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Cryptocurrency, Terrorists and the Best Coins for Criminals

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Expecting criminal operators not to make use of cryptocurrency is like expecting a burglar not to make use of a ski-mask.

Cryptocurrency offers a decentralized, accessible path to illegal fund generation, money laundering and liquidity pools, to be used by anyone in any corner of the world, without the oversight of a centralized authority, such as a bank manager.

If the tools are there, then criminals will ultimately make the most of them. This has proved to be the case ever since bitcoin’s inception, where it could mainly be used on the dark web, long before established, reputable real-world vendors ever decided to take notice.

The trend hasn’t slowed – in fact it has flourished, and now a whole host of new coins join bitcoin on the list of coins that dark web vendors will accept for their illicit goods.

At the same time, the rise of cryptocurrency has coincided with the rise of decentralized terrorist networks, and the two look to be inextricably linked from here on out.

Adoption by ISIS

According to a 2016 research paper by Angela S.M Irwin and George Milad, titled ‘The use of crypto-currencies in funding violent jihad’, it has already been shown that terrorists, specifically ISIS, are relying on cryptocurrency to fund their operations, although finding the data isn’t easy. The paper states:

“Although it is difficult to find concrete evidence of large-scale use of Bitcoins and other crypto-currencies by terrorist groups and their supporters, there is strong evidence to suggest that they have been linked to a number of terror attacks in Europe and Indonesia.”

Given the extreme scrutiny which typical financial accounts come under, especially during criminal investigations, it’s no surprise that terrorists are turning to cryptocurrency as a way to outmanoeuvre authorities. The paper continued:

“Supporters of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), jihadists and terrorist organisations are actively looking to and promoting the use of new and emerging technologies, such as Bitcoin, to mitigate some of the risks associated with traditional fund transfer methods.”

It’s not hard to understand the attraction, and using cryptocurrency appears to be a growing trend in terrorist hotspots. The paper summarizes the situation as so:

“Some websites associated with terrorist organisations have started to collect donations in Bitcoins. Many Bitcoin ATMs and Bitcoin exchanges are located in countries that have seen significant numbers of foreign fighters join ISIS in the Middle East and are also positioned in countries that have seen increased risk of terror attack. These present a significant risk because they allow for the seamless, anonymous transfer of funds to and from terrorist groups and their supporters.”

The paper focuses specifically on bitcoin, presumably since it makes up the greater bulk of overall market transactions; however there are other coins which are actually favoured by those engaging in illicit activities to a much higher degree than bitcoin.

Privacy Coins and the Dark Web

Internet research group, Recorded Future, recently published this report on the most common cryptocurrencies used for illicit or unregulated activity on the dark web.

One of the report’s findings was that while bitcoin was still the most common accepted payment method among vendors, it is not the cryptocurrency that dark web users actually favour the most.

The report polled members of a prominent dark web hacking forum, and found that the currency most favoured was, unsurprisingly, Monero.

Monero has gained a reputation as the most private of the privacy coins since its launch in 2014, and has proved the most resistant to the prying fingers of legal authorities.

Following closely in second place is Dash – a crypto payment platform which undoubtedly gains popularity for its ease of use and low fees.

Besides the privacy concerns of individuals buying illegal goods on the dark web, the biggest reason for bitcoin’s decline in popularity is its transaction-to-fee ratio which makes it completely unsuited for smaller, micro-payments.

However, as you can see from the following image, there is a gap between the currencies favoured by criminals and the currencies actually accepted by vendors. As the image illustrates, 100% of vendors on the dark web accept bitcoin.

Following closely in second place is Litecoin, which appears on 30% of vendors’ accepted currency list. Dash comes in at a close third with 20%, while the criminal’s favourite, Monero, only finds use on around 6% of dark web services.

Interestingly, a split appears between Eastern-European and English-speaking regions, with Litecoin and Monero being favoured by those two groups respectively.

The paper quotes a prominent Russian hacker on one of the forums they surveyed as describing how it was the black market which propelled Bitcoin to prominence in the first place, and that the trend will continue with some of the newer coins. He said (translated):

“Do not reinvent the wheel – just look where Bitcoin came from. It came from the darknet, and now U.S members are gradually migrating to Dash, while those in Europe have moved to Monero.”

This sentiment was echoed by another forum user, whose comments bring to mind the oft-quoted rule about how the porn industry is the ultimate arbiter of successful video formats:

“As a rule, whatever [currency] is used by the drug dealers will become a mainstream currency, and they have been actively switching to Dash. There are not so many carders are there are junkies.”

Conclusion

The question at this point isn’t whether such activity is taking place, but what the crypto community plans to do to resolve it.

That’s assuming they decide that it needs to be resolved. We’ve already seen instances of crypto platforms in the past refuse to meddle with their code in any way, even in the event of a major hack.

Such dedication to the ideals of cryptocurrency is one of the strengths of the community, but is also the very things which open up the playing field for criminal utilization.

Regulators may move in eventually, but by that time there will likely be another dozen privacy coins which can step in to carry on the process.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.4 stars on average, based on 88 rated postsGreg Thomson is a full-time crypto writer and digital nomad. He eats ICOs for breakfast and bleeds altcoins. Wherever he lays his public key is his home.




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Stellar Price Analysis: XLM/USD Has the Potential for a Short-term Rally, Though Bearish Set-up Eyed

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  • Stellar’s XLM potentially has further room for upside, within the short-term view.
  • Danger still looms for XLM/USD, as the daily chart suggests of a bearish technical pattern set up.

Steller’s native token XLM, has failed to commit to any sustained trend. This has been the case since the start of July. Bull rallies that have been witnessed were quickly sold by the market bears. This led the market to trade within a generally long running form of consolidation. Price action is narrowing, given the unsustainable short-term trend runs that have been witnessed. It comes as somewhat of a surprise, as the Stellar foundation have certainly been busy.

Stellar Developments

It was reported recently, blockchain security company BitGo, announced their support of Stellar Lumens (XLM). Being added to the BitGo’s list, Stellar now receives custody solutions. Their users will be able to generate wallets for Stellar Lumens. This is said to be starting at some point within the next couple of weeks. Elsewhere, as previously reported, the Stellar foundation at the start of this month released their heavily anticipated decentralized exchange, StellarX.

4-hour Chart Technical Review

XLM/USD 4-hour chart

Looking via the 4-hour chart, price action has formed a bullish pennant pattern. This comes after the surge higher between September 20-23. XLM/USD has since entered consolidation mode, trading within a range-bound nature. The price is coming very much towards the end of this technical pattern seen, raising the case for an imminent breakout. Near-term support can be observed around $0.2350 area. This is the lower tracking trend line of the mentioned pennant. A failure of the support could very likely see a fast fall to $0.2050. XLM/USD was last trading in this territory between September 12 – 20. The mentioned period was during a time of consolidation, prior to the mentioned breakout higher.

Resistance is seen just ahead of the current price. The above descending trend line of the pennant pattern is tracking around $0.2460-70. Enough bullish momentum to see the breach would likely force the price running to $0.2650. This is seen as an area of resistance on the 4-hour chart view. Looking further to the north, eyes would be on the supply heading into the $0.3000 mark.

Daily Chart Technical Review

XLM/USD daily chart

Taking into consideration the 4-hour chart view, there is still room for another squeeze higher. Despite this, danger appears to still be looming for XLM/USD. Risks on the daily chart point to the downside. The view of this is that a longer-term bearish pennant pattern is containing the price. XLM/USD support on the daily chart can be seen just sub of $0.2000. A long-running supporting trend line can be seen. The price having required assistance on June 29 and several occasions from September 8 – 12. To the upside, resistance can be seen around $0.2900. XLM/USD was rejected already on a few prior occasions, by the above descending trend line. July 25-2 and then most recently September 23, all saw respective bull runs halted.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.4 stars on average, based on 45 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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Bitcoin Cash Price Analysis: When is BCH/USD Taking Another Extended Move Higher?

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  • The Bitcoin Cash price behavior suggests another imminent breakout is likely. Upside surprises appear move likely than any potential downside breakouts.
  • BCH/USD continues to move within a bullish pennant pattern formation. Narrowing price action indicates a breach is near.

The Bitcoin Cash price after the huge surge to the upside on 26th September, attributed to the Bitmain IPO news, has remained elevated. Risks appear tilted to the upside, given current price behavior and technical patterns observed. Outside of the technical view, news flow and updates have remained positive around Bitcoin Cash.

News Flow Remains Positive

Bitcoin Cash adoption continues to take place. It was reported that the events ticketing company, Bigtickets.com, has expanded its payment options, with acceptance of cryptocurrency. Customers will be able to pay using Bitcoin Cash. The CTO said “We know our dedication to innovation is deserving of a secure and seamless purchase method for our event attendees. The use of Bitcoin Cash is a major social trend we’ve been following. Therefore, we’re excited to be one of the first event ticketing platforms in the United States to accept the burgeoning cryptocurrency,”

Elsewhere, earlier in the week, TD Ameritrade, announced it is investing in a cryptocurrency exchange platform, ErisX. This will be facilitating a range of products, including crypto futures contracts. Fortunately for Bitcoin Cash, it has earned its way into the top 4 cryptocurrencies by market cap. Given its status, Bitcoin Cash will be one of the crypto futures products offered by ErisX.

This follows news back in August, Crypto Facilities announcing a Bitcoin Cash futures product. Crypto Facilities are regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The move came given Bitcoin Cash has a growing presence and acknowledgement across the market. The introduction of Bitcoin Cash futures is joining the company’s other crypto-based products.

Near-term Analysis (60-minute chart)

Eyes are locked on BCH/USD movement within a bullish pennant pattern formation. Price action is well-supported by the lower trend line. It for now remains within consolidation mode, after the strong surge on 26th September. The price is moving towards the end of the pattern, into a narrower range. This behavior suggests a breakout could very much be imminent, subject to bullish momentum.

BCH/USD 60-minute chart

Resistance to the upside is seen at the above trend line of the pennant, $523. Given the pole of the mentioned pattern, the breakout may be chunky. A retest of the supply around $640-$660, will therefore be the likely first target area. The price last traded in this region from the 1st to the 4th September. Support is eyed around $510-509, as mentioned above, the lower trend line of the pennant.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.4 stars on average, based on 45 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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Cardano Price Analysis: Imminent Breakout Anticipated, with Eyes on Another Bull Run

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  • The Cardano (ADA) price has been showing some promising signs, following the project’s 1-year anniversary.
  • ADA/USDT is near the end of a triangular pattern, which can also be perceived as a bullish pennant pattern.

Cardano a few days ago celebrated its one-year anniversary. It is still very much a new project to hit the industry. There are always new technologies and cryptocurrencies cropping up, so it is important to review what purpose do or are they going to serve. It does appear Cardano community members are looking forward to several upcoming developments from the foundation.

What Is Cardano?

Cardano is very much like Ethereum – a smart contract platform. The technology is much focused on scalability and security via a layered architecture. As such, it is the first blockchain platform to evolve out of a scientific philosophy and peer-reviewed academic research. A large innovation of Cardano is that it will balance the needs of users with those of regulators, and in doing so combine privacy with regulation. Its cryptocurrency is ADA, which is currently the ninth largest by market cap.

Recent Updates

The organisation behind Cardano, IOHK, has released a new project known as ‘Cardano Rust’. This will be a large helping hand to developers, who want to build products for its blockchain. The effort is essentially providing the toolbox for developers, with a library of functions that they can use to build their decentralised applications for Cardano and facilitate integration.

Technical Review

Looking at Cardano (ADA) technically vs. Tether (USDT), it is down a chunky 95% from the 1st January 2018. This move largely following suit of the general strong bearish trend, seen across the market. Since September, this price has shown some positive signs, and a willingness to make breakout from the bears paws. ADA/USDT produced a double bottom pattern on 18th September, which saw the take-off. It went on to gain over 50% up to $0.0939, from the low within $0.06 territory, moving into the $0.09 area. The price has since eased somewhat, but is still up over 30% from the mentioned low area.

ADA/USDT 4-hour chart

Current price behavior has formed a triangular pattern, as it narrows within this range-bound form. It is very much coming to the end of this, looking more and more likely to a breakout. This formation could also be perceived as a bullish pennant. The big bull run from the above-mentioned double bottom, provides the substance for the pennant view. Near-term resistance is seen just ahead at $0.0830, with support at $0.0797. Another test to the upper descending trend line, could see a fast breakout up towards the supply at the 23rd September high, $0.0939. Failure to see enough bullish momentum for a breach, could see a slip down to the below demand area, $0.0750-40.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 53 votes, average: 5.00 out of 53 votes, average: 5.00 out of 53 votes, average: 5.00 out of 53 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5 (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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4.4 stars on average, based on 45 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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