Tag Archives: drug dealing

Cryptocurrency – What’s It All About?

What is cryptocurrency? Or you may call it Bitcoin. Where does it come from? How does it work? Is it real money? In case you haven’t heard we are in the midst of a monetary revolution. Many people are raving about Bitcoin. Some say it’s the money of the future. Others are saying it’s a scam or worse. So what’s it all about?

First of all lets clear up the definition. Bitcoin is cryptocurrency but not all cryptocurrency is Bitcoin. As a matter of fact there are as many as 1,000 different brands of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is just the most valuable.

What is Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a digital form of currency that is different from real money. Money or currency is produced by banks and nations who create the money’s value based economic strength. This money is managed through a central banking system of that nation.

How is cryptocurrency different?

Transactions of traditional money are controlled, taxed and tracked by banks and nations.  Cryptocurrency transactions are made with no banks or governmental interference.  Some economist and investors like to say that transactions are frictionless. Cryptocurrency users are anonymous . So essentially cryptocurrency is stateless money with no banks and the users are completely unknown. That is until they change Bitcoin into real cash. 

Where did cryptocurrency come from?

Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor, created Bitcoin in 2009. He has never been seen. No one even knows who or where he is. He may not even be a single person but a group of programmers. No one really knows. So cryptocurrency’s origin is a mystery. However, some believe that the National Security Agency has identified him. As usual the NSA has declined comment.

How is it created?

Cryptocurrency is created or “mined” using computers to solve incredibly complex math problems. Performing this work eats up a lot of electricity. So much electricity that you could never make a profit with the average computer. Cryptocurrency “miners,” as they are called, have begun building their own computers or hijacking other people’s computers to create Bitcoins. This has become known as Cryptojacking.

Mining a Bitcoin is not easy or cheap. Bitcoin’s value is about $6,000. How many Bitcoins would you have to produce to deal with a monthly $6,000 electricity bill and still make a profit? 

After a computer solves a series of problems it becomes known as a block. The blocks is then verified by other users and, once confirmed, are added to what is called the blockchain. The blockchain grows rapidly with a new block being added about every 10 minutes. A blockchain is a record of the Bitcoins created. It also records Bitcoin transactions that can never be changed. The blockchain never ends and is not hosted in single location making it immune to hackers.

How do you store or spend Bitcoins?

Bitcoin transactions move between users like email. Each transaction is digitally signed using cryptography and goes to the entire Bitcoin network for verification. These transactions are open to the public and can be found on the blockchain. All Bitcoin transaction leads back to the point where the Bitcoins were first mined.

Bitcoins are kept in a bitcoin wallet or the digital equivalent of a bank account. You can download the Bitcoin wallet from the Google Play store or iTunes. Your wallet allows you to send, receive and store Bitcoins. 

To complete a Bitcoin transaction you need two things; a public encryption key and a private encryption key.

Public keys or Bitcoin addresses, are random sequences of letters and numbers that work the same as an email address or username. Public keys are safe to share. You must give your Bitcoin address to receive Bitcoin. The private key must keep secret. This private key allows you to spend the Bitcoin.

Is Bitcoin real money?

Well, that is where Bitcoin may run into problems. First of all Bitcoin must meet the current standard of what money is. There are four basic standards for money.

ScarcityThere can be a only a limited amount available to secure its value. There can only be 21 million Bitcoins in the world. Right now there are about 9 million Bitcoins. Once it reaches 21 million no more Bitcoins can be mined.

Durability It must stand up to constant handling with no maintenance or special treatment. Bitcoin is completely digital and is never actually touched but human hands. However, Bitcoin is vulnerable. User error can cause the loss or destruction of Bitcoins. Users have lost or forgotten their private key making access to the currency impossible. Recently a a single user error caused the destruction of over $300 million worth of Bitcoin. So durability is an issue as well as security.

FungibilityIs every Bitcoin worth the same.  Let me make this simple for you. According to CoinMarketCap.com there are 1,037 different cryptocurrencies available. So not every one is worth the $6,000 I spoke about earlier. 

PortabilityCryptocurrency can be carried anywhere you carry your smartphone just like cash. So it is portable.

Breaking It Down.

Cryptocurrency is growing in acceptance but is not yet considered a viable currency. Its value is unstable and it is considered  an unacceptable risk by most financial experts and the coin of the future by others. In addition, governments are now examining the cryptocurrency phenomenon. Its anonymity makes it useful for crimes such as drug dealing, terrorism, money laundering and tax dodging. So the future right now depends on the view world governments take. A single law or crime could bring the whole thing to a halt or change the very definition of cryptocurrency.

 

The Deadly Internet – Drug Dealing Online

canstockphoto1370843Shopping online is a great way to expand you choice of merchandise and get the best price. The Internet is the world’s greatest marketplace and drug dealers know it. The dark web has become a vast drug market where dealers and users can do bussiness in complete privacy. Law enforcement knows this is happening but are almost powerless to stop it. Its happening on the deep, dark and dirty web.

The one thing every drug dealer wants is privacy and anonymity. The dark web is the perfect place to buy and sell drugs and perform other associated tasks. These include moving and hiding money, buying and selling weapons and even taking out the competition if need be.

Have you heard of Silk Road? From 2011 to 2013 Silk Road became known as the “Amazon.com” of online black marketplaces. This dark web site  was selling a staggering variety of drugs that included heroin, LSD, marijuana and assorted paraphernalia to customers around the world. By 2013 Silk Road was thought to have earned as much as $1 billion in sales. This money accumulated in the currency of the Internet, bitcoin.

But within months Silk Road, targeted by law enforcement, was shattered. The alleged master mind, Ross William Ulbricht, was arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking, soliciting murder and other charges. Ulbrict, who authorities claim also goes by the handle of Dread Pirate Roberts is currently on trial.

Another dark web culprit recently pleaded guilty to helping Silk Road. Charlie Shrem, founder of the digital currency company BitInstant, pled guilty  and was sentenced to federal prison for aiding and abetting and illegal money transfer company. Shrem and co-conspirator Robert Faiel pled guilty separately.  Both men agreed to forfeit $950,000 to the government as a condition of their deals.

US Attorney for Manhattan, Preet Bharara, said that Shrem and Faiella sold $1m in bitcoins to “outlaws” on Silk Road, which led to their conviction.

Silk Road was nearly re-born in the “2.0” mode in late 2013 but was shut down in February of 2014 by hacker attacks. But as any cop will tell you the lure of big money is too great. As soon as Silk Road was sunk a whole new collection of online drug markets popped up in its place challenging U.S. and international drug enforcement agencies.

A report  issued by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) reveals that illegal online drug sales has not only grown larger but have taken on more risk, selling to more people and selling more dangerous substances. Dark web drug sites have evolved into a form that resembles traditional online marketplaces.  A new dark web site, DarkList, stepped into the void where Silk Road once dominated. This bold endeavor connected buyers and dealers in a Yelp-style arrangement.  This was followed by Agora in September 2014. This site offered more product listings, including weapons, than any other online black market. These were followed darker and more dangerous online vendors such as Deepbay, Sheep Marketplace and Black Market Reloaded. The Black Market Reloaded website labeled itself “Silk Road without morals”. The site made offereed not only drugs but weapons and child pornography and took only untraceable bitcoins for payment. This protected users by providing anonymity. Sales figures for dark websites are impossible to accurately estimate but are thought to be only a small fraction of the global drug trade. But even that fraction of a hundred billion dollar industry still provides these sites mind boggling income.

Silk Road was a marketplace and did not actually sell drugs directly. It provided the meeting place for users and dealers to meet.  Michael Duch a heroin dealer and addict told the jury at the Silk Road trial what it was like to sell drugs online and how he made as much as $70,000 month doing it.

Some people believe that the use of the Internet to deal drugs is really a good thing. Advocates and studies of online drug dealing point out that if users are buying drugs online they are less likely to patronize local drug dealers and contribute to the crime and violence that is always a by product of street level drug markets, especially in inner cities and minority neighborhoods. Advocates believe that by pushing those sellers out of the equation it results a reduction in violence overall.  But is that true?

However, not all drugs used strictly for getting high are sold illegally. The Internet has thousands of websites that sell substances and paraphernalia that are perfectly legal. Simon’s Legal High blog offers a good listing of the substances you can buy to get high that are perfectly legal. The list includes alternatives to LSD or legal psychedelics, light drugs or marijuana substitutes and drugs that create a feeling of delirium. All legal and available online. Simon’s Legal High Discount Wall provides substances from all over the world and a listing of websites that provide these legal highs for sale and the prices.

Now you know