How Bitcoin Ended Up Playing a Role in Russian Meddling
Dark money, Bitcoin, and political intrigue. Bitcoin ended up playing a role in America's 2016 election without anyone noticing.
The world of blockchain technology is truly a double-edged sword.
Blockchain can give us a smarter energy grid. Initial Bounty Offerings could be a way to help end poverty for good. Thousands of people have made serious money by choosing to invest in Bitcoin. The benefits of crypto are clear, but then again, so are the pitfalls.
There's a reason why crypto is considered to be one of the most dangerous investments you can make. It's the new criminal currency, and sadly, that has been proven as fact when it was revealed that Bitcoin ended up playing a role in Russian meddling during the elections.
How did it happen? Why did it happen? Well, there's a lot to take in.
To understand how Bitcoin ended up playing a role in such a serious crime, we need to understand Bitcoin's design.
Bitcoin is a digital ledger currency that was originally used by denizens of the Dark Net as an alternative to regular traceable currency. Since Bitcoin was so obscure and also offered up decentralized privacy, it became known as "the untraceable payment method."
It quickly became a staple on Silk Road and similar sites. As the use of the Dark Web increased, Bitcoin's popularity increased. The majority of the earliest adapters were organized crime members. As others began to adopt the currency, Bitcoin gained value.
Lagging tax laws and little government control also means that it's a great way to launder money.
Many people in the past used to "invest" in Bitcoin as a way to park their money in a vehicle that wouldn't really be able to be tracked or taken by their governments. Others would use Bitcoin "investment" transactions to launder illegitimately gained wealth into more legal-ish portfolios.
Though the IRS has started to clamp down on this method of tax evasion, it's easy to see how money is laundered using this method. It's doubly true when you're dealing with international transactions that need to be done within a matter of minutes.
All things considered, it was only a matter of time before Bitcoin ended up playing a role in something ugly.
The Dark Web has many sites that offer illegal services for money.
The Dark Web is, for the most part, a section of internet that's relegated to people who operate on the illegal side of things. That was the entire basis of Silk Road, after all. If you believe Dark Web horror stories, other services might include more gruesome offers—such as red rooms.
It's not unheard of for terrorist cells to communicate through TOR and the Dark Web, nor is it unusual to hear of people fundraising for gangs or terrorist groups there, either.
One of the most common services that the Dark Web offers is hacking, and the most common forms of payment for hackers include Bitcoin and Dash. Most hackers who have been caught in the investigation admitted that they worked for the Russian government.
That being said, it wouldn't be a stretch to see Russia also paying off American hackers for hire as a way to bolster the impression of Americans starting up a revolt.
Interestingly enough, a number of other companies that accept Bitcoin were ensnared in the sweep.
The server that hosted many of the leaks involving the Democratic Party was owned by a company that allows people to pay using Bitcoin. Russia paid for the server using Bitcoin, making the transaction difficult to trace while also giving the server company the impression that 'hacktivists' were behind it.
Bitcoin was also used to buy domain names and register sites that were later used to harm the Democratic National Convention.
To make matters worse, the Dark Web was also linked to the propaganda wars that Russia made.
As you may be aware, Russia started flooding US forums, Facebook, and social media platforms with propaganda pushing voters to choose Trump. A number of Russian nationals were later exposed for being the root of the propaganda tours.
Russians had gotten the funding for their social media advertising campaigns by stealing credit card numbers, personal information, and social security numbers online. They bought them using Bitcoin, on the Dark Web, from hackers.
The money was then used to create sophisticated political campaigns and radicalize Americans.
This is why it seemed like Americans became far more right-wing during the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election. Many of the ads and people who were working with the Russian government were bought up using illegitimate money.
Simply put, it was a large-scale illusion.
Federal officers have also charged the Russian nationals with using Bitcoin to launder money.
If you aren't totally convinced that Bitcoin ended up playing a role in the election meddling, it's worth pointing out that federal officials charged 10 Russian nationals with laundering approximately $95,000 associated with the hacking.
Some of the money that was used to undermine the Democratic National Convention was also gotten through the process of Bitcoin mining. This puts Bitcoin in a pretty bad situation, doesn't it?
So far, that's the majority of the evidence we've gotten.
It's pretty obvious that Bitcoin ended up playing a role (or 50) in the theft of the US election. That much is already proven to be true.
That doesn't mean that it's the end of the road, though. There's a lot of speculation taking place that suggests that there may be even more that meets the eye to the transactions involved in the meddling...
It's often been alleged that politicians that seem to comply with Russian agents are paid off. By who, and by how, though, remains to be fully explained. Money could be used to pay off people, but why choose fiat money when you could wire it via Bitcoin?
Considering the difficulty to trace Bitcoin, it could be possible that politicians who are bribed by Russian nationals could be choosing to keep their transactions a bit more discrete. This way, there would be less of a paper trail.
No matter how you look at it, Bitcoin ended up playing a role in America's downfall.
Though Bitcoin has a lot of benefits, it's not totally certain that the world's favorite cryptocurrency will be able to survive this kind of travesty. It could be very likely that crypto will end up being banned in future years if things continue to get worse.
Iggy Paulsen is a fan of anything and everything wholesome. He loves his two dogs, hiking in the woods, traveling to Aruba, building DIY projects that better humanity, and listening to motivational speakers. He hopes to eventually become a motivational speaker himself.