Doctor Bitcoin

A man known as “Doctor Bitcoin” is facing prison time after helping criminals to store stolen assets in Bitcoin.

Buying Bitcoin with cash

One of the ways that criminals often hope to use Bitcoin is to ensure that they have an asset that cannot be taken from them: Bitcoin is a network that offers its users some of the highest property rights in the world, and this is extremely useful if criminals want to keep hold of their coins.

Not only this, but when Bitcoin is bought in a non-KYC manner using cash, it becomes far more difficult for the authorities to locate and confiscate.

First and foremost, they can’t be sure that it even exists, or that one has spent cash to acquire Bitcoin.

Secondly, even if the authorities were aware that cash had been spent in order to acquire Bitcoin, they would not easily be able to locate the Bitcoin without knowing the address of the recipient. This makes it difficult for them to track future criminal money flows.

Lottery scams are common in Nigeria and are common in the wider crypto sphere as well.

Local Bitcoins has been a popular place for buying and selling Bitcoin for quite some time now. As the largest peer to peer trading platform for Bitcoin, it offers the opportunity for people to exchange Bitcoin not only via bank transaction, but also with other payments methods – including cash.

There are even alternatives for those who want even more privacy, such as Local Monero. As a privacy coin that is entirely private on the layer one, there is no cryptocurrency that offers better protection by default against prying eyes.

“Doctor Bitcoin” may now be going to prison

Mark Hopkins’ role in the “cash to crypto” scheme was one of an advisor and facilitator.

According to a press release by the authorities, Mark Hopkins accepted cash in exchange for facilitating sales of Bitcoin.

It appears that someone known only to the court as “MH” approached Hopkins, who in turn received large sums of illicit funds in US dollars. The source of the money itself was from a lottery scam operating in Nigeria.

The contention that the authorities had with “Doctor Bitcoin” wasn’t that he was directly running the lottery scam in Nigeria, but that he helped the perpetrators to hide their funds.

In addition to this, when not personally facilitating the transactions, Hopkins would advise the criminals to transact in dollars below an amount that was required to be flagged by law: rather than dealing in batches of $10k at a time, he would recommend that the criminals didn’t move more than $9,500 per transaction.

Money laundering being prosecuted heavily in crypto

Money laundering has always been one of the crimes that the state has always had the largest problem with.  A major reason why this is such a concern to the state is that a proliferation of “dark money” and “dark power” threatens the status quo.

North Korean hacker group Lazarus is expected to have conducted a series of crimes in the blockchain space over the past few years and are known to have tried to anonymise many of their funds by using the Tornado Cash coin mixer.

As more regulation comes to the space, which appears to be something of an inevitable trend despite the fact that many areas of crypto are already very regulated, many people believe that it will become more and more difficult for this sort of fraudulent activity to occur.

Last month, the US decided to sanction Tornado Cash, which means that any US citizen who interacts with the service henceforth could be in violation of sanctions and be liable to serve 30 years in prison.

In this case, it appears that “Doctor Bitcoin” is now facing a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison.

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