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US Secret Service Seized $217,000 Worth of Crypto from Infamous British Hacker

  • Alex Morris
    📰 News

    The British hacker who lived the life of luxury has his riches confiscated across the pond

US Secret Service Seized $217,000 Worth of Crypto from Infamous British Hacker
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The News Journal reports that the US Secret Service confiscated $217,000 from a British hacker Grant West. They cooperated with the UK police in order to track down the British national who was accused of stealing people’s personal information and selling it for Bitcoin.

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His modus operandi

West had been hacking the servers of numerous companies since 2015 (some of them are located in the US). After getting his hands on some sensitive data, he would later advertise it on the dark web, asking crypto in exchange. He would send fishing emails in order to get access to someone’s credit card or other valuable information.  

The hacker was arrested last year by the British police; that was a landmark case since it was the first occasion when London Metropolitan Police caught a dark web criminal. The total amount of Bitcoin confiscated by the UK authorities reached a whopping $700,000.

Before the arrest, West was reportedly enjoying a luxurious life with high-dollar cars and a long list of visited countries where he would blow his wad.     

The US gets involved   

Now, it has just been revealed that the US authorities also seized a part of West’s riches — he held his money on his US-backed account — after the British hacker had been accused of money laundering and identity theft. He reportedly was a client of a Circle-owned Poloniex exchange that has its servers based in the state of Delaware.     

After the seizure, the whole amount of Bitcoin was eventually sent to the United States Marshals Service. However, the current custodian of this money remains unknown.

Meet the ultimate Bitcoin whale   

According to WIRED, the US government is, in fact, could be one of the biggest Bitcoin holders in the world. Such a suggestion appeared back in 2013 after the infamous arrest of the Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht. It made FBI the biggest Bitcoin whale in the nick of time: Ulbricht’s wallet contained 144,000 BTC.

Earlier, U.Today also reported about the $700,000 Bitcoin stash of Oxymonster being confiscated by the FBI. At this point, it is not clear whether the government is going to auction off these holdings. Last month, the U.S. District Court in California also confiscated about $8 mln after the suicide of Alexandre Cazes who ran an online drug marketplace.    

With that being said, American won’t rival Satoshi Nakamoto who remains the largest Bitcoin holder in the world.

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Vinnie Lingham’s Civic, How it Fares Now: Past-ICO Review

  • Eric Eissler
    🕵️‍ ICO Watch

    Secure Ecosystems for protecting identity are growing, but can one company rise above the rest?

Vinnie Lingham’s Civic, How it Fares Now: Past-ICO Review
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Once someone figured out that Blockchain can be used to return the control of personal information back to the user a bunch of companies got hard to work developing these tools and Blockchain protocols to do so.

At many Blockchain conferences, the topic of identity protection and control of personal data is part of many presentations. It comes as no surprise there-there are more and more companies in this now growing sector. Civic is another one of these companies offering a secure identity ecosystem.

By the numbers

Money talks and it did for Civic, as the pre-sale sold out eight days before the planned ICO. The company raised $33 mln in funding.

Tokens sold at $0.10 per token during the sale and for the initial debut into the market in July 2017, the price per token was $0.16. At the time of writing the token was $0.20, doubling from the initial sale price.

However, it should be noted that the token hit it's all-time high in December 2017, when it hit $1.37 before crashing hard at the start of 2018, a common trend for most all coins around that time.

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How it works

On Civic’s platform, a user’s personal data is never stored neither on a server nor on the Blockchain– only attestations to this data are written to the Blockchain.

After Civic verifies a user’s identity via a trusted third party, the data are encrypted and stored solely on the user’s device and can be accessed only via biometrics or the user’s chosen level of security. Users can review requests to obtain their information and choose whether to approve or deny these requests.

This is similar to many other companies out there competing for the market share of this hot new blockchain subsector. Remember, NEVER put personal information on a blockchain, once it is there it is ALWAYS there forever! Unless, of course, you manage to get consensus from all the nodes to go back and delete the information. That’s how Ethereum Classic was born.

The Team

Vinny Lingham- The South African entrepreneur who previously founded the digital gift card platform, Gyft, which was acquired by First Data Corporation in 2014. After more than a decade of experience in e-commerce, he realized that there had to be a universal solution to tackle identity fraud for consumers, which he attempts to solve with Civic.

Jonathan Smith- Jonathan has more than 15 years of experience in banking and technology advisory. After a successful career in some of the most complex and security-sensitive environments, Jonathan brings his talent for technology leadership, innovation, and delivery to the world of digital identity.

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What’s up now?

As with many Blockchain based companies, after the ICO closes, doesn’t mean there will be a product or a service launch. Instead, there is much waiting and usually delays or broken promises. According to the website, the Q2 goals have not been reached. The goals are:

  • Open enrollment of identity providers allows any Civic-vetted organization to begin attesting to data.

  • Enrolled partners can use fiat currency balances to transact on the marketplace.

  • Marketplace integration SDKs publicly available.

  • Most important the release of Beta 2.0.

In a previous interview with CryptoComes, Lingham said that the biggest challenge Civic faces is “that the current regulations don't really force companies to be cognizant of the use of data that they are storing. Now GDPR in Europe is coming in, and I think US regulations are coming as well. Adoption will happen when we have government regulations forcing companies to be responsible and they have to look at solutions like Civic.”

While the company still has a bit of June left to finish these goals, it appears to be that they may not make it.

If they don’t make it, there is potential for token prices to fall due to lack-of-faith investors selling off. Let’s see if the goal boxes are checked off by the end of June, or if token prices fall due to lack of progress.

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