A former narcotics trafficker pled guilty to charges that he laundered $19 million in profit through Silk Road.
Prosecutors with the Southern District of New York announced a plea deal with Hugh Brian Haney on Thursday, adding another postscript to the infamous dark web marketplace’s history. According to a press release, Haney was accused of laundering close to $20 million using bitcoin in early 2018.
Silk Road was among the dark web’s earliest drug marketplaces and a haven for its bitcoin-accepting vendors until its operator, Ross Ulbricht, was arrested in October 2013 and the site was shut down. Ulbricht is currently serving a life sentence on charges of narcotics distribution, computer hacking and conspiracy.
Haney was one of the sellers who used the marketplace. According to the prosecutors, Haney was a “high-ranking member” of a narcotics outfit known as Pharmville, and is said to have received nearly 4,000 bitcoin from Silk Road-linked accounts through February 2012. According to the complaint, he trafficked in fentanyl, oxycontin and other narcotic sales.
“Hugh Haney used Silk Road as a means to sell drugs to people all over the world,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement. “Then he laundered more than $19 million in profits through cryptocurrency.”
He was caught after liquidating his remaining bitcoins on an exchange for $19,147,053 in January and February 2018. The unnamed company froze his account and launched an internal investigation that ultimately led to a search warrant. Haney was arrested in July 2019.
Initially, Haney claimed his bitcoin came from a mining operation. But investigators used “blockchain analysis software” to show the funds came from Silk Road, according to the July complaint.
According to his plea deal, Haney pled guilty to one count of concealing money laundering and one count of engaging in a financial transaction in criminally derived property. He is set to be sentenced in February 2020.
Bitcoin price prediction: BTC/USD capped by resistance levels at $8,900 and $9,025 – Confluence Detector
- BTC/USD had a heavily bearish Monday, where the price dropped from $9,035.30 to $8,721.25.
- The confluence detector shows one strong support level on the downside at $8,525.
BTC/USD has had a bullish start to Tuesday and is currently priced at $8,738.65. This follows an extremely bearish Monday wherein the price dropped from $9,035.30 to $8,721.25. The daily confluence detector currently shows two healthy resistance levels at $8,900 and $9,025. On the downside, there is a support level at $8,525.
BTC/USD daily confluence detector
$8,900 has the one-day Fibonacci 61.8% retracement level and one-week Fibonacci 23.6% retracement level, while $9,025 has the 4-hour Bollinger band upper curve and one-week Fibonacci 38.2% retracement level.
On the downside, the $8,525 support level has the one-month Fibonacci 61.8% retracement level and one-day Pivot Point support one.
Stroustrup: I Don’t Like That C++ Has Given Way to BTC Mining
It’s awful when something you’ve created is being used in a bad way, and C++ software language creator Bjarne Stroustrup is feeling this firsthand, but how accurate are his thoughts?
Stroustrup: Not a Big Bitcoin Fan
Stroustrup is the builder of C++, which is a programming system that’s used to power all kinds of new software platforms – including bitcoin mining. In a recent interview, the tech genius explained that while he’s very proud of his creation on an individual level, he has no control over its uses and doesn’t always like what C++ has given rise to.
Case in point: bitcoin mining, he says, is extremely hazardous to the environment. He states that the process of extracting new coins utilizes as much energy as Switzerland uses to power every one of its homes. Furthermore, he also explains that bitcoin itself is used primarily to benefit criminals, and he’s none too thrilled about the results he’s been witnessing as of late as bitcoin is built on C++.
You try to improve the tool by looking at how it’s being used, and when people cut their fingers off and try and stop that from happening. But really, you have no control over how something is used… So, I’m very happy and proud of some of the things [that] C++ is being used [for], and some of the things I wish people wouldn’t do. Bitcoin mining being my favorite example. [It] uses as much energy as Switzerland and mostly serves criminals.
To an extent, it can be argued that bitcoin is utilized for much more than criminal enterprises, now. For one thing, Bakkt – the new crypto trading platform owned by the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) – is giving institutional players an opportunity to trade bitcoin futures contracts, which could potentially bring a whole new wave of legitimacy not only to the coin, but to the space it’s in.
Granted more professional traders are using cryptocurrency as a means of adding to and growing their wealth, we’re likely to see bitcoin considered a solid trading and investment tool. In addition, Bakkt is also paving the way for retailers such as Starbucks to begin accepting cryptocurrency as a means of payment.
There’s More to BTC…
This has been crypto’s biggest goal all along. Most digital currencies were designed to be used as means of paying for goods and services. However, their volatility has often gotten in the way and prevented this from happening. If you use BTC to pay for $50-worth of goods, but tomorrow the price goes down, you’ll still walk off with all your items. The business accepting the payment, however, will lose money.
Granted bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be utilized as much as USD to pay for items in the future, perhaps some of that volatility will finally disappear.
Alibaba Partners with Lolli to Allow US Shoppers Earn ‘Free Bitcoin’
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has partnered with Bitcoin (BTC) rewards shopping app Lolli, enabling its shoppers to earn 5% back in Bitcoin. Alibaba customers can now get Satoshis (sats), the smallest unit of Bitcoin currency, worth 0.00000001 BTC, when shopping “thousands of items online,” Lolli says.
World’s biggest retailer and biggest one-day shopping event
The partnership was announced on Singles Day, a shopping holiday that is celebrated in China on Nov. 11 and is considered to be the world’s biggest one-day shopping event. According to Lolli, Alibaba shoppers spent more than $31 billion on Singles Day in 2018.
Alex Adelman, CEO and co-founder at Lolli, pointed out that the new move is a milestone partnership for Lolli as Alibaba is the largest retailer and e-commerce company in the world.
“OUR PARTNERSHIP ALLOWS OUR USERS TO EARN FREE BITCOIN ON MILLIONS OF PRODUCTS ONLINE EVERY DAY. ARGUABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF THIS PARTNERSHIP IS THAT IT SUPPORTS OUR MISSION OF CONNECTING THE ENTIRE WORLD THROUGH COMMERCE.”
Feature is only available in the United States
According to a Coindesk report, the new program will only be available for purchases in the United States. Aubrey Strobel, Lolli’s head of communications, reportedly claimed that residents in China will not be able to participate, and products would be shipped from China to U.S. users.
In the report, Adelman highlighted the firm’s plans to expand globally in 2020 and emphasized that the partnership is a great first step to connect China and the U.S. through Bitcoin and commerce.
Earlier today, Cointelegraph reported on Fold, one of the oldest Bitcoin shopping rewards apps, launching support for home-sharing giant Airbnb today. With the new feature, Fold users can get 3% back in Bitcoin on every stay and experience booked on the platform. The app works in selected countries including the U.S., Australia, Canada, Ireland, Mexico and the United Kingdom, depending on the specific brand.
Regarding Alibaba, the Chinese retail giant has not been friendly to Bitcoin to date. On Oct. 10, Alibaba’s digital payment arm Alipay reiterated its negative stance to Bitcoin, confirming that it will be banning all transactions identified as connected to Bitcoin.