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!

IMF Predicts Stablecoins Will Challenge Cash and Bank Deposits

Samuel Haig

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has published a paper that launches a new series of work seeking to “provide insight into the intersection of technology and the global economy.”

The paper, titled, 'The Rise of Digital Money,' was authored by Tobias Adrian and Tommaso Mancini Griffoli, and seeks to examine the challenges that electronic forms of money pose to legacy financial institutions and regulators.

IMF Argues Stablecoins Are Less Risky Than Cryptocurrencies

The authors anticipate that cash and bank deposits - “the two most common forms of money” - will “face tough competition and could even be surpassed” by emerging electronic monetary commodities, such as stablecoins.

The paper asserts that stablecoins are more likely to challenge existing payment systems than traditional cryptocurrencies, arguing that speculative cryptocurrencies are “by far” riskier - with Bitcoin (BTC) producing averages daily price fluctuations approximately 10 times higher “than in most G7 currency pairs, and even a little higher than in the Venezuelan Bolivar to U.S. dollar exchange rate.”

Issuer Credibility and Underlying Asset Volatility Among Issues Brought By Stablecoins

While the paper emphasizes the advantages stablecoins offer over traditional monetary forms, such as fast and frictionless payments, and reduced price volatility when compared to speculative crypto assets, the IMF expresses concerns pertaining to fundamentals underpinning stablecoins.

The authors warn that stablecoins: “use some variation of a simple system to stabilize value, which is not always credible,” adding that while other cryptocurrencies are “akin to a floating exchange rate,” managed stablecoins “resemble managed exchange rates.”

“However, we know too well the common fate of pegs. When a country’s economic fundamentals are off-kilter, the central bank can run out of the foreign exchange reserves needed to purchase domestic currency in the marketplace. Providers of managed coins can also run out of assets to support the price of their coins, especially because they may stand on shaky fundamentals—use determining value, and value encouraging use.”

 

IMF Advocates Active Regulatory Role for Central Banks

The paper emphasizes “important role” central banks will play in guiding the trajectory and forms of digital monetary commodities through regulatory measures.

The authors suggest that “One solution is to offer selected new e-money providers access to central bank reserves, though under strict conditions,” adding: “Doing so raises risks, but it also has various advantages. Not least, central banks in some countries could partner with e-money providers to effectively provide ‘central bank digital currency (CBDC)’, a digital version of cash.”

However, the paper advocates an alternative public-private model, called the “synthetic CBDC (sCDBC).” The sCBDC system would see central banks offer settlement services to virtual money providers, including access to central bank reserves, however, “all other functions would be the responsibility of private e-money providers under regulation.”