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Unmasking the Deceased Programmer Who Donated 28 Bitcoin to Capitol Hill Rioters

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Unmasking the Deceased Programmer Who Donated 28 Bitcoin to Capitol Hill Rioters | Crypto Briefing


















Crypto Briefing has uncovered the real identity of Pankkake, a deceased French programmer who allegedly donated $520,000 in Bitcoin to American white nationalist figures in the days ahead of the Capitol Hill riots.


Shuttersock cover by Sebastian Portillo

Key Takeaways

  • Laurent Bachelier, AKA Pankkake, was an early adopter of Bitcoin, often rubbing shoulders with figures like Monero developer Riccardo Spagni in IRC chatrooms in 2013.
  • Citing the downfall of Western civilization, Pankkake allegedly sent white nationalists in the U.S. $500,000, including almost $250,000 in BTC, to “white majoritarian” Nick Fuentes.
  • Bachelier suffered from a serious illness and posted a suicide note on his blog the day after the donation.

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Supporters of Donald Trump stormed the Washington D.C. Capitol Building last week in protest of Trump’s election defeat, killing five people, including two police officers. Reports later revealed that many involved had been funded with Bitcoin.

Many alt-right and white nationalist figures were present at the riots, including self-described “white majoritarian” Nick Fuentes, outspoken neo-nazi Baked Alaska, and various other high-profile white supremacists.

Nick Feuntes at Capitol Hill. Source: Twitter
Nick Fuentes (center) at Capitol Hill. Source: Twitter

The riot was planned via the social media site Parler starting Jan. 6, with Wild Protest movement leader Ali Alexander stating, “If DC escalates… so do we.”

Bitcoin Funds Capital Riots

On Dec. 8, a single donor sent over 28.15 BTC worth over $520,000 at the time to multiple alt-right figures and organizations, including figures directly involved in the Capitol Hill unrest. 

Cybersecurity firm Chainalysis identified the transactions and tracked them, building a paper trail.

Through the Namecoin blockchain, Chainalysis identified the donor as “Pankkake.” According to Chainalysis, domestic extremists in the U.S. have been receiving foreign funding traceable on the Bitcoin blockchain since at least 2016.

Nick Fuentes, a self-described “white majoritarian” and anti-LGBT speaker banned from YouTube for denying the Holocaust, received 45% of the Dec. 8 funds. That sum amounted to 13.5 BTC or approximately $250,000 at the time.

Chainalysis reports that Pankkake donated funds to the Daily Stormer, a neo-nazi media outlet, as well as alt-right podcaster Ethan Ralph, and the U.S. white supremacist group VDARE.

While most of the recipients were from the U.S., Pankkake also allegedly donated $26,000 to French neo-nazi and Holocaust denier Vincent Reynourard.

Pankkake BTC donations
Source: Twitter

The cybersecurity firm stated its belief that Pankkake may have been an early adopter of Bitcoin who was active in crypto since 2013 and accumulated wealth as BTC gained in value.

Tracing The Mystery Donor’s Identity

Crypto Briefing traced the Pankakke NameCoin handle to Freenode chat logs archived on BTCbase.org where a user identifying themselves as “Pankkake,” a French programmer interested in Namecoin, had been a regular poster.

Pankkake’s early political leanings can be seen in various racist, anti-semitic, and transphobic comments, stating “blacks are born to be slaves anyway” in 2013.

Pankkake was often in contact with Monero creator Riccardo Spagni, AKA Fluffy Pony, during that time. Their discussion focused on cryptocurrency and blogging, and Spagni informed Crypto Briefing that they never spoke in private.

Spagni privately shared with the author his rating for Pankkake on Bitcointalk, where he called Pankkake the “The Trolliest Troll of Trollsville.”

Pankkake discussed blogging with other users, including Mirceau Popescu, Romanian entrepreneur and founder of the now-defunct BitBet US site. Popescu was banned from Twitter in 2014 for threatening to kill Andreas Antonopoulos.

Mircea Popescu banned from Twitter
Source: Reddit

In the 2013 chat logs, a Freenode user linked a racist blog post that Popescu wrote on his personal site. Pankkake’s comments on that blog led Crypto Briefing to Pankkake’s own blog, called Headfucking, which contained various projects and files, including adult content and a fan site for a metal goregrind band. 

Finally, the Headfucking site led Crypto Briefing to a blog under Pankakke’s real name, where his final post was a suicide note.

Suicide Note

Pankkake’s name was Laurent Bachelier, a Parisian programmer with 47 commits on GitHub.

His blog featured his thoughts on Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, among other topics, with no posts from 2015 to late 2020.

Bachelier posted a suicide note on Dec. 9, 2020, one day after the 28 BTC donation was made. He stated that he suffered from Trigeminal neuralgia, a neuropathic disorder, also known as the “suicide disease,” characterized by extreme and chronic nerve pain. Bachelier cites tinnitus and fatigue, among other health problems, as reasons for his suicide.

“If you are reading this, I am deceased. This is a message scheduled to be posted in the future; so there is no chance that i survived.”

Bachelier went on to list more reasons, including his view that “Western civilization is declining,” while also bringing up Holocaust denial and 9/11 conspiracy theories by referencing “wooden doors” and “building 7.”

Laurent Bachelier Pankkake suicide note
Source: Laurent Bachelier

As examples of this Western decline, he stated his belief that the COVID-19 virus is not dangerous and that the police did not really kill George Floyd, making the BLM protests against his killing unjustified.

He ended the list lamenting that “to top it off,” the Fast and Furious 9 movie release had been delayed.

On his death, one of his former university classmates commented, describing Bachelier as having, even 15 years ago, “a pure libertarian alt-right tendency that in other circumstances I would have abhorred. He was nevertheless a comrade.”

In his suicide note, Bachelier pointed to his reasons for allegedly donating his money to hate groups and extremists, saying:

“This is one of the things that has radically changed about me in the last few years: what happens after I die interests me. This is why I have decided to bequeath my modest fortune to certain causes and certain people. I think and I hope they will make better use of it than I do.”

The incident proved to be a crucial demonstration of the transparency and immutability of the Bitcoin blockchain, allowing donations aimed at funding civil unrest in the U.S. to be traced to their original source.

Disclaimer: This investigation relies on Chainalysis accurately identifying Pankakke as the donor of the $520,000 BTC donation.

Disclosure: At the time of press, the author of this piece held Bitcoin.

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Source: https://cryptobriefing.com/unmasking-deceased-programmer-donated-bitcoin-capitol-hill-rioters/

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XRP, Polkadot, Cosmos Price Analysis: 03 March

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At the time of writing, bullish movements were underway across the crypto-market, with the same precipitated by Bitcoin’s foray above the $50,000-mark. Thanks to BTC’s movement and owing to the correlation shared by the market’s alts with the world’s largest cryptocurrency, the likes of Polkadot, XRP, and Cosmos were all rallying. At press time, however, their daily charts were yet to register more than a minor uptick in price trend.

XRP

Source: XRP/USD on TradingView

Once one of the mainstays of the market top-five, XRP, at the time of writing, was ranked 7th on CoinMarketCap’s charts. Thanks to its own topsy-turvy price performance over the last few months and the performances of altcoins such as Polkadot and Cardano, the crypto is no longer among the market’s top-five.

Like the rest of the market, XRP too bore the brunt of corrections after Bitcoin dropped below $50,000. In fact, the altcoin fell by over 25% in a 5-day period.

Over the last three days, however, the cryptocurrency seemed to be gaining some bullish momentum. In fact, on the hourly charts, XRP’s hike was observed to be even more significant. However, at the time of writing, it was still difficult to predict whether the crypto would be able to sustain its movement north.

On the contrary, XRP’s indicators continued to flash bearish signals as while the Parabolic SAR’s dotted markers were well above the price candles, the Awesome Oscillator was still noting negative market momentum.

With the legal status of XRP still up for debate in the United States, it is difficult to ascertain what the future has in store for the altcoin.

Polkadot [DOT]

Source: DOT/USD on TradingView

One of the cryptos to have replaced XRP on the rankings, the last few weeks and months have been great for Polkadot, with the altcoin registering its ATH just a few weeks back. However, like most alts, it too dropped dramatically on the charts after BTC’s depreciation, with the crypto falling by 17%.

Curiously, since then, DOT has been on an impressive uptrend, with the alt up by over 22% in the last 7 days. With the rest of the market pumping at press time, it seemed likely that these gains would be pushed even higher.

While the width of the Bollinger Bands suggested some degree of near-term price volatility, the Relative Strength Index was nearing the overbought zone. Here, it’s worth noting that XRP’s price has corrected itself the last two times the RSI has climbed into the said zone.

The project made headlines recently after a Polkadot-based platform raised $1.6M in funding from venture capitalists.

Cosmos [ATOM]

Source: ATOM/USD on TradingView

ATOM’s price movements shared more similarities with the likes of XRP, than Polkadot, with the altcoin also gaining on the charts only recently. In the last 7 days alone, ATOM has climbed by 12%. However, the said hike did come on the back of a 16% depreciation. While the altcoin’s market was trending upwards at the time of writing, it is worth noting that ATOM’s indicators on the daily timeframe were yet to underline any bullishness.

While the MACD line was under the Signal line, despite the bearish momentum falling on the histogram, the Chaikin Money Flow was heading south. If these indicators reverse course in the near-term, a trend reversal can be expected soon.


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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/xrp-polkadot-cosmos-price-analysis-03-march

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Bitfinex launches Bitfinex Pay for merchants to accept payments in ETH, BTC

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Crypto exchange Bitfinex launched a payment widget dubbed Bitfinex Pay that will aim to provide online merchants with a means of receiving “seamless” digital token payments.

Merchants can integrate the payment technology onto a website facilitating e-payments. Users will have the option to pay with various cryptocurrencies which include Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin (BTC), Lightning Network BTC (LN-BTC) and Tether (USDt) via Ethereum or Tron. 

Payments made via Bitfinex Pay will be directly deposited into a merchant’s exchange wallet on Bitfinex. The value of payments is capped at $1,000. 

Furthermore, customers will not have to pay any processing fees for using Bitfinex Pay. However, transaction fees incurred on the relevant blockchain will be borne by online merchants and their customers.

In a release shared with AMBCrypto CTO at Bitfinex Paolo Ardoino said: 

Bitfinex Pay enables merchants to be easily equipped to support crypto payments as increasing numbers of consumers become more comfortable with paying for goods and services using digital tokens.

“Eligible” merchants who choose to integrate the widget on their websites will first need to register and verify their Bitfinex account to at least the intermediate level and apply for merchant verification. Merchants can create a sub-account on verification. 


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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/bitfinex-launches-bitfinex-pay-for-merchants-to-accept-payments-in-eth-btc

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‘Bitcoin Senator’ Lummis Optimistic About Crypto Tax Reform

Sen. Cynthia Lummis, the first in the Chamber to own Bitcoin, says bipartisan support will accelerate crypto tax reform.

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In brief

  • A Senator who owns Bitcoin is hopeful bipartisan support will lead to a “de minimis” crypto tax exemption.
  • The CEO of crypto storage Anchorage said state governments have a new interest in owning crypto.

Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wy) expressed hope on Wednesday that Congress will be able to reform the tax rules governing cryptocurrency, which have been a longtime bugbear for Bitcoin owners and the burgeoning crypto industry.

“We’re optimistic we can find bipartisan agreement on that issue,” said Lummis during a meeting with crypto executives and policy makers on the social media app Clubhouse.

The comment from Lummis, who has owned Bitcoin since 2013, came in response to a question about whether Congress will pass a proposed law calling for a “de minimis” tax exemption for small cryptocurrency transactions.

Currently, IRS guidance stipulates that any minor crypto transaction—such as sending $5 worth of Bitcoin to a friend or using it to buy a cup of coffee—can amount to a capital gains event. Critics say this rule creates needless tax headaches, and discourages innovation by limiting the use of crypto in day-to-day transactions.

And while the IRS has become preoccupied with collecting tax on crypto—a question about virtual currency is now at the top of filers’ income tax return—the agency has done little to simplify the process for reporting it.

Lummis’s interest could help accelerate the passage of crypto tax reform, which has been proposed in bills before the House of Representatives, but never in the Senate. Lummis, whose home state of Wyoming has branded itself as a crypto hub, also pointed to a new Financial Innovation Caucus she is leading with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Az) as evidence of bipartisan interest in the issue.

Policy researchers on the Clubhouse call cautioned, however, that passage of crypto legislation is unlikely to occur in the near future. The Biden Administration and Congress is currently wrangling over weighty issues related to the pandemic and economic stimulus, so crypto taxation—a relatively boutique issue—is unlikely to be a high priority.

More broadly, members of the call noted that lawmakers are becoming more knowledgable about cryptocurrency, and not only at the federal level.

Nathan McCauley, the CEO of crypto storage service Anchorage, said that his company has been speaking with several state governments about adding crypto to their corporate treasuries—a move that would mirror what big private sector companies like Tesla and Square have done in recent months.

McCauley suggested the states’ interest in crypto is related to a search for alternate finance and investing options at a time when bond markets are in a prolonged slump.

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Source: https://decrypt.co/60059/bitcoin-senator-lummis-crypto-tax-reform

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