The U.S. Department of Justice announced two individuals have been indicted for bank fraud and money transmission in relation to cryptocurrency operations.

The Department claims that Reginald Fowler (Arizona) and Ravid Yosef (Israel) lied to multiple US Banks in stating the accounts they opened were for real estate investments while in reality they were for trading virtual currency.

According to court documents this took place way back in ... 2018.

Which is a bit unusual considering US Agencies who enforce the law regarding these types of offenses generally take time, as in years of time, to conduct their investigations. The time frame of which they investigated the two men concluded in October of 2018 spanning 8 months prior. 

One could argue that the lengthy investigation periods could be due to the HSI (Homeland Security Investigations) manufacturing its own evidence where there otherwise isn't any and this might is a case of someone actually breaking a rule somewhere, however, there are no facts to support that other than the obvious.  

"Reginald Fowler and Ravid Yosef allegedly ran a shadow bank that processed hundreds of millions of dollars of unregulated transactions on behalf of numerous cryptocurrency exchanges, their organization allegedly skirted the anti-money laundering safeguards required of licensed institutions that ensure the U.S. financial system is not used for criminal purposes, and did so through lies and deceit.” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman

Fowler was charged with bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, operating an unlicensed money transmission business, and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmission business and Yosef was charged with bank fraud and conspiracy.

In a nutshell, lying to a bank or any FDIC insured financial institution is a recipe for disaster as is evident of these indictments. Banks ask each business account applicant what the nature of the business is as part of it's CDD/KYC procedures and additionally specifically asks if the business is a financial services firm or related business and specifically asks if the company is an MSB.

Stating otherwise when the truth and intent is to use the account for financial or related services is flat out illegal pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1001 which states that anyone who knowingly:
  • falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
  • makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
  • makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;
I breaking the law of which comes with potential penalties of up to 5 years in prison (8 years under certain circumstances). 

This doesn't stop with business accounts either, lying on personal applications for credit or things like a home mortgage can also land an offender in the same hot water.

That said, nobody has to answer any question that any bank asks nor is one required to fill out an application in full. Those seeking these services in the United States certainly have the right to withhold any information they so choose to and "it's none of your damn business" is a perfectly legal response, however, this is unlikely to be of any assistance in opening a bank account.

Unless the intent is to commit fraud, there's really no sense for any of the above legal silliness. There are plenty of banks that welcome virtual currency businesses and whereas accounts at these banks may not be as easy to open (as easy as a national chain for example) and come with additional requirements as well as high monthly fees, they exist in the United States and all over the world for that matter. 

Sure there as plenty of banks that shun the industry and those are predominantly in the headlines for that very activity, but they do not make up the banking industry as a whole and where one says no, another says yes. 

Which makes the actions of these two men that led to these charges a bit ridiculous if they were just trading bitcoin. If they were up to other fraudulent activity which may well be the case, then that's another story, but regardless, illegal is illegal. 

Perhaps the street corner guy was on to something all along with his "why lie? I need a beer" sign and honesty really is the best policy .... but in Fowler and Yosef's ... it was the law.

[accordion] [item title="Author and Credits"] Article by dinbits
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[/item] [item title="Disclaimer"]The opinions expressed by authors of articles linked, referenced, or published on do not necessarily express, nor are endorsed by, the opinions the of or its affiliates. Please review the Terms of Use for more information.[/item] [/accordion]

IBM continues in "Bank of America" fashion, madly filing patents on anything it can think of related to blockchain, this time a patent for self-driving vehicles. The patent was published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on April 2.

I could almost bet money that this eventually has something to do with them selling more cloud subscriptions. Especially given the following statement from the patent:

“Observing, detecting, and sensing of the driver behavior data can be collected by the in-vehicle sensors of the driver's vehicle in real-time and uploaded onto a cloud data hub...” says the patent.

To explain the idea simply, the concept is to have cars watch other cars and report this to IBM's cloud so that other cars can read the information and act accordingly.

Am I the only one who sees disaster written all over this silliness? 

The idea itself doesn't completely suck, for example, if this were relying on a network like bitcoin's blockchain where the tamper-free environment can be somewhat believable, then perhaps this would be an idea worth trusting the life of you and your family to. 

However, trusting your car to rely on data from a database housed somewhere in IBM's data center to cart you around? Sounds more like suicide by IBM cloud.

IBM states the use of real-time analytics through this mechanism can provide utility to self-drivers and no doubt, it certainly could, so long as it's not tucked away somewhere under IBM's thumb.

Creating the Problem 

IBM was late to the blockchain party, it wasn't until recently (about two years ago) that they would even give blockchain any recognition at all and originally called the technology "a design pattern made popular by bitcoin" insinuating they were some sort of master of ancient technology they set aside centuries ago.

The onslaught of patents and whitepapers over the last 24 months is proof alone they didn't have a damn clue and wish they would have been paying attention sooner. 

Instead of paying attention, they basically laughed at the technology and now they are spending millions trying to convince people they've been here all along going so far as to call themselves the "pioneers" of blockchain. 

Apparently, IBM has a dictionary that defines the word "pioneer" differently than the rest of the planet, instead of  "... the first to apply ...", IBM's copy must say "... one of the last to apply..." or maybe it says "... the first, after 8 years of everyone else, to apply..." ... or more specifically "... when IBM finally notices and applies...". 

But hey, at least they stopped laughing.

Back to the aforementioned copy-cat activity... here is the problem with this entire thing. This is a great idea that if implemented could better the world ... if it were a public service maintained by nobody and collectively contributed to by everyone. It could save lives, speed commute times, and a number of other things.

This technology already exists basically. The traffic system in the United States routinely broadcasts to the world what's going on and where, complete with traffic camera's and re-routing suggestions. Apps like Waves does exactly this.

This works well and it's free for all to use. Insert a commercial into the mix here and there to pay for the service and we're all good to go.

However, the difference is the current system(s) isn't on a blockchain and there are no self-driving cars to collect the data for consideration prior to making it's next decision. 

Enter IBM. So let's take what works and not modify it for the good of mankind, instead, let's patent it and cause a problem for everyone. 

This is an assumption of course, but by the very nature of this patent, it's clear that IBM intends to charge the shit out of automakers for access to such a system.

Eliminating the Problem

So now that IBM has created the problem, others will have to eliminate it. Patent or no patent,  a group of folks can get together and build a network for this very thing and offer it to the public free of charge.

You know, basically do what IBM does, take someone else's idea and steal it for their own personal gain. The difference here of course is that this would benefit the world and not just IBM's bank account.

Hopefully something like this will be on a public blockchain free from authoritative manipulation or any requirement to trust it's security to an organization who managed to file a patent on something first.

I guess that's what you do when you're last, take that extra time and sit around thinking up other ways to call yourself first, or better yet .... just get a copy of IBM's dictionary.

[accordion] [item title="Author and Credits"] Article by dinbits
Image Credits: Banner Image by staff
[/item] [item title="Disclaimer"]The opinions expressed by authors of articles linked, referenced, or published on do not necessarily express, nor are endorsed by, the opinions the of or its affiliates. Please review the Terms of Use for more information.[/item] [/accordion]

The United States Congressional Blockchain Caucus has introduced a new bill that, if passed, would provide a safe harbor for blockchain service providers and developers who do not act as custodians.

Finally there's proof that somebody in Washington has some sense. They have taken a step in the right direction to make things the way they should be with the introduction of the bill.

State Regulation

State-by-state regulation of virtual currency (which is considered money transmission in several states) is ridiculously broad encompassing just about everything from cash to paper airplanes and whereas the Federal law is not much better, the individual state laws comes with a heavy requirement of obtaining a money transmitters license in each and every state that considers virtual currency transactions money transmission and those fees can pile up to over $5 million USD to obtain licensing nationwide.

State laws are inherently protective of consumers affairs while the federal laws target the prevention of money laundering (AML) and combating the funding of terrorism (CFT), however, when a states money transmission laws are violated, federal laws, see 18 USC § 1960(b)(1)(A), kick in and the penalty jumps from whatever state fines are imposed to up to 5 years in prison for a federal offense.

Which is absolutely ridiculous.

In 2017, there were a record number of arrests, convictions, and incarcerations of several individuals worldwide and while some may have been seemingly warranted, others like the case of United States Vs. Jason Klein were simply absurd.

In Klein's case, the HSI (Homeland Security Investigations) conducted most of the transactions that combined to raise the transaction volume high enough to file realistic charges going so far as to do a final transaction a year later with Klein to raise the volume into another classification of sentencing penalty.

The Bill

The Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act aims to change some of that providing a safe harbor from these exact scenarios whereas a simple bitcoin trader exchanging an investment with another party for US dollars or startup software company using a blockchain to provide utility or services would be exempt from being treated as a money transmitter. The bill reads:

No blockchain developer or provider of a blockchain service shall be treated as a money transmitter, money services business, or or any other State or Federal legal designation requiring licensing or registration as a condition to acting as a blockchain developer or provider of a blockchain service, unless the developer or provider has, in the regular course of business, control over digital currency to which a user is entitled under the blockchain service or the software created, maintained, or disseminated by the blockchain developer.

This certainly wouldn't change anything over at Coinbase or Gemini as the bill is very specific to exclude custodial services, but for developers and small bitcoin companies operating in the OTC space, this may have a major impact if passed.

The chances of passing are likely not as strong as most of us would hope as there is likely going to be allot of opposition to the bill, but with growing blockchain support in congress, there is exactly that ... hope.

[accordion] [item title="Author and Credits"] Article by dinbits
Image Credits: Banner Image by staff
[/item] [item title="Disclaimer"]The opinions expressed by authors of articles linked, referenced, or published on do not necessarily express, nor are endorsed by, the opinions the of or its affiliates. Please review the Terms of Use for more information.[/item] [/accordion]

The Securities and Exchange Commission today filed charges against an international securities dealer and its Austria-based CEO for allegedly violating the federal securities laws in connection with security-based swaps funded with bitcoins. 

According to the SEC’s complaint, 1pool Ltd. a/k/a 1Broker, registered in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and its CEO Patrick Brunner solicited investors from the United States and around the world to buy and sell security-based swaps. Investors could open accounts by simply providing an email address and a user name – no additional information was required – and could only fund their account using bitcoins. The SEC alleges that a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, acting in an undercover capacity, successfully purchased several security-based swaps on 1Broker’s platform from the U.S. despite not meeting the discretionary investment thresholds required by the federal securities laws. The SEC also alleges that Brunner and 1Broker failed to transact its security-based swaps on a registered national exchange, and failed to properly register as a security-based swaps dealer. 

“The SEC protects U.S. investors across a variety of platforms, regardless of the type of currency used in their transactions,” said Shamoil T. Shipchandler, Director of the SEC’s Fort Worth Regional Office. “International companies that transact with U.S. investors cannot circumvent compliance with the federal securities laws by using cryptocurrency.”

The SEC’s complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement plus interest, and penalties. In a parallel action, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced charges against 1Broker arising from similar conduct. 

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by David Hirsch and Morgan Ward Doran, and supervised by Scott Mascianica and Eric R. Werner of the SEC’s Fort Worth Regional Office. The SEC’s litigation will be led by Chris Davis and supervised by B. David Fraser. The Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit assisted in the investigation. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the CFTC.

[accordion] [item title="Author and Credits"] Press Release by SEC
Image Credits: Banner Image by staff
[/item] [item title="Disclaimer"]The opinions expressed by authors of articles linked, referenced, or published on do not necessarily express, nor are endorsed by, the opinions the of or its affiliates. Please review the Terms of Use for more information.[/item] [/accordion]

Theresa Tetley, a.k.a. "Bitcoin Maven," pleaded guilty to federal charges of having operated a money transmission business without federal registration and that she conducted a financial transaction involving proceeds of drug trafficking.

According to prosecutors, Tetley earned at least $300,000 annually by operating an illegal, unregistered money transmitting business that exchanged the digital currency Bitcoin for cash.

Sentencing scheduled for Monday, was postponed. Tetley faces a 30-month (2 and 1/2 years) federal prison sentence and forfeiture of 40 Bitcoin, $292,264 in cash, and 25 assorted gold bars seized by law enforcement on March 30.

Tetley's business "fueled a black-market financial system in the Central District of California that purposely and deliberately existed outside of the regulated bank industry," according to court documents.

Between 2014 and 2017, Tetley used the to advertise and conduct transactions related to the charges.

The U.S. Attorney's Office stated that Tetley exchanged between $6 million and $9.5 million over the course of 3 years.

This is just another case in an ever-growing list of bitcoin traders being charged and convicted for illegally trading digital currency.

[accordion] [item title="Author and Credits"] Article by dinbits
Image Credits: Banner Image by staff
[/item] [item title="Disclaimer"]The opinions expressed by authors of articles linked, referenced, or published on do not necessarily express, nor are endorsed by, the opinions the of or its affiliates. Please review the Terms of Use for more information.[/item] [/accordion]

NEW YORK, May 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Genesis Global Trading, an industry pioneer and leader in over-the-counter digital currency trading, today announced that it has received approval from the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) for a BitLicense. The license enables Genesis to facilitate the trading of several digital currencies, including bitcoin (BTC), with its institutional trading partners. Genesis is the first New York-based trading firm to receive the license. To date, Genesis has operated under a "safe harbor" provision with DFS that enabled digital currency trading.

Genesis provides access to institutional investors and high net worth individuals looking to buy or sell large sums of digital currencies. A regulated trading partner, Genesis provides deep pools of liquidity to its trading partners, same-day settlement, 24/7 trading, and deep institutional expertise developed from trading billions of dollars in digital assets since entering the industry in 2013.

"We are very pleased that DFS has approved the Genesis Global Trading BitLicense application," said Michael Moro, CEO, Genesis Global Trading. "Although we have operated under a safe harbor provision in recent years, today's decision is an important step forward and reaffirms the robust compliance measures we have enacted as an established trading partner."

In addition to bitcoin, Genesis has also been approved for offerings of Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC), and Zcash (ZEC).

A broker-dealer registered with the SEC and FINRA, Genesis is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Digital Currency Group. DCG sits at the epicenter of the bitcoin and blockchain industry, building and investing in companies in more than 30 countries around the world. In addition to Genesis, DCG is the parent company of Grayscale Investments, the largest asset manager in the digital currency industry, and CoinDesk, a leading media and events company.

About Genesis Global Trading

Genesis Global Trading is a worldwide leader and established partner in over-the-counter digital currency trading, providing deep pools of liquidity to institutional investors and high net worth individuals. A broker-dealer registered with the SEC, FINRA, and the New York Department of Financial Services, Genesis is an industry pioneer and market maker that has facilitated billions of dollars in transactions since 2013.

For more information on Genesis, please visit and follow on Twitter @GenesisTrading.

Media Contacts

[email protected]

SOURCE Genesis Global Trading
Related Links

The SEC posted a dummy website that offers a similar presentation to many ICO offerings in an effort to bring awareness to the scams and poor investments on the market.

The only problem is that the website mocks many real ICO's with substance that offer real investment opportunity and utility. This because the fraudulent websites mimic the real ones and now the SEC is mocking them all.

Despite their good intentions, this may not have been the greatest idea to have ever been thought up, however, the mock-up is not without it's useful points.

Let's take a look at HoweyCoins (likely a derivative of the Howey test) and make notes of the red flags.


At first glance, like any other ICO be that real or fraudulent, HowerCoins looks authentic. 

There's the standard countdown of getting a "great deal" with 15% cheaper tokens if you join the pre-sale (pre-ICO sale).

Complete with a nifty logo and nice background imagine wrapped up in a responsive web experience a single page in length would lead any investor looking for ICO's to take a closer look.

There's even mug shots of the "team" and a fancy whitepaper. What could possibly go wrong.


Breaking it Down

We play a game called "peek the onion" for most scam sites, but we'll just call this "breaking it down" since this is a fictitious website.

1. Contact information, or lack thereof

There is no contact information available outside of email. This is an immediate RED FLAG. There's no phone number or at least an 800 number, no support desk, no company listed, etc...

Any reputable company will have contact information and a way to get a hold of them. For instance look at, right on the front page you have an 800 number and support email in plain sight.

Here's, an ICO that went public earlier this year. 

Just about every method of communication available and their offices are listed. 

2. Big returns

Anytime any ICO, or anyone for that matter, claims high rates of returns, it's a scam. Plain and simple.

"We anticipate OVER 1% daily returns, with DOUBLE 2% returns on Tier 1 investors in pre-ICO stage secured purchases. The average registered coin return over a two month period in 2017 was an amazing 72%. Based on market conditions, including record-setting prospects in both the digital asset and travel industries, we expect surpassing that BEFORE the Tier 2 offering closes."
3. Pump and dump

This is a classic scheme dating back years to the early days of Altcoins (ICO's) back when blockchain meant bitcoin before the block-colored software, IBM's cloudware, and just about anything resembling a database claimed to be a blockchain.

Coins are artificially pumped causing a buy frenzy then dumped by those who caused it.
"Our past two pumps have doubled value for the period immediately after the pump for returns of over 225%."
4. Testimonials 

Let's face it. What reputable organization ever has "testimonials". Don't see these on Gemini, Bitstamp doesn't list a slue of these, and I don't recall Ethereum or ZCash ever promoting ICO's with testimonials.

Here's a tip. If it's an "ICO" it typically means nothing it done yet, there's just an idea. If there's just an idea then what are these testimonials providing testimony for? They wouldn't know their head from their ass any more than you would as to the validity of the concept.

Testimonials is a big fat RED FLAG.

4. Whitepaper

Nothing is more telling than the one thing that makes the entire offering the most believable. The existence of a whitepaper.

We've said this in the past and here it goes again. You need to review the whitepaper and see what the offering is all about.

Allot of people open the whitepaper but they don't actually READ them.

At a glance this whitepaper looks authentic. Until you actually read the document and see that it says a while lot about a bunch of absolutely nothing backed with no statistics from bogus sources.

... and ... no math.

Mathematics explain the concept behind the technology that the offering is promoting, without this universal explanation there's no realistic concept behind the face of the theory, or in this case, the shit they're shoveling.

There's certainly some things to learn from the mock site, but it's nothing many people haven't stated before. The unfortunate thing is that this also mimic's legitimate offerings and the SEC's intentions may not be purely "consumer protection" whereas government agencies tend to operate in a "blanket destruction" methodology.

Why take out the illegal shit when you can take out the pain in the ass at the same time?

Regardless, they do have a point. There are entirely too many ICO offerings that are nothing more than hot air.

[accordion] [item title="Author and Credits"] Article by dinbits
Image Credits: Banner Image by staff
[/item] [item title="Disclaimer"]The opinions expressed by authors of articles linked, referenced, or published on do not necessarily express, nor are endorsed by, the opinions the of or its affiliates. Please review the Terms of Use for more information.[/item] [/accordion]

Everyone knows that Bitcoin, as the biggest and most popular cryptocurrency, has a host of different instances where it can be used to buy real-world goods. Even Ethereum is easily being picked up by merchants nowadays.

However, as the altcoin interest grows, there are more and more specific coins that are being adopted by merchants in order to suit their digital currency wants and needs. From Dogecoin to KickCoin, these more obscure coins are becoming useful tools for every day buying.

Privacy coins

One of the big advantages of digital currency is the fact that they are anonymous and the transactions undertaken with them are hidden and untraceable. However, some coins are much more secretive than others.

For this reason, many adult services, such as pornography and sex toys, have turned to some of the more private coins to do business with.

Monero, one of the leading coins when it comes to privacy, is accepted at an online Australian sex store called The idea being of course that there is no paper trail, or no embarrassing credit card statements at the end of the month.

Another big announcement was made recently where another privacy coin, Verge, joined forces with one of the world’s biggest porn sites, PornHub. The partnership allows for PornHub user to buy a premium account with the site using the Verge currency.

Again, this is in order for PornHub to move with the digital times, but it also shows that they are looking towards specific coins that are not simply Bitcoin and Ethereum that offer what they need in their niche.

A whole host of coins

Just to show how vast and varied the adoption of digital coins is, one of them, that makes a joke of itself, is widely accepted in a host of different stores and locations.

DogeCoin, which started as a joke, has spread around a number of different stores and locations, being accepted on a number of markets, at food and drink locations, hosting sites, and goods.
Dogecoin can, quite sweetly, be used for a few pet stores as well, including the Diamond Collar, which sells bespoke pet accessories.

KickCoin is another coin that has now ventured into a real-world usage scenario as the cryptocurrency is accepted at online E-commerce, Flogmall. As the integration begins with Flog Mall, the word from the KICKICO team is that there have been several orders going through already with people receiving their items in good time, and in good working order

Developing cryptomarket

The marketplace for cryptocurrencies is developing, and having always been touted as an alternative for cash, it is pleasing to see that some of the smaller coins are starting to be accepted and picked up on when it comes to merchant acceptance.

There is still a long way to go mass adoption to come full circle, but with pioneering merchants and cons as mentioned above, a lot of the kinks and issues can start to be ironed out, paving a way for a future where crypto is the norm for online purchases.

[accordion] [item title="Author and Credits"] Article by Masha Beetroot
Image Credits: Banner Image by staff
[/item] [item title="Disclaimer"]The opinions expressed by authors of articles linked, referenced, or published on do not necessarily express, nor are endorsed by, the opinions the of or its affiliates. Please review the Terms of Use for more information.[/item] [/accordion]


Yesterday, the charges against a Michigan bitcoin trader known as SaltAndPepper (S&P) were dropped due to the governments inability to sufficiently build a case.

As we reported last year, S&P (Mr. Bradkey Stetkiw) operated in the state of Michigan where we outlined the details of how money transmissions charges against him might not stick and that we felt he had a very good chance of beating them.

In a nutshell we came to the conclusion that according to Michigan state law and regulations in the Act that governs this type of activity, S&P would not meet the criteria for being defined as a "money transmitter service" and this, the federal government had nothing to stand on.

As it turns out, S&P won't even have to defend himself at all. Due to the governments lack of evidence and apparent additional parties in question, they were unable to build a case within the allotted 30 day time period as prescribed by the Speedy Trial Act (18 U.S.C. §§ 3161(b), 3161(h)).

His attorney moved for a dismissal based on these grounds of which was granted.

No Money Transmission

As we stated last year, it didn't appear that under the laws within S&P's jurisdiction, that he had done any form of money transmission. At worst, he violated federal law if he weren't registered with FinCEN or the CFTC, however, that was not the charge against him.

He was specifically charges with transmitting money and the reasons given were once again the HSI setting him up and some apparent other parties one of which so called "deals" was debunked by the governments own evidence listed in court documents.

They state that S&P brokered a large cash deal and stated this as one of the points of concern and evidence supporting the charges, however, in their own statements they state that S&P himself said that he received absolutely no fee for the arrangement and merely pointed them in the direction of another individual to help.

Not only is that not money transmission, it's not even a crime of any kind at all and rather ridiculous that anything at all was even mentioned regarding that transaction.

The government couldn't build a case because the had nothing to build a case on. This was the correct outcome for this case and it can certainly be argued that there never should have been a case to begin with.

We are happy to have predicted this one partially wrong. We were right in that there was no case to begin with as we stated in last years article, however, we were afraid they would impose a lesser charge if S&P took a plea bargain as we predicted. We're glad that didn't happen and even if it had, would have likely just resulted in a small fine and some probation time at worst.

It poses the question about the charges themselves having any warrant at all. Should they have ever existed in the first place?

Obviously since there was no case built, there are things we simply are not aware of regarding the evidence that may or may not have been available, but clearly if a case cannot be put together within a reasonable amount of time then there's no reason the damn thing should have been there to begin with.

It sure appears as if S&P was unfairly indicted for selling bitcoin for no other reason than the HSI tried to set him up and it didn't fly.

You can view the motion here and the order here.

[accordion] [item title="Author and Credits"] Article by dinbits
Image Credits: Banner Image by staff
[/item] [item title="Disclaimer"]The opinions expressed by authors of articles linked, referenced, or published on do not necessarily express, nor are endorsed by, the opinions the of or its affiliates. Please review the Terms of Use for more information.[/item] [/accordion]

Former CEO Carl Ferrer of the now seized has plead guilty to conspiracy and money laundering according to court records.

On March 28th, 2018 former Backpage executives James Larkin, former owner Michael Lacey, COO Andrew Padill, and four others were also indicted on 93-counts.

In a plea agreement Ferrer admits he laundered money using industry exchange services including Coinbase, Kraken, and Paxful.

"I also conspired with other Backpage principals (including but not limited to M.L, J.L, S.S., J.B., and DH.) to engage in various money laundering offenses ... worked with my co-conspirators to find ways to fool credit card companies into believing that Backpage-associated charges were being incurred on different websites, to route Backpage-related payments and proceeds through bank accounts held in the name of seemingly unconnected entities ... and to use companies (including but not limited to Coinbase, GoCoin, Paxful, Kraken, and Capital) for similar purposes."

Backpage began accepting bitcoin, at one point exclusively, for ad placements on it's classified ads service which gave Paxful a boost when it first arrived on the industry scene in 2015 after Paxful engaged directly with Backpage to allow its users to send bitcoin directly to Backpage from Paxful and facilitated the process with online helpers to assist in the process and non-bank payment methods such as gift-cards and pre-paid debit cards.

Last Friday, and over a dozen variations of Backpage owned domains were all seized by authorities.

In the plea agreement Ferrer also admits he and other executives at the company knew that the advertisement were in fact for prostitution.

Shocker there.

Industry Effects

Paxful explains their realization of the problem for which their platform initially provided a solution in a medium post from 2016 and at one point were single highhandedly responsible for about 5% of all daily bitcoin transaction volume and whereas the platform is no longer centrally focused on Backpage, you can still locate Backpage help on the website.

Other platforms quickly jumped in after Paxful including WallofCoins, BitQuick, and even Circle at one point in addition to a dozen or more "backpage credit" websites that directly transmitted customer funds to backpage (platforms like Paxful or Circle did not transmit funds, the users transmitted funds themselves from their own wallet).

Up until Backpage was seized, this was a steady stream of bitcoin buyers for vendors some of which have reported up to a 50% decline in sales since the seize. These seem to be predominately some Paxful vendors and websites directly targeting backpage users with the aforementioned "backpage credit" services.

Additionally according to Ferrer's plea agreement, some of these same platforms are likely to see a decline in bitcoin purchasing opportunity whereas Backpage swapped their bitcoin for cash or bank transfers/wires in their apparent money laundering scheme.

Notably, all of the "backpage credit" websites we looked up were no longer functioning or all together shutdown.

To name a few: (not operation) (still some residue of what was once a site)

On a final note, whereas this is being touted as a victory by the Department of Justice and as far as human trafficking goes, most would agree, however, there are always other victims. According to media outlets, the demise of Backpage has been devastating for some, taking away their sole source of income to survive. 

Despite anyone's opinion of the trade or the legality of "sex workers" in most states in the Unites States being unfavorable, it's not illegal everywhere in the US nor is it illegal in the majority of North America for that matter. It's legal in Canada to sell sex (what Backpage advertisers were allegedly doing) and it's completely legal in Mexico as well as large portion of the world.   

This is not to condone nor condemn the practice, but to merely point out that there are many people affected in the actions of authorities who may have done more harm than good. Very much like the blockchain can actually be use to help law enforcement track illegal transactions as they otherwise could not do with cash, Backpage could have been a tool to help combat human trafficking being the largest online platform where this type of thing was present (according to authorities).

In fact, Backpage has reported hundreds of potential cases and indeed worked with authorities on this matter in the past. 

There's an article on the Daily Beast that discussed this very topic in great detail published in 2017 titled Backpage is Bad, Banning it Would Be Worse, the latter being the current reality where the ones authorities are attempting to stop have scattered to various places across the internet and dark web as a result of the shutdown and that .... may well have just made things much worse. 

[accordion] [item title="Author and Credits"] Article by dinbits
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