Miami, a city known for its opulent lifestyles and cryptocurrency-friendly laws and mayor, has seen one of the most aggressive crackdowns on cybercriminals using bitcoin.
Federal prosecutors confiscated roughly $34 million in cryptocurrency from a man in the southeastern part of Florida. The bitcoin fortune was amassed by a Parkland resident suspected of exploiting the dark web to sell Netflix, HBO, and Uber account information, among other popular services.
The crypto holdings in question were initially valued at $47 million, but because of the drop in the price of the world’s most sought-after cryptocurrency during the last six months, its current value is at $34 million.
Record Bitcoin Confiscation
According to a news release from the US Department of Justice, the seizure was one of the largest ever brought by the US involving cryptocurrencies.
The DOJ did not identify the “South Florida citizen” involved in the criminal transactions, and the news statement did not indicate if the agency is pursuing an indictment.
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Between 2015 and 2017, the individual allegedly perpetrated more than 100,000 fraudulent online transactions.
According to court records, there was a dearth of proof regarding the person’s misdeeds.
As a result, the Miami feds began to track the Parkland resident’s cryptocurrency holdings, whose residence was searched but no conclusive proof was discovered.
“Dark web, or darknet, marketplaces are purpose-built to encourage unlawful business by ensuring the anonymity of the website’s administrators, as well as the buyers and sellers who transact on the site.”
BTC total market cap at $865.41 billion on the daily chart | Source: TradingView.com
Additionally, the release detailed how the suspect gained access to the dark web in order to obtain the criminal information and recompense in the form of crypto.
To begin, the suspect accessed the dark net via a globally distributed network of computers that masks users’ IP addresses, dubbed The Onion Router Network, or TOR.
On Tumblers And Chain Hopping
Further examination of the suspect’s data revealed that he then used so-called “tumblers” to launder cryptocurrency through a practice called “chain hopping.”
In essence, tumblers are similar to blenders. Individuals enter the coin they wish to conceal, which is cut up into pieces and mixed with a number of other, clean coins before being spewed out to random addresses.
According to court records, the suspect did not contest the US government’s seizure of his cryptocurrency.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation shut down Silk Road, a dark net marketplace that had produced over $1 billion in illegal transactions in 2013, making dark web marketplaces and the role of cryptocurrencies in their economic activities well-known.
Silk Road’s founder was convicted to life in jail in 2015 in a case that garnered widespread attention and was detailed in a 2017 documentary.
Featured image from Investopedia, chart from TradingView.com