purchased several crypto related domain names. Nothing seems to have come of those purchases, but this patent going back to 2014 shows the company has had an interest in crypto currency technology for some time now.

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Looking Ahead To $20,000 Bitcoin

In last week’s Investor Alert, our investment team shared with you a report from Morgan Stanley that says Bitcoin’s price decline since December mimics the Nasdaq tech bubble in the late 1990s. This isn’t earth-shattering news in and of itself. The main difference is that the bitcoin rout happened at 15 times the rate as the tech bubble.

Morgan Stanley has some good news for Bitcoin bulls, however: The 70 percent decline is “nothing out of the ordinary,” and what’s more, such corrections “have historically preceded rallies.” Just as the Nasdaq gained back much of what it lost in the subsequent years—before the financial crisis pared losses even further—bitcoin could similarly be ready to stage a strong recovery.

One research firm, in fact, believes Bitcoin and other digital coins, or “alt-coins,” have likely found a bottom. New York-based Fundstrat, headed by strategist Thomas Lee, issued a statement to investors last week saying that, though a cryptocurrency bull market isn’t necessarily underway, the worst of the pain could be “largely over.”

Fundstrat research shows that periods of cryptocurrency consolidation, or “purgation,” generally last 70 to 231 days. Bitcoin hit its all-time high in mid-December, almost 70 days ago as of March 26. Taking into consideration Fundstrat’s estimates, then, it’s possible the bear market could conclude sometime between now and early August.

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‘Bitcoin is #1 Priority’: New Snowden Leaks Show NSA is Targeting Cryptocurrency Users

The National Security Agency (NSA) managed to find ways to ‘track down senders and receivers’ of Bitcoins, according to an internal NSA report dated March 2013. The findings come from classified NSA documents, exposed by ex-CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden and first published by The Intercept.

Crucially, the tracking may also have involved amassing information from bitcoin users’ computers. One NSA memo suggests that the NSA collected some Bitcoin users’ password information, internet activity and MAC address,  which is a type of unique device identification number.

Bitcoin is a digital currency which uses encryption to regulate its units of currency. From the outset, cryptocurrencies were designed to circumvent the control of banks and provide discretion for financial transactions. But they could not easily evade the attention of national governments, who take a keen interest in controlling flows of money.

Bitcoin was the most assiduously targeted cryptocurrency, with a report from March 2013 stating that “Bitcoin is #1 priority,” although other currencies such as Liberty Reserve were also on the agency’s radar.

In order to track Bitcoin, the NSA used a programme called MONKEYROCKET, a sub-programme of OAKSTAR, which gathered data from the Middle East, Europe, South America, and Asia, according to the documents.

Part of this effort involved tricking targets into using privacy software that was actually funneling information directly to the agency.

Financial privacy “is something that matters incredibly” to the Bitcoin community, Emin Gun Sirer, associate professor and co-director of the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts at Cornell University, told The Intercept. “People who are privacy-conscious will switch to privacy-oriented coins” after learning of the NSA’s operations, he added.

The exact justification underpinning the surveillance remains unclear, although digital currencies such as bitcoin are known to pose numerous difficulties for security agencies because their anonymity means financial transactions cannot be monitored.

One NSA document states that the agency was “seeking to attract targets engaged in terrorism” which it could ‘exploit’.  However the memo goes on to say that “other targeted users will include those sought by NSA offices such as Int’l Crime & Narcotics, Follow-The-Money and Iran.” which could indicate a wider purpose, beyond terrorism, for the tracking.

In a report also from March 2013, the NSA states that the anonymous nature of bitcoin currency means that it enables “organised crime and cyber targets” to move and to launder money.

In March 2018 it was revealed that illegal child abuse imagery was detected in Bitcoin’s blockchain, according to a study from German researchers. The discovery could put cryptocurrency users at risk as anyone who downloads a blockchain can be held liable for illegal content.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have fallen significantly this year, leading some investors to fear the cryptocurrency bubble could burst in 2018. On Tuesday, Bitcoin was up 2.88 percent, trading near the $8,500 mark.

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