Bitcoin_inc CEO Arrested For Selling Bitcoin

  • Bitcoin_inc CEO arrested for four days for selling bitcoin on localbitcoins.com
  • Evidence points towards coordinated attempts from Homeland Security to arrest Morgan
  • Morgan's court hearing is on Thursday 22/2/2018 and is likely to set precedent

Comment of the Day @lopp

The Bitcoin ATM creator @NODEfather was recently arrested and held in jail for 4 days (9/2/18 - 12/2/18) under allegations of violating the following law:18 USC 1956 - Money Laundering Instrument. The tweet below shows his custody report that confirms the arrest and the charge against him. He has been released on bond and is awaiting a hearing on Thursday (22/02/2018).

In the US you can send under $10,000 before being required to register as a MSB (money service business). MSB is a legal term used by financial regulators to describe businesses that transmit or convert money. If you classify as a MSB you must adhere to AML legislation and rules which is where the case against Morgan lies.

The Case

The court documents show Morgan sold 9.98 BTC Bitcoin for $14,500 to a homeland security agent using localbitcoins.com in late 2016. However, the coins had an aggregate value of $9,200 at the time and Morgan said he repeatedly asked the buyer for the correct amount of $9,200. Regardless, Homeland Security sent the $14,500 which coincidentally places the amount above the $10,000 MSB threshold.

The DHS (Department of Homeland Security) also claim that they told Morgan the bitcoin was going to be used to buy a machine which manufactures 'hash oil'; this type of machine is supposedly illegal at the federal level, but not in many states. Morgan claims that the DHS didn't specify what the bitcoins were going to be used for prior to the sale and is looking to argue this in court. 

Entrapment?

They briefly detained Morgan almost a year later in September 2017 when he travelled to San Diego after he had been promised investment in his company from a stranger for over 6 months. The stranger based in San Diego turned out to be the DHS.  They detained him and questioned him for three hours asking how many bitcoins he owns amongst other questions. Ultimately they let him go as they didn't have any grounds to arrest him.

On February 9th the DHS arrested Morgan in his Las Vegas residence where he spent 4 days in jail. On Thursday's hearing Morgan will need to prove he made every attempt to sell for under $10,000 and that the buyer had not given him an indication that the bitcoins where going to be used for the purchase of a 'hash oil' machine. What is clear is that the DHS was desperately trying to entrap Morgan and it's a worrying story for bitcoin holders over the US.

There has been significant support for Morgan and he has raised some money for legal fees. @ToneVays and @RichardHeart are two of the biggest Twitter accounts to spread the word. 

Needless to say there have been some trolls, the bitcoin parody account, @buttcoin and @iajanus accused Morgan was trying to raise bitcoin whilst 'conveniently' not being able to access his own funds. After the numerous scams plaguing the crypto Twitter space, it's understandable that people who don't know the details may be suspicious. Once more, facts emerge after Thursday's hearing and hopefully doubts can be put to rest as more details emerge.

The Bigger Picture

Perhaps Bitcoin's most important innovation is providing the first non-state controlled method of storing and transacting value since fiat money was created. This has huge implications on the control of governments and the efficacy of their monetary policies. If nothing else, this case shows the distrust government organisations have of people that choose to store their wealth outside the fiat system.

This is certainly an important case for the bitcoin ecosystem as it sets the precedent for the way in which the US government can treat those who choose bitcoin over fiat. The bitcoin revolution allows citizens to choose the monetary system they want to participate in; one ruled by a powerful elite that favors their interests or a trustless system that runs on code and cryptography. Each citizen has a right to participate in either system without scaremongering tactics that one could consider this case to be.

Support

Morgan has hired David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfield as his legal team and he says DHS has locked him out of his phone meaning he can't access his BTC to pay for legal fees so he is asking for donations or loans backed by his verified Counterparty address.

Alternatively, if you are near San Diego go and show your support in person!

Buying Bitcoin At All-Time High Was Better Than Keeping Money In Argentinian Bank, Trader Reveals

Josu San Martin, a Mexico City-based Bitcoin “quasi-maximalist”, recently revealed that if the residents of Argentina, a country experiencing a major financial crisis, had purchased Bitcoin (BTC) at the “highest point of the ‘biggest bubble in history’” (in 2017),  they would have still “been better off” than leaving their funds in an Argentinian bank.

Earlier this month, Twitter user Matias (@MatiasTrader) had noted that Bitcoin had reached “an all-time high in Argentinian Pesos (ARS).” This, as the South American nation is suffering from extremely high levels of inflation.

High Levels Of Inflation Does Not Necessarily Mean Bitcoin Will Help?

Interestingly, Twitter user Moises Cassab (@josusanmartin) pointed out that the main argument being made is that the Argentinian Peso is a “terrible store-of-value (SoV).” Moises also appeared to suggest that there was no meaningful relationship between the declining value of Argentina’s national currency and the arguably better performance of Bitcoin, the world’s most dominant cryptocurrency.

Moises remarked: 

Buying Celine Dion 2020 tickets would of outperformed the arg peso. Tell me how Celine Dion tickets are a terrible store of value.

Venezuelans Still Need To Use The Bolivar “To Survive”

According to Josu San Martin:

In a long enough timeline, the Argentinian peso doesn't look that much different from any other Latin American currency.

Indeed, the residents of other nations in the same region such as Venezuela are enduring one of the worst economic crises in their country’s history. However, recent reports which appeared to have suggested that cryptocurrencies were increasingly being used as a hedge against inflation in Venezuela may not be entirely accurate.

Focusing On Basic Necessities

Alejandro Machado, the co-founder of the Open Money Initiative (OMI), a project dedicated to assisting nations with “collapsing monetary systems,” had revealed recently that the citizens of Venezuela have not completely abandoned the Bolivar.

Although Machado acknowledged that bitcoin trading in Venezuela had reached record-level highs, he said that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were “too technical” for most Venezuelans. He also mentioned:

Access to products [in Venezuela] is the number one thing [that people are looking for.] Do I have enough to eat this week or do I need to reinvent the ways that I access food?