Web

Stolen Mt.Gox funds allegedly laundered through $4 billion bitcoin scheme

Bitcoin on computer
Peter Verreussel / 123rf
A 37-year-old Russian man has been arrested and charged with owning and operating bitcoin exchange site BTC-e, a service authorities describe as being part of a multi-billion-dollar money-laundering scheme. The indictment alleges that the theft of bitcoins from many other trading platforms, including in the infamous Mt.Gox theft, were funneled through BTC-e to help obfuscate where the money came from.

BTC-e has been operating since 2011, and over time has evolved into one of the largest bitcoin trading platforms in the world. However, U.S. authorities believe much of that money was stolen and that BTC-e is implicated in a number of related crimes, including fraud, computer hacking, identity theft, tax-refund fraud, public corruption, and drug trafficking.

The alleged owner of the site, Alexander Vinnik, was arrested on July 25 in Greece. He is alleged to have received funds directly via the theft of bitcoins from the Mt.Gox exchange prior to its closure in 2014. Some of the funds were even said to have been funneled back through Mt.Gox, using the exchange to launder its own stolen coins.

As large as the Mt.Gox hack was though, it made up just a fraction of the coins that were ultimately moved through BTC-e over its lifetime. The authorities claim as much as $4 billion worth of the cryptocurrency was exchanged on the platform, though the indictment doesn’t make clear if that is based on the bitcoin’s current value, which is near historic highs, or its value at the time of transfer.

Another charge that U.S. authorities have levied against Vinnik and his company is that the firm was not registered as a financial services business with the U.S. Department of Treasury, and did not institute an anti-money laundering process. Both are required by federal law, adding to the extensive list of charges now levied against Vinnik. If convicted of all crimes and given anything close to maximum sentencing, he stands to spend much of the rest of his life in jail.

Although the company was not located within the United States, the government’s position is that because it did business with entities within the U.S., it must still abide by federal legislation.

It’s important to highlight that as with most bitcoin exchanges, there were likely to be many legitimate, non-criminal users of BTC-e, though due to the anonymous nature of the service, distinguishing its lawful activities from any unlawful activities will likely prove difficult.

Computing

Canada’s winters inspired a startup to warm homes with cryptomining heat waste

Cryptomining may be the key to untold riches and the future of currency, but it’s also an environmental nightmare. Heatmine, thinks it has the answer, but it could mean bolting a mining rig onto every home and business in the country.
Computing

Microsoft could split up search and Cortana in the next Windows 10 release

In the latest Insider preview build, Microsoft is exploring ways to split up Cortana and search on Windows 10. If Microsoft moves ahead with this change, we could see separate search and Cortana options in the Spring 2019 Update.
Gaming

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?
Computing

Email take-backsies! Gmail's unsend feature is one of its best

Everyone has sent a message they wish they could take back. How great would it be if you could undo that impulsive email? If you're a Gmail user, you can. Here's how to recall an email in Gmail.
Mobile

5G: Why everything is about to change

Curious about the many ways 5G will change and enrich your life? Here’s our guide to all things 5G.
Computing

Firefox 64 helps keep your numerous tabs under control

Mozilla officially launched Firefox 64 by placing new features into the laps of its users including new tab management abilities, intelligent suggestions, and a task manager for keeping Firefox's power consumption under control.
Computing

PewDiePie supporters hack printers, hope to boost his subscription numbers

In an attempt to garner more subscribers for their favorite vlogger and secure his status as having the most YouTube subscribers, PewDiePie supporters claimed to have hacked thousands of printers worldwide.
Computing

Costco members can cut up to $200 off MacBook and iMac price tags

Costco is discounting MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops by as much as $200 as part of a members-only sale. It also has deals on select MacBooks and iMacs, with optional Apple Care in most instances.
Music

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Computing

Our favorite Chrome themes add some much-needed pizzazz to your boring browser

Sometimes you just want Chrome to show a little personality and ditch the grayscale for something a little more lively. Lucky for you, we've sorted through the Chrome Web Store to find best Chrome themes available.
Web

Chrome fights manipulative sites that don’t allow you to hit the back button

Have you encountered a webpage that won't let you hit the back button? Someun scrupulous websites employ what's known as history manipulation, preventing you from hitting the back button, but now Google Chrome will be fighting back.
Smart Home

Holiday shopping: Here are the final dates for Amazon’s free shipping promotion

If you're shopping with Amazon this holiday season, then time is fast running out if you want all of your gifts delivered before December 25. Here are the dates you need to know ...
Business

Google to expand New York City presence with $1 billion campus

Google is following in Amazon's footsteps with plans to expand its presence in New York City. The company announced on Monday, December 17 that it's investing $1 billion on three sites in Lower Manhattan for more than 7,000 workers.
Computing

Former Microsoft intern claims Google may have sabotaged Edge browser

Google's Chrome web browser has been able to establish such dominance that Microsoft is abandoning its web rendering engine, switching Edge over to Chromium, but did Google play dirty in an attempt to force Microsoft to make the decision?