Darknet Hit Hard by Authorities

The darknet’s AlphaBay has gone black after alleged admin Alexander Cazes, a Canadian national, supposedly hung himself with a towel in Thailand.

Cazes was recently taken into custody and the US wanted him. Users were given advice to go other darknet sites such as Hansa Market. But Hansa too was taken over by law enforcement and is also down.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the Dutch National Police with Europol were responsible for removing the websites with their 350,000-plus illicit commodities.

“Millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies were frozen and seized” authorities said. “On average, 1000 orders were made per day … Since the acquisition of Hansa Market’s management, more than 50,000 transactions have been counted, especially for soft and hard drugs.”

Authorities, as per Europol’s press release, believe they have damaged darknet markets considerably.

There are other ways of buying and selling illicit commodities on the darknet and authorities will continue to face challenges going forward. Ultimately it may be better to legalize what doesn’t harm others, and that probably includes a large amount of darknet purchases.

Cybercurrencies will continue to evolve, and law enforcement makes them more valuable when it simply outright bans many of the products that cybercurrencies purchase.

Ardor Is Coming Soon – Better Than Ethereum?

A new kind of cryptocurrency is coming that the company claims is easier to use than ethereum. It is brought out by Jelurida, the developers behind Nxt and will use technologies already online from Nxt cryptocurrency and blockchain.

This multi chain solution with a parent-child chain architecture is called Ardor

Nxt is undergoing a dramatic evolution. Research by Jelurida has led to Ardor, a platform that uses child chains and incorporates all of Nxt’s latest blockchain innovations while being backed by the core developers of Nxt.

The Ardor child chain created blockchain available to anyone including single users and complex fintech startups. Anyone can build a child chain and talk to the entirety of blockchain. Anyone can use blockchain easily and efficiently.

According to Nxt:

  1. Ardor will open blockchain development to organizations and individuals across the world. The high barriers to getting started with blockchain are about to vanish.

2. Ardor will solve the problem of scalability by separating transactions and data that do not affect security from those that do, and moving all of those that don’t affect security onto child chains. The Ardor team will create the first child chain to house many Nxt 1.0 tools as well as future features. This small size also comes with short transaction times so processes need only a fraction of time compared to Bitcoin to execute functions.

3. Building off of the Asset Exchange on Nxt, Ardor will enable the ability to trade assets on any child chain for any of the child chain tokens. This allows child chains to interact with each other and opens up numerous opportunities for collaboration as well as allow cross chain asset trading, a long-requested feature within the Nxt ecosystem.

4. Ardor will be at the core of decentralized consensus in the future. Secure and anonymous voting will be an available feature on all child chains as it is on the Nxt platform.

5. Users can set multiple conditions before a transaction is executed, such as a minimum number of votes and a set amount of time. Like Nxt, Ardor will use Smart Transactions. With this, users will only need to submit the parameters necessary for the transaction and the ID of the functionality they want to use. The transaction process is also completely decentralized. No centralized server, service, or application, like Ethereum’s Oracle, is needed.

There is also more information available on the voting protocol found in the video here;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeOTm8dACMg 🙂

Texas Congressman Wants Regs

A Texas Congressman wants anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) regs to be part of new Internet efforts.

Texas congressman Roger Williams gave his ideas on July 8 in a hearing entitled “Virtual Currency: Financial Innovation and National Security Implications.” from the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance of the House Financial Services Committee.

Williams reportedly said, “recreating the structures of international finance … offer many exciting opportunities.” But added that additional rules are necessary.

Once again we wonder how much the regs really help. Criminals may well perform activities outside of regs. And the regs will therefore do more to slow down blockchain than to catch bad guys.

Regs ought to be very carefully applied. There’s little evidence that terrorists are using blockchain and cryptocurrencies anyway.

South Korea Readies Regulations

South Korea is getting ready to regulate cryptocurrencies. They just held a public hearing about with it.

Korean lawmaker Park Yong-jin wants consumer protections to be included in an upcoming bill.  The bill would regulate, bitcoin, ether and other cryptocurrencies.

The bill intends to make consumer protections for cryptocurrencies stronger and Park feels the bill must include them.

The government hasn’t made up its mind yet, but the discussion in a political venue tilted toward increased regulation. The kinds of regulation that Korea is contemplating would bring  cryptocurrencies fully into the monetary mainstream. But that will just the beginning of the changes.

The more South Korea makes cybercurrencies like existing money, the less people will want to use it. One of the attractions of private currencies is that they are not regulated.

Some regulation may be necessary simply because the Korean monetary structure is set up that way. The question is how much? And South Korea sounds as if it is verging on too much even before regulations have passed.

Blockchain Is the Beginning Not the End

BTCC CEO Bobby Lee Wants Bank Regs

Head of the BTCC exchange Bobby Lee, said on CNBC’s Squawk Box that cryptocurrencies should be regulated. They need regulation to become less volatile.

Bobby Lee also commented on China’s move toward cybercurrency regulation. China has said that bitcoin in particular needs to be regulated and recently reviewed Chinese exchanges trading bitcoin.

Some believed the PBOC move was aimed at reducing bitcoin trading  Bobby Lee said that commercial banks needed to be more involved with the trading of cryptocurrencies in China and elsewhere.

One wonders if Bobby Lee wants regulation for its own sake or because banks won’t get involved without regulation. Chances are central banks in particular will not propose much serious trading without regulation.

And as was recently pointed out in these pages, the market is likely the best regulator of all. Government regulation is a kind of secondary effort that seeks control.

Regulation is a kind of price fixing. In the long run, price fixing doesn’t work. Some regulation is necessary because banks won’t become involved without it. But that doesn’t make it right nor good.

Bobby Lee could say what many in the cybercurrency community believe, that regulation is already in place, created by the market itself. But he is anxious to get more capital inflows and banks are a key to it.

He is willing to urge regulation to bring in bank money. That’s too bad. A real conversation about regulation and excessive regulation is called for.

Some regulation may be necessary because banks won’t come on board without it. But cryptocurrency execs ought not to be overly enthusiastic about making it happen.

Many of the biggest names in the business are calling for regulation but they ought to be calling for talks to decide what if any regulation is needed. Start by discussing regulation, not demanding it.

Regs Are Advanced for Cryptocurrencies But Not Yet Finalized

A Republican Congressman wants more anti-money laundering direction for digital currencies. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher began a recent speech to Congress with Russian involvement in the presidential election, and then made the transition to cryptocurrencies.

He said “people with bitcoins living in despotic regimes throughout the world have the opportunity to protect their assets from abusive and corrupt governments” but that they would need regulatory help do so.

The Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Counterfeiting Act of 2017, wants to Federalize parts of digital currency exchanges and other dealings under federal statutes.

The trouble with cryptocurrencies from a government point of view is that they don’t yield easily to regulation. You don’t have to use an exchange for instance to buy or sell currencies. And if you don’t use an exchange then your regulatory participation is severely limited.

This is the larger problem faced by those who would regulate cryptocurrencies or blockchain. The more regulations they have, the less well the technology functions.

And in the case of cryptocurrencies, regulations actually drive people away from government dealings. Many times they may conduct peer to peer transactions without any supervision at all.

For these reasons, considerable regulation is probably going to be debatable. Some regulation may work, but not a lot. Nobody knows how it will turn out, but over-regulation will either kill the market or, more likely, make it more invisible to the Feds.

It is sure to result in a long-term and ongoing debate. And  it won’t be easily resolved.

It’s Not the Sign But the Money Behind It

Janet Yellen’s testimony before Congress was disrupted by people holding a sign that said “Buy bitcoin.”

Yellen was at the House Financial Services Committee where she spoke about US economy and took questions. She also commented on the Fed’s recent report given to Congress.

She said she thought it was perfectly possible to raise interest rates given that the economy was finally healthier. But as she spoke, someone held up a “buy bitcoin” sign nearbye.

In a follow-up tweet, Nick Timiraos of The Wall Street Journal said two individuals had been asked to leave “after a staffer made some instruction to them.”

The unspoken premise of the sign was that bitcoin was preferable to central banking itself which in the case of the Fed has been struggling with a quasi-depression for nearly nine years now.

This was probably why the individuals were asked to leave as well. The Fed is doing a miserable job and doesn’t want people to get the idea there are alternatives to Fed dollars, even though it’s true.

The bottom line is that Bitcoin, for all its flaws, is a less controlled money than what the Fed has to offer. It has grown up without any overt Fed endorsement either and, for now, is worth a lot of Fed dollars, over $2,300 hundred of them.

Bitcoin is not going to replace the dollar at the moment but it certainly raises questions about the Fed’s management. And those questions will likely persist no matter what the Fed does about signs and the people that hold them.

Europol Study Finds Bitcoin Liable for Some Terrorism

A Europol study has found that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are used to fund terrorism in a “moderately significant way.”

A previous study in 2016 found that there was no significant use of cryptocurrencies to fund terror.  But this one says that “terrorist groups could use virtual currencies to their advantage.”

The report suggests that anti-money laundering regulations will secure cybercurrencies in the future. However, regulations are initially driven by the market itself.  These are market-centric … and government regulations may be seen as a poor substitute.

What this report tells us is that terrorism has not really taken advantage of cryptocurrencies and neither has money laundering. But they are anticipating more money laundering in the future and are suggesting government regulations to damp it.

There is a definite possibility that government regs will not make things better but only clog markets. Quite possibly a conversation should be joined on market regs versus government regs to help clarify how much government regs really help. The answers may be surprising.

 

Rioting for Blockchain and the G20

It´s not hard to imagine why events like the G20 turn violent as that’s what the overall goal was to begin with. Hence the reasoning to place the event in the worst location possible in Germany and possibly all of Europe and Hamburg as close as possible to the Sternschanze.
Wars including class wars, race wars, gender wars, political wars and religious wars are what we should expect. Good ol´ divide and conquer is what’s practiced and pursued. None of it is new.
Any sort of war will do to keep people divided which justifies further consolidation and centralization at the highest levels.
Keep the masses confused and distracted. At the heart of the protests was “anti-capitalism.” But it’s clearly not the system that is in place at the moment. If it was, then capitalism would not include companies that are “too big to fail.”
That’s a term coined in 1984! And too big to fail has justified billions in bail outs to some of the world’s largest firms. If real capitalism was employer these firms would be allowed to go bankrupt. We have a simple process for this procedure.
See the MF Global failure in 2011 when JP Morgan decided they didn´t have to follow the law. They went into individuals accounts to straight up steal the money from depositors since they would have to wait for the law. In bankruptcy creditors fall further behind in line from depositors but as usual we don´t have rule of law for all.
There is no chance that “they” can regulate globalization. They have a very poor track record and the average person is rapidly figuring out the game rigged. Their version of Globalization is centralized to the extreme.
However we, as a global community, can with the help of tools like blockchain. Imagine a G1000, each represented by 1000 tribes. That’s ONE MILLION voices of representation, decentralized and distributed, and it’s not too hard to do. There would be no more riots like this and no more massive world wars.
If you´re going to plan a protest please make it positive and solution based, don´t stoop to the level of the opposition.
Keep calm, healthy and sane.