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The Happy Story of How One Man Got His $300K in Bitcoin Back



Bitcoin has a lot going for it, which is why there are many traders out there that would likely feel the hurt if they ever lost their coins or couldn’t gain access to them. For one person, that pain has become a thing of the past thanks to the help of a rather savvy computer expert.

Bitcoin Can Be Lost for Good

While roughly 18 million of 21 million bitcoin units have been mined over the past 12 years, it is estimated that there are far less in circulation given how many units have been lost or stolen. Many users tend to store their money on separate wallets or hard drives to keep them safe. As time goes by, however, they forget about their digital funds and do not make note of their passwords, which ultimately keeps them out of the loop.

As a result, they cannot gain access to their funds, meaning there’s a whole lot of wealth to their names that they can’t get their fingers on. For one “guy” – as he’s being called by the assisting party – the story of roughly $300K in inaccessible bitcoin has an extremely happy ending.

The tale begins in October of last year, when a former Google security engineer named Michael Stay received a strange message on his LinkedIn page. The message came from an anonymous figure who had stored several bitcoins on an encrypted zip file back in January of 2016 and had lost his private keys. He thus had no means of accessing the money and needed Stay’s help in getting it back. It is estimated that the amount of money in question was equal to roughly $300K.

After doing a thorough analysis of the situation, Stay asked the anonymous figure for compensation equaling roughly $100,000. This would cover all expenses required to potentially gain access to the zip file, which despite being more than three years old at the time, was quite strong and presented a lot of challenges. The man accepted the bargain and Stay went to work.

This Tale Has a Positive Ending

Stay says that the work was some of the best he’s ever done, and it made him excited to get up every day. He states:

It’s the most fun I’ve had in ages. Every morning, I was excited to get to work and wrestle with the problem. The zip cipher was designed decades ago by an amateur cryptographer. The fact that it has held up so well is remarkable.

He says that it took several tries to crack the zip file, and after numerous failures, Stay was able to gain access to the bitcoins in question for considerably less than what he had initially quoted. Overall, costs ranged between $6K and $7K. The “guy” – so happy about getting his money back – gave Stay roughly one quarter the worth of his bitcoin stash to say thanks.

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Illicit crypto transactions are getting more attention from the government



The COVID-19 pandemic has forced governments worldwide to focus on bringing blockchain technology to their financial services, along with the needed regulatory upgrades to keep the burgeoning fintech industry clean.

Related: Not like before: Digital currencies debut amid COVID-19

For example, on Sep. 10, Switzerland — a global center for the wealth management industry, housing around $2 trillion or 27% of global offshore wealth — passed a reformed Blockchain Act that includes a new set of laws and regulations to support the growth of blockchain and decentralized finance companies in the country.

Related: Why Switzerland is becoming a “crypto nation” with a flourishing ICO market: Expert take

Furthermore, in a major milestone for the crypto industry, leading travel rule solutions nonprofit Travel Rule Information Sharing Alliance, or TRISA, from Ciphertrace and developer of the world’s first tracing tool for Monero, together with Sygna Bridge from CoolBitX announced their interoperability proof-of-concept, allowing crypto service providers from both platforms to meet the requirements as outlined by the travel rule. It is available to the public on GitHub.

The travel rule was introduced by the Financial Action Task Force in June 2019 and requires financial institutions participating in cryptocurrency transactions to exchange relevant beneficiary and originator Know Your Customer, or KYC, information. As a result, Virtual Asset Service Providers, or VASPs, between the two solutions can communicate compliance data with minimal disruption.

As Michael Ou, CEO of CoolBitX and creator of Sygna Bridge, explained: “In the last few years, several innovative solutions have appeared to help crypto and virtual asset businesses comply with anti-money laundering regulations that are beginning to develop around the world — each addressing the needs of different audiences. At the end of the day, money-laundering and terrorist financing are global issues that require the collaboration between different entities. This all begins with ensuring that the solutions are able to communicate effectively between each other. By adapting industry standards such as the IVMS101 and building tools to ensure correct translation and connectivity, Sygna Bridge and TRISA are working together to ensure that the cryptocurrency industry is growing and maturing in a positive direction.”

John Jefferies, chairman of TRISA, added:

“Achieving global interoperability for Travel Rule compliance across jurisdictions is vital for a successful sunrise phase. We are pleased to enable message interoperability and extend mutual VASP authentication in this Travel Rule proof of concept.”

According to statistics released by the United States Office on Drugs and Crime, up to $2 trillion is laundered on the global market annually, which bypasses the latest cryptocurrency KYC measures. Financial institutions could be missing up to 90% of cryptocurrency-related transactions, as they overlook lesser-known digital asset exchanges, according to the latest report by CipherTrace.

Until they are eventually caught by United States law enforcement, criminals prefer using cryptocurrency tumblers or cryptocurrency mixing services when paying for illicit goods and services that are transmitted with no oversight by governments or central banks, thereby obscuring the trail back to the fund’s original source.

Related: Illicit uses of cryptocurrency gaining attention around the world: Expert take

Nearly a month after announcing the largest-ever seizure of cryptocurrency assets used by terrorist organizations in a multi-agency investigation conducted alongside the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Department of Homeland Security Investigations and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice showcased the results of a five-year operation targeting Mexican drug cartels on Sept. 3.

Robert Murphy, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s special agent in charge at Atlanta division, said:

“We have a Mexican drug cartel who initially came to our attention through U.S. Fish and Wildlife when they smuggled over 900 kilos of cocaine with frozen sharks.”

The indictment charged 12 defendants and two businesses with mail and wire fraud conspiracy, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, and money laundering conspiracy. The charges carry potential penalties of up to life in federal prison with no parole.

A week later, on Sept. 10, the DEA announced the results of a six-month operation, “Crystal Shield,” again targeting Mexican drug cartels operating major methamphetamine transportation hubs in the United States. The operation led to “nearly 1,840 arrests and the seizure of more than 28,560 pounds of methamphetamine, $43.3 million in drug proceeds, and 284 firearms.” The U.S. Attorney General William Barr said more than 60 Mexican cartel figures have been extradited this year, and more are expected. Barr added:

“Unfortunately Covid has intervened and has tempered a lot of the progress we had been making, reduced our momentum.”

These U.S. Federal agencies have bolstered their cryptocurrency oversight and enforcement efforts for 2021 — which begins in October of 2020 — with millions of dollars in new funding to shore up national and international cryptocurrency investigations.

Related: The US plan to monitor illegal crypto activities more sufficiently

The IRS is already spending some of that funding on a bounty of up to $625,000 to anyone who can crack untraceable privacy coins.

The IRS’s federal whistleblower program

It should be noted that the IRS has a federal whistleblower law program for informants (including foreigners) who provide information that leads to the collection of taxes, whether from undisclosed fiat or cryptocurrency, and offering up to 30% of the resulting tax and penalty revenue.

At the direction of Senator Charles Grassley, Dean Zerbe, a partner at law firm ZMFF&J, was responsible for the modern IRS whistleblower law, which was signed into law in 2006. He also established the IRS Whistleblower Office and created an award program for tax whistleblowers while he was senior counsel and tax counsel for the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, from 2001 to 2008.

This legislation led to the famous UBS tax evasion case that reverberated around the world. UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, admitted to helping Americans dodge taxes, and it agreed to pay the U.S. government $780 million. In a departure from its own legal standards, the Swiss government also divulged banking client secrets. Alarmed by the affair, many U.S. depositors pulled their money out of UBS, and thousands of tax-dodging Americans came clean with the IRS. The IRS awarded $104 million to the banker-turned-whistleblower who helped the government uncover the massive scheme, which was the largest bounty ever granted to a single whistleblower in the U.S. at the time.

As Dean Zerbe explained:

“The IRS released its 2019 annual report on the whistleblower program — showing over $616 million dollars brought into the Treasury thanks to the work of tax whistleblowers speaking out about tax evasion. […] The trend is clear that the IRS has embraced the modern mandatory tax whistleblower program created by my old boss Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) — and it is honest taxpayers who have most benefited.”

The report makes note that whistleblowers can be paid for FBAR violations (undeclared foreign bank accounts) as well as criminal fines.

However, “the top reason — 51%! — whistleblower submission is rejected is because the submission is not specific. […] The IRS does not want submissions that are speculative. The IRS wants and welcomes submissions that are grounded — particularly those coming from credible whistleblowers — containing known facts, dealing with specific taxpayers and ideally, with documents in hand and involving recent/current tax evasion,” pointed out Dean Zerbe.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Selva Ozelli, Esq., CPA is an international tax attorney and certified public accountant who frequently writes about tax, legal and accounting issues for Tax Notes, Bloomberg BNA, other publications and the OECD.


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Tezos price analysis: Technical indicators suggest XTZ might surge towards $4.5

Tezos aiming to reach its all-time high again XTZ/USD pair maintaining parallel ascending channel Historically proven indicator presents another strong buy signal For the first time in the course of three months, Tezos price action sets forth a vital buy signal which should result in a massive upside break. In defiance of August’s crypto market […]



  • Tezos aiming to reach its all-time high again
  • XTZ/USD pair maintaining parallel ascending channel
  • Historically proven indicator presents another strong buy signal

For the first time in the course of three months, Tezos price action sets forth a vital buy signal which should result in a massive upside break. In defiance of August’s crypto market flip, technical indicators signal a superb buying opportunity for XTZ. Furthermore, some bullish patterns suggest that Tezos price might have the capability to reach a new all-time high.

Following the March coronavirus-triggered market decline, the XTZ/USD pair was trading beneath $0.98. However, the bulls managed to consolidate enough momentum to trigger a 300 percent upside rally towards the $4.5 price level a few months after the crash, recording a massive rise in trading volume and number of transactions.  

Tezos price action prepared to recommence bullish momentum?

The XTZ/USD pair experienced a sharp correction after hitting a new ATH back in August. The value of Tezos depreciated by about 50 percent hitting a low of $2.3 after the correction. Nevertheless, regardless of the massive decline in Tezos price, a peculiar technical indicator implies the digital asset would soon switch red for green.

Tezos 3-day chart

The initial pattern to notice from the chart is an ascending parallel pattern in the Tezos price action in 2020. Notably, XTZ has been hovering within this ascending channel for most part of this year, having to bounce back from the bottom part of the channel multiple times.

Tezos price analysis: Technical indicators suggest XTZ might surge towards $4.5 1
XTZ/USD 3-day chart: TradingView

At the moment, the XTZ/USD pair is protecting the 100- simple moving average(SMA) at $2.39 and a vital anchor point and the relative strength (RSI) near 40. During the pandemic-driven cryptocurrency market crash in March, the RSI level declined towards 39, from which the XTZ/USD pair recovered resolutely. An identical level was protected back on July 2.

TD sequential indicator presents third buy signal in 2020

Additionally, in the above chart 3-day chart, the TD sequential indicator presents traders with a buying signal. The initial buy signal presented by the indicator was formed on March 19, on the heels of the RSI touching 39. The subsequent second signal was created on July 5, and the third formed just the other day on September 12. Historically, the previous two buy signals this year have been validated, recording an average return of 84 percent.

Tezos price analysis: Technical indicators suggest XTZ might surge towards $4.5 2
XTZ/USD 3-day chart: TradingView

Given the fact that the RSI is over long and TD indicator just signalled a buy signal, the XTZ/USD pair could be targeting to reach its all-time high of $4.5 once more, recording a 70 percent rise in value. Regardless of the degree of doubt in the market recently, traders should take the buy signal under serious consideration given the substantial gains recorded during the previous two occasions.  

What to expect from XTZ/USD?

Although Tezos price action has presented a firm buy opportunity, the cryptocurrency is still facing vital challenges onwards. XTZ bulls have successfully created a couple of higher lows but still face vital resistance near $2.64. Tezos price action must clear this rejection to move further upwards.  

Notably, if the bears can manage to exert more selling pressure at this critical resistance, it would be calamitous for the bulls and XTZ. Although there are several higher lows formed, there is no firm anchor point and the price of XTZ might sink back to the $2.3 lows.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not a trading advice. holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Bitcoin’s uptrend is only beginning and here’s proof



In the cryptocurrency world, every sign is a bullish sign. From China getting into blockchain, to Facebook launching its own cryptocurrency, to Donald Trump tweeting about Bitcoin, nearly everything can be construed to be a sign of the upcoming bull run. Needless to say, not all of these signs actually have any backing behind it.

When everything is a sign of a bull run, well, nothing is. However, looking at the actual price of Bitcoin against its previous trend, one can find signals that are worth their salt. Even if these signals aren’t flushed with ‘Bitcoin to the moon,’ they usually have one or two key points which suggest that the swing, in either direction, is strong or stronger than it has been previously. We have one such signal for you.

Looking at the Bitcoin markets of late, one would think that the bears have taken over. With a drop to $10,000 from over $12,000 after nearly a full month of holding strong, a collapse to four-digits is likely. While the initial hesitancy of the drop can override the long-term market feeling, a look at the data would suggest that Bitcoin’s price has just crossed a major threshold, despite the drop.

Plotting Bitcoin’s daily close against its yearly moving average presents a good snapshot of where the current price stands against its YTD value. Based on this premise, the drops of 12 March would have a huge impact on the MA because of two reasons – the severity of the crash (around 50 percent of the trading price) and the timing (72 days since the beginning of the year). Just that one day drop increased the difference between the BTC daily close price to its moving average from less than $1,000 to over $3,500.

The above chart plots the daily difference between Bitcoin’s closing price and its yearly moving average from the beginning of the year to the most recent drop on 4 September. Unsurprisingly, the difference began rising after the drop in March and has been increasing every day since then, with the current trading price closing the distance against the average.

Now, looking at how that gap has closed is important. Prior to the drop, the highest point of the moving average was $8,988, recorded on the 26th of February when Bitcoin rose above the $10,000 mark for the second time. While its rise above the level didn’t last long, it pushed its average up. Since then, the average has been consistently dropping, made worse by the March drop. However, at the beginning of September, the yearly moving average jumped over the 26 February-mark, marking a high of $9,028 on 1 September.

If you’re thinking the crash down to $10,000 on 4 September affected the average, it didn’t. The average has been consistently rising due to the number of days Bitcoin has maintained its price above $10,000 since the end of July. As things stand, the average is at $9,141, less than $1,200 away from the trading price of Bitcoin, but still, a good distance considering it took nearly four months to close the gap between $8,200 to $9,000 in the first place.

The chart below plots the daily close price of Bitcoin against the moving average, and you can see that the latter is crossing above its previous highest point in February.

To conclude, Bitcoin’s recent price run has not only pushed its current price higher, but also its yearly average. This is not just a positive sign in the here and now, but shows that the price surge is not a mere “pump,” but has enough backing to sustain itself for quite some time.

Source: Coinstats


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