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Busted: FBI Spots Belgian Policeman Buying Grenades, Guns on the Dark Web

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After warrants were issued for his arrest, a Belgian policeman was apprehended in a police operation after the FBI spotted him purchasing grenades and handguns on the dark web.

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A 35-year-old Belgian policeman, from the city of Charleroi in Belgium was arrested in late September by local authorities after the FBI spotted him purchasing handguns and grenades on the dark web.

According to Belgian publication NordEclair, a federal special police squad turned up on a neighborhood street shortly after midday to arrest the accused police officer at his home before transferring him to the offices of the Federal Police of Charleroi.

Darknet

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The Public Prosecutor’s Office in the city issued a dual arrest warrant for the officer. The local policeman, who belonged to the GSA (the Security and Intelligence Group), evidently knew enough about the dark web to purchase weapons and explosives on the internet. An investigation revealed that several weapons ordered from the dark web had reached the accused policeman, via post.

Indeed, during the arrest, a number of weapons were reportedly obtained by arresting officers at his home, revealed the Brussels Times.

The investigating judge has charged the accused with illegally importing weapons and two counts of attempted murder. The weapons were reportedly purchased by the policeman as a part of a plan to kill two acquaintances, reports say. Other publication sources cite that the potential targets were the boyfriends of two of his ex-girlfriends.

Law enforcement agencies haven’t always been technologically adept in understanding how dark net marketplaces work, although such a notion is changing of late, as evident with the FBI tipping off Belgian authorities about one of their own buying weapons illegally online.

The most notable examples of law enforcement agents turning rogue to engage in criminal activities are that of FBI agents Carl Force and Shaun Bridges, from the infamous Silk Road case.

Carl Force, a former federal agent who admitted to charges of money laundering, extortion and obstruction of justice saw a sentence of 78 months in prison. Force is alleged to have siphoned off funds up to $400,000 in bitcoin.

The case of Shaun Bridges, a former Secret Service agent who stole over $800,000 in bitcoins during the Silk Road investigation to siphon it into an account at now-defunct bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, ended with a sentence of 71 months in prison.

Images from iStock and Shutterstock.

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Technical Analysis: Coins Recover from Sell-Off as Bulls Remain in Control

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Following yesterday’s brief but deep correction, the major cryptocurrencies seem to be back on the bullish track, as Bitcoin is leading the segment yet again. With the most valuable coin’s dominant currently near 56%, trading in BTC dwarfs the other crypto markets. That said, most of the majors recovered well after yesterday’s rout, while Bitcoin itself reached as high as $5730 today in early trading, only a few percents off its all-time high.

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The short-term setup is encouraging for bulls, as the coin cleared the overbought short-term momentum readings while remaining inside the rising trend. A rally towards the long-term target at $6000 is still likely, despite the stretched long-term picture. Support levels are found near $5400, around the $5000 level and at $4650.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

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Ripple settled down somewhat in early trading but it turned volatile again later on, and the coin is still underperforming the broader market, while Ethereum bounced back well above the $300 level, remaining well below its recent highs. The rest of the market is modestly higher today, although NEO and IOTA are slightly lower still showing a negative correlation with the other majors. Let’s see the short-term charts after the short volatile period.

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Tortoise & Hare Investing

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Yesterday I had the pleasure to speak with a man named Didi Taihuttu who has just sold his house, three cars, and a motorcycle and bought cryptocurrencies.

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A daring step for sure but what really struck me is that Didi mentioned, he doesn’t see what all the fuss is about or even understand all the media attention. He’s simply trying to show his kids that material possessions aren’t everything in life and that they’re happy with whatever the outcome will be.

You can follow Didi and the Yolo family on Twitter where they are documenting their new world adventure @yolofamtravel

We wish them all the best!

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@MatiGreenspan
eToro, Senior Market Analyst

 

Please note: All data, figures & graphs are valid as of October 19th. All trading carries risk. Only risk capital you’re prepared to lose.

Market Overview

All stocks seem positive over the past 24 hours but the Dow Jones is really flying. After crossing the 23,000 mark on Tuesday, it’s come up another 160 points on Wednesday, outperforming the rest of the stock markets by far.

Not that 160 points is such a big move mind you, it’s only 0.7%. The more impressive thing is that stocks just never seem to go down as they have adopted the famous fabled Tortoise’s attitude, “slow but steady wins the race.”

It’s now been almost two years since the last time the market has seen a correction of 10% (orange) and the Dow hasn’t even seen a 3% correction since April (yellow).

The Hare

If stocks are the Tortoise than bitcoin is the Hare.

Volatility on cryptocurrencies has been a marking theme of 2017 but in the last 2 weeks, it has been raised to a new level.

The following chart is a weekly candlestick chart. So just take a look at the last two candles. You can see last week’s gain was a total of $1300 from the low to the high. This week the action has been less one sided but not any less volatile, creating excellent opportunities for day traders.

There’s such a huge divide between bitcoin supporters and naysayers too. Yesterday, I read a 20 page report from UBS who was saying that they don’t see it as likely that Bitcoin will be majorly adopted in the future. Of course, they failed to mention that Japan is already well on the road to adoption.

This morning, I came accross this quote, which I found a bit extreme as well.


Tim Draper on Bloomberg Television

Certainly, if the financial revolution came that quickly it would have devastating effects. The world would probably benefit from some kind of middle ground between the two above opinions.

Something happening in New Zealand

I must admit that I hadn’t been paying that much attention to New Zealand’s recent elections but seeing the NZD tumble this morning is extremely exciting. The move seems to be based on the news of a new Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.

You can see the huge move on the NZDUSD, which just fell below 0.7050 for the first time since May….

The reason that this dip is so excitng is that New Zealand currently pays one of the highest interest rates in the world. So entering a buy position in eToro you actually get paid to hold the position.

Against the USD, it’s not so much, just 15 cents on a 10,000 unit position. However, against the Yen or the Swiss Franc, you have a nice daily rollover…

For example, and of course, this is not trading advice, if you have a buy position on the NZDCHF of $10,000 on 25 times leverage you earn $18.79 per day regardless of what happens to your profit and loss.

This type of trading can be useful whether you are a tortoise or a hare or anyone in between. Wishing you an amazing day ahead!!

This content is provided for information and educational purposes only and should not be considered to be investment advice or recommendation.
The outlook presented is a personal opinion of the analyst and does not represent an official position of eToro.

Past performance is not an indication of future results. All trading involves risk; only risk capital you are prepared to lose.

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Bitcoin Returns to Health After Flash Crash

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The value of bitcoin stabilized Thursday after a flash crash wiped nearly 9% from its value, a sign that investors are getting over the initial fear of regulatory encroachment on their tokens.

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Bitcoin’s Epic Drop

Beginning at around 12:45 UTC, the BTC/USD began an epic decline that continued for 90 minutes until prices bottomed in the low $5,100 region. At its worst, bitcoin was down nearly 9% on the day.

Prices would soon recover, and do so in a big way. BTC/USD regained more than $300 over the next two hours before continuing higher for the rest of the day. At press time, bitcoin is up 1.3% at $5,646, having traded within a $180 range early Thursday.

At present values, bitcoin is capitalized at $94 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. The token peaked above $97 billion last week as it set multiple record highs.

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Bitcoin continues to trade in overbought territory, according to the Relative Strength Index (RSI). As the following chart illustrates, the BTC/USD has been technically overbought on several occasions over the past six months.

As CCN reports, bitcoin wasn’t the only digital currency to experience a sharp drop. Ripple plunged by 12% and Ethereum shed 8%. For bitcoin and ether, the losses would later prove to be a healthy correction after last week’s run-up. The ETH/USD is currently trading around $314.

Ripple is still down roughly 9%, where it is trading near three-week lows.

Bitcoin, ether and Ripple are the world’s top-three digital currencies by market cap. Combined, they’re worth more than $131 billion.

Regulatory Fears Emerge

The plunge came just a day after the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said it has jurisdiction to regulate bitcoin derivatives. In a report titled A CFTC Primer on Virtual Currencies, analysts at the Commission reaffirmed that bitcoin and others like it are commodities.

The report said:

The CFTC’s jurisdiction is implicated when a virtual currency is used in a derivatives contract, or if there is fraud or manipulation involving a virtual currency traded in interstate commerce.

A commodity is defined in various ways by the CFTC. It can be a physical commodity or natural resource, a currency or interest rate and “services, rights, and interests… in which contracts for future delivery are presently or in the future dealt in.”

Three bitcoin exchanges were listed as examples of permitted cryptocurrency activity. They included TeraExchange, LLC, North American Derivatives Inc. (NADEX) and LedgerX, LLC.

The report also said there was no inconsistency between how it defines cryptocurrency and how the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) dealt with The DAO. SEC regulators deemed The DAO tokens to be “securities” under federal law.

There is no inconsistency between the SEC’s analysis and the CFTC’s determination that virtual currencies are commodities and that virtual tokens may be commodities or derivatives contracts depending on the particular facts and circumstances. (CFTC)

As cryptocurrency trading expands in scope, investors can expect a slew of products designed to track the market. The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) plans to launch its own bitcoin derivatives product next year.

Meanwhile, Grayscale currently operates the Bitcoin Investment Trust, a traditional investment vehicle with shares solely invested in BTC.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

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