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MeWe: A trip report

Among the more frequently mentioned G+ alternatives at the Google+ Mass Migration community, and others, is MeWe with over 250 mentions. The site bills itself as "The Next-Gen Social Network" and the "anti-Facebook": "No Ads, No Political Bias, No Spyware. NO BS. It is headed by professed Libertarian CEO Mark Weinstein.
As the site reveals no public user-generated content to non-members, it's necessary to create an account in order to get a full impression. I thought I'd provide an overview based on recent explorations.
This report leads of with background on the company, though readers may find the report and analysis of specific groups on the site of interest.

Leadership

Founder & CEO Mark Weinstein.
Co-Founder & Chief Scientist, Jonathan Wolfe (no longer with company).
Weinstein previously founded SuperFamily and SuperFriends, "at the turn of the millennium". Weinstein's MeWe biography lists articles published by The Mirror (UK), Huffington Post, USA Today, InfoSecurity Magazine, Dark Reading, and the Nation. His media appearances include MarketWatch, PBS, Fox News, and CNN. He's also the author of several personal-success books.
His Crunchbase bio is a repeat of the MeWe content.

Advisory Board

Ownership & Investment

MeWe is the dba of Sgrouples, a private for-profit early-stage venture company based in Los Angeles, though with a Mountain View HQ and mailing address, 11-50 employees, with $10m in funding over five rounds, and a $20m valuation as of 2016.
Sgrouples, Inc., dba MeWe Trust & Safety - Legal Policy c/o Fenwick West 801 California Street Mountain View, CA 94041
Crunchbase Profile.
Founded: 2012 (source)
Secured $1.2M in seed funding in 2014.
2016 valuation: $20m (source]
Backers:
Despite the business address, the company claims to be based in Los Angeles County, California and is described by the Los Angeles Business Journal as a Culver City, CA, company.

Business

Policy

In an August 6, 2018 Twitter post, Weinstein promotes MeWe writing:
Do you have friends still on Facebook? Share this link with them about Facebook wanting their banking information - tell them to move to MeWe now! No Ads. No Spyware. No Political Agenda. No Bias Algorithms. No Shadow Banning. No Facial Recognition.
MeWe provide several policy-related links on the site:
Highlights of these follow.

Privacy

The privacy policy addresses:

Terms of Service

The ToS addresses:
Effective: November 6, 2018.

FAQ

The FAQ addresses:

Values

This emphasises that people are social cratures and private people by right. The service offers the power of self expression under an umbrella of safety. It notes that our innermost thoughts require privacy.
Under "We aspire...":
MeWe is here to empower and enrich your world. We challenge the status quo by making privacy, respect, and safety the foundations of an innovatively designed, easy-to-use social experience.
Totalling 182 words.

Privacy Bill of Rights

A ten-item statement of principles (possibly inspired by another document, it might appear):
  1. You own your personal information & content. It is explicitly not ours.
  2. You will never receive a targeted advertisement or 3rd party content based on what you do or say online. We think that's creepy.
  3. You see every post in timeline order from your friends, family & groups. We do not manipulate, filter, or change the order of your content or what you see.
  4. Permissions & privacy are your rights. You control them.
  5. You control who can access your content.
  6. You control what, if anything, others can see in member searches.
  7. Your privacy means we do not share your personal information with anyone.
  8. Your emojis are for you and your friends. We do not monitor or mine your data.
  9. Your face is your business. We do not use facial recognition technology.
  10. You have the right to delete your account and take your content with you at any time.

Press

There are a few mentions of MeWe in the press, some listed on the company's website, others via web search.

Self-reported articles

The following articles are linked directly from MeWe's Press page:
The page also lists a "Privacy Revolution Required Reading" list of 20 articles all addressing Facebook privacy gaffes in the mainstream press (Wired, TechCrunch, Fortune, Gizmodo, The Guardian, etc.).
There are further self-reported mentions in several of the company's PR releases over the years.

Other mentions

A DuckDuckGo search produces several other press mentions, including:

Technology

This section is a basic rundown of the user-visible site technology.

Mobile Web

The site is not natively accessible from a mobile Web browser as it is overlayed with a promotion for the mobile application instead. Selecting "Desktop View" in most mobile browsers should allow browser-based access.

Mobile App

There are both Android and iOS apps for MeWe. I've used neither of these, though the App store entries note:
Crunchbase cites 209,220 mobile downloads over the past 30 days (via Apptopia), an 80.78% monthly growth rate, from Google Play.

Desktop Web

Either selecting "View Desktop" or navigating with a Desktop browser to https://www.mewe.com your are presented with a registration screen, with the "About", "Privacy Bill of Rights", "MeWe Challenge", and a language selector across the top of the page. Information requested are first and last name, phone or email, and a password. Pseudonymous identities are permitted, though this isn't noted on the login screen. Returning members can use the "Member Log In" button.
The uMatrix Firefox extension reveals no third-party content: all page elements are served from mewe.com, img.mewe.com, cdn.mewe.com, or ws.mewe.com. (In subsequent browsing, you may find third-party plugins from, for example, YouTube, for videos, or Giphy, for animated GIFs.)
The web front-end is nginx. The site uses SSL v3, issued by DigiCert Inc. to Sgrouples, Inc.

Onboarding

The onboarding experience is stark. There is no default content presented. A set of unidentified icons spans the top of the screen, these turn out to be Home, Chats, Groups, Pages, and Events. New users have to, somehow, find groups or people to connect with, and there's little guidance as to how to do this.

Interface

Generally there is a three panel view, with left- and right-hand sidebars of largely navigational or status information, and a central panel with main content. There are also pop-up elements for chats, an omnipresent feature of the site.
Controls display labels on some devices and/or resolutions. Controls do not provide tooltips for navigational aid.

Features

Among the touted features of MeWe are:

Community

A key aspect of any social network is its community. Some of the available or ascertained information on this follows.

Size

Weinstein claims a "million+ following inside MeWe.com" on Twitter.
The largest visible groups appear to have a maximum of around 15,000 members , for "Awesome gifs". "Clean Comedy" rates 13,350, and the largest open political groups, 11,000+ members.
This compares to Google+ which has a staggering, though Android-registrations-inflated 3.3 billion profiles, and 7.9 million communities, though the largest of these come in at under 10 million members. It's likely that MeWe's membership is on the whole more more active than Google+'s, where generally-visible posting activity was limited to just over 9% of all profiles, and the active user base was well under 1% of the total nominal population.

Active Users

MeWe do not publish active users (e.g., MUA / monthly active users) statistics.

Groups

MeWe is principally a group-oriented discussion site -- interactions take place either between individuals or within group contexts. Virtually all discovery is group-oriented. The selection and dynamics of groups on the site will likely strongly affect user experience, so exploring the available groups and their characteristics is of interest.
"MeWe has over 60,000 open groups" according to its FAQ.
The Open groups -- visible to any registered MeWe user, though not to the general public Web -- are browsable, though sections and topics must be expanded to view the contents: an overview isn't immediately accessible. We provide a taste here.
A selection of ten featured topics spans the top of the browser. As I view these, they are:
Specific groups may appear in multiple categories.
The top Groups within these topics have, variously, 15,482, 7,738, 15,482 (dupe), 7,745, 8,223, 8,220, 1,713, 9,527, 2,716, and 1,516 members. Listings scroll at length -- the Music topic has 234 Groups, ranging in size from 5 to 5,738 members, with a median of 59, mean of 311.4, and a 90%ile of 743.5.
Below this is a grid of topics, 122 in all, ranging from Activism to Wellness, and including among them. A selected sample of these topics, with top groups listed members in (parens), follows:
To be clear: whilst I've not included every topic, I've sampled a majority of them above, and listed not an arbitrary selection, but the top few Groups under each topic.

Google+ Groups

The Google Plus expats group seems the most active of these by far.

Political Groups

It's curious that MeWe make a specific point in their FAQ that:
At MeWe we have absolutely no political agenda and we have a very straightforward Terms of Service. MeWe is for all law-abiding people everywhere in the world, regardless of political, ethnic, religious, sexual, and other preferences.
There are 403 political groups on MeWe. I won't list them all here, but the first 100 or so give a pretty clear idea of flavour. Again, membership is in (parentheses). Note that half the total political Groups memberships are in the first 21 groups listed here, the first 6 are 25% of the total.
  1. Donald J. Trump 2016 - Present (11486)
  2. The Conservative's Hangout (8345)
  3. Qanon Follow The White Rabbit (5600)
  4. Drain The Swamp (4978)
  5. Libertarians (4528)
  6. United We Stand Trump2020 (4216)
  7. The Right To Self Defense (3757)
  8. Alternative Media (3711)
  9. Hardcore Conservative Patriots for Trump (3192)
  10. Bastket Of Deplorables4Trump! (3032)
  11. Return of the Republic (2509)
  12. Infowars Chat Room Unofficial (2159)
  13. Donald Trump Our President 2017-2025 (2033)
  14. Berners for Progress (1963)
  15. Sean Hannity Fans (1901)
  16. The American Conservative (1839)
  17. I Am The NRA (1704)
  18. Tucker Carlson Fox News (1645)
  19. We Love Donald Trump (1611)
  20. MAGA - Make America Great Again (1512)
  21. Q (1396)
  22. ClashDaily.com (1384)
  23. news from the front (1337)
  24. Basket of Deplorables (1317)
  25. Payton's Park Bench (1283)
  26. Convention of States (1282)
  27. Britons For Brexit (1186)
  28. MoJo 5.0 Radio (1180)
  29. MeWe Free Press (1119)
  30. The Constitutionally Elite (1110)
  31. Libertarian (1097)
  32. WOMEN FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP (1032)
  33. AMERICANS AGAINST ISIS and OTHER ENEMIES (943)
  34. #WalkAway Campaign (894)
  35. ALEX JONES (877)
  36. The Lion Is Awake ! (854)
  37. We Support Donald Trump! (810)
  38. The Stratosphere Lounge (789)
  39. TRUMP-USA-HANDS OFF OUR PRESIDENT (767)
  40. Official Tea Party USA (749)
  41. Mojo50 Jackholes (739)
  42. Yes Scotland (697)
  43. "WE THE DEPLORABLE" - MOVE ON SNOWFLAKE! (688)
  44. Judge Jeanine Pirro Fans (671)
  45. Anarcho-Capitalism (658)
  46. Ted Cruz for President (650)
  47. No Lapdog Media (647)
  48. Q Chatter (647)
  49. Daily Brexit (636)
  50. Tucker Carlson Fox News (601)
  51. The Trumps Storm Group (600)
  52. QAnon-Patriots WWG1WGA (598)
  53. 100% American (569)
  54. Ladies For Donald Trump (566)
  55. Deep State (560)
  56. In the Name of Liberty (557)
  57. Material Planet (555)
  58. WikiUnderground (555)
  59. Trump NRA Free Speech Patriots on MeWe Gab.ai etc (546)
  60. Magna Carta Group (520)
  61. Constitutional Conservatives (506)
  62. Question Everything (503)
  63. Conspiracy Research (500)
  64. Bill O'Reilly Fans (481)
  65. Conservative Misfit's (479)
  66. Canadian politics (478)
  67. Anarchism (464)
  68. HARDCORE DEPLORABLES (454)
  69. Deplorable (450)
  70. Tampa Bay Trump Club (445)
  71. UK Politics (430)
  72. Bongino Fan Page (429)
  73. Radical Conservatives (429)
  74. RESIST THE RESISTANCE (419)
  75. The Deplorables (409)
  76. America's Freedom Fighters (401)
  77. Politically Incorrect & Proud (399)
  78. CONSERVATIVES FOR AMERICA ! (385)
  79. Political satire (383)
  80. RISE OF THE RIGHT (371)
  81. UK Sovereignty,Independence,Democracy -Everlasting (366)
  82. The Patriots Voting Coalition (359)
  83. End The Insanity (349)
  84. Coming American Civil War! (345)
  85. Constitutional Conservatives (343)
  86. United Nations Watch (342)
  87. A Revival Of The Critical Thinking Union (337)
  88. The New Libertarian (335)
  89. Libertarian Party (official ) (333)
  90. DDS United (Duterte Die-hard Supporters) (332)
  91. American Conservative Veterans (331)
  92. Anarchism/Agorism/Voluntaryism (328)
  93. America Needs Donald Trump (326)
  94. The UKIP Debating Society (321)
  95. Coalition For Trump (310)
  96. Egalitarianism (306)
  97. FRIENDS THAT LIKE JILL STEIN AND THE GREEN PARTY (292)
  98. 2nd Amendment (287)
  99. Never Forget #SethRich (286)
  100. Green Party Supporters 2020 (283)
It seems there is relatively little representation from the left wing, or even the centre, of the political spectrum. A case-insensitive match for "liberal" turns up:
Mainstream political parties are little represented, though again, the balance seems skewed searching on "(democrat|republic|gop)":
The terms "left" and "right" provide a few matches, not all strictly political-axis aligned:
Socialism and Communism also warrant a few mentions:
And there are some references to green, laboulabor parties:

Conclusion

Whilst there may not be a political agenda, there does appear to be at least a slight political bias to the site. And a distinctive skew on many other topical subjects.
Those seeking new homes online may wish to take this into account.

Updates

submitted by dredmorbius to plexodus [link] [comments]

The Perfect BTC Auction Storm: the $830MM in BTC Seized from Infraud and the $1.7 Billion in BTC Seized in Bulgaria

Last week Sergey Medvedev was arrested in Bangkok. This was part of a coordinated international raid that netted the arrest of 13 people across the globe associated with darkweb site "Infraud" as reported widely in the press:
https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/feb/9/sergey-medvedev-russian-cybercrime-suspect-arreste/ https://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-russia-cybercrime-dark-web-market-suspect-sergey-medvedev-thailand/
Apparently, Medvedev was the administrator of the escrow service that Infraud ran to prevent members from ripping each other off in their transactions that seem to have been centered largely on stolen credit card information and devices to steal such info. (See https://krebsonsecurity.com/2018/02/u-s-arrests-13-charges-36-in-infraud-cybercrime-forum-bust/).
Since transactions were (of course) conducted using bitcoin, Thai police are reporting that they have seized 100k BTC from Medvedev (worth $830MM USD at the moment). How Thai police could have gotten his private keys is a matter that has been debated on Reddit since the arrest. While one commenter humorously suggested that skillfully applied 50 baht pliers could circumvent any digital security measures, it is obvious that many nefarious forms of "advanced interrogation" could have produced the private keys. What isn't clear, is what will happen to those nearly $1 Billion USD in BTC. Will the Thai police keep them? Will the US Government end up with them? Will they split them? Most importantly, will they be sold off?
The US Marshal's Service obviously has a track record of selling off BTC with the most notable example being the Silk Road Auction in 2014 after the arrest of Ross Ulbricht where Tim Draper and others bought huge chunks of the seizure at auction.
Obviously, an $830 million USD BTC auction would make a lot of headlines and could have a significant impact on BTC markets regardless of what the eventual auction winners planned to do with the coins. But, a lingering question remains: What if Medvedev coins weren't the only ones seized?
The Thai police announced the BTC they seized. But, the coordinated international dragnet also involved law enforcement in the U.S., Britain, Australia, France, Italy, Kosovo, and Serbia. Chances are good that there was additional BTC seized from the other 12 individuals. Luckily, the Department of Justice's Grand Jury Indictment of those people might give us a clue how much the DOJ thought those individuals MIGHT have.
Here is the grand jury indictment of 36 people that led to that arrest. (https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1032021/download) As the US gov't is eager to seize any and all ill-gotten gain in such arrests, the document contains a bullet list of how much money the government would like to seize from each of the indicted defendants. The forfeiture list starts on page 46.
In the case of Medvedev, and certain other ringleaders and others, the list just shows "To be calculated". This makes sense since Medvedev was apparently running Infraud's escrow service and the Feds didn't know how much Infraud BTC would be under Medvedev's control. But, for 21 of the other defendants, the indictment does list actual dollar amount. My quick back of the napkin addition is showing that these amounts add up to something like $566,047,662.74. Obviously, it's possible the arrested individuals didn't have these amounts, these amounts were not longer in BTC, the other 12 individuals actually arrested were not the ones on the list that correspond to the higher dollar amounts, or the arresting authorities were unable to recover these amounts. But, these are the amounts the DOJ would have been very happy to seize from these individuals.
But, in any case, it wouldn't be at all surprising if at least another $200 Million in BTC was seized from the other 12 arrested individuals. So, if we add this amount to Medvedev's $830 million, we could easily be talking about $1 Billion USD in BTC.
On top of this $1 Billion in Infraud BTC, we also have yet to account for the 213,519 BTC seized by Bulgarian authorities last May. (See https://www.coindesk.com/bulgarian-government-sitting-3-billion-bitcoin/) Apparently, Bulgaria has been refusing to comment on what has or will happen to those coins. But, what we do know is that those coins would be worth something like $1.7 Billion USD today. So, between these two raids, we would have $2.7 Billion in seized BTC. Here's the nightmare scenario: some combination of the US/Thailand/Others in the Infraud Law Enforcement Coalition decide to auction off the Infraud coins, then Bulgaria doesn't want to get beat to the punch and they decide to auction off their seized coins. All of the sudden, we are staring down the barrel of a $2.7 billion USD BTC auction season. Some will call it far-fetched and impossible. But, the timing is perfect.
The BTC market has basically just been steadily falling since the peak.The Bulgarian authorities seized their coins in May and watched the price skyrocket until December. Why sell since the market was just rising and rising. Now, they have seen the BTC market fall and fall for two months. Last week, the Bulgarians get the news that the US and the other arresting countries may suddenly have their own treasure trove of $1 billion USD in seized BTC. Now there may be two or more players in the mega cap bulk BTC sales game...plus prices are falling. The Bulgarians may just decide to unleash those coins. We already know that the US Marshals are more than happy to auction off huge amounts of coins at a whim. We also know that the press would LOVE to report on billion dollar bitcoin auctions, and that the resulting headlines could very likely affect the behavior of casual investors and newbs: “They’re going to sell a BILLION dollars of them….yeah, hard pass on buying for now.” That could be the case even if it turns out that Bulgaria has already stealthily and slowly sold off their coins.
The only remaining question is, whatever the chance may be of any of this occurring, what would the impact be on the market if some version of this DOES HAPPEN involving any substantial portion of the Infraud and/or Bulgarian coins?
tl;dr We could have a hell of a bulk BTC auction season coming up!
submitted by tap21x to BitcoinMarkets [link] [comments]

Lisk Highlights weekly roundup February 17th 2019.

Hello everybody. The LISK project and it's enthusiasts are always busy, and this week past has certainly been no exception.
Seeing is believing, so here is a recap of the highlights and interesting items from the past week on the LISK subreddit and beyond.....
 

LiskUSA Goes Deep in it's Response to LIP11

"The proposed LIP11 will have the opposite effect of what it is intending to solve"; this was the collective opinion of the LiskUSA group in reaction to the Lisk Improvement Proposal dealing with the "change to one vote per account in our DPoS". LiskUSA continued, "It will likely cause a decrease in decentralization, replace coalitions with whales (or coalitions of whales), and competition will decrease as standby delegates are disenfranchised even further".
The piece published on the official LiskUSA website and also submitted to the LIP mailing list HERE was written and compiled by Matthew C AKA Ultrafresh and Edward Trosclair AKA StellarDynamic, elected Lisk Delegate. Lisk USA is a community run organization that was made to coordinate, recognize, and reward outreach and developments for Lisk.
Aside from disagreeing with the proposal as it stands, an interesting additional proposal was put forward by LiskUSA, or maybe proposal is too strong a word; maybe an idea is a better way to put it. This was where they wrote... "An interesting but perhaps controversial idea; It is very common for video games to completely wipe a beta server at the official launch of the game. While it goes against the idea of immutability, a one time re-vote / election could be seen as a way to make the landscape more fair for new delegates who will never have a chance of getting votes from some of the large lost accounts”.
There are loads more interesting insights contained within the 2400+ word submission. You can check it all out for yourself HERE.
 

Lisk is Ranking High on Google for Blockchain Terms.

Lisk community member zOwn3Ds over on Lisk Chat seems to have been doing a bit of googling over the weekend when he stumbled across something that impressed him, which led him to post, "good to see lisk academy popping up first in google". He searched for the terms "blockchain node" and the result delivered showed Lisk sitting in No. 1 place for that search.
I decided to do a bit of googling of other terms related to Lisk so firstly I searched for "blockchain dpos" and again the result displayed showed Lisk in No. 1 place for that search. I found the same with simply searching "dpos". Another one of note that again showed Lisk sitting high in No. 2 place for the term "blockchain consensus". It seems The Lisk team's SEO is starting to pay good dividends. Long may it continue.
 

Lisk Sidechain Project Beefs Up its Digital Marketing.

The MADANA project have teamed up with UFOstart, a Berlin based marketing company specialising in blockchain tokensales and business startups. This will result in Lars Schulze, UFOstart Co-Founder, spending quite a bit of time with the MADANA team as he applies his 22 years of experience in the Online Marketing field to their projects promotional moves. Didi Lace, MADANA COO & Co-Founder, welcomed Lars via twitter by saying "A great partner for the interesting road ahead! Glad to have you on board".
The MADANA project has closed its pre-sale and is now preparing for its main sale, so personally I believe it is a good move for the team to bring onboard someone with the amount of experience of Lars, not to mention the contacts his company, UFOstart, can access. Lars founded his first internet company in 1996 and he has reportedly supported more than 100 projects - from startups and SMEs to large corporations. As a part of UFOstart he has worked with such blockchain projects as ascribe, metamorph, photochain, polygravity, rehaptix, womtoken, and Ocean Protocol.
You can view a picture of the MADANA team complete with Lars (third from right) HERE
 

LISK Sidechain Project's Co-Founder Lays Out the Development Plan for the Week Ahead .

Yesterday, Chief R&D Officer and Co-founder of GNY, Richard Jarritt (bringing Machine Learning to Lisk) revealed the tasks for the week to the projects followers on the GNY telegram.
1. Analysis.
The team will undertake a comprehensive analysis of the solutions other Machine Learning developers have offered within the DPOS space. This to ensure their efforts are above current industry standards. Dissection, comparison, and learning for the team this week so.
2. Internal Education.
The heads of team are creating guides to the projects Machine Learning in Python and Javascript. This is to ensure all team members not only understand the concept but also the code. Internal education cannot be underestimated and is vital to keep all team members aligned.
3. Timeline.
Drafting a completion timeline for the GNY Machine Learning operating within the codebase that Leo Liang (known from the Asch decentralized application platform) has created. This will be made available to the public.
The GNY universal Beta Api plug-in update is out now and testing is welcomed for commercial developers aiming to work with Machine learning and blockchain. You can visit Github to view the steps to run it HERE.
 

Lisk, Spreading from Costa Rica in Central America to Atlanta in North America.

Lisk Central America have released a comprehensive recap of their presentation at TicoBlockChain 2019 in Costa Rica. Software Architect, Jake Simmons, represented LISK Central America with his presentation on 'Scaling blockchain horizontally with Lisk'. Jake's presentation took part in the midst of the conference's speaker collection of lawyers, developers, educators, banking executives, investment professionals, their keynotes, panel talks and fireside chats.
Lisk Central America is an organization with the intention of bringing awareness of the LISK blockchain application platform and Blockchain in general to Central America. So we are talking, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. Now generally the group's main focus is local meetups, but on this particular occasion the collective took a step into the conference circuit, and from reading their upbeat recap of TicoBlockChain, I don't think it will be the last.
For those of us who could not make the trip we have Lisk community member illuciferium to thank for filming Jake's presentation and uploading it to Youtube HERE. You can also see Jake being interviewed at the conference by Ricardo Barquero, Nimiq Community Manager in this VIDEO
Well done Jake, and we hope to see you introducing Lisk to many more folk in the months to come.
 
Now from a past event in South America to one that is upcoming in North America, and with that we look at towards Atlanta. Lisk delegate Blockvibe's aim is to foster, support, and expand the Lisk ecosystem in South Korea and the United States of America. One of their major plans for the community is to organize and host regular meetups and Lisk sidechain conferences in these regions. To that end they will be hosting an Atlanta Blockchain Meetup on Sat Feb 16 (1 to 3pm), titled "Intro to Blockchain and the Lisk Platform". Further details of the event can be found HERE. Bob Anglin from those lively Lisk Delegates bloqspace.io will be the guest speaker on day. Free food and prize draws are also promised.
Good luck and best wishes to all the event organisers and those folk who where-possible come out to attend these meetups.
 
That's it for the recap of the weeks highlights. I hope it brought you up to speed with all the weeks good news.
These highlight posts also go out daily on the….
LISK Highlights exclusive Telegram group
LISK Highlights Twitter
The highlights are also included in my weekly roundup on the LISK Highlights Medium account and the Bitcoin talk forum's LISK thread, so keep an eye out for them on these outlets also.
 
Keep the faith Liskers! 👍
submitted by John_Muck to Lisk [link] [comments]

The Perfect Bitcoin Auction Storm: the $830MM in BTC Seized from Infraud and the $1.7 Billion in BTC Seized in Bulgaria

Last week Sergey Medvedev was arrested in Bangkok. This was part of a coordinated international raid that netted the arrest of 13 people across the globe associated with darkweb site "Infraud" as reported widely in the press:
https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/feb/9/sergey-medvedev-russian-cybercrime-suspect-arreste/
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-russia-cybercrime-dark-web-market-suspect-sergey-medvedev-thailand/
Apparently, Medvedev was the administrator of the escrow service that Infraud ran to prevent members from ripping each other off in their transactions that seem to have been centered largely on stolen credit card information and devices to steal such info. (See https://krebsonsecurity.com/2018/02/u-s-arrests-13-charges-36-in-infraud-cybercrime-forum-bust/).
Since transactions were (of course) conducted using bitcoin, Thai police are reporting that they have seized 100k BTC from Medvedev (worth $830MM USD at the moment). How Thai police could have gotten his private keys is a matter that has been debated on Reddit since the arrest. While one commenter humorously suggested that skillfully applied 50 baht pliers could circumvent any digital security measures, it is obvious that many nefarious forms of "advanced interrogation" could have produced the private keys.
What isn't clear, is what will happen to those nearly $1 Billion USD in BTC. Will the Thai police keep them? Will the US Government end up with them? Will they split them? Most importantly, will they be sold off?
The US Marshal's Service obviously has a track record of selling off BTC with the most notable example being the Silk Road Auction in 2014 after the arrest of Ross Ulbricht where Tim Draper and others bought huge chunks of the seizure at auction.
Obviously, an $830 million USD BTC auction would make a lot of headlines and could have a significant impact on BTC markets regardless of what the eventual auction winners planned to do with the coins. But, a lingering question remains: What if Medvedev coins weren't the only ones seized?
The Thai police announced the BTC they seized. But, the coordinated international dragnet also involved law enforcement in the U.S., Britain, Australia, France, Italy, Kosovo, and Serbia. Chances are good that there was additional BTC seized from the other 12 individuals. Luckily, the Department of Justice's Grand Jury Indictment of those people might give us a clue how much the DOJ thought those individuals MIGHT have.
Here is the grand jury indictment of 36 people that led to that arrest. (https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1032021/download) As the US gov't is eager to seize any and all ill-gotten gain in such arrests, the document contains a bullet list of how much money the government would like to seize from each of the indicted defendants. The forfeiture list starts on page 46.
In the case of Medvedev, and certain other ringleaders and others, the list just shows "To be calculated". This makes sense since Medvedev was apparently running Infraud's escrow service and the Feds didn't know how much Infraud BTC would be under Medvedev's control. But, for 21 of the other defendants, the indictment does list actual dollar amount. My quick back of the napkin addition is showing that these amounts add up to something like $566,047,662.74. Obviously, it's possible the arrested individuals didn't have these amounts, these amounts were not longer in BTC, the other 12 individuals actually arrested were not the ones on the list that correspond to the higher dollar amounts, or the arresting authorities were unable to recover these amounts. But, these are the amounts the DOJ would have been very happy to seize from these individuals.
But, in any case, it wouldn't be at all surprising if at least another $200 Million in BTC was seized from the other 12 arrested individuals. So, if we add this amount to Medvedev's $830 million, we could easily be talking about $1 Billion USD in BTC.
On top of this $1 Billion in Infraud BTC, we also have yet to account for the 213,519 BTC seized by Bulgarian authorities last May. (See https://www.coindesk.com/bulgarian-government-sitting-3-billion-bitcoin/) Apparently, Bulgaria has been refusing to comment on what has or will happen to those coins. But, what we do know is that those coins would be worth something like $1.7 Billion USD today.
So, between these two raids, we would have $2.7 Billion in seized BTC. Here's the nightmare scenario: some combination of the US/Thailand/Others in the Infraud Law Enforcement Coalition decide to auction off the Infraud coins, then Bulgaria doesn't want to get beat to the punch and they decide to auction off their seized coins.
All of the sudden, we are staring down the barrel of a $2.7 billion USD BTC auction season. Some will call it far-fetched and impossible. But, the timing is perfect.
The BTC market has basically just been steadily falling since the peak.The Bulgarian authorities seized their coins in May and watched the price skyrocket until December. Why sell since the market was just rising and rising. Now, they have seen the BTC market fall and fall for two months. Last week, the Bulgarians get the news that the US and the other arresting countries may suddenly have their own treasure trove of $1 billion USD in seized BTC. Now there may be two or more players in the mega cap bulk BTC sales game...plus prices are falling. The Bulgarians may just decide to unleash those coins. We already know that the US Marshals are more than happy to auction off huge amounts of coins at a whim. We also know that the press would LOVE to report on billion dollar bitcoin auctions, and that the resulting headlines could very likely affect the behavior of casual investors and newbs: “They’re going to sell a BILLION dollars of them….yeah, hard pass on buying for now.” That could be the case even if it turns out that Bulgaria has already stealthily and slowly sold off their coins.
The only remaining question is, whatever the chance may be of any of this occurring, what would the impact be on the market if some version of this DOES HAPPEN involving any substantial portion of the Infraud and/or Bulgarian coins?
tl;dr We could have a hell of a bulk BTC auction season coming up!
submitted by tap21x to btc [link] [comments]

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