U.S. Government Officially Enters Into Bitcoin Meney Laundering 'Business'
Only a few years ago a U.S. Air Force General In Argentina opened bitcoin ATM on his base.It is obvious the SEC and NSA and CIA,ET.AL. know how evil bitcoin is and could stop it at any time but they are themselve3s so evil they don'yt want to,they want to profit from defrauding naive investors as well.Just as they allowedme and so mant othersto be ripped off with U.S. penny stocks and allowed CIA and Mossad and City of London Zionists go free of their still ungoing stock frauds,even allowed them to make up a term 'naked short selling' and later the SEC joined in the lie that not only U.S. penny stock were being 'naked shorted' butdividend paying stocks such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which exposed theirlie because dividend shares cannot be counterfeited and pay dividends at the same time.My whole government the U.S. government is giant ponzi scheme money laundering terrorist organization whose allies include the Russian Jewish mafia that controlled gay fascist closet African American J Edgar Hoover and his historically corrupt FBI.
Inside Uncle Sam's Secret Bitcoin Hoard
Here’s What To Know About CryptoKitties
It’s the new craze in the crypto world
By JEFF JOHN ROBERTS 6:30 AM EST
When Alexandre Cazes hanged himself in a Thai jail cell in July, the 25-year-old left behind the trappings of a big-league drug dealer: villas, Lamborghinis, a Porsche, bank accounts in Liechtenstein and Switzerland. But Cazes, who authorities allege operated AlphaBay, the world’s largest black-market website for drugs and weapons, also left something else: Internet “wallets” holding millions of dollars’ worth of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies.
Cazes’s digital loot is now property of the U.S. Justice Department, which seized it during a global sting operation. The agency plans to sell it, and given that Bitcoin’s value has soared more than fivefold since then, it could reap a huge windfall. But if you want to find out who’s holding those coins, or when they’re being sold, you’ll need extensive cybersleuthing skills—and a lot of free time.
These digital seizures and sales, unheard-of five years ago, are fast becoming routine. Bitcoin’s enduring popularity among online wrongdoers, and its growing presence in criminal busts, has turned Uncle Sam into a major player in cryptocurrency markets. While exact figures are impossible to pin down, documentary evidence and interviews with current and former defense attorneys and prosecutors suggest that at least $1 billion worth of digital coins, and possibly much more, has spent time in the custody of U.S. law enforcement.
But once in government hands, this digital hoard disappears behind a cloak of secrecy. The anonymity that makes Bitcoin a darling of libertarians—along with opaque property-seizure laws hated by those same libertarians—makes it virtually impossible for the public to follow the digital money. And as federal agencies have been drawn into an ever-growing role in the cryptocurrency boom, their efforts to guard their digital gold have led to surprises, stumbles, and sometimes sin.
The U.S. Marshals Service is the oldest law-enforcement agency in the country, counting gunslingers like Wyatt Earp and Wild Bill Hickok among its alumni. More recently, TV and movies have familiarized many Americans with its role transporting prisoners and tracking dangerous fugitives. Far fewer people know the marshals sell Bitcoin.
A decades-old law gives the Marshals Service, which is part of the Department of Justice, primary responsibility for disposing of items seized by other federal law-enforcement agencies. That’s why you can visit the marshals’ website and ogle boats, cars, planes, wristwatches, and other ill-gotten gains snatched by the FBI and other agencies, all available at public auction. The seizure process, known as forfeiture (see sidebar), became more commonplace and controversial in the 1980s after Congress made it easier for federal officials to sell assets tied to drug crimes.
At the time, no one knew these assets would someday include money mined on computers. That changed earlier this decade during an epic investigation into Silk Road—a global eBay for illegal drugs. A young Texan known as Dread Pirate Roberts (real name: Ross Ulbricht) built Silk Road on three then-new technologies: cheap cloud data storage; the Tor browser, which let people roam dark parts of the Internet undetected; and Bitcoin, which let them pay each other in a secure, semi-anonymous manner, without involving banks.
A protester at the trial of Ross Ulbricht (on placard) in New York in 2015. Bitcoin seized from him in a drug sting was the first crypto currency ever sold off by the marshals.
A protester at the trial of Ross Ulbricht (on placard) in New York in 2015. Bitcoin seized from him in a drug sting was the first crypto currency ever sold off by the marshals. Spencer Platt—Getty Images
By 2013, as the feds closed in on Silk Road, criminals had become savvy about Bitcoin, but law enforcement lagged behind. “There was no expertise. It was too new,” says a prosecutor involved in the case. Like most sophisticated Bitcoin users at the time (and most criminals today) the Dread Pirate didn’t rely on a broker such as Coinbase to hold his digital funds. Instead, Ulbricht controlled an online wallet using a private key—a long, complex set of characters that’s basically impossible to guess. In private-key cases, the only way law enforcement can quickly obtain the Bitcoin is if the suspect reveals the key.
Enterprising agents figured out ways to snag suspects’ currency when it wasn’t protected. To get Ulbricht’s Bitcoin, they snatched his open, unlocked laptop from under his nose while arresting him in a San Francisco library. (As for Cazes, he was logged in to an AlphaBay administrator’s account when agents rammed a car through the gate of his Thailand estate.) By the time they busted the Dread Pirate, the marshals had got up to speed: They controlled at least two digital wallets of their own, to hold the Silk Road currency and receive Bitcoins seized by other agencies. “This was cutting-edge stuff,” says Sharon Cohen Levin, a longtime chief of the asset-forfeiture unit in the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, and now a partner at WilmerHale. “We’d never done something like this.” Once they did, however, the marshals fell back on standard procedure, preparing to handle the Bitcoin the same way they would a coke smuggler’s speedboat: by auctioning it off. That posed challenges because of the sheer size of the seizure—about 175,000 Bitcoins, or 2% of all the Bitcoin in circulation at the time. According to a prosecutor familiar with the case, the marshals opted for a staggered series of auctions to avoid crashing Bitcoin’s price.
In four auctions between June 2014 and November 2015, the marshals sold the Silk Road Bitcoins for an average price of $379. Bitcoin went on to enjoy a huge run-up; as a point of comparison, in an unrelated auction this January, the marshals sold off 3,813 Bitcoins and netted $45 million—or about $11,800 per coin. Sold at those prices, the Silk Road stash could have reaped $2.1 billion, enough to cover the Marshals Service’s annual budget; in 2014 and 2015, it netted just $66 million. Billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper, meanwhile, made what might be the investment of the decade when he snapped up 30,000 of the Silk Road coins for about $600 each. Draper, who described the auction process to Fortune as “smooth,” says he hasn’t sold a single one, adding, “Why would I trade the future for the past?”