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Mueller Report: Russia Funded US Election Snooping, Manipulation with Bitcoin

Mueller Report: Russia Funded US Election Snooping, Manipulation with Bitcoin

Mueller Report: Russia Funded U.S. Election Snooping, Manipulation with BitcoinAn intelligence service branch of the Russian government used bitcoin to finance several operations including the DNC hack, the Mueller report has revealed. | Source: Shutterstock Get Exclusive Analysis and Investing Ideas of Future Assets on Hacked.com. Join the community today and get up to $400 in discount by using the code: “CCN+Hacked”. Sign up here. Get Exclusive Analysis and Investing Ideas of Future Assets on Hacked.com. Join the community today and get up to $400 in discount by using the code: “CCN+Hacked”. Sign up here.By CCN.com: It is no news by now that the long-awaited Mueller Report has revealed extensive Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. While much attention has been focused on whether or not president Donald Trump was in any way complicit with these efforts, what is less reported is that the report showed that state-backed Russian operatives used bitcoin extensively in their attempts to impede Hilary Clinton and help Donald Trump’s campaign.According to the report, agents working on behalf of Russian military intelligence used bitcoin to do everything from purchasing VPNs to buying domains hosting political propaganda. This was part of a wide-reaching and apparently successful attempt to hack the 2016 election that saw Trump emerge victorious against all expectations.Bitcoin Transactions Are Very TraceableWhile this may not be news to anyone familiar with cryptocurrencies, the Russian agents apparently worked under the mistaken assumption that the mere fact of their transactions being carried out using cryptocurrency made them anonymous and untraceable. In fact, as has been demonstrated several times, bitcoin transactions are not that difficult to trace, given the presence of some key data.In this case, while Russian agents from the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) tried to work outside the realm of conventional financial systems by transacting exclusively in BTC, Mueller’s investigating team was able to sniff them out because of their use of crypto exchanges. One of such exchanges is the notorious BTC-e, run by Alexander Vinnik who is currently imprisoned in Greece amid a 3-way diplomatic tussle involving Russia, the U.S. and France.FBI agents who managed to gain access to a few of the email addresses used to create accounts on these exchanges were then able to piece together a wider picture of who carried out what BTC transaction by using publicly available blockchain transaction history.In other words, even Russian intelligence assets did not figure out that if they left even the slightest crumb for investigators, their entire paper trail could be uncovered, as Mueller’s term did. The effect of using bitcoin to carry out every transaction linked to hacking the 2016 election was that Mueller’s team did not have to do too much work identifying and linking transactions , because blockchain records basically did all the work for them. Instead of scouring the blockchain for clues and evidence, Mueller was basically given a Trojan horse giving him access to the entire financial dealings of covert Russian intelligence assets meddling in an American election.A Very Russian Screw UpWhile the Russians celebrated their apparent breakthrough in hacking America’s internal democracy, they apparently did not think to cover their tracks sufficiently. The report states that GRU agents used a mix of false and stolen identities to set up crypto exchange accounts . These accounts were then used to buy servers and domains instrumental to the DNC server hack, as well as leaking and publishing material stolen during the hack.Mueller’s team was even able to trace the purchase of a VPN – carried out using bitcoin – to the GRU agents. According to the report, this VPN was then used to manage @Guccifer_2, a Twitter account that leaked hacked information to Wikileaks and engaged in other activities aimed at interfering with the U.S. election.The full implication of Mueller’s report remains unknown, with Trump’s team claiming victory and Democrats proposing impeachment, but what does seem clear at this time is that the use of bitcoin to carry out clandestine transactions can now be filed away under “dinosaur activity.” CCN has previously reported that U.S. law enforcement has invested millions in blockchain tracking capacity, but the Mueller report is conclusive evidence that crypto transaction monitoring is now mainstream practice. About The AuthorDavid HundeyinI am a busy writer, journalist and entrepreneur with an interest in tech and finance. When I’m not contributing to CCN and traveling around Africa, you can catch me in the writers room at ‘The Other News’, Nigeria’s weekly answer to ‘The Daily Show’ with nearly 2 million viewers.My work on ‘The Other News’ was featured in the New Yorker Magazine, and that was then cited in the Washington Post so I’m not sure that counts as a feature but I’ll definitely mention it too!I have been nominated by the US State Department to take part in the 2019 Edward R. Murrow Program for journalists under the International Visitors Leadership Program.I also like hamsters.
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Bitcoin Beats Other Cryptos in ‘Smarter’ Bull Market, Says Billionaire Investor

Bitcoin Beats Other Cryptos in ‘Smarter’ Bull Market, Says Billionaire Investor

Bitcoin Beats Other Cryptos in ‘Smarter’ Bull Market, Says Billionaire InvestorBitcoin’s dominance will only be more pronounced in this bull market and that’ll show in its value, according to Mike Novogratz. | Source: ShutterstockBy CCN: Mike Novogratz, the billionaire CEO of Galaxy Capital and a former hedge fund manager at Fortress Investment Group, believes alternative cryptocurrencies, or altcoins, will be outperformed by bitcoin in the bull market.Not this time. Market getting smarter. $btc will outperform.— Michael Novogratz (@novogratz) May 19, 2019The statement of Novogratz comes after the bitcoin price risen by more than 115 percent year-to-date against the U.S. dollar, leading the crypto market to add $124 billion to its valuation.Will bitcoin continue to outperform altcoins?Historically, altcoins have relied on the price trend of bitcoin and have rarely demonstrated independent price movements in extended time frames.Altcoins typically surge in value when the bitcoin price shows stability at a tight price range, leaving investors to take high-risk and high-return options over the dominant cryptocurrency.The optimism towards bitcoin, despite the emergence of sophisticated altcoins, is well founded due to the involvement of major financial institutions in the likes of Fidelity and TD Ameritrade building infrastructure on top of bitcoin.Fidelity and ICE, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, are initially launching custodial services for bitcoin, targeting institutional investors.According to TD Ameritrade’s executive vice president Steven Quirk, tens of thousands of clients at the brokerage already trade crypto assets in some capacity.But, traders suggest that if the sentiment around the crypto market remains overwhelmingly positive, investors will eventually explore alternative opportunities for high-return trades, which then may fuel a rally for altcoins.One cryptocurrency trader said that bitcoin is likely to climb further throughout 2019, triggering a healthy market for altcoins:The rest of this year will be characterized by rapid BTC advances, healthy corrections and periods of sideways price action, when altcoins will fly. Put that nonsense rhetoric about waiting for capitulation and still not making our bear market lows away. Wrong cycle.Full on degen altcoin season still on track for June. Next few weeks, as BTC finds a range, we’ll continue to see the popular altcoins bounce back 1st. In June, all altcoins across the board will bounce back hard. More disbelief on its way.The concern of some investors like Novogratz on the prospect of a booming market for altcoins is that many retail investors were hurt in the 2017 bull market taking high-risk trades, trading against stable assets like bitcoin.As the market matures and as investors in the market become smarter, Novogratz indicated that the appetite for altcoins could decline.The crypto market has added more than $100 billion to its valuation year-to-date (source: coinmarketcap.com)Similarly, Jeff Sprecher, the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, said in November 2018:Somehow bitcoin has lived in a swamp and survived. There are thousands of other tokens that you could argue are better but yet bitcoin continues to survive, thrive and attract attention.At the time, Sprecher emphasized that Bakkt, a futures market operator created by NYSE’s parent company ICE, will focus on building a regulated infrastructure for bitcoin first ahead of other assets.Sentiment is generally positiveOn May 17, as CCN reported, the bitcoin price plummeted by 18 percent within hours following an unexpected 5,000 BTC sell order on Bitstamp that led prices of bitcoin and ethereum to crash on BitMEX.The market absorbed the abrupt decline in the bitcoin price fairly well, indicating that the confidence in the near-term price trend of crypto assets remains strong.While investors have cautioned that bitcoin has shown oversold conditions in recent weeks as it surpassed key resistance levels, the momentum of the asset could prevent it facing a large correction some expect would occur in the near-term. About The AuthorJoseph YoungHong Kong-Based Finance and Cryptocurrency Analyst. Contributing regularly to CCN and Hacked. Providing unique insights into the crypto and fintech space since 2012.This article was edited by Samburaj Das.
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Bitcoin’s price has pumped beyond its ‘intrinsic value,’ JPMorgan says

Bitcoin’s price has pumped beyond its ‘intrinsic value,’ JPMorgan says

Banking behemoth JP Morgan Chase & Co. has taken another shot at Bitcoin, BTC claiming the cryptocurrency‘s latest rally has pushed its price beyond its “intrinsic value.”
“Over the past few days, the actual price has moved sharply over marginal cost,” JPMorgan analysts wrote in a note obtained by Bloomberg. “This divergence between actual and intrinsic values carries some echoes of the spike higher in late 2017, and at the time this divergence was resolved mostly by a reduction in actual prices.”

To come to this conclusion, the JP Morgan team treated Bitcoin as a commodity, calculating its “cost of production” based on a number of factors, including estimated computational power, electricity expense, and hardware energy efficiency.
“Defining an intrinsic or fair value for any cryptocurrency is clearly challenging,” the analysts continued. “Indeed, views range from some researchers arguing that it has no fundamental value, to others estimating fair values well in excess of current prices.”

Bitcoin‘s price briefly dropped from almost $8,000 to $7,050 on May 17, after $250 million of long positions got liquidated on BitMEX. Since then, BTC has surged back to $7,893 at the time of writing.
By now, JP Morgan has made a habit out of thrashing Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Back in 2017, CEO Jamie Dimon called the currency a “fraud” – a statement he later softened, suggesting he simply doesn’t care about Bitcoin. Since then, JP Morgan launched its own blockchain-based “digital currency,” which was neither a cryptocurrency, nor a stablecoin.

Published May 20, 2019 — 11:54 UTC

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