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Bitcoin mixer shuts down, says bitcoin no longer anonymous

Bitmixer.io home page

Bitcoin mixers take money from one account, break it into many transactions then send it to another account (which sounds quite a lot like potential money laundering to me.) The biggest bitcoin mixer, bitmixer.io, just shut down saying the bitcoin blockchain, which is public and inherent to bitcoin, can now easily be analyzed by governments, etc. and thus transactions are not longer anonymous. Given enough time and effort, money can be tracked coming into bitcoin and then out again. Further, Bitmixer believes bitmixing will become illegal so they are shutting down before the arrests happen. Smart move.

New, supposedly more secure cryptocurrencies are moving into this void, and they have bit mixing services too, however, many of them are scams. They simply take the money. And there is no recourse. And I doubt if they are genuinely secure either, especially against attacks and probes by governments with huge resources.

“Blockchain is a great open book. I believe that Bitcoin will have a great future without dark market transactions. You may use Dash or Zerocoin if you want to buy some weed. Not Bitcoin,” the BitMixer team wrote.

“I hope our decision will help to make Bitcoin ecosystem more clean and transparent. I hope our competitors will hear our message and will close their services too. Very soon this kind of activity will be considered as illegal in most countries,” the team also wrote, issuing a warning for fellow Bitcoin mixers.

BTC-e bitcoin trading platform down. $4 billion in money laundering

Shadowy bitcoin trading site BTC-e is down, possibly seized by authorities. The operator, Alexander Vinnik, was indicted in California, arrested in Greece, and is sure to be extradited. Law enforcement believes BTC-e laundered proceeds from the MtGox theft, other bitcoin thefts, and ransomware payments as well. $4 billion was laundered, authorities say. So, it was just flat-out organized crime.

There may still be a few diehard libertarians who feverishly think bitcoin is unhackable, because encryption. They are wrong. The dark web is not secure, neither is Tor. Encryption is just part of it. Dark web admins make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes get them sent to prison. Blockchains are public and can be analyzed. Sooner or later the money has to exit into the real world. Law enforcement will be waiting.

Anyone who thinks governments will allow billions in money-laundering to continue to occur in a financial area they have no governance over is delusional.

NY Times:

The arrest of Mr. Vinnik came shortly after law enforcement authorities in the United States and Europe took down two big online drug markets in which Bitcoin was the primary currency.

Within the Bitcoin community, it has been common knowledge that drug dealers could use BTC-E to turn their Bitcoin proceeds into dollars.

Soon after news of Mr. Vinnik’s arrest became public, WizSec, a Japanese computer security firm that has been tracking the Mt. Gox theft, announced that it had traced the stolen funds to Mr. Vinnik and had provided its findings to law enforcement authorities.

Dark web prosecutions. Law enforcement getting savvy

There’s a mistaken belief that law enforcement is somehow behind the curve when it comes to catching criminals on the dark web. That may have been true once, that they didn’t have the technical chops. It no longer is true. Plus, sometimes, criminals make really dumb rookie mistakes, like reusing passwords. (This was the same mistake Chelsea Manning made. She used the same password to encrypt files that she used for her Macbook.)

Dutch police stealthily took control of Hansa, a dark web marketplace. They didn’t shut down the site until a month later, after they’d had time to plant some bombs and copy evidence. First off, some Hansa vendors stupidily used the same login name and password on Dream, another dark web marketplace, that they used on Hansa. Law enforcement logged on to those Dream accounts and changed the passwords, locking out the vendors.

But wait, there’s more. Police replaced confirmation text files with Excel spreadsheets that had a hidden image. The image was hosted on Hansa. When the user opened it on their computer, it accessed the image on the server, and police logged the IP address. If the user was smart, they would have used a VPN and Tor so no worries. However, I’m guessing some users didn’t.

Law enforcement also got contact info for 10,000 buyers…

Busy times at Trump Co. throwing each other under the bus

If the Trump / Russia investigation is just fake news, why are they spending so much time throwing each other under thus bus to avoid being implicated? Because that certainly does not appear to be the actions of innocent people. Trump is rambling and raging incoherently on Twitter against Sessions, one of his strongest supporters. Don Jr. and Kushner are busy throwing each other under the bus. So, this is good times for us in the Topple Trump coalition! However, no rest for the weary. Our task is to throw as much political dynamite into this corrupt mess as possible, causing them all to turn on each other even more in shrieking paranoia and fear.

Trump goes after Sessions, something Republican senators will be watching, considering Sessions used to be one of them.

But now even some of Trumpworld’s oldest loyalists are feeling the tire marks. Jeff Sessions, for instance, made the grave mistake of following appropriate legal ethics procedures by recusing himself from an investigation into the Trump campaign, of which he was an active part. This simply would not do, and as Seth Meyers highlighted Thursday night, the president just gave him a little shove into traffic:

Kushner throws Don Jr. under the bus after Don Jr. threw Kushner under the bus.

But whatever the truth turns out to be on those fronts, what Kushner’s statement does not do is contest any of the known facts about that meeting — known facts that are deeply problematic for Trump Jr. and even for Trump himself. The meeting, at a minimum, shows that Trump Jr. was eager to collude with the Russian government, which, he had been told, was trying to get his father elected president. Kushner’s statement denies any collusion on his own part, and claims no awareness of any other collusion.

Oh joy, now you can sleep at work

Office sleeping pod

Design students have created office furniture that allows serfs (excuse me, I meant “employees”) to take naps and sleep at work. Let’s unpack this, shall we?

First off, this is office space for supposed creatives only. Blue collar workers, back office drones, and other such lower caste unfortunates will have to make do with going home at night rather than being allowed to nap during the day then presumably working late. Which might actually be an advantage for them, come to think of it.

Have you ever been in an office where naps are allowed? Didn’t think so. The office design also offers little modules where you can grow plants and a bar. All of this is somehow supposed foster to “greater interaction between people by giving workers a chance to step away from work and exchange ideas in a more casual manner.” Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure bosses are not going to be thrilled by employees stepping away from work while at work.

The pod sleeping quarters were “inspired by Japanese capsule hotels” which generally are used by salarymen working insane hours who get knee-walking drunk after work then pass out in a pod instead of going home. Gosh, what an inspiring way of life to emulate.

The real problem with all this is it assumes your job is your life. “Oh sorry Sally, that big project you’re working on needs to be done by Monday at 9 AM, so you’ll need to work all weekend and no need to drive home to sleep, you can sleep here.”