A United States court recently ordered a guilty plea to Christopher Bania, who is charged for drug distributiion, to give up almost 17 Bitcoin (BTC) which are now worth less than $150,000 (at press time). The US Court fines the dark web drug dealer in a case of money laundering, importation of controlled substances and maintaining a drug property.
Per the October 19 order from a court in Wisconsin, Bania will now need to forfeit “approximately 16.91880054 Bitcoin that are seized from his ‘Local Bitcoins’ account.” Even though that is worth less than $150k at the time of writing, it is much less than the 124 BTC that the court is returning to the defendant alongside various other cryptocurrencies and over $50,000 in cash seized from his residence upon the arrest.
Bahia’s plea on September 6 was to the single charge of possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute, which carries a top sentence up to 20 years in jail. Bania’s plea admits to selling marijuana, cocaine, MDMA and LSD on the dark web. The US Court fines him for that right now – but he denies distributing the methamphetamines, heroin and cocaine based on the proof that the authorities found at his home.
The US border patrol originally launched the investigation into Bania and his dealings after they intercepted two packages from Belgium containing MDMA. Investigators were able to trace Bania and his use of dark web distribution networks thanks to his transaction notebooks, which are described as “meticulous” in the court filings.
The sentencing is currently scheduled for December 9. Meanwhile another couple in California pleaded guilty to similar charges before this. Near the end of July, a man in Florida admitted to operating a massive opioid distribution network online.
As the US Court fines this dark web drug dealer, the war between regulators and crypto criminals continues. Meanwhile, the Bitcoin scams news show that there are more and more cases like these, especially popular after price spikes and increases in the price of BTC and other cryptocurrencies.
The rally that Bitcoin started yesterday was also a major milestone for the dominant cryptocurrency and the highest price that we have seen in about 5 weeks.
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“This is a problem that is a little too complicated to be explained in a single sentence, the time span is also large, and the two story development lines are advancing and affecting each other at the same time, leading to the final outcome.”The Chinese exchange Fcoin is now in the cryptonews. After its launch in May, the reported trading volumes became some of the biggest in the world overnight thanks to a new business model called "transaction mining." Later on, one Reddit user reported that this volume was actually fake - which is when the problems started. The exchange was later on described as a scam by many and the suspicions about its business model turned out true. There was no airdrop nor ICO at launch and the Chinese exchange Fcoin distributed 51% of its native tokens to users for reimbursing transaction fees. The CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, has publicly called FCoin a Ponzi scheme since the middle of 2018, commenting on Zhang's post in a tweet which read:
“I rarely called out anyone, with exceptions. On Chinese social media, I called FCoin a pyramid scheme in mid-2018. Their founder calls his own plan a "better invention than #Bitcoin". That did it for me. Who would say such a thing? About themselves? Except scammers.”https://twitter.com/cz_binance/status/1229446449152348161 To this, Zhang replied saying that there have been some errors which the Chinese exchange FCoin detected - but did not explain why it failed to address such problems before it is too late.
‘With the deepening of the investigation, we found a large number of existing data problems of dividends and mining returns, and these problems have existed for many days. As a result, a large number of users have already been through operations such as buying and selling various currencies and withdrawing cash, causing the pollution of assets.”The platform was suspended a few days ago by its own account for risk control, which caused a lot of speculation that the project was shutting down and the operators are vanishing. In the last few sentences on his blog post, however, Zhang said that he will do everything to give back the money to users via email personally - and compensate FCoin user losses with the profits he would make from other projects.
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‘’Unfortunately, we have to notify you with the fact that our exchange was hacked during the night and almost all funds from BTC, ETH, ARRR and VRSC were stolen. A small part of the funds are safe on cold wallets.’’From the announcement, it seems that Altbits had almost all of the funds on the hot wallets despite their major vulnerability to malicious cyber intrusions. The Italian crypto exchange will provide a full report on the lost funds soon and we will be able to see exactly how big of damage the theft made. In the follow-up tweets of the exchange, however, can be seen that the hackers stole 1,066 Komodo tokens and 283,375 Verus coins. This combined the value of both stolen cryptos stands at about $27,000. At press time, Altsbit had a 24-hour trading volume of $14.8 million with 98% of its trading activity coming from the ARRR/BTC pair which is the native token of the pirate Chain. Reacting to the news of the hack, some of the supporters of decentralized exchanges noted the vulnerabilities of the platforms that are centralized. However, centralized platforms still command the grater trading volume as the DEX services have a notoriously hard way of navigating the user interfaces. As for the security situation with centralized crypto exchange platforms, the 2020 crypto crime reports by Chainlink show that the exchanges seem to be better equipped to deal with the hackers. Despite the increase in the number of hack attacks, the blockchain analysis firm explained that the total amount of stolen funds in the hacks declined dramatically from the previous year. One of the important strategies that exchanges use is to limit their hot wallet holdings and this will show any inside involvement since the hackers are less sable to drain the vast crypto sums from vulnerable hot wallets. The North Korean hack group Lazarus, is suspected of being behind most of the crypto exchanges in the Asian Pacific and now it seems that it is changing its attack vectors. The group utilizes phishing malware on popular messaging platforms such as Telegram.
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