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Monero’s former maintainer arrested in the US for allegations unrelated to cryptocurrency

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Riccardo Spagni, the former maintainer of the Monero (XMR) cryptocurrency, was arrested last month in Nashville, Tennessee on fraud charges tied to alleged offenses in South Africa between 2009 and 2011. 

Spagni was on board a private jet scheduled to fly to Los Cabos, Mexico when he was apprehended in Nashville during a scheduled refueling stop, according to court documents. His journey originally began just outside of New York City. He is currently in the custody of the U.S. Attorney General, according to court documents.

The arrest was made at the request of the South African government, which is seeking Spagni’s extradition on fraud charges. The charges, which are unrelated to Spagni’s role at Monero, are tied to his previous employment as an information technology manager at a company called Cape Cookies. Regarding Spagni’s alleged misdeeds, the court documents read:

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“As an employee of Cape Cookies, SPAGNI intercepted invoices from another company, Ensync, relating to information technology goods and services it had supplied Cape Cookies. SPAGNI knowingly used false information to fabricate similar invoices purporting to be from Ensync, relying on details including this company’s Value Added Tax (VAT) number and bank account information. SPAGNI then inflated the prices for the goods and/or services.”

the Government of South Africa alleges that the invoices did not contain the real bank account of Ensync, but rather a bank account opened and controlled entirely by Spagni.

In the court filing, Acting United States Attorney Mary Jane Stewart requested that the court deny any bail requests by Spagni “pending resolution of this extradition proceeding.” The document describes Spagni as a flight risk with a strong motivation to flee to avoid facing charges. He’s believed to have “significant crypto-assets” as well as a watch valued at $800,000.

Spagni now faces a hearing on August 5 to determine whether he is held pending trial. If convicted in South Africa, Spagni could face up to 20 years in prison.

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Spagni has been involved in the cryptocurrency market since at least 2011 and is active on Twitter under the handle @FluffyPony. He has not tweeted since the arrest on July 20, 2021. In December 2019, he stepped down as lead maintainer of Monero. 

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Monero’s former maintainer released from US custody

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Riccardo Spagni, the former lead maintainer of the privacy coin Monero, has reported that United States officials have released him after more than a month in custody.

In a Tuesday tweet, Spagni said he was working with his legal team to return to South Africa to address the allegations against him. Authorities in the U.S. arrested Spagni in August on fraud charges tied to alleged crimes that occurred in South Africa between 2009 and 2011 at a company called Cape Cookies.

“I am actively working with my attorneys on a way to return to South Africa as soon as possible so I can address this matter and get it behind me once and for all,” said Spagni. “That’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”

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The South African government had been seeking Spagni’s extradition on the charges, alleging he “used false information” to create invoices which inflated the prices for certain goods and services and had funds transferred to a bank account he controlled. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison.

Tuesday marks the first time Spagni has tweeted since July, though someone — presumably his lawyers — did retweet a statement posted to his wife’s Twitter account shortly after his arrest. The legal team claimed the arrest was on account of “his alleged failure to appear in court, and nothing more.”

The lead maintainer of the privacy coin Monero (XMR) until December 2019, Spagni has been involved in the crypto space for more than a decade. Many know him for his colorful social media posts and wry humor on cryptocurrency projects and industry figures.

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The newly developed Monero Atomic Swap feature: All you need to know

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Monero, through its Monero project, has released a statement on their latest and most significant achievements: the BTC-XMR atomic swaps which are now made available through the COMIT network. The public statement was made by Monero developer: Erciccione. According to them, the implementation of the “atomic swap which was developed by the team at COMIT is strong enough to run on the Monero network platform. The developers made specific instructions on how to take advantage of the ASB software.

This software is an atomic swap protocol developed to be run on the same program designed by COMIT. The company (Erciccione) went ahead to ask the public to commence the testing of the protocol to see if there are issues with the system.

The company also was clear on the possibility of impending bugs in the software, since it is new. The developers in Monero in charge of the protocol have warned users to be careful when using it, and only test with small amounts. The users must take advantage of the Monero exchange to bitcoin Atomic Swap Protocol using the Privacy-Centric Tor Network. This seems to be good news to Monero as the value has increased ever since the program was made public. Pragmatically, Monero during that period increased by 226%, and the XMR had stayed up to 42% ever since.

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This technology used in the development of Monero exchange to bitcoin protocol uses what is called the Hashed Timelock Contract (HTLC), which works as a two-way virtual confirmation protocol. Just as it implies, it is embedded with a strong mathematical-based encryption mechanism named the “hash function.” Again, it is time-sensitive: it automatically reverses transactions when any of the participating parties didn’t fulfill their side of the agreement within an estimated time. Let’s illustrate when two parties agree to run transactions within a two hours interval on an atomic swap protocol. Failure to do so within that time frame, both deposits automatically return to the original owners.

After the Monero exchange to bitcoin announced that it works on the Tor network, which means that users can gain even stricter privacy at each swap operation. While Erciccione was trying to prove the potency of the system, they made it known that unstoppableswap.net will be providing Monero exchange to bitcoin services to interested users who have read and understood the protocols. Other participating teams that have acquired some advanced atomic swap technology similar to Monero are blockchain projects like Zcash and Komodo.

How The Monero Exchange to Bitcoin is Executed on the Atomic Swaps Protocol

For clarity, let’s say when two people agreed to execute a trade on bitcoin and ethereum on this platform. One party (let’s call him Mr. A) needs to create a contract address where he is meant to send his 1 BTC. Once Mr. A sends these funds, the contract immediately generates a unique key that only Mr. A can access. The key is like a password that unlocks the funds Mr. A had sent to his smart contract. It is now left for the contract to generate an encrypted pattern (or a hashed representation) of this key. Next thing, Mr. A sends this hash to the other party (call her Mrs. B), now having the key (the hash), Mrs. B is the only party that can access Mr. A’s 1 BTC. Mrs. B can confirm she got the funds, but she can’t withdraw (at least at the moment).

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It is now left for Mrs. B to generate her contract address where she can transfer her 15 ETH (BTC equivalent). Now that both parties (Mr. A and Mrs. B) have both funds locked in a smart contract, what is for both parties is to claim their different assets. To do this, they need access codes to each of the smart contracts. As in, Mr. A provides Mrs. B with a passcode, and likewise Mrs. B. But in the end, it is all about both parties submitting proofs for their cryptocurrency transactions.

Conclusion

Aside from the Monero exchange to bitcoin achievement, the company has always been known for its stringent attributes which are always active by default. This has deprived users of the opportunity to conduct transparent transactions. For example, every Obfuscated XMR transaction was done using some ring signature technologies, stealth addresses, and bulletproofs. But the XMR wasn’t the only coin that experienced an increase, some few other privacy-focused coins also started experiencing major gains monthly.

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Monero (XMR) Is Showing Strong Signs for Ascension

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  • The crypto space is still showing bullish signs.
  • A crypto analyst tweets that Monero is one such crypto.
  • He tweets a chart that shows a possible surge for the asset.

The crypto space is still on a decent high, as the prices of many cryptos continue to show bullish signs, one asset is currently standing out — Monero (XMR). This coin is known for providing complete anonymity.  

Amid these current bullish times, traders are always looking for the next best catch. One crypto trader, investor, and experienced analyst — The Wolf Of All Streets, tweets about a possible surge for XMR.

According to this tweet, The Wolf Of All Streets says that XMR is looking good. In fact, he also attached a chart that shows a ‘nice support bounce’ on the crypto’s ascending triangle.

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The tweet was met with mixed reviews. Many draw light to other bullish altcoins that will also take after XMR and likely surge. Some say they are working on buying XMR right now. Others point out that unless Bitcoin doesn’t go up, nothing else will.

On the topic of Bitcoin going high, many analysts have been very vocal about their opinion on the matter. For instance, the co-founder of Nexo is a firm believer in Bitcoin hitting $100,000. Besides him, known analyst — Mike McGlone, explains in detail how Bitcoin could very likely hit this ATH soon.

Another Twitter famous crypto analyst and long-time trader — PlanB, is certain that Bitcoin will reach $100,000 by the time Christmas rolls around this year. The wait is not only for Bitcoin, other altcoins will most likely hit new ATHs as well by the year’s end.

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This is possibly due to the fact that most cryptos tend to mirror Bitcoin’s price patterns. Although, many blockchains are working on major updates, so we will likely see many new ATH for many cryptos sooner than expected.

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