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Silk Road was an online black market and the first modern darknet market, best known as a platform for selling illegal drugs.

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Plea Bargain Means Silk Road 2 Admin Will Likely See No Prison Time

Following the sentencing of Thomas White, the founder of the Silk Road 2 (SR2) marketplace during the first week of April, another SR2 administrator may evade prosecution. According to reports, SR2 admin Blake Benthall cooperated with global law enforcement and may only face fines for avoiding taxes. The news of the two SR2 admins’ sentences further aggrieved Ross Ulbricht’s family who believe there’s a disparity between their son’s double life sentence and others who have seen minimal charges. Also read: Silk Road 2 Founder Finally Sentenced 5 Years After His Arrest SR2 Admin ‘Defcon’ Gets a Slap on the Wrist — No Jail and Tax Fines Ross Ulbricht has been in jail for years, having been sentenced to double life in prison with no chance of parole for his role with the original Silk Road (SR) marketplace. After the underground market was shut down, a slew of other darknet marketplaces (DNM) appeared and picked up where the first SR left off. One of these markets was Silk Road 2 and the founder even called himself the Dread Pirate Roberts 2. The DNM was eventually taken down by law enforcement and a few vendors and admins were arrested during the investigation. Thomas White (DPR2) and Blake Benthall (Defcon) were both arrested but they both were also let out on bail since their initial arrests. White was recently sentenced to five years in prison but spent the last few years living normally and even using the name ‘The Cthulhu’ online to comment on tech articles that dealt with subjects like privacy and Tor. No one really knew what happened to Benthall and it seemed he escaped the punishment of the court system. Blake Benthall aka Defcon, a Silk Road 2 admin. However, according to a document obtained by Motherboard, Benthall worked with law enforcement and will likely get off with no prison time. “If the defendant fully complies with the understandings specified in this agreement, he will not be further prosecuted criminally by this Office for any crimes, except for criminal tax violations,” the document from the Assistant United States Attorney details. The record also states that if Benthall cooperates “no testimony or other information given by him will be used against him in any criminal tax prosecution.” Basically Benthall will be required to pay the taxes he did not pay throughout 2013 and 2014 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, but otherwise he will remain a free man. Blake Benthall has been out of jail since his initial arrest in 2014. Ulbricht Family Sees a ‘Grotesque Sentencing Disparity’ Between Other DNM Admins and the Double Life Sentence Ross Received Benthall’s state prosecutors and his defense team declined to comment to the press about the recent document. After hearing the news, the Ulbricht family was upset to see another DNM admin get a slap on the wrist compared to their son’s draconian sentencing. The Free Ross Twitter account spoke up about the subject after the news of Benthall’s deal was made public. “But wait, I thought if you ran a Silk Road you were too dangerous to ever be let out of a cage — I’m so confused,” the Free Ross account tweeted. So far there’s been a significant sentencing disparity between Ross and the many other DNM admins and creators. For instance, SR’s biggest drug dealer, Jon Slomp, only received 10 years, the two corrupt federal agents Carl Force and Sean Bridges only saw 6-8 years, and then Thomas White was only given a 5-year sentence. The family is shocked by the “grotesque disparity between Ross’s life sentence” and have emphasized that “it is wildly excessive and disproportionate to those imposed on others for similar, or worse, conduct.” “Ross, a young, first-time offender, was never prosecuted for causing harm or bodily injury, and no victim was named at trial,” the Freeross.org website states in regard to the sentencing inconsistencies for DNM operators and vendors. “All his charges at trial were non-violent — His walking death sentence is grossly excessive and disproportionate, and its injustice is manifest.” The family further underscored: Such a sentencing disparity flies in the face of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and the Sentencing Reform Act. The Ulbricht family has started a petition on Change.org in order to get U.S. President Donald Trump to pardon Ross. At press time, 170,539 people have signed the petition and the family is hoping to get a lot more signatures. What do you think about Blake Benthall (Defcon) not getting any jail time while Ross Ulbricht got two life sentences? Do you think there is a problem with the sentencing disparity between these individuals? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below. Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Bitcoin Wiki, and Freeross.org. Express yourself freely at Bitcoin.com’s user forums. We don’t censor on political grounds. Check forum.Bitcoin.com The post Plea Bargain Means Silk Road 2 Admin Will Likely See No Prison Time appeared first on Bitcoin News.
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Silk Road’s Ross Ulbricht thanks Bitcoin Cash’s [BCH] Roger Ver for campaigning for his release

Silk Road’s Ross Ulbricht, who is currently serving his prison term in a United States penitentiary, has previously sought help from some highly influential people in the cryptospace, with Roger Ver being one of them. Bitcoin Cash [BCH] proponent, Roger Ver, has been quite vocal about his support for the “darknet pirate,” calling him a genius and urging people to sign a petition for his release. In a recent letter, Ulbricht thanked the CEO of Bitcoin.com for his support. Citing the the benefit concert organized by Ver, Ulbricht wrote, “.. can you imagine if the president released me beforehand then I could crash the party and tell everyone prison stories and all my thoughts on the criminal justice reform there’s a lot to discuss prison doesn’t get easier but I am keeping my chin up with friends like you out there I feel it is just a matter of time before this nightmare is behind me.” Criticizing the country’s law enforcement agencies, Ver said people getting together and writing down words on a piece of paper “did not alter reality.” He added, ” .. if people have the right to drink alcohol they have the right to smoke marijuana they have the right to smoke crack because their lives and their bodies belong to them and their lives and their bodies don’t belong to the politicians or the police officers.” The former darknet market operator and the founder of Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, created the marketplace which allowed participants to evade government intervention by maintaining user anonymity leveraging Tor encryption and Bitcoin. The space enabled users on the network to disguise their identity and location, something that did not sit well with US law enforcement agencies. The young entrepreneur was slapped with a double life sentence. The post Silk Road’s Ross Ulbricht thanks Bitcoin Cash’s [BCH] Roger Ver for campaigning for his release appeared first on AMBCrypto.
AMBCrypto

Dark Web Enterprise Similar to Silk Road Shut down by FBI, Europol

Authorities in Germany have arrested the principal operators of one of the largest dark web marketplaces in the world dubbed the Wall Street Market. Three men, Tibo Lousee, Jonathan Kalla and Klaus-Martin Frost, aged between 22 and 31 were apprehended following investigations by authorities in both the United States and Europe. According to a statement released by Germany’s Federal Criminal Police (BKA), the suspects were arrested during crackdowns in the states of Baden-Württemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia. Inter-agency coordination involving the country’s ZIT unit which specializes in cybercrimes, Europol and the FBI helped bring down the operation. A Brazilian national, Marcos Paulo De Oliveira-Annibale, 29, was also implicated in the illegal enterprise and is currently in custody. He has been charged by a Californian court for his role as a moderator. Annibale reportedly also acted as a public relations officer for the platform and regularly promoted it on social media sites such as Reddit. The suspect apparently operated under the alias “MED3LIN” among others. The Wall Street Market’s mode of operation was similar to that of the infamous Silk Road. Authorities estimate that the platform was at least the second biggest of its kind in the world before it went down. Servers, Cash and Cryptocurrencies Seized The network’s server infrastructure which consisted of nodes in the Netherlands, Germany, and Romania was seized during the raids. A gun, about €500,000 ($560,000) in cash, as well as hundreds of thousands worth of cryptocurrencies were also found. According to Georg Ungefuk, a spokesperson for the ZIT and Frankfurt’s prosecutor’s office, the dark web platform was only accessible via the encrypted Tor network. He disclosed that the suspects had attempted to pull off an exit scam just before the authorities closed in. They put the network under maintenance mode and transferred funds from clients’ escrow accounts to those under their control. The operation is believed to have netted them over $30 million in illicit proceeds. One Wall Street Market user told the Deepdotweb that the administrators had tried to blackmail him by threatening to reveal sensitive information about him to the FBI if he did not pay a certain amount of money in cryptocurrency as ransom. The cybercriminals were apparently planning to ditch the operation and go into hiding when the authorities swooped in. Access to the site is currently prohibited. The following banner is up as indicated by Germany’s BKA agency. Access to the site is currently prohibited. (Image Credit: BKA) Sellers on the website mainly dealt in illegal paraphernalia that included drugs, hacking tools, forged documents, and stolen financial information. The network apparently took a commission of between two and six percent on sales. Many transactions were conducted using privacy-centered cryptocurrencies, a process that made it harder for the authorities to track down the masterminds and users on the network. Bitcoin and Monero were the main cryptocurrencies used to fulfill trades. The Wall Street Market had over 5,000 merchants dealing in illicit items and more than a million clients. Over 50,000 items were listed for sale on the marketplace. The three German suspects currently face charges in both the United States and Germany. Germany’s prosecutor’s office has, however, clarified that a successful prosecution in the country means they won’t have to face trial in the United States. They face a jail time of between one and 15-years if convicted.  The authorities are currently following up on other leads stemming from the investigation. According to DEA Special Agent-in-Charge, Chris Nielsen, “The case sends a clear message to those breaking the law and attempting to hide behind the illusion of anonymity.” Another Recent Dark Web Marketplace Takedown Last month, another dark web marketplace called “Sinmed” which operated under a bigger dark net network called “Dream Market” was shut down after authorities carried out a sting operation targeting its administrators. Three men Chester Anderson, 44, Jarrette Codd, 41, and Ronald MacCarty, 51 were arrested and charged in the United States. A raid on their base yielded one of the largest drug seizures in New Jersey’s history. Illegal drugs found included counterfeit Xanax, methamphetamine, and heroin. Like the Wall Street Market investigation, both the FBI and Europol were involved. Anderson, Codd, and MacCarty apparently ran a drug distribution network sprawling over 40 states. They received payments in cryptocurrencies and laundered the funds using debit cards. Law enforcement agencies began following the group’s activities in 2017 after receiving an alert from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office about suspiciously huge ATM withdrawals occurring in the New York area. (Featured Image Credit: CNN) The post Dark Web Enterprise Similar to Silk Road Shut down by FBI, Europol appeared first on CoinCentral.
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XRP Spikes 10% on Ripple MoneyGram Partnership News

Big partnership announcements have been thin on the ground for many of the major crypto companies recently. That changed for Ripple a few hours ago when the firm announced a strategic partnership with one of the world’s largest money transfer companies, MoneyGram. XRP Climbs 15% in a Week Compared to bitcoin and litecoin, XRP has been asleep for the past two months. Even Ethereum has outperformed it in terms of percentage gains. That all changed a few hours ago when XRP awoke from its range bound channel at $0.42 and surged almost 10% to hit an intraday high just over $0.46. A minor pullback followed in the hours after the announcement but XRP is still one of the day’s top performers. XRP price 1 hour candles – Tradingview.com XRP 00 has climbed almost 15% over the past week as it was trading just under $0.40 this time last Tuesday. Daily volume has just topped $2 billion as XRP market capitalization approaches $20 billion. The gap to ETH in second place is still $10 billion in terms of market cap, however. It has been one of the best weeks for XRP in terms of gains as the Ripple token has only made 27% since the beginning of the year. Big Partnership Driving FOMO The San Francisco based firm announced the partnership on its company blog late last night. It stated that the initial partnership will last two years during which Ripple will become the key partner for MoneyGram’s cross border payments and foreign exchange settlements. A substantial capital commitment of $50 million has also been pledged by the blockchain company enabling MoneyGram to draw it over a two year period in exchange for equity. Ripple’s xRapid system will be deployed for the partnership. It facilitates on-demand liquidity enabling instant transactions by reducing reliance on pre-funding. The XRP token will be used as the ‘real-time bridge’ between different currencies. Ripple CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, stated; This strategic partnership will enable MoneyGram to greatly improve its operations and enable millions of people around the world to benefit from its improved efficiency. This is a huge milestone in helping to transform cross-border payments and I look forward to a long-term, very strategic partnership between our companies. MoneyGram has a $600 billion global remittance market supporting multiple currencies in more than 200 countries. Traditional forex markets requiring advance purchases are currently used for international transfers. The partnership and leverage of Ripple’s native token are expected to reduce costs and increase transfer speeds for the firm. Alex Holmes, MoneyGram Chairman and CEO, added; Through Ripple’s xRapid product, we will have the ability to instantly settle funds from US dollars to destination currencies on a 24/7 basis, which has the potential to revolutionize our operations and dramatically streamline our global liquidity management. Will XRP hit $0.50 this week? Add your comments below. Images via Shutterstock, Tradingview.com The post XRP Spikes 10% on Ripple MoneyGram Partnership News appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.
Bitcoinist

XRP Gains 5% as Ripple Forms Strategic Partnership with MoneyGram; Last Resorts for Both Firms?

Ripple bought a share issue from MoneyGram worth $30 million at $4.10 per share to acquire 8-10% of the company. MoneyGram would also have an option of infusing another $20 million over the next two years. A strategic partnership will now ensue where Ripple will become the critical service provider for cross-border payment and foreign exchange settlement using digital assets. The digital asset they will be leveraging is Ripple, using Ripple’s xRapid Product. This partnership is a massive step towards the vision with which Ripple began, and investors put money is XRP. Also Read: Ripple Fathers’ Day Gift Propels It Past $0.4400 as Bulls Return Until now, MoneyGram has had to use banking services to provide settlements for payments they initiate. Due to the difference in time of settling payments, MoneyGram has to take loans to increase the required liquidity. However, by deploying xRapid, they will now be able to leverage XRP’s liquidity to provide cheaper and faster settlements. MoneyGram Chairman and CEO, Alex Holmes noted, “Through Ripple’s xRapid product, we will have the ability to instantly settle funds from US dollars to destination currencies on a 24/7 basis, which has the potential to revolutionize our operations and dramatically streamline our global liquidity management.” MoneyGram reported a net loss of $24 million in 2018 compared to a net loss of $29.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2017. The money transmitting service provider has been working towards developing, and 2019 will be part of the roadmap. Hence, the success of this strategic partnership is crucial for MoneyGram. Also Read: Bitcoin Vs Facebook Coin: Should Bitcoin Hodlers Care About Facebook Coin? Currently, MoneyGram works independently by leveraging money from banks. Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse told the media,  “This will eliminate the need to deploy foreign bank accounts. That’s why MoneyGram has negative working capital. It will help customers and also smooth out their treasury operations,” XRP/USD 4-Hour Chart on Bitstamp (TradingView) Moreover, while XRP recorded gains around 5%, it rose from $0.43 to a reach high at $0.46. Notably, a partnership like this back in 2016 or 2017 would have likely propelled the price by 30%. This can be attributed to an apparent decrease in the use case for MoneyGram itself. Digital payment is quickly becoming more accessible than ever with major firms working on implementing or integrating digital currencies on their respective platforms. Facebook is the most prominent example of it. Do you think MoneyGram and Ripple will be able to increase their volume and user base in the current environment? Please share your views with us.  The post XRP Gains 5% as Ripple Forms Strategic Partnership with MoneyGram; Last Resorts for Both Firms? appeared first on Coingape.
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Ripple Partners MoneyGram to Enhance Cross-border Payments with XRP

Ripple has secured another major partnership with international money transfer company MoneyGram. This will allow the company to use Ripple’s native token XRP to provide liquidity for international payments to MoneyGram customers. This is in a bid to enhance the speed and efficiency of the payment system that MoneyGram operates. In an interview with Fortune on the partnership, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said: “This will eliminate the need to deploy foreign bank accounts. That’s why MoneyGram has negative working capital. It will help customers and also smooth out their treasury operations.” The partnership also gives Ripple an 8% to 10% stake in MoneyGram by paying $4.10 per share. This, however, does not give Ripple a voice in the dealings of MoneyGram for now as part of the agreement. MoneyGram, on the other hand, will have the opportunity of reviving its financial standing from Ripple’s investment which it direly needs after its share price crashed significantly.  It will also increase the efficiency of the payment platform, the management said. “We are very pleased with the terms of the Ripple investment which supports the Company with permanent capital and additional liquidity,” Larry Angelilli, chief financial officer of MoneyGram, said in a statement. “This partnership also provides MoneyGram with the opportunity to improve operating efficiencies and increase earnings and free cash flow,” Larry Angelilli, the chief financial officer of MoneyGram said. Ripple is the leader in remittance services as far as the blockchain industry is concerned. Its xRapid is second to none in terms of transaction efficiency and speed. With the new partnership, XRP which will be used for liquidity will be exposed to MoneyGram’s customers in over 200 countries globally. MoneyGram is the second largest provider of money transfer services in the world and while partnering with Ripple will ensure better service delivery to its customers, it is also a huge breakthrough for Ripple which has been looking to expand its reach further into the world. With hundreds of clients using Ripple’s payment platform, the company has grown significantly thus improving the international remittance settlement market by improving customer experience in conventional financial institutions. The post Ripple Partners MoneyGram to Enhance Cross-border Payments with XRP appeared first on ZyCrypto.
ZyCrypto

Ripple (XRP) enters key partnership with MoneyGram; invests $30 million

Ripple (XRP) enters key partnership with MoneyGram; invests $30 million - CryptoNinjas MoneyGram, a global money transfer company, announced today it has entered into a strategic agreement with Ripple (XRP), the provider of enterprise blockchain solutions for cross-border payments. The deal will enable MoneyGram to utilize Ripple’s xRapid product, leveraging ripples (XRP) in foreign exchange settlement as part of MoneyGram’s global payment process With an initial term […] Ripple (XRP) enters key partnership with MoneyGram; invests $30 million - CryptoNinjas
CryptoNinjas

Ripple Announces Game-Changing Partnership With MoneyGram

By CCN Markets: Ripple announced a partnership with money transfer giant MoneyGram today. Two Year Exclusive Agreement, Ripple and MoneyGram According to Ripple Labs, a two-year partnership has been struck with MoneyGram which makes Ripple its exclusive digital assets partner. The purview of Ripple’s use case here might be more limited than expected. It depends on how many of the transactions are sent and received using Ripple’s technology and how much they’re worth. Whatever the case, the partnership doesn’t, for example, mean that you’ll be able to buy and sell XRP at any MoneyGram location. Something along those lines would The post Ripple Announces Game-Changing Partnership With MoneyGram appeared first on CCN Markets
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